Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
3 user

To Kill a Legend 

Jessica discovers a letter from George Washington that leads to a hero's disgrace and a director's murder.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


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


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Todd Eric Andrews Todd Eric Andrews ... Scott Patterson
Greg Cruttwell Greg Cruttwell ... Paul Tavener
Alan Fudge ... Thomas Godfrey
Pierrette Grace Pierrette Grace ... Louise Peabody
Molly Hagan ... Amelia Farnum
Anthony Heald ... Bob Kendall
Judith Hoag ... Nancy Godfrey
Ron Masak ... Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Jeffrey Nordling ... Richard Hawkes
Gail Strickland ... Edith Peabody
William Windom ... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
Louis Herthum ... Deputy Andy Broom
Jacob Witkin Jacob Witkin ... Alexander Sandsby
Whitney Rydbeck Whitney Rydbeck ... Dr. Roy Blakely


In London, blackmailer Alexander Sandsby demands his half but gets a blow on the head and perishes in fire that was set. Cabot Cove is preparing for its annual Joshua Peabody day, this time with a TV documentary production. Jessica is reading the text, written by Bostonian hot-shot director Richard Hawkes, who won an Emmy 8 years ago, with a few historical corrections by her own hand. Jessica brings an ideal period prop, a music box, for repairs to Thomas Godfrey, owner of an antique store, who finds the mechanism is jammed by a letter from George Washington dated September 12, 1780, calling the local hero a traitor who accepted enemy payment to cowardly surrender and threatening him with court-martial. Peabody's descendant Edith fails to convince Jessica and Seth to destroy it, raging it ruins everything for her family and the whole town. Experts authenticate it's from the time of the Revolution, but if it's real why did Joshua keep it, and if not, who made such a fine forgery and ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Plot Keywords:

fire | sword | See All (2) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 October 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Throughout the early seasons of Murder, She Wrote, the existence of Joshua Peabody is treated as a local legend, with Seth Hazlitt serving as chief skeptic. In this episode, Joshua Peabody is treated as a recognized local figure with living descendants and Seth Hazlitt no longer seems to question whether he really existed. See more »


[first lines]
Alexander Sandsby: Those are my terms, damn it. I receive half the proceeds in your little venture... or you pay the consequences. And I'm sure you realize they'd be very severe... I can't really see that you bloody well have much choice.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON, ENGLAND See more »

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User Reviews

Print the legend!
6 August 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Though I don't recall any battles in history recorded in what is now Maine, why let that get in the way. Maine was considered part of Massachusetts colony, a sort colony within a colony and the boundaries never really were fixed until 1841. But that's a different story.

Still Cabot Cove has its Revolutionary War hero one Thomas Peabody who repelled a British invasion at the Battle of Cabot Cove. An event celebrated for over 200 years and this year is even being filmed for a documentary this year. William Windom in fact gets into Revolutionary war costume and plays Peabody though his costume gets a bit harder to fit in every year. All pleasing to Gail Strickland who is a direct descendant of Peabody and her daughter.

Then an old vintage clock of the period is opened and there's a note from George Washington to Peabody replying to a letter where Peabody is urging the abandonment of Cabot Cove. The letter also says that the Father of our Country suspects Peabody of links to Benedict Arnold who had already gone over to the other side.

It all kind of puts a damper on the festivities. Then a new director for the documentary is murdered and the old director rehired.

It's all connected and Jessica Fletcher does the connecting. As for Cabot Cove, those folks are in a Liberty Valance type dilemma.

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