I really hope that the fictional books that Jessica Fletcher writes are better murder mysteries than this one.
There was nothing fundamentally wrong with this episode of Murder, She Wrote (S12E22 – What You Don’t Know Can Kill You). It had all the right elements: good guy that ends up dead, doting girlfriend, bad guy, possibly jealous ex-girlfriend, token loony side-plot that my be connected, the sleuth getting the clues. Despite all that it just didn’t work very well as a piece of drama. The “reveal” just sort of happened, it wasn’t shocking despite the fact that I did not know who’d dunnit. Even people very close to the victim that were right there as the truth came out didn’t react much. You’d think they’d be a little angry.
Yes, yes, murder, solving etc. But what, I hear you ask, about the reason we’re here? Kathryn.
Do you really think I’m going to forget about her? Not likely!
Kathryn (as Doreen The Waitress) effectively had 5 scenes in the episode, which was actually far more than I had expected, All are in the first half of the show. And she’s not just standing around in the background either.
Scene 1. Doreen is in the diner, she is a waitress after all, delivering food to a table occupied by our local ruffian gang made up of chief thug, his girl and two sidekicks. Ruffians #2 and #3 harass Doreen. Obviously such behaviour is unacceptable, even if I can’t entirely disagree with the sentiment. Tasty indeed! She puts them down with little effort.
The second scene is a continuation of the first. Still in the diner, Doreen chats with our soon-to-be-dead nice guy and his girlfriend as she takes their orders. Doreen proves how good her memory is by listing exactly what the girl’s uncle had eaten there earlier that day. We get the full Southern accent and dazzling smile treatment from Kathryn. What could be better?
Number 3 sees Doreen alone in the diner except for ruffians #2 and #3 (these two are together a lot, perhaps they share a brain cell), she’s clearing tables. Doting girlfriend comes in to ask “the brain trust” about nice guy’s death. They don’t take too kindly to the questions and get rough with her. Doreen goes for the phone to call for help but is also threatened. Ruffian #1 arrives with his moll and breaks it up. Now Doreen gets all bold and tells #1 to get out and take his lackeys with him. You go girl!
The local lawyer and his early(ish) demise in the diner makes up scene 4. Doreen needs to get some new filters for the machine from the back-room to make him a cup of coffee. As we watch her moving boxes and reaching for the filters from a high shelf, Mr Lawyer, oddly quietly, finds himself on the wrong end of a knife. Coming back into the diner Doreen, distracted by Ms. Fletcher arriving, fails to notice dead-guy-at-the-counter until our sleuth spots him.
For our final scene with Doreen we finally get to see her out of the diner, and in the police station. She’s gone over there with Jessica to explain what happened prior to them finding the lawyer with a knife in his back.
I can’t say I was impressed by this episode. It was not a great piece of television. Perhaps after 12 seasons the show was showing signs of age. However, it was really good to finally see Kathryn in this early TV appearance. It was a more significant role, with more air time, than I could have hoped for and she was, as usual, a pleasure to watch.
We got the smile, the accent and another addition to the KM hair-do collection. What’s not to like. In summary: adorable.
There are, of course, screencaps and a couple of small video clips to be found in the Gallery.