Monday, July 5, 2021

Murder Monday: Episode 3-6: Deadly Gold

After the amusing title of the previous episode, "Corned Beef and Carnage," Murder, She Wrote goes for raw impact with the follow-up, "Deadly Gold!" What a great title. Says it all. And this episode, which originally aired November 9, 1986, does indeed offer death...and gold, or at least the promise of it.

Yet with all that's going on in this one--sunken treasure, intrigue in Cabot Cove, BOTNS icon Grant freakin' Goodeve--I am too distracted by the presence of one man, the great Leslie Nielsen. Oh, it's not that I can't accept him in serious roles after seeing him ham it up in Police Squad and The Naked Gun. No, it's that 1) he plays a yacht owner looking for treasure a mere year and a half removed from playing a respectable ship captain in Season 1's "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean." It was much less than a year and half for me watching these in 2021.  So it's distracting to see Nautical Nielsen so soon after his indelible first-season appearance.

And number 2) I can't help but wonder when I see Nielsen on MSW, did he bring know, the thing on set with him? Oh, I'll just say it: Was Leslie Nielsen walking around the production of a Murder, She Wrote episode while working his infamous fart machine?

Admit it, once that thought is in your head, you find it difficult to think about anything other than Angela Lansbury's reactions. How about The Bos himself, AKA Amos Tupper? The mind reels!

It's a shame because it is a fun episode, though Grant Goodeve is underutilized. Nielsen's David Everett is a roguish former flame of Jessica, and the show keeps us guessing as to his intentions/motives/general character all the way through. He is in debt, involved with shady loan sharks, and has assembled an interesting crew of partners to search for possible treasure. 

Oddly, the recently deceased Robert Hogan appears as new town doctor Wylie Graham, who is taking on a role at the hospital. It's odd because this episode seems to set up the character as a professional (and personal--does he have eyes for Jessica?) rival for William Windom's Seth Hazlitt, yet he only shows up once more in the series, several episodes later. Hogan returns several years later as a different character, so I guess Graham was just a concept that the show abandoned.

"Deadly Gold" is a fun episode that deserves an attentive watch. Good luck giving it one, though, while trying to bury the notion of that fart machine.

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