Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Angela Lansbury was the fourth choice to play Jessica Fletcher. Jean Stapleton was offered the part but turned it down, as did Doris Day.
  • Jessica's maiden name was McGill, taken from Angela Lansbury's real-life mother, Moyna McGill.
  • Angela Lansbury also played Jessica's look-alike cousin Emma, who was a performer on the London stage.
  • On several episodes, Angela Lansbury, as Jessica, would just appear briefly at the beginning to introduce that week's episode and many of those episodes would feature Keith Michell as Jessica's friend Dennis Stanton.
  • Besides Dennis Stanton, other recurring characters that helped Jessica solve the various murders she encountered were private investigators Harry McGraw and Charlie Garrett (played by Jerry Orbach and Wayne Rogers, respectively), British intelligence agent Michael Haggerty (played by Len Cariou) and N.Y.P.D detective Lt. Artie Gelber (played by Herb Edelman). However, the only one of these characters to be spun off onto his own series was Harry McGraw in the short lived series titled, appropriately enough, "The Law and Harry McGraw" (1987).
  • Jessica Fletcher lived at 698 Candelwood, Cabot Cove, Maine.
  • Jessica's late husband Frank was a bomber pilot in Korea.
  • Jessica's middle name is Beatrice, a link to Angela Lansbury's best friend (and Mame co-star) Beatrice Arthur. Her late husband was named "Frank", another reference to Bea, who's birth name was "Bernice Frankel".
  • Before she met and married her late husband, Frank, Jessica was studying to become a journalist.
  • Another recurring character was Michael Hagarty (as played by Len Cariou), who was an undercover agent, who met up with Jessica at many different locales all over the world. Len Cariou also starred with Angela Lansbury on Broadway as part of the original cast in "Sweeney Todd".
  • There are many in-jokes in "The Committee" (episode 8.9). The last names of characters Edward Dunsany, Gerald Innsmouth, and Philip Arkham all refer to works by H.P. Lovecraft. The name of Harcourt Fenton is an obvious reference to Star Trek: The Original Series rogue Harcourt Fenton Mudd, and the names of Lieutenant Tartarus and the Avernus Club both refer to mythological hells. This is no surprise, given that prolific SF author J. Michael Straczynski wrote this episode.
  • In "Incident in Lot 7" (episode 8.13), the novel of Jessica's being made into a movie is called "Messengers of Midnight." Jessica says that it's based on a true story, a car going over a cliff is mentioned, and a particular character is named as the killer. All of this means that the "true story" Jessica wrote into the novel was her investigation in the episode "The Committee," another episode written by J. Michael Straczynski.
  • The name of Jessica's first novel was "The Corpse Danced at Midnight".
  • The show's title is a reference to the Miss Marple mystery Murder She Said (1961), which was based on a novel by Agatha Christie.
  • {Jack and Bill (#6.5)}_ and {Murder -- According to Maggie (#6.17)}_ are apparently pilots for other shows that were broadcast as "Murder She Wrote" episodes, apparently in an attempt to create a spin-off. The only successful spin off of this series was "The Law and Harry McGraw" (1987).
  • Jessica never drove a car. She always rode her bicycle or took a cab. Sometimes she would ask someone to give her a ride.
  • When Thomas Edward Bosley left the series, his absence was explained by having Sheriff Tupper retire from the position and move to Kentucky to live near his family.
  • The harbor of Jessica's home town, Cabot Cove, is actually the Jaw's lake on the Universal Studios tram tour.
  • Sheriff Metzger's wife Adelle was often talked about but was never seen.
  • Jessica had four brothers and sisters. However, the only one that was seen was her brother Marshall, who was a doctor. Another brother, Martin, was also mentioned but never seen.
  • Grady moved in with Jessica and her husband Frank after Grady's parents, Frank's brother and his wife, were killed in an automobile accident.
  • The episode "Mr. Penroy's Vacation" shares several plot points with "Arsenic and Old Lace." At one point, Helen says to Lillian "Not my best lace tablecloth!"
  • Jessica's Manhattan phone number is 212-191-1498.
  • Series star Angela Lansbury and co-creator/producer Peter S. Fischer weren't particularly fond of one another, with numerous magazine articles documenting how overworked Lansbury was and how she would insist on numerous revisions to her character. In fact, Lansbury was rumored ready to quit after her contract expired at the end of the fifth season, and the season-ending two-parter was supposed to be the series finale. When Lansbury decided at the last moment to come back after all (with much prodding from CBS, which desperately needed the hit show to stay on), Fischer had to rewrite the entire script. For the final episode of the seventh season, Fischer (on his way out the door; Lansbury had been promised the job of executive producer after a transition year under David Moessinger, whom she also didn't like) had two versions of the last scene filmed: one where Jessica nods in agreement to Harry McGraw's "And that's all she wrote" and one where she winks at the audience, saying she'll come back.
