Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
2 user

Class Act 

Jessica narrates the tale of a police detective sent to teach a university criminology class and challenges his students to solve a real homicide.


Allen Reisner


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 3 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Grant Heslov ... Bernard 'Bernie' Berndlestein
Lise Hilboldt ... Elizabeth Mills
Robert Lipton ... Colin Hale
Heather McAdam ... Jane Ballinger
Barry Newman ... Lt. Amos 'Jake' Ballinger
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Capt. Joe Rawlings
Robert Pine ... Sen. Andrew Grainger
Hallie Todd ... Moira McShane
Garry Walberg ... Sam Kendall
Christina Hart ... Sister Maria
Elinore O'Connell ... Joanne Summerfield (as Elinor O'Connell)
Gloria Cromwell Gloria Cromwell ... Anna Gunderson
Robert Casper ... Dean Howard Cogden
Vicki Lynne Davis Vicki Lynne Davis ... Graingers Secretary


Young drifter, Leo Gunderson, stumbles upon Janet Carr's corpse on the beach and confesses to her murder, but only under duress. The case is officially closed after his convictions. However, Lieutenant Amos 'Jake' Ballinger, who through political intervention was removed from active detective duty to be a criminology teacher at Freemont University, decides to solve the case as a 'practical exercise'. He is helped by students Bernie Berndlestein, who wants to become a P.I., and Mrs. Elizabeth Mills, an insurance investigator. They find a link with the hostile politician, state Senator Andrew Grainger. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 December 1989 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: [on phone] Jake, I'm sorry, but you're wrong.
Jessica Fletcher: No! That is absolutely untrue. You have not been put out to graze.
Jessica Fletcher: Yes. Yes, I'm sure you do.
Jessica Fletcher: Now, look, I may be flying out there in a month, and I promise I will call you the minute that I land.
Jessica Fletcher: Wonderful. Well, love to Janie. Bye.
See more »


Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not quite classy enough
30 September 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

As far as the bookend episodes go, there are certainly worse than "Class Act" before and after. It is a long way from being one of the best 'Murder She Wrote' episodes and one of the lesser episodes of the sixth season. Some of the bookend episodes suffer from Jessica's absence and having a lead character not as compelling. Luckily, what makes "Class Act" better than those episodes is that it does have a compelling lead, aided by a terrific performance from Barry Newman.

Newman is aided very well by Grant Heslov and particularly Lise Hilboldt, the chemistry he has with the latter is one of the biggest charms and high-points of the episode. Some of the story intrigues with some clever parts to the mystery and entertaining classroom scenes.

Production values as ever are slick and stylish. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune. The writing is thought-provoking, light-hearted and amiable particularly between Newman and Hilboldt.

However, "Class Act" does have pacing issues. It does drag badly. Extraneous padding, some of it pointless, doesn't help, nor does that not all the characters serve much of a purpose at all. The story does intrigue at times but doesn't feel like a standalone episode of 'Murder She Wrote', more a pilot to a show that never materialised.

Those of Hallie Todd (wasted) and Heather McAdam (could have been left out entirely and one wouldn't miss a thing) are especially pointless and the two actresses struggle to bring anything to them.

In conclusion, decent but not quite classy enough. 6/10 Bethany Cox

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed