An award-winning television writer and producer reflects on his prolific career.
Throughout the 1970s and '80s, many of the biggest hits on network television were mystery programs. Long-running shows such as Columbo and Murder, She Wrote commanded large audiences week after week, and even short-lived shows such as the 1975 series Ellery Queen had devoted cult followings. In this autobiography, mystery novelist Fischer (Pray For Us Sinners, 2013, etc.) recounts his time as a writer and producer for these and other programs and discusses the many people he met along the way. The author focuses primarily on his career in Hollywood, starting with his early success as the writer of a 1971 TV movie of the week called The Last Child and ending with his retirement shortly after a long tenure as a TV writer and producer. The narrative flows briskly as Fischer tells of writing episodes of famous programs such as Marcus Welby, M.D. and winning an Edgar Award and two Golden Globes for Murder, She Wrote. The author also discusses his work on other promising but less-successful shows; the chapters dealing with The Eddie Capra Mysteries from 1978 and the 1987 series The Law and Harry McGraw (starring Jerry Orbach) offer insights into how programs’ fates can be guided by both ratings and network politics. Overall, Fischer provides an engaging glimpse into the interpersonal relationships that enriched his life and career; for example, the camaraderie Fischer shared with TV stars Angela Lansbury and Peter Falk developed into long-standing friendships. Fischer further pays homage to his love of film and television by including a trivia question at the end of each chapter.
A warm, affectionate autobiography that will likely appeal to TV history buffs.