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Murder, She Wrote Appreciation Thread

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(I can STILL remember being 10 years old and going into a tiny little pre-LORNA HANSON FORBES rant at 8:03 on a Sunday night when it became obvious it was going to be a DENNIS STANTON episode.)

I might have even written a letter to CBS....

(In news that will shock none of you, I was a strange child...)

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copied and pasted below are the imdb users top thirty rated episodes of MURDER SHE WROTE, (IF THE TITLE CONFUSES YOU, YOU CAN CLICK ON EACH FOR A LINK TO ITS CORRESPONDING IMDB PAGE, WHICH WILL TELL YOU THE PLOT)

i MOSTLY AGREE WITH THE CHOICES, EXCEPT "WHO KILLED JB FLETCHER?" is not anywhere near the best episode of the series)

 
1. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Who Killed J.B. Fletcher? (1991)
8.8
 
Rate
 
 
The Corpse Flew First Class
2. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Corpse Flew First Class (1987)
8.7
 
Rate
 
 
Murder Takes the Bus
3. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Murder Takes the Bus (1985)
8.7
 
Rate
 
 
Trial by Error
4. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Trial by Error (1986)
8.6
 
Rate
 
 
The Days Dwindle Down
5. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Days Dwindle Down (1987)
8.6
 
Rate
 
 
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Part 2
8.6
 
Rate
 
 
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Part 1
8.6
 
Rate
 
 
When Thieves Fall Out
8. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: When Thieves Fall Out (1987)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
The Sins of Castle Cove
9. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Sins of Castle Cove (1989)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
The Return of Preston Giles
10. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Return of Preston Giles (1990)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
Sticks and Stones
11. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Sticks and Stones (1985)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
Something Borrowed, Someone Blue
12. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Something Borrowed, Someone Blue (1989)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
Nan's Ghost: Part 1
13. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Nan's Ghost: Part 1 (1995)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
Mr. Penroy's Vacation
14. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Mr. Penroy's Vacation (1988)
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
If It's Thursday, It Must Be Beverly
8.5
 
Rate
 
 
Town Father
16. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Town Father (1989)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
The Witch's Curse
17. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Witch's Curse (1992)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
Prediction: Murder
18. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Prediction: Murder (1989)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
Moving Violation
19. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Moving Violation (1991)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
Keep the Home Fries Burning
20. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Keep the Home Fries Burning (1986)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
Crossed Up
21. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Crossed Up (1987)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
Bite the Big Apple
22. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Bite the Big Apple (1991)
8.4
 
Rate
 
 
Rate
 
 
Thicker Than Water
24. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Thicker Than Water (1991)
8.3
 
Rate
 
 
The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel
8.3
 
Rate
 
 
The Committee
26. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Committee (1991)
8.3
 
Rate
 
 
The Big Show of 1965
27. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: The Big Show of 1965 (1990)
8.3
 
Rate
 
 
Shear Madness
28. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Shear Madness (1990)
8.3
 
Rate
 
 
Reflections of the Mind
29. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Reflections of the Mind (1985)
8.3
 
Rate
 
 
Old Habits Die Hard
30. Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
Episode: Old Habits Die Hard (1987)

 

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27 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

"bookend" episode isn't the greatest name for them, since Jessica usually only appears in the first 2 minutes and never at the end.

every single flippin' one of them is online and I avoid them ALL like the plague- even one which stars BARRY NEWMAN as a (legit this time) NYPD cop who has been assigned a teaching job because besides not featuring Jessica they are (as far as I can recall) ALL HORRIBLY WRITTEN!!!!!

The DENNIS STANTON episodes are the absolute NADIR of the series, even one that features PATRICIA NEAL is not worth watching.

There is also one called MURDER ACCORDING TO MAGGIE (about a HOLLYWOOD PA on a crime show who solves a murder and they BLATANTLY recycle a plotline and murder method from another episode.)

really, it's kind of ASTOUNDING that the "Bookend" aka "JESSICALESS" episodes didn't outright kill the series and ruin its momentum. After they stopped doing them, the show stayed in the top 10 for a few more years

it's really a testament to the popularity of ANGELA LANSBURY that the show recovered.

Yeah, I only watched a handful of them. The ratings always went down when Jessica wasn't on. What can be so interesting about an insurance investigator?? I think I only watched one of those (one was enough). Wasn't he on a few episodes with Jessica as well? (a la Hagerty)

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I'd agree to about half of those top 30 episodes. I would add different ones for those I disagreed with.

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23 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I'd agree to about half of those top 30 episodes. I would add different ones for those I disagreed with.

