Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Test of Wills 

On a dark and stormy night on a remote island, Jessica finds herself in the middle of a wealthy family squabbling over the inheritance of a millionaire.


(as Anthony Shaw)


(created by), (created by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview:
... Jessica Fletcher
... Dr. Hubbard Dabney
... Henry Reynard
... Preston Howard
... Kimberly Carson
... Jason Reynard
... Alice Reynard Carson
... Sheriff Brademus
... Valerie Renard
... Mr. Forest
Victoria Boothby ... Mrs. Forest
... Sergeant Stokley
H. Ray Huff ... Pilot


Multi-millionaire Henry Reynard met Jessica on a book judging panel and invited her to his private island to earn a $1,000,000 check for a charity of her choice. However to her horror, she must help find out which of Henry's intestate heirs intends to kill him: son Jason, daughter Valery, granddaughter Kim and their partners. Jessica refuses, but while she stays for the weekend Dr. Hubbard Dabney finds Henry has been shot. The heirs are appalled the $50,000,000 estate goes to - Jessica. Later Preston, Kim's fiancé, whom a P.I. report (found in Henry's desk) exposed as a fraud, is found shot in the pool-house. Now Henry reemerges, he staged his death with the doc's help and installed some hidden cameras. Jessica is disgusted but helps sheriff Brademus wrap up the investigation. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

26 November 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Kimberly Carson: Grandfather, you can take your inheritance and stuff it, in your mattress. Though most of it's probably there already.
Henry Reynard: You, Jessica, you did this to her!
Jessica Fletcher: No, Henry, *you* did.
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User Reviews

Doesn't test the viewer's patience at all
30 September 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.

"Test of Wills" is a well done and interesting episode on the most part. It is not one of my favourite episodes of Season 6 or of 'Murder She Wrote' in general (there are worse examples for both as well though), and personally don't agree with that it's one of the show's highest rated episodes.

It is let down primarily by the ending, which, after the episode started off so promisingly (even if the testing itself is somewhat cruel) before losing its way a little once the actual murder is committed (pacing isn't quite as tight and the victim is nowhere near as deserving), is really unsatisfying and feels like an injustice. Despite liking "Test of Wills" mostly, it does contain one of my least favourite endings of any 'Murder She Wrote' episode.

Didn't see the need for Keir Dullea's character and while the acting is solid enough on the most part there is a notable exception, the awful acting for the killer in one of the show's worst acted reveals.

However, Angela Lansbury is terrific as usual and Gene Barry plays his juicy unsympathetic patriarchal figure character to the hilt. None of the characters are sympathetic here, purposefully, but the actors do a solid job bringing them to life.

Most of the story is both fun and atmosphere. "Test of Wills" starts off really well, there is a real suspenseful edge and creepiness, like murder set in a haunted house with ominous lighting and sound effects that makes one jump out of their seats, and the intrigue value is high. Once the actual murder happens, it intrigues still and is clever if not quite matching the first half's lustre which makes it even sadder that the ending was as unsatisfying as it was.

Production values as ever are slick and stylish with a highly atmospheric setting. 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 writing is thought-provoking, light-hearted and amiable.

In summation, could have been better but interesting. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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