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My dear Fletcher-fans, it turns out that our favourite Cabot Cove doctor, Dr. Seth Hazlitt, has a brother named Richard that he’s been estranged from for the past 30 years.
The episode starts with Seth and Jessica Washington DC, having made a trip there to confer with their congressman, as you do. And rather than go right back to Cabot Cove, they detour to Maryland, where they’ve been invited to a polo match — of course!
The invitation was supposed to have been from Richard, but they soon find out that it was all down to Richard’s new, much younger, wife.
Then, just as Seth and Richard have made amends about the fact that the girl Seth was in love with many years ago had married Richard instead, tragedy strikes involving a legendary Indian ruby.
Just the facts ma’am:
Spoilers are in white font, so highlight the text below to reveal the answers.
- The victim was… Seth’s brother Richard!
- killed by… his father-in-law!
- in… his locked study!
- with… (the cause of death is never revealed, but it’s possibly poisoning or strangulation given that it was meant to look like he’d died as a result of a curse)!
- because… his father-in-law thought that his daughter would be happier just having Richard’s money rather than living as a trophy wife!
- vital clues: he knew something he couldn’t have known–such as the fact that the cigarette was Turkish and that the ruby was found in a glove.
This is one of the few episodes where a Cabot Cove character appears outside of Cabot Cove.
William Windom plays Seth Hazlitt for the 14th time on MSW. Here he is seen vehemently denying that he’s married to Jessica.
Larry Linville plays police Lt. Steven Ames. This is Linville’s 2nd out of a total 3 appearances on MSW. Of course, he’s best known as Frank from the TV series M*A*S*H.
Douglas Barr (left) plays Richard’s son Mark Hazlitt. This is Barr’s first of two total appearances on MSW. Clive Revill (right) plays Bert Davies, Richard’s new father-in-law. This is Revill’s second and final appearance on MSW.
Shout out goes to Michael Blue who plays the “explorer” in the flashback sequence. This is his first of two total appearances on the show. In his next appearance, he’s simply credited as “Policeman #1”.
Big Names & Honourable Mentions:
Unusually for a Murder, She Wrote episode, there are a lot of actors who only make a single appearance on the show.
Kabir Bedi has a major role in the episode as Vikram Singh, the cultural attache from the Indian embassy, sent to convince Richard to sell him the ruby. Bedi is a prolific Bollywood actor.
I thought it would be fun to make note of the actors who played Seth’s family members. There’s Richard Bradford (left) playing Seth’s brother Richard; Jane Windsor (center) playing Richard’s new wife Alice; and Jane Badler (right) playing Richard’s daughter Carolyn.
Aside from learning about Seth’s brother, we also learn more about Seth’s life in general and the fact that eventually he married a woman named Ruth and settled in Cabot Cove.
The premise of this episode recalls the premise of the classic detective novel The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. One curious thing about this episode is the Indiana Jones-esque introduction. Around the same time that this episode aired, there was a similarly inspired episode of Magnum, P.I. titled “Legend of the Lost Art”, in which Kabir Bedi also had a major role. It’s curious to me that there should be so many similar stories on TV at the time since it had been 4 years since the Indiana Jones sequel, and the third movie in the series wasn’t due to come out for another year.
Finally, one of the funniest motifs in this episode involved the fact that the police lieutenant was under the impression that Jessica was a government agent!