Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Warp Speed Wednesday. Another Marathon Post.

I have not forgotten about my goal to blog all many some of the casting connections between Murder She Wrote and Star Trek. However life (namely: fundraising, homeschooling and personal hygiene) have gotten in the way. But I will not be deterred. Here's part 29 of...

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Murder, She Wrote
Character Actors that I Know and Love.

I'm going to start with two of my all time favourite episodes of TNG, both of which have MSW cross-casting.  First: Starship Mine in which Picard wears a saucy v-neck blouse:

It's not the ONLY reason I like the episode, but it helps. It's a fast-paced, action-filled storyline with some great comedic moments. The laughs come courtesy of the interplay between Data (Brent Spiner) and Commander Hutchinson (David Spielberg).  Spielberg had two appearance on MSW. In 1991 he was Lt. Henry Girard iUnauthorized Obituary. He was Detective Travis in the pun-tastically named Menace, Anyone? set in the heated world of professional tennis.

Another TNG episode that I have watched repeatedly is "Yesterday's Enterprise." It's a brilliant story that meshes the TNG universe with elements of TOS, plus it's got romance, dastardly Romulans, time travel and it gives Tasha Yar a better "death" than Skin of Evil.

Tricia O'Neal's Rachel Garrett is the captain of ANOTHER early incarnation of the Enterprise. Her ship travels forward through time to the same era as Picard's Enterprise. For those of you who are new to Trek Nation, I offer the following advice: don't think too much about time travel paradoxes, just try and enjoy the story.

O'Neal also had multiple appearances on MSW:

                             – Lines of Excellence  - Linda Truitt
                             – From the Horse's Mouth  - Althea Mayberry
                             – Trouble in Eden  - Lila Benson
                             – Murder in the Afternoon  - Bibi Hartman
                             – The Murder of Sherlock Holmes: Pilot - Ashley Vickers

O'Neal was also a Klingon scientist named Kurak on "Suspicions," plus she shows up again on DS9 (but more on that later).

"Ensign Ro" is another of my favourites  In it Scott Marlowe played Keeve Falor. On Murder, She Wrote, he was Avery Nugent in "School for Murder."

Noble Willingham was Texas in "The Royale ," an episode where an alien race mistakes a pulp fiction work as an anthropological text and uses it to recreate a world for the benefit of a waylaid human explorer. In  MSW's  "Angel of Death" he appeared as Sheriff Pat McAllester.

MSW's "Hooray for Homicide" included a character named Marta Quintessa played by Samantha Eggar. She was also Jean-Luc Picard's sister-in-law in "Family."

Daniel Davis was Moriarity to Data's Sherlock in "Ship in a Bottle" and "Elementary, Dear Data." Murder, She Wrote devotees saw him as Neal Dishman in "Badge of Honor."

Season 3 of TNG featured Richard Cox as Kyril Finn in "The High Ground." He was a well-meaning, edgy, emotionally-damaged rebel leader who kidnaps Doctor Crusher. I remember at the time thinking he was quite hunky and had great hair. On MSW he appeared in "Witness for the Defense." This was an episode I saw for the first time last month. It's a homage to Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution."  In this respect it's quite clever, but the characterization of Canadians (we all have British accents!) is laughable.  

Another MSW with hysterical stereotypes of Canadians is "Northern Explosion." What is it with American tv shows obsession with Mounties? This episode has 2 connections to TNG.  Firstly, Ned Romero was Joe Quill, and on TNG, he was Anthwara in "Journey's End." Secondly, Jerry Hardin portrayed Hamish McPherson this time around. This was his third MSW appearance having shown up on "What You Don't Know Can Kill You" (role: Tom Sampson) and "A Nest of Vipers" (role: Norman Gilford). For me he will always be Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) from TNG's Time's Arrow: Part 1 and 2. Earlier in the series he was Radue in "When the Bough Breaks."

The first inkling of the Borg were in the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone." The Enterprise encountered an earth ship that houses cyrogenically frozen humans. Fear not: none of them are KHAAAAAAAAAAN!-esque. One of the now-defrosted, once-dead men from the 21st century was named Ralph Offenhouse. Offenhouse looks an awful lot like Lamar Bennett from MSW's "Deadline for Murder." It's because they are the same man: Peter Mark!

