Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user

The Return of Preston Giles 

Out on parole, Jessica's former publisher tries to woo her back into the fold.


Walter Grauman


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


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Lois Chiles ... Millie Bingham Stafford
George Coe ... Martin Bergman
Arlene Golonka ... Gloria Winslow
Arthur Hill ... Preston Giles
Michael McKean ... Ross McKay
Todd Susman ... Det. Sgt. Jack Slocum
Brynn Thayer ... Linette McKay
Gordon Thomson ... Kendall Stafford
Regina Leeds Regina Leeds ... Dorothy
Kriss Turner Kriss Turner ... Secretary
Michael Fairman ... Cabby (as Michael Eugene Fairman)
Steven Connor ... Assistant Manager


The very first murderer Jessica put away is out of prison. Preston Giles, who published Jessica's first book, was subsequently sent up on her evidence after he admitted to killing a business rival who had ruined him and set him up on bogus theft charges (he also killed another suspect as a red herring). Double life sentence for murder? You'd think so, but Preston Giles gets a Get Out of Jail Free card after only six years behind bars. The circumstances are such that even Giles himself is looking over his shoulder to see who might have pulled strings to get his convictions overturned (nobody will admit to it). Giles goes back to his old job at the publishing house (again for reasons not clear to anybody). But before he committed the murders, Giles had feuded with another editor, who is still at the firm -- but not for long, as he is swiftly slain. Either Giles committed murder number three or is the patsy in an extremely elaborate frame-up designed solely to pin the crime on him. Written by Peter Harris

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 November 1990 (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 final screen appearance of Arthur Hill. See more »


[first lines]
Ross McKay: [on phone] Al, you're killin' me. Look, all we're talkin' is another 5,000 copies. End of the month, you have my word.
Ross McKay: Al? Al? Al, why don't you let me worry about the paper suppliers, and you stick to the printing and the binding, okay? Okay, thanks, buddy. Yeah, you're a prince.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Deadly publishing
12 October 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

"The Return of Preston Giles" is not just one of the finest Season 7 episodes, it's to me also a high point of 'Murder She Wrote'. It executes all its components so superbly, that it is easy (or at least to me it was) to overlook the real-life implausibility of a double murderer being out on parole after serving prison time the equivalent of the amount of prison time for domestic violence in the UK. Far more implausible things have happened on television regarding prison sentences, a 'Criminal Minds' episode where an inmate was given an implausibly fast execute date within months of only being arrested, when it takes at least half a year for a case to come to trial and then most death row inmates spend at least a decade on death row, springs immediately to mind.

It was great to see Preston Giles again, returning from the pilot episode "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes", even though one doesn't condone his crimes there is the sense here that he is not an evil person and really wants to reform. Arthur Hill does a wonderful job and his chemistry with Angela Lansbury (on terrific form as always too) sparkles.

Lansbury and Hill have a top drawer cast supporting them every step of the way and on their level. Michael McKean, Lois Chiles, Gordon Thomson and Brynn Thayer are particularly good. The mystery is riveting and very suspenseful, with one of 'Murder She Wrote's' most shocking endings (with a nail-biting build-up and then the murderer's reveal leaving one floored). The very end too is heart-wrenching, making "The Return of Preston Giles" one of the show's most emotional episodes, for reasons that won't be spoiled, but fans and those who've seen the episode will know.

Production values as ever are slick and stylish. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune. The writing is suitably light-hearted, amiable and intriguing while taking itself seriously when needed without going overly so.

Altogether, superb episode and a show favourite. 10/10 Bethany Cox

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed