Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Trouble with Seth 

Jessica searches for Seth when he suddenly disappears and fresh bloodstains in his office indicate foul play.


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:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Katherine Cannon ... Marion Taylor
Ann Hearn ... Connie Anderson
Paul Mantee ... Leo David Fender / Ronald Olson / Jack Landis
Ron Masak ... Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Ben Masters ... Evan Rafferty / Stanley Barton
Ethan Embry ... Jimmy Taylor (as Ethan Randall)
Kim Johnston Ulrich ... Julia Harris
Jay Underwood ... Will Rafferty
William Windom ... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Louis Herthum ... Deputy Andy Broom
Steve Nevil Steve Nevil ... Neal Kraus
Tim Mclaughlin Tim Mclaughlin ... Dave Archer (as Tim McLaughlin)
Tony Fasce Tony Fasce ... Dan Castino (as Anthony Fascé)


Boston, 1974- a security guard is shot when trying to stop robbers getting away, the very next moment the police arrests them. Present (1990s), schoolboy Jimmy Taylor, who works as part-time busboy, overhears a man who did 20 years of jail talking with Julia Harris about getting paid for not having a Stanley Barton put away for life. Sheriff Mort Metzger got many reports on a prowler, but all descriptions are contradictory. Dr. Seth Hazlitt remarks local computer store owner Evan Rafferty is particularly grumpy, perhaps because he doesn't want his son Will to start a boating business and thus refuses to cosign. Evan tells Julia Harris his property is not for sale, whatever her company bids. She suggests to Will, who also told her about his dad's past, a Boston bank might co-finance his project and he gratefully invites her for dinner to discuss it. Shortly after, he examined the mysterious ex-con, Seth is missing, his office ransacked, and there is a blood stain, his type. Using a ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Murder, She Wrote: The Trouble with Seth (1994), Kim Johnston Ulrich & Ben Masters play adversaries and years later they play a married couple on the soap opera, Passions (1999). See more »


Sheriff Mort Metzger: [to Jessica] You get more mileage out of a blank piece of paper than almost anyone I know.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue to main story: BOSTON - 1974

Opening credits main story: PRESENT DAY See more »


References The Trouble with Harry (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

"Catch a Falling Body; Hide It in the Forest; Interrupt the Wedding Day"
23 February 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Very often throughout this series, We find the saga of the struggling, devoted windowed mother of a teenage son, who must become "the man of the house," as well as the problems of the stern and overly-protective widowed father of a young adult daughter, who doesn't approve of her otherwise-upstanding fiancé.

But, this time around, we see a change of pace, after a striving widowed mother of a teenage son become engaged to a widowed father of a young adult son, nearly everyone from Boston to Cabot Cove becomes determines to stop the upcoming wedding in ballistic fashion.

Marion Taylor (Katherine Cannon) and her teenage son, Jimmy Taylor (Ethan Embry), strive to make ends meet, as she takes on odd jobs delivering products around Cabot Cove, Maine, and he works the counter of one of many Cabot Cove coffee shoppe diners after school.

Evan Rafferty (Ben Masters), meanwhile, no longer supports his young adult son, Will Rafferty (Jay Underwood), and refuses to co-sign a loan to set into motion Will's plans for an enterprise.

While Marion and Evan await their wedding day, one month away, a series of events begins to unfold, which may interrupt their plans....

Evan's dedicated employees at his successful Digital Computers shoppe include Neal Kraus (Steve Nevil) and Connie Anderson (Ann Hearn), who has secretly carried the torch for Evan since his arrival to Cabot Cove, in 1974.

Julia Harris (Kim Johnston Ulrich) soon arrives in town from Boston, Massachusetts, as an agent of a financial organization determined to purchase Real Estate which Evan owns in nearby Benson Woods, which he refuses to sell.

Ronald Olson (Paul Mantee) arrives in Cabot Cove, to lurk in the shadows, while scrutinizing activity around Digital Computers and the office of Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom).

When Julia meets Ronald in the coffee shoppe to scheme together, Jimmy Taylor notices a folder bearing Evan's photograph in her possession, and tries to convince Marion to break her engagement with Evan.

As Julia makes the rounds to obtain information about Evan, she will not take "no" for an answer from his loyal friends and associates, who refuse to disclose information about his past, except for his son, Will, who falls for Julia's wiles once she promises to assist him in obtaining that loan.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), neither, will provide personal information to Julia regarding Evan, who, together with Connie and Neal, assists her in repairing her word processor.

Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak) visits Jessica to discover what she knows about the mysterious Ronald Olson, who stays at Light House Motel, while Julia stays at Hill House.

When Jessica checks her telephone messages in Mort's presence, she discovers an interrupted call from Seth, and so she urges Mort to accompany her to Seth's office, at which point they discover the scene of a murder, but without the body, which is slain by lacerations from Seth's letter opener.

Deputy Andy Broom (Louis Herthum) assists with the investigation of the missing body, as well as the missing Seth, as Jessica and Mort hope for the best; but, when Deputy Andy receives a message from playful children who stumble across a body in Benson Woods, Jessica, Mort and Andy rush to the scene.

As the plot unfolds, Evan Rafferty is the alias of Stanley Barton, who, one night in Boston, back in 1974, awaited in his parked automobile a warehouse security guard, when two thugs mugged him, and one has slain him with a bullet, before tossing the gun into Evan/Stanley's car, before police arrested all three for murder, of which Evan/Stanley was merely an innocent bystander.

Evan cleverly shaves his mustache to avoid recognition, but while Evan is on the lam, his wife, Laura Barton, has told son, Will, that Evan was working on constructing the Alaska Pipeline (when he was, in reality, hiding in open in Cabot Cove), before the strain of separation claimed her life, to Will's disdain.

One thug, Leo David Fender became Ronald Olson, who now tries to implicate Evan as a fugitive from justice, and the other thug, Rudy Harris, lost his life, which, in turn, caused the death of his wife, and now their daughter, Julia Harris, reappears, in the hopes of increasing the body count.

Someone soon seeks vengeance with a pistol, confronting Evan in his office, when Will enters to tell his father about his plans with Julia and stands face-to-face with a change in plans.

Will Jessica, Mort and Andy be able to prevent yet another homicide and name the perpetrator of the slaying in Doc Hazlitt's office in time to save the wedding, and patch up strained relationships among widows and orpans, amid all of "The Trouble with Seth?"

The title for this episode spoofs that of "The Trouble with Harry" (1955), an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery film centering around the disappearance of a prominent citizen and his family who depend upon him.

The cast is rounded out by Tim Mclaughlin as Dave Archer, and Tony Fasce as Dan Castino.

This episode represents the first of two "MSW" appearances each for Ann Hearn, Ethan Embry and Jay Underwood, the second of two for Kim Johnston Ulrich, the third of three for Ben Masters, and the third of four "MSW" guest roles for Katherine Cannon.

Three, Six, Nine: Appreciation for Katherine Cannon, who's good at portraying those "Ladies on the Edge" characters, in "MSW" episodes "Deadline for Murder (#3.07)" as Eleanor Revere, "The Error of Her Ways (#6.04)" as Marian Randall, "The Trouble with Seth (#10.18)" as Marion Taylor, and "The Dream Team (#11.18)" as Lorna Buffum.

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