Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Trials and Tribulations 

Jessica is accused of false testimony and bribery in the death of an escaping murderer.


Vincent McEveety


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

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Michael Beck ... Justin Fields
Molly Cheek ... Anne Stephenson
Stephen Furst ... Sgt. Paulsen
Carrie Hamilton ... Geraldine Stone
George Hearn ... Elliott Von Stuben
Kim Hunter ... Beatrice Vitello
George Maharis ... Charlie Emmet Cosmo, Esq.
Ben Masters ... Ray Dandridge
Molly McClure ... Process Server
Darlene Kardon Darlene Kardon ... Mrs. Torgeson
Ron Troncatty Ron Troncatty ... Driver (as Ron Tron)
Richard Hoyt-Miller Richard Hoyt-Miller ... Waiter #1
Jerry Tullos Jerry Tullos ... Waiter #2
Gerry Okuneff Gerry Okuneff ... Eddie Stone


Jessica is sued by Geraldine Stone for the death of her father, Eddie, during a failed prison escape. He was condemned thanks to her sleuthing and the testimony of Angelo Vitello who is now seriously ill . Instead of settling for a cash payment out of court as her insurance lawyer, Ray Dandridge, recommended, Jessica finds out Geraldine's lover, pastry chef Justin Fields, needs money to start his own business. Yet even her fan, NYPD Detective Sergeant Paulsen, must treat her as prime suspect when Angelo is murdered by a lethal injection, but she takes charge of finding the real killer. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 September 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?


[first lines]
Guard: You drive careful, now.
Driver: Yeah, right.
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User Reviews

"Cab Driver, Testify in Court. They Just Want the Chance to Change Re-tort"
26 April 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Season Seven opens with this episode written by series Co-creator Peter S. Fischer, who now begins his seventh and final year as "MSW" Executive Producer.

These season openers often contain bankable guest stars, action-packed conflict and a web of intrigue, for networks of the day to promote its new season line-up rather heavily, and so "Trials and Tribulations" certainly fits the bill in every respect.

When convicts attempt a well-orchestrated escape from a New York State prison, guards and law enforcement officers follow by land and air in hot pursuit of the truck designed to smuggle them from the compound in secret. The attempt to apprehend the prisoners climaxes with an altercation leaving fatal casualties.

One of the convicts, Eddie Stone (Gerry Okuneff), had been sent up the river by evidence collected from mystery author-sleuth Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), who has drawn her conclusions to suspect him of murder based upon the testimony of Cab Driver Vitello, who has since retired and remains in ailing health in his New York City apartment.

(Note: the Eddie Stone case does not reflect the narrative of any previous "MSW" episode, so this one would not be considered a "sequel.")

Geraldine Stone (Carrie Hamilton), daughter of Eddie, vows justice against the wrongful conviction of her father, by filing a lawsuit against the NYC District Attorney's office, and naming Jessica Fletcher as a corespondent, asking from her $500,000 in punitive damages.

Defense Attorney Ray Dandridge (Ben Masters) defends Jessica and advises her not to contact Geraldine Stone, but Jessica decides not to heed Ray's counsel, but to take the proverbial high road of befriending her accuser, or, perhaps, to inform Geraldine as to what she's in for by playing with the justice system, because, after all, Jessica maintains that she has been right all along.

Justin Fields (Michael Beck) has been seeing Geraldine romantically, and he has urged Geraldine to press this lawsuit against the courts and Jessica, in order to use the $500,000 to open a bakery shoppe. He has been serving as pastry chef at a restaurant owned by Elliott Von Stuben (George Hearn). Although Elliott has been relatively satisfied with Justin's ability to draw in the customers, Elliott has more than once faced heated arguments with the temperamental Justin.

Charlie Cosmo, Esq. (George Maharis) quickly accepts Geraldine as a client because, as an unscrupulous attorney, he knows that if she hasn't a case against city hall, then Charlie can always fabricate one, by bribing a witness to change his testimony, and that's exactly what he does when he visits Vitello to offer him $50,000 to testify against Jessica that she had coerced him to nail Eddie Stone during his day in court.

Beatrice Vitello (Kim Hunter), the devoted wife of and caregiver for the former cab driver, informs Jessica and Ray that her husband is in no condition to endure a repeat of the rigorous courtroom drama while his accurate testimony is needed to defend Jessica but his inaccurate account is needed to prosecute her.

Anne Stevenson (Molly Cheek), a lawyer of the district attorney's office, who plans a run of her own for the office of district attorney, and NYPD Sergeant Paulsen (Stephen Furst) join in the investigation of this case, which soon involves murder, when a victim is injected with a toxic substance.

When neighbor Mrs. Torgeson (Darlene Kardon) informs Sergeant Paulsen that she has seen a blonde in trench-coat, hat and sunglasses running from the scene of a crime on the evening of the murder, Jessica is brought into police headquarters to stand in a line-up. Mrs. Torgeson initially singles out Jessica as a likely suspect, but Jessica later confronts Anne Stevenson to participate in the next line-up, as Jessica suspects that Anne has something to hide.

Altercations continue to erupt among the various parties involved, as tempers flair, while Jessica tries to get to the bottom of things to sort through everyone's "Trials and Tribulations."

The cast is rounded out by Molly McClure as Lady, Mary Angela Shea as Secretary, Ron Tron as Driver, Lance E. Nichols as Policeman, Joe Nesnow as Cab Driver, Vincent J. McEveety as Guard #1, Richard G. Camphuis as Guard, Richard Hoyt-Miller as Waiter #1, Jerry Tullos as Waiter #2, and Thom Keane as Waiter #3.

This episode represents the first acting credit by Ron Tron, and the most recent television acting performance to date by George Maharis.

This also marks the first of two "MSW" appearances for Vincent J. McEveety, the second of two each for Thom Keane, George Maharis, Richard Hoyt-Miller and Joe Nesnow, the first of three each for George Hearn and Ben Masters, the second of three for Michael Beck, and the third of three for Gerry Okuneff.

Kim Hunter, acting in film and on television since 1943, Jerry Tullos, acting since 1978, Carrie Hamilton, acting since 1985, and Molly McClure, acting since 1987, have unfortunately since passed.

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