Murder, She Wrote 6.2 “Seal of the Confessional”

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Jessica Fletcher is home in Cabot Cove for this episode! She’s taking a walk on the beach when she runs into a young man who turns out to be a visiting Catholic priest. They quickly strike up a friendship, so when the priest hears someone confess to murder, he asks Jessica for advice on what to do.

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim It was Evan West, a local businessman and all-around creep!
Click to reveal the killer It was the nurse, Marilyn!!
Click to reveal the weapon He was stabbed with a knife!
Click to reveal the location It was in Marilyn’s house, but she later used an old wheelchair to get his body back to the beach!
Click to reveal the motive Marilyn was having an affair with Evan and was horrified to find out that he was chasing after his step-daughter!

Cast of characters:

As this is a Cabot Cove episode, we have the regulars:

  • William Windom as Dr. Seth Hazlitt
  • Ron Masak as Sheriff Mort Metzger
  • Will Nye as Deputy Floyd. (This is Nye’s 6th out of 14 total appearances on MSW as the same character.)

At the centre of this story is:

  • Hunt Block as Father Donald Barnes, a new priest who has come to temporarily cover for the local priest who has gone on vacation. (This is Block’s first of three total appearances on MSW.)
  • Jennifer Runyon as Kelly Barrett, a young local who has confessed to Father Barnes that she has committed murder. (This is Runyon’s first of two total appearances on MSW.)
  • Madlyn Rhue as Doris West, Kelly’s mother. (This is Rhue’s first appearance on MSW. A couple of years later, she joins the show as a recurring regular, Cabot Cove librarian Jean O’Neill.)
  • Bonnie Bartlett as Marilyn North, Doris’s nurse/carer.
  • Jon Cedar as Evan West, local businessman, Doris’s husband and Kelly’s stepfather.

Other locals in this story include:

  • Lance Kerwin as Eddie Frayne, a young local who is mentally disabled.
  • Alan Feinstein as George Woodward, a lawyer hired to defend Eddie. (This is Feinstein’s first of two total appearances on MSW.)
  • Robert Horton as Jack Hutchings, a former English teacher and old friend of Doris and Kelly. (This is Horton’s last ever on-screen appearance.)

There were also a handful of minor characters credited, but all of the remaining actors made only a single appearance on MSW.

Other trivia and final thoughts:

The premise of a murderer confessing to a priest who is then unable to divulge the killer’s identity is also the premise of the Alfred Hitchcock film I Confess (1953). Those who have seen both this episode and the Hitchcock movie thus might find some similarities.

As I have been trying to keep track of recurring actors on the show, I also found it interesting that Jennifer Runyon and Hunt Block both appear in another MSW episode: “Murder, Plain and Simple”, albeit as different characters.

If you’re interested in collectibles, you can purchase this photograph featuring Angela Lansbury and Madlyn Rhue filming this episode. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

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