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S01E12 – Broadway Malady

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Guess who’s back guys! JB’s lame-ass nephew Grady!!

Oh how we missed you Grady… wait, no we didn’t!

Grady’s on the phone to Jess bragging about his new job as a book-keeper for a new Broadway show (he even makes that sound lame), and he’s dying for his aunt to come down and see him in action, and meet his new bit of fluff, Kate.

JB is bemused at all this, but isn’t sure if she’ll have time to see him, what with all the high-powered publishing meetings she’ll be attending. (Sounds like an excuse to me).

Grady’s having none of it. He tells his aunt that not only does she get to come down and see rehearsals, but she gets to meet the star of the show, Rita Bristol. “You’ll love her,” Grady says. “Although everyone seems to love everybody around here.”

Yay! Grady made a joke!

While Grady is on the phone being all Grady-like, Rita Bristol is throwing a tantrum and flouncing off stage, the producer, Rita’s son Barry, is trying to hold everything together, and the director is demanding the show’s co-star, Rita’s daughter Patti, sing on-key. Cue the music! (I think this is as close to a musical episode as I’m ever gonna get).

JB arrives in New York and is immediately accosted at her hotel by El Lame-o, who tells her that Rita Bristol has invited her out to dinner with some of the cast and crew of the show. Jess, not wanting to spend any more time with Grady than she has to, tries to wriggle out of it but Grady pouts and she agrees. At dinner, Jess politely chats with everyone, eager to get back to her hotel and sleep. Then Barry starts on his Grand Toast To His Sister, and Jess is  delighted.

It’s just like every cast dinner I’ve been privy to, believe me…

After dinner, the show’s backer Si Parrish offers JB a lift back to her hotel, clearly hoping for a little lovin, and Barry and Patti say goodnight. Unfortunately on their way to the car, between a doomsday priest and card shark, a random mugger jumps out from behind the bin, yells “Gimme your money and your jewels,” and shoots Patti in the chest. Barry pops a couple of rounds off and the mugger drops dead. The card shark grabs his table and legs it.

(I’ll be honest. I was hoping for a musical number here to. Ah well, the show must go on).

The next morning, Jess is watching the news story on the shooting of Patti Bristol. There’s something fishy going on, and the Queen of Cabot Cove is going to get to the bottom of it, because let’s face it, Grady won’t. She pays a visit to the detective on the case, and is unimpressed when he starts rabbiting on about statistics and carrots.

I said 24 CARATS you fool!

Jess asks the cop if he is tracking down the card shark she heard about on the news. The cop very politely tells JB that the case is essentially closed.

What a boss. Honestly, would you mess with her?

Jess turns on her heel and flounces out of the office and goes to see Rita Driscoll at home, trying to cope with the stress by wearing her dressing gown and high heels. After listening to Rita pour forth about her life, her kids and her alcoholism, Jess hits the streets looking for the card shark. She finds one of his colleagues and lures her into finding him with half a hundred dollar note. (Not fifty bucks, literally half a note – they get the other half once she’s spoken to this mysterious card shark named Taki). Naturally the plan works, and JB meets up with Taki for lunch. He tells her that he thinks the mugger was an amateur, and that he didn’t even wait for Patti to give up her money. Jess’s carrot-chomping detective is unimpressed with this news.

Meanwhile, it’s good news at the hospital – Patti is going to be fine. Huzzah! The news is not so great backstage though – the director has gone and imported his own leading lady to replace Patti, and Barry and the cast are less than excited with the news. The show must something something, I guess.

It’s even better news at Grady’s apartment though – Jess has spotted the man who shot at Patti on the TV. He was an actor! (See? TV solves everything). The carrot-muncher is still unimpressed, and tells JB that if she  continues on, he may not be able to help her. Because he’s done such a great job up until now. Jess tells him he’s a moron (paraphrasing), and goes to see the dead man’s agent, who happens to also be Milton Berle.

Among Milton Berle’s lesser known film roles are a guest spot on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and an uncredited role as a transvestite at a wedding on Roseanne. Thanks, IMDB!

