Hailed as one of the longest-running and critically successful detective drama series of all time, the award-winning Murder, She Wrote drew in audiences for 12 seasons, from 1984 to 1996. Each week, viewers tuned into CBS to watch as widowed, retired English teacher turned mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher uncovered and discovered secrets surrounding crimes as shocking as the murders depicted in her literature.
Jessica "J.B." Fletcher, portrayed by Tony and Golden Globe award-winning English actress Angela Lansbury, coincidentally finds herself at the forefront of countless murder investigations while promoting her book series and lecturing on criminology across the country and around the world. Despite her professional accomplishments, J.B. Fletcher resides in the quaint town of Cabot Cove, Maine, along with her dear friends, including Sheriff Amos Tupper (played by Tom Bosley), Sheriff Mort Metzger (played by Ron Masak later on in the show), and local doctor, Dr. Seth Hazlitt (played by William Windom). Although not a formally trained detective, Mrs. Fletcher continuously proves to be a far more adept crime solver than her law enforcement counterparts, on account of her keen sense of judgment, wit and methodological approach.
Throughout the series, J.B. Fletcher boldly posed burning questions that police and investigators didn't dare ask, helping to convict criminals who deserved to be brought to justice. Rather than arresting a suspect simply based on appearances, Mrs. Fletcher used her meticulous nature and curiosity to ensure that the true criminals were held accountable for their actions. The criminals, suspects and other characters central to the investigation depicted throughout the series were most often played by guest stars, including Hollywood legends like Shirley Jones, Leslie Nielson and Mickey Rooney. Future stars of Hollywood including George Clooney, Courtney Cox and Joaquin Phoenix also made guest appearances on the show.
Aside from being an esteemed novelist, it was crime solving that was Jessica Fletcher's true calling. Echoing the pages of her own books, it was J.B.'s passion for crime solving and ability to convince law enforcement to take her observations into account that captivated audiences for years, resulting in four TV films and a spin-off series.