Jessica Fletcher

Jessica Beatrice Fletcher formerly MacGill is a retired English teacher but now a successful murder mystery novelist.

Fletcher lives in Cabot Cove, a small town of 3,560 inhabitants situated in Maine. Fletcher’s husband, Frank died a couple of years before the start of the series.

Jessica and Frank never had children but did have a large family which roughly consisted of 5 siblings (3 brothers, 2 sisters, 9 nieces, 3 nephews, 6 cousins and 8 other relatives). Often, their family members were involved somehow in a murder which Jessica later goes on to solve exonerating the relative. Jessica travels the world with her writing and wherever she goes, murder is not far from her. Fletcher has written forty two best selling novels with one being made into a film which featured in one of the episodes.

Fletcher is played by English born actress Angela Lansbury appearing in every 264 episodes from 1984 through to the shows end in 2003.

Other regular cast members

The following characters appear in the show more than 15 times

Murder She Wrote

Dr. Seth Hazlitt

The local doctor of Cabot Cove and one of Jessica's best friends and most intrepid supporters. Hazlitt was played by William Windom who appeared in the show 49 times between the years 1985 to 1996

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Sheriff Amos Tupper

Cabot Cove's sheriff at the start of the series. Tupper later retires and goes to live with his sister. Tupper was played by Tom Bosley from 1984 to 1988 appearing 19 times

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Sheriff Mort Metzger

A former NYPD officer who takes Tupper's place as sheriff in the mistaken belief that he would be living in a more peaceful place. Ron Masak appeared as Metzger 38 times between 1988 and 1996.

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Deputy Andy Broom

Louis Herthum played Broom and appeared in 25 episodes from 1991 to 1996.

In it more than once or twice

The following characters appear in the show less than 15 times but more than twice.

  • Grady Fletcher, Jessica's not-so-lucky favorite nephew, who (through no fault of his own) always seems to get in trouble with the law. After many romantic disasters, he gets married later in the series. Fletcher was played by Michael Horton and appeared in 12 episodes from 1984 to 1995
  • Jean O'Neil, the local disabled librarian in Cabot Cove. Madlyn Rhue played O'Neil in 4 episdoes from 1993 to 1996
  • Harry McGraw, an old-school private investigator who becomes friends with Jessica. Jerry Orbach played McGraw from 1985 to 1991 and appeared in 6 episodes)
  • Michael Hagarty, a British MI5 agent who would appear when Jessica least expected him to drag her into a dangerous case. Len Cariou played Hagarty from 1985 to 1992 in 7 episodes
  • Sam Booth, the genial, ineffectual mayor of Cabot Cove whose main campaign promise is that he will do nothing, and that's exactly why the people of Cabot Cove vote for him. Richard Paul played Booth from 1986 to 1991 in 7 episdoes.
  • Eve Simpson, the Cabot Cove realtor with a great love for men, both single and married, and for gossiping. Julie Adams played Eve Simpson in 10 episodes from 1987 to 1993
  • Loretta Speigel, Cabot Cove's lovelorn hairdresser, also an inveterate gossip. Ruth Roman appeared as Loretta Speigel in 3 episodes between 1987 and 1989
  • Dennis Stanton, a suave English former jewel thief turned insurance claims investigator, who always solves his cases using unusual methods, and often sends a copy of the story to Jessica afterwards. Keith Michell appeared as Stanton from 1988 to 1993 in 9 episodes
  • Charlie Garrett, a disreputable private investigator who usually gets into trouble and needs Jessica's help. Wayne Rogers played Garrett from 1993 to 1995 in 5 episodes
  • Ethan Cragg, Jessica's fisherman friend. Claude Akins played Cragg in 4 episodes during 1984
  • Artie Gelber, a NYPD Lieutenant and Jessica's friend. Herb Edelman played Artie Gelber in 10 episodes from 1984 to 1995

Did you know?

Harry McGraw played by Jerry Orbach went on to have his own dedicated show called The Law & Harry McGraw in 1987. It ran from September of that year to February 1988.

Guest stars

Over the years, Murder, She Wrote starred some top celebrity names. Some were starting out in the acting world, some were in their prime. Here are a select few.

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Bryan Cranston

We all know him from both Malcolm In The Middle and Breaking Bad but he also appeared in Murder She Wrote no less than 3 times.

"Menace, Anyone?" (1986), "Good-Bye Charlie" (1990), "Something Foul In Flappieville" (1996)

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Courteney Cox

She seems to have been around for years appearing in Friends and also the He Man movie in the 80's.

"Death Stalks the Big Top: Parts 1 & 2" (1986)

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George Clooney

The heart throb actor who went on to Hollywood fame appeared on the show in 1987. He also appeared on Streethawk.

"No Laughing Murder" (1987)

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Linda Hamilton

John Connor's mother appeared on the show in 1986 alongside Bryan Cranston.

"Menace, Anyone?" (1986)

  • George Takei

    "The Bottom Line is Murder" (1987)

  • Adam West

    "Death Takes A Dive" (1987)

  • Tom Selleck

    "Magnum on Ice" (1986)

  • Joaquin Phoenix

    "We're Off to Kill the Wizard" (1984)

  • Leslie Nielson

    "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean" (1985)
    "Dead Man's Gold" (1986)

  • Mickey Rooney

    "Bloodlines" (1993)

  • Andy García

    "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" (1984)

  • Neil Patrick Harris

    "Lone Witness" (1993)

  • Ned Beatty

    "The Murder Of Sherlock Holmes: Pilot" (1984)

  • Dean Stockwell

    "Deadpan" (1988)

  • Ernest Borgnine

    "Death Takes a Dive" (1987)

  • Yaphet Kotto

    "Steal Me a Story" (1987)

  • Patrick Macnee

    "Sing a Song of Murder" (1985)
    "The Dead File" (1992)

  • Caitlyn Jenner

    "Sudden Death" (1985 - As "Bruce Jenner")

  • Billy Zane

    "A Very Good Year for Murder" (1988)