  • Many viewers (and Angela Lansbury herself) believed that the move of the venerable show from Sunday to Thursday for the twelfth season was a deliberate plan by CBS programming chief Leslie Moonves to kill it. After all, it was going up against "Friends," which was about to get super-show status. But everything Moonves tried in the Sunday slot failed so badly that he wound up double-running "Murder, She Wrote" on Thursdays and Sundays for the last few weeks of the regular season and then for a summer of reruns. He had to place "Touched by an Angel" in the time slot the following fall to get a decent audience. The final season alludes to this with episodes tellingly titled "Murder Among Friends" (featuring the ensemble cast of hit TV series "Buds") and "Death By Demographics" - the final regular edition before the show switched to TV Movies.
  • Angela Lansbury received an Emmy nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the each of the show's twelve seasons. She did not win for any of the nominations.
  • Nine episodes and exteriors for numerous others were shot in Mendocino, California, including the exterior of Jessica Fletcher's house.
  • Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach - a recurring actor in the show - and guest star David Ogden Stiers also starred together in the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast and its sequels as Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, and Cogsworth respectively, the first of which was filmed while Murder She Wrote was being aired.
  • The fictional "Cabot Cove" Maine setting for "Murder, She Wrote" is an actual harbor inlet in the town of Kennybunkport, Maine. The "Cabot Cove" is located on a main road leading from the township, with a bridge over the small inlet bay. Local motor-hotels and lobster-crab shack restaurants are nearby the cove, a short walk from the main village. The pilot episode town exteriors were filmed in Mendocino, California; subsequently, filming each season with a two hour (sometimes split airing as a two parter) show. The main (in town) Victorian mansion stood in for Jessica's house. The exterior Sheriff Station was the local Rangers Station. In 1992, this exterior was exchanged using a coastal bluff building on the main frontal street. Several small business shops were filmed for the exteriors of a beauty salon, a newspaper office, etc., with the "Hill House Hotel" utilizing the Mendocino town's largest hotel's exterior, grounds, parking, and interior lobby/check-in desk. The beach and bluff area filmed mainly for specific episodes. The Harbor of Fort Bragg was filmed for the docks, exterior pub/bar dressing decorated wharf buildings; interior restaurants above the harbor were also filmed as "Cabot Cove" sights. At Universal Studios' back lot, the Jaws Lake attraction was filmed as the exterior village. Actually, the show maintained the studio attraction's exterior buildings until cancellation in 1996, afterwards, falling into dis-repair. The exterior Victorian "Best Little Whirehouse" set, relocated from stage 12 feature filming, to a hill area on the back lot was a stand in for the Mendocino Victorian Jessica's house. The interiors of this house were filmed, redressed, repainted, redecorated, for many of the episodes for other story scenarios.
  • Nearing the end of the eighth season, CBS TV demanded a lower pay-rate-fee for the guest actor payroll rate be implemented on the following season of shows. Peter Fisher argued with Les Moonvies, that the guest actor pay rate had been established, refusing to pay less for star personalities, if he remained on the series. A showdown occurred between CBS/Universal, with Peter Fisher and his associate producer Robert "Bob" O'Neil declaring their departure from the series under revolt of the CBS dictum. As a result, a new producing team was implemented by Universal and CBS. The new producing team, expected to provide scripts, David Mossinger also agreeing to direct, agreeing with the lower pay scale for guest stars, utilizing a younger breed of guest acting personalities, placing senior movie personalities in the lime light for guest-shot appearances. Moving Madam Fletcher to New York City, to teach writing at an (un-named) university, sleuthing murder while on her mystery writing career! Coinciding with the NY police department! This new producing team lasted one year! Angela and Peter Shaw's Corymore Productions took over, installing David Shaw, Peter's first born son, as a producer, and Angela as Executive Producer. Mark Burley remained with the series as producer. With the transition of power, Angela had the set decorator Robert "Bob" Wingo fired, replaced with her family friend, decorator Fred Winston. Fred had worked the series, previously, in the first three years of the series, when alternating art department teams had been pattern. Winston lasted one year as decorator. His mother's friendship with Angela, he assumed, guaranteed a show longevity.

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