Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Murder in the Afternoon 

Jessica's niece, an actress in a daytime drama, becomes a suspect when the head writer for the show is murdered.


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
William Atherton ... Larry Holleran
Paul Burke ... Herbert Upton
Nicholas Hammond ... Todd Worthy
Terry Kiser ... Gordon LaMonica
Alice Krige ... Nita Cochran
Robert Lipton ... Martin Grattop
Lloyd Nolan ... Julian Tenley
Tricia O'Neil ... Bibi Hartman
Mackenzie Phillips ... Carol Needom
Lurene Tuttle ... Agnes Cochran
Robert Walden ... Lt. Antonelli
Jessica Walter ... Joyce Holleran
George Murdock ... Officer Kaplan
John Miranda ... Prop Man (as John M. Miranda)


Joyce Holleran, the new producer and head writer of a New York soap, makes enemies by having many recurrent characters written out, belittling her husband Larry and refusing to let Todd Worthy go when he gets a far better Hollywood series offer. Jessica visits her niece Nita Cochran, one of the actresses fearing the ax. Then Joyce is shot, believing by Nita as the killer wears her masking Avenger costume. NYPD Lieutenant Antonelli thinks it's a shut case and arrests her by following Jessica, who is determined to prove her niece's innocence. When Joyce's successor as director, Gordon LaMonica, who has network instructions to continue the cast pruning, is shot in the arm by someone in Avenger costume but with a non-matching police gun, proven to be the murder weapon, Jessica starts untangling a web of false appearances. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Introduction of Jessica's niece Nita Cochran. It is unclear whether she is Jessica's niece by blood or by marriage, but her parents (unnamed) are both deceased and she was raised by her grandmother, Agnes. See more »


When Joyce is in her office typing, she is using an electric typewriter. However, the sound effects are for a manual typewriter (including a carriage return). See more »


[last lines]
Jessica Fletcher: ...if I were you, I'd get him to confess as loudly and as quickly as possible.
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References Love in the Afternoon (1957) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

A killer in soap land comes to life.
23 November 2019 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

A soap opera writer is gunned down after making some ruthless decisions, her on screen killer The Avenger comes to life as a real life killer.

Murder in the Afternoon is a very solid murder mystery, one of the best of Series Two, there are some great characters, I love the creation of The Avenger, a menacing appearance, not often we get to see the killer at work on the show, we do here.

Jessica had a population of nieces, and here she has one in the form of Alice Krige, I am a huge fan of hers, and she is in tremendous form here, a fabulous actress, if only she appeared in more.

There's a really good, sinister vibe here, it's not jovial in the slightest. Very good. 8/10

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