Back in September 2021, I put together a video collage on YouTube which allowed for a side-by-side comparison between the different versions of the introductory montage seen at the beginning of every Murder, She Wrote episode.
In putting together the collage, I realized that there were a total of 5 unique versions of the montage. As I have more free time this summer, I wanted to go back to examining these montages more closely. This post is the second in a series which breaks down each of the five versions scene by scene — primarily with the goal of identifying where each scene comes from (i.e. whether it was pulled from a particular episode).
As I write and publish each post in the series, you will be able to find links to them below:
- Version 1 (used in Seasons 1, 2, and 3)
- Version 2 (used in Seasons 4, 5, 6, and 7)
- Version 3 (used in Seasons 8 and 9)
- Version 4 (used in Seasons 10 and 11)
- Version 5 (used in Season 12)
With that said, this post focuses on the second version of the introductory montage, which was used from the beginning of Season 4 until the end of Season 7. A collage of each of the major scenes in the montage is presented below:
What is really interesting about this montage, when compared to the first version, is that it depicts Jessica doing pretty much the same things. And while in some cases the new scenes are taken directly from more recent episodes of the show — that isn’t always the case. In fact, it appears that the majority of the scenes were actually filmed specifically for this opening montage.
Thus, in the first half of the montage, we see Jessica riding her bike, going fishing, taking a stroll, gardening, and jogging — all scenes that closely parallel similar scenes in the first version. A notable difference between the two versions is that, while the scenes depicted in the first version of the montage were filmed on location in Mendocino, it appears that the scenes filmed for this second version of the montage were filmed on studio lots. (This is particularly evident in the scene where Jessica is walking with her fishing gear since the “Jaws Lake” set is visible behind her.)
Subsequent to that, there is a scene with Jessica pointing her fingers like a gun (which is taken from a scene that appears approximately 8 minutes into S3E8 “Mangum on Ice”), followed closely by a scene with Jessica searching a hallway with a flashlight (which is taken from a scene that appears approximately 24 minutes into S3E19 “No Accounting for Murder“).
The three subsequent scenes (which find Jessica startled while trying to open a door, peeking through a slightly open door, and looking through a wrought-iron fence while holding a candle) have proven to be more difficult to identify the source of. My suspicion is that these were filmed specifically for the opening montage. Given the previous scenes used, the director was clearly aiming to simply recreate/update the scenes from the first version of the opening montage, and so these three scenes may have been filmed to emulate similar scenes that were originally taken from the pilot episode. (However, please let me know in the comments if you believe you’ve been able to identify these specific scenes within an episode.)
On the other hand, the scenes in which Jessica is startled while in a room full of books were taken from approximately 41 minutes into S4E4 “Old Habits Die Hard“, which suggests this may have been the earliest episode filmed for Season 4.
Finally, although the typewriter scenes used throughout were mainly reused from the original version of the montage, a new scene with Jessica Fletcher at the typewriter (this time wearing a blue pullover) was filmed.