In between chatting up the bright young things, Milton Lew tells Jess that he hadn’t seen his client for years. He gives her the last address he had for him, and promises to get a full list of his credits. Jess is convinced that he is tied to the Driscoll’s somehow, dammit! Back at rehearsals, Rita is less than happy that Patti’s role has been increased ever since the director’s new toy came on as Patti’s replacement.

Sidebar:

Sometimes I’m sad the 80s ended. This is not one of those times. (Be grateful I didn’t use a reverse angle)

This particular scene ends with Barry punching the director in the face, mostly because he was bad-mouthing his mother and sister, but I’d like to think a part of it was to do with that leotard. I mean, I’d get punchy too if I had to see that.

Grady unhelpfully rushes on stage to tell Barry something, but Barry tells him to take hike (something I think we’d all like to do, amirite?). Instead he takes his grievances to his aunt – he thinks Si the moneyman has oversold shares in the production, which means that if the show is a hit, he owes a lot of people a lot of money Jess patiently explains that is the basic plot of The Producers, and turns her attention to more pressing matters, that is, going to visit the home of the late actor/mugger Morley. Grady escorts her, on account of the general dodginess of the locale. They meet his landlord, who tells them that Morley had just met a guardian angel who had promised to produce his movie.

Jess doesn’t like this and orders Grady to stop ogling a random couple dancing and get to Lew to get a list of Morty’s credits while she hoofs it over to Rita Driscoll’s to make sure everything is alright. They find Rita passed out on the floor of the kitchen with the gas on, an empty bottle of booze and an empty bottle of pills. Bummer.

Cut to an ambulance roaring down a street, and soon the gang is all congregating outside Rita’s hospital room. Si somewhat inappropriately asks the director if he has someone who can replace Rita in the show. The doctor comes out and announces that it’s touch and go with Rita. Grady finally shows Jess the credits list for Morley, and straight away, she knows who set up this whole charade.  Barry Driscoll gets a page over the PA system to report to intensive care…

Later, Jess and Barry are sitting in Rita’s lounge room drinking coffee, and Jess calls him out. Barry denies it.

Life Lesson #25: Red and white polka dots are acceptable sartorial choices when interrogating a suspect.

And of course, she’s right.

Sinister man drinking tea…

Not only did he arrange for his sister to get shot, but he faked his mother’s suicide just to get his hands on the money. Bastard!

The joke’s on him though – his mother isn’t dead. Jess just made him think that! LOL! Another case closed, JB heads back to the Cove to get back to work on her book. Grady gives her a call on opening night and tells her that the show is success. Jess asks after Grady’s bit of fluff, but it turns out she’s run away with a weatherman, but it’s okay because he’s met Francesca!

Freeze frame on JB laughing at her loser nephew, and we wrap on another action-packed week of Murder, She Wrote.

Until next time, Fletcherfans!

 

And now, a word from our sponsor

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Have you ever wondered what Jessica Fletcher looked like in her younger, hellraising days?

Angela Lansbury LOOKING LIKE A TOTAL FOX

Hot damn!

(Photo courtesy of here. The photo of Sean Bean has left me conflicted.)

S01E11 – Capitol Offence

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I tell you what gang, I’m pretty excited about this episode. Hold on to your bicycles guys!

After the local congressman for Cabot Cove (and the rest of Maine too, probably) turns up dead with a heart attack, the politicians are flummoxed. Who can they get to be acting congresswoman until the vote is sorted out in six weeks time?

When there’s someone dead in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call?

Mrs Fletcher Goes to Washington

And with a blast of patriotic pipe music, our JB is off to Washington, so beginning possibly the greatest television mash-up I’ve ever invented…

YOU’RE WELCOME.

JB is met at the station by CJ Joe-the-media-advisor, who is sassy (like CJ!) and likes to wear driving gloves (like CJ, probably). At first Joe treats his new boss with epic amounts of condescension, but Our Heroine puts him firmly back in his place. He introduces her to Congressman Dan Keppner, a friend of her predecessor, as well as her assistant Donna Dianna, who promptly tries to resign but Jess isn’t having a bar of it.

