Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
3 user

For Whom the Ball Tolls 

When Jessica agrees to help preserve a historic brownstone, she winds up trying to clear her editor of the murder of an opposing developer.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


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


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Ray Abruzzo ... Mike LaRocca
Barbara Babcock ... Carol Collins
Jeff Conaway ... Nolan Walsh
Herb Edelman ... NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber (as Herbert Edelman)
Hallie Foote ... Margaret Johnson
Lela Ivey Lela Ivey ... Nurse Josie Miles
Kevin Kilner ... Eugene Gillrich
Robert Pine ... Walter Gillrich
Susan Walters ... Lee Gillrich
Leonard Lightfoot Leonard Lightfoot ... Detective Henderson
Alex Courtney ... Vic Barton
John Dennis John Dennis ... Pete
Wendy Hoffman Wendy Hoffman ... Walter's Secretary
Jodi Russell ... Peggy


Jessica helps friend Margaret Johnson and preservation committee president Carol Collins fight a New York development company. The project would cause a historical building, where Ernest Hemingway once had an apartment, to be torn down. Nolan Walsh holds out with his pub's lease. He even throws developer Eugene Gillrich out after violent promises and threats are made in public. Eugene and his wife Lee are desperate to save the project, while his brother and partner Walter wants to consider an alternate site. Eugene secretly romances Carol Collins to have her drop the petition. Then Walter is found shot dead at Eugene's desk and, presumably, Eugene was the target. NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber and Detective Henderson examine and arrest Margaret after finding her fingerprints in the office. Jessica gives her an alibi, though not foolproof, and finds evidence Walter's body was moved, so he was the intended victim. Jessica notices Carol ordered her usual drink at Nolan's pub, so she ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Prior to this episode, Jeff Conaway appeared twice as Jessica's nephew-in-law in 1984 and 1986. He appeared again in 1994 as an entirely different character. See more »


[first lines]
Woman: Save our buildings!
Man: Save our buildings!
Carol Collins: They're knocking down buildings all over New York, and for what? More skyscrapers!
Carol Collins: Jessica, I envy you, your Cabot Cove retreat.
See more »


References For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
See more »

User Reviews

"It's a Dutiful Day in this Neighborhood, a Neighborly Day for Gunfire Would"
11 December 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Real Estate Developer Walter Gillrich (Robert Pine) and his brother and partner Eugene Gillrich (Kevin Kilner) acquire an historic New York City brownstone apartment building, which they propose to demolish to construct a modern complex in the event that they manage to purchase the neighboring building containing a tavern. Upon receiving many protests, Walter considers other possible locations to construct the complex, while Eugene and his wife, Lee Gillrich (Susan Walters) firmly intend to proceed with the demolition.

Nolan Walsh (Jeff Conaway) owns the tavern next door to the brownstone, he refusing to sell to the Gillrich firm, while enlisting staunch heavy-handed supporters, as Victor 'Vic' Barton (Alex Courtney) and Mike LaRocca (Ray Abruzzo).

Carol Collins (Barbara Babcock) presides over an historic preservation committee to enlist supporters, as Margaret Johnson (Hallie Foote) and Nurse Josie Miles (Lela Ivey), to retain the status quo. After all, Ernest Hemingway once rented a small suite at the brownstone to author manuscripts toward his future literary classics, such as "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

But in this case, the question on everyone's mind seems to be "For Whom the (Wrecking) Ball Tolls," so, while Carol holds a fund-raising benefit, Margaret enlists the assistance of her dear friend Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to resist the intent of demolition. After all, J.B. Fletcher has become by now a famous author in her own right.

Jessica makes the rounds, discovering that understanding landlord Walther Gillrich has instituted the policy that tenants' rent rates never be raised during their stay. But an elderly lady leasing a fourth-floor apartment has neither been seen nor heard from after four years' time except by care-taking Nurse Josie Miles, who also handles her mail deliveries.

Meanwhile, over at the tavern next door, altercations constantly erupt among Nolan Walsh, his heavies and the brothers Gillrich.

Young married brother, Eugene Gillrich, schemes to romance Carol Collins in an attempt to dissuade her civic organization's efforts, to the dismay of her partner, Margaret, and his wife, Lee.

But when a body is discovered in an office, Jessica joins forces with NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber(Herb Edelman) and his capable assistant, NYPD Detective Henderson (Leonard Lightfoot), to derive differing theories as to the identity of the intended victim, after chairs have been moved around from one office into another.

So, after the authorities naturally arrest the wrong suspect, Jessica intends to steer them correctly, while actively participating in the historic preservation effort.

During a conversation with Nurse Josie about the missing elderly tenant, Jessica receives a sudden burst of logic regarding a parking space in front of the tavern, to realize the identity of the perpetrator of the gunfire slaying has to be, "For Whom the Ball Tolls."

The cast is rounded out by John Dennis as Pete, Jodi Russell as Peggy, Lisa Dinkins as Female Reporter, Wendy Hoffman as Evelyn, Walter's Secretary, and Alexander Folk as Al, the Mailman.

This episode marks the sixth of ten "MSW" guest star appearances by Herb Edelman, including this among his last seven as NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber, the first of five appearances by Leonard Lightfoot as NYPD Detective Henderson, the third of five guest star appearances by Robert Pine (differing roles), the fifth of five guest star roles by Barbara Babcock (differing roles), the third of four by Jeff Conaway, including his first two as Howard Griffin, the husband of Jessica's niece Victoria, the seventh of seven "MSW" supporting appearances by Alexander Folk (differing roles), the second "MSW" episode each for Lela Ivey, Hallie Foote and Kevin Kilner, as well as the only television role thus far by John Dennis (XII). Herb Edelman has since passed.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

26 September 1993 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed