Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Hit, Run and Homicide 

Jessica and the police are baffled by a "driverless" car which suddenly appears in Cabot Cove.


Alan Cooke


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 3 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Claude Akins ... Capt. Ethan Cragg
Edward Albert ... Tony Holiday
June Allyson ... Katie Simmons
Tom Bosley ... Sheriff Amos Tupper
Patti D'Arbanville ... Leslie Andler
Van Johnson ... Daniel O'Brien
Stuart Whitman ... Charles Woodley
Bruce Gray ... Dean Merrill
Lois Foraker Lois Foraker ... Eliza Bates
Paddi Edwards ... Lois
Dee Croxton ... Cora McIntyre
Doug Stevenson Doug Stevenson ... Gas Attendant (as Douglas Stevenson)
Harry Stephens Harry Stephens ... Doctor
G.R. Smith G.R. Smith ... Deputy


Jessica isn't looking forward to tell Cabot Cove that her historical research for Founder's Day proves the captain was actually a pirate and fought on the British side, against Washington's troops. Businessman Charles Woodley lands in hospital after the surging of a car without driver which seemed to be pursuing local Ethan Cragg. Local inventor Daniel O'Brien, who devised a remote control system for cars before he was fired, denies having agreed to a meeting with his former employer Woodley, shortly after the car under remote control strikes again, killing Woodley's 50% Boston business partner, Dean Merrill. Daniel's heir, Tony Holiday, is back in town to present his bride, Leslie Andler Sheriff Amos Tupper happily 'allows' Jessica to 'observe for her next book', in fact doing the sleuthing with and without Amos, who arrests Daniel just for being most likely to have controlled the killer car.... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Mendocino, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Letitia, the never-yet-seen phone operator of Cabot Cove is mentioned for the second time. See more »


In all the driver-less car action scenes, the car has huge headrests on the seats (to hide the driver). In close ups, the seats have normal headrests. See more »


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: Daniel!
Daniel O'Brien: Jessica, what are you doing? You nearly ran into me.
Jessica Fletcher: Don't you have that a little bit backwards?
Daniel O'Brien: I guess I do.
See more »


Features Spy Hunter (1983) See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
See more »

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User Reviews

"But You Look Sweet upon the Seat of a Vehicle Speeding Through"
27 December 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Familiar stars Claude Akins, Edward Albert, June Allyson, Tom Bosley, Patti D'Arbanville, Bruce Gray, Van Johnson and Stuart Whitman join this cast in an episode centering upon an eccentric inventor whose experiments go awry in the hands of perpetrators with an objective of murder.

As Cabot Cove, Maine, prepares for its annual Founder's Day celebration, an enigmatic chain of events alters the mood of its citizens from festive to cautious and alarmed, leaving Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), Captain Ethan Cragg (Claude Akins) and Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) with a burden of chaos.

Eccentric inventor Daniel O'Brien (Van Johnson) fiddles with one experiment after another in his work-shoppe with assistant and housekeeper Katie Simmons (June Allyson), who welcome a visit from Jessica in preparation for Cabot Cove Founder's Day activities.

Daniel's former employers, Charles Woodley (Stuart Whitman) and Dean Merrill (Bruce Gray) are also in town, from Boston, to attempt to deal with Daniel and each other.

Tony Holiday (Edward Albert), Daniel's nephew and heir, visits his uncle and associate, along with his fiancée, Leslie Andler (Patti D'Arbanville), whom they receive with open arms, or at least until Tony discovers a bewildering invoice inside Leslie's glove compartment at a gasoline station.

Jessica continues to work with the planning committee, by researching Founding Father Joshua Peabody, a recurring topic throughout many Cabot Cove episodes. But here, she discovers evidence of his championing the British against American troops during the Revolutionary War, a factor which could dampen the tone of the picnic.

Eliza Bates (Lois Foraker), Lois Hoey (Paddi Edwards), Cora McIntyre (Dee Croxton) and Mrs. Miley (Crystal Jenious) (some of these actresses to repeat a Cabot Cove character) attend the Founder's Day picnic, which receives a different type of threat, as a driver-less station wagon swerves across the field, in pursuit of Captain Ethan Cragg and Charles Woodley.

While Ethan manages to avoid injury, Charles finds himself pinned against a cyclone fence, which he attempts to climb, before the automobile pins him against it, causing a leg fracture and subsequent hospitalization.

But the driver-less vehicle doesn't stop there. Along a rural route leading to and from Cabot Cove, the station wagon pursues a pedestrian, knocking the victim onto the side of the road in a bitter rage of murder.

Jessica, assisting Amos with the investigation, pays another visit to Daniel and Katie, she discovering that Daniel had once tinkered with a remote control system to install into vehicles in order to guide them without a driver. Amos, however, decides this information places Daniel as the prime suspect and arrests him, to the dismay of Katie, Tony and Jessica.

While bicycling about a wooded area, Jessica discovers the murder weapon and decides to take a closer look at the station wagon's inner workings. Once inside, however, she becomes trapped when someone in a van operates the remote control device to lock her inside, to activate the automobile's engine, and to steer her away at a dangerous speed, en route to an overhang above the rocky seacoast.

Ethen, meanwhile, scouting around town in his pickup truck, observes Jessica's speeding by behind a steering wheel; and, realizing that she doesn't drive, spins his truck in pursuit, as Amos, also happening by in his sheriff's sedan, spins around to follow Jessica, Ethan and the van.

Charles, his leg now in a cast, is released from the hospital in time to attend the next outdoor celebration in the park, and yet another return of the driver-less station wagon plagues the occasion, but again in pursuit of Charles, who again attempts to outrun the automobile to the best of his ability before Cabot Cove would have another "Hit, Run and Homicide."

The cast is rounded out by Harry Stephens as Doctor, G.R. Smith as Deputy, Roger Price as Local #1, Ed Morgan as Local #2, David Ashrow as Umpire, Steven Ameche as Musician, Michael Rogers as Policeman, and Douglas Stevenson as Gas Station Attendant, the most recent role to date for Douglas Stevenson, acting since circa 1977.

Claude Akins, acting in film and on television since 1953, Edward Albert, acting since 1965, June Allyson, acting in film and on television since 1937, her real-life husband, Dr. David Ashrow, D.D.S., a retired dentist, who acted in television from 1982 through 1986, Paddi Edwards, acting since 1962, Van Johnson, acting in film and on television since 1940, and Roger Price, acting since 1950, have unfortunately since passed.

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