On Friday at 11:30AM in Hilton 210, the interactive panel “Science, She Wrote” discussed some of the emerging science in the TV series Murder, She Wrote. The knowledgeable Scott Sigler, Raychelle Burks, and A. Kovacs also explored the possibility that Jessica Fletcher was secretly a serial killer.
How else could she discover dead bodies in every episode and every place she lived or visited?
The TV series, which lasted for 12 seasons, was based on Agatha Christie’s murder series. Actors clamored to be on the popular show because it launched so many careers. It also introduced the TV show Magnum, PI, which began during the episode “Magnum on Ice,” where a vacationing Fletcher helps Magnum when he’s framed for two murders in Hawaii.
Fletcher is perhaps best described as the nosey old neighbor who is always 100% correct. After losing her husband, she decides to become a murder mystery novelist. Her nephew, Grady Fletcher, shows her first book to a publisher, who loves it. History is made, and Fletcher becomes a best-selling author.
And the body count starts to rise.
Raychelle Burks probably said it best: “That was one shady b***h.” Perhaps Jessica needed to feed.
The show’s writers did a good job of incorporating science into the fiction. As the seasons rolled by, Jessica’s knowledge of the multiple ways murder can be committed widened and became more scientific. She learned things like the use of DNA testing, and although the show lagged behind cutting-edge forensics, Fletcher eventually became knowledgeable of significant advancements, even taking classes when necessary. Her lingo of forensic terminology also increased, and at murder scenes, she fluently rattled off terms like a seasoned pro. Although she embraced forensic science, she was always clever enough to be skeptical of how it could be misconstrued during the course of an investigation.
Fletcher also embraced technology, despite her age, which was a refreshing deviation from the stereotypical elderly lady. From her basic manual typewriter, she progressed to a word processor, and finally to a PC. But even as she learned and grew, dead bodies continued to amass in her vicinity.
One must wonder: Was it a good thing to be friends with this woman? Binge watch the show when you get home, and decide for yourself.