Jessica is in New York, doing some research for a new book by visiting the Blackthorn & Sons jewellery emporium. While being given a tour of the vaults by the store owner, the Queen of Tara Tiara, which had been put on display in the store, is stolen. As usual, Jessica must clear her name after she is suspected of being involved in the theft.

Just the facts ma’am:

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

  • The victim was… the gem buyer for the store!
  • killed by… the in-house jewellery designer!
  • in… his apartment!
  • with… a decorative dagger that was displayed on his wall!
  • because… he was becoming violent after she discovered he had stolen the tiara!
  • vital clues: chosen mode of transportation.

Cast of characters:

The story revolves around the Queen of Tara Tiara, a stage prop used by the famous actress, Siobhan O’Dea, who became a recluse after the death of her fiance, who originally gifted her the tiara.

Before Mr. Sprock could become husband number four, he choked to death on a fried oyster in the Empire Grill.

  • Classic screen actress Jean Peters plays the reclusive Siobhan O’Dea in her only appearance on MSW and her last on-screen role ever. Jean Peters was famously known for becoming a recluse for almost 20 years after her husband Howard Hughes. This is one of a handful of on screen appearances she made after his death.

The theft of the tiara is being investigated by a couple of female police officers, who are thinly veiled copies of Cagney & Lacey.

  • Lucie Arnaz (left) plays Det. Bess Stacey in her only appearance on MSW. Lucie Arnaz is famous for being the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. She is also married to Laurence Luckinbill, who made guest appearances on MSW four times.
  • Patty McCormack (right) plays Det. Kathleen Chadwick in her second and final appearance on MSW. She previously appeared in “No Accounting for Murder“. McCormack was also the first actress to play Carol Baldwin on Magnum, P.I.; she appeared as the character in an episode of Season 3 before the role was taken over by Kathleen Lloyd from season 4 onwards

Much of the remainder of the cast is connected to Blackthorn & Sons jewellery emporium, where the Tara Tiara had been put on display

  • Michael Constantine (left) plays gem buyer Laszlo Dolby in his second and final appearance on MSW. Constantine famously appeared as the patriarch in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  • John McMartin (right) plays store owner Hudson Blackthorn in his third out of four total appearances on MSW.
  • Erin Gray (left) plays in-house jewellery designer Andrea Dean in her only appearance on MSW. Gray is famous for starring in Silver Spoons.
  • Barbara Bosson (right) plays store manager Diane Raymond in her only appearance on MSW. Bosson will go on to have a major role in Murder One, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
  • David Sheiner (left) plays security chief Leo Selkirk in his second and final appearance on MSW. This is also his last on-screen appearance ever.
  • Wayne Heffley (right) plays “Security Guard”, referred to by name as “Wilson” in the episode. This is Heffley’s second and final appearance on MSW; he previously appeared in “Murder Through the Looking Glass“.

Outside of the jewellery emporium, a couple major and supporting characters include:

  • David Naughton (left) as Ken Parrish, a journalist for WQEJ, in his only appearance on MSW.
  • Barry Dennen (right) as WQEJ’s attorney, Sheldon Persky, in his only appearance on MSW. Dennen is known for being a singer and voice artist who played Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, and lived with Barabara Streisand as lovers before she became a star.

Final thoughts:

Aside from what was already mentioned above in the discussion of the cast (i.e. Jean Peters’ last role; Cagney & Lacey spoof), this episode is yet another one where Jessica receives some male attention. While not outwardly flirty, Hudson Blackthorn does try to impress Jessica by giving her a late-night tour of his vaults.

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