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Why watch it on Netflix when you can spend $150 on a giant DVD box set like this one...?
Universal / 12725 Minutes / 1984-1996 / Unrated / Street Date: October 1, 2013
It’s not exactly the coolest show in the history of modern television, but I put me on the couch next to some old ladies: this writer really likes Murder, She Wrote. For those readers so scared of the blue-haired fan base of the show that they’ve avoided the series altogether, let me catch you up on what Murder, She Wrote actually is. Angela Lansbury is a novelist who helps detectives solve crimes. The end. That’s it. Case closed. Every episode, every two-part cliffhanger – that’s what the show entails.
But even with this exceptionally simple syntax, Angela Lansbury is able to do something really impressive with her character. Her Jessica Fletcher is no mere mystery-solver or benevolent old lady looking to spend her golden years fighting the bad guys by unraveling murder plots and inheritance schemes. In Murder, She Wrote, she’s an honest-to-goodness mind reader. This woman doesn't merely look at potential suspects during each of her episodes, she appraises them like they were used, beat up cars in a salvage yard.
The first half of this Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Series megaset is better than the last, but even if you nap through most of The Complete Seventh Season, you can play catch-up pretty quickly. And this ease of viewership is what gives the show such a lazy-evening sheen. Nobody at Murder, She Wrote ever won a Pulitzer; it’s not an aesthetically provocative show. But Jessica Fletcher is a classic mystery program protagonist - she may not blow your mind, but I can pretty much guarantee you won’t turn any episodes off before they’re finished. And that, my friends, is the sign of a good mystery.