Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Joshua Peabody Died Here... Possibly 

A cheap tycoon with many enemies is found dead on the construction site of his high-rise hotel.


Peter Crane


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 4 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
John Astin ... Harry Pierce
Tom Bosley ... Sheriff Amos Tupper
Chuck Connors ... FBI Agt. Fred Keller
John Ericson ... Henderson Wheatley
Meg Foster ... Del Scott
Michael Sarrazin ... David Marsh
David Sheiner ... Arthur Griswold (as David S. Sheiner)
Ken Swofford ... Leo Kowalski
William Windom ... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Deborah White ... Matty Marsh
Robin Bach ... Ellsworth Buffum
Robert Jayne ... Eric Marsh (as Bobby Jacoby)
Ed Morgan ... Austin Bailey
Roger Price Roger Price ... Eli Harris


Real estate agent Harry Pierce was trying to maintain progress on the high-rise hotel development of Henderson Wheatley from the protesters, when an old skeleton is found with a skull wound on the site. According to Amos, it was the body of Joshua Peabody (18th century). The investors are furious, but a judge grants an injunction to interrupt construction. Then on the spot where the skeleton was found, the body of developer Henderson Wheatley if found, shot through the heart. FBI Agent Fred Keller arrests the protest leader for having assumed a false identity after Vietnam. Jessica investigates all the cases. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This also was the first time the name Joshua Peabody, Cabot Cove's Revolutionary War hero, was first mentioned. See more »


When FBI Agent Fred Keller first places David Marsh under arrest, he states that he has been after after him for 17 years. But then seconds later Agent Keller states that the crimes Marsh is wanted for occurred 14 years ago. See more »


[first lines]
Leo Kowalski: I'm tellin' you, Pierce. If you don't move those people out of there, I will, with that bulldozer.
Harry Pierce: Kowalski, relax, will ya? I'll take care of it. I know these people.
See more »


Yankee Doodle
Traditional music of English origin
Background music
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User Reviews

Out with the Old, In with the New Body: "Abra-Cadaver"
28 December 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

And now we arrive at the first Cabot Cove episode of Season Two, which introduces the character of Doctor Seth Hazlitt, M.D. to the community. William Windom appears in a different character, in a Season One episode in which Jessica and her late husband's Army buddies gather in a tiny Wyoming community. During that episode, Jessica refers to her husband as "Tom Fletcher" and doesn't correct any discrepancy, for he is thereafter referred to as Frank Fletcher, an Air Force veteran.

So, there are a few minor squabbles to iron to achieve series consistency. Such is also the case with surviving relatives of Seth, as in a future episode, his last surviving relatives would consist of one brother, one nephew and one niece, although that notion would be challenged when additional relatives crop up during the course of "MSW." The topic of Cabot Cove Founder, Joshua Peabody, is also subject for debate in various episodes, but we'll hear more details about this presently....

From here on in, William Windom invariably portrays the character of Doctor Seth Hazlitt, a confidant to series star Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), who appears in most upcoming Cabot Cove episodes except for those in "MSW" Season Seven, when William Windom temporarily exits Cabot Cove to join the cast of a one-season television series, "Parenthood" (1990), but does appear in one "MSW" after the cancellation of the Sitcom.

Doctor Seth Hazlitt appears in a total of 52 "MSW" episodes, giving William Windom the distinction of most frequent guest star, adding his prior appearance to garner 53 episodes, he appearing in approximately one-fifth of the total number.

In addition to Seth's Cabot Cove-based episodes, he also accompanies Jessica on excursions set in New Mexico, Maryland, Massachusetts and South Carolina, and sometimes into the Maine woods, when he ends up missing and presumed endangered. In an episode in which Jessica travels to Silicon Valley, California, Seth accompanies her only as far as to a Boston airport, but when Jessica decides to lease a New York City apartment to spend part of her week instructing at Manhattan University, Seth accompanies her for the entire episode, "to protect" Jessica from danger in the big city, while staying in a different room in her suite.

Cabot Cove episodes feature a Sheriff and often at least one Deputy, who address Jessica as "Mrs. Fletcher" or "Mrs. F." except in a case in which a Night Deputy turns to "Jessica" for support to prove his innocence. But right from the start, Seth, who is widowed from late wife, Ruth, addresses Mrs. Fletcher as "Jessica" or "Jess," indicating a sense of cordiality between her and her local confidant, which seems a bit less formal than the strong rapport between her and local law enforcement authorities.

But for now, Jessica Fletcher, Doctor Seth Hazlitt, Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) and Real Estate Agent Harry Pierce (John Astin) keep themselves occupied, as Cabot Cove is torn between its patriot sense of preserving history and its desire to cater to the tourism trade when a construction crew, excavating to build the foundation of a proposed high-rise hotel, unearths the skeletal remains of a human corpse, believed to belong to community founder, Joshua Peabody.

Local shoppe owner David Marsh (Michael Sarrazin), with his wife, Matty Marsh (Deborah White), and young son, Eric Marsh (Robert Jayne) find themselves embroidered in the controversy, as David leads a march against the construction project for its disturbing the natural environment. David has been arrested in the past for rebelling as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam conflict, and he has a record to prove it.

Henderson Wheatley (John Ericson), the property owner, decides to continue with the hotel construction, employing his foreman, Leo Kowalski (Ken Swofford) to continue with the digging. David then has an altercation with Leo, after a rally turns chaotic.

Della "Del" Scott (Meg Foster), a television news reporter and Arthur Griswold (David Sheiner) arrive to cover the discovery, while Historical Society Chairman Ellsworth Buffum (Robin Bach) arrives to rally Cabot Cove citizens for this monumental discovery.

Austin Bailey (Ed Morgan), Eli Harris (Roger Price), Sarah Harris (Barbara Ann Grimes), Olive Newton (Jody Carter), and Mavis Gillam (Sandra Hawthorne) join in the commotion as Cabot Cove locals, some in recurring character, as events take another turn.

For, the next morning, when Sheriff Amos Tupper returns to the excavation site, he lifts the tarp covering the remains, to discover a new body, a recent murder victim. FBI Agent Fred Keller (Chuck Connors) arrives in town to arrest David Marsh on an outstanding warrant, but Amos concludes that David is his prisoner because murder trumps desertion although Matty, Eric and Jessica suspect that David is innocent.

So, whether or not "Joshua Peabody Died Here...Possibly," at least two victims have.

This episode marks the first television acting role for Bruce Lawrence, who appears as Earthmover Driver. Robin Bach, acting since 1970, Chuck Connors, acting since 1952, and Roger Price, acting since 1951, have since passed.

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