Murder, She Wrote 4.19 “Just Another Fish Story”

Jessica’s nephew Grady has just gotten engaged (!) and Jessica is visiting him in New York to meet his fiancee, Donna. They choose to eat at Amy’s Farm Restaurant — a place that serves stew from slop buckets and meat skewered on pitchforks — since Donna is the restaurant’s accountant and since Grady had convinced Jessica to invest in it.

The outdoor scenes are filmed on a set.

Their plans to attend an engagement party in Fishkill, the town where Donna’s parents live, is thwarted by a murder investigation!
(“Fish story…” “Fishkill…” there’s a theme happening here…)

Just the facts ma’am:

Spoilers are in white font, so highlight the text below to reveal the answers.

  • The victim was… the restaurant host (maitre d’)!
  • killed by… Grady’s fiancee!
  • in… the restaurant’s walk-in freezer!
  • with… a frozen fish!
  • because… she was trying to defend herself after he started attacking her when she refused to take part in his scheme to steal from the restaurant!
  • vital clues: she knew that caviar was also stolen.

Repeat offenders

Michael Horton makes his 8th appearance as Jessica’s nephew, Grady Fletcher.

Debbie Zipp makes her first of four appearances as Grady’s fiancee Donna. Zipp also made one previous appearance as a different character in “The Way to Dusty Death“.

Otherwise, there’s a pretty big cast of recurring actors in this one…

  • Dick Gautier (left) as the victim, Chaz Crewe. This is Gautier’s second and final appearance on the show.
  • James Carroll Jordan (right) as the restaurant’s co-owner and brother of the chef, Doug Brooke. This is his third of four total appearances on the show.
  • Brenda Vaccaro (left) as society columnist Mimi Harcourt. This is her first of three total appearances on the show.
  • Jack Carter (center) as bartender Harry Finlay in his second and final appearance on the show.
  • Dallas Cole (right) makes a brief appearance as Nerissa, a celebrity guest to the restaurant. This is her first of two appearances on the show.
  • Zale Kessler (not pictured) also makes a brief appearance as a cook — so brief that I couldn’t get a good picture of him. This is his second of three appearances on the show. He previously appeared in “The Cemetery Vote

And finally, Norman Fell, a.k.a. Mr. Roper from Three’s Company, is here playing Lt Ralph Rupp. This is Fell’s second and final appearance on the show.

Big names

Aside from Norman Fell, there’s just one main big name in this episode, but boy what a big name it is!

Sonny Bono plays Valentino Reggiore, a rival restaurateur.

Final thoughts

This is such a fun episode, particularly because of all the drama surrounding Grady and Donna’s relationship.

We learn that Donna’s dad fired Grady 5 years ago after he worked only a few days, and now Grady is afraid to meet him. We also learn that Donna wants to be a stay-at-home mom, but is afraid to tell Grady because she thinks he wants her to be a career woman.

But we also learn that the two of them are perfect for each other, as Jessica points out multiple times. Not least because Donna has now gotten herself mixed up in a murder investigation and needs Jessica’s help. Welcome to the family, Donna!


    1. I never noticed this pattern in her appearances, but I did always assume that she gets Jessica’s name wrong simply because the characters she plays are always a bit self absorbed.


  1. Debbie Zipp is the real-life wife of Michael Horton.
    Here’s what I’m wondering…how exactly did Gautier’s character die? From the slashing wound from the frozen fish? Striking his head on the shelf? Or did he freeze to death, since he may have been simply knocked unconscious by the blow? It was never really established. It was established, though, that his character was a creep.

    Liked by 1 person

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