Here we are, at the beginning. The very first episode of Murder, She Wrote.
Here's where we get to meet Jessica.
She's a kind, retired-school teacher from Maine.
She has a knack for noticing details.
She's involved in the community.
She has a sweet nephew Grady.
She likes to run.
She travels by train.
And for fun, she wrote a book.
Mind you, she never meant for anyone to read the book. She wrote it for fun. But sweet, lovable Grady shared it and it got published!
Jessica is shocked, because did I mention she didn't mean for anyone to read it? Well, she didn't! You see, some people like to needlepoint, but that's not for her.
[side note: I'm a big fan of needlepoint myself. And knitting. And crocheting. And all kinds of things. But I'll forgive Jessica for not being a fan of it because she's pretty awesome].
Anyway, back to MSW, Jessica travels to the big city to make the book promotion rounds and meets Preston Giles. There's definitely a spark there - one Preston is ready to explore, but Jessica isn't quite ready.
Even though her husband Frank pass away a bit ago, it's obvious she still loves him very much (and misses him).
Poor Preston, he doesn't stand a chance. But he invites Jessica to his house for a party. There she gets to meet a slew of interesting people (Caleb McCallum - a fish guy; Louise McCallum - his wife; Peter Brill - a (off) broadway guy; Ashley Vickers - a co-worker of Grady's; Arnold - a punster) where a fun time is had by all at the party. Well, until Grady sees someone snooping in his room and finds a private eye names Dexter Baxendale has "crashed" the party.
The next morning, they find ::gasp:: a dead body in the swimming pool!
But who is? And who did it?
Well, it's Baxendale and I can you believe it, the police think Grady did it!
The detective seems a bit on the, um, bumbling side of things. And Jess is positive that Grady is innocent. So naturally, she jumps in to work on the case.
Then the most dreaded words on a television show appear on screen:
to be continued.
Wasn't that just the worst? In the days before streaming and on demand and binge watching being common place. At least this is the first episode, and not the last of season. Because how unfair for television producers to make us wait like that for what will happen next. And it's not like in real life, right at a key point, you can just turn, look at the people around you and say You know what, let's continue this later, m'kay? Great! and then you just go on with things for a bit and continue. More than once, I would have liked to do this. I remember once my kids were mad at me - we had a rough day and one of my daughters looked at me (she was young) and said "You are now in a time out!" So I, in my motherly maturity said "Fine!" and went to my room for a few minutes. I'll let you decide how genius it was of me to do that, but it felt like the right thing to do. My little "to be continued" once I started breathing again normally and wondering how early is too early for boarding school.
And no, none of the children have been sent to boarding school. But that same child is now 16 and teases me a lot for being obsessed with MSW!
Since I'm streaming the show, I ignore that to be continue and just click play next.
And here we are. Jessica is ready to figure this murder out.
It involves some trespassing and following people.
Into a bad part of town.
I don't mean to alarm you, but a black man on the bus is giving Jessica the funny eye.
And when she gets off the bus, he follows her.
Know what happens next?
She gets jumped by two white guys!
She threatens to call the police and they joke about if a phone is in her purse - which is funny looking at it today. Today, they would have assumed she had a cell phone and stolen in.
And then the black man saves her because she's a celebrity now!
(Were they trying to make a social statement there? Were the writers trying to challenge stereotype? Was it merely a play to throw us as viewers off? I'd like to think it was the former, but I think it was probably just the latter)
This doesn't deter Jessica, although Grady and Preston wish it would. But Jessica has a lead that she isn't giving up that easily.
But wait, there's more! Another dead body discovered!
What happens next? Well ... you'll just have to watch and find out. I'd hate to give the ending away! But rest assured, there's a plot twist coming that you probably didn't see coming. Or maybe you did. It's hard to guess sometimes with these shows because it's always the last person you'd think of, which makes them the first person you think of, and well, that can make things a bit confusing.
That aside though, I love this episode of MSW. I've watched it more times than one person should have! A perfect way to introduce us to Jessica Fletcher. Though I do sometimes wish the first episode had taken place in Cabot Cove, as that's where she lives, but then again, better to not have her first foray into helping the police being to find who murdered a friend.