Murder, She Wrote: Murder Digs Deep   Rewatch 
December 9, 2014 7:37 AM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Jessica visits Cabot Cove's Dr. Seth Hazlitt at a New Mexico archaeological dig, with the idea of getting story ideas from the experience. The site is full of colorful characters, from the gold-digging Gideon Armstrong and his young wife, Cynthia, Southwest University professor Dr. Stan Garfield, TV celebrity Dr. Aubrey Benton, and the conflicted Raymond Two Crows, who both helps and hinders the dig. They're excavating in an Anasazi village, and perhaps Coronado's legendary city of gold. On a night after gold is found in the dig, Cynthia shoots at the "vengeful spirit" who shows up every night to drive out the grave diggers. The "spirit" falls back from the ledge, where the camp finds Raymond, dead on the ground. He wasn't shot, but it's not clear if his fall was really fatal, or if he died by other means. Jessica digs in, with the help of Dr. Seth, uncovering the truth behind the personalities, and the dig site itself.
posted by filthy light thief (2 comments total)
 
I know TV shows aren't always the most accurate, but I live in New Mexico, and work in Santa Fe, so some flubbed details in this episode really bothered me.

First, if Santa Fe is 80 miles west, then they're somewhere out near the Kiowa National Grassland. There's some area with more variation in the terrain, including the Canadian River Canyon, with its relatively modern adobe ruins (built in the late 1800s, abandoned in 1904 when Melvin Mills' orchards ruined by flood). I don't know of any native ruins in the area (then again, I'm no archaeologist).

And then there's the fauna - iguanas are native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and Gila monsters are found only in the southwest corner of New Mexico. And both iguanas and Gila monsters are lizards! Why do I mention this? In the end of the episode, Dr. Seth and Jessica are talking...
Dr. Seth - Oh, yeah? A fellow I know is organizing a new dig in Tanzania next year. Course it won't seem quite the same without the iguanas and the Gila monsters.
Jessica - Not to mention the lizards.
HE JUST MENTIONED LIZARDS!

Ando get mosquitoes at night, you need standing water, and this is the arid desert, remember? Maybe there was some other biting night-time bug, so I'll let this one go. But I'm also skeptical of the crickets heard in many of the night-time scenes.

Don't get me started on the "archaeological" treasure hunt, and the comments about "ancestors [being] evicted from these premises a long time ago."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Still catching up...

I was wondering about the terrain! I live in your neighboring state to the north, and I thought I'd remembered that area to the east as flat and expansive. And I also noticed the mosquito netting... That isn't something we see a lot of around these arid parts.

I did notice everyone in jackets and sweaters at night, which seemed right. The nights can be cool.

I loved all of Connie Stevens' outfits and jewelry. I think the wardrobe folks must have raided a 1980s Banana Republic store, you know, back when the store would have an old jeep in the center of the store and netting and an old propeller overhead. Lots of khaki and grommets.

And I'm always happy to see Seth Hazlitt.
posted by mochapickle at 11:03 AM on December 23, 2014


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