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Murder, She Blogged is going on a brief hiatus while I go to Vietnam to a) drink stupid amounts of alcohol b) attend my brother’s wedding and c) ride the log flume. One of those statements is factual, one is inevitable, and one is a South Park reference.

Rest assured Fletcherfans! There will be more wildly inaccurate episode reviews coming your way in September. Unless my football team makes it past the first week of the finals in which case I promise nothing. (Go Tigers!)

See you in a couple of weeks!

See you soon!

See you soon!

 

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S03E05 – Corned Beef and Carnage

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Fletcherfans! Remember these guys?

What do you even call that style?

Last time we saw Vicky and Kernickie they were in LA being stiffed by Martin Landau. Now they’re in New York, where Kernickie is a struggling actor and Vicky is working for a high-falutin’ advertising agency with Charles Winchester from MASH that looks nothing like Mad Men and is clearly a front for a meth lab. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve watched 3.5 seasons of Breaking Bad in two weeks.

Vicky is a teeny bit stressed out. Her boss Larry Kincaid is trying to pimp her out to Grover Bart (proprietor of Corned Beef Castle and previously seen as a foreman here), whose signature he is eager to get. He insists that Vicky blow off her lunch with her aunt and Howard. Howard is not terribly impressed with this news, but JB doesn’t mind a bit. Unfortunately it gets worse over lunch, and the sleazy baron of the corned beef empire gets all Indecent Proposal-ish.

Back at the office Larry K is being harassed by his brother Myron who is concerned about the lack of money, and Charles Winchester Aubrey Thornton who is concerned about the fact that he wasn’t invited to the Corned Beef Castles presentation. After he tells Vicky that she’s having dinner with Grover Bart and he’d better come in the next morning with a big smile on his face or else, she quits. GO VICKY!

Kincaid’s mood improves with the arrival of his 4 o’clock appointment, a rival ad exceutive.

There's some 80s power dressing right there...

That’s some 80s power dressing right there…

d2

Of course, Christine Clifford isn’t just there to demonstrate the power of a pastel suit – she’s on a mission to steal the Corned Beef Castle account away from the Kincaids and hand it to her boss, in exchange for All The Things. She cleverly “forgets her purse” and returns to retrieve it and a folder of potential pitches that Vicky has put together for the campaign.

After returning home to find a load of bills and an answering machine message with another audition rejection for Kernickie, Vicky decides to go back to the office to suck up to Kincaid, so that she might get her job back. But alas, when she walks in to the office, Larry K is suffering a terminal case of being dead, bashed to death with his own award.

Lieutenant Spoletti is called to the scene, takes one look at the murder weapon, and says “For excellence in the field of advertising: Larry Kincaid. Well, like they say – this one had his name on it.”

We won't get fooled again! Won't get fooled again! (Sorry)

We won’t get fooled again! Won’t get fooled again! (Sorry)

Spoletti proceeds to interrogate Vicky but is soon interrupted by Kernickie 9who is concerned for his wife) and JB (who has just spotted a corned beef sandwich that’s been left unsupervised on Kincaid’s desk)

*not pictured: sandwich

*not pictured: sandwich

JB subtly hints to Spoletti that the presence of the corned beef sandwich might establish time of death. They ask the security guard (previously seen as the Coach in this episode)  for a list of people who visited the office after hours, and apart from a visit from Grover Bart and an interior designer named Mary Jo, there is no record of anyone coming to the building, let alone delivering a sandwich.

MYSTERIOUS SANDWICH IS MYSTERIOUS.

The next morning Vicky is clearing out her things when she gets a visit from Aubrey and Myron. They tell her they looked over her ideas for the Corned Beef Castle account and they want her to stay. Yay Vicky! She goes to celebrate her good fortune with JB, but is soon interrupted by Christine Clifford with a job offer and Spoletti with an arrest warrant.

Is anyone else feeling a bit dejavu-y?

Is anyone else feeling a bit deja vu-y?

Down at the precinct JB and Spoletti have a raging argument (largely about sandwiches), and Spoletti gives her 24 hours to prove her point that the time of death was much earlier than he thinks. Not wasting time, she goes straight to the Kincaid office to ask Myron and Aubrey about the interior designer but they know nothing about it, saying that the office had only been redecorated a year before, JB also asks about the sercurity guard, who had apparently been fired. Aubrey says that was him,  that since he let the boss get killed he probably needed to be replaced. That’s logic I guess.

