JB is in LA for a book tour this week Fletcherfans, where a young woman named Gayle Yamada would very much like to speak with her. Her new boss, TV producer Avery Stone has rejected her story ideas for his TV show Danger Doctor and has asked instead that she use a story he read a summary of the other week… a summary of the new book by JB Fletcher. Our Heroine, being the kind and beneficent Queen of All Things, thinks the whole thing is hilarious and offers to help Gayle write a new plot line to give to Avery instead.
It looks like it’s going to take a little more than some JB magic to fix the problems on Danger Doctor though. The two leads on the show, Brenda Blake and Gary Patterson (previously seen as the Sheriff here), are getting fed up with the terrible scripts, and director Bert Puzo (previously seen here as Frank) is getting fed up with Avery’s colleague Sid Sharkey (who has already been seen here and here and will be back). To make matters worse, Stone is less than enthusiastic about Gayle’s story when she brings it to him, and less so when he finds out JB had been helping her. JB, always looking out for the little guy, decides to go over Avery’s head and goes to see network bigwig Kate Hollander, who has been trying to secure the rights to one of JB’s books. Kate swears up and down that she was unaware of Avery Stone’s thieving ways and that she’ll put a stop to it. After all, she’s been such a fan of JB’s work for so long and she’s so eager to bring her book to the small screen.
Ah yes, thinks JB. “Murder at the Asylum?”
“I loved every page,” says Kate.
“Oh dear I must be confused.” JB says. ” I think that we’re negotiating Calvin Canterbury’s Revenge”
Sid Sharkey doesn’t appreciate Kate telling him how to do his job and orders Avery to come into his office immediately. He accuses Avery of stabbing him in the back and fires him. Avery tells him they have a contract and until he hears differently he is going to keep working until he takes Sid for every penny. Things go from bad to worse for Sid when a call comes in from the crew - Gary Patterson has just stormed off the set. Sid marches down to the set and tells Bert to do whatever he has to do to get Gary back on the set or he’s fired. Bert genuinely couldn’t care less until Sid quietly reminds him of the time Sid put Bert in rehab after snorting half of Tijuana and gave him his first directing gig afterwards. Sounds like a threat huh?
Sid’s troubles are far from over. Brenda Blake, one of the stars of the show, had asked to be written out of the next three episodes so she could shoot a movie but Sid’s not having a bar of it, even when Brenda threatens to walk. Sid has two words for her: CON TRACT. His advice? Lay back and enjoy it.
That night, JB goes to pay a visit on Sid Sharkey but finds him out of his office. Instead she finds his secretary Frieda Schmidt (played by Fionnula Flanagan who has been in everything including but not limited to the Murder She Wrote movie Celtic Riddle EVERYTHING MOVES IN CIRCLES). Frieda informs JB, while taking a message for her boss about lunch at the Polo Club with a Mr Perlman, that Sid is out for the night but that she has the messages that JB left and that she will see that he gets them. To make up for it, Frieda offers to drop JB back at her hotel.
Later that night Avery is alone in the studio working late. Except for the cleaning lady, some footsteps belonging to an unseen high heeled wearing stranger and Sid, who has decided that all of his problems will be fixed if they fire Bert in the morning. Avery goes home, weary, leaving Sid alone in his office with a package, which he excitedly opens. And then it explodes.
That’ll teach him for that “lay back and enjoy it” remark.
JB is summoned to the crime scene, as despite the blowing-upness, the office is almost entirely undamaged, including the note that Frieda left for her boss saying that JB was trying to get in touch. Inside, JB finds that Gayle had also been summoned, because as it turns out Lieutenant Bradshaw has a very important question for them.In the interests of fact, Bradshaw would actually like to know where JB has been for the last three hours. JB, impervious to his tone, would very much like to know why she’s been summoned down here in the middle of the night. Bradshaw tells her that Sid was blown to bits three hours earlier by a bunch of dynamite “wrapped in pink feminine wrapping paper.” that had presumably been delivered by a woman heard leaving in highheeled shoes. (Just to make sure you got the whole ‘suspect is a woman’ thing).
JB tries to explain that she’d only just met Sid recently, and that she’s a novelist. Bradshaw knows who she is, even read a couple of her books. Frankly they were a waste of his time.
