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* WhatTheHellHero: All of the NiceGuy characters get moments like this. In particular, Seth inexplicably takes an instant dislike to a new doctor at the hospital for seemingly no other reason than that the guy is much younger than him, frequently and unfairly accusing him of not caring about his patients and holding him responsible for the death of one of ''his'' former patients, who appears to have died due to an error the young doctor made. Jessica, who suspects foul play, gently but firmly tells Seth that he's behaving wrongly, and that if the woman was in fact murdered, the other doctor certainly doesn't deserve to have his career and reputation ruined over someone else's misdeed.

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* WhatTheHellHero: WhatTheHellHero:
**
All of the NiceGuy characters get moments like this. In particular, Seth inexplicably takes an instant dislike to a new doctor at the hospital for seemingly no other reason than that the guy is much younger than him, frequently and unfairly accusing him of not caring about his patients and holding him responsible for the death of one of ''his'' former patients, who appears to have died due to an error the young doctor made. Jessica, who suspects foul play, gently but firmly tells Seth that he's behaving wrongly, and that if the woman was in fact murdered, the other doctor certainly doesn't deserve to have his career and reputation ruined over someone else's misdeed.misdeed.
** In "Test of Wills", Jessica chastises Henry Reynard multiple times for not considering the consequences of faking his own death.


* SheepInSheepsClothing: The show relishes having unexpected or seemingly unblemished character turn out to be the killer, but every now and then, there's someone with motive and opportunity who seems a little too good to be true but is in fact innocent and an ally: such as Cynthia Broussard in ''Big Easy Murder'', Clare in ''The Bottom Line is Murder'', Mickey Shannon in ''Murder at the Oasis'', Arthur Constable in ''It Runs in the Family'', Peggy Evans in ''Frozen Stiff'', and Inspector Kyle in ''Paint Me a Murder''.

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* SheepInSheepsClothing: The show relishes having unexpected or seemingly unblemished character turn out to be the killer, but every now and then, there's someone with motive and opportunity who seems a little too good to be true but is in fact innocent and an ally: such as Cynthia Broussard in ''Big Easy Murder'', Clare in ''The Bottom Line is Murder'', Harcourt Fention in ''The Committee'', Mickey Shannon in ''Murder at the Oasis'', Arthur Constable in ''It Runs in the Family'', Peggy Evans in ''Frozen Stiff'', and Inspector Kyle in ''Paint Me a Murder''.


** "Prediction: Murder" has a housekeeper character named [[Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress Greta Olsson]].

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** "Prediction: Murder" has a housekeeper character named [[Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress Greta Olsson]].Olsen]].


* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:David Tolliver]] from "Lovers and Other Killers" is really the murderer. Jessica initially dismisses [[spoiler: [[InspectorJavert Lt. Andrews]]'s pursuit of David, but she comes to accept that he was right all along.]]

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* KarmaHoudini: KarmaHoudini:
**
[[spoiler:David Tolliver]] from "Lovers and Other Killers" is really the murderer. Jessica initially dismisses [[spoiler: [[InspectorJavert Lt. Andrews]]'s pursuit of David, but she comes to accept that he was right all along.]]]]
** The TV movie ''The Last Free Man'' has the murderer and the people who help him cover it up, a trio of racist {{Jerkass}}'s get off scot free (except for being on the losing side of the Civil War) due to their influence, and the lack of evidence.



* NeverAcceptedInHisHometown:
** Sybil Reed, another Cabot Cove author, is deeply resented by most of the community in ''The Sins of Castle Cove'' although [[JustifiedTrope Sybil's book is astory with characters unflatteringly blatantly based on Cabot Cove townspeople]].
** Rueben Stoltz in ''Murder, Plan and Simple'' is an Amish boy who chose to leave behind his culture and, while working as a successful publishers assistant, volunteers to drive Jessica to the area partially for the opportunity to show off to his old community and try to reconnect with them somewhat (with mixed results).



* SheepInSheepsClothing: The show relishes having unexpected or seemingly unblemished character turn out to be the killer, but every now and then, there's someone with motive and opportunity who seems a little too good to be true but is in fact innocent and an ally: such as Cynthia Broussard in ''Big Easy Murder'' and Inspector Kyle in ''Paint Me a Murder''

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* SheepInSheepsClothing: The show relishes having unexpected or seemingly unblemished character turn out to be the killer, but every now and then, there's someone with motive and opportunity who seems a little too good to be true but is in fact innocent and an ally: such as Cynthia Broussard in ''Big Easy Murder'' Murder'', Clare in ''The Bottom Line is Murder'', Mickey Shannon in ''Murder at the Oasis'', Arthur Constable in ''It Runs in the Family'', Peggy Evans in ''Frozen Stiff'', and Inspector Kyle in ''Paint Me a Murder''Murder''.


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* UndergroundRailroad: The TV Movie ''The Last Free Man'' has both [[spoiler: murder victim Robert Mercer and the slave of Jessica's ancestor]] involved in this.


* ObnoxiousInLaws: A mutual example in the two-part ''Death Stalks The Big Top'', where Raymond, TheDutifulSon of struggling circus owner Edgar Carmody, is married to Daniella, the daughter of fashion designer Maria Morgana. While Maria likes Raymond well enough, she she despises his father, feeling that he's holding Daniella and Raymond back and making them live in squalor when they hold be working for her in New York. Edgar's opinion of Maria isn't much better, and he also looks down on Daniella due to feeling she isn't cut out for circus life, and worrying that she'll drag his son away from it. [[spoiler: in the end, since none of the four are the murderer, the subplot does get fairly happily resolved]].

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* ObnoxiousInLaws: A mutual example in the two-part ''Death Stalks The Big Top'', where Raymond, TheDutifulSon of struggling circus owner Edgar Carmody, is married to Daniella, the daughter of fashion designer Maria Morgana. While Maria likes Raymond well enough, she she despises his father, feeling that he's holding Daniella and Raymond back and making them live in squalor when they hold could be working for her back in New York. Edgar's opinion of Maria isn't much better, and he also looks down on Daniella due to feeling she isn't cut out for circus life, and worrying that she'll drag his son away from it. [[spoiler: in the end, since none of the four are the murderer, the subplot does get fairly happily resolved]].



* OtherMeAnnoysMe: Referenced in an episode where fictionalized characters closely resemble real people but with negative characterization. Anger ensues.

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* OtherMeAnnoysMe: Referenced in ''THe Sins of Castle Cove", an episode where fictionalized characters closely resemble real people but with negative characterization. Anger ensues.



* PetTheDog: The villain of the TV Movie ''The Celtic Riddle'' murders several people [[spoiler: including his own aunt]] with little to no remorse, but [[EvenEvilHasStandards he draws the line at killing his pregnant half-sister and her boyfriend]] when they arrive at the spot [[spoiler: where the treasure is]] instead forging a note to send them on a wild goose chase, many miles away, while he finishes [[spoiler: taking out the treasure]].



* RewatchBonus: Almost OnceAnEpisode, or more. One notable example Jessica herself wasn't present for is in in ''Jessica behind Bars'' when [[spoiler: The assistant warden trying to comfort the doctor after she gets asked some inquisitorial questions]]. initially seems like a moment of kindness, but by the ending, is revealed to have been a nervous appeal to an accomplice not to crack under interrogation. In ''Dear Deadly'' the advice columnists firmness in login to bat for her editor initially makes her seem like a BenevolentBoss, but it's later revealed that she's just a figurehead, and he's been writing the column for her since the beginning.

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* RewatchBonus: Almost OnceAnEpisode, or more. One notable example Jessica herself wasn't present for is in in ''Jessica behind Bars'' when [[spoiler: The assistant warden trying to comfort the doctor after she gets asked some inquisitorial questions]]. questions by their boss]] initially seems like a moment of kindness, but by the ending, is revealed to have been a nervous appeal to an accomplice not to crack under interrogation. In ''Dear Deadly'' the advice columnists firmness in login going to bat for her editor initially makes her seem like a BenevolentBoss, but it's later revealed that she's just a figurehead, and he's been writing the column for her since the beginning.