Carolyn Seymour showed up as three different characters on TNG:

                                 – Face of the Enemy  -  Commander Toreth
                                 – First Contact - Mirasta Yale
                                 – Contagion - Subcommander Taris

On MSW, she also had three appearances:
                                 – Another Killing in Cork - Nellie Ruddy
                                 – O'Malley's Luck - Alice Montrose
                                 – It Runs in the Family - Pauline Constable

I think she actually wears less make up in her TNG appearances. And smaller shoulder pads. She played Mrs Templeton in two Voyager episodes: 

Here's another familiar Romulan face:

It's Commander Tomalak, who appeared four times in TNG: "All Good Things...," "Future Imperfect,"  "The Defector," and "The Enemy." He was played by Andreas Katsulas. ON MSW, Katsulas was Jerry Pappas in "A Killing in Vegas." The same actor, showed up in ENT years later in a different role. 

Renee Jones was Reggie Evers on "Deadly Bidding" in 1995, but two years earlier Trekkies saw her as "Aquiel."  She played the title character, a flakey Starfleet officer (and murder suspect!) who had a brief fling with Mr Unlucky In Love Because He Has Bad Taste in Women, Geordi LaForge. 

"Attached" was a TNG episode in which Robin Gammell played Mauric. His MSW characters were Roger Meltong and Dr Thor Lundquist in "The Dead File" and "Harbinger of Death."  

Is "The Crucible" still standard reading for high school students? It was in my day, and at the time I strenuously objected, because I went to a Canadian school and took Canadian history so all that blather about it being a parable about MacCarthy Era witch hunts meant NOTHING because I didn't have any context for it. It did however help me when I watched "The Drumhead," a TNG episode from 1991. That episode features the CUTEST boy-band-worthy alien in all the Star Trek series:

This is Spencer Garrett as Simon Tarsers. Don't you want to nibble his cute little ears? He later palled around with Jessica in two MSW episodes:
                                     – Southern Double-Cross as Nicholas Derby
                                     – Murder at a Discount as Aaron Woodman

Gwynyth Walsh was B'Etor on several Star Trek movies and TNG's Firstborn, and Redemption I &  II. Over on MSW,  her character in Murder of the Month Club was called Gina Powell. Don't quote me on this: but I'm pretty sure her MSW wardrobe wasn't quite so boob-centric.

Leo Damian is the actor who played the Passion/Warrior aspect of Riva's chorus in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Loud As A Whisper" in 1988. It's one of only five credits listed on his imdb page. One of the others is MSW's "When the Fat Lady Sings."

In that episode Damian shares screen time with Theodore Bikel, who made four MSW appearances in total:

                                     – Amsterdam Kill as Inspector Van Horn
                                     – The List of Yuri Lermentov as Yuri Lermentov
                                     – Indian Giver as Professor Harold Crenshaw
                                     – When the Fat Lady Sings as Rosanno Bertolucci

I know Bikel from "Family" where he appeared as the adoptive father of Worf, the Enterprise's token Klingon crew member. In that same episode, plus one more called New Ground, Worf's mother was played by Georgia Brown. Georgia Brown showed up on MSW twice:

                                     – Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy? as Kate Kelley
                                     – Trevor Hudson's Legacy as Dorothy Westerfield

The final member of Worf's foster family with an MSW connection is Paul Sorvino. ON TNG, he was Nikolai Rozhenko in "Homeward," and Al Siddell in "Three Strikes, You're Out" on MSW. Sorvino was the star of one of my favourite non-Star Trek, non-Murder She Wrote series: That's Life. However, I still think his episode of TNG was one of the worst. One issue is the implausibility of his being Worf's foster brother. He was too old to be Worf's same-age sibling, as indicated by the show's dialogue.

While compiling this entry, I noted the birthdate's for the Rozhenko family. Bikel was born in 1924. Brown was born in 1933, making her six years older than her "son" Sorvino, who was born in 1939. Granted the latter didn't share screen time with "his parents," but he was obviously 13 years older than Michael Dorn, aka Worf.

The officious Captain Edward Jellico from Chain of Command: Part 1 & 2 was played by Ronny Cox.  Cox's MSW appearance was also a two-part episode. He was Mayor Power in Death Stalks the Big Top: Part 1 & 2.

