Murder, She Wrote – Season 1, Episodes 1-2 – “The Murder of Sherlock Holmes” – Characters Work But Plot is Only Okay

The Murder of Sherlock Holmes

     “Murder, She Wrote,” is a fascinating show that I may watch more of after seeing the two episodes of the pilot. It went in unexpected directions and played out like a good mystery story…and Angela Lansbury is just fantastic. The theme song is very grading though and I did have issue with the lack of development some of the characters received, even if the main cast is pretty solid.

   “The Murder of Sherlock Holmes” was directed by Corey Allen and written by Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson and William Link.

    The story involves Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) becoming a famous mystery novelist when her nephew Grady (Michael Horton) publishes her work. When she leaves the countryside she finds the city is not for her but finds herself pulled into a mystery when her nephew is suspected of murder at a costume party.

The Pros: The Costume Party – All the different people Preston Giles know come to his home dressed as characters and it is the murder of one of them dressed as Sherlock Holmes (when Captain Caleb was dressed as Holmes) leading to an exploration of motivations and mistaken identity.

Jessica Fletcher – Angela Lansbury is wonderful as the old lady Jessica who has her novel sent into a publisher by her nephew, which pulls her out of her small town into the big city. It is here we see how out of place she is when isn’t solving murders. It is in solving murders that she is in her element, which in turn makes sense into how the show got it’s name and premise.

Preston Giles – This character is really interesting as he did murder the detective when the detective tried to blackmail him. He played the Count of Monte Cristo at the Costume Party and we learn that his drive has been revenge like the count as his past business partner left him for dead after ruining his life and he spent his life ending them and in the process became them as he became a murder to hide up the revenge he did against them. He’s a tragic and fascinating figure.

Okay: Grady and Kit – They are the allies and are kind and open and that’s about it. There isn’t much character yet, they are just there to give Jessica a motivation.

The Cons: Captain Caleb – The guy is just a loud buffoon and cheater. I was hoping we’d see him do something good with his business but he never is explored beyond his own selfishness, which is a shame.

The Detective – Guy is introduced as sketch so when he dies no one is really missing him, there is just more surprise that a murder happened in the first place.

Ashley and George – These two were the ones stealing from Captain Caleb and are shown to both be stuck up jerks. What chance at character they were given was only made to make them look worse than they already were.

 The Theme Music – The theme music gets annoying really fast. It goes on way too long and is far too happy and upbeat for a show that involves murder and a whole bunch of other aspects of the bad side of humanity. The theme music creates a major tonal dissodance.

This was a good introduction to this show and I might review some more episodes in the future if people request the show. I like Angela Lansbury and find the Jessica Fletcher character fascinating. Sadly I think better writing is needed for the supporting cast, Kit and Grady are ciphers and the villains are all one-dimensional with the exception of Preston Giles. A lot more could have been done with the 2 hours the show was allotted to tell the story. I still think it is worth checking out though, for what it is worth.

Final Score: 7.4 / 10

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