"Murder, She Wrote" The Corpse Flew First Class (TV Episode 1987) Poster

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7/10
Fortunate Misfortunes and Other Airborne Calamities
WeatherViolet20 January 2010
This episode marks the final acting appearance by Classic actor, singer, dancer and director Gene Nelson, who has been performing in film and on television since 1939, and also the last appearance for Charles Davis, who has been acting since 1951.

As passengers begin to board a trans-Altantic flight from Boston, Massachusetts to London, UK, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) meets several, including Gunnar Globle (Pat Harrington Jr.), who attempts to garner an audience with her to consult him about a manuscript which he has written, as he assumes an airline seat beside Jessica.

Otto Hardwick (Robert Walker Jr.) claims that he suffers from allergies to smoke, and so he exchanges seats to ride beside Errol Pogson (David Hemmings), who introduces himself to Jessica as a Scotland Yard Investigator.

Louis Metcalf (Gene Nelson) and Mrs. Metcalf (Mary Jo Catlett) conduct themselves quietly near the rear of the first class compartment, they sharing a secret which they intend to keep between them.

Celebrity actress Sonny Greer (Kate Mulgrew) boards with her bodyguard, Leon Bigard (Mark Venturini), who expresses discomfort in confined spaces especially toward an overnight flight across the Atlantic. But he's to guard her and her valuable diamond necklace, while she roams freely from deck to deck.

Airline staff includes Captain Whetsel (Chris Robinson) and flight attendants Kay Davis (Robin Dearden) and Elizabeth Welsh (Lia Sargent). Jessica perceives Kay's preoccupation with outside concerns as Kay serves Jessica's meal, selected from a rather full menu, along with an accompanying wine list, and so Jessica must remind her which wine goes with which type of entrée.

Other passengers include Fred Jenkins (Andrew Parks), Carney (Charles Hoyes), Blanton (Vince Howard), Mr. Stegmeyer (Charles Davis), and Doctor Cliff Strayhorn (John S. Ragin), who comes in handy when someone is murdered across the aisle from Jessica, and John Sukahara (James Shigeta), whose jewelry expertise comes in handy to identify the recovered stolen diamond necklace as imitation glass.

With the assistance of the crew and Otto Hardwick, who expresses romantic notions in Jessica's direction, Jessica reviews ticket booking records to discover which passengers and crew members have made last-minute reservations, when it is discovered that the two flight attendants have been seeing the same pilot in Paris.

When Jessica finally names an alleged perpetrator, the suspect confesses to the theft and the murder, and is placed in the custody of Otto Hardwick.

But as Jessica ponders the confession, she realizes a different theory and quickly places an air-to-ground telephone call to London, whispering, "Time is of the essence," as "The Corpse Flew First Class."

The cast is rounded out by Don Maharry as Mr. Miley, Crystal Jenious as Mrs. Miley, Ron Barker as The British Chief, Ian Howard as Security Man, Ron Southart as Bobby, Jim Malinda as Photographer, John Straightley as Customs Man, and Gerald York as Man on Phone.

This episode also represents the first acting credit each for Ian Howard, Don Maharry, and the most recent acting credit for Ron Southart, as well as the first of two "MSW" guest roles each for James Shigeta, Robert Walker Jr., the second of two each for Crystal Jenious, Andrew Parks, Ron Southart, John Straightley, the first of three each for Robin Dearden, Charles Hoyes, the second of three for Gerald York, the first of four for Kate Mulgrew, the second of four for Pat Harrington Jr., and the second of five "MSW" performances for Vince Howard.

