Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Indian Giver 

A Native Indian lays claim to Cabot Cove, throwing the town into chaos. When a local with valuable property is found murdered, all signs point to the town's supposed new land owner.


Walter Grauman


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 5 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Theodore Bikel ... Professor Harold Crenshaw
Heidi Bohay Heidi Bohay ... Donna Crenshaw
Tom Bosley ... Sheriff Amos Tupper
Lonny Chapman ... Addison Langley
Jack Colvin ... Harris Atwater
Gary Lockwood ... Tom Carpenter
Richard Paul ... Mayor Sam Booth
Jennifer Salt ... Helen Langley
Charles Siebert ... Norman Edmonds
Bernard White ... George Longbow (as Bernie White)
William Windom ... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Otto Felix Otto Felix ... Deputy
Ralph Meyering Jr. Ralph Meyering Jr. ... Reporter
Terry Burns Terry Burns ... Television Reporter


Algonquin George Longbow disturbs Mayor Sam Booth's speech in full warrior dress to deliver, by spear, his hereditary claim to the land-rights granted by the British to his ancestor Chief 12 generations ago. A land strip including all Cabot Cove. While history professor Harold Crenshaw, George's girl-friend Donna's father, verifies the document's veracity, people panic and protest. It turns out he is only demanding reasonable rent. The local businessman involved in an impending major development project is found dead with an Algonquin spear in his chest, as everybody eagerly assumes by George, who is soon after found, roughed up and brought to Amos by local hot-head hoodlums. Jessica, however, believes in his innocence and sets out to prove it. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title is an old English expression to describe a person who gives a gift and then later wants it back. See more »


During the Founder's Day ceremony, Amos is wearing a tie, but when he Seth and Sam are driving to Algonquin Point his tie is missing. However, when they get to the point and are surveying the area mentioned in the letter his tie mysteriously reappears around his neck. See more »


[first lines]
Mayor Sam Booth: Friends. Neighbors. My heart swells with pride as I stand before you on this special day to once again celebrate the long and glorious past of this great town of ours.
See more »


Indian Love Call
Written by Rudolf Friml, Herbert Stothart, Otto A. Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
Performed by Emmaless Frisbie
See more »

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User Reviews

Confrontation between Civil Unrest and Uncivil Rest
14 October 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

At an outdoor event to commemorate Cabot Cove's Founders' Day, Mayor Sam Booth (Richard Paul) addresses a gathering of townsfolk, with Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley), Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) and Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) at his side, when a horseback rider attired in ceremonial feathers, George Longbow (Bernard White), interrupts the speech, by pitching a long-handled spear, bearing the copy of a document, to the podium.

Mayor Booth appoints Jessica and Seth, as a committee of two, to investigate the validity of the document's claim that the area south of Willow Creek surrounding Cabot Cove, including the community itself, had been ceded by British settlers to "Algonzan Natives" as a land grant in 1768, for supporting their military cause. Seth and Jessica pay a visit to Professor Harold Crenshaw (Theodore Bikel), an expert on American Indian lore, to authenticate the document, along with his daughter, Donna Crenshaw (Heidi Bohay), who shares a secret familiarity with George Longbow.

Jessica decides to summon concerned citizens to Cabot Cove Town Hall, for Professor Crenshaw and the civic leaders to address the gathering, thereby, perhaps luring George Longbow into the room with the original document to attempt to authenticate, and to learn of his intentions for Cabot Cove should his claim prove true.

Banker Norman Edmonds (Charles Siebert) arrives at the meeting to dispute any notion that properties belong to a false legal claimant. Real Estate Developer Harris Atwater (Jack Colvin) has been planning to construct a $17 million resort hotel near Cabot Cove, which now seems unlikely. Irate alcoholic resident Addison Langley (Lonny Chapman) had taken an option upon purchasing the parcel of land upon which the developers had planned to construct the tentative hotel project.

When Addison arrives with his wife, Helen Langley (Jennifer Salt), and her protective brother, Tom Carpenter (Gary Lockwood), tempers begin to flare further amid the gathering, which points the blame to George Longbow, who escapes into the night.

The next day, Jessica and Seth, again meet with Professor Crenshaw at the Mayor's office, as Norman Edmonds enters to repeat his stand that his bank holds the mortgages for approximately half of Cabot Cove properties. George insists that he does not plan to displace any residents, but to tax everyone about $200 per year, with the fees to be contributed to a scholarship fund for underprivileged Native American Indian children.

When Jessica pays a visit to Helen Langley, she observes Helen's speaking with Harris Atwater at curbside, before tripping en route to her front gate. When Jessica assists Helen to return inside, she notices bruises upon her face and wrist.

Reporters flock around the exterior of the Sheriff's office, which usually happens at least once every season even though Cabot Cove has the one daily newspaper, the Gazette, one radio station, and no television stations. This time, reporters seek information about the "Indian Giver" plus the body which is discovered at Town Hall with the spear driven through its chest that morning.

Tom Carpenter and his flock of buddies, who have been threatening George Longbow, at least until Donna Crenshaw intervenes, capture him in the woods outside of town when Donna isn't watching and beat him, before transporting George to the Sheriff's office, where he is incarcerated before a stunned Jessica.

Jessica is convinced that George Longbow didn't commit the crime because he is too intelligent to leave the body in a public location with the symbolic ceremonial spear pinned into its chest. Instead, clues point to someone's going through great measures to pin the rap on George, so she has a community filled with problems to sort through.

The cast is rounded out by Deputy (Otto Felix), Reporter (Ralph Meyering Jr.), Reporter #2 (Maggie Kedron), Television Reporter (Terry Burns), Tom's Buddy #2 (Gerald York) and various performers with cameo spots.

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