Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
5 user

When the Fat Lady Sings 

Jessica is drawn into an appropriately melodramatic situation when a renowned opera singer is accused of murder in San Francisco.


Walter Grauman


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Kathleen Beller ... Maria Deschier
Theodore Bikel ... Rosanno Bertolucci
Lila Kaye ... Teresa Mancini
Carol Lawrence ... Silvana Bertolucci
Keith Michell ... Dennis Stanton
Walter Olkewicz ... Howard
Jerry Stiller ... Lt. Birnbaum
Mark Herrier ... Barry Sanderson
Leo Damian Leo Damian ... Giorgio Russo
James Short James Short ... Lou Faraday
Tom Tarpey Tom Tarpey ... Doctor
Tom Kendall Tom Kendall ... Stage Manager
Tom Van Hoof Tom Van Hoof ... Special Agent Dixon
David Elliott ... Paramedic (as David E. Elliott)


In San Francisco for a convention, Jessica gets a call from her old friend, reformed thief Dennis Stanton. He invites her to the opera that evening but in the interim, they visit operatic star Rosanno Bertolucci. Egos are big in the opera company and an outraged Bertolucci has a fight with Lou Farraday accusing him of making advances toward the company's attractive young soprano, Maria Deschier. The argument continued after the performance when Maria claims Farraday attacked her in her dressing room. The end result is that Farraday is killed and Bertolucci suffers a severe heart attack in the process. Bertolucci claims it was self-defense on his part but police Lt. Birnbaum is skeptical. A missing windbreaker has Jessica puzzled and ultimately to her solving the case. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 November 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?


The title alludes to the expression that an opera is not over till the aria by the large female singer is sung. See more »


[first lines]
Policeman: All right, folks, move back. I got an ambulance coming in here. Move back, move back. Come on, move back.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the show's best fun episodes
16 August 2017 | by GaryLThompsonSee all my reviews

When the culprit sees a confession immediately followed by Jessica Fletcher, Dennis Stanton and the cop working the case filing into the room, it's pretty clear the, ah, fat lady has sung on this murder plot. It's one of the nice classic scenes of the season, but it's only the pinnacle of an episode in which the creators and cast must have had quite a bit of fun with.

This Murder She Wrote episode wasn't filled with soap opera plot developments--it's pure opera itself, with suitable musical score and Italian-opera style twists and complications in the plotting. When Jessica tries to solve this one even she admits that she's beginning to lose track of the developments swirling about the opera company, the Puccini-hating cop is experiencing culture shock, and Dennis seems to have stumbled across the development that the opera company seems to be mixed up with a jewel-smuggling racket. Of course it proves out in the end that Jessica is the only one who can read all the right clues correctly, and expose the culprit. And as bonus, the viewer also is treated to some of the sounds and sights of San Francisco.

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