Before fancy graphics, coherent writing, and cultural sensitivity, the world was a badder place. Join us as we remember a time when having three frames of animation for your sprite was a luxury and the only requirement for rescuing the president from ninjas was being sufficiently bad.
On her way home from a writers conference in the Deep South, Jessica's car breaks down in a small Alabama town, where she becomes embroiled in the aftermath of a murder committed in the wake of an altercation at the local roadhouse. She helps the town's black sheriff solve the crime, but not before he has to fend off a lynch mob and fist duel the guy who played Jon on CHiPs.
Breakfast fever infects Cabot Cove, as all the residents begin eating at a touristy, colonial-themed new restaurant at the edge of town. But a different kind of fever strikes those who try the place's strawberry jam: poison fever. Jessica tries to solve the case, but is stymied at every turn by a state health inspector who claims her methods are unscientific.
In this homage to Twelve Angry Men, Jessica plays the role of the level-headed jury foreperson. In her grandmotherly way, she gently browbeats the other 11 jurors––even the belligerent radio host and the guy who was the head of Starfleet in that Star Trek movie with the whales––into agreeing with her take on the murder trial.
This episode takes place in the second-most murderous city in the MSWverse: New York, where the only thing the residents ever talk about is how dangerous it is there. When one of her former English students (who grew up to be a high-end prostitute) is killed, Jessica has an extremely judgmental conversation with a madam before solving the case.
Jessica travels to a small archaeological dig site in New Mexico to do some hands-on research for her newest book. The crew is worried when a man wearing traditional Anasazi garb appears on top on a nearby bluff and tries to put an ancient Indian curse on them. They're relieved to be curse-free when he falls to his death, but was the fall really an accident? Jessica suspects otherwise.
When Cabot Cove's reliable old Sheriff Amos retires, real estate huckster Harry takes over. After the episode's second murder, he muses, "I'm starting to hate this job," as if he didn't put much thought into taking a law enforcement job in the murder capitol of the United States. Meanwhile, the citizens of Cabot Cove (who are clearly desensitized to such violence) seem more concerned by the chaos-sewing anonymous letters everyone in the town is receiving. One woman, convinced by a letter that Jessica Fletcher is sleeping with her husband, attacks Jessica with her purse.
Jessica is teaching a writing class at a local women's prison when the prison doctor is murdered and a riot breaks out. The prisoners gain control of the facility and she is taken hostage. Everyone keeps saying that the police will "shoot their way in" unless Jessica can solve the crime. To do so, she befriends a rag-tag group of inmates, including spouse-killer Mary, streetwise Tug, demure Louise, hefty Bertha, and trigger-happy Kat.