It is a CRIME that JESSICA BEHIND BARS Isn’t in the top 30. Seriously, if that is not one of your top 15 favorite episodes, you need to question your position as a true fan of MsW

 

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37 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Yeah, I only watched a handful of them. The ratings always went down when Jessica wasn't on. What can be so interesting about an insurance investigator?? I think I only watched one of those (one was enough). Wasn't he on a few episodes with Jessica as well? (a la Hagerty)

Yeah, I think the reaction to the Dennis Stanton eps was so negative that they actually wrote him in to a few episodes that feature Jessica (Hoping some of her appeal would rub off on him I guess ) even though he has absolutely nothing to do in them except standby and be his usual utterly charmless self. (Ie THE FAT LADY SINGS Which is actually a pretty good episode about a murder at an opera)

KEITH MITCHELL- Who played the role- must’ve been “in good” with the producers or something.

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7 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

It is a CRIME that JESSICA BEHIND BARS Isn’t in the top 30. Seriously, if that is not one of your top 15 favorite episodes, you need to question your position as a true fan of MsW

 

LOL. I hadn't noticed that! AGREE.

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10 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Yeah, I think the reaction to the Dennis Stanton eps was so negative that they actually wrote him in to a few episodes that feature Jessica (Hoping some of her appeal would rub off on him I guess ) even though he has absolutely nothing to do in them except standby and be his usual utterly charmless self. (Ie THE FAT LADY SINGS Which is actually a pretty good episode about a murder at an opera)

KEITH MITCHELL- Who played the role- must’ve been “in good” with the producers or something.

He was a British stage actor, so maybe Angela knew him. (he'd appeared on Broadway).

Some of the sleuths wern't too bad. (but I can only attest to the handful that I watched). There was one with Shaun Cassidy and some college kids who solved a crime that was different.

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

i still think KEN HOWARD was the most-used guest actor- he played JEAN SIMMONS husband in the MIRROR MIRROR episodes, he played a police detective in one of the bookend episodes, and he got to be the murderer one time...SOMETIMES they throw a toupee' on him to make him less recognizable.

he also played the widower that Blanche falls in love with on THE COMMITMENTS episode of THE GOLDEN GIRLS.

He later became the president of SAG and won an Emmy for GREY GARDENS.

 

[spoilerKen+Howard+-+Murder+She+Wrote+-+S06-EP05

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

in a season one episode, he plays the detective on a case who turns out to be the murderer, which is a switch they used a couple more times over the run of the show.

Here is a favorite:

Murder, She Wrote (US TV series, 1984-96). Universal Pictures. In this series, mystery writer Jessica B. Fletcher finds herself right in the middle of one murder investigation after another! 5th episode in the 6th season, "Jack and Bill" (29/10/89), is narrated (but not starred in) by Jessica, and contains a male SP named Jack. "Ken Howard plays Bill Boyle, a retired football linebacker, who had gone into the PI business. A friend of Bill's, who worked for the CIA, stopped by Bill's office one day. The friend asked Bill to take care of Jack (a cream colored Standard Poodle) for a few hours. When his friend turns up dead later that day, Bill is stuck with this 'dainty fru fru' Poodle -- not his idea of a DOG. Bill is forced to take Jack along on a case. Later he learns that Jack is a 'highly trained CIA operative.' Jack earns Bill's respect and the two become partners." CD, 14/6/98.

Text from poodlehistory.org

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Again, no limit to what one can learn on this board!!!!!

(And thank you, I had seen that episode title in my utube feed but had not checked it out.

 

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Now an interesting idea for a bookend episode not featuring Jessica would be to see BARRY NEWMAN as his SNOW WHITE BLOOD RED hit man/NYPD cop Investigating a jailhouse murder while serving time in prison for his crimes...Although now that I think about it, he probably got the chair for three premeditated murders

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3 hours ago, Michael Rennie said:

Here is a favorite:

Murder, She Wrote (US TV series, 1984-96). Universal Pictures. In this series, mystery writer Jessica B. Fletcher finds herself right in the middle of one murder investigation after another! 5th episode in the 6th season, "Jack and Bill" (29/10/89), is narrated (but not starred in) by Jessica, and contains a male SP named Jack. "Ken Howard plays Bill Boyle, a retired football linebacker, who had gone into the PI business. A friend of Bill's, who worked for the CIA, stopped by Bill's office one day. The friend asked Bill to take care of Jack (a cream colored Standard Poodle) for a few hours. When his friend turns up dead later that day, Bill is stuck with this 'dainty fru fru' Poodle -- not his idea of a DOG. Bill is forced to take Jack along on a case. Later he learns that Jack is a 'highly trained CIA operative.' Jack earns Bill's respect and the two become partners." CD, 14/6/98.

Text from poodlehistory.org

You guys have made my day just by letting me know that there is a website called poodlehistory.org.

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THE MIRROR CRACK'D (1980) is now available for streaming on Britbox. 