Before she can even sit down Gary Parmell, a lobbyist, waltzes into the room with a big bouquet of roses to welcome her to the neighbourhood/get her vote/get in her pants. Dianna very gently gets Jess out of an awkward situation, and Jess decides she’s going to need a “fast education,” which I’m guessing is code for a double Jameson’s on the rocks, but is actually a nice cup of tea.

Jess checks into her hotel and settles into bed with her “fast education” (not a euphemism, stop sniggering), but is interrupted by a phone call from Congressman Keppner. He wants to meet her to talk about his pal Wendell’s heart attack, but Jess is plumb tuckered out, and begs off until the morning. He hangs up and runs into a girl named Marta, who tells him she was also there the night Wendell had his heart attack, and that she helped him move the body.

The plot! It is thick!

After a good night’s rest, Jess is up and ready to filibuster the hell out of something. (I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what a filibuster is, but I like to say it, and I’m sure it’s possible to filibuster the hell out of something if you properly commit, and anyway…) As she leaves the hotel, a mysterious stranger follows her. SUSPICIOUS…but no, it turns out he’s just the local fuzz.

The role of Det. Lt. Avery Mendelsohn will be played by Toby Ziegler, who will be played by Herschel Bernardi

Sidenote: here’s a completely irrelevant quote from Herschel:

There are five stages to an actor’s career: who is Herschel Bernardi? get me Herschel Bernardi; get me a Herschel Bernardi type; get me a young Herschel Bernardi; and who is Herschel Bernardi?

But I digress. The Det-Lieu  wants JB’s help – it turns out that the death of the former congressman for Cabot Cove (and the rest of Maine, probably) wasn’t as straight forward as they all thought. The autopsy shows that someone moved the body, and since his stomach hurts it means that “there’s a fox loose in the china shop” (Life Lesson #24, brought to you by Confucius).

Jess is naturally taken aback by this news…

I know how she feels…

…and while she (and we all) ponder exactly who let the fox into the china shop in the first place, her new friend Congressmne Keppner has turned up passed out in the gutter and being felt up by a random hobo. Ahh, Victoria Park station, what memories we’ve had…anyway, while the congressman attempts to retrieve his wallet from the aforementioned hobo, he stumbles into a police car. Which is convenient for them, because he’s wanted for questioning for the murder of Marta Craig.

Unaware of this juicy new development, JB is kicking it in her office, reading up on a proposed cannery that developers want to build about a mile from Cabot Cove. (I’m pretty sure all of Maine is a mile from Cabot Cove, but that’s neither here nor there). Jess is all over that, but she has more pressing issues, like her predecessor getting into bed dead. She asks Donna Diana what her thoughts are, and Diana reveals the late Wendell had been invited to a party with Gary Parmell, who JB refers to as the “unctuous gentlemen with the roses”. There’s no time to dwell on that though, JB is late to a committee meeting, and after being briefly waylaid by another lobbyist named THOR DANZIGER (NOT MAKING THIS UP), JB settles in for some hardcore governing.

On a break from all that law making and speechifying, (or as I like to call it, half-time), Jess goes back to her office. CJ Joe is trying to talk Jess into having lunch with Kaye Sheppard, the local gossip columnist, which Jess doesn’t want a bar of. In her office, Avery is troubled. Keppner is under arrest, but his stomach hurts and to make matters worse his feet do to, and that means that something isn’t kosher. At the police station Keppner reveals all – that Wendell had a heart attack and that they panicked and moved the body. Marta took photos in order to blackmail him but he didn’t kill her Mrs Fletcher you’ve got to believe me! etc etc.

Avery takes her down to the morgue to look at the body.

And with that, the congressman was proven innocent. Any questions?

Avery is well pleased with this, understandably, and tells Jess she should have been a cop.

