Story time, Fletcherfans! Pay attention because this week is kind of tricky.
Once upon a time, there was a man, a woman and a car accident. Yes, that old chestnut. Anyway, the man feels extremely guilty, since he was driving and only fractured his collarbone, and the woman is in a pretty bad way, but not so bad she can’t be loaded into the ambulance crying “WHY? WHY? WHY?”
Why indeed. Anyway, down at the hospital the husband (let’s call him Mark Lee Reynolds, since that’s his name) is out of his mind when the doctors tell him that his wife has a good chance of surviving, but may never walk again. Cloud goes up, cloud goes down. Receiving this news Mark does what any good husband would do – he heads to the nearest pub, gets blind drunk and goes home with some random brunette.
An associate of said brunette’s husband spots them leaving the bar and puts a call in. The husband grabs his jacket and hauls out into the night bellowing for vengeance.
Because the husband is Batman.
You got all that?
Months later, there’s a trial on. It turns out, Mr Jacket-wearing vengenance-seeker (or Cliff Anderson, for short) wound up dead, and the winner of husband of the year, Mark Lee Reynolds is on trial for his murder. I only mention this because a certain Boss of all Bosses just so happens to be jury forewoman…
That’s right, Fletcherfans! It’s 12 Angry Men, Cabot Cove style! To help set the mood for the jury deliberations I found this helpful website to help set the scene. (True story – that noise is also my message notification on my phone, except sometimes I forget and it goes off and I freak out a little bit/fall off the treadmill).
Alright. In the case of People vs Shady Husband, how do we find the jury?
Unsurprisingly, squabbling. Almost everyone on this star-studded jury thinks that Mark Lee Reynolds killed in self-defence. Only Thornton thinks he is a)Henry Fonda and b)guilty. JB is undecided, and probably more concerned with how much time must pass before her next whiskey.
They discuss, through the cunning use of flashbacks, Reynolds’s testimony that he left the hospital that night “wanting to die.”
Certain members of the jury understand this concept, (a little too well if you ask me) but JB quickly reminds them of the cross-examination where the D.A wanted to know why Reynolds conveniently picked that bar to drink at, since it wasn’t the closest bar to the hospital or his house.
BECAUSE HE’S A SHADY DUDE, GEEZ.
Not everyone on the jury agrees with me though (schmucks), in fact certain female members of the jury tend to find him quite dreamy. He’s so honest! Even when he tells them (through the cunning use of flashbacks) how he met that random brunette, and the random chain of events that lead to her almost-but-not-quite ex husband turning up on the doorstep and catching them out. (Cue cunning use of flashbacks within flashbacks and ow my brain). According to him, the ex turned up packing heat, they both reached for the gun, ex is now an ex-ex. They call the police, Reynolds gets carted away and gets his phone call, which he uses to call the hospital only to be told that his wife had passed away.
Sucks to be him, is what he’s trying to say.
While the rest of the jury argue with Thornton a bit more, we cunningly flashback to the testimony of Becky the Brunette, who explains that she was getting a divorce from her husband, despite her husband counter-suing for infidelity. HUH I BET.
The jury continues to argue while in flashback land, the hotel owner takes the stand for some laughs.
Skipper announces to the court that Mark Lee Reynolds is a frequent visitor to his classy establishment, and that Becky the brunette had paid a visit too, way before the night of the shooting.
What does the jury think about this, oh they’re still arguing.
As things get heated, a couple of jurors call for calm, and to get back to the matter at hand. “Yeah,” says another. “This is man’s life we’re talking about, and most of us here are of a mind to let him keep it. It’s Mrs Fletcher and her minions who are anxious to see him hang.”
The central point of this trial according to JB is the question of whether Becky the brunette and Mark Reynolds knew each other before the night her ex-husband was killed. Fenton the hotel owner swears he’d seen them together before, the bartender that served them on the night of the murder wasn’t so sure.
If you believe Fenton, JB postulates, then you have to believe that they were setting themselves up to be seen, and since it was a regular haunt for her ex husband and his pals, you have to believe that they wanted to be seen in order to get the word out that Becky-the-brunette was stepping out on her old man. So to speak.
A few nods in the jury room now. Jess is on a roll. If Cliff-the-ex didn’t take a gun with him, where did he get it? The only prints on the gun were his and Reynolds.
Not everyone is convinced by this. Long term juror holdout Frank Lord dismisses it all out of hand, telling them they have rocks in their heads, and that maybe someone else should be foreman.
Back in flashback land, Becky Anderson’s neighbour is on the stand, testifying how he came home to find Cliff-the-ex’s car blocking the driveway, and his views of Cliff’s body being taken out of the house a couple of hours later, and then some more flashbackiness as the DA outlines how he thinks the murder went down – Mark and Becky arranged it so that Cliff would bust in, Mark whacks him over the head with a poker, stages it to look like Cliff had the gun, then gets Becky to call the police.
Seems legit to me, although at this point I can’t tell whether I’m having a flashback. Although, I would point out that the DA just said “I look at these two people (Mark and Becky) and I see pleasant, All-American attractiveness” which I’m assuming is lawyer-speak for trashy sluts, but I’m not too sure.
Back in whatever part of time we’re in, JB has more questions. Like, if Mark Reynolds really did fracture his collarbone in the car accident, how was he fighting Cliff for the gun?
Now, THERE’S A QUESTION.
Dazzled by this amazing feat of logic, the rest of the jurors want to hear more about these “questions” and JB is happy to oblige. Simply put, it’s this: if Mark Reynolds is telling the truth, and the whole thing – from Cliff barging in to Becky calling the police – was over in a moment, why did the neighbour point out that the body was removed a couple of hours later?
MYSTERIOUS. JB announces there can only be one conclusion, and therefore one verdict, which they then deliver to the court. Mark Reynolds is not guilty of the murder of Cliff Anderson.
JB has a quiet word in the ear of the DA, who arranges to meet with Becky Anderson and her lawyer after the trial. Why?
So there you have it. It was Becky who whacked her husband over the head with the poker. But don’t worry, Mark Reynolds isn’t blameless in all of this. He helped her stage it so it looked like self defence – after he’d come home from the hospital, where he’d been killing his wife with a pillow.
And so ends this weeks episode of
Law and Order Murder, She Blogged . If you’ve made it this far, well done. I’m exhausted.
There’s only one cure for this, I think.
ETA: It’s Murder She Blogged’s first birthday! Happy birthday to MSB, which continues to this day to be one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.