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* DistressedWoodchopping: In " "The Sins of Castle Cove"", Jessica and Sheriff Metzger come to question the local butcher, Tim Mulligan, about the death of his mistress. During the beginning of the conversation, Mulligan chops a block of wood in half, and another split block lies on the ground. He also sounds upset as he denies hurting her.


** [[Film/AnimalHouse John Vernon]] ironically has a non-faculty role in "School for Scandal."

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** [[Film/AnimalHouse John Vernon]] ironically has a non-faculty role in "School for Scandal."Scandal".



** George Hearn [[Theatre/SweeneyTodd runs a restaurant]] in "Trials and Tribulations."
** Creator/LeslieNielsen is [[Film/ThePoseidonAdventure a ship captain]] once again in "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean."

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** George Hearn [[Theatre/SweeneyTodd runs a restaurant]] in "Trials and Tribulations."
Tribulations".
** Creator/LeslieNielsen is [[Film/ThePoseidonAdventure a ship captain]] once again in "My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean."Ocean".



* AngryGuardDog: The neighbour in "Angel of Death" owns an angry guard dog that barks at anyone who comes on his property. Its behaviour on the night of the murder provides Jessica with a vital clue; this may also be a ShoutOut to the Sherlock Holmes story ''Silver Blaze'' and "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime."

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* AngryGuardDog: The neighbour in "Angel of Death" owns an angry guard dog that barks at anyone who comes on his property. Its behaviour on the night of the murder provides Jessica with a vital clue; this may also be a ShoutOut to the Sherlock Holmes story ''Silver Blaze'' and "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime."nighttime".



* AttackAnimal: In "Dead Heat," Mike Gann tries to stop Jessica from telling the police and the racing commission the truth about his role in rigging horse races... by ''siccing a killer horse on her so it will look like an accident.''

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* AttackAnimal: In "Dead Heat," Heat", Mike Gann tries to stop Jessica from telling the police and the racing commission the truth about his role in rigging horse races... by ''siccing a killer horse on her so it will look like an accident.''



* AutopsySnackTime: In "Smooth Operators," a coroner offers Jessica and her FriendOnTheForce a plate of danishes lying on a table in the morgue. He himself eats a hard-boiled egg, which he cracks open with one of the medical instruments.
* BadHabits: In "The Sicilian Encounter," [=MI6=] agent Michael Hagerty poses as a monsignor to infiltrate a Mafia wedding.
* BalletEpisode: In "Danse Diabolique," Jessica unravels the death of a ballerina after she dances a ballet that has killed everyone who has tried it.

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* AutopsySnackTime: In "Smooth Operators," Operators", a coroner offers Jessica and her FriendOnTheForce a plate of danishes lying on a table in the morgue. He himself eats a hard-boiled egg, which he cracks open with one of the medical instruments.
* BadHabits: In "The Sicilian Encounter," Encounter", [=MI6=] agent Michael Hagerty poses as a monsignor to infiltrate a Mafia wedding.
* BalletEpisode: In "Danse Diabolique," Diabolique", Jessica unravels the death of a ballerina after she dances a ballet that has killed everyone who has tried it.



* BookSafe: In "The Great Twain Robbery," the VictimOfTheWeek hides the stolen page from a manuscript within the pages of another book.

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* BookSafe: In "The Great Twain Robbery," Robbery", the VictimOfTheWeek hides the stolen page from a manuscript within the pages of another book.



* TheBoxingEpisode: "Death Takes a Dive," in which Jessica's old friend Harry [=McGraw=] is implicated in the death of a boxing manager, and manages to talk Jessica into taking over the role while she investigates.
* BribeBackfire: In "Moving Violation," Sheriff Metzger stops a driver for speeding and running a stop sign. The driver doesn't have a license and attempts to bribe Metzger with $100. At this point, Metzger arrests him.

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* TheBoxingEpisode: "Death Takes a Dive," Dive", in which Jessica's old friend Harry [=McGraw=] is implicated in the death of a boxing manager, and manages to talk Jessica into taking over the role while she investigates.
* BribeBackfire: In "Moving Violation," Violation", Sheriff Metzger stops a driver for speeding and running a stop sign. The driver doesn't have a license and attempts to bribe Metzger with $100. At this point, Metzger arrests him.



* BurnTheWitch: The killing of a woman for witchcraft in the 17th century sets up some of the plot in "Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble," as Seth sees her "ghost." In the present day, there's a WitchHunter priest, who of course is the first suspect when one of the witch's descendants, Irene Terhume, ends up dead. [[RedHerring He didn't do it]].

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* BurnTheWitch: The killing of a woman for witchcraft in the 17th century sets up some of the plot in "Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble," Bubble", as Seth sees her "ghost." "ghost". In the present day, there's a WitchHunter priest, who of course is the first suspect when one of the witch's descendants, Irene Terhume, ends up dead. [[RedHerring He didn't do it]].



* CacophonyCoverUp: In "Murder: According to Maggie," the killer uses the gunshots onscreen during the screening of a TV show to drown out the sound of their actual gunshots.
* CatScare: A cat jumps out of a closet to startle Jessica and her cousin in "Shear Madness."

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* CacophonyCoverUp: In "Murder: According to Maggie," Maggie", the killer uses the gunshots onscreen during the screening of a TV show to drown out the sound of their actual gunshots.
* CatScare: A cat jumps out of a closet to startle Jessica and her cousin in "Shear Madness."Madness".



* CircusEpisode: The two-parter "Death Stalks the Big Top," where Jessica's search for her missing brother-in-law leads her to a circus that is going under, accidents are happening left and right, and the resident circus bully, Hank Sutter, turns up dead.

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* CircusEpisode: The two-parter "Death Stalks the Big Top," Top", where Jessica's search for her missing brother-in-law leads her to a circus that is going under, accidents are happening left and right, and the resident circus bully, Hank Sutter, turns up dead.



* DeadArtistsAreBetter: In "Angel of Death," when it is thought that a famous playwright has been murdered, his director remarks that his final, unpublished play will have a sellout season.

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* DeadArtistsAreBetter: In "Angel of Death," Death", when it is thought that a famous playwright has been murdered, his director remarks that his final, unpublished play will have a sellout season.



* DeadManHonking: Happens when a van crashes during an attempted prison breakout at the start of "Trials and Tribulations."

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* DeadManHonking: Happens when a van crashes during an attempted prison breakout at the start of "Trials and Tribulations."Tribulations".



** Rarely, but [[BewareTheNiceOnes Jessica]] herself can take the wind out of someone who thinks they can talk down to the retired English teach who ''clearly'' doesn't know anything about solving murders or is just being an ass to her in general. One of the best examples is in "Killer Radio", where she brings up Doestoefsky to insufferable shock-jock Marcus Rule. Rule suggests that he have the famous Russian author on his show. Jessica tells him that would be impossible, as he died some time ago, but the title of one of his books would suit Rule just fine..."The Idiot"!

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** Rarely, but [[BewareTheNiceOnes Jessica]] herself can take the wind out of someone who thinks they can talk down to the retired English teach who ''clearly'' doesn't know anything about solving murders or is just being an ass to her in general. One of the best examples is in "Killer Radio", where she brings up Doestoefsky to insufferable shock-jock Marcus Rule. Rule suggests that he have the famous Russian author on his show. Jessica tells him that would be impossible, as he died some time ago, but the title of one of his books would suit Rule just fine... "The Idiot"!



* DesperateObjectCatch: A high-stakes SloMo example appears at the climax of "Mrs. Parker's Revenge."
* DetectiveMole: In [[spoiler:"The Monte Carlo Murders,"]] the murderer is revealed to be the police inspector Jessica has been assisting in the investigation.

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* DesperateObjectCatch: A high-stakes SloMo example appears at the climax of "Mrs. Parker's Revenge."
Revenge".
* DetectiveMole: In [[spoiler:"The Monte Carlo Murders,"]] Murders",]] the murderer is revealed to be the police inspector Jessica has been assisting in the investigation.



* DisguisedInDrag: In "The Great Twain Robbery," the murderer sneaks up on what would be his next victim, only to discover it is a male police officer disguised in drag.

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* DisguisedInDrag: In "The Great Twain Robbery," Robbery", the murderer sneaks up on what would be his next victim, only to discover it is a male police officer disguised in drag.



