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 fifth 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 fifth version of the introductory montage, which was used throughout Season 12. A collage of each of the major scenes in the montage is presented below:
Similar to what we saw in Version 4 of the opening montage, in Season 12 the show continued with using more and more scenes from recent episodes as opposed to scenes specifically filmed for the montage. While the majority of the scenes were taken from Season 11, there were a few notable scenes that were from older episodes and a few scenes that were from new Season 12 episodes.
I outline the source of each of the scenes below:
- As is the case for all the Murder, She Wrote opening montages, this montage begins with the same shot of a typewriter typing the word “MURDER”.
- The scene showing Jessica riding her bicycle was taken from S11E3 “To Kill A Legend” (approximately 2 minutes into the episode).
- Following that are scenes depicting Jessica going fishing and Jessica exiting a flower shop. The former was filmed specifically for the opening montage at the beginning of Season 4; whereas the latter was filmed specifically for the opening montage at the beginning of Season 8.
- Subsequently we see Jessica typing on a laptop. This scene appeared in S11E1 “A Nest of Vipers”.
- This is followed by closeup of a computer screen typing “SHE WROTE”. This is a new scene filmed specifically for this opening montage.
At this point I would like to pause and mention that there is technically another version of the opening montage which (as far as I’ve been able to notice) only appeared in a single episode. For some reason, the intro montage for S12E10 “Frozen Stiff” replaces the scene with “SHE WROTE” with a scene taken from S12E12 “Kendo Killing” in which Jessica is at an outdoor restaurant looking at a Japanese menu. I don’t know if this was just an anomaly on the DVD set I have, or whether this version was really only used in just one episode.
The remainder of the montage is unchanged throughout the season.
- The scene in which Jessica is standing in front of a chalkboard with names of mystery authors listed on it was filmed at the same time as S11E19 “School for Murder”. The set up for the scene appears approximately 22 minutes into the episode, although this particular shot (with Jessica pointing with her glasses in hand) doesn’t appear to have been used in the episode.
- The only scene that I haven’t been able to match to a particular episode is the one in which Jessica is walking with a flashlight.
- The scene in which Jessica is in front of a bookcase was taken from S11E8 “Crimson Harvest” (approximately 26 minutes into the episode).
- Jessica looking up at some photo negatives was taken from S11E16 “Film Flam” (approximately 26 minutes into the episode).
- Jessica having her mouth covered by someone behind her was taken from S11E15 “Twice Dead” (approximately 15 minutes into the episode).
- Jessica pointing her fingers like a gun was taken from S11E14 “Murder in High C” (approximately 33 minutes into the episode).
- Jessica pointing at her tote bag was taken from S12E1 “Nailed” (approximately 8 minutes into the episode).
- Jessica being discovered hiding in a closet was taken from S12E3 “The Secret of Gila Junction” (approximately 34 minutes into the episode). The inclusion of this scene suggests that this episode along with the series premiere “Nailed” was one of the earliest filmed for the season.
- Jessica running down a dock was taken from S5E22 “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” (Part 2 — approximately 47 minutes in and almost at the very end of the episode).
- Jessica kissing her pen was taken from S9E6 “Night of the Coyote” (approximately 10 minutes into the episode). This scene was also used in the previous version of the opening montage.
- Jessica winking while holding a coffee cup was taken from S11E10 “Murder of the Month Club” (approximately 5 minutes in).
Finally, the montage concludes with Jessica typing at her computer and printing out her work. The same scenes were filmed for and included in the previous version of the opening montage. However, I noticed that the font used to credit “Angela Lansbury” in the Season 12 version was smaller than the font size used in previous versions. Perhaps this was a reflection that typical TV screens were becoming larger.