Monday, June 11, 2018

TV on DVD Review: Murder, She Wrote - Season 2


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: 22 more cases with Jessica
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Jessica on case
For twenty-two more murders
Charming as always




“If Murder Were a Disease, You’d Be Contagious.”

It’s always fun to revisit old fictional friends, and that’s just what I’ve been doing for the past month by rewatching season 2 of Murder, She Wrote.  This show is as charming as ever.

The premise really never changed in this show as we follow bestselling mystery author Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) as she gets involved in one mystery after another.  It seems no matter where she goes, she finds a mystery of some kind to get involved in.  A trip to Mardi Gras finds her needing to clear a distant cousin of murder.  When a friend is murdered in the Caribbean, she heads down to solve the case.  Her niece’s career as a jockey takes off thanks to murder.  Jessica finds herself the foreperson of a jury filled with people who are certain of what the verdict should be, until she talks them through the case.  She even travels across the pond and we meet Emma McGill, her cousin (also played by Angela Lansbury) when someone tries to kill Emma.

Of the twenty-two episodes in this season, four of them are set in Jessica’s idealistic hometown (except for the murder rate) of Cabot Cove.  There’s a suspicious death at the newly popular diner in town.  The body of a businessman planning to build a new development in town is discovered in a hole on the construction site.  The entire town starts receiving poison pen letters.  And when an accident happens during a funeral, people discover that the wrong body is in the coffin.

When I started rewatching the series last year, I decided I was going to keep a running account of how many murders take place in Cabot Cove.  Adding in this year’s four, we have reached six and a half out of the 44 episodes from the first two seasons.  Of those, three and a half have mostly involved people who don’t live in town.

Cabot Cove is the only place where things have changed for this season as William Windom steps into the role of Dr. Seth Hazlitt.  I love the character, so it’s nice to have him on board.  We still have Tom Bosley’s Amos Tupper as the sheriff, although he keeps talking about retiring.  In other recurring character news, we get to see Jerry Orbach’s Harry McGraw once and Jessica’s nephew Grady puts in a couple of appearances.

While many of the mysteries are the standard suspicious death with multiple suspects, I do enjoy it when the writers manage to change things up.  There are some creative cases this season, and I admire how well everything is put together.  It’s been so long since I watched these episodes that I am usually a step or two behind Jessica in figuring things out, but I don’t mind.  The fun is in spending time with her and watching how she pieces everything together.

Outside a couple of over the top performances, the acting is good again this season.  Of course, no one tops Angela Lansbury who brings such a warmth to the part.  Notable (at least to me) guest stars this season include June Lockhart, Glynis Johns, Linda Hamilton, Robert, Culp, and several actors from WKRP in Cincinnati.

I will remind you that this is mid-80’s TV, as if the fashions aren’t evidence of that.  There are definitely some dated elements, but that is honestly part of the charm.

The set just features the 22 episodes of the season in their native full frame and stereo sound.  There are no extras, and the picture shows its age at times, but it’s not really an issue given the age of the show.

If it’s been a while since you visited Jessica, it’s time to fix that, and season 2 of Murder, She Wrote is a great place to catch up with her.

Season 2 Episodes:
1. Widow, Weep for Me
2. Joshua Peabody Died Here…Possibly
3. Murder in the Afternoon
4. School for Scandal
5. Sing a Song of Murder
6. Reflections of the Mind
7. A Lady in the Lake
8. Dead Heat
9. Jessica Behind Bars
10. Sticks and Stones
11. Murder Digs Deep
12. Murder by Appointment Only
13. Trial by Error
14. Keep the Home Fries Burning
15. Powder Keg
16. Murder in the Electric Cathedral
17. One Good Bid Deserves a Murder
18. If a Body Meet a Body
19. Christopher Bundy – Died on Sunday
20. Menace, Anyone?
21. The Perfect Foil
22. If the Frame Fits

2 comments:

  1. I love Murder She Wrote! I don't remember any of these by name but I remember really enjoying season 2 when I binged it on Netflix a few years ago. Angela Lansbury is my favorite and I really enjoyed the novelization I read last month.

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  2. A fun show! Really, not much you can do with cosies set in small towns but accept that there are a lot of murders. Look at Midsomer Murders. And the Shrewsbury of the. Brother Cadfael series.
    There is a cheeky reference to the series in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratcett’s Good Omens.

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