Jessica Fletcher was the leading lady of a famous and long-running series known as Murder, She Wrote. While all Mrs. Fletcher seemed to want to do was get back to writing her novels, she kept getting pulled into these terribly inconvenient murder mysteries. Thankfully for us, Jessica Fletcher could never resist a good mystery, and thus always felt compelled to solve the murders constantly happening around her. And while she may have been a brilliant woman, there is a whole lot more to know about her. In fact, there are plenty of facts many fans likely don't know about her character.
Jessica Fletcher's character has received many accolades over the years – even considering how long the series has been officially concluded. She's considered to be one of the '100 Most Memorable Female TV Characters' according to AOL. She was also named as one of the '100 Great TV Characters, and in another source, she's cited as one of 'TV's Smartest Detectives.The Sleuth Channel ran a poll on 'America's Top Sleuths' and found that she was ranked six according to all fans out there. And finally, Guinness World Records even gave her a spot of fame, this time for 'most prolific amateur sleuth.' All of these labels perfectly fit out beloved character, do they not?
9 The Titles of the Episodes Have A Meaning
Did you know that the titles of the episodes frequently have a meaning? Beyond eluding to the crime committed, that is. Many of the episodes either reference the source material used (a letter was written to her, etc) or explicitly cite one of the many titles of her novels.
Jessica Fletcher wrote a whopping twenty-five murder mystery novels during her time in Murder, She Wrote. And the series managed to weave in dozens of references to her writing, from the titles of episodes to her constant desire to get back to writing.
8 Maiden Name
Jessica Fletcher's maiden name was Macgill. And there was something behind that name. Angela Lansbury, the woman who brought the character to life, had that name in her family. Her mother was Moyna Macgill. She was also an actress, believe it or not.
This is a lovely hat tip to the actress that brought Jessica Fletcher to life, in more ways than one. It also allowed the actress to further root her character into her life, making her feel more real to the many fans watching.
7 Another Appearance
Did you know that Jessica Fletcher appeared in one other series, outside of Murder, She Wrote? As it turns out, her series was doing so well that producers wanted to bring her into another series. The hope was that her appearance would help to rejuvenate a series that was seven seasons in, and struggling quite a bit.
The series was none other than Magnum, P.I. This crossover confirmed that the two series are set in the same world. The crossover itself lasted for two episodes (the second episode occurring within Murder, She Wrote), while Jessica helped to solve another infamous mystery.
6 Her Home
Did you know that Jessica Fletcher's amazing home is actually an inn? Specifically, it's Blair House Inn, which is a bed and breakfast in Mendocino, California. If you check out the homepage for the inn, you'll find a whole page focused on the subject of Murder, She Wrote.
The entire exterior of the inn was used as a basis for Jessica's home, though it sounds like interior shots were filmed in a studio. Still, that's quite something to brag about, don't you think? Another cute bit of information for the fans: whenever they were filming shots around the inn, they would use locals to fill in as their extras.
5 Doesn't Drive
Eagle-eyed fans likely noticed one important fact about the lovely Jessica Fletcher. Despite her tendency to travel the globe, the mystery busting woman does not drive. There's a variety of reasons for this, we're sure. But the biggest reason that Angela Lansbury was happy about is that this meant there would never be any dramatic car chases in the series. Though perhaps a creative writer would have found a way to force the issue if they felt so inclined.
4 Nieces and Nephews Everywhere
Jessica Fletcher and her late husband never did end up having any children, but despite this Jessica has a massive family. Thanks to having two brothers and three siblings-in-law, she has plenty of nieces and nephews to keep her company (and a cameo on the show, of course).
To our knowledge, Jessica Fletcher has an amazing seven nieces and three nephews. She's also got six cousins, and several more extended family members who are always happy to see her – even if the mysteries do have a tendency to follow her around.
3 Her Career (Before She Became A Novelist)
Before Jessica Fletcher became a famous novelist, she was a professor. She taught criminology over at Manhattan University for quite some time. This explains so much about her knowledge, skill set, and the sheer number of people who are willing to trust her authority.
Given how many crimes she has solved while in her retirement (well, retirement is a relative term in this case – the woman can't sit still, can she?) it's a wonder she was ever allowed to leave her job in the first place.
2 A Missed Opportunity
Did you know that Angela Landsbury was not the first actress offered the role of Jessica Fletcher? It's hard to imagine anybody else portraying the role, but it was a very near miss. The executives of the show originally offered to Jean Stapleton. Stapleton is famous for her portrayal of Edith Bunker in All in the Family.
As it turns out, Stapleton refused the role. We imagine now, she's well aware of the missed opportunity here. But we're also grateful for it, because Angela Landsbury is Jessica Fletcher in every way possible.
1 A Demand
Angela Lansbury had one request before she agreed to join the show as Jessica Fletcher, and it had to do with the tone of the series, as well as the overall graphic content (or lack thereof). Jessica Fletcher was very concerned about the focus on murder mysteries and wanted an assurance that the series would cross any lines.
In her exact words; “I stipulated that there should be no scenes of gratuitous violence, with blood and gore and car smashes.” Given how much of a hit the series ended up being, we're grateful that she had so much input for the show itself.