Struggling television scriptwriter Gayle Yamada comes to Jessica after her producer tries to push her to plagiarize Jessica's latest novel. Immediately, Jessica talks with an executive to protect her work...and shortly thereafter, the main force behind the show, Mr. Sid Sharkey, receives a gift that absolutely blows him away. Taking a position as a scriptwriter to stay on set, Jessica sleuths through the seedy backstage scenes of the show to find the real killer.
This episode includes examples of the following tropes:
- Alliterative Name: The costar of Danger Doctor is called Brenda Blake.
- Deadly Delivery: Sharkey got blown up by a pink package left on his desk which had a bomb in it.
- Horrible Hollywood: The episode derides television as being intentionally derivative (Gayle gets mocked for an original idea) and run behind the scenes by sharp-tongued, cutthroat people who will do anything to get ahead.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The universally hated head of the show was named Sid Sharkey.
- Names to Trust Immediately: The surname of the hero in Danger Doctor is Valiant.
- Plagiarism in Fiction: Jessica gets involved in the mystery of the week when a writer, Gayle Yamada, comes to her after her producer tries to push her into writing an episode that plagiarizes Jessica's new book.
- Red Baron: One of the TV people calls Kate Hollander "the Iron Nightingale".
- Self-Deprecation: The TV show Danger Doctor is a formulaic series about a folksy, charming doctor who solves mysteries in his spare time...which sounds rather like Murder She Wrote itself.
- Trouble Entendre: When Jessica comes to Miss Hollander with her concerns about plagiarism, the executive tells her that she'll deal with Mr. Sharkey as harshly as possible and that he won't bother her anymore. Lt. Bradshaw lampshades how threatening that sounds when considered after a murder.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: After Jessica solves a mystery at a TV studio, the producer trails after her and suggests making a weekly series written by her, about her exploits. Jessica says it's the worst idea she's ever heard.
- You Just Told Me: Jessica has Frieda force her and the director, Bert Puzo, into a car at gunpoint, the same car she saw him messing with earlier in the day. Bert gives away that he planted a bomb when he dives out of the car after Jessica tries to start the engine. Of course, the police had already removed the bomb.