Murder, She Wrote: The Big Kill

Just beyond the far horizon
Lies a waiting world unknown;
Like the dawn, its beauty beckons
With a wonder all its own.”

The Lord of the Rings

Wow, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here. I’m actually reviewing an episode of Murder, She Wrote, a Murder Mystery show so vacuous that even Angela Lansbury looks bored, and she plays the starring role. It’s entirely possible to cook an entire meal with this on in the other room and still manage to grasp the plot, because almost nothing actually happens in the 45 minutes between the murder and the Big Reveal. I know this because I have done it, several times.

And yet here I am. Writing about it.

Sigh. Such is life. Such is telly.

The Big Kill (episode 17 of season 9, according to Wikipedia the Fount of All Knowledge) is pretty standard Murder, She Wrote territory. A businessman is embroiled in murky and suspicious business dealings, in this case involving illegal arms shipments. The fisherman carrying those shipments is murdered by a blow to the head, which Jessica Fletcher, Lady Spinster Detective Extraordinaire, thinks is “an odd way to kill someone”. Well, maybe in Cabot Cove, where murders are meticulously planned affairs of ingenuity and finesse which nevertheless take about half an hour to solve, whacking someone on the head is a rare and inexplicable occurence. But in the real world? They’re ten a penny, Jessica. Honestly. Get with the times.

So, anyway, Old-Fashioned Miss Fletcher does her thing, which is essentially three minutes of Sherlock-type observation (until the scriptwriters run out of ideas, in other words) followed by forty-two minutes of questionable leaps of logic, until she arrives at the answer by a route inaccessible to mere mortals. The murderer shows a remarkable willingness to cooperate as s/he (avoiding spoiler territory here) and Jessica narrate the Story of the Murder together, the police come and take the murderer away, and Cabot Cove is safe for another week.

You get the idea. It was a “meh” episode. It was a thing you watch when there is nothing else on, including reruns of The Big Bang Theory. It wasn’t bad (particularly); it wasn’t offensive (particularly); it was just….vacant. Vacant and formulaic, and very, very nineties.

How did this get 9 seasons, exactly?

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