Murder, She Wrote: Episode Listmania

[Angela Lansbury hosted a marathon
of Anne's favorite episodes on the
Hallmark Channel - maybe she'll
host your list next!]

Football and baseball fans have their fantasy leagues. customers have their "Listmania!" pages. What do we have? Well, I'll tell you what we have: fantasy marathon line-ups.

What's the point, you say? Network execs don't generally look for fan input when deciding what episodes to show when. However, it's worth noting that when the Hallmark Channel ran it's Labor Day MSW marathon on September 3rd, 2007, the episodes they picked - and the order in which they aired - were virtually identical to my list of Must See Episodes as found on the Statistics page of this website. How 'bout them apples?

Taking this as a sign that someone out there likes us, it was suggested to me by Stephanie that we throw open the doors to other fans who have their own lists of "must see" episodes. So this is your chance to share what your own personal MSW fantasy marathon would look like. And who knows - next time the Hallmark Channel decides to run a marathon, it may be your list that the world gets to view!

Here are the guidelines:
> You can design your marathon however your please. It can be designed around a specific character, location, or theme, or you can just list off your favorite episodes - be as creative as you'd like!
> Try to list at least 10 episodes, but no more than 20.
> You're heartily encouraged to include a line or two with each episode you list about why you picked this particular episode.

Email Us

Click the "E-mail Us" and send me your lists; I'll post them on this page as time and my work schedule allow.

Nathan's List "I was just a kid when this amazing show aired, but I later discovered it on DVD. I watch it with my mother when we both have time and it's really brought us together. Season 7 stands out the most to me because it has at least four of my favorite episodes, and because it was the final season before Jessica moved to New York City. The show just isn't the same after that."
Capitol Offense Jessica is truly an everywoman in this episode, not only taking over for a dead congressman but inspiring his colleagues--and, of course, solving his murder.
Murder Takes the Bus This one strongly resembles the Twilight Zone episode 'Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?' which I also loved. Inclement weather, a motley crew of travelers stranded in a diner, and at least one of them hiding a dark secret. The twist ending is a nice touch.
Widow, Weep For Me A great season premiere. Jessica impersonating someone else is an interesting variation on the usual theme, and so is the introduction of Michael Haggerty.
Trial By Error The murder plot in this one is almost unbelievable, but it's still great writing and I love the scenes in the jury room. Jessica's "friendly" meeting with Reynolds at the end is both simple and devastatingly effective.
Keep the Home Fries Burning I love restaurants, so any episode featuring them is bound to keep my attention. It's interesting to watch the old neighborhood diner struggle against the new goofy theme restaurant, and I like how the humor slowly but surely gives way to a truly sad murder plot.
No Accounting for Murder "What is Neptune Ventures?!" Jessica and Grady delve into the corrupt underbelly of big-city accounting with memorable results. The "ghost" adds another layer to the mystery and the killer, when revealed, seems genuinely unhinged. I especially like Patty McCormack's brief appearances as the victim's hard-boiled widow.
Mourning Among the Wisterias I like everything about this one, from the Deep South setting to Rene Auberjonois as the police captain. Linda Purl's performance at the end is really chilling.
A Very Good Year for Murder Compelling minor characters are a hallmark of MSW, never more so than with the Gambinis. They act and feel like a real family, each member with his or her own weaknesses--all of which they must overcome if they are to unite and protect their winery. Meanwhile, we learn that even Jessica occasionally allows someone to get away with murder.
The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel Don't mess with Jessica's memories of Frank! I love how she fights so hard to clear his name.
Test of Wills The story of a self-absorbed tycoon who tries to have everything his own way, and ends up losing the one thing most precious to him. With almost every character compromised in some way it's up to Jessica to be the episode's moral center, a role she plays exceedingly well.
Town Father I'm not the biggest fan of Mayor Sam Booth, but any episode with Sheriff Metzger is a winner to me and I like the theme of Jessica, Seth, and other Cabot Cove locals trying to preserve their way of life.
See You in Court, Baby The "bookend" episodes were hit-and-miss, but Dennis Stanton and his wonderful secretary Rhoda scored the most hits. This one had the best cast of supporting characters, especially Robert Reed as the crass divorce lawyer and Nana Visitor as a rival claims investigator.
Moving Violation Mort is my favorite sheriff (nothing against Amos) and we really got to know him better here. Ambassador Chalmers and his family are truly reprehensible and make for great antagonists.
Who Killed J.B. Fletcher? One of the funniest episodes of the series, and yet in a way, the circumstances of the murder are especially tragic.
The Prodigal Father This is the second episode of MSW I ever watched. (Murder, Plain and Simple is the first.) The light comic touches, such as Sam's boat and Abe Vigoda as the motel owner, are well done. I'm especially taken with the doomed character of Ned Jenks--part remorseful parent, part menacing ex-convict.

