Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
3 user

Night Fears 

A professor and ex-cop challenges Jessica to a race to solve a series of campus muggings.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


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

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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Tim Choate ... Luke Phillips
Wings Hauser ... Wallace Evans
Bobby Hosea ... Officer Kevin Bryce
John Lavachielli ... NYPD Ofc. David Morelli
Alan Oppenheimer ... Dr. Raymond Auerbach
Roxie Roker ... Jennifer Bryce
Julie St. Claire ... Roslyn Aramendi
Al Pugliese ... Capt. Jim Lupinski
Mary Pat Gleason ... Reference Librarian
Anthony Darren Anthony Darren ... Busboy (as Tony Darren)
Kelle Korbel Kelle Korbel ... Student
Leesa Bryte Leesa Bryte ... Another Student
Alina Rosario Alina Rosario ... Professor Felicia Archoa


Jessica agrees to teach at Manhattan University's criminology program for both students and crime fighting professionals, whose skepticism she soon overcomes. Her course predecessor, ex-cop Wallace Evans, challenges her to solve the campus' muggings as a workshop on a competitive base. When she refuses, he discloses that she was only asked to take his class as a recruiting stunt. Despite being stalked by Luke Phillips, after throwing him out of her class, Jessica starts snooping and becomes a shooting target herself as part of an elaborate display of crazy clues. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 September 1991 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Jessica is looking at the screen of who checked out the criminology textbook, one of the names is "Chester Gould." Chester Gould was the creator of Dick Tracy. See more »


When the gunman fires towards Jessica and his the car windows, the windows break incorrectly. Vehicle windows are made to break into tiny pieces, about 1/4" square-ish. This is so passengers are not badly cut in case of an accident. See more »


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: [on phone] Yes, Harold, I got the galleys and I finished going over them last night.
Jessica Fletcher: No, overall, it looks fine. Just a couple of typos I'll give to Kathryn later.
Jessica Fletcher: Oh, yeah, I forgot. At the bottom of page 270, there are three paragraphs that are really interior monologue, and they should be italicized.
Jessica Fletcher: Well, I'm looking forward very much to seeing the gook when it's done.
Jessica Fletcher: Well, I'd love to have lunch, Harold, but I can't. Well, you see, the reason I came...
See more »

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User Reviews

"Stranger in the Night? Campus Seems Strange, But Even Stranger in the Night"
15 March 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Angela Lansbury demonstrates clear intentions for the direction of her J.B. Fletcher character under the helm of "MSW" Season Eight's interim Executive Producer David Moessinger, with Jessica's authoritative presence of mind shining upon her matching wits with colleagues in the fields of Education and Law Enforcement, as well as with argumentative students, as evidenced in this episode, which introduces Jessica to her Instructor's post at Manhattan University. J. Michael Straczynski joins the co-production team this season and pens seven interesting scripts, including his first, "Night Fears."

After establishing her part-time residence in a New York City apartment building last time around, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) now arrives at Manhattan University, a campus with 3,000 students, for her Criminology course teaching position, designed to instruct criminal perspectives to Law Enforcement officers and students majoring in the curriculum.

Doctor Raymond Auerbach (Alan Oppenheimer) welcomes Jessica to campus, and introduces her to three fellow instructors, including Wallace Evans (Wings Hauser), a former police officer, who has taught Criminology here, and now instructs Forensics Science.

On the first day of the term, Jessica presents a lesson based upon the topic "Perspectives of the Criminal Mind." Jessica delights as Roslyn Aramendi (Julie St. Claire) shows promise as a student who identifies a quotation from Shakespeare.

But NYPD Officer David Morelli (John Lavachielli), a member of the student body, questions Jessica's qualifications for imparting knowledge to professional Criminologists; she manages to convince him that she and they would be able to learn from one another.

NYPD Officer Kevin Bryce (Bobby Hosea) also participates in Jessica's course and commends her ability for astute observation. When Kevin informs her that he has been studying to achieve the rank of Sergeant although unsuccessful at passing the examination requirement, Jessica volunteers to assist his studying.

Luke Phillips (Tim Choate), another among her students, approaches Jessica in the cafeteria to declare his pride for signing onto the class of a famous Mystery author, of whom he has read each of her books twice. But when Jessica objects to his praise and admiration as the basis of taking a Criminology course, Luke objects harshly, pointing out that her book fans have created J.B.'s celebrity.

Wallace Evans also delivers put-downs in Jessica's direction on the heels of a series of night-time muggings, which victimizes campus students, while the assailant remains at large in a city of eight million residents. He points out that this isn't Cabot Cove nor one of Jessica's Mysteries containing five suspects with two of them falling to murders.

Jessica does not accept Wallace's public challenge (which he makes upon entering her classroom while in session) to identify the mugger. He also inform Jessica that the Chairman, Doctor Raymond Auerbach, has hired her because of her celebrity, to boost course enrollment.

Jessica resents this fact, and during a confrontation with Doctor Raymond Auerbach, she asks for a replacement instructor. But when one of her promising students falls victim to the mugger, Jessica has a change of heart, to investigate matters, and to continue her tenure.

And, after a subsequent murder, in which Busboy (Anthony Darren) is also injured by the bullet which exits the victim's body, a knife is discovered in the carnage, and the perpetrator later fires three shots at Jessica.

NYPD Captain Jim Lupinski (Al Pugliese) prohibits Officer Kevin Bryce's removing evidence from the precinct office to share with Jessica, so she visits Kevin's mother, Jennifer Bryce (Roxie Roker), to learn of the fate of Kevin's father, while Kevin works around Jim's orders against obtaining evidence.

After additional altercations, when Jessica decides to research a book about the "Psychopathic Psyche," Reference Librarian (Mary Pat Gleason) informs Jessica that it has been signed out, but she may not disclose the identity of the borrower although she willingly provides a clue as to the source of "Night Fears."

The cast is rounded out by Kelle Korbel as Student, Leesa Bryte as Another Student, and Alina Rosario as Female Professor.

This episode represents the first acting credit by Kelle Korbel, the first television credit by Alina Rosario, and the most recent appearance to date by Anthony Darren.

This also marks the first of two "MSW" guest roles each for Bobby Hosea and Alan Oppenheimer, the second of two each for Tim Choate and Al Pugliese (who team as Daryl and Ole in "Mr. Penroy's Vacation (#5.03)"), and the second of four "MSW's" for Wings Hauser.

Roxie Roker, acting on television and in film since 1974, and Tim Choate, acting since 1979, have unfortunately since passed.

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