Character actors, she wrote

I’m hooked on “Murder, She Wrote” reruns.

Oh, the acting isn’t particularly wonderful. Still, there’s something about Angela Lansbury’s J.B. Fletcher that keeps me coming back to Cabot Cove, Maine, night after night.

The best part of the show is the guest stars.

When I watched the shows the first time around, I didn’t know who many of these people were. Now, my favorite part of the show is the opening credits where a long list of guest stars is paraded across the TV screen.

Tonight’s episode featured veteran actor John Astin, Mike Connors of “Mannix” fame, and a very young, innocent-looking Jim Caveziel who now stars as the enforcer on CBS’s “Person of Interest.” I get a kick out of seeing the faded stars getting another chance and the younger actors before they hit the big time.

Sometimes, the only thing I tune in for are the opening credits. I like to check it out to see if I will recognize at least one of the guest stars in their younger days. I almost always do.

I like it best when murder comes to Cabot Cove because I like all the quirky townsfolk, especially grumpy doc Seth Hazlett played by William Windom. Maybe it’s because I’ve met him, but mostly I think it’s because I’m partial to grumpy old men.

Often, they move the action to Hollywood, New York City, Ireland, Paris or even Egypt. I guess the odds of a weekly murder in Cabot Cove weren’t that good or all the townspeople would have been killed before the show made it to syndication.

I don’t know how many shows they actually made, but it was enough for the Hallmark movie channel to show two episodes every week night. So episode after episode, we get to watch Jessica take local and big-city law enforcement down a notch or two or three as she puzzles out who the true killer is. And when she announces it, you tell yourself it was so obvious.

Not me, though. A lifetime spent reading Agatha Christie and other mystery novelists and I never quite figure out who the killer is. Maybe that’s why I keep coming back for more.

Well, gotta go. The second episode of the night is about to start and I’ve got to catch those opening credits.

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