“I am a cop,” she replies. “When I’m at the typewriter.”

As I said, LIKE A BOSS. Back at the Jess Wing, JB is trying to get the skinny on the congressmen, Marta Craig, Gary Parmell, and Ray Dixon, the boss of the company who wants in on Cabot Cove. She sends CJ Joe out for information. Meanwhile, Dianna has gone home to see her boyfriend THOR DANZINGER. To be honest, I’m not sure that has anything to do with anything, but I just wanted to say his name again. It turns out he was being blackmailed by Marta too and has been helpfully sent the photos to prove it, along with a note ordering him to stay away from Mrs Fletcher.

Unlikely. The lady in question has gone off to have lunch with Kaye Sheppard after all.

Face it, that’s a Bond villan right there… the lady in the hat could be too, I guess.

The divine Ms K has information about Marta Craig, but she ain’t just giving it up for nobody, not even JB Fletcher. After a bit of wheeling and dealing, she comes clean – she saw Marta coming out of the Watergate building, looking upset and being chased by Ray Dixon. JB has a vague whiff of a scent, and she’s hot on it.

The scent takes her to Donna Diana’s home, where she and THOR DANZIGER come clean on their relationship, as well as their former friendship with Marta. Joe the press agent tells her all the goss he can garner on Marta. The scent is now a full-blown olfactory tirade. JB has worked out the killer’s identity, and now it’s all she can do to trap him and vote on the cannery bill at the same time.

First thing’s first. JB rocks the vote like a boss. Words can’t do her speech justice, so here’s a video recreation.

Oh remember when Mel Gibson wasn’t an anti-Semitic lunatic? I’d forgotten too. Anyway, one victory down, one to go. Jess goes to check on the trap she laid for Marta’s killer and happily, the killer took the bait.

Life Lesson #25 – Never trust a man who wears driving gloves.

To celebrate, Avery invites JB out for lox and cream cheese, something Jess has barely heard of but is intrigued by, natch.

And so another chapter closes on Murder, She Blogged. See you next week, Fletcherfans!

 

S01E10 – Death Casts A Spell

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We’re on the road again this week Fletcherfans, this time to Lake Tahoe where Jess has been lured under false pretenses by her editor’s assistant Joan. She has a BRILLIANT IDEA for JB’s new book, based on the resident hotel hypnotist who goes by the name Cagliostro, and who happens to be George Clooney’s uncle.

He’s hypnotising you right now…

Remember when hypnotism was a thing? Somebody once hypnotised me and made me watch Maid in Manhattan – now that I think about it, I still haven’t had justice for that. But I digress.

This Cagliostro character is adored by his fans (especially Joan) but has made an enemy of the hotel owner, mostly because the C-bomb shagged his missus. His missus naturally claimed she had been hypnotised. What a genius excuse! A couple of reporters – Andy Townsend and Bud Michaels –  have a bone to pick with the C-bomb too, and so he makes a deal: they can come up to his room and ask anything they like, as long as they let him hypnotise them first.

Across the restaurant, JB does an exceptional job of not being interested…

JB learnt her powers of surveillance from her neighbours in the Cove.

Joan can’t handle a gauntlet being tossed around like that, and runs off to demand that the celebrated mystery writer JB Fletcher be permitted to attend the demonstration, to which the C-bomb magnanimously agrees. Jess meanwhile is being harrassed by a lunatic at the slot machines who is convinced that JB is a character from Doctors after Hoursand desperately trying to get JB to come and meet her bridge club who are playing craps. Jess tries to get Andy’s attention, but he flees in the elevator.

Huzzah for a topical caption! (Sorry)

Eventually she is saved by Joan, who tells her that the C-bomb will be honoured to have JB attend his soiree. Jess pointedly tells Joan that she most certainly will not be attending, and Joan says “You’re a writer…aren’t you the least bit curious?”

MAGIC WORD.

