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 third 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 third version of the introductory montage, which was used throughout Season 8 and Season 9. A collage of each of the major scenes in the montage is presented below:
While many of the scenes here were reused from the previous version of the opening montage, there were quite a few notable additions.
First, with Season 8 marking Jessica Fletcher’s move to teach criminology in New York City, there are a few scenes that were filmed specifically for the opening montage in order to convey Jessica’s new life. Thus, we see her reading the New York Post, walking out of a flower shop, and crossing the street with her groceries as a yellow cab drives by.
The second new addition to the opening montage is a scene in which Jessica runs down a hallway wearing a very fancy blue dress — a scene taken from approximately 12 minutes into S5E14 “From Russia With Blood“.
A third new addition to the opening montage is a scene in which Jessica is standing in front of a chalkboard. Although the scene doesn’t actually appear in an episode, it was likely filmed at the same time as S8E2 “Night Fears“. Early in that episode, we see Jessica teaching a class wearing the exact same outfit. However, unlike in the scene used in the opening montage, the word “MOTIVE” does not appear written on the blackboard behind her during the episode.
All other scenes used in this version of the opening montage were those that appeared in the previous version. (This includes the scene from S3E8 “Magnum on Ice” in which Jessica points her fingers like a gun.) However, notably, in Season 8 the show also transitioned away from using the soft white vignette framing that was used in previous versions of the opening montage.