Ben Matlock is a very expensive criminal defense attorney, who charges one hundred thousand dollars to take a case. Fortunately, he's worth every penny, as he and his associates defend his clients by finding the real killer.
A wealthy mystery man named Charlie runs a detective agency via a speakerphone and his personal assistant, John Bosley. His detectives are three beautiful women, who end up in a variety of difficult situations.
Former high school English teacher and famed mystery writer Jessica Fletcher (Dame Angela Lansbury) has a gift for solving mysteries. You see, it seems murder follows her around, whether it be to the houses of her seemingly endless number of friends, nieces, and nephews, or right in her hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine. Jessica is sometimes assisted by her friend Dr. Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) or the local Sheriff, Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) and Tupper's successor, Mort Metzger (Ron Masak), a former New York City cop. Sometimes, later in the series, Jessica would only serve as narrator. In later seasons, Jessica moved to Manhattan to teach criminology at Manhattan University.Written by
Mike Hatchett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Another recurring character was Michael Hagarty (Len Cariou), an undercover agent, who met up with Jessica at many different locales all over the world. Cariou also starred with Dame Angela Lansbury on Broadway as part of the original cast in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street". See more »
Jessica Fletcher often undertakes actions which would result in evidence and investigation being compromised. Since she is only a crime novel writer and has never been a police officer, these actions could result in cases being dropped or overturned upon appeal. There is no way that the local District Attorney would allow her to perform the actions that she does. See more »
You don't have to be an old lady to like this show; I'm sixteen years old and a male to boot. I am a big fan of whodunits, and always have been. This is one of the best. In the first few seasons, several episodes featured creative and delightful gimmicks. Although creatively the series sagged a bit in the "middle years," the last two seasons showed a resurgence in quality. Throughout the series' twelve years, however, very few episodes failed to deliver in terms of the mystery itself: it's always fun to try to find the clues and deduce their meaning before the detective does, but if you don't, it's also fun to hear the explanation.
Although there are several lovable recurring characters, the only real regular in the series is Angela Lansbury. Consequently, the format is refreshingly free, and the writers aren't forced to bog the stories down for a boatload of regulars. However, there are always plenty of interesting characters acting as suspects. Frequently there are famous beloved older guest stars, especially in the first few seasons, but the special guest star is not always the killer; the mystery always comes first! This is an old-fashioned mystery series, unmarred by an overdose of violence or melodrama. Plus, Jessica Fletcher is a character that one can't help but love, and Angela Lansbury plays it to charming perfection.
There is, of course, the obvious creative license: that Jessica Fletcher always accidentally stumbles across a murder. If you are willing to put this aside, this is a show one can really enjoy. (Note: The show pokes fun at itself on occasion, including one where Jessica reveals that she is nicknamed "the Bloody Mary of murder.")
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