Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Test of Wills 

On a dark and stormy night on a remote island, Jessica finds herself in the middle of a wealthy family squabbling over the inheritance of a millionaire.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 3 more credits »


Episode complete credited cast:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Philip Abbott ... Dr. Hubbard Dabney
Gene Barry ... Henry Reynard
John Callahan ... Preston Howard
Jill Carroll ... Kimberly Carson
Keir Dullea ... Jason Reynard
Marj Dusay ... Alice Reynard Carson
Morgan Woodward ... Sheriff Brademus
Cassie Yates ... Valerie Renard
Curt Lowens ... Mr. Forest
Victoria Boothby Victoria Boothby ... Mrs. Forest
Jeremy Roberts ... Sergeant Stokley
H. Ray Huff H. Ray Huff ... Pilot


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Multi-millionaire Henry Reynard met Jessica on a book judging panel and invited her to his private island to earn a $1,000,000 check for a charity of her choice. However, to her horror, Henry wants her help finding out which of Henry's heirs intends to kill him: son Jason, daughter Valery, granddaughter Kim and their partners. Jessica refuses, but, while she stays for the weekend, Dr. Hubbard Dabney finds Henry has been shot. The heirs are appalled the $50,000,000 estate goes to Jessica. Later, Preston, Kim's fiancé, whom a P.I. report (found in Henry's desk) exposed as a fraud, is found shot in the pool-house. Now Henry reemerges. He had staged his death with the doc's help and installed some hidden cameras. Jessica is disgusted but helps Sheriff Brademus wrap up the investigation. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The helicopter delivering Jessica to the island (N57497) is a Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II c/n: 45510. These are distinguished from the standard JetRanger by the larger cabin and the single rectangular shaped exhaust aimed straight back from the engine cowling rather than the two round exhausts angled out each side of the back of the cowling. See more »


[first lines]
Jessica Fletcher: Excuse me, but how much farther to Reynard's island.
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Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

"Don't Break the Will that Shoves You So"
24 September 2009 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Unto his mansion on the private Reynard Island, Henry Reynard (Gene Barry) gathers his family and associates to proclaim an important announcement.

His party consists of Henry's fastidious daughter, Alice Reynard Carson (Marj Dusay); Henry's carefree son, Jason Reynard (Keir Dullea); Jason's selfish wife, Valerie Renard (Cassie Yates); Alice's childish young adult daughter, Kimberly Carson (Jill Carroll); Kimberly's social-climbing fiancé, Preston Howard (John Callahan); Henry's attentive physician, Doctor Hubbard Dabney (Philip Abbott); and Henry's domestic assistants, Mr. Forest (Curt Lowens) and Mrs. Forest (Victoria Boothby).

Reynard Island remains undefined of any specific location. Because Henry had made his fortune in lumber, and because he travels to Chicago, one possibility may situate this parcel of land somewhere around Lake Michigan. Anyway, its distance from the mainland is minimal and may be reached by motorboat or helicopter.

When a helicopter Pilot (H. Ray Huff) transports one final guest to the isolated Reynard Island, festivities may commence, for Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) now enters the mysterious estate (after the Pilot returns to the mainland, leaving the ten to fend for themselves.

When Henry had met Jessica at a book publisher's board meeting in Chicago, they had conducted charity benefit fund-raising. And now, he discloses his purpose for the invitation: for a one million dollar reward for the charity of her choice, Henry asks Jessica to investigate his family to determine who has been trying to kill him.

Jessica, naturally, refuses the challenge, as "This is a matter for the authorities," thus returning the check bearing her name, which he returns into the drawer of his desk, alongside a report from a detective, as well as a copy of his revised will.

But that evening, when the group gathers in the upstairs library, a thunderstorm erupts, the electricity goes off, the motorboat is disabled, and a gunshot is heard from the downstairs foyer. Doctor Hubbard Dabney pronounces the victim deceased, and now everyone else must await authorities from the mainland.

Sheriff Brademus (Morgan Woodward) and Sergeant Stokley (Jeremy Roberts) arrive from the mainland the next morning, with Jessica volunteering to investigate, when they hear three screams from the boat house.... For Mrs. Forest stumbles across another body.

And now Reynard family members polarize at odds, as the plot thickens yet once again, with a surprise appearance to compound the matter of grading reactions to discover who passes this "Test of Wills."

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Release Date:

26 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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