* TheDragon: This trope doesn't usually come up, but there are some episodes where the AssholeVictim had someone who carries on their dirty work after their death, like "Murder At The Oasis," or the murderer has someone who helps them carry out their deeds, like "Jessica Behind Bars."
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Salvatore]] in the episode "A Very Good Year For Murder." [[spoiler: He's terminally ill and, knowing his granddaughter's boyfriend was a hitman, wants the guy to end his pain so he can relinquish his company to his grandchildren. However, when one of his grandsons almost gets killed in a trap meant for ''him'', he goes PapaWolf and [[TamperingWithFoodAndDrink poisons the hitman's wine]]. He later tries a more direct form of this when he poisons himself with the same wine after confessing to the murder.]] Fortunately, he is saved from death offscreen.

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* TheDragon: This trope doesn't usually come up, but there are some episodes where the AssholeVictim had someone who carries on their dirty work after their death, like "Murder At The Oasis," Oasis", or the murderer has someone who helps them carry out their deeds, like "Jessica Behind Bars."
Bars".
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Salvatore]] in the episode "A Very Good Year For Murder." Murder". [[spoiler: He's terminally ill and, knowing his granddaughter's boyfriend was a hitman, wants the guy to end his pain so he can relinquish his company to his grandchildren. However, when one of his grandsons almost gets killed in a trap meant for ''him'', he goes PapaWolf and [[TamperingWithFoodAndDrink poisons the hitman's wine]]. He later tries a more direct form of this when he poisons himself with the same wine after confessing to the murder.]] Fortunately, he is saved from death offscreen.



** In "The Great Twain Robbery," after being shot, the VictimOfTheWeek crawls across the floor to pull a copy of ''Literature/TheScarletLetter'' off the bottom shelf of his bookcase.
** In "The Monte Carlo Murders," a dying victim seemingly tells Jessica (in French) that "the recording is in the fish". However, he was actually trying to tell her that "the recording is in the poison" (i.e. hidden in a can of rat poison); the French words for poison (''poison'') and fish (''poisson'') are very similar.
** In "Home Care," Jessica's friend Maggie is able to identify her killer by pointing to a descriptive phrase in the book she's holding when she dies.

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** In "The Great Twain Robbery," Robbery", after being shot, the VictimOfTheWeek crawls across the floor to pull a copy of ''Literature/TheScarletLetter'' off the bottom shelf of his bookcase.
** In "The Monte Carlo Murders," Murders", a dying victim seemingly tells Jessica (in French) that "the recording is in the fish". However, he was actually trying to tell her that "the recording is in the poison" (i.e. hidden in a can of rat poison); the French words for poison (''poison'') and fish (''poisson'') are very similar.
** In "Home Care," Care", Jessica's friend Maggie is able to identify her killer by pointing to a descriptive phrase in the book she's holding when she dies.



* ElectrifiedBathtub: "Sticks and Stones", "Unauthorized Obituary," and "The Phantom Killer". There's also an electrified Jacuzzi in "The Way to Dusty Death".

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* ElectrifiedBathtub: "Sticks and Stones", "Unauthorized Obituary," Obituary", and "The Phantom Killer". There's also an electrified Jacuzzi in "The Way to Dusty Death".



* FakedKidnapping: In "The Skinny According to Nick Cullhane," the VictimOfTheWeek is murdered because he has written a manuscript blowing the whistle on a fake kidnapping scam.
* FakeStatic: At the start of "The Error of Her Ways," a cop gets out of a conversation with the dispatcher by repeatedly thumbing the send button on his radio to make it seem like the signal is breaking up.

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* FakedKidnapping: In "The Skinny According to Nick Cullhane," Cullhane", the VictimOfTheWeek is murdered because he has written a manuscript blowing the whistle on a fake kidnapping scam.
* FakeStatic: At the start of "The Error of Her Ways," Ways", a cop gets out of a conversation with the dispatcher by repeatedly thumbing the send button on his radio to make it seem like the signal is breaking up.



** In "Test of Wills," the patriarch of a wealthy family fakes his own murder to see how his heirs react to his death. However, his charade ends up resulting in an actual murder.

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** In "Test of Wills," Wills", the patriarch of a wealthy family fakes his own murder to see how his heirs react to his death. However, his charade ends up resulting in an actual murder.



* FieryCoverup: In "Night of the Coyote," the killer burns down a museum to cover their theft of a specific item.

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* FieryCoverup: In "Night of the Coyote," Coyote", the killer burns down a museum to cover their theft of a specific item.



* FootprintsOfMuck: In "Shear Madness," Jessica thinks she is alone in a rambling house during a storm. Hearing a noise, she heads upstairs and finds muddy footprints leading into one of the bedrooms.

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* FootprintsOfMuck: In "Shear Madness," Madness", Jessica thinks she is alone in a rambling house during a storm. Hearing a noise, she heads upstairs and finds muddy footprints leading into one of the bedrooms.



* FrivolousLawsuit: Jessica is subjected to a $50 million wrongful death suit in "Trials and Tribulations," with the AmoralAttorney expecting her insurance company will settle out-of-court for $1 million. He doesn't figure on Jessica's stubbornness.
* FryingPanOfDoom: The VictimOfTheWeek is killed by a blow to the head with a skillet in "The Sins of Castle Cove."

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* FrivolousLawsuit: Jessica is subjected to a $50 million wrongful death suit in "Trials and Tribulations," Tribulations", with the AmoralAttorney expecting her insurance company will settle out-of-court for $1 million. He doesn't figure on Jessica's stubbornness.
* FryingPanOfDoom: The VictimOfTheWeek is killed by a blow to the head with a skillet in "The Sins of Castle Cove."Cove".



** In "Always a Thief," the first VictimOfTheWeek witnesses a would-be burglary and is stabbed with a gardening fork.
** In "Murder, Plain and Simple," the VictimOfTheWeek is stabbed with a pitchfork before being strung up as a [[ScaryScarecrows scary scarecrow]].
** In "Shear Madness," a pair of pruning shears are used to kill two people.

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** In "Always a Thief," Thief", the first VictimOfTheWeek witnesses a would-be burglary and is stabbed with a gardening fork.
** In "Murder, Plain and Simple," Simple", the VictimOfTheWeek is stabbed with a pitchfork before being strung up as a [[ScaryScarecrows scary scarecrow]].
** In "Shear Madness," Madness", a pair of pruning shears are used to kill two people.



** In the season 8 episode "Angel of Death," a playwright friend of Jessica's is being gaslighted to convince him that he is being haunted by the ghost of his dead wife.
** A similar plot happened in season 2's "Reflections of the Mind." A friend of Jessica's is being gaslighted to convince her that her first husband came back from the grave and killed her second husband. [[spoiler: It turns out that the culprit is her daughter, who also killed the second husband, and who is convinced that if she can get her mother institutionalized, she can receive her inheritance early and live it up with her failed musician boyfriend.]] Jessica turns the tables on them by faking evidence that [[spoiler: the second husband survived the "accident" they caused for him and is coming after them.]]

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** In the season 8 episode "Angel of Death," Death", a playwright friend of Jessica's is being gaslighted to convince him that he is being haunted by the ghost of his dead wife.
** A similar plot happened in season 2's "Reflections of the Mind." Mind". A friend of Jessica's is being gaslighted to convince her that her first husband came back from the grave and killed her second husband. [[spoiler: It turns out that the culprit is her daughter, who also killed the second husband, and who is convinced that if she can get her mother institutionalized, she can receive her inheritance early and live it up with her failed musician boyfriend.]] Jessica turns the tables on them by faking evidence that [[spoiler: the second husband survived the "accident" they caused for him and is coming after them.]]



* GoLookAtTheDistraction: In "Murder in Milan," Jessica distracts a pack of paparazzi by saying "Isn't that Mel Gibson?" and pointing behind them.

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* GoLookAtTheDistraction: In "Murder in Milan," Milan", Jessica distracts a pack of paparazzi by saying "Isn't that Mel Gibson?" and pointing behind them.



** Frank Fletcher does appear as young man on a newsreel in "The Last Flight of the ''Dixie Damsel''."

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** Frank Fletcher does appear as young man on a newsreel in "The Last Flight of the ''Dixie Damsel''."



