Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Murder: According to Maggie 

A show cancellation coincides with a network executive's murder.


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

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Denis Arndt ... Lt. Vincent Palermo
Talia Balsam ... Julie Pritzer
Diana Canova ... Mary Margaret 'Maggie' McCauley
Miriam Flynn ... Vi
Dwayne Hickman ... Brian Thursdan
Leann Hunley ... Dana Darren
Bruce Kirby ... Andy Butler
Paul Kreppel ... Leo Kaplan
Gary Sandy ... Keith Carmody
Tim Thomerson ... Bert Rodgers
Tom Troupe Tom Troupe ... Director
Ann Morgan Guilbert ... Harriet De Vol (as Ann Guilbert)
Ben Slack Ben Slack ... Burnsie
Greg Norberg Greg Norberg ... Phil Dooley


Jessica talks about Maggie, her most promising high school English pupil, who made it as an author, albeit not in literature but as TV script writer. However, her hit series 'Beat Cop' may be canceled after a mystery man shoots a network VP during a screening, after the widow whose money controls the studio intervened against axing it. Lead actor Bert Rodgers' fingerprints are found on the gun, so LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Palermo, after who his character was modeled, arrests him. The new executive will cancel it without the star, so Maggie must find the killer or another job. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 March 1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jessica says, "Will we ever hear from Margaret Mary again?" when the character she is referring to is named Mary Margaret. See more »


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: [reciting] "The rose huddles quietly, head bowed upon its nettle stalk, silken white petals enveloped in the darkness of night. And then, with the first light of dawn, it peers proudly toward the first needles of sunlight, darting westward, giving of itself to another newborn day."
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User Reviews

Mrs. Fletcher's Brightest Former Pupil?
26 March 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

We meet quite of few of Jessica Fletcher's (Angela Lansbury) promising veteran ninth-grade English pupils throughout the series, but here Mrs. Fletcher decides that Mary Margaret "Maggie" McCauley (Diana Canova) is the brightest of them all even though she refers to Maggie as both "Mary Margaret" and "Margaret Mary" when she introduces this "Book-end" episode set in Hollywood, California, on a television production set of Monolith Studio, as well in the offices of the FBS Network.

(Perhaps Jessica alludes a subtle reference here to the supporting Nun trio in "Old Habits Die Hard (#4.04).")

Anyway, the first reviewer is correct to comment that this Peter S. Fischer-penned episode has a wealth of wise-crack-enhanced Comedy elements, effectively executed by Tim Thomerson, Leann Hunley, Diana Canova, Dwayne Hickman, Paul Kreppel and, of course, Ann Morgan Guilbert. I agree that its weakness lies in the repetitive references to that pencil, that pencil, that pencil, that pencil, that pencil.

Maggie McCauley serves as head writer for the television series "Beat Cop," starring Bert Rodgers (Tim Thomerson) as Ben Hollister, and Dana Darren (Leann Hunley), with Andy Butler (Bruce Kirby) in a regular role.

Brian Thursdan (Dwayne Hickman) serves as President of Monolith Studio, which also employs Vi (Miriam Flynn) as Maggie's secretary, and "Beat Cop" Director (Tom Troupe), Stage-hand Burnsie (Ben Slack), and Prop Manager Phil Dooley (Greg Norberg).

Keith Carmody (Gary Sandy) serves as FBS Network Executive, with Julie Pritzer (Talia Balsam) as second in command. While Julie admonishes Carmody not to scratch "Beat Cop" from its Network schedule, Keith Carmody says that he never watched the program and plans to axe it anyway, in order to present Dana Darren with her own starring vehicle.

(Note: While there are various characters throughout the series who share the name "Carmody" and pronounce it "CAR-mo-dy," Gary Sandy pronounces it "Car-MO-dy."

Harriet De Vol (Ann Morgan Guilbert) intercedes on behalf of Brian Thursday to warn Keith Carmody not to cancel "Beat Cop," as Harriet not only serves as Chairperson of the Board at Monolith, but she also owns a controlling majority of stocks at FBS Network.

Leo Kaplan (Paul Kreppel), however, plays both ends against the middle, as he serves as wise-cracking Talent Agent for Maggie McCauley, Dana Darren, Bert Rodgers and, for some reason, Keith Carmody, so, while Maggie and Bert wish to retain series production, Dana expresses an interest to be free to leave the series, as is usually the case in these "MSW Shows-within-a show," but in this case, any way the chips land would serve Leo's interests.

Lieutenant Vincent Palermo (Denis Arndt), a divorcée or, perhaps a widower, has two (unseen) children, for whom Maggie expresses fondness should Vincent ever feel ready to see Maggie socially. But all of that would have to wait for a while because Maggie is very busy with her re-writes, and Vincent has his hands full once a body pops up in the projection room, the victim of a gunshot wound, during a screening of "Beat Cop."

Bert Rodgers' fingerprints are immediately identified upon the murder weapon, and when he is arrested, Maggie faces additional rewrites. But whose fingerprints will be found upon the missing pencil, and can they be identified in time to rescue Maggie from a perpetrator who chases her through a secret corridor and into the projection room? After all, even though she claims that she's not a detective, she still calls this "Murder -- According to Maggie."

This episode represents the most recent acting credit to date by Greg Norberg, as well as the first of two "MSW" appearances each for Bruce Kirby and Ben Slack, the second of two each for Talia Balsam, Paul Ganus, Gary Sandy and Tim Thomerson, the second of three each for Diana Canova and Leann Hunley, the fourth of four for Greg Norberg, and the third of five "MSW's" for Vince Howard.

Ben Slack, acting in film and on television since 1973, has unfortunately since passed.

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