Murder, She Wrote 7.13 “Moving Violation”

Jessica Fletcher is in Cabot Cove for this one! There’s a new rich political family in town and they’re causing some problems — especially for Sheriff Metzger who gets accused of murdering the ambassador’s son.

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim It was Brad Hellman, the ambassador’s son!
Click to reveal the killer It was Meredith Hellman, his stepmother!
Click to reveal the weapon It was a gunshot! (Three shots were fired but two actually went in.)
Click to reveal the location It was found on the side of the road next to some woods!
Click to reveal the motive His constant reckless behavior was causing scandal for his father’s political career!

Cast of characters:

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

  • Ron Masak plays Sheriff Mort Metzger.
  • Will Nye plays Deputy Floyd. While overhearing a radio conversation between Sheriff Metzger and Floyd at the beginning of this episode, we learn that Floyd drives a Cadillac.
  • Richard Paul plays Mayor Sam Booth.
  • Phyliis Franklin plays Mabel. This is Franklin’s second and final appearance on MSW. She previously appeared in “Town Father” and played the role of Mabel both times.

The main action in this episode involves a rich political family who has recently arrived in town:

  • Jack Colvin plays Ambassador Chandler Hellman. This is Colvin’s second and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Indian Giver“.
  • David Lansbury plays Bradley ‘Brad’ Hellman, the ambassador’s spoiled son who was charged with a ‘moving violation’ by Sheriff Metzger. This is Lansbury’s first of three total appearances on MSW. David Lansbury is the real-life nephew of Angela Lansbury.
  • Susan Clark plays Meredith Hellman, the ambassador’s current wife and stepmother to Brad. Clark is known for playing the mom on ‘Webster’.
  • Suzanne Snyder plays Morgan Phillips, Brad’s fiancee.

Jessica’s investigation leads her to discover a connection between the ambassador’s family and a family that moved to Cabot Cove four years ago:

  • Philip Baker Hall plays Len Costner, the patriarch.
  • Lois De Banzie plays Phyllis Costner, the matriarch.
  • Barbara C. Adside plays Janet Costner, the daughter.

The authorities in charge of the investigation include:

  • Robert Ginty as Lieutenant Avery Powell, State Police, Criminal Investigation Division. Ginty had previously starred on the short-lived detective series ‘Hawaiian Heat’ in 1984.
  • Stephen Macht as Attorney Jason Farrell, who is representing the Hellman family. This is Macht’s second of five total credited appearances on MSW.

Jessica Fletcher also gets some important inside scoop from two friends and acquaintances:

  • Harry Guardino plays Haskell Drake, her journalist friend (previously based in Boston but now based in New York). This is Guardino’s second and final appearance as Haskell Drake, but his third of four total appearances on MSW.
  • Britt Leach plays Arnold, the desk manager at the Navarro Inn. Leach was not officially credited for this role.

Additional minor roles include two Cabot Cove kids who discover the body on their way to going fishing:

  • Daniel Ben Wilson as Mickey.
  • Bo Sharon as Billy.

Final thoughts:

Although this episode is particularly focused on Sheriff Mort Metzger and gives us some insight into his life prior to coming to Cabot Cove, I couldn’t help but focus on Mayor Sam Booth while watching this episode. Given the last few times that Sam Booth appeared on Murder, She Wrote, it seems like there are mayoral elections every year in Cabot Cove. Sam Booth is shown to be campaigning for votes in Season 5’s “Mr. Penroy’s Vacation“, Season 6’s “Town Father“, and now again in Season 7.

Additionally, for those fans who are particularly interested in figuring out the location of Cabot Cove, this episode gives us several hints.

There are two maps of Cabot Cove: one basic one visible at the police station, and one that’s more detailed and hanging over the desk in the mayor’s office. According to the map, Cabot Cove was established in 1752. Its eastern shoreline is the Atlantic Ocean, while it’s north shoreline is Cabot Cove Bay. Those familiar with Mendocino, California (the real-life filming location that often stands in for Cabot Cove), might recognize the map’s layout as simply a rotated/upside-down version of Mendocino.
The green road sign just to the left of this photo indicates that Cabot Cove is approximately 20 miles from Portland, ME.

If you’re a fan of the Cabot Cove episodes featuring Mayor Sam Booth, you may be interested in one of the products with my “Sam Booth for Mayor” design. This design is directly inspired by the election signs seen in the episode “Town Father”. Available on TeePublic:

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