Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Unwilling Witness 

After being subpoenaed to testify at the Grand Jury probe of a brokerage house, Jessica is charged with contempt. Released on a technicality, she has to dodge further subpoenas while finding out who killed the man they think she talked to.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


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




Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Joel Brooks ... Ted Duffy
Ron Dean ... Lt. Shawn Riley
J. Downing ... Nicholas Logan
Lisa Eichhorn ... Fed. Prosecutor Annette Rayburn
Shea Farrell ... Reed Harding
Stan Ivar ... Lou the Lawyer
Larry Linville ... Paige Corbin
Janel Moloney ... Maria Corbin
Sydney Walsh ... Tiffany Beckman
Peter White ... Mason Logan
Paul Ivy ... John Wicks
Randall Carver ... U.S. Marshall Bill Morgan
Vicki Browder Johnson ... Newswoman (as Vicki Browder)
Dree Lange Dree Lange ... Female Sergeant


When prosecutor Annette Rayburn, a real bulldog, takes on Logan Investment, the board members who face serious litigation have reason to panic, one even disappears. Among the many worried clients is Jessica, who bought a few shares in a mutual fund for a 10-year-old relative. To her utter surprise she finds herself subpoenaed and threatened with contempt of court charges unless she confesses to a conversation she never had, or rather only held the horn 8 silent seconds. While evading further subpoenas, the man she was supposed to have talked to turns up dead. Now she has to not only clear her name but find out who the killer is. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 December 1995 (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?


Jessica's Manhattan phone number is shown to be 212-124-7199. See more »


When Jessica calls the Emergency Number, the operator answers and immediately tells Jessica to hold. The operator never heard Jessica's voice, but comes back on the line and says, "Yes, Ma'am..." See more »


[first lines]
Tiffany Beckman: If this is a crisis meeting, why isn't Doug Fremont here?
Reed Harding: He said he had an appointment out of the office.
Tiffany Beckman: In business school, Doug was voted "Most Likely to Bail at the First Sign of Trouble."
See more »

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User Reviews

Witness to contempt and murder
30 December 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.

While "Nan's Ghost" gets my vote as the best episode of Season 12, "Unwilling Witness" to me is a very close second. It is also a standout of the post-Season 8 episodes (what is meant by "latter seasons" as cited in previous reviews). Can't really think of anything wrong with it, other than it slightly lacking in the extra something of the very best episodes.

The mystery is very twisty and has a lot of energy. A highlight is the twist ending, that is terrific, and is not only the best ending of Season 12 and one of the best and most unexpected endings of post-Season 8 but also one of the most leaving-one-floored-in-shock endings of the show.

Angela Lansbury can't be faulted in one of her best remembered roles. Likewise with the truly charming supporting cast in one of the best-cast episodes of Season 12 and of the latter seasons. Standouts are Lisa Eichhorn, in full on bitchy mode and not looking at all uncomfortable with it, Larry Linville, Sydney Walsh, Joel Brooks and Shea Farrell.

Production values 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 fun and thought-provoking, not taking itself seriously.

Summing up, one of Season 12's best episodes. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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