* HighVoltageDeath: In "Murder in Tempo," the VictimOfTheWeek is the lead singer of a band who is electrocuted when someone tampers with his guitar.
* HorribleHollywood: Jessica encounters all of the horrible aspects of Hollywood when one of her books is being adapted into a movie in "Incident in Lot 7."
* [[IdenticalGrandson Identical Cousin]]: Jessica has a British cousin named Emma, also played by Angela Lansbury. In the episode "Runs in the Family," only Emma is featured, with Jessica not appearing at all, and Emma proves to be a rather good sleuth herself.

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* HighVoltageDeath: In "Murder in Tempo," Tempo", the VictimOfTheWeek is the lead singer of a band who is electrocuted when someone tampers with his guitar.
* HorribleHollywood: Jessica encounters all of the horrible aspects of Hollywood when one of her books is being adapted into a movie in "Incident in Lot 7."
7".
* [[IdenticalGrandson Identical Cousin]]: Jessica has a British cousin named Emma, also played by Angela Lansbury. In the episode "Runs in the Family," Family", only Emma is featured, with Jessica not appearing at all, and Emma proves to be a rather good sleuth herself.



* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: In "Night Fears," the murder happens when [[spoiler:an ex-cop fires at a mugging in progress. The bullet passes through the mugger and kills the victim. The ex-cop then tries to cover it up by staging an OrgyOfEvidence]].

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* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: In "Night Fears," Fears", the murder happens when [[spoiler:an ex-cop fires at a mugging in progress. The bullet passes through the mugger and kills the victim. The ex-cop then tries to cover it up by staging an OrgyOfEvidence]].



* ImprobableAntidote: In "Night of the Tarantula," a victim of rat poison is saved because his new wife had earlier served him an herbal tea to help with a migraine, and the tea just happened to contain the natural antidote to the poison, so his body started fighting the toxin immediately.
* InferioritySuperiorityComplex: Pauline, in "It Runs In The Family," is a complete and utter snob to everyone around her, even though she was a working class girl who married into a family with status, and is also usually reminded of this by her somehow less haughty but still horrible mother-in-law Sybil. She treats Emma (Jessica's British cousin) like pond scum and sounds insulted on a personal level at the idea of Emma inheriting anything from her old boyfriend Geoffrey, Pauline's uncle-in-law and the current Viscount Blackraven. [[spoiler: In fact, Pauline is so desperate to prove she's better than everyone else that she murdered Geoffrey and his father a month before, so her husband would become the new Viscount Blackraven. She even shot her own son (albeit without trying to kill him) to frame someone else. It all culminates in a horribly depressing VillainousBreakdown when she starts screaming at Sybil about how she has no idea what it's like to be treated like less then nothing for being "a baker's daughter." Pauline's breakdown and sobbing is so bad, it makes Sybil have a HeelRealization for how much of a bitch she's been, and apologizes to Emma for her nastiness.]]
* InspectorJavert: In "Badge of Honor," an old friend of Seth's arrives in Cabot Cove. He is followed by a private eye named Jarvis who has been dogging him for years, convinced that he was responsible for a jewelry store robbery.

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* ImprobableAntidote: In "Night of the Tarantula," Tarantula", a victim of rat poison is saved because his new wife had earlier served him an herbal tea to help with a migraine, and the tea just happened to contain the natural antidote to the poison, so his body started fighting the toxin immediately.
* InferioritySuperiorityComplex: Pauline, in "It Runs In The Family," Family", is a complete and utter snob to everyone around her, even though she was a working class girl who married into a family with status, and is also usually reminded of this by her somehow less haughty but still horrible mother-in-law Sybil. She treats Emma (Jessica's British cousin) like pond scum and sounds insulted on a personal level at the idea of Emma inheriting anything from her old boyfriend Geoffrey, Pauline's uncle-in-law and the current Viscount Blackraven. [[spoiler: In fact, Pauline is so desperate to prove she's better than everyone else that she murdered Geoffrey and his father a month before, so her husband would become the new Viscount Blackraven. She even shot her own son (albeit without trying to kill him) to frame someone else. It all culminates in a horribly depressing VillainousBreakdown when she starts screaming at Sybil about how she has no idea what it's like to be treated like less then than nothing for being "a baker's daughter." Pauline's breakdown and sobbing is so bad, it makes Sybil have a HeelRealization for how much of a bitch she's been, and apologizes to Emma for her nastiness.]]
* InspectorJavert: In "Badge of Honor," Honor", an old friend of Seth's arrives in Cabot Cove. He is followed by a private eye named Jarvis who has been dogging him for years, convinced that he was responsible for a jewelry store robbery.



* InventedIndividual: In "The Phantom Killer," a struggling writer creates a fictitious agent to represent him. This lie keeps snowballing, and ends with the agent being accused of murder, at which point the writer is exposed and arrested.
* IsThisThingStillOn: In "The Return of Preston Giles," the murderer makes a confession to their second victim just before they kill them, not realising that the victim had a tape recorder running on their desk as they had been recording comments on a manuscript when the killer entered the office. This results in the murderer's confession being CaughtOnTape.

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* InventedIndividual: In "The Phantom Killer," Killer", a struggling writer creates a fictitious agent to represent him. This lie keeps snowballing, and ends with the agent being accused of murder, at which point the writer is exposed and arrested.
* IsThisThingStillOn: In "The Return of Preston Giles," Giles", the murderer makes a confession to their second victim just before they kill them, not realising realizing that the victim had a tape recorder running on their desk as they had been recording comments on a manuscript when the killer entered the office. This results in the murderer's confession being CaughtOnTape.



* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: Dennis Stanton pulls this trick in "Suspicion of Murder." He comes up with a theory of how the murder could have been committed, but it hinges on proving the suspect could have fired a gun. Stanton pulls a BluffingTheMurderer moment by pretending to have more information than he has, and attempts to blackmail him. When the murderer pulls a gun and fires it, Stanton then reveals that he broke in the night before and switched the shells for blanks.
* ItsAlwaysMardiGrasInNewOrleans: In "Day of the Dead," Jessica's visit to Mexico happens to coincide with ''Di­a de los Muertos'' (and, of course, [[MysteryMagnet a murder]]).

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* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: Dennis Stanton pulls this trick in "Suspicion of Murder." Murder". He comes up with a theory of how the murder could have been committed, but it hinges on proving the suspect could have fired a gun. Stanton pulls a BluffingTheMurderer moment by pretending to have more information than he has, and attempts to blackmail him. When the murderer pulls a gun and fires it, Stanton then reveals that he broke in the night before and switched the shells for blanks.
* ItsAlwaysMardiGrasInNewOrleans: In "Day of the Dead," Dead", Jessica's visit to Mexico happens to coincide with ''Di­a de los Muertos'' (and, of course, [[MysteryMagnet a murder]]).



* LargeHam: [[spoiler: Alex Cord]]'s character at the end of "Death Stalks the Big Top."
* LawOfInverseFertility: Jessica and her husband Frank were childless; in a first-season episode, when speaking to a new acquaintance [[spoiler:(who later turns out to be the murder victim)]], she explains that they "were never blessed that way," suggesting that they wanted children but couldn't have them for whatever reason.

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* LargeHam: [[spoiler: Alex Cord]]'s character at the end of "Death Stalks the Big Top."
Top".
* LawOfInverseFertility: Jessica and her husband Frank were childless; in a first-season episode, when speaking to a new acquaintance [[spoiler:(who later turns out to be the murder victim)]], she explains that they "were never blessed that way," way", suggesting that they wanted children but couldn't have them for whatever reason.



* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: in the seventh season finale, "The Skinny According to Nick Culhane," the final line is by Creator/JerryOrbach as Harry [=McGraw=], who says, "That's all she wrote." Cue Harry, Sheriff Metzger, and Jessica all looking directly into the camera and smiling/smirking for the final shot. In the seventh season box set extra "The Price of Success," this was explained as a deliberate choice. Lansbury's contract was up, and she was seriously considering not renewing it, because of the grueling schedule (also the reason for the PoorlyDisguisedPilot; it was the only way of giving her a break). At the time of shooting, there was a good chance this would be the series finale as well, so the writers wanted something a little special. Luckily for the network, in the end Lansbury loved Jessica too much to quit.
* LighterAndSofter: "[[Recap/MurderSheWroteS4E7IfItsThursdayItMustBeBeverly If It's Thursday, It Must be Beverly]]." Despite the slightly dark ending, it's mostly just a hilarious tale of a granny chaser sleeping with a different woman every day!

to:

* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: in the seventh season finale, "The Skinny According to Nick Culhane," Culhane", the final line is by Creator/JerryOrbach as Harry [=McGraw=], who says, "That's all she wrote." Cue Harry, Sheriff Metzger, and Jessica all looking directly into the camera and smiling/smirking for the final shot. In the seventh season box set extra "The Price of Success," Success", this was explained as a deliberate choice. Lansbury's contract was up, and she was seriously considering not renewing it, because of the grueling schedule (also the reason for the PoorlyDisguisedPilot; it was the only way of giving her a break). At the time of shooting, there was a good chance this would be the series finale as well, so the writers wanted something a little special. Luckily for the network, in the end Lansbury loved Jessica too much to quit.
* LighterAndSofter: "[[Recap/MurderSheWroteS4E7IfItsThursdayItMustBeBeverly If It's Thursday, It Must be Beverly]]." Beverly]]". Despite the slightly dark ending, it's mostly just a hilarious tale of a granny chaser sleeping with a different woman every day!



* LotsaPeopleTryToDunIt: In "The Error of her Ways," the first VictimOfTheWeek was shot by his wife, who then fainted. The murderer - having witnessed the shooting - came in to help, and saw a BriefcaseFullOfMoney owned by the husband. Realizing the husband had been deceptive in off-screen dealings, the killer smothered him with a VorpalPillow. When the wife awoke, she discovered her husband dead and - assuming she had killed him - attempted to cover up the crime by making it look like a robbery gone wrong. The real murderer later killed the wife to make it look like she had committed suicide out of guilt, and to keep her from remembering the missing briefcase and realizing there was someone else there.

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* LotsaPeopleTryToDunIt: In "The Error of her Ways," Ways", the first VictimOfTheWeek was shot by his wife, who then fainted. The murderer - having witnessed the shooting - came in to help, and saw a BriefcaseFullOfMoney owned by the husband. Realizing the husband had been deceptive in off-screen dealings, the killer smothered him with a VorpalPillow. When the wife awoke, she discovered her husband dead and - assuming she had killed him - attempted to cover up the crime by making it look like a robbery gone wrong. The real murderer later killed the wife to make it look like she had committed suicide out of guilt, and to keep her from remembering the missing briefcase and realizing there was someone else there.



* MedicationTampering: In "Angel of Death," a playwright has his sedatives swapped for powerful anti-depressives as part of a {{Gaslighting}} scheme.

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* MedicationTampering: In "Angel of Death," Death", a playwright has his sedatives swapped for powerful anti-depressives as part of a {{Gaslighting}} scheme.



** In "The Witch's Curse," Robert Urich's character is laid up in a wheelchair because his stairs were being refinished and he forgot about it; this resulted in him falling down the stairs and fracturing his leg in multiple places.
* MockMillionaire: In "Test of Wills," the VictimOfTheWeek is a ConMan pretending to be a member of a prominent Boston family in order to marry a wealthy heiress. He is killed just after his real identity is exposed.

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** In "The Witch's Curse," Curse", Robert Urich's character is laid up in a wheelchair because his stairs were being refinished and he forgot about it; this resulted in him falling down the stairs and fracturing his leg in multiple places.
* MockMillionaire: In "Test of Wills," Wills", the VictimOfTheWeek is a ConMan pretending to be a member of a prominent Boston family in order to marry a wealthy heiress. He is killed just after his real identity is exposed.



* MurderByMistake: The BodyOfTheWeek in "A Body to Die For" turns out to be a case of this. Once Jessica realises that the killer fired through an open window into a darkened room, she figures out that they were firing at someone they thought would be there, not knowing that their appointment had been cancelled.

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* MurderByMistake: The BodyOfTheWeek in "A Body to Die For" turns out to be a case of this. Once Jessica realises realizes that the killer fired through an open window into a darkened room, she figures out that they were firing at someone they thought would be there, not knowing that their appointment had been cancelled.



* MurderByRemoteControlVehicle: In "Hit, Run and Homicide," the murderer uses a remote controlled station wagon to run over a pedestrian. 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.
* MyOwnPrivateIDo: In "The Sicilian Encounter," Michael Hagerty performs a private wedding ceremony for a couple so they can escape the attentions of an overly protective Mafia family. Of course, [[BadHabits Hagerty is only posing as a priest...]]

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* MurderByRemoteControlVehicle: In "Hit, Run and Homicide," Homicide", the murderer uses a remote controlled station wagon to run over a pedestrian. 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.
* MyOwnPrivateIDo: In "The Sicilian Encounter," Encounter", Michael Hagerty performs a private wedding ceremony for a couple so they can escape the attentions of an overly protective Mafia family. Of course, [[BadHabits Hagerty is only posing as a priest...]]



* ObfuscatingDisability: In "When Thieves Fall Out," one of the suspects is in a wheelchair following a car accident. It turns out he is faking paralysis to scam an insurance payout. Jessica becomes suspicious when she sees a footprint of a man's shoe in his size outside his home, and tricks him into revealing himself.

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* ObfuscatingDisability: In "When Thieves Fall Out," Out", one of the suspects is in a wheelchair following a car accident. It turns out he is faking paralysis to scam an insurance payout. Jessica becomes suspicious when she sees a footprint of a man's shoe in his size outside his home, and tricks him into revealing himself.



* OfCorpseHesAlive: In "Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief," when attempting to cover up a murder, an MI-5 agent is forced to push the body out of a hotel window to make it look like he'd jumped.

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* OfCorpseHesAlive: In "Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief," Thief", when attempting to cover up a murder, an MI-5 agent is forced to push the body out of a hotel window to make it look like he'd jumped.



* {{Oireland}}: "The Celtic Riddle," "Nan's Ghost," "A Killing in Cork," "Another Killing in Cork," and "To the Last Will I Grapple With Thee" (set in New York but involving an Irish blood feud)...
* OrgyOfEvidence: In "Night Fears," the killer floods the police with a bunch of false clues pointing to a psychopath, hoping that this will drown out the one legitimate clue pointing to him.

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* {{Oireland}}: "The Celtic Riddle," Riddle", "Nan's Ghost," Ghost", "A Killing in Cork," Cork", "Another Killing in Cork," Cork", and "To the Last Will I Grapple With Thee" (set in New York but involving an Irish blood feud)...
* OrgyOfEvidence: In "Night Fears," Fears", the killer floods the police with a bunch of false clues pointing to a psychopath, hoping that this will drown out the one legitimate clue pointing to him.



* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: In "How To Make A Killing Without Really Trying," the password of a murdered stockbroker was his licence plate number. His rival, who hacked his account, points out that it didn't take a genius to figure it out.

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* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: In "How To Make A Killing Without Really Trying," Trying", the password of a murdered stockbroker was his licence license plate number. His rival, who hacked his account, points out that it didn't take a genius to figure it out.



* PhoneyCall: In "A Quaking in Aspen," a woman who is having an affair pretends to be talking to her hairdresser when she is actually talking to her lover because her husband is in the room.

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* PhoneyCall: In "A Quaking in Aspen," Aspen", a woman who is having an affair pretends to be talking to her hairdresser when she is actually talking to her lover because her husband is in the room.



* PocketProtector: In "Lone Witness," a killer takes a shot at the grocery delivery boy who witnessed the crime. The bullet is stopped by the sack of sugar in the box of groceries he is carrying.

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* PocketProtector: In "Lone Witness," Witness", a killer takes a shot at the grocery delivery boy who witnessed the crime. The bullet is stopped by the sack of sugar in the box of groceries he is carrying.



* RevealingInjury: In "The Return of Preston Giles," Jessica realises the VictimOfTheWeek is the same man who attacked her in her hotel room because of the scratch marks she left on his hand when he grabbed her.

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* RevealingInjury: In "The Return of Preston Giles," Giles", Jessica realises realizes the VictimOfTheWeek is the same man who attacked her in her hotel room because of the scratch marks she left on his hand when he grabbed her.



