The Good

Angela Lansbury makes this show. Filled with interesting guest stars like Vic Tayback and Norman Fell.

The Bad

No extras?

Angela Lansbury returns in the highly entertaining Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Second Season. Continuing to pen the murder mysteries and continuing to find herself embroiled in them as well, Jessica Fletcher (Lansbury) does her best to stay on the hunt and out of harm’s way. It is easier said than done for a woman who always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, it is always enjoyable seeing the murder unfold and then seeing Fletcher get to the bottom of the case. It is her ability to innocently look for clues that oftentimes spells real trouble for the bad guys or girls.

Some of the powerhouse guest stars to be on this season were the late Jerry Orbach, Adrienne Barbeau, Dick Van Patton and Vic Tayback among others. While I know that a lot of these stories follow a similar thread, Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Second Season is clearly an example of a show where the journey is the reward. Often showing us the person responsible for a crime in the opening moments of an episode, I think it is very interesting as we watch the criminal at large undue themselves.

A couple of my favorite episodes were Reflections Of The Mind in which Jessica visits a friend who thinks she’s haunted by her dead husbands ghost. Suddenly, the woman’s second husband turns up dead and guess what? Jessica has to solve the case and find the real killer. Another one was Dead Heat which took place at a race track and co-starred Norman Fell. After knowing that, does hearing about the actual murder plot really matter?


No extras came with this DVD.


Full Frame - 1.33:1. I love the look of this show. Taking place in the mid-1980s there is something here that really speaks to my inner child. The colors are muted, the tones are soft and there is (thankfully) very few camera tricks. This is one thing about the older shows that I really have to give them credit for. As they were shot in a simple manner consisting of wideshots and close-ups, the shows really had to rely on the stories and dialogue being put across. Nowadays, everything seems almost covered up by the style of the show, but with TV like Murder, She Wrote the story was the style.


English and French Dolby Digital 2.0. Like the look of this show, there isn’t anything too special about the sound. It’s just the dialogue, some music and of course sound FX. Other than these few things, essentially the audio has been left alone. Lets be honest, these episodes are presented as essentially one-act plays. Even in how they are staged and blocked has a very theatrical quality to it. That said, why would they need to create some elaborate sound design that would probably not do much more than get in the way?


With a color that can best be described as Cocker Spaniel, the look of the packaging is exactly the same as the first season. There is a small picture of Lansbury in the center and on the back is another picture of her wielding her pen. There is also a description of this season, a list of some of the guest stars, four pictures from the show and some technical specs. Rather than incorporate the much more economical digipack cases, these three discs each have their own amaray case. All three cases have the same front cover picture of Angela Lansbury, and the back features listings of each episode as well as a succinct description of that episode. All in all, good solid packaging even if it is a tad too bulky.

Final Word

Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Second Season is great television. There’s something comforting about returning to Cabot Cove, and there’s something even more comforting in having almost 18 hours of shows to go through. With the way TV is formatted, it really is like having an entire 18 hour film at our disposal. Also, I really think there is something to be said for the writing, and more importantly, the plotting of these shows. To create such attention holding material over 22 episodes is really an achievement, and I never felt like the shows creators were regurgitating material.

There are some things that one should just own on DVD. Maybe you don’t need all twelve seasons, but your collection will certainly benefit by incorporating Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Second Season into it.

Murder, She Wrote was released .