Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
3 user

Wheel of Death 

The arrival of a traveling carnival in Cabot Cove coincides with a rash of burglaries and the murder of the troupe's owner.


Walter Grauman


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Thom Bierdz ... Richard Binyon
Maria Canals-Barrera ... Carmen (as Maria Canals)
Jimi Defilippis ... Nicky Newton
Bradford Dillman ... Carl Dorner
Lisa Lawrence Lisa Lawrence ... Lisa Farrel
Ron Masak ... Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Judson Mills ... Toby Grant
Cindy Pickett ... Joanna Simms
Madlyn Rhue ... Jean O'Neill
Charles Siebert ... Don Simms
William Windom ... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Louis Herthum ... Deputy Andy Broom
Richardson Morse ... Man In Gray Suit
Jennifer Manasseri Jennifer Manasseri ... Gwen


Before she goes to the Cabot Cove carnival with Seth, Jessica notices some jewelry is missing- she was burglarized. Sheriff Mort Metzger gets reports from other victims but is most surprised after 22 years to meet Joanna Simms again, a college girlfriend who ran off with then jock Don Simms. She's now the traveling carnival's assistant manager. Jessica and Seth are surprised to hear from Don's co-owner Carl Dorner that the carnival brought very little money in despite good attendance. According to him people just didn't spend money, but young local grocer Richard Binyon even spends $100 as thank-you for great sales. Juggler Nicodemus 'Nicky' Newton accepts someone's order to break in and look at the carnival's books. Toby Grant, who works as the roustabout for a year to finance going to college, meets up with local volunteer Lisa Farrel, who gives Jessica a tally copy confirming the income. Joanna surprises Nicky going through Dorner's desk in his trailer, according to him looking for... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 May 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Angela Lansbury heard that Madlyn Rhue, who was suffering from MS, was in danger of losing her Screen Actors Guild medical coverage because she wasn't working enough to qualify. So she created the part of Jean the librarian to bring Rhue back for two episodes every year so she wouldn't lose her insurance. See more »


[first lines]
[at a knife throwers practice where the assistant screams]
Carl Dorner: Much better. You see, Carmen, why the scream must seem natural and spontaneous? If you're terrified, the audience will be terrified for you.
See more »

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User Reviews

Burglaries and murder at the carnival
22 November 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

The season finale to Season 10 "Wheel of Death" is decent, but not a great episode so to speak and neither among the season's best ("The Dying Game", "Love and Hate in Cabot Cove") or worst ("Time to Die", "Proof in the Pudding"). If asked to rank Seaosn 10, "Wheel of Death" would be somewhere in the middle. The mystery itself is not bad, it's entertaining and doesn't take too long to get there (though a couple of the subplots are a touch on the soap-operatic side).

Angela Lansbury is terrific, as are William Windom as my consistent favourite recurring supporting character and Ron Masak effectively bringing out charm and tension with Lansbury. Bradford Dillman is the standout of the guest cast, "Wheel of Death" being a strong example of the professionals and older members of the cast setting a standard of doing things properly.

Production values as always are slick, stylish and suitably cosy. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune. The writing is thought-provoking and does a good job with the lightness and cosiness of the show even with crimes that are anything but.

Conversely, the younger cast members are not up to snuff, inexperience showing. Standing out in the not so good acting is that for the killer in the denouement, very awkward and it does bring what is actually a fairly interesting if unsurprising denouement down to not-sure-what-to-make-of-it quality.

'Murder She Wrote' thus far has not done a very good job making Andy particularly interesting, he's still Mort's bland and underwritten deputy and not much else despite Louis Herthum's best efforts. Do remember a couple of later episodes trying to do more with him, also remember them not being very good.

Overall, decent but there's better episodes. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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