* RoomDisservice: In "Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief," a thuggish LoanShark forces his way into Jessica's hotel room by posing as room service.
* ScarecrowSolution: In "Night of the Tarantula," Jessica fakes a murder victim rising as a zombie in order to spook to the killer into revealing that he knew the location of a secret passage: something only the killer could have known.
* ScaryScarecrows: In "Murder, Plain and Simple," the VictimOfTheWeek is strung up as a scarecrow in the middle of a field.
* ScoobyDooHoax: In "Nan's Ghost," the killer fakes a haunting around an old castle to keep the locals away while he searches for a lost treasure.

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* RoomDisservice: In "Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief," Thief", a thuggish LoanShark forces his way into Jessica's hotel room by posing as room service.
* ScarecrowSolution: In "Night of the Tarantula," Tarantula", Jessica fakes a murder victim rising as a zombie in order to spook to the killer into revealing that he knew the location of a secret passage: something only the killer could have known.
* ScaryScarecrows: In "Murder, Plain and Simple," Simple", the VictimOfTheWeek is strung up as a scarecrow in the middle of a field.
* ScoobyDooHoax: In "Nan's Ghost," Ghost", the killer fakes a haunting around an old castle to keep the locals away while he searches for a lost treasure.



* SextraCredit: The VictimOfTheWeek in "Alma Murder" is a graduate student who specialises in this. One suspect describes her as "giving tramps a bad name."

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* SextraCredit: The VictimOfTheWeek in "Alma Murder" is a graduate student who specialises specializes in this. One suspect describes her as "giving tramps a bad name."



** In "Tough Guys Don't Die," the victim is a P.I. named [[Film/TheMalteseFalcon1941 Archie Miles]].

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** In "Tough Guys Don't Die," Die", the victim is a P.I. named [[Film/TheMalteseFalcon1941 Archie Miles]].



* SomethingAboutARose: In "Danse Diabolique," the dancer playing Death presents a rose and a skull to the ballerina who then [[FatalMethodActing dies on stage]]. Jessica initially suspects that the ballerina was killed by a poisoned thorn on the rose.
* SongsInTheKeyOfLock: In "A Murderous Muse," the killers set up a system whereby when the VictimOfTheWeek plays a certain chord on the piano, it unlocks the secretary behind him and fires the gun hidden within.

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* SomethingAboutARose: In "Danse Diabolique," Diabolique", the dancer playing Death presents a rose and a skull to the ballerina who then [[FatalMethodActing dies on stage]]. Jessica initially suspects that the ballerina was killed by a poisoned thorn on the rose.
* SongsInTheKeyOfLock: In "A Murderous Muse," Muse", the killers set up a system whereby when the VictimOfTheWeek plays a certain chord on the piano, it unlocks the secretary behind him and fires the gun hidden within.



* SpannerInTheWorks: {{Defied|Trope}} in "Murder Through The Looking Glass." Jessica hears the dying words of a professional hitman, which leads her to accidentally butt in on a DSS witness protection operation. Realizing she's not going to let things go, the government lets her in on what's going on specifically to prevent her becoming this.
* StabTheScorpion: In "The Murder Channel," one of Jessica's friends has been kidnapped and is lying BoundAndGagged in the back of the kidnappers' van. One of the kidnappers advances menacingly, takes out a switchblade and flicks the blade out. She then uses the knife to cut the victim's bonds and release her.

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* SpannerInTheWorks: {{Defied|Trope}} in "Murder Through The Looking Glass." Glass". Jessica hears the dying words of a professional hitman, which leads her to accidentally butt in on a DSS witness protection operation. Realizing she's not going to let things go, the government lets her in on what's going on specifically to prevent her becoming this.
* StabTheScorpion: In "The Murder Channel," Channel", one of Jessica's friends has been kidnapped and is lying BoundAndGagged in the back of the kidnappers' van. One of the kidnappers advances menacingly, takes out a switchblade and flicks the blade out. She then uses the knife to cut the victim's bonds and release her.



* SteamNeverDies: In "Another Killing in Cork," Jessica is shown traveling through modern-day Ireland on a steam train.

to:

* SteamNeverDies: In "Another Killing in Cork," Cork", Jessica is shown traveling through modern-day Ireland on a steam train.



* SuicideNotMurder: In [[spoiler:"Trials and Tribulations,"]] the VictimOfTheWeek actually committed suicide, but his wife covered it up and attempted to make it look like murder.

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* SuicideNotMurder: In [[spoiler:"Trials and Tribulations,"]] Tribulations",]] the VictimOfTheWeek actually committed suicide, but his wife covered it up and attempted to make it look like murder.



*** In "Murder Takes The Bus," [[spoiler:the victim is a convicted bank robber freshly released from prison. During the robbery he had killed a teenage girl, and when her father confronts him he insults her, driving the father to strangle him to death. Jessica admits she feels bad for the killer, but suggests that he could make a good case for temporary insanity.]]
*** In "A Very Good Year For Murder," [[spoiler:the victim was a professional hitman. Jessica's friend had actually invited the hitman to his house as part of an admittedly foolish ThanatosGambit, but then the hitman's sloppy attempt at murder badly injures the man's son instead, prompting the old man to off the hitman himself, confess everything to Jessica, and then attempt suicide. It's especially notable in that Jessica herself says that she would refuse to testify about his confession, as she sees no need for him to go to jail (he's terminally ill).]]

to:

*** In "Murder Takes The Bus," Bus", [[spoiler:the victim is a convicted bank robber freshly released from prison. During the robbery he had killed a teenage girl, and when her father confronts him he insults her, driving the father to strangle him to death. Jessica admits she feels bad for the killer, but suggests that he could make a good case for temporary insanity.]]
*** In "A Very Good Year For Murder," Murder", [[spoiler:the victim was a professional hitman. Jessica's friend had actually invited the hitman to his house as part of an admittedly foolish ThanatosGambit, but then the hitman's sloppy attempt at murder badly injures the man's son instead, prompting the old man to off the hitman himself, confess everything to Jessica, and then attempt suicide. It's especially notable in that Jessica herself says that she would refuse to testify about his confession, as she sees no need for him to go to jail (he's terminally ill).]]



* TamperingWithFoodAndDrink: In "A Very Good Year For Murder," the victim, a mob hitman, dies when [[spoiler:Salvatore Gambini]] poisons his wine.

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* TamperingWithFoodAndDrink: In "A Very Good Year For Murder," Murder", the victim, a mob hitman, dies when [[spoiler:Salvatore Gambini]] poisons his wine.



** One of the show's final episodes, "Murder Among Friends," features a murder taking place among the cast and crew of a show, titled ''Buds,'' about six young people trying to make it in the big city. Sound familiar? The show got slotted against ''Series/{{Friends}}'' as part of a plan to kill it off.
** The final episode, "Death by Demographics," similarly knocks on the reason for the show being death-slotted: its lack of appeal to the 18-39 demographic. The episode itself is about a radio station manager who fires every employee over a certain age and changes the station's classical music format to more contemporary hard rock.

to:

** One of the show's final episodes, "Murder Among Friends," Friends", features a murder taking place among the cast and crew of a show, titled ''Buds,'' about six young people trying to make it in the big city. Sound familiar? The show got slotted against ''Series/{{Friends}}'' as part of a plan to kill it off.
** The final episode, "Death by Demographics," Demographics", similarly knocks on the reason for the show being death-slotted: its lack of appeal to the 18-39 demographic. The episode itself is about a radio station manager who fires every employee over a certain age and changes the station's classical music format to more contemporary hard rock.



