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Here's how Angela Lansbury and Murder, She Wrote writers kept the show successful for a dozen seasons

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: June 26, 2023, 10:10AM    Tags: Angela Lansbury, Murder, She Wrote, Jessica Fletcher

There are various reasons for the success of a show. From the cast to the production crew, new ideas are needed for a series to last. Murder, She Wrote lasted 12 seasons, bringing in viewers each week eager to watch Angela Lansbury's character in action.

This doesn't mean there weren't bumps along the show's road to success. In fact, in 1988, Angela Lansbury wanted to leave the show. Yet, the actress understood that it would be hard to cut ties with the character viewers knew and loved, Jessica Fletcher.

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"I want to do movies, movies for television, and go back to Broadway," Lansbury told the Associated Press in 1988. This wasn't the first time the actress wanted to call it quits. The workload was a lot to handle, and she also wanted to highlight other characters, so in 1989 and 1990 (seasons six and seven), her character was only seen full-time in a few episodes. The updated format wasn't necessarily successful.

So, the actress returned full-time and rejuvenated in 1991 for season eight. During a time when most people would think of retirement, Lansbury and Fletcher were just getting started. "She has been enormously successful as a novelist of mystery books, and she's made a great deal of money," Lansbury said to The Tampa Tribune in 1991. "She suddenly realizes that she's coming to the time in her life where she can either retire and sit back on her laurels or write the occasional book in Cabot Cove—and solve mysteries, of course—or she could put back into society some of what she has taken out."

Lansbury and Murder, She Wrote writers decided that Jessica Fletcher would teach again, but this time at the University of Manhattan. The fresh idea opened a new level of creativity for episode plots.

"This immediately opens up a new venue for us. She's (Fletcher) is working with students, she's teaching a class in criminology and she's using all of the arts she has managed to use to solve her crimes and write books," Lansbury added.

This updated format brought in four more seasons of the mystery show, eventually becoming one of the best in television history.



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