Bradshaw thinks it’s highly suspicious that JB came to visit someone she barely knew (but who was trying to steal her story idea), and left without alerting the night guard even when Jess points out the entirely unsuspicious reason – she left with Sid’s secretary. Kanaga will see about that!
On the way home, Gayle swears that she had nothing to do with the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Structural Damage; she was home alone writing. She hasn’t been in Hollywood long, she confides to JB, but she’s learned one thing: you’ve got to protect your fanny at all costs.
Gayle asks JB if she has an alibi for 8:45 and JB tells her she was soaking in a hot tub.
“Anyone with you?” Asks Gayle.
The next morning JB visits the set of Danger Doctor to find Avery has assumed the role of Bossman rather effortlessly. JB tries to ask him about the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Damage and in response he tells her to get off the studio grounds but before she can, Diane the “close personal friend” of Gary Patterson rushes over to tell her that Gary is hanging out in his trailer and would very much like to meet her.
Turns out Gary has a million dollar proposal for JB. No, not that kind, he wants her to get to work fixing the terrible scripts. In fact, he himself was working on polishing them up from 8:30 til 9:30 the night before. (See how smoothly he worked that in there?)
“Oh? Alone?” Asks JB.
“Well, no. The little lady was here with me.”
“Gary likes to bounce his ideas off of me.” Says Diane.
Excuse me just a sec…
Oh God. What’s happening? Oh right. So Avery turns up at the trailer eager to throw JB out but JB informs him that Gary has just offered her a job developing scripts and she’s just decided to accept. SUCKER.
JB is shown to her office by Frieda, who reveals she’s not exactly mourning for her late lamented boss. Jess asks her if she noticed anything unusual the day Sid died but Frieda remembers nothing except that she noticed that one of the file drawers had been rummaged through in between her leaving the office with JB and her arriving back after the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Damage. Jess asks her to see if anything was missing and goes to see her pal Avery who is tearing Bert and some other crew a new one. He is delighted to see JB and tells her how wonderful it is to have her on the show. Outside, while Bert drives off in his Jeep (I’m guessing this is important), JB bumps into Diane again, who begs her to take a look at the newest script and polish it. In response, JB asks why they lied about being together the night of the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Damage. Diane admits she left the set to go and get some medication for Gary from home, but that was it. JB urges her to tell Lieutenant Bradshaw, as she believes that while Bradshaw doesn’t have all the facts, he doesn’t seem likely to do anything impulsive.
Cut to Bradshaw trying to arrest Kate Hollander. Her minions think it will make for excellent press coverage but her secretary is outraged. Bradshaw won’t give up, until Kate informs him that she was in bed reading scripts. With her secretary. Who was taking notes. She is then interrupted by one of her minions informing her that USA Today wants to do a spread on her and she tells him to set it up. “Now, where were we?” She asks Bradshaw.
“I believe we were discussing dictation.” Says Bradshaw.
Bloody hell I hope she solves this soon, I’m in serious danger of losing the plot completely. Back at JB’s office Gayle wanders in to say goodbye – she’s decided to chuck her TV writing career in for writing a novel. Bless. Meanwhile, Frieda has worked out what’s missing from the file she noticed open the night of the Great Explosion That Did Almost No Damage – the contract belonging to Brenda Blake. JB goes to confront her about it and Brenda pleads ignorance, until Bradshaw turns up with a warrant. After much bellyaching, Brenda finally admits to stealing her contract out of the drawer, but says that she had no motivation to kill Sid since he was meeting with the producer of the movie she was trying to get cast in the next day. She does however remember seeing the package on the table when she stole the contract.
Bradshaw is a bit miffed, but it’s okay! JB has worked it out! In the absence of proof, JB stages an elaborate plot involving Frieda, some lies and when that doesn’t work a fake kidnapping but she finally gets him to admit in the end.
Afterwards, Bradshaw grudgingly admits that she’s not much of a writer but she’d make a damn fine policeman. Whatever dude. Then, as JB is finally making her escape Kate Hollander reappears with an idea – the JB Fletcher Mystery Hour! A weekly show devoted to the crime busting adventures of a mystery writer!
JB tells her it’s the worst idea she’s ever heard. OH THE LOLZ. But never mind that, because Twitter has just informed me that Angela Lansbury is being made a Dame today. So, by the power vested in me by me I hearby declare April 15 to be World Angela Lansbury Day. Now go! Hurl sass around and be the fabulous Fletcherfans I know you all are!
Until next time!