Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Error of Her Ways 

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In Palm Springs, Jessica teams up with the local chief of police to figure out who killed a local investor and what happened to a large amount of money.


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, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Susan Blakely ... Pauline Byrne
Katherine Cannon ... Marian Randall (as Kathy Cannon)
Paul Gleason ... Sterling Bose
Elliott Gould ... Lt. J.T. Hanna
Marilyn Jones Marilyn Jones ... Linda Dixon
Barbara Parkins ... Kay Weber
Marshall Thompson ... Ward Silloway
Louis Herthum ... Deputy Kruger
Peter MacLean Peter MacLean ... Alden
Thomas H. Middleton Thomas H. Middleton ... Dr. Melville
Elvia Allman ... Elderly Lady #1
Monty Bane ... Private Investigator
Ruth C. Engel Ruth C. Engel ... Elderly Lady #2 (as Ruth Engel)
Robin Gordon Robin Gordon ... Employee


Jessica attends the ground breaking for a real estate project (in Palm Springs) that she invested in at her accountant's advice. Her observations there cause police Lieutenant J.T. Hanna to arrest Clark 's wife, Marian Randall, for his murder, which she denies, while the fortune he held for the project remains missing. After Marian's sister, Linda Dixon, puts up her house for bail, she commits suicide. But the combination of car-exhausts and the wrong pills prove that the suicide must have been staged. Despite Hanna's irritated instructions to butt out, Jessica sleuths on among the parties who lost in the deal, such as other investors, the fired banker who approved a fat loan and future residents who put up down-payments. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Palm Springs, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Yet another script by Donald Ross showing one of his trademarks: naming characters after jazz musicians. Ross, who wrote the 1972 Timex All-Star Swing Special, this time paid tribute to the Bob Crosby Orchestra, a 1930's band led by Bing Crosby's brother Bob that played a fusion of Dixieland and swing. Among the Crosby musicians paid tribute to in this show are trumpeter Sterling Bose, trombonist Ward Silloway and vocalist Kay Weber. Another character, Clark Randall, is named after a wealthy dilettante who in 1935 hired the Crosby band (before Crosby himself was involved with it) to back him as a singer on a record date. Still another character, Pauline Byrne, is named after a singer who recorded with Artie Shaw in 1940. See more »

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User Reviews

Crisis Hound, Crisis Supporter or Crisis Generator?
1 September 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Thus far in this series, we have seen Mrs. J.B. Fletcher, the antecedent of the pronoun in "Murder, She Wrote" as "crisis hound," the busybody who interferes in criminal investigations, as "crisis supporter," a defender of justice and steady force behind friends and relatives falsely accused of murder. Here, we see a different aspect of her character, "crisis generator," as she adamantly jumps to a false conclusion, which leads to disastrous consequences.

While visiting Palm Springs, California, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) consults with financial counselor Ward Silloway (Marshall Thompson), who learns that three million dollars of investment moneys has disappeared, with the finger of blame pointing toward fellow investor Clark Randall, whose body has been discovered at his residence in the aftermath of a cocktail party. (The actor portraying Clark Randall is seen during a flashback sequence, but never identified in "MSW" credits.)

An investigation led by Palm Springs Police Lieutenant J.T. Hanna (Elliott Gould), with Jessica's voluntary assistance begins to uncover "The Error of Her Ways." -- But as far as who serves as the antecedent of the pronoun in this episode's title remains a mystery in itself, for its four female guest stars, in addition to Jessica herself, depart from the straight and narrow path.

Clark's wife, Marian Randall (Katherine Cannon), steadfastly denies any involvement in his murder, pointing to an alibi with evidence to support it.

Marian's sister, Linda Dixon (Marilyn Jones), continuously asserts Marian's innocence, maintaining Lieutenant Hanna and Jessica's impulsive behavior untenable.

Bank Vice-President Kay Weber (Barbara Parkins) and investor Pauline Byrne (Susan Blakely) also become entangled in the web of deceit and embezzlement, amid a series of turns unfolding before their eyes.

Realtor Sterling Bose (Paul Gleason), the last person to see Clark alive except, possibly, for the perpetrator loses his job as a result of the scheme, as does Kay Webber.

And because of "The Error of Her Ways," a second murder is committed, complicating the puzzle which plagues the Palms. For here, we see Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Gazette, Palm States Development, Palm Canyon Drive, and Twin Palms Pawn Shoppe. About the only place name without the Palm here may be Ernesto's Restaurant.

Louis Herthum now makes his second appearance in this series, here as Officer Kruger of the Palm Springs Police Force, before his five-season run in 23 additional episodes as first assistant to the Cabot Cove Sheriff, Louis subsequently becoming known in Seaon Eight as Deputy Andy Broom.

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