The Law And Harry McGraw and Murder, She Wrote

The Law And Harry McGraw (1987-1988)
Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996)
Type: Spin Off
Group: 16

   With Murder, She Wrote CBS had rediscovered the murder mystery formula - every week our hero stumbles upon a whodunnit murder and from the clues available solves the case in about one hour of television time. In this case that hero/heroine was Jessica Fletcher, an older lady who wrote mystery novels. It was her mystery creating abilities that helped her in her mystery solving. She had quite the deductive mind. Of course they never did explain how she just kept stumbling upon murder after murder. They were never brought to her to solve by the police or anything since she was an amateur sleuth. Nope it was always, "Jessica goes to a friend/relatives, she meets all their friends, somebody ends up hanging off a meat hook and Jessica must prove friend/relative didn't do it." Always. In other words, don't invite Jessica Fletcher over... ever! You will be killed or put in jail. One way or another your weekend will be ruined.

   In the course of her adventures, Jessica met any number of investigator and law enforcement officers. Usually the cops would scoff at an old biddy mystery writer helping them solve a murder. They were pros after all. In the end she'd solve the case and the embarrassed cops would have to thank her for solving the case and apologize for not recognizing that she was the star of the show and that they were the guest buffoon of the week. Probably the only time Jessica's help was not laughed at would be when she help someone who had already appeared in a previous episode and knew of her talents.

   One character who recurred a number of times was a private detective named Harry McGraw. He was a low rent gumshoe right out of the classic noir detective mold. He ran a second rate agency, was hardly rolling in the dough or charm but was actually a darn good and persistent P.I.

   Hoping to create another hit mystery show like Murder, She Wrote, CBS spun Harry McGraw off into his own series The Law And Harry McGraw. But like I said, Harry wasn't exactly a charmer. He was rough around the edges and maybe because of this so were his ratings. After less than a full season the show was killed by CBS with a motive it didn't take Jessica Fletcher to figure out.

   Harry McGraw was played by actor Jerry Orbach who ironically followed up his short stint on The Law And Harry McGraw with a much more successful run as police detective Lennie Briscoe on the hugely popular Law And Order, a more realistic whodunnit series. Jerry seems to just love crime dramas that start with "Law And..." Hey Jerry, when you're done with the Law And Order gig let me know. I got a show in mind called The Law And Mr. Chimp you'd be just perfect for. You will not be playing Mr. Chimp - that role is already promised to classically trained Shakespearian actor Bobo McMonkey. But you'd be perfect as the detective in the yellow hat.

Other Murder, She Wrote Crossover Links
Murder, She Wrote and Magnum, P.I.

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