Jillian's List
My Johnny Lies Over The Ocean
A Lady in the Lake
Sticks and Stones
Trial by Error
Keep the Home Fries Burning
If A Body Meet a Body
When Thieves Fall Out
Old Habits Die Hard
If It's Thursday, It Must Be Beverly
Trouble in Eden
Who Threw the Barbitals in Mrs. Fletcher's Chowder?
Curse of the Daanau
Mr. Penroy's Vacation
Something Old, Someone Blue
Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall
The Szechuan Dragon
Deadly Misunderstanding
A Body to Die For
The Dream Team
The Secret of Gila Junction

Marla's List
Murder Takes the Bus
Joshua Peabody Died Here...Possibly
School for Scandal
A Lady in the Lake
Keep the Home Fries Burning If I were allowed to watch just one or two MSW episodes for the rest of my TV-obsessed life, this would be one of them! Also, can you tell that Season 2 is a special favorite of mine?!
If It's Thursday, It Must Be Beverly
Doom, with a View Oh, Grady...
Who Threw the Barbitals in Mrs. Fletcher's Chowder?
Curse of the Daanau I may be just a tiny bit Seth-obsessed...
Mourning Among the Wisterias
Benedict Arnold Slipped Here So it seems I'm as enamored with Season 4 as I am with Season 2! I was surprised to see that so few of my all-time favorites are found in Season 3.
Mr. Penroy's Vacation
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Town Father
The Szechuan Dragon
A Body to Die For
A Christmas Secret
Love and Hate in Cabot Cove Do you think I'm just a tad partial to the episodes set in our favorite cozy enclave?!
The Scent of Murder
....the rest of the series ;)

Anne's List
The Murder of Sherlock Holmes It wouldn't be a must-see list without the very first episode, would it?
Murder Takes the Bus I've always had a fondness for "cozy" mysteries, the ones that trap a handful of people in a claustrophobic environment, and this episode exemplifies the genre in spades.
Joshua Peabody Died Here ... Possibly Seth's first episode! The scenes that start to lay the groundwork for his and Jessica's friendship are the shiniest gems of this episode.
Crossed Up Modeled on Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Rear Window," this is one of the best - and one of the scariest - Cabot Cove episodes.
Mr. Penroy's Vacation Mort Metzger's inaugural episode is heavily seasoned with lighthearted humor.
The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel Any episode that dealt with Frank was a good one because it was sure to get an emotional rise out of Jessica. This episode is no exception.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall (parts 1 and 2) This two-parter pulled out all the stops - and why not? They thought they were ending the series with it.
The Szechuan Dragon Yes, it's a bookend episode - but it's set in Cabot Cove, features all the regulars besides Jessica, and is laugh-out-loud funny to boot.
The Return of Preston Giles What started in "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" comes full circle here, and we get another peek at Jessica's emotional side.
Thursday's Child What was true for the "Dixie Damsel" episode is true for this episode as well - multiplied one hundred times.
Bite the Big Apple Jessica moves to New York, but the transition is anything but smooth. However, thanks to Seth, the transition for viewers is somewhat smoother.
Night Fears Jessica's baptism by fire in New York continues. Creepy, creepy episode - very intense, very good.
A Christmas Secret It's Christmas. It's Cabot Cove. What's not to love?
The Trouble with Seth I like the episodes that featured Seth ... but that's probably patently obvious by now.
Nan's Ghost (parts 1 and 2) Best of the Ireland episodes, which if I remember correctly were Ms. Lansbury's favorites.

Sarah's List "Because my true love is Broadway musical theatre, I love that Angela's co-stars in Sweeney Todd, first Len Cariou (he won the Tony!) and then George Hearn, were in multiple episodes of Murder, She Wrote. Both were the biggest leading men of the 1970s and 1980s. George Hearn is still my favorite male voice from Broadway. Angela has great chemistry with both of these leading men and it showed in these Murder, She Wrote episodes as well."
Widow, Weep for Me (29 September 1985) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
One White Rose for Death (19 October 1986) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
J.B. as in Jailbird (23 October 1988) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
Appointment in Athens (24 September 1989) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
The Sicilian Encounter (20 May 1990) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
The List of Yuri Lermentov (15 December 1991) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
Sugar & Spice, Malice & Vice (29 November 1992) Len Cariou as Michael Haggarty
The Wind Around the Tower (1992) George Hearn as Sean Cullane
To the Last Will I Grapple with Thee (1992) George Hearn as Sean Cullane

