Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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The Way to Dusty Death 

A tyrant's demise puts Jessica on the trail of several of his betrayed executives.


Nick Havinga


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 5 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Joanna Barnes ... Lydia Barnett
Richard Beymer ... Morgan McCormack
Lynn Carlin ... Nicole
Nancy Dussault ... Kate Dutton
Jenilee Harrison ... Serena
Richard Jaeckel ... Dr. Leon Chatsworth
Andrea Marcovicci ... Anne Hathaway
Sandy McPeak ... Spruce Osborne
Joanna Pettet ... Virginia McCormack
Lawrence Pressman ... Tom Dutton
Ray Walston ... Q. L. Frubson
Cornel Wilde ... Duncan Barnett
Jay Robinson ... Paddock
Hank Brandt Hank Brandt ... Lt. Grayson


As company board member, Jessica is among old chairman Duncan and Lydia Barnett's weekend guests who hear the rumors of a take over by Spruce Osborne or resignation are false. Would-be successor Morgan McCormack's wife, Virginia, decide it's time to hurry nature by doctoring his nightly brand with extra digitalis heart medication. He is found dead in the hot-tub with a TV but it is deemed an accident and the TV was knocked into the tub when he had a heart attack. Jessica refuses rushing to cast the decisive vote for Morgan or Tom Dutton. She works out with Dr. Chatsworth that four digitalis pills are missing, as well as the brandy glass which was full when the corpse was discovered, but the autopsy finds no overdose. She finds out Osborne's much younger girlfriend, Serena, was planted by Duncan, while Osborne had a man on the board, gets a confession for the failed murder attempt and traps the successful killer. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The last acting role of Cornel Wilde. See more »


Mrs McCormack threatens Jessica with a lawsuit for libel due to something Jessica said. However, libel is for the written word; slander is for the spoken word. See more »


[first lines]
Paddock: There are times when the forces of life combine to create a power where all things are possible, where a strong man can act with speed and decisiveness. For the timid, a moment never realized. For the bold, a moment that can catapult him to undreamed-of plateaus of personal wealth and power. Your will is extremely powerful, Mr. McCormack. It shall overpower those with whom you compete. And I can tell you, that will be soon, very soon.
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Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Was there a murder?
17 July 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This particular Murder She Wrote has the farewell acting appearance of a favorite classic film star of mine Cornel Wilde. Wilde is also the victim in this story.

But the victim of what exactly? Wilde is an industrial tycoon who has gathered a number of friends and members of his company board among them Jessica Fletcher who is trying to keep a factory open in good old Cabot Cove. After a sumptuous dinner hosted by Wilde and wife Joanna Pettet he announces to one and all reports of his retirement have been greatly exaggerated.

But later on Wilde is found dead in his hot tube with a small television in it as well. He might have pulled the thing in accidentally on his own or it could have gotten in the tub with some other individual's help.

Jessica's partner in the investigation is Dr. Richard Jaeckel as they try to prove there was indeed a murder before looking for a culprit. Of course you know there was one. Especially with all the palace intrigues involving Wilde's successor.

I did enjoy Ray Walston former cabinet under secretary of the Treasury and now hard as nails business tycoon himself. I wish we saw more of him.

Nice story, Jessica Fletcher seems to be the only one on that board without her own agenda.

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Release Date:

25 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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