Murder, She Wrote 8.16 “Ever After”

Jessica is in her New York City apartment building (apparently just back from a brief three-day trip to Washington) when she runs into the star of a soap opera, who is apparently her 4th floor neighbor. In building a friendship with the actress, Jessica gets sucked into the drama of a domestic dispute turned murder investigation.

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim It was Walter Bowman, a rich man who just married a soap opera star!
Click to reveal the killer It was Joanna Rollins, the victim’s new wife! And her accomplice was Sonny Lane, her previous life partner.
Click to reveal the weapon It was a shotgun belonging to the victim!
Click to reveal the location It was in the victim’s bedroom — the weapon was rigged to go off as soon as he opened his wife’s closet!
Click to reveal the motive The motive is not explicitly stated, but presumably it had to do with getting Walter Bowman’s money. Sonny and Joanna cooked up a plan where Joanna would set up the shotgun and get Walter to open the closet at time when they would both have unshakeable alibis. Then Sonny would come to dismantle the shotgun rig in order to hide the fact that the murder could have happened when nobody was there.

Cast of characters:

In true soap opera fashion, the episode revolves around a bit of a love triangle:

  • Kate Mulgrew plays Joanna Rollins, a soap star on Happily Ever After and Jessica’s 4th floor neighbor. This is Mulgrew’s second of three total appearances on MSW; she previously appeared in “The Corpse Flew First Class”.
  • Tony Roberts plays Devon ‘Sonny’ Lane, a former child star who is also on Happily Ever After, but who is about to be written out of the show. He had been living with Joanna for three years, but get kicked out of her apartment at the beginning of the episode.
  • Kevin McCarthy plays Walter Bowman, a rich investor who marries Joanna as soon as his divorce gets finalized. This is McCarthy’s third and final appearance on MSW; he previously appeared in “From the Horse’s Mouth“.

Quite a bit of the story revolves around Walter Bowman’s home life:

  • Marj Dusay plays Miriam Bowman, his ex-wife. This is Dusay’s second and final appearance on MSW; she previously appeared in “Test of Wills“.
  • Marcia Cross plays Marci Bowman, his daughter.
  • Mitchell Whitfield plays Teddy Cardozo, Marci’s boyfriend.
  • Michael McGrady plays Bo Wilder, Walter’s personal trainer. This is McGrady’s fourth and final appearance on MSW; he previously appeared in “The Skinny According to Nick Cullhane“.

There are also quite a few law enforcement officers in this episode:

  • Robert Alan Browne plays Officer Bronsky, a police man investigating a break-in in Jessica’s building.
  • John DiSanti plays Sheriff Beals of the Gull Harbor Sheriff’s Department on Long Island, where the Bowman mansion is situated. This is DiSanti’s second and final appearance on MSW; he previously appeared in “Deadpan“.
  • Nada Despotovich plays Dep. Ginger Billis, Sheriff Beal’s deputy.

The cast is rounded out by several more minor roles:

  • Andrew Brye as Ahmed, the doorman at Penfield House (i.e. Jessica Fletcher’s New York City apartment building). This is Brye’s fourth and final appearance on MSW, each time playing the same character; he previously appeared in “A Killing in Vegas” and his first appearance was in “Bite the Big Apple“.
  • Eda Reiss Merin as Dorothy Fremont, a casting director that is Sonny’s alibi in this episode.
  • Richardson Morse as the City Clerk who performs the marriage ceremony between Walter and Joanna. This is Morse’s second of six total appearances on MSW: his previous appearance was in “No Laughing Murder“.
  • Maurice Hill plays Irwin Fisk, an art appraiser hired by Joanna.
  • Elaine Welton Hill plays Sheri Finestock, the soap opera director.
  • Justin DiPego plays a painter in Jessica’s apartment building.
  • Benton Luke plays an uncredited security guard.

Final thoughts and other trivia:

There’s not too much more to say about this episode except to say that I enjoyed seeing more glimpses of Jessica’s New York apartment. It was particularly interesting to see that Joanna Rollins’ apartment is the same one that Jessica’s busy-body neighbor from “Bite the Big Apple” lived in.

And on the topic of locations, we get a few clues as to where Walter Bowman’s house is meant to be located in. The sheriff’s deputy mentions the name of the town is “Gull Harbor”, and Joanna Rollins at one point mentions that they are on Long Island. While, as far as I’ve been able to find out, there is no place named Gull Harbor on Long Island, there plenty of other towns and villages with the word “Harbor” in the name.

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