Thomas Kopache showed up twice on TNG (and he has other Star Trek credits):

                                 – Emergence as The Engineer
                                  The Next Phase as Mirok
 His single MSW credit is for "Nan's Ghost: Part 1 & 2"  in which he played Leonard.

"The Outcast" was a TNG episode that dealt with homophobia at a time when most television shows didn't dare breach the issue. It's main flaw was that the androgynous J'Naii were all portrayed by women, and so the romance between Riker and Soren is somewhat tepid. This is a view shared by Jonathan Frakes who has noted that the casting didn't go far enough to achieve the goal of making a statement about LGBT people in our future and current society.  In the episode Riker's paramour, Soren, is played by Melinda Culea. Her MSW credits were for The Mole (role: Sara Lloyd) and Murder in F Sharp (role: Nicole Gary).

Time Winters was Glin Daro in TNG's "The Wounded." If you check out his imdb page you'll probably recognize his face as he's done a lot of television work. It includes a listing of his two MSW appearances:

                                    – Mrs. Parker's Revenge as Dr. James Lamont
                                    – Murder in Milan as  Giorgio

Yuta was an assassin in "The Vengeance Factor." I don't remember if "Lori Graham" was the murderer in MSW's "Murder on the Thirtieth Floor." Let me know if you find out. Both roles were played by Lisa Wilcox

One of the problems with being an afficiando of character actors is remaining neutral when a familiar face from one show pops up on another. This was the case when I saw Ben Lemon on MSW's "Track of a Soldier." He'd played a rapist on TNG's "Violations," and I incorrectly assumed that his Sheriff Jed Bullock would also turn out to be evil.  It didn't help that both characters had similar names: Jev and Jed.

John Hancock (no really, that was the guy's name) also worked on both shows. On the MSW pilot "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" he was Daniel. Over on TNG he played Admiral Haden twice. First in "The Defector ,"then in "The Wounded."  

Bruce Gray was a MSW regular:
                                    – Murder on the Thirtieth Floor as Ted Hartley
                                    – Murder at a Discount as Ted Hartley
                                    – A Killing in Vegas as Ted Hartley
                                    – Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble as R. L. Pierson
                                    – Hit, Run and Homicide as Dean Merrill

On TNG he shows up twice as Admiral Chekote in "Gambit: Part 1."

In that same TNG episode, I saw a familiar face: Robin Curtis as Tallera ("Gambit: Part 1 & 2"). With Jessica she was in "Murder Among Friends" as Rosemary Tynan.

A few months ago, the boys and I watched "Tapestry." It features JC Brandy, aka Louise Henderson in "Game, Set, Murder."

On that TNG episode, Picard travelled back in time (courtesy of Q) to relive his life and avoid making a mistake that he'd always regretted. While in the past, Picard beds his friend, Ensign Marta Batanides played by JC Brandy. Like all TNG episodes, I've watched it multiple times, but only on this viewing did it strike me as inappropriate for Jean-Luc to be seducing an obviously much, much younger woman.  However the age gap probably didn't bother Stewart: JC Brandy (who at the time was 18 to Stewart's 53) is three years older than Stewart's current fiance.

Erm. I think not even a saucy, v-neck blouse on Stewart could make these age gaps palatable.


  1. The amount of research that goes into these posts staggers & impresses me, as always.

    1. Thank you. I've been working on it for five weeks. I actually watched almost all of those episodes. I give, and I give, and I don't do any housework.

  2. There was a show that hubs watched on Netflix the other night. Called "That guy who was in that thing" about character actors who are on various episodes like you are mentioning. It was interesting.

    1. **gasp** I want to see that! And I just checked, it's on Canadian netflix. YAY!

  3. I have never seen Murder She Wrote or Star Trek, but I wanted to leave a comment to be a supportive friend because this is one massive post! I just wish I knew what you were talking about.

  4. Just chiming in to say a) totally loving this series, and b) Richard Cox as Finn was sooooooooo dreaaaaaaamy. I was super swoony during that whole episode and had to hide it and act all cool as I was watching with my boyfriend. He's now my husband, so since we have a legal contract I suppose I'm allowed to swoon all I want now. Break out the DVDs!

    1. YES! I am sure your marriage is strong enough to stand up to the Richard Cox Lust Revelation. Let me know.

  5. You are beyond awesome to do all this!

    1. Thanks. Two series down. Only three to go. Plus the movies.