Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
2 user

Family Secrets 

One of Jessica's former students is murdered when he returns to Cabot Cove to write a book exposing new information on a 30-year-old town scandal.


Walter Grauman


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




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Charley Lang ... Arnold Lummis
Ron Masak ... Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Brian McNamara ... Randall Sloan
David Newsom ... Neal Latimer
Debra Stipe ... Sally Bates
Phyllis Thaxter ... Emily Weymouth
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... George Latimer
Caroline Williams ... Janet Weymouth
William Windom ... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Louis Herthum ... Deputy Andy Broom
Beth Taylor Hart Beth Taylor Hart ... Margaret Babbington
Jeff Bankert Jeff Bankert ... Owen Cooper
Paul Carr ... Businessman (as Paul W. Carr)
Richard Brestoff ... William Bailey


Jessica's former student Randy Sloan is back in Cabot Cove to research a 30-year-old murder that someone wants to stay buried. Pretty waitress Sally Bates interests both Randy and rich boy Neal Latimer. But is the secret Randy has discovered worth killing to keep? Written by mama.sylvia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 September 1992 (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?


When Jessica bumps into Randy in the library she is wearing a teapot pin, could it be Mrs Potts. See more »


Funny that Jessica could rattle off the full names of all four protagonists of an (albeit local but) 30-years-old murder case (the victim's, his fiancee's AND their two cousins'). Her conversation the night before with a budding writer now dredging up the story had barely touched on any specifics. See more »


[first lines]
Arnold Lummis: [quietly in library] Mrs. Fletcher... Mrs. Fletcher...
Jessica Fletcher: Oh, I'm sorry, Arnold. I guess it's getting to be that time.
Arnold Lummis: I'm afraid so. Yeah. Still looking for that perfect poison?
Jessica Fletcher: Oh, yes. I know it's here somewhere. Deadly, exotic. Virtually impossible to detect.
Arnold Lummis: Until the murderer gets caught on the last page.
See more »

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User Reviews

Deadly secrets in the family
31 October 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.

There are certainly far worse episodes of 'Murder She Wrote' and of Season 9, as well as much better on both counts, than "Family Secrets". "Family Secrets" is somewhere in the middle as far as 'Murder She Wrote' episodes go, nothing offends and it's far from terrible but it's all a bit bland. The main mystery and the conflicts are very intriguing and hold one's full attention, but the ending somehow felt a bit anaemic considering the promising build-up.

"Family Secrets" supporting acting is a long way from amateurish, not like in the previous episode or some of the acting in later episodes. At the same time, very little stands out as exceptional, the only thing support-acting-wise that stands out in a good way is the quite good performance of Brian McNamara. More of a dubious standout is the awkward acting of the person revealed to be the killer in the denouement. Some of the pacing could have been sharper and for a Cabot Cove episode it was somewhat of a missed opportunity not having more Cabot Cove recurring characters.

However, Angela Lansbury is her usual never less than very good self, while William Windom is charmingly curmudgeon as ever and Ron Masak is an easy presence in the always likable Mort who's never been written as a buffoon or a pushover. Louis Herthum subtly makes the most of little.

As said, the mystery intrigues and the writing is light-hearted and thought-provoking.

Production values are slick and stylish, Cabot Cove is always a welcome sight. 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.

In summary, decent enough if nothing special. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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