Murder, She Wrote 6.4 “The Error of Her Ways”

Jessica is in Palm Springs for this episode, attending an investors’ meeting for a local real estate development.

Unusually for the series, this episode begins with Jessica Fletcher offering a solution to a crime: the real estate developer has been murdered and according to Jessica it was his wife that bumped him off. But as the episode progresses, we’re left to wonder: could Jessica have been wrong?

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim There were two victims in this episode. One that happened prior to the start of the episode involved the death of Clark Randall (a real estate developer). The second involves the death of Clark’s wife Marian !
Click to reveal the killer It was Pauline, an investor who was having an affair with Clark!
Click to reveal the weapon Clark was shot by his wife, but not fatally, and Pauline then smothered him with a pillow! Marian died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a car exhaust.
Click to reveal the location Clark was killed in his living room; while Marian was killed in their garage!
Click to reveal the motive Clark stole $3 million from the investors and was going to escape to Buenos Aires! Pauline was greedy for the money and also jealous because Clark was planning to go to Buenos Aires with someone else.

Cast of characters:

The episode begins with the death of a housing estate developer.

  • An uncredited actor plays Clark Randall, the victim and housing estate developer.
  • Katherine (Kathy) Cannon as Marian Randall, Clark’s wife. (This is Cannon’s second of four total appearances on MSW.)
  • Marilyn Jones as Linda Dixon, Marian’s sister. (This is Jones’ second of three total appearances on MSW. She previously appeared in “Coal Miner’s Slaughter“.)

There are also a number of characters involved with the housing development proposed by the victim.

  • Paul Gleason as Sterling Bose, the realtor in charge of the new development. (This is Gleason’s first of three total appearances on MSW.)
  • Susan Blakely as Pauline Byrne, a home buyer and an investor. (This is Blakely’s first of four total appearances on MSW.)
  • Marshall Thompson as Ward Silloway, Jessica’s accountant.
  • Barbara Parkins as Kay Webber, former bank vice-president.

And of course there is a cast of local law enforcement:

  • Elliott Gould as Lieutenant JT Hanna, local police detective.
  • Louis Herthum as Deputy Kruger. (This is Herthum’s second appearance on MSW. After this, he goes on to have a recurring role as Cabot Cove Deputy Andy Broom.)

There are also a number of minor characters. Of these, most notable are:

  • Thomas H. Middleton as Dr. Melville. He previously appeared in “Showdown in Saskatchewan“.
  • Elvia Allman who plays an Elderly Lady for the second time on MSW.
  • Robin Gordon as an employee. She had minor appearances in three MSW episodes.
  • Edmund L. Shaff as a banker in his first of two appearances on MSW.

Final thoughts and other trivia:

Thanks to a contributor on, I learned that this is another script written by Donald Ross where the characters were named after jazz musicians. He did a similar thing in “Three Strikes You’re Out“.

Many of the characters were specifically named after members of the Bob Crosby Orchestra, a 1930’s band led by Bing Crosby’s brother Bob. They include:

  • trumpeter and cornetist Sterling Bose
  • trombonist Ward Silloway
  • vocalist Kay Weber
  • singer and band leader Clark Randall
  • vocalist Pauline Byrne


  1. I hope one day to understand this episode. There are a few like this that I believe you could do a more deep dive in, as I think many of us are left with questions. On the surface Jessica was wrong as the wife didn’t kill him. But I feel that as far as the wife knew, she had. The hard part of this is that the wife seems genuinely sincere in her belief of her own innocence as is her sister. But later we find that she shot him then stole his watch to make it look like a robbery. So she is full of it? Have you ever seen someone literally shout their innocence only to be lying? It’s confusing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, I’ve never thought too deeply about this episode, and I may take you up on your suggestion to do a deep dive into it at some point. I’m trying to make sure I do a basic summary of each episode first, so it might be a while before I come around full circle to review this particular episode again.


  2. I was completely confused by this episode. I kept going back to try to find Part 1. There was no Part 1. This was it.



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