Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief 

Jessica gets involved in a British Intelligence operation's cover-up of a double agent's murder.


Peter Salim


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

On Disc

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Lloyd Bochner ... John Thurston
Kim Braden ... Daisy Collins
Kenneth Danziger ... Archie Potter, P.I.
Guy Doleman ... Corsair
Trevor Eve ... Julian Fontaine
Sharon Maughan ... Penelope Cadwell
Derrick O'Connor ... Mickey Dawks
Nick Tate ... Insp. Stillwell
Peter Dennis ... Albert
Richard Davies Richard Davies ... Edward Cadwell (as Richard A. Davies)
Clement von Franckenstein ... Nigel Atkins (as Clement Von Franckenstein)
Sandy Allison Sandy Allison ... MacPherson
Diana Webster Diana Webster ... Landlady
Laurie Main ... Man


In London, Jessica meets an old friend, U.S. Embassy Vice Consul John Thurston, who introduces her, in passing, to Nigel Atkins from the Home Office. When Jessica later finds Atkins dead, she immediately contacts the police but by the time they arrive, the body is nowhere to be found. Police inspector Stillwell later assures her that he's spoken to Atkins who is still quite alive and now on his way out of the country. It doesn't take her very long to figure out that she's in the of some type of intelligence operation. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 March 1992 (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?


There are multiple references to Jessica going to see "the new Sondheim musical." Angela Lansbury starred in the Stephen Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd" on Broadway. See more »


Left hand drive car parked in a busy street with no yellow line parking restrictions in, what one assumes, is the 'West End' of London (even for 1992). See more »


[first lines]
John Thurston: Jessica.
Jessica Fletcher: John! how wonderful to see you. Am I late?
John Thurston: Punctual as always. Well, I just got here myself.
See more »

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User Reviews

"See the Body Across London Town; Watch It Tumble as the Lift Goes Down"
28 October 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

This episode marks the last appearance by Guy Doleman, who has acted in film and television since 1948. Lloyd Bochner and Peter Dennis have also since passed.

This also marks the most recent appearance to date by Diana Webster, who has been appearing since 1945; the latest television role to date for Mr. Laurie Main, who has been appearing since 1953; one of only four roles thus far for Richard Davies, including two on "MSW"; the second of only two roles to date for Mr. Sandy Allison, and the first acting credit in the career of Elizabeth Anne Smith.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) has finished with her publisher's meeting in London, U.K., and returns to her hotel lobby, to encounter U.S. envoy John Thurston (Lloyd Bochner), who introduces Jessica to British agent Nigel Atkins (Clement von Franckenstein), who works at the Home Office at the U.S. Embasssy, before John invites Jessica to an evening performance of the new Stephen Sondheim Musical, to which she eagerly anticipates experiencing.

Meanwhile, Penelope Cadwell (Sharon Maughan) and husband, Edward Cadwell (Richard Davies), stroll along the sidewalk, before parting ways, as Archie Potter, P.I. (Kenneth Danziger) emerges from the sidelines to exchange nods with Edward, before trailing Penelope to the hotel, while Jessica and John lunch in its dining room.

Jessica then retrieves her packages and key from Albert the Hotel Desk Clerk (Peter Dennis), before stepping onto the elevator with Penelope, followed by Archie, the three subsequently exiting into different directions upon its fourth floor. Jessica enters room 414, but, before setting aside her purchases, follows a scream into the hallway, into room 412, in which she discovers a body, with the presence of another individual in the suite, who sneaks into a side room.

Jessica immediately returns to her room to notify the authorities, before Inspector Stillwell (Nick Tate) and MacPherson (Sandy Allison) presently arrive, to discover no signs of a body in room 412. They dismiss Jessica's report as a prank, with Inspector Stillwell's suggesting that she notify hotel security instead of the New Scotland Yard in the event that another body should pop up.

Upon returning to the lobby, Jessica notices the return of Archie Potter, whom she ensues as he slips into the kitchen, but soon loses his trail near the supply elevator, at which she discovers her packages tossed into a stack of a garbage collection. But when she reaches for her first bag, she, again, discovers the body obfuscated by trash bags. She removes his wallet with identification cards to confirm the identity.

Once again, Jessica summons the New Scotland Yard, and once again, the body disappears before their arrival. She turns the walled over to the authorities, who still do not believe her to be anything but a busybody visionary with an overactive imagination. But Albert the Hotel Desk Clerk enters the rear of the building to notify Inspector Stillwell that there is trouble in front of the hotel. So, upon their arrival at the front sidewalk, everyone witnesses the body which Jessica has been reporting, including a couple, MI-5 Man (Laurie Main) and an uncredited actress, who claim that the deceased has jumped from the hotel.

John Thurston meets Jessica at the New Scotland Yard headquarters, at which a Policewoman (Elizabeth Anne Smith), ushers the two into Inspector Stillwell's office. While the Envoy certifies Jessica's credentials for knowing a body when she discovers one, the Inspector maintains that the person is still alive and en route to Australia, but appreciate of Jessica's return of the wallet.

Meanwhile, Archie Potter, P.I. (Kenneth Danziger) is stalked along a dark sidewalk by Mickey Dawks (Derrick O'Connor), who claims that the missing individual had owed him money, but yet he hands Archie a pay-off to lose his trail. Mickey Dawks (Derrick O'Connor) also walks into Jessica's hotel room under the guise of room service, to get her to talk about the missing person who owes him money, but she answers that according to the police, the individual is in route to Australia.

Jessica then snoops around the apartment building at which the deceased had abided, to witness its Landlady's (Diana Webster) demanding back rent from a neighbor, Daisy Collins (Kim Braden), who pays up, before stepping down the hall to admit Jessica into the apartment to tend to the cat, after believing Jessica's guise.

But when Julian Fontaine (Trevor Eve) invites Jessica to a reception, Jessica recognizes Penelope Cadwell, whose scream alerted her to the body, but who, beside Edward Cadwell, dismisses Jessica's recognition of her presence at the hotel. Jessica also recognizes the servant couple as the two witnesses who claimed that the person jumped of his own volition, and she demands an explanation from Julian Fontaine, who claims no knowledge of these events.

When Julian offers Jessica a ride to New Scotland Yard, he, however, transports her, against her will, to the residence of Corsair (Guy Doleman), who finally explains the reasons as to why authorities may not disclose the fact that the victim is deceased.

"Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief" is derived from the traditional British children's poem "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief," which has formed the basis for the titles of 1969 Irwin Shaw novel, "Rich Man, Poor Man," as well as the 1974 John le Carré book title "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," in addition to that of this "MSW" episode.

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