Angela Lansbury Once Called a Proposed ‘Murder, She Wrote’ Reboot ‘a Terrible Mistake’

Angela Lansbury spent more than a decade as the face of Murder, She Wrote. The program attracted millions of viewers during its original run but a reboot’s never happened. Murder, She Wrote came close to getting revamped but Lansbury didn’t support it. And pretty quickly, the project died just like many residents in Cabot Cove, Maine.  

Angela Lansbury played an amateur detective for 12 years 

Ron Masak, Angela Lansbury, and William Windom on the set of 'Murder, She Wrote'
Ron Masak, Angela Lansbury, and William Windom on the set of Murder, She Wrote | CBS via Getty Images

Murder, She Wrote debuted in September 1984 on CBS. The program followed Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, an author of murder-mysteries. 

Living in the small town of Cabot Cove, Jessica often found herself working on actual murder cases. And no matter how much time she spent writing books as J.B. Fletcher, Jessica found herself being called on by local law enforcement to offer her expertise. 

Lansbury played the lead character on Murder, She Wrote for 12 years. The program ended in May 1996 after a dozen seasons. During the show’s original run, Lansbury won multiple awards for her performance.

Also, in an astounding feat, she landed 12 consecutive Emmy nominations. One every year the show was on the air. Today, decades after Murder, She Wrote ended, it remains one of Lansbury’s most recognizable roles.  

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The ‘Murder, She Wrote’ star didn’t like the idea of a proposed reboot

Details first emerged in October 2013 about a proposed Murder, She Wrote. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the reboot would star Oscar-winning actor Octavia Spencer.

The reimagined version of the original series would follow Spencer’s character, a hospital administrator and amateur detective, as she publishes her first mystery novel. Of course, Spencer’s character would somehow find herself working on real murder investigations. 

When the idea of a proposed Murder, She Wrote began circulating, Lansbury made it clear she wasn’t a fan. 

“I think it’s a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2013. 

Why? “Because Murder, She Wrote will always be about Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person,” Lansbury said.

Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher on 'Murder, She Wrote'
Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote | CBS via Getty Images

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“So I’m sorry that they have to use the title Murder, She Wrote, even though they have access to it and it’s their right,” she added. 

Lansbury admitted she felt “terribly pleased and relieved” when nothing came of the proposed reboot. “I knew it was a terrible mistake,” she said. 

How to watch ‘Murder, She Wrote’

Luckily for fans of Murder, She Wrote, it’s not too difficult to track down episodes of the show. Murder, She Wrote is in syndication i.e. reruns. Fans can see Lansbury solve murders as Jessica Fletcher on TV or they watch all 12 seasons on Peacock. At the time of publication, Murder, She Wrote is available for free on NBC’s streaming platform.

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