Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Night of the Headless Horseman 

Jessica is in the wrong place at the right time to help her friend Dorian Beecher when he is accused of a murder he didn't commit.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Jessica Fletcher
... Dorian Beecher
Karlene Crockett ... Sarah Dupont
... Bobbie
... Charlotte Newcastle
... Sheriff Sam Rankin
Charles Siebert ... Dentist Penn 'Doc' Walker
... Dorn Van Stotter
... Edwin Dupont
... Nate Findley
... Todd Carrier
Donald Thompson ... Robert
Adam Ferris ... Brendan
... 1st Man
Gary Pagett ... Deputy


Only after arrival at Wenton, Vermont Jessica learns she was asked by her orphaned literary protégé Dorian Beecher, who succeeded as boys boarding school poetry teacher to the car accident-drowned daughter of local dentist Penn 'Doc' Walker, to play Dorian's 'mother' to impress his employer, Wenton Academy's pedigree-obsessed owner Edwin Dupont, whose daughter Sarah he loves, rivaled only by the studly riding instructor Nate Findley, an obnoxious womanizer who even did headmistress Charlotte Newcastle. Walking home after an embarrassing saber fight in a pub with Nate, Dorian is run down by the disguised headless horseman he always assumes to be Nate, on his black stallion Gunshot. Sheriff Rankin jails liar Dorian after Nate's decapitated corpse is found nearby, clumsily redressed as the horseman. Jessica sifts two plots from secrets and motives, involving an anonymous school funds embezzlement note, the secret society of mischievous schoolboys Todd Carrier, Robert and Brendan and a ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 January 1987 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to the Headless Horseman, the ghost that rides through Washington Irving's story 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' and chases the schoolmaster Ichabod Crane. See more »


Charlotte Newcastle: I want you to stay away from Edwin's daughter. Satisfy your needs elsewhere.
Nate Findley: Is that an order? Or an offer?
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User Reviews

Deadly poetic justice
5 August 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.

"Night of the Headless Horseman" is a lesser episode of Season 3 for me, better than "Dead Man's Gold" but it is an episode that was perfectly watchable and just about decent if leaving me a little cold with how the premise was executed. Still feel the same. The characters are stereotypical somewhat (the somewhat promiscuous waitress that has her heart in the right place, a universally hated womanising town bully and a truly dim-witted sheriff).

Story-wise, it's fun but apart from the reveal and how the murder was done it's predictable stuff and the whole headless horseman stuff is under-explored and not dark or atmospheric enough. It is very obvious who the victim will be, having victim written practically on his forehead (very often on 'Murder She Wrote' it is a character loathed by all who deserves to be done in), it can be very formulaic and despite him being a liar the accused innocence is never in doubt, even looking at them you would never think they are capable of such a brutal crime. Thom Bray's Dorian is a little bland, though never Grady, Donna or Howard bland. The sheriff is also so stupid that one wants to beat him around the head and questions how he ever got the job.

On the other hand, the production values are high in quality as to be expected, with slick photography and a beautiful rustic and nostalgia-filled location. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

The script is thoughtful and suitably amiable and the story is fun despite its predictability and well-paced, some of the campiness is endearing. Other than Nate and the sheriff, the characters do have a lot of likability even with their stereotypical nature Angela Lansbury is great as always and the guest star acting is near-across the board good. Barry Williams in particular enjoys himself in a juicy role.

In conclusion, decent and perfectly watchable but doesn't do as much for me with a premise that isn't fully lived up to. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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