We’re in Cabot Cove again Fletcher-fans! The locals are celebrating their Founders’ Day when they get a surprise visit from a man who delivers a document that states:
Granted to Chief Manitoka and his heirs in perpetuity, all those lands ending at the water’s edge which can be seen from the hill of the God That Creates Rain, also known as Algonquin Peak, to the east, to the north, and to the south, as far as the eye can see on a day of bright sunshine.
Thus, this episode centers on the premise that:
In 1858, an Algonquin chieftain named Manitoka helped the British win a major battle against the French. And in appreciation, the British governor general bestowed upon the chief and his descendants a grant of land which includes all of the area which you now call Cabot Cove.
Just the facts ma’am:
Spoilers are in white font, so highlight the text below to reveal the answers.
- The victim was… the town drunk!
- killed by… his wife!
- in… his kitchen — though he was later moved by his brother-in-law to the Town Hall!
- with… a kitchen knife — but the wound was obscured by an Algonquian lance!
- because… he was abusive!
- vital clues: paint varnish on the victim’s hand.
As this is a Cabot Cove episode, we of course get an appearance from Tom Bosley as Sheriff Amos Tupper (his 17th of 19 total appearances) and William Windom as Seth Hazlitt (his 13th of 53 total appearances).
We additionally get Richard Paul (far left) reprise his role as Mayor Sam Booth (his 2nd of 8 total appearances).
- Theodore Bikel plays Professor Harold Crenshaw, who was called in to authenticate the document. This is his first of a total four appearances on MSW. Mystery TV fans might recognize Theodore Bikel as the genius killer from the 1977 episode of Columbo titled “The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case”. Super sci-fi fans might recognize him as Worf’s adoptive father from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Charles Siebert (left) plays mortgage specialist Norman Edmonds. This is his second of a total three appearances on MSW.
- Lonny Chapman (center) plays town drunk, Addison Langley. This is also his second of a total three appearances on MSW.
- Garry Lockwood (right) plays the victim’s brother-in-law, Tom Carpenter. This is his second of a total four appearances on MSW.
A couple people who made a couple of appearances on the show. Both actors had major TV roles prior to their appearances on Murder, She Wrote.
- Jack Colvin (left) plays Harris Atwater, a representative of a company who wants to build a resort hotel near the town. This is his first of two total appearances on MSW. Jack Colvin had a major role as Jack McGee in the Incredible Hulk series from 1977-1982.
- Heidi Bohay (right) plays Donna Crenshaw, the professor’s daughter. This is also her first of two total appearances on MSW. Heidi Bohay had a major role as Megan Kendall in the series Hotel.
Jennifer Salt appears in this episode playing the victim’s wife. She also had a major role as Eunice Tate on the popular late-70s soap opera spoof Soap.
Bernard (Bernie) White played the “Indian” George Longbow. Not actually “American Indian” but Sri Lankan. I’m guessing they couldn’t find an actual Native American actor who would agree to play this role as it doesn’t always present things in the most respectful way.
I will save looking at the various Mendocino locations in the episode for a separate post. However, I will quickly mention that, somewhat inexplicably, scenes surrounding the town hall seemed to be shot on a set rather than on location.
Another major theme in this episode is real estate development and the fact that few people in Cabot Cove want to see a resort hotel built. I find it curious because, based on some other episodes (e.g. Season 3’s “Simon Says Color Me Dead”), I was under the impression that Cabot Cove was already a popular tourist spot.
And one final fun tid-bit: while everyone else is afraid of losing the value of their home if it turns out they don’t really own the land it’s on, Seth is unfazed because he rents!