Denise's List Not in any particular order. There could be many more, because I love the ones with Seth and the ones situated in Cabot Cove.
If It's Thursday It Must be Beverly It's gotta be the funniest episode - Cabot Cove as Peyton Place
Thursday's Child Jessica dealing with the issues brought up by the thought of her deceased husband's supposed infidelity
Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel That captain should have known not to mess around with Jessica when she's defending her hubby's memory!
A Christmas Secret So sentimental, and has the added benefit of being set in Cabot Cove
JB as in Jailbird Just the look on Jessica's face when Grady says he doesn't know her - priceless!
Death Stalks the Big Top Love the family issues and Jessica finding the brother-in-law she thought was dead
Crossed Up Our Jess in dire trouble, and saved by the buzzer. BTW, hate to contradict you, Anne, but this show is based on the old radio script (later a movie) called “Sorry, Wrong Number), thought the ending parallels that of "Rear Window." You're right! Good catch! -ed.
The Sins of Castle Cove Another Cabot Cove as Peyton Place episode
Bite the Big Apple Jessica movin' on up to the Upper West Side, despite Seth doing all he can to keep her down on the farm.
Who Killed JB Fletcher Another episode that finds our favorite detective in amusing circumstances (I guess you've figured out that I can use all the amusement I can get!)

Paula's List I'm new to Murder She Wrote and have only seen about 50 episodes. These are my favorites.
Deadly Lady This episode, to me, was an introduction to Jessica Fletcher, starting with her writing in the middle of a huricane and ending with her practically leaping into her friend Ethans truck to go fishing.
Lovers and Other Killers This episode started creepy and ended creepy. Heck, the whole episode was creepy. I loved it!
Death Casts a Spell A group of reporters in a Locked room with a hypnotist. When everyone comes to, one of them is dead. A Locked Room mystery!
Funeral at Fifty-Mile I thought J B Fletchers reactions were funny in this episode. I related to them. My friends who watched it with me thought it was was good mystery.
Murder in the Afternoon A soap opera mystery with Countless suspects. Fun.
School for Scandal I'm not sure why I liked this one so much. It kept me engrossed from beginning to end. It was a bit edgy.
Reflections of the Mind Major, major Creepy. Simply shivery wonderful.
A Lady in the Lake Another episode that engrossed me. Very complicated, in a relaxed sort of way. A man and woman in a boat in the middle of the lake. J B Fletcher on shore with binoculars-kind of Rear Window. One of the people in the boat is killed by the other. Or are they? (Did Seth replace Ethan?)
Sticks and Stones A shocking, intense ending to a wonderful 'woman in bathtub electrocuted' story. Wonderful.
Keep the Home Fries Burning A funny, sad, emotional episode. A group of people in a diner and as people leave they drop dead. It also shows personality quirks of towns people who are clearly becoming regulars in this series.
Murder in the Electric Cathedral This was unusual in that tele-evagelists are usually portrayed as nuts. Not here. There was something very human about this episode.
If a Body Meet a Body Don't you hate it when you go to a funeral and the wrong body falls out of the casket? The look of J B Fletchers face alone is worth the price of admission.

Stephanie's List
The Murder of Sherlock Holmes The episode that started it all. What more can I say?
Widow, Weep for Me Looking lovely in peach, strolling along in the moonlight with Michael Haggerty, Jessica informs him, “I know what I want, Mr. Haggerty, and I get it.” Gotta’ love it!
Joshua Peabody Died Here ... Possibly Welcome Seth!
One White Rose for Death Jessica and Michael meet again. Michael suggests picking up where they left off and “rekindling the embers.”
Dead Man's Gold I loved everyone’s response when Jessica is greeted on the street by her old high school flame David Everett.
Stage Struck Jessica reminisces about how she and Frank first met. How sweet!
Crossed Up Cabin fever? Shouldn’t they all know better by now?
If It’s Thursday, It Must Be Beverly Cabot Cove meets Peyton Place.
JB, as in Jailbird For Jessica’s own good.
Mr. Penroy's Vacation Welcome to Cabot Cove, Mort.
The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel All of the episodes dealing with Frank were wonderful because of the intense emotions.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall (parts 1 and 2) Possibly the best of the best.
Appointment in Athens Will Jessica never learn?
The Return of Preston Giles Shocker!
Who Killed JB Fletcher? This one just makes me laugh.
Thursday's Child Another rare opportunity to see Jessica’s heart felt emotions.
Bite the Big Apple Welcome to NYC, Jessica.
The List of Uri Lermentov Okay, so I like all of the episodes with Michael.
A Christmas Secret You have to love Christmas in Cabot Cove.
Nan's Ghost (parts 1 and 2) There couldn’t be a better place for Jessica to visit than Ireland.

