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.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Jessica Fletcher
... Ramon, Ship's Steward
... Dr. Marshall McGill
... Dr. Andrea Jeffreys Reed
... Diane Shelley
... Phoebe Carroll
... Pamela Crane
... Captain Daniels
... Russell Tompkins
... George Reed
... Carla Raymond (as JoAnne Worley)
... Dr. Charmichael
Byron Webster ... Maitre d'
Michael G. Hawkins ... Dr. Ross
... Oklahoma Cowboy


After her husband Johny's suicide over financial difficulties, rich Dr. Marshall Fletcher's heiress Pamela Crane needs psychiatric help, but is allowed to make a cruise with aunt Jessica. After several indications Johny may be alive, even a fake addition of his favorite dish to the menu in his hand-writing, Jessica investigates trying to eliminate from the nearly 700 passengers and crew. Then passenger Andrea Jeffreys Reed, Johny's biological mother, is killed by a barbiturates overdose... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 February 1985 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The First And Only Appearance Of Jessica's Brother, Marshall. See more »


References Gaslight (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

Murder and strange goings on on a cruise ship
11 July 2017 | by See 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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