Residents of Cabot Cove, Maine have had it with Angela Lansbury.
The picturesque town, of course, was the setting for the TV series “Murder, She Wrote.” Since the series’ own death in 1996, Lansbury has become a frequent vacationer and, many say, a nuisance. After spending three weeks last summer in her TV house, now a bed and breakfast, she refused to pay her bills. This is my house, she told the innkeeper. Twice she’s been cited for bicycle DUI, and once for lewd conduct with a lobster.
Dr. Seth Hasletch treated her for a jet ski related accident, another bill that went unpaid. Quote, “She wasnt just rude, she accused me of murder. She accuses everyone she doesn’t like of murder.”
“Angela feels like she made this town what it is,” says beauty parlor owner Loretta Spiegel. “Nonsense, ‘Murder, She Wrote’ made Cabot Cove look like a killing field, someone getting murdered every week. She’s done enough damage.”
-Mo Rocca’s fake story for NPR’s “Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me”
Original air date: 10/14/1984
Wikipedia Synopsis: Pre-wedding jitters take on a new meaning for the fiancé of Jessica’s niece when he’s accused of a cabaret owner’s murder.
The premise of this episode is Jessica Fletcher takes what should be a relaxing vacation to San Fransisco for her niece’s wedding and-you guessed it-she become entangled in a murder investigation.
Surprisingly, this episode does not take place in Cabot Cove. Perhaps I misjudged the series and it is more along the lines of “traveling murder mystery” than “continual murders in a small town that seem to alarm no one.” I am genuinely interested in seeing how the show’s writers continue to justify the aura of death around Jessica.
Mrs. Fletcher’s task at hand is to ingratiate herself within the gruff police department of San Fransisco (in which all policemen behave like they’re from the Bronx) and subsequently clear her niece’s drag queen fiance’s name for the murder of a nightclub owner. Got all that?
I spent most of this episode fixated on hair than the plot. Why does the Fletcher niece look like Malibu Barbie meets Little House on the Prairie? Why are these wigs on the drag queens so bad? All the men have Kotter-hair syndrome. Alas, the fashion of the 1980s is strong with this episode.
Also, I am three episodes deep and Jessica Fletcher seems to have relatives coming out of the woodwork: first, her nephew Grady in the pilot was responsible for getting her book published, now her niece pops up and gets married in San Fransisco. Who are these kids’ parents? Why aren’t they or Grady at the wedding? Were they killed along with the mysterious Mr. Fletcher? I need a Fletcher family tree pronto.
These questions plague me as I watch each episode, but its out of love.
Original air date: 10/7/1984
Wikipedia synopsis: A mysterious man who briefly stops by Jessica’s house turns up dead, supposedly swept overboard during a hurricane before Jessica even met him.
How have I never known that Tom Bosley was on this show? Double-whammy combo with Angela Lansbury. His grumpy sheriff is the perfect foil for Mrs. Fletcher’s pep. His face just screams, “Sit on it, Fletcher.”
Basically, this episode is about why you do not let strange old hipster hobos into your house and give them your deceased husband’s pipe: you will have to solve his real murder and deal with his bratty daughters even though you were already in the middle of investigating his staged murder. Duh.
If you are familiar at all with King Lear, skip this episode as it riffs on similar themes. If you are not, go get some culture by reading the play and THEN watch “Deadly Lady”.
The premise is a CEO father wants to divide his megamillions amongst his daughters, but fakes his death to do so. The daughters are greedy and lead the father to his actual death. Mainly, they’re all harpies dressed in Jordache.
Jessica Fletcher naturally saves the day by having none other than Tom Bosley on the phone, which is hidden behind a vase of flowers, during the murderer’s confession. Then, Mrs. Fletcher actually shows the killer how she hid the phone. It’s like when the villain reveals his master plan before executing it; oooh Girl, don’t mention the sheriff until he is there in person to make the arrest!
Of course, no villain would want to escape Jessica Fletcher’s grandmotherly ways and the killer chooses to wait in comfort for her arrest rather than go on the lam. Ah, TV logic.
Questions/Predictions: What’s the deal with Mr. Fletcher? Did she solve his murder too? Will she get together with Tom Bosley (please oh please)?
This is an excerpt from I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb that I always found hysterical and accurate.
Felice pointed up at the wall-mounted TV. “Jessica Fletcher there. Murder, She Wrote. She goes shopping; there’s a stiff. She goes to visit some friend of hers; there’s another one. She goes off on vacation. Boom! When’s the last time you went out someplace and ran into a corpse? She’s like the Grim Reaper or something.”
“She’s like a corpse magnet,” Felice said. “I tell you one thing. If you ever see Angela Lansbury coming toward you, start running the other way quick.”
(submitted by pale-fire)