One of the longest-running of a number of TV series in the 1980s geared toward older audiences, this one was a showcase for Angela Lansbury who had acted in two Agatha Christie features. Here, she was perfectly cast as a crime novelist who was living in a small Maine town, Cabot Cove, and frequently became involved in real-life murder mysteries; over the years, the show widened its horizons as Jessica traveled more. The episodes relied on OK mysteries, even if the show continued long after losing its original appeal; what always sustained it were Lansbury’s performance as the charming but dangerously inquisitive sleuth, and the warm and humorous portrait of Cabot Cove and Jessica’s neighbors. John Addison’s music theme was a perfect fit for the show.
1984-1996:U.S. Made for TV. 264 episodes. Color. Created by Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson, William Link. Theme: John Addison. Cast: Angela Lansbury (Jessica Fletcher).
Trivia: Followed by four TV movies and a spin-off series, The Law & Harry McGraw (1987-1988). Jean Stapleton and Doris Day were allegedly considered for the lead.
Golden Globes: Best Drama Series 86; Actress (Lansbury) 87, 90, 92.