In addition to Charles Davis and Gene Nelson, Mark Venturini, acting in a brief 10-year career since 1985, and David Hemmings, acting since 1954, and directing since 1972, including the next "MSW" episode, (#3.13), have unfortunately since passed.
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9/10
Flying with the enemy
Sleepin_Dragon2 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Jessica is surrounded by the wealthy and successful on a first class plane to London. Her travel companions include the glamorous actress Sonny Greer, along with her Chauffeur Leon, a Hollywood producer Gunnar Globle a Member of the British CID, Inspector Errol Pogson and a secretive couple. The flight is interrupted when Leon is discovered dead, and a valuable necklace of Sonny's he'd been protecting is discovered missing.

It comes as no surprise to see this episode sitting at the top of the IMDb pile of rated episodes. It is wonderfully clever, loaded with characters and genuinely suspenseful. Jessica has her work cut out as she has two crimes to solve.

It is a fabulous looking episode, expenses were clearly not stinted on this one. A first rate cast, Kate Mulgrew is excellent and certainly looks the part as Sonny Greer. Worth watching for the performance of Mary Jo Catlett (Mrs Metcalf) alone, who adds the lighter side to the episode, an actress I am hugely fond of.

I can see why this one is so highly regarded, personally I wouldn't say it's my favourite, but it's in the top ten. 9/10
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10/10
Murder in the air
TheLittleSongbird5 August 2017
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 Corpse Flew First Class" is actually one of my favourite episodes of Season 3 and of 'Murder She Wrote' in general, refreshingly following up one of the season's lesser episodes "Night of the Headless Horseman". It has one of the show's most diverting, cleverest and at times suspenseful mysteries, where nothing feels over complicated or simplistic and nothing is as it seems. How everything is explained is ingenious, one of Season 3's best endings where everything about how and why the crimes were committed and who are very plausible.

Even with a confined and simple setting (a plane), the episode is slickly and stylishly shot and the fashions and hairstyles are fun to watch, not many hilariously bad ones here. 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 script is thoughtful and suitably amiable and as said there is nothing to fault the story.

Angela Lansbury is great as always and she is matched by a perfectly cast and note-perfect Kate Mulgrew. David Hemmings is a strong, sturdy presence and Pat Harrington is a hoot.

Overall, wonderful and one of my favourites actually. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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4/10
check out these names!
hipppo36525 September 2007
Note the many characters in this episode named after Duke Ellington's sidemen: Carney, Blanton, Bigard, Strayhorn, Whetsol, Otto Hardwick, Sonny Greer....somebody was having a good time (or just bored outta his gourd!) Note the many characters in this episode named after Duke Ellington's sidemen: Carney, Blanton, Bigard, Strayhorn, Whetsol, Otto Hardwick, Sonny Greer....somebody was having a good time (or just bored outta his gourd!)Note the many characters in this episode named after Duke Ellington's sidemen: Carney, Blanton, Bigard, Strayhorn, Whetsol, Otto Hardwick, Sonny Greer....somebody was having a good time (or just bored outta his gourd!)
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8/10
Quite a transAtlantic flight
bkoganbing26 May 2018
This MSW story has Jessica Fletcher on a transatlantic flight with some very interesting passengers one of them is an Elizabeth Taylor like film star played here by Kate Mulgrew whose got a diamond necklace she likes to flaunt. Of course she gets it stolen and her current boy toy Mark Venturini poisoned.

There is however a Scotland Yard man in David Hemmings also on board and he arrests the thief Robert Walker, Jr.

Believe that's not the end of the story and as that other TV sleuth Lt. Columbo would say there are just a lot of loose ends that don't quite fit. Leave it to JB Fletcher to figure it all out.

This one is one of the best in the series and the ending will surprise you.
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8/10
Echoes of Sherlock Holmes
davidrediscovery25 August 2019
Watch the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movie Terror by Night. It's the same story as this episode, except Jessica is flying while Sherlock was traveling by train. The same trick by the thief used to get the gem off the train/plane. The same odd pair of suspects who turn out to be a red herring. MSW did add one extra twist on the end as to the identity of the murderer and it's a good episode otherwise, but some deja vu for fans of the old Sherlock Holmes movies.
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