Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user 1 critic

My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean 

When Jessica's recently widowed niece takes a cruise to get away from it all, a would-be murderer follows her.


Seymour Robbie


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




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Paul Carafotes ... Ramon, Ship's Steward
Jason Evers ... Dr. Marshall MacGill
Rosemary Forsyth ... Dr. Andrea Jeffreys Reed
Lynda Day George ... Diane Shelley
Vicki Lawrence ... Phoebe Carroll
Belinda Montgomery ... Pamela Crane
Leslie Nielsen ... Captain Daniels
Andrew Parks ... Russell Tompkins
Lawrence Pressman ... George Reed
Jo Anne Worley ... Carla Raymond (as JoAnne Worley)
Don Dubbins ... Dr. Charmichael
Byron Webster ... Maitre d'
Michael G. Hawkins Michael G. Hawkins ... Dr. Ross
Don Matheson ... Oklahoma Cowboy


After her husband Johnny's suicide over financial difficulties, Pamela Crane is treated at a sanitarium, but, to help with her recover, is allowed to make a cruise with her Aunt Jessica Fletcher. After several incidents involving things only Johnny would know, Jessica investigates trying to eliminate from the nearly 700 passengers and crew who could be responsible. Then passenger Andrea Jeffreys Reed, Johnny's biological mother, is found dead from an apparent suicide. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 February 1985 (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
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title refers to the traditional Scottish ballad, "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean". See more »


[first lines]
Pamela Crane: Johnny!
Nurse: It's all right now, Pamela. I'm here. Easy now. It's all right. Lie down, dear. Lie down. It's a dream. That's all. Just a dream.
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References Murder Most Foul (1964) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Murder and strange goings on on a cruise ship
11 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.

"My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean" is a decent episode in a pretty solid season that has also seen some very good to great episodes. Just that there is something missing to make it even better, seeing as the premise although perhaps not original was interesting.

As ever, "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean" looks good, with a cruise ship setting that's both glamorous and foreboding. The fashions and hair styles are colourful and attractive, though very different to now and very of the time when seeing it by today's standards. The music has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Much of the writing is amiably light-hearted and thought-provoking, and the story does start off very well with the strange goings on actually having real eeriness and psychological tension, one really feels for Pamela here. The characters on the most part are quite interesting 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), while Leslie Nielson stands out in subdued but classy form. Jo Ann Worely and Vicki Lawrence also add a lot of class.

However, to me, "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean" did get rather lazy after the murder (with the most interesting part being Jessica's "drunk" act), giving the sense that the writers had run out of ideas and replaced initial mystery and dread with clichés and glaring obviousness. The killer's identity was not hard to figure out at all, in fact they immediately went right to the top of my suspects list, and their motive was like they committed their crimes for that, just laughable after such promising build-up.

Although the characters are interesting, as said, for such vicious and cruel actions a lot of them were so genial and like they didn't have a dishonest or harmful bone in their body, which takes away from the mystery a little. Most of the acting is good, but Belinda Montgomery is a little too histrionic in places and Lawrence Pressman doesn't really do much with the little he was given to do.

To conclude, pretty good but not great episode. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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