Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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It's a Dog's Life 

There's in-fighting and backstabbing galore when a millionaire snubs his family and leaves most of his estate to a dog.


Seymour Robbie


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 4 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Cathryn Damon ... Morgana Cramer
Dean Jones ... Marcus Boswell
Lenore Kasdorf ... Trish Langley
Jared Martin ... Spencer Langley
Roger Miller ... Sheriff
Dan O'Herlihy ... Denton Langley
Lynn Redgrave ... Abby Benton Freestone
Forrest Tucker ... Tom Cassidy
Gregory Walcott ... Isaiah Potts
Cherie Currie ... Echo Cramer
Byron Cherry ... Deputy Will Roxie
James Hampton ... Vet
Sandy Ward ... Barnes
Robert Cornthwaite ... Coroner


While Jessica attends a hunting party, someone tampers in the stables with the normally quiet horse of the rich host, Denton Langley, which suddenly goes wild and causes him to have a fatal fall, yet the drug test Jessica suggests is negative. The will, on videotape, gives his shocked relatives and estate staff peanuts while $15,000,000 goes to Denton's pet dog, Teddy, who is shortly after found drugged after biting old local Isaiah Potts. Family lawyer Marcus Boswell is challenged by the human heirs' lawyer on account of the dog's mental competence. Then Trish Langley is found killed by the security gate, the button which operates it from security guard Barnes' closed room has Teddy's paw print on it. He must have been trained to press it. Jessica works out precisely what ties in, how, and what doesn't. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Angela Lansbury, Dan O'Herlihy and Robert Cornthwaite all appeared in The Purple Mask. See more »


After Teddy was drugged and bit someone the lawyer tells them that they are positive that Teddy wasn't rabid. The only two ways to proof something like that is a ten day quarantine or by a post-mortem (after death) examination of brain tissue. Neither of these two things happened. See more »


[first lines]
Trish Langley: Well, how about a toast for later?
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References Cujo (1983) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Hooray for Teddy
8 July 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.

Although none of the episodes up to this point of Season 1 are bad, all are pretty good or more (especially the pilot episode "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes"), "It's a Dog's Life" is the weakest up to this point while still being decent. Again, neither Season 1 or 'Murder She Wrote' has reached its peak or best, is likable, light-hearted fun and the mystery had some interesting elements.

"It's a Dog's Life" has the second most obvious murderer to me up to this particular point in the season. After taking note of something that gave them away and put them at the scene of the murder, the guilty sign flashed nearly as much and nearly as badly as when the murderer gave themselves away in "Deadly Lady". Also when taking note of the suspects, their movements and motives, they also had the most to gain and to lose.

Have realised upon re-watching the show recently that I have never been a fan of the corny humorous dialogue at the end or the freeze frame photographs, "It's a Dog's Life" does nothing to change my mind. There are also a few too excessively long shots at times which pads things out a little too much.

On the other hand, it is a good-looking episode. Very nicely shot with attractive locations and fashions. The music has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

The writing is charmingly light-hearted, gently amiable and down to earth but provokes thought too. The mystery is straightforward, if somewhat formulaic, and compelling, with one of the strangest but cleverest murders of the whole show involving a gate and, despite the identity of the murderer being obvious, the final solution like the motives and how it was all done was clever. It was fun to see everything come together and how Jessica did her sleuthing to solve the case.

Angela Lansbury is terrific in one of her best remembered roles (one of the roles that is most closely associated with me at any rate), and Lynn Redgrave brings a lot of class and charm. To me, however, the dog Teddy steals the show, so adorable, beautifully trained and fun to watch.

Overall, good. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

4 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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