Murder, She Wrote 5.3 “Mr. Penroy’s Vacation”

Jessica is back in Cabot Cove for the first time this season, and there’s a new sheriff in town who’s in for a rude awakening regarding the local crime rate.

Some exposition to explain Amos’s absence: He has moved back to live with his family in Kentucky.

Just the facts ma’am:

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

There were two deaths in this episode. One is Mr. Penroy (who dies from a heart attack after proposing to and being rejected by one of the Appletree sisters). The facts surrounding the other death are summarized below:

  • The victim was… Mr. Penroy’s bank heist associate!
  • killed by… his scorned wife!
  • in… the Appletree sisters’ yard!
  • with… a pitchfork!
  • because… he left her high and dry just before collecting the bank heist money!
  • vital clues: “Holy…!” (or something that sounds like it).

Cast of characters:

As this is a Cabot Cove episode, we see a few familiar faces.

  • William Windom (left) appears as Dr. Seth Hazlitt for the 16th time. This is Windom’s 17th of 53 total appearances on the show.
  • Richard Paul (right) plays Mayor Sam Booth in his third of 8 total appearances on the show.

This episode also introduces us to a couple of characters who become series regulars:

  • Ron Masak (left) debuts his role as Sheriff Mort Metzger. This is his third of 41 total appearances on the show. (His first two appearances were as different characters. One of these was in “No Accounting for Murder“.) We also get introduced to his wife Adele, who is an invisible character much in the same way that Mrs. Columbo is on Columbo.
  • Will Nye (right) debuts as Deputy Floyd in his first of 15 total appearances on the show, all as the same character.

The main story, however, revolves around some actors who only made a single appearance on the show.

  • Teresa Wright (left) and Joan Leslie (center) play local home owners, the Appletree sisters, Helen and Lillian.
  • Henry Jones (right) plays Morris Penroy, their lodger. Jones has appeared in many things, but most notably he has appeared in every episode of the Columbo spin-off: Mrs. Columbo.

Most of the remaining cast, however, is made up of recurring actors:

Mr Penroy’s three train robbery heist associates. Each of these actors make their first of two total appearances on MSW.
  • Tim Choate (left) plays Daryl Croft
  • Al Pugliese (center) plays Ole Korshak
  • Don Calfa (right) plays Clifford Coleson. Don Calfa is most famous for playing the hit man on Weekend at Bernie’s.
  • Candice Azzara (left) plays Cliff Coleson’s wife, Marilee Coleson in her only appearance on MSW. Fans of 90s sitcoms might recognize her as Annie’s mom from Caroline in the City.
  • Norman Alden (right) plays special investigator for B&W Railroad, Bart Klapper (2 of 2). This is his second and final appearance on MSW.

Final thoughts:

There are a few interesting bits of trivia to notice in this episode.

First, the mention of Cabot Cove as a tourist destination is made explicit in the episode, once again supporting my theory that the town’s population isn’t necessarily as small as advertised on the welcome sign.

Another bit of trivia can only be noticed if you’re like me and have been watching each episode closely. I’ve noticed a couple of instances where sets were reused in different episodes for different purposes. If you compare this episode to the previous season’s “Benedict Arnold Slipped Here“, you’ll find the following:

In this episode, we see that the Cabot Cove (bus) Depot is located next to Cabot Cove Realty (top picture). However, the same building was used as the exterior of Benny’s Antiques and Collectibles in “Benedict Arnold Slipped Here” (bottom picture).
The interior of the Appletree sister’s house in this episode (right) looks remarkably like the Benedict Arnold house (left).

If you’re a fan of the Cabot Cove episodes featuring Mayor Sam Booth, you may be interested in one of the products with my “Sam Booth for Mayor” design. This design is directly inspired by the election signs seen in the episode “Town Father”. Available on TeePublic:


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