Was Jessica Fletcher a Science-Loving Serial Killer?

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.

Authors of the article

Award-winning author Amanda Faith may have been raised in Dayton, but her heart and home is in the South. With a lifelong love of teaching and writing, she had plenty of encouragement from teachers and friends along the way. Loving a good puzzle has always been a fascination, and writing gives her the outlet to put all the pieces together. Being adventurous and loving to try new things, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves in unusual situations. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how they interact, taking them on journeys they would never have normally experienced. Her current adventure working as a high school English professor turned Media Specialist, writing, and doing paranormal investigations doesn’t slow her down from having a great time with a plethora of hobbies. Her published credits include several short stories, poetry, several journal articles, her doctoral dissertation, and her award-winning book Strength of Spirit. With multiple degrees, she has a passion for learning and exploring new venues. She is a staff writer for The Daily Dragon at Dragon Con. Check out her new website (www.amandafaith.net) or on Instagram (@dramandafaith)

Debbie Yutko lives near Atlanta with her husband and two cats. When she isn’t gardening, rescuing homeless kittens, or cramming math formulas into teenagers’ brains, she can be found stringing words together at her computer and dreaming of adventures in far-off lands. She is a lifelong reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy and a veteran of Dragon Con, where she enjoys attending panels and working with the talented staff of the Daily Dragon.