11 fierce facts about 'Murder, She Wrote'

Cabot Cove was the murder capital of the world.

Image: NBCUniversal

When you think of the great fictional detectives of our time, only a few names come to mind, and one of them is Jessica Fletcher. Yes, the retired English teacher turned amateur mystery writer deserves to be remembered right up there with Sherlock Holmes.

For twelve seasons, Angela Lansbury brought the character to life in the fictional town of Cabot Cove, solving some serious crime while penning mystery stories and riding her bike in her spare time.

At a time when rad shows like Miami Vice and Magnum, P.I. ruled the ratings, Murder, She Wrote held its own, becoming one of the most important shows of the 1980s and '90s. Here are a few things you might not know about the show that defied expectations. 

1. Lansbury broke records.

Lansbury was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series every year Murder, She Wrote was on the air. That makes 12 nominations, a record in that category. Alas, Lansbury somehow never took home the statue. 

Image: Associated Press

2. Lansbury was 58 when the show premiered.

Who says an actress' career is over once she reaches 40? Lansbury was 58 when Murder, She Wrote debuted in September of 1984, making the success of the series a monumental victory for older actresses looking for substantial roles. The next year, The Golden Girls debuted to similar success. 

Image: AP Photo/Nick Ut

3. The murder rate in Cabot Cove is out of control.

According to the BBC, the small coastal town had about 5.3 murders every year. That would make the murder rate for the town of 3,560 people about 1,490 murders per million people. That's 60 percent higher than Honduras, where a violent death occurs every 74 minutes. 

Image: NBCUniversal

4. There's a controversial fan theory.

One controversial reason as to why there are so many murders in Cabot Cove is that Jessica is actually a serial killer

Image: NBCUniversal

5. Jessica Fletcher was definitely the star of the show.

There's no doubt the star of the show was Jessica Fletcher, but Angela Lansbury really carried the series single-handedly. Fletcher appeared in 263 episodes, about 200 more than the next leading character, Dr. Seth Hazlitt (William Windom). 

Image: Associated Press

6. The show garnered huge ratings.

For a show that lasted 12 seasons, the ratings for Murder, She Wrote were superb. For the first eleven seasons, the series never dipped below the Top 15 in the Nielson ratings. In fact, its highest-rated season was its ninth, when it was the fifth most-watched show in the country.

Image: NBCUniversal 

7. Jessica never drove a car.

If you watch closely, Jessica never drives a car. The mystery writer is always seen riding a bike or taking a cab. Maybe she never got a license when she came over from Great Britain? 

Image: NBCUniversal

8. Jessica's middle name has a meaning.

Jessica's middle name is Beatrice. The name comes from Lansbury's real-life friend and Mame co-star, Beatrice Arthur. Jessica's late husband was also named after the Maude star. His name was Frank, and Arthur's birth name was Bernice Frankel. Talk about friendship goals!

Image: AP Photo/Kathy Willens

9. Jean Stapleton was offered the role of Jessica.

We can't really picture Jessica singing at a piano, but All in the Family's Jean Stapleton was originally offered the role of Jessica Fletcher. She declined the role, and it eventually found its way to Lansbury. 

Image: Sony Pictures Television

10. Lansbury doesn't want a revival.

With all the reboots and revivals in the works, a new Murder, She Wrote sounds like a no-brainer. But Lansbury doesn't want to revive Jessica Fletcher. In a 2015 interview, the 90-year-old actress stated, "I think it would be a downer. In some way, we'd have to show her as a much older woman."

Image: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

Love 'Murder, She Wrote'?

She may be an amateur sleuth, but she's one heck of a fashion accessory. If you're a fan of Jessica Fletcher, or Angela Lansbury for that matter, you can find some great merchandise to show your support. Check out the MeTV Store for more products about this series, and other classic shows you love. 

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