Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
5 user

The Bottom Line Is Murder 

A lying TV consumer advocate is killed and suspicion lands on one of the clients whose products he maligned.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


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


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Episode complete credited cast:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Adrienne Barbeau ... Lynette Bryant
Judith Chapman ... Dr. Jayne Honig
Barry Corbin ... Lt. Lou Flannigan
Pat Klous ... Clare Henley
Robert F. Lyons ... Steve Honig
Rod McCary ... Kenneth Chambers
Joe Santos ... Joe Rinaldi
Morgan Stevens ... Robert Warren
George Takei ... Bert Tanaka
Brian Matthews ... Ryan Monroe
Paul Tompkins ... Reporter
William Ian Gamble William Ian Gamble ... Security Guard
Mark C. Phelan Mark C. Phelan ... Uniformed Cop (as Mark Phelan)


Jessica visits Denver for a TV book review program at KBLR, where her friend, Steve Honig, produces arrogant Kenneth Chambers' program "The Bottom Line", which exposes faulty products, or when he has his way, picks his victim and even doctors the story unethically, while grossly abusing all staff. Janitor Bert Tanaka finds Chambers shot twice in his office chair shortly after he unjustly fired production assistant Ryan Monroe. DPD Lieutenant Lou Flannigan, who was Chambers's unofficial police consultant, lets Jessica observe. The murder weapon is found in Steve's car. Jessica considers motives from ambition among station staff, as many get a better job and Kenneth was considering leaving everyone behind for a bigger one, and toy producer Joe Rinaldi, against whom Kenneth prepared a show, the tapes of which seem missing but are found in his safe with cash and other evidence he used to extort Rinaldi and others potential show targets, but is puzzled by Chambers' chair facing the broken ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 February 1987 (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 is the second appearance of Adrienne Barbeau. Her first outing was Murder, She Wrote: Jessica Behind Bars (1985). Ms Barbeau portrayed a loud & brash inmate who wanted to bust some heads and start a prison riot. See more »


Denver Police Lt. Flannigan makes mention of the news catch-phrase "Film at 11". Denver is on Mountain Time, so he should have said "Film at 10". See more »


[first lines]
Kenneth Chambers: And down goes another of our valiant men in blue. A victim, a victim of misplaced faith. Thank God that this was not a real tragedy, but, rather, a graphic demonstration of self-serving exaggeration, and yes, even fraud, and a courtesy of the Acme Bulletproof Vest Company, who claim that their product can withstand a .45 caliber slug. Well, Clare, let's show our viewers the tragic results of this impartial test. Had this flimsy protection been worn by one of Denver's finest, that ...
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Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Murder is the bottom line
7 August 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

"The Bottom Line is Murder" is not, if we are talking about the previous episodes for a moment, one of the best episodes of Season 3 like "Death Stalks the Big Top" (both parts), "One White Rose for Death" and "The Corpse Flew First Class". It is however much better than "Night of the Headless Horseman", "Dead Man's Gold" and the previous episode "Murder in a Minor Key".

My main criticism of "The Bottom Line is Murder" is that to me it didn't quite come together at the end. The solution was a big surprise and nothing is what it seems (which should sound like a good thing), but that the truth was the complete opposite of what one believes for most of the episode and then sprung upon us very later on leaves the viewer's head in a whirl.

On top of that, the whole convoluted business involving a chair complicated things further, meaning that the explanation didn't quite make sense and considering the amount of conflict one sees for most of the episode the murderer's motives seemed rather trivial to me.

Conversely, the production values are slick and stylish. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Dialogue is typically thought-provoking and amiable, knowing what tone to take and not trying to do anything more than that, while it was easy to have a lot of fun with the episode and the story, which is why it was personally so frustrating that things weren't clearer at the end.

Angela Lansbury is terrific as always, and there is a strong supporting cast. Of which the highlight is Adrienne Barbeau, who is a hoot and her interchange with Lansbury is just priceless.

In summation, pretty good, could have been better, being fun stuff that didn't quite come together. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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