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Surprisingly, the producers of the show chose to air yet another “bookend” episode as the season finale. This episode is not about Jessica Fletcher, but instead tells a story about a different Murder, She Wrote regular: Michael Hagarty. This is not really a murder mystery as there really is no mystery regarding whodunnit, whydunnit and how did they do it. Instead, it’s a bit of a spy thriller with intrigue centered around one of Michael Hagarty’s missions as an MI6 agent—a mission which takes him from Sicily to Switzerland in search of a little black book.
Just the facts:
Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.
Click to reveal the victimIt was a man who either was pretending to be the dead man’s brother or actually was his brother! The actor seems to have not been credited in this episode.
Click to reveal the killerIt was the two Carboni henchmen! This is not really a mystery since we see them do it.
Click to reveal the weaponHe was stabbed!
Click to reveal the locationIt happened on the house grounds just below Peter Baines’ balcony!
Click to reveal the motiveClaudia Carboni had to say that he was not the brother because he could have blown her cover since she wasn’t actually Claudia Carboni!
Cast of characters:
Len Cariou reprises his role as Michael Hagarty, this time pretending to be Monsignor O’Shaughnessy–a priest from Boston. This is Cariou’s fifth of seven total appearances on MSW.
His co-workers or rivals in the espionage business include:
- John Standing as Chief Daniel Trent, Hagarty’s boss at MI6. This is Standing’s second and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “It Runs in the Family“.
- Daniel Trent as Barton, an agent.
- Daniel Douglas Anderson as Korshak, another agent.
- James Garrett as Llewellyn, yet another agent.
As Michael is pretending to be a priest, his associates also include:
- Ralph Manza plays Father Anselmo, a Sicilian priest.
- Joseph Cali plays a priest associate of Father Anselmo. This is Cali’s second of three total appearances on MSW.
At the center of the intrigue are the family members of a recently deceased mobster:
- Vincent Baggetta as Antonio Carboni. This is Baggetta’s third and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Steal Me a Story“.
- George DiCenzo as Mario Carboni. This is DiCenzo’s fourth of six total appearances on MSW. He previously appeared in “Harbinger of Death“.
- Robert Miranda as Gino Carboni. Miranda had a recurring role in The New Mike Hammer.
- Deirdre Hall as Claudia Carboni/Jennifer Paige, his widow.
- Ian Ogilvy as Peter Baines, Claudia’s new fiance. This is Ogilvy’s second of three total appearances on MSW. He previously played Peter Baines’ brother Harold in “Appointment in Athens“.
Other minor characters include local staff: Ralph DeLia plays a pilot, Anthony DeFonte plays a tailor, Stephen Poletti plays a bank clerk, Gina Minervini plays a maid, Jovin Montanaro plays a bellman, Steve Natole plays a waiter, and Marianne Bergonzi is simply credited as a “woman”.
Final thoughts and other trivia:
The title for this episode might be a reference to the 1982 movie “Deadly Encounter“, in which “an ex-combat helicopter pilot (Larry Hagman) helps a widowed ex-girlfriend (Susan Anspach) find the black book her husband kept from mobsters.”
There are also a couple of interesting bits of note about the cast of this episode.
For one, not only is it interesting that the 6th season both started and ended with a Michael Hagarty story (see “Appointment in Athens” for the first episode of season 6), but it is interesting that Ian Ogilvy had a major role in both episodes as well. Ogilvy played Harold Baines in the first episode, and then played his brother Peter Baines in the last episode.
Although the two episodes were technically written by different people, Donald Ross was credited as the story editor for both episodes. It is thus not clear whether this was something the showrunners had planned to do from the start, or whether they decided to inject that little bit into the story after they realized they were going to hire Dan Ogilvy to act in this episode.
Finally, acting credits for this episode also had me give a double-take: John Standing is credited as playing a character named Daniel Trent, while an actor named Daniel Trent is credited as playing a character named Barton!