Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user

The Perfect Foil 

In New Orleans at Mardi Gras, a distant cousin of Jessica is falsely accused of murder.


Walter Grauman


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Barbara Babcock ... Rosaline Gardner
Peter Bonerz ... Calhoun 'Cal' Fletcher
Cesare Danova ... Lt. Edmund Cavette
George DiCenzo ... Johnny Blaze (as George Di Cenzo)
Robert Forster ... Gilbert Gaston
David Hedison ... Mitch Payne
Lisa Langlois ... Kitty Manette
Penny Singleton ... Aunt Mildred
Granville Van Dusen ... Congressman Brad Gardner
Morgan Jones ... Sergeant Baxter
Joe Ross Joe Ross ... Desk Clerk
Hank Rolike ... Taxi Driver
Sherry McFarland ... Receptionist
Raf Mauro ... Napolean (as Rafael Mauro)


Jessica goes to New Orleans during Mardi Gras to check on cousin-in-law Calhoun 'Cal' Fletcher as promised to Aunt Mildred. As her hotel was booked for the next night, she goes to Cal's place, but the only man in the Cyrano de Bergerac costume she was told he wears ignores her and storms, with drawn sword, into a room beside the party hall from where a fight is heard, which leaves a real corpse, Johnny Blaze, with Cal written in blood besides him. NOPD Lt. Edmund Cavette concludes from her eye for murder scene details who Jessica is and explains the Lafitte mansion, which Cal inherited, is no home but a gambling place. Cavette arrests Cal, who claims he didn't even know what happened there. Cavette knows he was indebted to Blaze, now Cal admits he recently accused Blaze of cheating. Fellow gambler attorney Mitch Payne promises bail tomorrow and considers pleading self-defense. He got Blaze off a murder charge, he probably committed, on Cavette's son, Eric. Jessica untangles more ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When Jessica is first talking to her cousin Cal in the police station, Cal doesn't have a pen in his shirt pocket. By the time the lawyer, Mitch Payne, enters the station and begins to engage in conversation with Jessica and Cal, a pen has mysteriously appeared in Cal's shirt pocket. See more »


[first lines]
Calhoun 'Cal' Fletcher: I'll open.
Johnny Blaze: Cards?
Calhoun 'Cal' Fletcher: Two, please.
Mitch Payne: Three.
Congressman Brad Gardner: One.
Johnny Blaze: Dealer's taking two.
See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Murder during Mardi Gras
1 August 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee 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.

While not one of the best episodes of Season 2 or of 'Murder She Wrote', "The Perfect Foil" is still a very solid effort and lots of fun to watch and definitely one of the better New Orleans-set episodes. Certainly not as strange as the still decent previous episode "Menace, Anyone" and the final solution is much easier to follow here and is nowhere near as bizarre.

The supporting cast do fare well and play their parts more than competently and add a good deal of local colour, at the same time only Barbara Babcock and particularly Peter Bonerz stand out. Occasionally the pacing could have been tighter, but actually "The Perfect Foil" has little wrong with it, it just didn't quite bowl me over.

Especially good about "The Perfect Foil" is the Mardi Gras setting and the ending. New Orleans proves to be an attractive setting and is made great use of, even better was the whole Mardi Gras atmosphere, which had so much colour and excitement, and the sheer delight of seeing all those costumes and recognising all the famous characters such as Cyrano De Bergerac and Cardinal Richelieu.

As for the ending, it is a total delight. It's a fairly complicated one, but is also one of the most ingenious and cleverly executed ones of the season.

Production values are high in quality as to be expected, with slick photography. 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 tight, thought-provoking and typically amiable and the characters and chemistry are good fun. The story is very engaging with a great atmosphere.

Can't say enough good about Angela Lansbury, she is always dependable and there is a reason as to why Jessica Fletcher is one of her best-remembered roles.

In conclusion, solid and lots of fun, despite not completely blowing me away. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

13 April 1986 (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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