The baffling crimes and mysteries continue with season four of "Murder, She Wrote". Angela Lansbury returns for a fourth season as famed mystery novelist and crime solver Jessica Fletcher, as she continues to find out "whodunit" when murders keep popping up around her. Just like with seasons one, two, and three, season four is a winner again. Intriguing mysteries, plus a delightful sense of humor, add up to another terrific season. And let's not forget about another great acting job by Lansbury in each episode. Jessica Fletcher was a role tailor-made just for her.
As usual, many well-known actors from the big screen to the small screen turn up in guest spots on "Murder, She Wrote". They include: Eileen Brennan ("Private Benjamin"), Nancy Dussault ("Too Close for Comfort"), Christopher Hewett ("Mr. Belvedere"), Yaphet Kotto ("Alien"), Betty Garrett ("All in the Family"), Jennifer Salt ("Soap"), Janet Leigh ("Psycho"), Charlotte Rae ("The Facts of Life"), Anne Meara ("Archie Bunker's Place"), Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development"), Jane Badler ("V"), Rene Auberjonois ("Benson"), Robert Reed ("The Brady Bunch"), Lois Nettleton ("In the Heat of the Night"), Linda Purl ("Matlock"), Billy Zane ("Titanic"), Eli Wallach ("The Godfather: Part III"), John Saxon ("A Nightmare on Elm Street"), Sonny Bono ("The Sonny and Cher Show"), Norman Fell ("Three's Company"), Brenda Vaccaro ("Midnight Cowboy"), Kristy McNichol ("Empty Nest"), Dean Stockwell ("Quantum Leap"), Eddie Albert ("Green Acres"), and Shirley Jones ("The Partridge Family"). Tom Bosley is back for a couple of episodes as Cabot Cove Sheriff Amos Tupper, as well as William Windom as Cabot Cove doctor Seth Hazlitt. This was Bosley's last season as Sheriff Tupper on "Murder, She Wrote". After the fourth season of the show ended the former "Happy Days" star took a lead role in the short-lived series "Father Dowling Mysteries", which made its TV debut in January 1989, just as "Murder, She Wrote" was halfway through its fifth season. So a new Cabot Cove Sheriff gets introduced in season five. But Bosley's appearances in 18 episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" through the first four seasons were a high point of the show, and his presence will be missed in season five and beyond. His final "Murder, She Wrote" episode is the one titled "Benedict Arnold Slipped Here" (episode #18).
For me the best episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" season four are: "Witness for the Defense", "If it's Thursday, It Must be Beverly", "Steal Me a Story", "Indian Giver", "Doom With a View", "Who Threw the Barbitals in Mrs. Fletcher's Chowder?", "Curse of the Daanav", "A Very Good Year For Murder", "Showdown in Saskatchewan", "Deadpan", and "The Body Politic". Also excellent is the bonus episode from season five, titled "Snow White, Blood Red". This is a gripping and suspenseful episode that takes place at a snowy ski resort, with a killer on the loose in the middle of a blizzard, and none of the guests can get out because all the roads outside are snowed in. Look for this superior episode to turn up in "Murder, She Wrote" - The Complete Fifth Season when it comes out on DVD.
But for right now, "Murder, She Wrote" - The Complete Fourth Season is a must for mystery fans. If you liked the first three seasons, then you'll like season four too. Plus, the new DVD format set is much improved over the previous three DVD sets of "Murder, She Wrote" (seasons 1, 2, & 3), which has three disks with episodes that are played on both sides of the disks. For season four, there are five disks, and the episodes are played on only one side. This comes after many complaints over the bad DVD quality of the first three seasons of the show. This was very much true for me too. I had a few problems with the first three DVD sets (where, while playing, an episode would just stop for no apparent reason). I didn't have this problem at all with any of the disks for season four. So for those of you out there who've experienced this problem, you shouldn't have the same problem with the fourth season of "Murder, She Wrote".