Angela Lansbury was supposed to do two more Marple movies, but when THE MIRROR CRACK'D failed with American audiences, the follow-ups were cancelled. 

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Just watched THE CEMETERY VOTE (SEASON 3)- aka THE ONE WHERE BRUCE DAVISON IS THE DEPUTY MAYOR AND JESSICA IS INVESTIGATING A ROTTEN SHERIFF AND A MAC TRUCK RUNS THEIR '87 COUNTRY SQUIRE STATION WAGON OFF THE ROAD.

It's good, and BRUCE DAVISON is good in it, I think this was about 4 years or so before he got a best Supporting Nomination for LONGTIME COMPANION and then kinda sorta faded back into a largely third-tier career (although he was in X-MEN)

MVP THOUGH IS MARIE WINDSOR AS THE TOUGH-AS-NAILS LOCAL SALOON/GAMBLING HOUSE/ HEAD ***** IN CHARGE WHO WEARS A WIG FROM THE WHITNEY HOUSTON COLLECTION, #328- "MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE."

msw3-20-6.jpg?w=616

YES YOU DO, MA'AM, YES YOU DO.

Forget HARRY MCGRAW, I would've loved to have seen MARIE get her own MsW spinoff called MURDER, SHE DOES about a MEAN OLD LADY HITWOMAN who moves from town to town killing people for hire in specialized, extra-sadistic ways.

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BTW: it would take a MAC TRUCK to run this MAGNIFICENT BEAST off the road:

Ford_LTD_Country_Squire-1.jpg

edit- were you supposed to clean these with Pledge?

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On 6/22/2019 at 8:51 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

Just watched THE CEMETERY VOTE (SEASON 3)- aka THE ONE WHERE BRUCE DAVISON IS THE DEPUTY MAYOR AND JESSICA IS INVESTIGATING A ROTTEN SHERIFF AND A MAC TRUCK RUNS THEIR '87 COUNTRY SQUIRE STATION WAGON OFF THE ROAD.

It's good, and BRUCE DAVISON is good in it, I think this was about 4 years or so before he got a best Supporting Nomination for LONGTIME COMPANION and then kinda sorta faded back into a largely third-tier career (although he was in X-MEN)

MVP THOUGH IS MARIE WINDSOR AS THE TOUGH-AS-NAILS LOCAL SALOON/GAMBLING HOUSE/ HEAD ***** IN CHARGE WHO WEARS A WIG FROM THE WHITNEY HOUSTON COLLECTION, #328- "MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE."

msw3-20-6.jpg?w=616

YES YOU DO, MA'AM, YES YOU DO.

Forget HARRY MCGRAW, I would've loved to have seen MARIE get her own MsW spinoff called MURDER, SHE DOES about a MEAN OLD LADY HITWOMAN who moves from town to town killing people for hire in specialized, extra-sadistic ways.

ROFL!

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On 6/22/2019 at 8:57 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

BTW: it would take a MAC TRUCK to run this MAGNIFICENT BEAST off the road:

Ford_LTD_Country_Squire-1.jpg

edit- were you supposed to clean these with Pledge?

The station wagon! (wonder how it got that name?) Another extinct species.....

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Bad news for Hallmark MSW watchers! (like me) Stupid Hallmark is starting their Christmas in July onslaught Friday (IN JUNE!!) 24 hours a day of sappy Christmas movies. Unsure how long we will have to endure. (last year was 2 wks, but they might expand to the whole month this year) Can't imagine this is a ratings bonanza. P-SSED! Isn't it bad enough we have to endure 2 months of this at the end of the year????

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THERE ARE FEWER THINGS ON EARTH I DESPISE MORE THAN THE CONCEPT OF CHRISTMAS IN JULY. 

Why in the **** Anyone would want to have Christmas when you are not contractually bound to is beyond me.

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Christmas in July has become a big retailer concept to stimulate sales when they are moribund in the summer, before Back to School starts.

The shopping channel QVC does it for the entire month; HSN only one day.  It must be successful for them because they have done it for years.

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The CLASSICS CHANNEL on SIRIUS RADIO Does it for like a week or two and it dries me crazy because I listen to that station all the time and I’m in the car quite a bit.

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2 hours ago, RoyCronin said:

Christmas in July has become a big retailer concept to stimulate sales when they are moribund in the summer, before Back to School starts.

The shopping channel QVC does it for the entire month; HSN only one day.  It must be successful for them because they have done it for years.

Yes, I can see it helping sales, but I don't know what Hallmark is generating, aside from a lot of ill will. Bad enough have to endure all this the entire months of Nov./Dec.!

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8 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

The CLASSICS CHANNEL on SIRIUS RADIO Does it for like a week or two and it dries me crazy because I listen to that station all the time and I’m in the car quite a bit.

What do they do? Play Christmas songs???

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