* TerrifyingPetStoreRat: In "Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief," a seedy alley is portrayed by the presence of a couple of sleek and well-groomed pet store rats. At least they are brown and not white.
* ThanatosGambit: Attempted in "A Very Good Year For Murder." A friend of Jessica's wants to pass on his vineyard to his kids, but none of them care much about it at all. After learning that a crime syndicate who wants his land has put out a hit on him, he deliberately invites their contract killer to his house, hoping that if he is murdered, it will inspire his kids to work together and protect the vineyard. [[spoiler:The plan doesn't go exactly right, and the old man ends up not even dying, but the mere attempt ends up accomplishing his goal anyway.]]

to:

* TerrifyingPetStoreRat: In "Tinker, Tailor, Liar, Thief," Thief", a seedy alley is portrayed by the presence of a couple of sleek and well-groomed pet store rats. At least they are brown and not white.
* ThanatosGambit: Attempted in "A Very Good Year For Murder." Murder". A friend of Jessica's wants to pass on his vineyard to his kids, but none of them care much about it at all. After learning that a crime syndicate who wants his land has put out a hit on him, he deliberately invites their contract killer to his house, hoping that if he is murdered, it will inspire his kids to work together and protect the vineyard. [[spoiler:The plan doesn't go exactly right, and the old man ends up not even dying, but the mere attempt ends up accomplishing his goal anyway.]]



** Combined with ScoobyDooHoax in "Night of the Tarantula," where the murderer strangles the victim of the week and tries to make it look like the work of a boa constrictor, which was sent to him as part of a voodoo curse.
** In "A Nest of Vipers," the VictimOfTheWeek is injected with black mamba venom. The killer then unlocks the black mamba's cage so it will look like the victim was bitten by the escaped snake.

to:

** Combined with ScoobyDooHoax in "Night of the Tarantula," Tarantula", where the murderer strangles the victim of the week and tries to make it look like the work of a boa constrictor, which was sent to him as part of a voodoo curse.
** In "A Nest of Vipers," Vipers", the VictimOfTheWeek is injected with black mamba venom. The killer then unlocks the black mamba's cage so it will look like the victim was bitten by the escaped snake.



* TookAThirdOption: Reverend Willie John Fargo at the end of "Murder in the Electric Cathedral." [[spoiler: Rather than keeping Carrie [=McKitterick=]'s money for himself or giving it all back to her asshole son and grandson (who forged a phony will by making Carrie sign it ''after she died''), Willie John uses the money to start a charity fund in Carrie's name.]]

to:

* TookAThirdOption: Reverend Willie John Fargo at the end of "Murder in the Electric Cathedral." Cathedral". [[spoiler: Rather than keeping Carrie [=McKitterick=]'s money for himself or giving it all back to her asshole son and grandson (who forged a phony will by making Carrie sign it ''after she died''), Willie John uses the money to start a charity fund in Carrie's name.]]



* TurnInYourBadge: Sheriff Metzger is ordered to do this by the mayor when he is accused of murder in "Moving Violation."

to:

* TurnInYourBadge: Sheriff Metzger is ordered to do this by the mayor when he is accused of murder in "Moving Violation."Violation".



* VoodooDoll: In "Big Easy Murder," a voodoo doll is placed next to the VictimOfTheWeek to make his murder look like it was part of a series of underworld-related voodoo murders.

to:

* VoodooDoll: In "Big Easy Murder," Murder", a voodoo doll is placed next to the VictimOfTheWeek to make his murder look like it was part of a series of underworld-related voodoo murders.



* WickedStepmother: Eudora, the villain of "Mirror Mirror on the Wall," is said to be a stepmother to invoke this trope, particularly as a homage to Snow White's witch-stepmother. [[spoiler: Subverted with the twist that her husband's son is trying to frame her for murder in an attempt to steal her money.]]

to:

* WickedStepmother: Eudora, the villain of "Mirror Mirror on the Wall," Wall", is said to be a stepmother to invoke this trope, particularly as a homage to Snow White's witch-stepmother. [[spoiler: Subverted with the twist that her husband's son is trying to frame her for murder in an attempt to steal her money.]]



* WorthlessTreasureTwist: In "Night of the Coyote," the killer's motive is revealed to be locating the hidden loot of a stagecoach robber. When the treasure is finally uncovered, it turns out to be a chest of bonds... for a company that went bust in 1905.
** In "Benedict Arnold Slipped Here," [[EvilBrit a British historian obsessed with exonerating Benedict Arnold]] turns out to be the killer; he wants to get his hands on a bricked-up treasure box in his victim's home, which he believes contains a letter signed by General Washington himself that would prove that Benedict Arnold was not a traitor, but was acting under Washington's orders. [[spoiler:Turns out to be a letter from Arnold to his mistress.]]
* WoundedGazelleGambit: In "Moving Violation," a suspect is punched in the face by his father while he is in jail, and then accuses Sheriff Metzger of police brutality.

to:

* WorthlessTreasureTwist: In "Night of the Coyote," Coyote", the killer's motive is revealed to be locating the hidden loot of a stagecoach robber. When the treasure is finally uncovered, it turns out to be a chest of bonds... for a company that went bust in 1905.
** In "Benedict Arnold Slipped Here," Here", [[EvilBrit a British historian obsessed with exonerating Benedict Arnold]] turns out to be the killer; he wants to get his hands on a bricked-up treasure box in his victim's home, which he believes contains a letter signed by General Washington himself that would prove that Benedict Arnold was not a traitor, but was acting under Washington's orders. [[spoiler:Turns out to be a letter from Arnold to his mistress.]]
* WoundedGazelleGambit: In "Moving Violation," Violation", a suspect is punched in the face by his father while he is in jail, and then accuses Sheriff Metzger of police brutality.



* YouJustToldMe: Another way Jessica would identify the killer is the fact that they would accidentally let slip some minor detail only the killer would know. For instance, in the second episode, "Deadly Lady," four sisters are accused of murdering their father. [[spoiler: One sister's shoes are found at the scene. After she's cleared, suspicion turns to the others, one of whom says it couldn't be her because the two wore different sizes and she didn't wear pink. Jessica never mentions that the shoes were pink. The sister actually lampshades where she slips.]]

to:

* YouJustToldMe: Another way Jessica would identify the killer is the fact that they would accidentally let slip some minor detail only the killer would know. For instance, in the second episode, "Deadly Lady," Lady", four sisters are accused of murdering their father. [[spoiler: One sister's shoes are found at the scene. After she's cleared, suspicion turns to the others, one of whom says it couldn't be her because the two wore different sizes and she didn't wear pink. Jessica never mentions that the shoes were pink. The sister actually lampshades where she slips.]]


Added DiffLines:

* VacationEpisode: ''Rum and Razors'' revolves around Jessica, having just finished her latest manuscript, taking a trip to the island of St. Thomas near Florida.

Added DiffLines:

* MysteriousNote: In the opening chapter of ''Rum and Razors'', Jessica's been getting strange notes, all consisting of a single line - "GLOTCOYB", each time followed by varying punctuation (none on the first, a question mark on the second, a comma on the third, a period on the fourth and three exclamation points on the fifth). Shortly after finishing her latest manuscript, she sees a group of people outside her home, holding a banner with the same word. It turns out to be her friends Dr. Seth Hazlitt and Sheriff Morton Metzger, plus some other locals, who reveal "GLOTCOYB" is actually [[FunWithAcronyms an acronym]] for "Good luck on the completion of your book". Jessica is both irked and relieved, since the pranks had actually been making her rather nervous, to the point where she answered the door that day with a fire poker in hand to ward off any potential threats.

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* ActorAllusion: In ''Martinis and Mayhem'', while delivering a lecture to a high school class on public relations, Jessica is asked who she'd like to play her in a film version of her book. After suggesting Vivian Leigh or Jean Fontaine, Jessica adds "Of course, I'd be pleased if Angela Lansbury played me in a film version of my book."


* InheritanceMurder: Discussed in ''Gin and Daggers'', the first novel, as a motive for Majorie Ainsworth's murder; Jessica, who found the body, was named in her will, and someone tells her that this makes her a main suspect. Naturally, she didn't do it and didn't even ''know'' she was in the will until that particular conversation - on finding she's an heir, she immediately voices her intention to donate her share to charity (and repeats this at the will-reading).



* SpitefulWill: Used in ''Gin and Daggers'', the first ExpandedUniverse novel, where murder victim Marjorie Ainsworth uses her will to insult several of her heirs, including leaving a massive debt to her sister and brother-in-law (apparently he'd spent a great deal of her money at certain establishments and now she wants him to pay the bills they sent her with his own funds), and claiming that several of her associates involved in publishing her works in both Britain and the U.S. had been stealing a portion of her royalties. It's subverted for her niece (and primary caretaker) and Jessica Fletcher, who both receive compliments and large sums from her.


