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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 1 E 15 Tough Guys Dont Die

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When a private eye, Archie Miles, is killed while investigating an old case for her, Jessica decides she will stop at nothing to find the killer. However, she quickly finds her hands full with the ins and outs of the cases Miles had open when he died, and with Miles' prickly partner Harry McGraw, who doesn't want any help or interference from the law.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

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  • Driven to Suicide: The sister of the real Scalpel Killer, Mr. Cargill, committed suicide a few months after being raped.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Ms. Daniels had an abortion after getting pregnant as a grad student. She knew that if anyone ever found out, it would sink her political ambitions, so she hired Miles to see how deeply the skeleton was buried. Unfortunately for her, this led to her being blackmailed by Mr. Kravitz.
  • Got Me Doing It: At one point while talking to Harry, Jessica uses private-eye type diction and then notes in startlement that she's beginning to talk like him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mr. and Mrs. Cargill ran a nursing home. One night, it caught fire, and they died trying to save the many bed-ridden or handicapped residents.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jessica asks Ms. Daniels about Mr. Miles, and she denies knowing anything about a murdered detective. Jessica points out she said Miles died; she didn't say he was murdered.
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  • Off on a Technicality: The possibility that if Miles' killer went to trial, he would go free thanks to some fancy footwork from his lawyer causes Lt. Starkey to leave Harry McGraw alone on the case and look the other way regarding the great likelihood that he'll kill the man.
  • Red Herring:
    • Jessica wonders initially if someone involved in her case might have killed Mr. Miles. However, after getting the whole story from Judge Lambert, who served as a lawyer on the case, she discovers that the Scalpel Murder was a crime of passion. The killer went on to live a normal life afterward and died heroically a few months ago.
    • Santini, the construction manager whose wife thought he was cheating, gets attacked by McGraw as the primary suspect, whereupon the truth comes out. A long time ago, he and his wife had a sailboat that got destroyed. He was disappearing every night to consult with a contractor about a replica for a twentieth-anniversary gift.
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