I realize this countdown is trying the patience of those who would be more excited about Murder, She Wrote if Jessica Fletcher had started, say, making and selling meth during a strangely dark sixth season. I realize that I now have fewer readers than this ACTUAL WEBSITE dedicated to itemizing and appreciating Jessica Fletcher's wardrobe choices (my thanks to Stripes for venturing into the dark heart of the online Fletcher fan community and returning with that link—and, presumably, a more sophisticated aesthetic sense). But if there's one thing, one thing, I start and then successfully finish in my life, it will be this list of magnificent Murder, She Wrote guest stars.

And we're almost there, because we're at number 2, and this list will absolutely end at number 1. And #1 is even better than #2--which is amazing, considering #2 is Andy Garcia.

It was the very first episode of Murder, She Wrote, and Jessica, suddenly thrust into the spotlight and a murder investigation after publishing a bestselling book, takes to wandering the streets in search of malefactors. And because this is 1984 in New York City, she ends up being menaced by thugs. And because every actor celebrated in 1990 had to have been somewhere in 1984, one of those thugs was played by Andy Garcia.

[I did not take or write on that photo: I got that photo from YET ANOTHER BLOG ENTIRELY DEDICATED TO MURDER, SHE WROTE.]

His name was "1st White Tough"
The man with the less thuggish hat is Ned Beatty.
He offers, in a VERY MENACING WAY, to give Jessica a "free blood test," but she is rescued by "Black Youth" before he can do so. You'll note that Garcia is sporting the very same hat he will later wear in The Godfather: Part III.

And "2nd White Tough" also made something of himself, in that he recently appeared in a film called Mansion of Blood with both Gary Busey and Robert Picardo.

4/26/2013 04:46:41 am

MSW’s pilot is the only epi in the series that, to my knowledge, has a sequel. That sequel–-“The Return of Preston Giles”–-aired in 1990, as part of the season seven. The double-murderer Giles received early release from jail, and he quickly found himself accused of another murder, only this time (as Jessica had to prove) he was innocent. I found the premise intriguing, and yet the episode turned out to be one of the worst in the history of the series. Now I realize there a missing ingredient: to make the sequel worthy of the original, the producers needed to bring back not just Preston Giles but also the First White Tough.


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