Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
3 user

Good-Bye Charlie 

Jessica narrates her newest novel about a bumbling private eye and his girlfriend inadvertently solving a murder by trying to cash in on a dead relative's will.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 3 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Michael Callan ... Bart Mahoney
Bryan Cranston ... Jerry Wilber
Lise Cutter Lise Cutter ... Tillie Bascomb
John Finnegan ... Uncle Charlie
Faith Ford ... Sunny Albertson
David Huddleston ... Sheriff Ed Ten Eyck
Clyde Kusatsu ... Jack Yamoto
Bill Maher ... Frank Albertson
Ernie Lively ... Jake
Robin Bach ... Lon Ainsley
Ronny Graham ... Clarence
Tessa Richarde Tessa Richarde ... Doreen
Scott Palmer ... Raymond Fleischer
Stanley Grover Stanley Grover ... Businessman


Jessica tells her newest book plot, in which a private investigator, who is so unsuccessful he and his girl fiend are about to be evicted, learn his missing uncle Charles Kenneth Anderson, a bum who sponged on them for a few years and then took off, has inherited a fortune from an old flame, but it can't be paid until he's declared legally dead in five more years. They decide to fake his demise by claiming a John Doe and go for one in Huckabee, Nevada. Alas, Sheriff Ed Ten Eyck is most suspicious as the same body is claimed by two other parties and murder seems a definite possibility. After painstakingly getting out of jail and rid of the competition, they get another surprise. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


This is the fifth "bookend" show, and the fourth supposedly based on one of Jessica's novels. Since each of the four has involved a different main character, it implies that Jessica does not use a series character in the vein of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot or Jane Marple. See more »


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: Oh, hello. You caught me at the tail end of my newest book. I've been at it almost ten hours a day for the past week and I am sore from my fingers to my back and, uh, elsewhere.
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Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #4.10 (2005) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Say hello to 'Murder She Wrote's' first less than average episode
1 October 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

This may be a very broad statement for "Good-Bye Charlie", and one that not everybody is going to agree with, but that is just my feeling. That is not to say that 'Murder She Wrote' didn't have disappointing episodes before then, it certainly did (every season had at least one average, some barely, episode, even Seasons 2, 4 and 5, three of the show's better seasons). Many of them were lifted though by a good cast and a couple (like "Truck Stop") being visually unique.

"Good-Bye Charlie" did have good things, but they come too far and between and not particularly noticeable. It is one of my least favourites of the bookend episodes (coming from someone who doesn't have a bias against them, not all of them are bad) and, while not the worst 'Murder She Wrote' episodes, it is one of my least favourites of the show as well. It just doesn't feel like 'Murder She Wrote', and not just because Jessica isn't the star but mainly because the general spirit of the show isn't here. It doesn't work as a standalone episode. And it would struggle to pass muster as an introduction for a show of its own.

Not even a very young Bryan Cranston can save this. The cast do do their best, but they are ill-served by bland, ill-drawn characters (some not adding anything to the story and instead pad or confuse it, and the lead character is less than compelling) and a dreary script that has far too heavy a tone for a usually light-hearted show.

Crippling "Good-Bye Charlie" is the story and the pacing. On first viewing, this stood out as very hard to follow. Now, two viewings later (for fairness sake), it still is, the worst of it borderline incoherent and does nothing with the somewhat distasteful premise that is far too removed (even for doing something different) to usual. And no, this is coming from somebody who has no problem with stories that aren't simple (actually love the more complex, twisty stories more in fact) and comprehension is usually not an issue either. Still to this day, "Good-Bye Charlie" is in the top 5 of the most confusing 'Murder She Wrote' episodes.

Also have no problem with episodes/films that don't move quickly. There are examples of both that have slow pacing and still manage to be great and more. "Good-Bye Charlie" crawls along at a snail pace, dragging on and on, and dramatically is as inert as one can get. That the story is also hard to follow and never attention-grabbing makes the episode fall in the top 10 dullest 'Murder She Wrote' episodes. It's too between this and the Dennis Stanton bookend with the (if remembered correctly) Mark Twain manuscript as the dreariest.

For all these numerous criticisms, there are good things with "Good-Bye Charlie". Production values as ever are slick and stylish, with a nice location. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Angela Lansbury bookends the episode well. There are parts where the writing is thought-provoking.

On the whole, one of my least favourites from 'Murder She Wrote'. 4/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

7 January 1990 (USA) See more »

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Universal Television See more »
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1.33 : 1
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