Season 5 ends on a two-parter, and I’m going to summarize both episodes as one here.
The story starts in New York City with Eudora McVeigh, an award-winning mystery writer who is experiencing her success wane and is worried that her greatness will soon be overshadowed by J.B. Fletcher. She decides to take a trip to Cabot Cove, Maine to meet her rival, which makes us as viewers suspicious of just what she is up to.
Just the facts:
Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.
Click to reveal the victimIt was a private investigator who followed Hank and Bobby Shipton from New York! (The actor playing the character was uncredited.) There is also an attempted murder involving a poisoned apple that Seth ends up eating!
Click to reveal the killerIt was Eudora’s step-son Bobby!
Click to reveal the weaponIt was not clear what the murder weapon was; although the attempted murder was due to a poison injected into an apple.
Click to reveal the locationHe was killed in the woods but then dumped at the bottom of the cliffs!
Click to reveal the motiveHe was afraid of no longer having access to Eudora’s money!
Cast of characters:
As this is a Cabot Cove episode, we have:
- William Windom playing Seth Hazlitt.
- Ron Masak playing Sheriff Mort Metzger.
- Will Nye playing Deputy Floyd.
We also have characters relating to Jessica’s writing rival:
- Jean Simmons plays Eudora McVeigh Shipton, the best-selling mystery novelist.
- Ken Howard plays Hank Shipton, Eudora’s husband. (This is Howard’s second of five total appearances on MSW.)
- Daniel McDonald plays Bobby Shipton, Hank’s son.
And characters from the writing business:
- Richard Anderson plays Lew Bracken, Eudora’s publisher. (This is Anderson’s only appearance on MSW, but he’s probably best known for co-starring in The Six Million Dollar Man.)
- Shelley Fabares plays Liza Caspar, Eudora’s agent.
- David Hedison plays Victor Caspar, Liza’s husband. (This is Hedison’s second and final appearance on MSW.)
Other characters include pool sharks (Jonathan and Willie) whom Bobby Shipton owes money to; a couple local thugs that beat up Bobby (Arnie and Joey); members of the press (a photographer named Gadge and a T.V. Reporter); a doctor and nurse at a local hospital. Of these the following actors appeared in multiple episodes of MSW:
- Richard Erdman as Jonathan. (This was his second and final appearance.)
- Ken Gerson as Willie. (This was his first of two total appearances.)
- Robert Dryer as Arnie. (This was his second and final appearance.)
- Edward Penn as the doctor. (This was his first of two total appearances.)
- Lisa Nelson as the nurse. (This was her second and final appearance.)
Final thoughts and other trivia
The episode title is a reference to Snow White. In the episode we find that Jessica Fletcher (i.e. Snow White in this analogy) has become more popular than Eudora McVeigh (i.e. the wicked queen/stepmother), so Eudora tries to find her and offers her a basket of poisoned apples.
This episode was meant to be the final episode of the show–and there are hints early on in the script that Jessica Fletcher might be retiring from her writing and globe-trotting ways–but after Angela Lansbury was convinced to sign on for one more season, the script had to be rewritten.