Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Fixer-Upper 

Intrigue abounds in sunny California when Jessica's niece Victoria is accused of the murder of a rich movie heiress in Beverly Hills.


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 3 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Dean Butler ... Howard Griffin
Chad Everett ... Det. Lt. Redick
Genie Francis ... Victoria Griffin
Vicki Frederick ... Claire Hastings
Marty Ingels ... Seymour Densch
Andrea King ... Housekeeper
George Maharis ... Alex Burton
Ken Olandt ... Kevin Tarkington
Dack Rambo ... Arnold Hastings
Brenda Vaccaro ... Didi Blair
Jo de Winter Jo de Winter ... Deborah Tarkington
Robert Rigamonti Robert Rigamonti ... Director
Carol Swarbrick Carol Swarbrick ... Wife
David Stenstrom David Stenstrom ... Husband


Actor Howard Griffin is written out of his TV series. Now the household income depends on his young wife, Jessica's niece Victoria Griffin. Alas, next she gets arrested as suspect of the murder of her client Deborah Tarkington. Deborah was selling her grand Beverly Hills residence but stipulated for her not to deal with Arnold Hastings, for whom the property was needed as part of a vast development project. Jessica helps LAPD detective Lieutenant Redick clear Victoria and work out how the real estate wheeling and dealing squares with the murder plot. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 February 1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the third episode for Genie Francis playing Victoria, Jessica's niece. The first was Birds of a Feather (S1 E2) where her then fiancé is Howard Griffin, played by Jeff Conaway. They are married in Corned Beef and Carnage (S3 E5). Howard Griffin is still married to Victoria in this season six episode but Howard is no longer Jeff Conaway! We are well used to seeing actors play different roles through the many seasons of MSW. Are there more roles played by differing actors! See more »

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User Reviews

See the Murder, and Raise It One Fireplace Poker
17 October 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

This episode marks one of the last appearances of, and final television role for Andrea King, who has acted in film and television since 1940. Dack Rambo, who has appeared in three "MSW" roles, has also since passed.

It's open house at the Tarkington estate in Beverly Hills, California, as the wealthy Deborah Tarkington (Jo De Winter) seeks a buyer for her residence, she willing to sell to anyone with $3.9 million except for Alex Burton (George Maharis), a former actor who had worked in films for her director father, Harry Tarkington, after Alex broke Deborah's heart, by dumping her years ago.

Victoria Brandon Griffin (Genie Francis in her third outing as an "MSW" niece) represents Deborah Tarkington as novice Real Estate agent, at least for a brief stint, ending this day at midnight. As her option faces expiration, this open house sets the stage for rival Real Estate agents to swarm in for the sale.

Didi Blair (Brenda Vaccaro) befriends Victoria from the front but schemes behind her back to outmaneuver her attempts to sell the residence. Claire Hastings (Vicki Frederick) also searches for buyers to attempt to represent Deborah for her agency, along with Claire's husband, Arnold Hastings (Dack Rambo), whom Deborah discovers to represent Alex Burton, and thereby has Arnold hastily evicted from her premises.

Howard Griffin (Dean Butler), meanwhile loses his acting job upon a daytime serial, when Director (Robert Rigamonti) notifies him that he is written off the program, after Doctor (Murray Leaward) pronounces his character dead, along with his contract.

When Aunt Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) arrives in Beverly Hills, Victoria is busy trying to sell the Tarkington estate before her deadline, and Howard is busy looking for acting gigs, discovering one in a theatre workshop, and inviting Jessica and Victoria to attend the opening. But Victoria has a lead from used car dealer Seymour Densch (Marty Ingels), to look at the very expensive "Fixer-Upper" and cannot attend.

After the show, Jessica arrives at Harold's apartment until a telephone message from Seymour Densch to cancel their appointment. So, they rush over to the mansion, in time for Victoria to stumble across a body, and to hoist a fireplace poker to ward off these "Intruders," who are immediately followed by police officers, as Rent-A-Cop (R.J. Adams).

Jessica then follows Victoria to be interrogated by Detective Lieutenant Redick (Chad Everett), who inspects the case with Jessica's interference: "Oh, but Howard isn't a suspect. He was on stage at the time of the murder," she says, to Detective Lieutenant Redick's response, "I'll decide who the suspects are."

Victoria, out on bail the next morning, removes her signs from the Tarkington premises, as Deborah's son, Kevin Tarkington (Ken Olandt), encourages her to represent him as Deborah's sole heir. Howard disapproves of this notion and confronts Kevin, as Jessica conducts an investigation of her own, she obtaining a clue from Tarkington Housekeeper (Andrea King), as well as baiting other potential suspects along the way.

Jessica is determined to clear Victoria's name and to see her established as a Real Estate agent, as well as to see Howard to realize his acting dreams, along the lines of "The Fixer-Upper."

The cast is rounded out by Woman Client (Sally Champlin), Wife (Carol Swarbrick) and Husband (David Stenstrom), Buyer (Mitchell Edmonds), Medical Examimer (Jonathan Palmer) and Mark (Craig Shoemaker).

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