Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Murder of the Month Club 

The taping of an infomercial by Jessica and two fellow novelists is plagued by problems including the mysterious death of an audience member.


Walter Grauman


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


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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Jeff Conaway ... Tom Powell
George DiCenzo ... Lt. Harry Fogel (as George Di Cenzo)
Patrick Fabian ... Larry Shields
Kerri Green ... Sara Ogilvie
Gale Hansen Gale Hansen ... Arnold Wynn
Ian Ogilvy ... Wade Foster
Cec Verrell ... Joellen Waller
Gwynyth Walsh ... Gina Powell
Anthony Zerbe ... Mat Matthews
Leonard Lightfoot Leonard Lightfoot ... Detective Henderson
W. Earl Brown ... Guard
David Elliott ... Stewart Murphy (as David E. Elliott)
Dena Burton ... Fran


Stewart Murphy, is strangled in a car and dumped in an alley in Buffalo. On his firm's Telesales infomercial film-set, Tom Powell is not amused to hear the troublesome, expensive star-host Wade Foster is in make-up for a rehearsal for the Hartley Murder of the Month Book Club. Jessica is one of the authors shown around by Larry Shields before the on-air panel talk, with former glory Mat Matthews and Joellen Waller. Tom's wife Gina first complains about his late hours and a $450 hotel credit card charge he blames on a client staying a day extra, then blocks off Foster's financial desires, while confirming security will be beefed up. NYPD Lieutenant Harry Fogel (who usually works alone) and temporarily reassigned Detective Henderson drop by inquiring about the Murphy case. After the rehearsal, the dining authors get a visit from Arnold Wynn, a fan of all three and former writing class pupil of Mat in Buffalo, who is also one of the extras hired as a fake audience. A female extra asks an... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The title refers to "The Book of the Month Club" that was started by Harry Scherman and Max Sackheim in 1920 offering specially selected books monthly. The service grow so rapidly that titles were even advertised as Book of the Month Club selections. The club is now owned by the Bookspan Company. See more »


Mat Matthews removes a napkin off his neck and drops it on the floor and Jessica asks the waiter to pick it up. When Arnold Wynn enters the restaurants, the napkin has jumped back onto Mat's neck and in the next scene is off again. See more »


[first lines]
Stewart Murphy: Well, wish me luck, ol' buddy.
Arnold Wynn: Hey, Stewart, the law's on your side.
Stewart Murphy: Man, I hope you're right. It'd be a nice time to see the good guys win for a change.
See more »

User Reviews

"Don't Worry that Its Not Lethal Enough for Anyone Else to Fear"
16 February 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

This episode begins with a pre-title Prologue, set in Buffalo, New York, in which the driver of an automobile strangles the passenger and leaves the body in a nearby parking lot.

One day later, in New York City, NYPD Lieutenant Harry Fogel (George DiCenzo) and Detective Henderson (Leonard Lightfoot), operating at the request of Buffalo Police, question staffers and guest at TeleSales Studio because the victim had a paper in pocket identifying this operation.

Publisher Ted Hartley (Bruce Gray) does not appear in this episode, in which TeleSales Marketing produces a Hartley Publishing Company "Murder of the Month Club" Informercial, starring difficult and self-indulged Hollywood actor Wade Foster (Ian Ogilvy) and three of Hartley Publishers' Mystery authors, novice Joellen Waller (Cec Verrell), alcoholic "has-been" Matt Matthews (Anthony Zerbe) and bestselling Jessica B. Fletcher (Angela Lansbury).

Larry Shields (Patrick Fabian) produces the infomercial and guides the authors and star around the set, while Tom Powell (Jeff Conaway) directs, while fooling around with Assistant Sara (Kerri Green), to the disdain of Tom's wife, Gina Powell (Gwynyth Walsh), who controls TeleSales and its stocks and Tom, telling him that it's over between them.

Arnold Wynn, AKA Jason Bayer Saxon (Gale Hansen) arrives at a restaurant as a fan to approach Matt and Jessica, saying that he hasn't read much from Joellen, but Matt welcomes Arnold to the table, when Jessica notices Arnold's Medic-Alert bracelet.

Arnold has been a writing associate of Stewart Murphy (David Elliott) back in Buffalo, they alumni of Matt Matthews' courses at East Buffalo Community College, and regard him highly, while those around the studio find difficulty in working with Matt, especially Wade Foster, who gets along with practically no one, but insists upon his $50,000 in cash from acting financial manager Gina Powell, who comes around to paying it after the second day of shooting the Infomercial.

Fran (Dena Burton) arrives on the set as part of the screened studio audience, and assumes a place beside Arnold in the stands, she asking an unscripted question of an author. Later, after an altercation with Wade, Arnold races out of the dressing room, landing on his side in the corridor.

But that evening, as the lights dim, and guests conclude exiting the building, Security Guard Ernie (W. Earl Brown) shines a flashlight upon Sara and Larry, who, descend a staircase into the darkened corridor, and stumble across another body, causing Sara to scream.

Jessica joins Lieutenant Harry Fogel and Detective Henderson in the resulting investigation. Detective Henderson, by the way, explains that his regular partner, NYPD Lieutenant Artie Gelber (Herb Edelman), is currently in the Catskill Mountains.

Jessica considers possibilities to link the two murders, one by strangulation, the other by Quinine Water poisoning, as she reflects upon items found upon the second body, and things which are missing from the body and the "Murder of the Month Club."

The cast is rounded out by Dave (Elijah Winwood, in his first television acting role).

This episode represents the third of three "MSW" appearances for David Elliott, the fourth of four for Jeff Conaway, the fifth of five for Ian Ogilvy, the fifth of five for Leonard Lightfoot in his role as NYPD Detective Henderson, and the sixth of six "MSW" guest roles for George DiCenzo.

(Extra points for Ian Ogilvy's grand-standing performance amid a slate of otherwise weak attempts at would-be role model figures against an innovative script which ought to have shown promise, but merely proves the difficulties in life for those many talented authors out there who never stand a chance, while others benefit from their labors lost.)

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Release Date:

4 December 1994 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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