Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Dear Deadly 

When a newspaper columnist becomes the target of a crazed gunman, Jessica's advice to be careful is ignored.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Daphne Ashbrook ... Alexis Hill
Casey Biggs ... Max Charles
Eileen Brennan ... Loretta Lee
Kristen Cloke ... Emma Kemp
John Rhys-Davies ... Harry Mordecai
Rosanna Huffman Rosanna Huffman ... Nell Carson
Seth Jaffe ... Lt. Evans
Laurence Luckinbill ... John Galloway
Eric Woodall Eric Woodall ... Troy Higgins
Charles Gunning Charles Gunning ... T.D.
Mike Barger Mike Barger ... Lab Man
Jerry Taft Jerry Taft ... Guard


Publisher Harry Mordecai, a San Francisco newspaper's new owner, is such a meddler -but doesn't insist with his ideas to make Jessica's new book spicier- that editor John Galloway quits, but accepts to stay on a month. Wall Street reporter Max Charles hears his grumpy colleague Loretta Lee -in fact a passed-on pen name for Claire Hogan-, who runs a very popular letters column, found out his game to write a glowing column about a stock till it rises enough, then cash in and talk in down again. After Loretta had an argument with Harry, a man shoots her in the arm in the lobby while she was standing next to John and Jessica. SFPD Lt. Evans, using prints from a bottle in an abandoned coat, arrests T.D. for the shooting. When John and Jessica go tell Loretta the news, they find her dead at the hotel she was hiding out at. John's name is carved into a glass table with Loretta's diamond ring, but the position on the ring on her finger means she probably didn't write it. Jessica guesses Max's... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

false identity | delivery boy | See All (2) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 October 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although set in San Francisco, no scenes were actually filmed there. See more »


[first lines]
T.D.: You're dead, Loretta.
See more »


References All the President's Men (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

"San Francisco, Lock up Your Silver Vase, There by the Body Lying Inside Your Door"
13 December 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

San Francisco, California, serves as a popular setting among "MSW" locations, with fifteen episodes featuring the Golden Gate City, including two which venture into nearby Sonoma Valley vineyards, plus seven Dennis Stanton bookend accounts headquartered here, these presented during Seasons Six and Seven. This episode represents the sixth of Jessica's eight murder investigations centered in the greater San Francisco area.

When Publisher Harry Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies) purchases a San Francisco newspaper, a rapid series of unfortunate events unfolds after he announces plans to serialize the latest Mystery book by author J.B. Fletcher (Angela Lansbury).

Editor John Galloway (Laurence Luckinbill) suggests sensationalizing the story to give it more sauce, and, thereby, a wider potential audience, but when Harry Mordecai disagrees with John's notion, John gives him a one-month notice for his intent to quit his post, overlooking the fact that one holding his position ought to set a professional example to other employees.

Claire Hogan, meanwhile, manages a newspaper advice column under the nom-de-plume of Loretta Lee (Eileen Brennan) (not to be confused with the character of Loretta Lee in "MSW" episode 5-20). When Mail Clerk Troy Higgins (Eric Woodall) delivers readers' correspondence, Claire/Loretta shuffles through the envelopes to seek letters from one particular source, overlooking a minor fact that her column may be produced by a ghost-writer.

Financial Reporter Max Charles (Casey Biggs), meanwhile, creates a different problem for the newspaper: while he embellishes reports on Wall Street investment stocks, to cause their value to rise, he secretly invests in such profitable commodities, then sells those stocks, before reporting on their down-swing in value, overlooking the principle that such practice may conduct unethical behavior.

Journalist Alexis Hill (Daphne Ashbrook) seeks a lucrative career in investigative reporting, she compiling information about a homeless resident, to combine a series of reports regarding the harsh reality of poverty with a human interest angle about the late subject, overlooking certain minute details, such as fabrication and plagiarism.

While Troy Higgins makes his inner-office rounds delivering the mail, he also runs outside errands, such as running to a medical repair shoppe to pick up the hearing aid for Claire/Loretta although he takes his good old time, while expressing interest in co-worker Emma Kemp (Kristen Cloke), who also strings along Max, they overlooking a few standard work ethic conventions, such as not slouching by filling their shifts with leisure activities.

Alexis, meanwhile, discovers Max' financial scheme and blackmails him into supporting her career objectives and lavish lifestyle.

Jessica accompanies John and Claire/Loretta into the newspaper lobby, as Loretta and Harry embark in a heated argument. On the steps outside, T.D. (Charles Gunning) takes aim with a pistol beneath his rugged overcoat and injures Loretta in the arm with a bullet, causing her to collapse. All right, nobody overlooks the fact that assault with a deadly weapon is considered brutal and illegal.

Jessica spots T.D. as he scurries into the shadows and describes him to the investigating law enforcement officer, SFPD Lieutenant Evans (Seth Jaffe), who manages to track him down because of Jessica's description.

A homeless Nell Carson (Rosanna Huffman) expresses great concern for Loretta once she is also tracked down, this time by Jessica, who promises her complete discretion because Nell's life, too, could be in danger if her identity were revealed, especially after Jessica and John stumble across a body which has been bludgeoned by a silver metal vase-like pitcher vessel beside a glass table, underneath of which the name "John" has been carved into pane by a diamond ring.

When John is arrested for murder, a series of truths are revealed, leading the way for Jessica to piece together the clues as to the identity of the perpetrator. "Dear Deadly," what should Jessica do now? This San Francisco-based episode cast is rounded out by Mike Barger as Lab Man, and Jerry Taft as Guard.

This episode marks the most recent appearance to date by Jerry Taft, acting since 1971, the second of only two television roles for Eric Woodall, the seventh "MSW" guest performance by Rosanna Huffman, and the fourth "MSW" guest role and one of the most recent television acting appearances to date by Laurence Luckinbill, who has been acting since 1967.

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