Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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No Laughing Murder 

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Someone is found dead after the engagement party for the offspring of two estranged comics.


Walter Grauman


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


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Episode complete credited cast:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
George Clooney ... Kip Howard
Pat Crowley ... Trudy Howard
George Furth ... Farley Pressman
Buddy Hackett ... Murray Gruen
Arte Johnson ... Phil Rinker
David Knell ... Acting Police Chief Wylie Ledbetter
Steve Lawrence ... Mack Howard
Sheree North ... Norma Lewis
Beth Windsor Beth Windsor ... Corrie Gruen
Pat Delany Pat Delany ... Ms. Kline (as Pat Delaney)
Alice Nunn ... Henrietta
Richardson Morse ... Dr. Worth
Daniel Chodos Daniel Chodos ... Al
Paul Ganus ... P. A.


Mack Howard and Murray Gruen were a celebrated comical duo but parted in anger. Murray's daughter, Corrie, brings their friend Jessica along to his own Hiawatha lodge for her and Mack's son Kip Howard's engagement dinner. Murray, however, makes a scene, claiming Mack stole a fortune in royalties on videos of the duo, denied by Mack and his business manager who claims there is no profit. Then Murray is stabbed in the back and suggests he only saw a color, that of Mack's robe. Later, Murray's agent, Phil Rinker, is found hanging in the storeroom, suicide according to a note. The sheriff being sick, his only deputy, local youngster Wylie Ledbetter, now proud Acting Police Chief, is delighted as a mystery fan to have Jessica coach his forensics and interviews, but startled when she proves by measurements it must have been a murder, staged as suicide. Jessica next concludes from a peephole the stabbing was a separate mischief, then proves it by setting a trap for Phil's killer. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 March 1987 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color | Black and White (still photographs)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title comes from the phrase No laughing matter which means a serious situation. See more »


[first lines]
P. A.: And now, the comedy sensation of 1957! Let's hear it for Mack and Murray!
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References Rage in Heaven (1941) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Murder is no laughing matter
10 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.

"No Laughing Murder" is a good if not great episode, not much wrong but somehow there's something missing. It is a touch lacking in the mystery aspects, but in terms of the guest star power and the character/cast interaction it scores very highly. The mystery has its good points certainly, the final solution is not foreseeable, it's fun to see how Jessica figures it all out and pieces it all together as well as how she investigates and the victim is very different to who one would expect it to be. It's just that the episode fares more memorably in other areas, one doesn't get to know the victim enough to properly invest in the mystery no matter how well executed it is.

The real joys of "No Laughing Murder" are the character/cast interaction (simply terrific all round) and the joy of seeing Buddy Hackett and Steve Lawrence sink their teeth into their roles and give it their enthusiastic all as warring former comedic partners reminiscent of the double act of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Hackett at times overdoes it but mostly it doesn't unbalance everything else. The performances in general and the guest star cast are other joys.

As always with playing Jessica Fletcher, Angela Lansbury is terrific while Hackett and Lawrence seem to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. David Knell is an appealing presence as are a young George Clooney and Beth Windsor. Pat Crowley and Sheree North are also good. Arte Johnson however has little to do and doesn't really register.

Production values are slick and stylish as ever with 'Murder She Wrote'. 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.

Writing is thought-provoking, light-hearted and amiable and it and all the above help make the episode very watchable and at its best enjoyable even if the show has better mysteries.

Overall, enjoyable and good fun if more for the interaction, the comedy feud and the cast than the mystery itself. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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