Grady and Donna are getting married and we’re all invited! As mentioned in “Just Another Fish Story“, Donna’s family hails from Fishkill, N.Y.

Just the facts ma’am:

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

  • The victim was… the housekeeper!
  • killed by… the uncle’s fiancee!
  • in… probably the kitchen but moved to the garden to buy time!
  • with… a meat thermometer!
  • because… she swindles insurance money from her former husbands and she was recognized!
  • vital clues: a look of recognition on housekeeper’s face and her previous places of employment.

Cast of characters:

This is a huge wedding with a sizable cast of characters to match!

  • Michael Horton (left) makes his 10th appearance on the show as Grady Ambrose Fletcher
  • and Debbie Zipp (right) plans Donna Marie Mayberry. This is Zipp’s 3rd appearance as Donna, but 4th appearance overall.
  • Eugene Roche (left) plays Donna’s father Franklin Mayberry. This is Roche’s 3rd of 4 total appearances on MSW, each time as a different person. He previously appeared in “Deadpan“.
  • Gale Storm (right) plays Donna’s mother Maisie Mayberry in her last ever onscreen acting credit.

Donna’s maternal uncle has made it to the wedding all the way from Greensboro, North Carolina. Uncle Ziggy is played by Howard Morris and his betrothed Valerie is played by Betsy Palmer. This is Palmer’s second and final appearance on MSW.

  • Bill Macy (left) plays Donna’s paternal uncle, Uncle Ben Mayberry. This is Macy’s second and final appearance on MSW. Macy is well known for playing Bea Arthur’s husband Walter on Maude.
  • The investigation is being overseen by Police Chief Slocum, played by Rick Hurst (right). Hurst played Cletus on Dukes of Hazard.

Household and wedding staff include:

  • Conchata Ferrel (left) as housekeeper (and victim) Harriet Lundgren. Ferrel is best known for playing Berta the housekeeper on Two and a Half Men.
  • Ray Buktenica (right) as caterer Kyle Laughlin. Buktenica was Benny Goodwin on Rhoda and had a major role on Housecalls starring Wayne Rogers.

There were lots of other guests and staff at the wedding, most notably:

  • David Byrd (top left) as the minister, in his second and final appearance on MSW.
  • Patricia Barry (bottom left) as star client Mrs. Belle Pentworth, in her first of two appearances on MSW.
  • Barbara Townsend (bottom right) as party crasher “cousin” Clara, in her first of two appearances on MSW. Townsend played Mildred Potter on AfterMASH, adding yet another connection between MSW and MASH.
  • Clayton Landley (top right) as the inexplicably uncredited Wilfred Wynn III, Donna’s childhood sweetheart.

Notable for having numerous minor roles on the show are:

  • Alexander Folk (left) as Delivery Man, in his third of seven total appearances on MSW.
  • David Stenstrom (right) as the photographer, in his first of four total apparances on MSW.

Recurring actors not pictured include:

  • Michael Leopard as ice bucket delivery man (1 of 2 appearances)
  • Trent Dolan as chairman (1 of 2 appearances)
  • Ralph M. Clift as wedding guest (2 of 2 appearances)

Final thoughts:

The most noteworthy thing about this episode is that Michael Horton and Debbie Zipp (a.k.a. Grady and Donna) are married in real life. (They’ve been married since the 70s and are still together!)

The episode also confirms the special relationship that Jessica has with Grady — Grady came to live with Jessica and her husband Frank when his parents (Frank’s brother and sister-in-law) were killed in a car accident.

Additionally, the house that stands in for the Mayberry’s estate is Arden Villa, which has made many appearances on screen. It previously appeared in “Mourning Among the Wisterias“, and it’s perhaps best known for standing in for the Carrington mansion on the original Dynasty.

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