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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 2 E 22 If The Frame Fits

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Jessica stops by the house of a friend, Lloyd Marcus, to review a manuscript. However, the murder of Lloyd's daughter Julia shatters the planned tranquil evening. At first all the clues point to a robbery gone wrong, then to matrimonial homicide. Jessica digs through the frames of the murder to find the real killer.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Cry into Chest: The camera closes on a shot of Sabrina crying on Jessica's shoulder.
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  • Frame-Up: A double example; Lloyd came upon his daughter's body, after she is apparently murdered by a local art thief, rearranges the scene to frame his son-in-law. Turns out his son-in-law was the murderer, and he was attempting to frame the art thief so he could claim the insurance.
  • Gold Digger: Lloyd suspects his daughter's husband Donald of ulterior reasons for marrying her, claiming that he lost interest in her sister Sabrina when she found out Julia had most of the money. This suspicion motivates him to frame Donald for Julia's murder, not being able to bear the thought of the man walking away with a million dollars in life insurance after marrying his daughter for ulterior motives and making her miserable.
  • Gratuitous French: When talking to Jessica about the case, the mayor's wife says, "Cherchez la femme."note  Ironically, both the art thief and the killer are men.
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  • Idle Rich: Binky Holborn, the droll young rich man Jessica meets, never seems to work a day in his life, yet the receptionist at the golf club tells Jessica that he's always prompt in his payments, unusually so for such a person. This, combined with his frequent trips to England, allows Jessica to figure out he's the art thief.
  • I Have This Friend...: Lloyd asks Jessica to look over a manuscript he claims came from a friend of his in Tibet, but from the slips he makes, it's pretty clear he's talking about himself.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: The closing accusation points out that Donald said too much in two fatal instances.
    • Donald says he couldn't have been the killer because he was out with another woman when Julia was killed, citing the smashed clock as evidence. However, the police chief points out that he had already put the clock in an evidence bag when Donald came into the house. He wouldn't have known about it unless he had smashed it.
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    • Donald suggested the chief look for fingerprints on the pizza cutter found at the crime scene. The police chief had never discussed the implements found there with anyone but Jessica and Lloyd, so the only way he could have known about it was if he had left it there to frame the art thief.
  • Inheritance Murder: Played with; during the investigation, Lloyd calls his son-in-law Donald a gold digger. However, Julia's sister Sabrina tells Jessica that Lloyd forced Donald to sign a pre-nuptial agreement saying he'd get none of Julia's money. It turns out the motive was money, but it was the insurance policy, not the inheritance.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Lloyd frames his son-in-law for murdering Julia so that he can't collect the million-dollar life insurance policy on her. It turns out he really did kill her, and that was the motive.
  • Worthy Opponent: Binky Holborn gracefully accepts being caught, saying he didn't expect the scam could last forever, and he says he's pleased a person like Jessica was the one to nab him in the end.
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