January 11, 2010

Review - Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Fifth Season

 Season five of Murder, She Wrote saw a strong batch of episodes, new locales, and new faces.
 This season, we're introduced to Dennis Stanton (Keith Michell), a dashing jewel thief who gets entangled in a murder mystery only Jessica can solve. Also in this season, we see Jessica talk further about life after Frank and as a mystery writer with a crowded professional life and not getting out enough (that's how I see it, anyway).
 The season's first episode even sees Jessica behind bars (no, really!) for murder in the confusion that ensues after a Bulgarian operative is killed in "J.B. as in Jailbird", and it's up to nephew Grady (Michael Horton) and Michael Haggerty (Len Cariou) to prove her innocence.
 Speaking of Grady, season five also saw him marry girlfriend Donna (played by his real-life wife Debbie Zipp). Unfortunately, the domineering maid gets done in with a meat thermometer in the back.
 "Snow White, Blood Red" features an unusually bloody murder (MSW is famous for being family-friendly mystery viewing) as well as a twist, not uncommon especially in this season.
 And of course, we first meet new Cabot Cove Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak, who made several appearances on MSW prior to this). Convinced that policing Cabot Cove is a "paid vacation", imagine his reaction when two dead bodies are discovered in the yard of two elderly sisters.
 Disc one has a featurette entitled "Origin of a Series", which tells how the show came about. It was amusing to hear that Angela Lansbury had the choice of either doing this or a Norman Lear sitcom.
 Like pretty much any season, there's no shortage of guest stars. These include: Lucie Arnaz, Jean Simmons, Gale Storm, Eugene Roche, David Birney, Mel Ferrer, Shirley Knight, Dennis Patrick, Ralph Waite, Dee Wallace Stone, Elizabeth Ashley, Ken Swofford, Kristoffer Tabori, Julie Adams, Jerry Orbach (as P.I. Harry McGraw), Ken Howard, Barbara Bain, Paul Sorvino, Mike Connors, Bill Maher, Megan Mullally, Chuck Connors, Adrian Zmed, Dinah Shore, Shelley Fabares, Erin Gray, and Roddy McDowall.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: J.B. as in Jaibird

Michael Haggerty (Len Cariou) in Murder, She Wrote: J.B. as in Jailbird

Dennis Stanton (Keith Michell) in Murder, She Wrote: A Little Night Work

Nora Morgan (Barbara Bain) in Murder, She Wrote: Coal Miner's Slaughter

Tyler Morgan (Chuck Connors) in Murder, She Wrote: Coal Miner's Slaughter

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) and Maisie Mayberry (Gale Storm) in Murder, She Wrote: Something Borrowed, Someone Blue

Gen. Havermeyer (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) in Murder, She Wrote: The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel

Angela Lansbury in Origin of a Series

Richard Levinson and William Link

Franchesco (David Birney) in Murder, She Wrote: Prediction: Murder

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) and Lee Goddard (Dale Robertson) in Murder, She Wrote: Prescription: Murder

Mort Metzger (Ron Masak)

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) and Lt. Timothy Hanratty (Barney Martin) in Murder, She Wrote: Smooth Operators

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: From Russia... With Blood

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) and Walter Murray (Mike Connors) in Murder, She Wrote: Truck Stop

Eudora McVeigh (Jean Simmons) in Murder, She Wrote: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Another season reviewed, folks!


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