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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 3 E 8 Obituary For A Dead Anchor

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Against her better judgement, Jessica agrees to talk to the council about allowing TV reporter Paula Roman do a piece on her and Cabot Cove. However, thanks to a last-minute swap in the newsroom, she instead gets stuck with her colleague Kevin Keats, who is infamous for browbeating his interviewees. Jessica tries to make the best of it. Then a boat blows up, apparently taking Keats with it. Suddenly reporters deluge the town with more publicity than it can handle. Jessica must solve the mystery of the anchor and the mysterious assassin if she ever wants to regain her quiet country home.

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Seth does not appear in this episode, having absented himself in irritation over the news crew.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Keats apparently cheated on his wife, and she is not at all grief-stricken to hear the news of his death, saying blithely that she didn't kill him; she wanted him to live to see her take away his holdings during the divorce. She even tells Jessica that she has an interview with a major news source about her rotten marriage.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When the producer, Doug Helman, disappears, Brody quips that he's probably mountain-climbing somewhere. Jessica remembers this when Dr. Wylie tells her that the corpse they recovered from the harbor had gotten two toes surgically removed. Mountain climbing can result in frostbite, sometimes requiring amputation.
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  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Brody tells Jessica that he is a newsman, not a performer. Unfortunately, in a newsroom that values style and popular opinion, that wasn't enough to keep Helman from laying him off.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jessica points out to Brody that he gave himself away when he told Ms. Roman that Helman only permitted her to come because Keats insisted. The thing is, that was discussed during a seemingly private phone call when Helman and Keats were planning the getaway. Unusually for this show, Brody tries to wiggle out of it by claiming he heard the information somewhere else, but Jessica shoots him down every time.
  • Never My Fault: When Cabot Cove gets deluged with reporters and negative publicity after the boat blows up, the mayor chastises Jessica for causing it with her attention-seeking. Jessica had her doubts about allowing the piece and only agreed to do it if the town council voted in favor of it. Furthermore, the mayor initially considered it a good thing.
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  • Smarter Than You Look: Sheriff Tupper comes very close to solving the mystery himself when he realizes that, given the brief time period between his renting the boat for Mr. Keats and it blowing up, the mysterious bomber must have been in on the conversation between Helman and Keats.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Mrs. Keats bluntly tells Jessica that her apparently dead husband was a treacherous snake.
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