Murder, She Wrote 8.1 “Bite the Big Apple”

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In the first episode of Season 8, we learn that Jessica Fletcher has decided to move into an apartment in New York City part-time (3-4 days a week) while she teaches criminology at Manhattan University. Jessica uses her investigative skills when she learns that the apartment’s pervious tenant is found murdered and after her new apartment gets ransacked.

A surprise going away party for Jessica.

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim It was Mike Freelander, the previous resident of Jessica Fletcher’s new apartment!
Click to reveal the killer It was Lt. Jack Boyle, a local cop!
Click to reveal the weapon It was a gunshot!
Click to reveal the location He was killed in the apartment building’s garage!
Click to reveal the motive The killer wanted in on the Freelander’s import/export scam and got angry when the victim refused to co-operate!

Cast of characters:

At the beginning of the episode, we get to see some Cabot Cove residents at Jessica’s going-away party:

  • William Windom plays Doctor Seth Hazlitt. This is one of Windom’s 52 appearances as Seth Hazlitt. He previously appeared in “Family Doctor“.
  • Julie Adams plays Eve Simpson. This is Adams’ sixth of ten total appearances on MSW. She previously appeared in “A Body to Die For“.

The main mystery revolves around the previous tenant who lived in Jessica’s apartment and the family import/export business that he helped run:

  • Alan Feinstein plays Mike Freelander. This is Feinstein’s second and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Seal of the Confessional“.
  • Rebeccah Bush plays Sharon Kingsley, Mike’s secretary who has been cohabiting with him in the apartment.
  • Rosemary Forsyth plays Estelle Freelander, Mike’s wife. This is Forsyth’s second and final appearance on MSW. She previously appeared in “My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean”.
  • John Considine plays Harry Freelander, Mike’s father and owner of the Freelander and Freelander Import/Export business. This is Considine’s third and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Town Father” and “The Family Jewels“.
  • Scott McGinnis plays Scott Freelander, Mike’s brother who also works for the family business.

Other people involved in Jessica Fletcher’s apartment include:

  • Liz Sheridan as Rose Tessler, Jessica’s neighbor from across the hall. Nowadays, Sheridan is best known for her role as Jerry Seinfeld’s mom on Seinfeld.
  • Andrew Brye (a.k.a. Andrew Johnson) as Ahmed Shankar, the doorman at Jessica’s building. This is Brye’s first of four total appearances on MSW as Ahmed Shankar.
  • Alexander Folk as the painter who refreshed Jessica’s apartment before her arrival. This is Folk’s sixth of seven appearances on MSW. He previously appeared in “See You in Court, Baby“.

The local law enforcement in charge of the investigation are:

  • Eugene Roche as Lt. Jack Boyle. This is Roche’s fourth and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Deadline for Murder”, “Deadpan“, and “Something Borrowed, Someone Blue“. He also had a memorable recurring role as Luther H. Gillis in Magnum, P.I.
  • Jay Acovone as Sgt. Nick Acosta. This is Acovone’s second of three total appearances on MSW. He previously appeared as a different character in “O’Malley’s Luck“, and will reprise his role as Nick Acosta in “Murder on the Thirtieth Floor”. Acovone also appeared in the MSW movie sequel ‘A Story to Die For’.

Minor roles include:

  • David Schall as an unnamed Cabot Cove resident at Jessica’s surprise party.
  • Claire Paradis as a Waitress.
  • Darrell Harris as a Detective.

Final thoughts and other trivia:

One thing that stood out to me upon seeing the cake that Jessica Fletcher got at her going away party is the big red apple on top. I know that it was meant to symbolize her move to New York “The Big Apple”, but I also wonder whether it might also have been a nod to the poisoned apples in the Season 5 finale “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall“.

Jessica’s cake.

The exterior shots of Jessica Fletcher’s apartment building were filmed at the PacMutual Sentry Building at the corner of South Grand Avenue and West 6th Street in Los Angeles. Jessica’s apartment appears to be on the 4th floor since her apartment number is shown to be 4B in this episode.

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