Joan and Jess hit up the elevator, but they’re too late. The C-bomb has started his demonstration and his lackey on the door doesn’t even have a key to get in, which is a problem when they hear the glass of the window shattering. Fortunately the boss of the hotel appears with his Boss Key and opens the door.

The C-Bomb is dead, and the six journalists are all hypnotised. THAT’S GOT TO SUCK.

Enter the pipe smoking Lieutenant Bertcam (not kidding), who is stumped. Fortunately, JB is on the case. She Using Joan’s recording of the C-Bomb’s most recent performance, the police bring the journalists out of their trance. Honestly, where would these people be without our gal?

The good news is, JB’s picked up the scent of a juicy murder. The bad news is, she’s completely stumped as to how it happened…

JB sums it all up.

…so she pays a visit to the town shrink, to get a professional opinion. He volunteers to give Jess a demonstration by hypnotising her, and despite her rampaging scepticism she agrees. The doctor promptly turns our hero into a drunken barfly and a rich snob, just for our amusement.

I’m going to be honest with you – I got a bit distracted by the ink blot behind the doctor’s desk.

Freud would have a field day with me.

Reinvigorated, Jess goes back to the casino to do some sleuthing and discovers that the police are convinced that the hotel owner, Mr Kellijian is their number one suspect, despite the small matter of him walking out of an elevator seconds after the C-bomb was murdered. Jess isn’t the only one asking around either – Bud Michaels, whose drunken shenanigans caused the whole shindig in the first place, is determined to find out who killed the C-bomb and why, so that he can stop writing for Today Tonight the local rag, and work for a proper newspaper again. What he neglected to mention is that the reason he is writing for the local rag is because the C-bomb ruined his life back in the old country. Jess has a chat with the C-Bomb’s assistant and learns the truth. That, and that she used to be a trapeze stripper in Vegas.

Yeah. Just think about that one for a minute.

JB decides it’s high time she has a chat with this Mr Michaels, and asks him why he pretended to be rolling drunk the night of the murder. (Obviously that incident down in Hollywood has made her drunken senses much more keen). He admits to faking drunkeness in order to avoid the C-Bomb Sideshow, but doesn’t have an alibi. Before Jess can grill him even further, she spots a guy abseilling down the building and runs off to find out how such unauthorized activity can be taking place without her.

It turns out it’s a joint effort between the PD and Joan, who have the new working theory that a trapeze stripper from Vegas could easily rig up an abseil, wander over the side, stab the C-Bomb in the back and bugger off without being seen by anyone.  Sigh. People like this are why the Lindbergh baby was never found. Besides, a trapeze stripper from Vegas wouldn’t stab someone in the back, she’d glitterbomb them to death.

Fed up with the incompetence of those around her, Jess has a word with Mr Kellejian who scoffs at her mild suggestion that he is a suspect, and doubly so at the idea that his wife did it. Jess is unsure about this, and even less so when she spots Mrs K slinking out of the parking lot looking furtive.

Faced with a fleeing suspect, JB does the only thing she can do – hijacks a motorbike and guns it.

Life Lesson #22 – it is possible, if not advisable, to wear a skirt while riding a motorbike…

They tail Mrs K to a deserted road and watch her give an envelope to a mysterious man of mystery. JB’s chauffeur asks what that was about and JB primly says “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff”. Her new friend pisses himself laughing, so presumably “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff” is code for something, or JB goosed him. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Back at the hotel JB goes up to Mrs K’s room and demands an explanation. Mrs K admits to ordering a hit on the C-Bomb but was getting blackmailed by the hitman. She swears she had nothing to do with it, and JB tends to believe her, despite the whole contract killing biz. Jess is stumped, but when the Lieutenant mutters about his suspects being deaf, dumb and blind, she has an idea.

A cunning trap is set, and the killer falls right into it. JB ALWAYS GETS HER MAN.

And the killer is…Andy!

And there you have it folks. Andy is busted trying to avenge the death of his father, who committed suicide after the C-Bomb ruined his career, and Joan finally convinces Jess to write a book about it.

What hijinks will ensue next week? Stay tuned!