Murder She Wrote - Always a Thief (1990)
This episode of the CBS television program "Murder She Wrote" features a "Gilbert Stuart 1804 silver dollar",
a very rare United States coin.
The program starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a retired teacher living in a Maine coastal town.
She writes mystery novels and solves crimes.
Angela Lansbury only appears to introduce the episode and it is set in San Francisco.
Angela Lansbury introduces the episode but does not appear in it.
2. Angela Lansbury
Angela uses a cassette tape recording from Dennis Stanton, a San Francisco private detective
who was formerly a jewel thief and is now working for an insurance company as
"set a thief to catch a thief".
Lanny Douglas owns a restaurant which is failing financially.
He can no longer depend on his wealthy mother Monica Douglas or his wife for money.
Lanny has an aunt, Grace Lambert, who is Monica's sister.
Monica owns a rare and valuable US coin which she keeps in a safe in her mansion.
sell the coin to him.
3. Mahmoud Amini offers two million for the coin
The coin is described as a "Gilbert Stuart 1804 silver dollar" which was worth $500,000 when
Lanny's father bought it thirteen years ago (1977) and now worth $1,000,000.
using the combination.
4. Burglar retrieves coin
The coin is housed in a special presentation case which was apparently made for it.
The coin prop is an imitation 1804 dollar. These imitations are fairly common.
A family employee witnesses Lanny and Lanny kills him.
Dennis Stanton also shows up as the insurance company representative.
5. Dennis Stanton arrives
Dennis describes the coin as "although the coin was commissioned by John Adams,
it was actually Thomas Jefferson who finally brought it to...".
Gilbert Stuart designed it and the design is known as the "Draped Bust Type".
There are around fifteen original coins known.
for "five generations", yet Monica's husband bought it thirteen years ago.
6. Monica, Grace, Dennis
Dennis finds out about Amini's offer for the coin and visits him.
Amani admits buying the coin from Lanny for $2,000,000 in cash but denies killing anyone.
He hands the coin over to Dennis.
7. Amini hands over the coin case
Dennis calles Dierdre, a coin expert, to examine the coin.
8. Coin expert examines the coin
Dierdre tells Dennis that it is a fake.
9. The expert hands it back
Lanny is found dead and his father-in-law Mr. Bascomb confesses.
Dennis doesn't believe the confession and thinks that he is covering for his daughter.
and he finds it in the restaurant refrigerator. He leaves it alone and watches.
10. Money bag
Dennis catches a restaurant employee taking the bag and holds him for the police.
11. Monica confesses
Ten years ago, her sister Grace had a boyfriend who persuaded her to steal the coin and
substitute a fake. The boyfriend then sold the coin quietly and disappeared with the money.
Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher (introduction only)
Keith Michell as Dennis Stanton (detective)
Dina Merrill as Monica Douglas
Shirley Knight as Grace Lambert
Writer: Peter S. Fischer