Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user

Dead Heat 

Jessica goes to the races to watch her niece ride the winning horse but then the horse's disagreeable owner is murdered after a dispute.


Peter Crane


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 5 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Priscilla Barnes ... Vicky Gallegos
Ramon Bieri ... Pat Phillips
Jack Carter ... Cliff Carpenter
Lonny Chapman ... Jack Bowen
Carole Cook ... Christine Carpenter
Norman Fell ... Vince Shackman
Linda Grovenor ... Tracy MacGill
Clu Gulager ... Mike Gann
Bert Rosario ... Carlos Gallegos
Roy Thinnes ... Lt. Ted Misko
Derrel Maury ... Cookie Milford
Tom Dreesen ... Ernie
Alex Rebar ... Guzmann
Robert Ellenstein ... Mr. P


Under instructions from big boss Tony, local mobster boss Vince Shackman leans heavily on race horse trainer Mike Gann to settle his gambling debts by fixing a race, which takes quite a lot, including making a Panamese illegal jockey be replaced 'sick' by greenhorn Tracy Macgill, a niece of Jessica, who made a stop-over on the way to San Francisco to see her debut. When Tracey is arrested for the tranquilizer gun murder of Jack Bowen, Jessica fears the police won't solve the case and takes crash courses in betting and running a stable while investigating everybody involved, including unethical betting by the track security chief... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 November 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to the results of a race where the first two contestants across the finish line are so close together that a winner cannot be determined. See more »


When Jessica leaves the cab, as she arrives at the hippodrome, the cab starts to move on and some movie crew and the camera are seen reflected in the car's windows. See more »


[first lines]
Bookie #1: Separately, it's peanuts, Vince. Put it together, and we're chokin'.
Bookie #2: How did we know Mike Gann was bettin' all over town?
Vince Shackman: I can add.
See more »


First Call (Call to the Post)
Traditional Bugle Call
At start of horse race.
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User Reviews

Horses and wigs.
16 November 2017 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

Jessica arrives at a race to watch her niece Tracy take part in her first race. At the last minute experience jockey Carlos gets sick, prompting owner Jack Bowen to switch Tracy from an outsider to eventual winner Anchor's Ahoy. After the race celebrations groom Cookie alerts Jessica that Bowen is dead, Tracy is arrested.

It's a fun episode, definitely one of the lighter ones, it contains a superstitious comedy couple, a funny carrot scene, and of course Cookie's comedy wig. The story is a little messy, we go from gangsters to fixed races, it doesn't really hang together too well.

On the whole it's well acted, even the gangsters manage to be fairly restrained in their performances. It baffles belief how she has yet another niece in yet another county, but Linda Grosvenor is rather good as Tracy.

It's not a bad watch, it's just one I wouldn't seek out too often. 6/10

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