Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user 1 critic

Deadly Lady 

A mysterious man who briefly stops by Jessica's house turns up dead -- supposedly swept overboard during a hurricane before Jessica even met him.


Corey Allen


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Claude Akins ... Capt. Ethan Cragg
Tom Bosley ... Sheriff Amos Tupper
Doran Clark Doran Clark ... Nancy Earl
Howard Duff ... Ralph / Stephen Earl
Marilyn Hassett ... Maggie Earl
Richard Hatch ... Terry Jones
Anne Lockhart ... Grace Earl Lamont
Dack Rambo ... Brian Shelby
Cassie Yates ... Lisa Earl Shelby
Tom Bower ... Jonathan Bailey
Carol Swarbrick Carol Swarbrick ... Emma
John Petlock John Petlock ... Nils Andersen
Robert Beecher Robert Beecher ... Elias Cobb


A certain Ralph appears at Cabot Cove penniless but insists to earn a breakfast from Jessica by odd jobs, she even throws in her late husband Frank's pipe. Cosmetics tycoon Stephen Earl is reported missing presumed death from his yacht in a storm by his four adult daughters. Jessica realized the coordinates they gave must be false, at the time in the eye of the storm; now Maggie confesses to have shot him the night before, but an old obituary photo of Stephen makes Jessica realize he's alive: it's 'Ralph'. Shortly after, his corps lies in the surf, shot twice in the chest, now Maggie recants claiming it was a set-up to unmask fortune-hunter Terry Jones, sister Nancy's earlier paid-off ex, the coroner confirms. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This episode features the introduction of Cabot Cove citizens Sheriff Amos Tupper and Captain Ethan Cragg. Cragg has been friends with Jessica for many years, whereas Tupper seems to barely tolerate her, resenting her interference in a police investigation. This is also the first mention of the never-seen Letitia, the phone operator in Cabot Cove. Frank Fletcher smoked a pipe that, according to Stephen Earl, was 'a fine-looking meerschaum'. Meerschaum is a soft, white mineral that is most frequently used to make pipes. Stephen Earl picks up a recent book of Jessica's from the counter entitled Dirge for a Dead Dachshund. The book was in pre-publication at the time, and was not yet released for publication. Maggie Earl refers to having read Jessica's 'latest book', indicating that Dirge for a Dead Dachshund is at least her third book. Cragg also makes mention to Amos 'reading too many of Jessica's books' indicating, again, that Dirge for a Dead Dachshund was not her second work. See more »


The dead body pulled from the water is seen blinking while being identified at the coroner's office. See more »


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: [while typing during a storm with the lights flickering] Oh, please, three more paragraphs and I can go to bed.
See more »

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User Reviews

Cabot Cove my home
6 July 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This second episode of Murder She Wrote introduced us to Jessica Fletcher's beloved Maine fishing village Cabot Cove. We also first see Tom Bosley who had that down home Maine accent down to the max as local sheriff Amos Tupper.

Claude Akins makes the first of a few appearances as fishing boat captain Ethan Cragg and he brings news to Jessica Fletcher of a yacht in distress during a hurricane and he was going on a rescue mission.

The next day Howard Duff shows up at the Fletcher home and says he's a drifter but he proves handy around the house so he fixes things and gets breakfast from Angela Lansbury. When that yacht pulls in with four sisters and some spouses on board Duff leaves abruptly. Later he's found on the beach with two bullets in him and one of Frank Fletcher's pipes. Proving most emphatically he was not on the yacht when he met his demise.

That unexpected fact screws up somebody's murder scheme. Sheriff Tupper and Jessica Fletcher form an alliance to solve this case. Not as easy an alliance as it would later become.

The series was off to an interesting start.

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