Murder, She Wrote

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"Murder, She Wrote" Promo Art

Murder, She Wrote is an American mystery television series, starring Angela Lansbury as the lead character, Jessica Fletcher. It aired as a weekly series on CBS from 1984 to 1996, and continued with several made-for-TV movies into 2003. Lansbury served as executive producer of the series during its later seasons.

Jessica Fletcher is a writer of mystery novels, who comes across murders by accident and solves them in much the same way as Agatha Christie's character Miss Marple. Also like Miss Marple, Fletcher lives in a small village: the fictional Cabot Cove in Maine. (Lansbury had played Marple in the 1980 film adaptation of The Mirror Crack'd.)

Despite the leading lady's success in Murder, She Wrote, she was not the producer's original choice of star. Actressess Jean Stapleton and Doris Day were offered, and consecutively turned down, the main part.

The show enjoyed a wide audience, and was for several years the longest-running mystery show on television. Throughout its run, countless notable stars played guest parts, making it a considerably diverse show. In total there were 264 weekly episodes, and Lansbury subsequently reprised the character in four (to date) T.V. movies between 1997 and 2003.

Although Lansbury was the show's main star, the series was arranged so that several episodes each year would focus upon one of her friends and their mystery-solving exploits, allowing Lansbury to appear only briefly in the episodes and take a break in filming. One of these recurring characters, a private detective named Harry McGraw (Jerry Orbach) was popular enough to garner his own, short-lived spinoff series in 1987, The Law & Harry McGraw. The character of Jessica Fletcher also appeared in an episode of Magnum P.I. in 1986.

A series of original novels based upon Murder, She Wrote were published in the late 1980s and early 1990s; in keeping with the spirit of the TV show, the author credit for these books was given to the fictitious "Jessica Fletcher".

Murder, She Wrote is currently shown in the United Kingdom on BBC1 at 14:35 on weekdays and on the Australian cable Television network Austar/Foxtel on T.V.1. during "crime time AM".

The first season of Murder, She Wrote was released on Region 1 DVD on March 29, 2005.

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