Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Proof in the Pudding 

Jessica attends the opening of a new restaurant. But when the chef is killed, Jessica is the only one who can find the real killer.


Jerry Jameson


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Fran Bennett Fran Bennett ... Detective MacKenzie
Michael Brandon ... Alex Weaver
Jsu Garcia ... Manuel Ramirez (as Nick Corri)
Bobby Di Cicco ... Philip Bonelli
Tony Lo Bianco ... Paul Avoncino
John Saxon ... Bernardo Bonelli
Liza Snyder ... Jeannine Bonelli
Heidi Swedberg ... Lorna Thompson
Valerie Wildman ... Diane Weaver
Sal Landi ... Sal Randazzo
James Ingersoll James Ingersoll ... Timothy Milner
Rachel Bailit ... Stage Manager
Gene Ross ... Desk Sergeant
Lew Saunders Lew Saunders ... Policeman


Jessica is celebrity guest on Italian cook Bernardo Bonelli's TV show. Bernardo is terribly rude to his Salvadorian assistant Manuel Ramirez, a good friend Lorna Thompson. The Bonelli's are starting up a restaurant, but are out of capital and targeted by mobster Paul Avoncino's racketeering, while Bernado refuses to flirt with studio manager Alex Weaver's wife, food critic Diane. When both Bernardo and Paul are murdered, Jessica has to do NYPD's job for Detective MacKenzie. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

knife | dinner | See All (2) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 January 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


John Saxon and Jsu Garcia also appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). John Saxon as Nancy's father and Jsu Garcia as Rod Lane (Tina's boyfriend) See more »


[first lines]
Bernardo Bonelli: How bad is it?
Philip Bonelli: It's beyond bad, Uncle Bernardo. Damn it, this time you've got to call in the police. You tell them everything. Demand protection.
Bernardo Bonelli: Please, Philip, don't be naive. Do you really think they can protect us from being victims of a hit and run, or me falling accidentally out of a 10-story window?
Philip Bonelli: You've been watching too many gangster movies. You know that.
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

"Like the Drip, Drip, Drip of the Teardrops when the Restaurant Bodies Fall"
22 March 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

This opens with a senseless act of vandalism, as a perpetrator enters the kitchen of the soon-to-open Bonelli's Restaurant to pour a one-quart can of paint upon its floor, to delay the grand opening until after clean-up.

When Philip Bonelli (Bobby Di Cicco) discovers the paint-splashed floor the next day, he telephones his Uncle Bernardo Bonelli (John Saxon) at a New York City television studio as Bernardo prepares to host his daily cooking program.

Station Manager Alex Weaver (Michael Brandon) says that he's unable to advance Bernardo's salary to pay for the clean-up operation, while Alex's wife, Food Critic Diane Weaver (Valerie Wildman), continually makes unrequited passes at Bernardo, which Alex perceives as somewhat invited, regardless that Bernardo wants nothing to do with Diane.

Television Reporter Lorna Thompson (Heidi Swedberg) has invested her inheritance from her grandmother's estate into Bonelli's Restaurant, possibly to assist Assistant Chef Manuel Ramirez (Jsu Garcia) to remain close at hand even though Bernardo reprimands Manuel for nearly every detail and threatens to fire him, which would have to lead to Manuel's deportation from New York City.

Loan shark Paul Avoncino (Tony Lo Bianco) threatens Bernardo unless he agrees to strike a deal for a fifty percent ownership in Bonelli's Restaurant, a notion to which Bernardo adamantly object, but Bernardo realizes that he needs funds to wipe the can of paint from his kitchen floor, and no one else has the money to finance the clean-up operation after the banks refuse the loans to Philip and wife, Jeannine Bonelli (Liza Snyder).

At different times, Paul Avoncino is seen with his thug, Sal Randazzo (Sal Landi), and his shrewd lawyer, Timothy Milner (James Ingersoll). One theory has it that one of them is responsible for cleverly pouring the quart of paint onto the restaurant floor.

When Lorna Thompson welcomes her dear old friend Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to the studio as a guest, to share with Bernardo Bonelli a Risotto recipe from her latest Mystery, "The Uncaught, Murder in White," Manuel substitutes a less expensive spice for the Saffron, and so Bernardo fires him on the spot.

On the evening of the grand opening of Bonelli's Restaurant, Jessica has a confrontation with Paul Avoncino and notices the unhappiness between Jeannine and Philip Bonelli, between Diane and Alex Weaver, and between Lorna Thompson and Manuel Ramirez even though Lorna still tries for Manuel's re-hiring, so Jessica must do what she can to champion young love because the already married couples don't need or want it.

But the next morning, when a body is discovered in the kitchen, the no-nonsense Detective MacKenzie (Fran Bennett) arrests Lorna because her fingerprints are found on the knife, which she handles to try to help the victim.

Detective MacKenzie orders Jessica not to interfere in the investigation, and she repeats the directive once a second body turns up along the sidewalk, and a gun is found in Manuel's locker, thus warranting his arrest in spite of an obvious frame-up.

Jessica insists that the two murders must somehow be related and, therefore, investigates anyway, in order to clear those who are falsely arrested and attempt to patch up the forsaken young love in the process.

However, it does seem like a goof when Jessica claims Lorna's innocence on the basis that Lorna can't boil a pan of water, whereas it would require an experienced chef to know which knife from the rack would kill. Face it: this is a series in which victims are slain by ashtrays, pillows, trophies, binoculars, flashlights, paper-weights, corsages, tuning-forks, lock-picks, neclaces, screwdrivers, thermometers, puppets, vases, rocks, scissors, newspapers and Quinine water. So, now they're trying to say that none of these other long sharp knives could murder someone?

While watching one of Diane Weaver's food critique programs, Jessica notices a commercial for Drip-Stop and suddenly realizes how the murders tie together, glibly turning the tables on the perpetrator, after observing the "Proof in the Pudding."

The cast is rounded out by Rachel Bailit as Stage Manager, Tiffany Terry as Drip-Stop Girl, Gene Ross as Desk Sergeant, and Lew Saunders as Police Officer.

This episode represents the most recent appearance to date by Tiffany Terry, as well as the first of two "MSW" appearances for Jsu Garcia, the second of two each for Bobby Di Cicco, Tony Lo Bianco and Lew Saunders, third of three "MSW" guest roles for John Saxon.

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