Murder, She Wrote 5.15 “Alma Murder”

Jessica Fletcher is summoned by her old sorority sister to visit her alma mater after her old college professor confesses to murdering a young. Jessica doesn’t believe her professor is capable of murder and so sets out to prove that he’s innocent.

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 district attorney!
  • in… her home!
  • with… a blow to the head by a heavy candlestick!
  • because… she witnessed him driving the car that killed a student!
  • vital clues: the killer’s number is the last one the victim had dialed; also he knew that she had been drinking wine just before her death.

Cast of characters:

The episode starts in Cabot Cove:

  • Hank Pruitt, Cabot Cove handy man, is played by Owen Bush in his second and final appearance on MSW.

The action then moves to the university. A large a number of characters have ties either to the university and the sorority.

Jessica’s old friends include:

  • Professor Leon Walker, Jessica’s former professor, is played by E. G. Marshall. Marshall is notable for playing Juror No. 4 in 12 Angry Men.
  • Emily Dyers, Jessica’s old sorority sister and current sorority house mother, is played by Dinah Shore. Shore was a singer and widely popular television host from the 1950s to the 1970s. This episode marks Shore’s final on-screen appearance.
  • Margaret Stone, Jessica’s old sorority sister and Leon’s research assistant, is played by Janice Rule.
  • Paul Robbins, Jessica’s old college friend and current district attorney, is played by Ralph Waite. Waite is probably best known for playing Pa Walton on The Waltons.

Current members of the university community include:

  • Rhonda Sykes, a local troublemaker and graduate student, is played by Kate Vernon. This is Vernon’s second and final appearance on MSW. She previously appeared in “No Accounting for Murder“.
  • Steve Chambers, a university teacher and son of one of Jessica’s college friends, is played by Jason Beghe. This is Beghe’s first of two total appearances on MSW.
  • Karen Chambers, Steve’s wife and sorority sister, is played by Dana Sparks.
  • Sara Haines, a former undergraduate sorority sister whose fiance died when Rhonda and he got in a car accident, is played by Felicia Lansbury. Felicia Lansbury is a Angela Lansbury’s niece. This is her first of four appearances on MSW.

Additional roles include:

  • Lee De Broux played Sergeant Trask in his first of two appearances on MSW.
  • Carol, the district attorney’s secretary, is played by Kerry Michaels.
  • Robert Hackman played Policeman #1.
  • David Wilson played a waiter.

Final thoughts:

I like this episode as gives us lots of information about Jessica’s life when she was much younger.

We learn quite a bit about Jessica’s college years from this episode: she belonged to the Delta Alpha Chi sorority, and she went to Harrison College in New Hampshire.

It’s also fun to see the district attorney, Jessica’s former boyfriend, get flirty with Jessica. Alas, as it is in all other Murder, She Wrote episodes, the romance doesn’t last!

We also learn that she has been living in her house in Cabot Cove for almost 30 years.

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