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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 1 E 20 Murder At The Oasis

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Fresh off another draft of her latest book, Jessica goes to catch up with old friend Peggy Shannon in sunny California. But trouble is brewing in paradise. Peggy's ex-husband, Johnny, may have taken the show business world by storm, but his way with people leaves many in his wake seething. When Johnny turns up dead in his home, Jessica finds no shortage of suspects, but any explanation will have to figure out how — or if — the killer bypassed the security system.

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Detective Mole: Jessica realizes that the killer was the policeman with whom she has been investigating. He was a hitman who got himself transferred into a small community police force to get at his target.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Johnny criticizes a piece his son Mickey wrote for a tennis tournament and calls in someone to listen to it. When the guy says he thinks it's nicely bouncy, Johnny dismisses him as having a tin ear.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: A variation; when Buster says he wanted to ask if the mob had put a hit on him, Jessica points out that if the hitman had wanted to kill him, he would have done so the same night he killed Johnny.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jessica realizes that Sgt. Barnes killed Johnny Shannon when she recalls him dismissing a missing picture of Johnny and his children as unimportant. However, Terry took the photo from the wall before the police arrived. If he had never been inside the room before, he couldn't have known what photo it was.
  • Red Herring:
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    • Vic LaRosa, the tennis player who Terry dated, falls under suspicion. He's the only person known to have gotten in from the outside without needing to go through security (Terry turned the system off to let him sneak in) and he runs after the murder is committed. He had nothing to do with it.
    • Buster Bailey, the comedy relief, ended up with a broken heart courtesy of Johnny's womanizing, and Terry catches him on the telephone trying to contact mob boss Milo Valentine. He didn't kill Johnny, and only wanted to ask the gangster if he had a hit out on his own head.
  • Shock Value Relationship: Terry started dating Vic because she knew Johnny would hate him. After the murder, she gives him some money and a warning to flee before the police start looking for him but tells him not to call her, saying the whole relationship was about irritating her father.
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  • Worthy Opponent: The hitman seems to respect Jessica and isn't pleased that he has to kill her.
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