Murder, She Wrote 5.14 “From Russia…with Blood”

Jessica Fletcher is in Moscow attending the International Arts League Conference to celebrate the fact that her books are finally being translated into Russian.

At a reception for conference attendees, Jessica Fletcher gets the attention of local law enforcement after a spy attempts to smuggle microfilm out of the Soviet Union in her handbag.

Just the facts ma’am:

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

  • The victim was… a waiter who stole Jessica’s purse after a roll of microfilm was placed in it!
  • killed by… the Russian cultural minister!
  • in… a basement corridor at the Ministry of Culture!
  • with… a gun!
  • because… the microfilm contained information that the killer had collaborated with the Nazis during WWII!
  • vital clues: the killer avoided walking through the metal detector.

Cast of characters:

There are a number of important Russian personnel in this episode:

  • Peter Donat plays Sergei Chaloff, a fellow writer and Jessica’s host at the conference. Donat also played different characters in the TV Movie “Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle”, as well as two other episodes: “Final Curtain” and “The Dying Game”.
  • Jack Bannon plays Chief Inspector Bernicker, a member of the Russian Militia. Bannon also played a different character in the episode “Murder in the Electric Cathedral”.
  • Anthony Geary plays KGB Lt. Fyodor Alexandrov. Geary also played a different character in the episode “Hannigan’s Wake”.
  • Jeremy Kemp plays Minister Melnikov, the Russian Cultural Minister.
  • Michael Chieffo plays Nikolai, the Cultural Minister’s assistant.
  • Milos Kirek plays Dukhov, a waiter at the conference reception and the murder victim.

There are also a number of British and American characters:

  • David McCallum plays Cyril Grantham, the cultural attache with the British Embassy. McCallum also played a different character in the episode “Deadly Misunderstanding”.
  • Judy Parfitt plays Peggy Brooks, a UK literary agent.
  • Adrian Zmed plays Bert Firman, a member of the national press association. Zmed is known for playing Officer Vince Romano in the TV cop show T. J. Hooker.
  • Christine Rose plays Miss Eleanor Hayes, a secretary at the US embassy.

The cast of characters is rounded out by:

  • Oliver Darrow playing a taxi driver; John Lykes playing Alexei; Max Lazar playing Ivan; Eve Brenner playing Irina; Christina Cardan playing a female writer; and Erik Silju playing a guard.

Final thoughts:

As is usual in Murder, She Wrote episodes set in exotic places, stand-in actors were hired to dress up as Jessica Fletcher and her companions for establishing shots of the location. These shots are usually from the back or from very far away so that the stand-in’s face isn’t clearly visible.

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