Question: I enjoy watching the reruns of “Murder, She Wrote” on the Hallmark Channel, but I am puzzled by something. In the spring of 1990, Angela Lansbury did not appear in six episodes except for a short intro at the beginning of each episode. Was she doing something else for those months or was this just an attempt to sell potential pilots featuring the detectives featured in those episodes that she knew and had worked with, including Michael Hagerty, Dennis Stanton and Harry McGraw?
Answer: During its 1984-1996 run, “Murder, She Wrote” included an array of recurring characters along with Jessica Fletcher, the writer-sleuth played by Angela Lansbury. You may recall, for instance, Tom Bosley as a local sheriff before he went on to his own detective show, “Father Dowling Mysteries.” At the same time, though, as the show’s sole star, Lansbury often found the workload difficult to bear, and more than once she said she was leaving the series — only to be brought back, with changes made to help her.