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!!The ExpandedUniverse novels provide examples of:

* DirtyCop: [[spoiler:Detective Alphonse Rizzi in ''Manhattans and Murder'', who's perfectly willing to let an innocent man die as a cover for one of his associates.]]
* DoesNotDrive: Jessica, per the TV series. It becomes a plot point in ''Brandy and Bullets'', when Jessica agrees to be hypnotized on stage at a club, but the hypnotist makes the mistake of trying to have her picture herself driving down a beach. She instantly recognizes something's off and has a panic attack in her trance, losing control of the car, until the hypnotist snaps her out of it (luckily, Seth was there to inform the hypnotist of the mistake).
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Brett Pearl, the only person to die during the events of ''Martinis and Mayhem'', had a fight with his boyfriend, who wanted Brett to come out to his parents. The subsequent breakup and Brett's fear of how his family would react to his sexuality led to his throwing himself off the Golden Gate Bridge.]]
* DrivesLikeCrazy: In ''Manhattans and Murder'', Jessica thinks to herself at one point that "Every taxi driver I'd had since arriving in New York drove as though he (in one case a she) was competing in the Indy 500." Subverted with the driver she's with at that point, who's driving slowly and carefully... just when Jessica needs to be somewhere in a hurry.
* FakingTheDead:
** In [[spoiler:''Manhattans and Murder'', the "victim" was being targeted by drug runners after he'd turned state's evidence against some associates of theirs, and decided to disappear, getting another man to fill in for him as a sidewalk Santa Claus and consequently be murdered in his place.]]
** In [[spoiler:''Brandy and Bullets'', the third "victim" is actually working with the government to shut down a group of people who are performing hypnosis experiments on their patients, and fakes his death to get away from them and deliver the evidence to his allies.]]
* ForcedOutOfTheCloset: [[spoiler:Attempted in ''Martinis and Mayhem''. Unable to cope with the idea of being out of the closet and what he thinks will be his very religious family's response, Brett Pearl chooses to commit suicide rather than be exposed.]]
* InheritanceMurder: Discussed in ''Gin and Daggers'' as a motive for Majorie Ainsworth's murder; Jessica, who found the body, was named in her will, and someone tells her that this makes her a main suspect. Naturally, she didn't do it and didn't even ''know'' she was in the will until that particular conversation - on finding she's an heir, she immediately voices her intention to donate her share to charity (and repeats this at the will-reading).
* MiscarriageOfJustice: The fifth novel, ''Martinis and Mayhem'', revolves around Jessica meeting a woman who's in prison for her husband's murder. Jessica comes to believe she's innocent, [[spoiler:and has proven it by the end, with the real killers and their accomplice being arrested]].
* ReCut: ''Gin and Daggers'' was originally released in 1989, but there were several inaccuracies compared to the TV series, including a scene of Jessica driving a car (in the actual series, she [[DoesNotDrive never learned to drive]], relying on her bicycle, public transportation or rides from friends). A re-edited version was released in 2000 to fix the majority of these errors.
* SlashedThroat: How the victim dies in ''Rum and Razors''.
* SpitefulWill: Used in ''Gin and Daggers'', where murder victim Marjorie Ainsworth uses her will to insult several of her heirs, including leaving a massive debt to her sister and brother-in-law (apparently he'd spent a great deal of her money at certain establishments and now she wants him to pay the bills they sent her with his own funds), and claiming that several of her associates involved in publishing her works in both Britain and the U.S. had been stealing a portion of her royalties. It's subverted for her niece (and primary caretaker) and Jessica Fletcher, who both receive compliments and large sums from her.
* SuicideNotMurder:
** In ''Brandy and Bullets'', after a patient at the Worrel Institute commits suicide via gunshot, a second one nearly overdoses on pills; luckily, she's rushed to the hospital, gets her stomach pumped and survives the experience. It turns out this really ''was'' a genuine attempted suicide, rather than [[spoiler:being caused by the Institute's experiments in hypnosis like the first victim and a later attempted victim]].
** In [[spoiler:''Martinis and Mayhem'', Brett Pearl jumps to his death off the Golden Gate Bridge the same day that Jessica was nearly pushed to her death. By the end of the book, it's been confirmed that he'd done so on purpose and the book's villains had nothing to do with it.]]
* ThemeNaming: The first five books all follow the same naming scheme - "(alcoholic drink) and (other word)". Jessica actually discusses this in ''Gin and Daggers'', the first book of the series. It's re-used for book 24, ''Margaritas and Murder''.
* WickedStepmother: Inverted in ''Martinis and Mayhem''. The ''birth'' mother is the monster, to the point where her daughter prefers her much nicer stepmother. [[spoiler:This is part of why the birth mother subsequently framed the stepmother for murdering their husband.]]


In an interesting cross-media spin-off, Donald Bain wrote [[ExpandedUniverse several mystery novels inspired by the series]], all of which credited Lansbury's character Jessica Fletcher as a co-writer.

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In an interesting cross-media spin-off, Donald Bain wrote [[ExpandedUniverse several mystery novels inspired by the series]], all of which credited Lansbury's character Jessica Fletcher as a co-writer. The series continued after his death, with Jon Land [[PosthumousCollaboration completing Bain's last work]] and then taking over as main writer (with Bain's grandson as a consultant).

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* SympatheticAdulterer: By no means all of them, but a fair amount (especially spouses of victims, such as Emily Griffith from ''A Killing in Cork'', whose CorruptCorporateExecutive husband hasn't slept with her in years, or occasional victims of DomesticAbuse) but an unusual example of a victim being this is Tommy Vonn from ''Murder in Tempo'', a rockstar who cheats on his wife and bandmate, but ultimately comes off as a JerkWithAHeartOfGold who really does love the local girl he is romancing, and a recovering alcoholic who [[ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules refuses a lucrative bribe to cancel an environmental benefit concert]] and was trying to make things up to his wife (who was also fed up with their marriage) by planning to let her take over as lead singer in the band.

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* RewatchBonus: Almost OnceAnEpisode, or more. One notable example Jessica herself wasn't present for is in in ''Jessica behind Bars'' when [[spoiler: The assistant warden trying to comfort the doctor after she gets asked some inquisitorial questions]]. initially seems like a moment of kindness, but by the ending, is revealed to have been a nervous appeal to an accomplice not to crack under interrogation. In ''Dear Deadly'' the advice columnists firmness in login to bat for her editor initially makes her seem like a BenevolentBoss, but it's later revealed that she's just a figurehead, and he's been writing the column for her since the beginning.


* TheDutifulSon: Plenty appear, due to making good suspects.



* ObnoxiousInLaws: A mutual example in the two-part ''Death Stalks The Big Top'', where Raymond, the son of the struggling circus owner, is married to Daniella, the daughter of fashion designer Maria Morgana. While Maria likes Raymond well enough, she she despises his father, feeling that he's holding Daniella and Raymond back and making them live in squalor. Edgar's opinion of her isn't much better, with him also feeling that she's right about one thing; that Daniella isn't cut out for circus life, with him not seeming that bothered by the idea of her and Raymond falling out. [[spoiler: in the end, since none of the four are the murderer, the subplot does get fairly happily resolved]].

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* ObnoxiousInLaws: A mutual example in the two-part ''Death Stalks The Big Top'', where Raymond, the son TheDutifulSon of the struggling circus owner, owner Edgar Carmody, is married to Daniella, the daughter of fashion designer Maria Morgana. While Maria likes Raymond well enough, she she despises his father, feeling that he's holding Daniella and Raymond back and making them live in squalor. squalor when they hold be working for her in New York. Edgar's opinion of her Maria isn't much better, with him and he also feeling that she's right about one thing; that looks down on Daniella due to feeling she isn't cut out for circus life, with him not seeming and worrying that bothered by the idea of her and Raymond falling out.she'll drag his son away from it. [[spoiler: in the end, since none of the four are the murderer, the subplot does get fairly happily resolved]].

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* SheepInSheepsClothing: The show relishes having unexpected or seemingly unblemished character turn out to be the killer, but every now and then, there's someone with motive and opportunity who seems a little too good to be true but is in fact innocent and an ally: such as Cynthia Broussard in ''Big Easy Murder'' and Inspector Kyle in ''Paint Me a Murder''

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