John's List Here is my list of my favorite shows. Even after the sixth season I still loved the show for its clean and classy style. But it seems the show took a whole new turn to me after the 6th year.
It's a Dog's Life The comments, "You'll never know old man", gets me everytime-love it.
Murder Takes the Bus
Joshua Peabody Died Here ... Possibly
Sticks and Stones
Keep the Home Fries Burning I always enjoy this one with Amos, Seth and Jessica.
If the Frame Fits
Unfinished Business
Crossed Up
Who Threw the Barbitals in Mrs. Fletcher's Chowder? Gotta love Amos's sister in this.
Mourning Among the Wisterias My favorite episode of them all. So full of rich characters.
Benedict Arnold Slipped Here Great characters in this one.
If It's Thursday, It Must Be Beverly Really cute and funny.
Trouble in Eden
Mr. Penroy's Vacation What can I say, excellent characters with great intro for Sheriff Metzger.
The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel Best show with Frank as the subject, excellent gives Angela a chance to show emotion.
Something Borrowed, Someone Blue This show always makes me laugh.
The Sins of Castle Cove
Town Father Love the mayor in this when he confronts Jessica about her supposed running for mayor.
The Szechuan Dragon
A Christmas Secret

Thomas's List When my grandmother, Catherine, was with us, she and I set aside everything on Sunday nights and tuned in at 8 PM to watch, as I say, "Twelve wonderful years of television." The show still prompts a lump-in-the-throat response, even today. I love the character Ms. Lansbury created in Jessica Fletcher; nobody else could have performed the character, like Lansbury did, for more than a decade. I chose my favorite episode from each season, which is difficult to do, considering they are all wonderful.
Capitol Offense Oblivious to political life, but a quick learner, Jessica steps up to the plate and delivers a performance like no other.
Trial By Error I wish more episodes of MSW were shot in the courtroom. Jessica's takes charge as a jury foreman.
The Cemetery Vote Jessica outside her comfort zone proves dangerous. I like the atmosphere of the episode--suspenseful and dark.
Benedict Arnold Slipped Here The last episode with Sheriff Amos Tupper. A sad day in TV land. My land too.
Alma Murder A cozy episode, interesting red herrings and characters, too.
Shear Madness Another eerie episode, sardonic characters with dark secrets.
A Body to Die For Hands down, no questions asked. The actor who plays "Wayne Bennett," Jason Beghe, is easy on the eyes, even for this viewer.
Incident in Lot 7 Behind the scenes at Universal? Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" house? Suspenseful. Enough said.
Dead to Rights I like watching Jessica "stick it" to her assistant, "Dana Ballard." Go for it, Jessica!
Love and Hate in Cabot Cove Another hottie, "Deputy Ethan Loomis," played by Matthew Flint. Too bad about his demise early in the show.
To Kill a Legend Not only is this homey episode set in Cabot Cove, the cast is enjoyable to watch, as is the storyline. Would make a real page-turner, I think.
The Secret of Gila Junction Maybe not the best episode or storyline, but a cute actor, Jay Underwood, makes the episode worthwhile.

c m's List
The Murder of Sherlock Holmes Yes, I know it's the first episode, but people would want to see this if they want to understand "The Return of Preston Giles" a little better.
Sing a Song of Murder I always enjoyed this episode of Jessica and her cousin Emma Macgill because the way they interact with each other and the other characters. This episode also features Angela Lansbury's Death on the Nile co-star Olivia Hussey.
Funeral at Fifty-mile An episode I've seen a number of times and it still hits you deep.
The Return of Preston Giles The first murderer Jessica has caught returns for her help.
Thursday's Child You know why this one's on my list.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall (parts 1 and 2) Interesting to find out that Jessica has a rival in the literature field.
Novel Connection (Magnum, P.I.) Jessica Fletcher in Hawaii. What's not to like?
Magnum on Ice The sequel to the above episode.
It's a Dog's Life Includes the series' most unlikely muder suspect.
Broadway Malady Includes a cool classic film-esque song sequence at the beginning of the episode.
Crossed Up Jess becomes a witness to a murder plan conversation when bedridden with a bad back.
No Laughing Matter Buddy Hackett, George Clooney, and Sheree North are some of the guest stars.
Old Habits Die Hard Murder in a convent, and Eileen Brennan as a mayor's wife.
Doom With a View Interesting look at a younger man-older woman marriage with Janet Leigh and John Callahan.
Something Borrowed, Someone Blue Done in with a meat thermometer is the housekeeper during Grady Fletcher's wedding.
Who Killed J.B. Fletcher? A fan posing as Jessica is on her way to crackin' the case when she is murdered.
Thicker Than Water A memorable episode with Mort Metzger's brother and a surprise twist.
Murder at a Discount Not only was this the first episode I actually figured out, but the murdered man's name sounds like the name of a rock musician.

