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

Sudden Death 

Jessica uncovers the ugly side of sportsmanship when she inherits part-ownership of a football team.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Jessica Fletcher
... Web McCord
... Coach Pat Patillo
... Tank Mason
... Brad Lockwood
... Zak Farrell (as Bruce Jenner)
... Harris Talmadge
... Grover Dillon
... Phil Kreuger
... Kathy Farrell
... Lt. Clyde Pitts
Elizabeth Savage ... Mavis Kreuger
Arnold F. Turner ... Security Guard (as Arnold Turner)
Marcianne Warman ... Jill Farrell
Albert Lord ... Baxter


Jessica inherits from uncle Cyrus a holding company, the only asset being the crucial 4% in the Leopards professional American football team which two groups control at 48% each, and executive lawyer Brad Lockwood fails to make her sign proxy powers for it before she checks it out herself. She meets player Zak Farrell, his wife Kathy and adopted mute daughter Jill. Businessman Phil Kreuger is dead-eager to buy Jessica out for one share-holders group and move the franchise to a bigger city, coach Pat Patillo bids against him for the other group which wants to keep the team home. After a party with nearly everyone, Krueger is found drowned in the club's stadium, Zak arrested as he was seen storming in and out around the time of the murder, Jessica rather then police Lt. Clyde Pitts finds out -at peril- who else had motive and opportunity till she can set a trap... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

3 March 1985 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both David Doyle And Warren Berlinger Worked Together On Charlie's Angels. See more »


When Jessica turns off the water for her bath she finds a button she's missing on the bottom of the tub. She reaches her left arm into the water to pick it up. Someone is at the door and when Jessica goes to answer it, she dries her right arm with a towel, not her left. See more »

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User Reviews

Murder within the football team
16 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.

"Sudden Death" is a more than worthwhile episode for Season 1. Not among the season's best episodes (in a season with classics like "Lovers and Other Killers", "Paint Me a Murder" and "Murder Takes the Bus"), but not one of the weakest ones either ("Murder to a Jazz Beat" and "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean", but neither are bad episodes).

It could have been a better episode by all means. Bruce Jenner spends his entire screen time looking terrified, and the chemistry with the lady playing his wife is next to zero. One does question the competency of the police when investigating the crime scene and yeah the whole business with the blackmail threats could have had more clarity.

However, "Sudden Death" looks good in the production values as ever. Nicely shot with a suitable location (though it's no The Mediterranean). The music 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 often charming and amiable, while the story has some good conflict and is compelling mostly, with a mostly clever surprising final solution (apart from the murderer giving in too easily) after a few nice twists.

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 there is cool support from particularly Dick Butkus, and John Beck. Oh and there is a scene with Jessica and Farrell's daughter that tugs at the heart-strings.

Overall, good and worth the while. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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