Tommy's List "As it seems with a lot of MSW fans, the Cabot Cove episodes tend to be my favorite by far. With well over 200 episodes, it's also kind of hard to narrow down a list of just 10 to 20!"
The Murder of Sherlock Holmes The mystery/story of this episode has actually never been one of my favorites, but it is the very first episode, introduces us to Jessica, and sets up the series. I really do like the way we're introduced to Jessica, Grady, and how Jessica started her writing career though.
Murder Takes the Bus As much as my list seems to mimic Anne's, so do a lot of my reasons for putting these episodes on my list. The mystery/story in this episode is just classic, and with Jessica and Amos in it, it's just about perfect. My brother, who is not necessarily a MSW fan, likes this episode. Nuff said!
Joshua Peabody Died Here ... Possibly The first episode with Seth, Cabot Cove is now complete. This episode also sets up the banter between Seth and Amos, which I enjoy.
Reflections of the Mind As far as the characters go, nothing too special here. For some reason though, I've just always thought the mystery/story here was really good and suspenseful.
Crossed Up This episode just has another really great mystery/story to it. The fact that it's a Cabot Cove episode is just makes it that much better, and with Grady in it, the gang's all here! If I had to name just one episode of Murder She Wrote, that sums up the series to me, this would be the episode.
Who Threw the Barbitals in Mrs. Fletcher's Chowder? A rather quirky episode in which we get to meet Amos' sister and family in-law. Watching poor Amos deal with his family in-law makes this episode worth watching.
Curse of the Daanu A good rather personal episode for Seth. We get to meet some of his family. A good mystery as well.
Mr. Penroy's Vacation The first episode with Mort. While I miss Amos, I think Mort was a good sheriff too. As far as the rest of the episode, it's good too...a rather funny take on the old movie Arsenic and Old Lace.
The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel A good episode in which we get to learn more about Frank. We also get to see Jessica take a very personal interest in the mystery. I think Angela did a great job with the stories that involved Frank. Even though we never met Frank, you almost seem to feel that you know him, and care about the character.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall (parts 1 and 2) A really great episode, among the top five in my opinion. This episode contains some very emotional dialog between Jessica and Seth, that is great to watch. I think it was very well acted out by Angela and William, and really shows how much Seth and Jessica care about each other. On a lighter note, I think this episode also contains one of the best (or at least funniest) scenes, in which Mort asks Jessica if "..this is the death capital of Maine?" I can't help but to laugh so hard during this scene every time I see it! It's a scene that the audience had been thinking for five seasons, and Mort actually says it out loud!
The Szechuan Dragon Like most fans, I don't really like the bookend episodes, but this episode it great. Cabot Cove, Grady and Donna, and a great mystery as well. At least Jessica is in it a little bit throughout.
The Return of Preston Giles A good episode, with great continuity from the first episode.
Thursday's Child Probably the most emotional episode for Jessica, especially where Frank is concerned. If you a fan of the series and the character of Jessica, then this is a must see.
Bite the Big Apple I never cared much for the "move to New York", but it happened, and this is that episode. I do like the fact that Seth is in it. Again, I think it portrays Seth's care for Jessica well.
Night Fears A good and really suspenseful mystery.
Thicker Than Water A personal episode for Mort, in which we get to meet his brother. I like the episodes in which we get to delve into and learn more about the characters and their lives.
A Christmas Secret Another one of my top five episodes. "It's Christmas. It's Cabot Cove. What's not to love?" sums it up better than anything else could. Again, great subplots and dialog with Jessica and Seth.
The Trouble with Seth A great episode involving Seth. If you like Seth, that pretty much makes this a must see episode.
Nan's Ghost (parts 1 and 2) A great mystery set in Ireland. Goes to show that after 12 seasons, the MSW cast and crew still had it in them to make some really great episodes. A lot of shows tend not to be near as good after several seasons, but I think MSW stayed pretty good and true to itself even after 12 years.
Murder Among Friends A great stab at the show Friends! I think it's pretty funny. I enjoy it when shows do things like this every now and then.