After a brief stop at a Corned Beef Castle opening to ask Grover Bart about his after hours visit to Larry Kincaid (he knew nothing, especially about any proposals of the indecent variety), JB then goes to see the newly unemployed security guard to ask about the interior designer. He tells her that that he didn’t think that she was an employee, she was tall, blonde, and kinda liked him.

h2

JB confirms that the mystery interior designer is in fact Mary Clifford, and to celebrate goes home for lunch where Kernickie is full of beans – he has an audition for a TV commercial…organised by Mary Clifford. HOW CONVENIENT. JB tags along, smelling a pastel wearing rat, and she’s right – Kernickie only gets to be the face of Slumberland Funeral Homes (!?!?)  when Vicky joins the agency and brings the Corned Beef Castles account with her. BASTARDS.

Jess pipes up, and asks Christine about her second visit to Larry Kincaid, disguised as an interior decorator. She tries to bluff her way out of it but admits to stealing the file earlier in the day and replacing it before Larry K knew it was missing. She swears up and down that Larry was already dead when she returned the file. On JB’s advice she goes to the police station and tells Spoletti the same information. Spoletti is disinclined to believe her.

Spoletti: Why is it I always figure gorgeous blondes are lying to me?

JB: Adolescent trauma, lieutenant.

Christine Clifford’s boss, Leland Biddle, arrives to check on his employee. He tells JB and Spoletti that they are no longer interested in the Corned Beef Castle account  after he learned that the Barts were filing for bankruptcy. JB asks him if he knew about that before Kincaid was killed and he gets uppity, but he has an alibi – he was dining with Aubrey the night of the murder, although conveniently at the restaurant at the foot of the Kincaid office building but he swears that he never left the restaurant.

Jess goes home to tell Vicky and Kernickie about it, but they’re a little busy right now.

Ugh, JB I know how you feel...

Ugh, JB I know how you feel…

JB decides against the floor show, and goes hunting for the origin of the Mysterious Corned Beef Sandwich Of Mystery. She finally tracks it down to a deli near the Kincaid offfice, but the owner tells her that the order was cancelled the night of the murder.

Spoletti orders the security guard in for questioning, but he can’t figure it out either. JB asks him what the delivery man was wearing – gloves, a beanie, a moustache, and sunglasses, according to the guard. JB correctly points out that it would be weird for a delivery man to be wearing sunglasses at night.

But it wouldn’t be weird, if he was trying to disguise himself so that the security guard wouldn’t recognise him .

Not for nothing, but that's two for two MASH actors that have gone on to kill people on Murder, She Wrote. Think I'll be keeping an eye on them...

Not for nothing, but that’s two for two MASH actors that have gone on to kill people on Murder, She Wrote. Worth keeping an eye on *ominous music*

Poor Charles. All he and his bowtie wanted to do was work in advertising, but since Kincaid was such a dick he just couldn’t get ahead, So, through the cunning use of disguises

CUNNING.

CUNNING.

And he would’ve gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for the Mysterious Sandwich of Mystery – and JB Fletcher, of course. But the sandwich helped. God I’m so hungry now.

...

Can’t talk, eating.

 

ETA: Thanks to Kell for pointing out that it’s CHARLES Winchester, not Frank. The moral here kids, is don’t write things when all you can think about is the buttermilk pancakes you’re going to eat when you’ve finished.

For the record, they were tasty as and I regret nothing. (Thanks Kell!)

S03E04 – One White Rose For Death

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High intrigue and shenanigans this week gang! JB has been invited to Washington to attend the farewell performance of East German violinist Greta Mueller and attend a swanky after-party with the Prime Minister of England. She’s met at the airport by Andrew Wyckham from her English publishing company, after her regular agent Geoffrey Phillips was called away at the last minute.

I knew he was Winston in The Mummy but I DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS DOCTOR BOMBAY FROM BEWITCHED OMG

I knew he was Winston in The Mummy but I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS DOCTOR BOMBAY FROM BEWITCHED OMG

JB is amazed to even be invited (pish tosh) but Wyckham tells her that Greta Mueller is one of her biggest fans and couldn’t return to the dark side without meeting her hero. Nawww. (She claims to have learnt English from reading JB’s books. Believe me when I tell you this is a Scandalous Lie)

Before they can get anywhere they are met outside the terminal by the head of Greta’s security detail, Colonel Gerhardt Brunner, who these days is deep undercover on Young and the Restless.

I'm a little bit alarmed at how good I am at spotting soap stars in TV shows.

I’m a little bit alarmed at how good I am at spotting soap stars in TV shows.

He tells them that Greta is most anxious to meet her heroine (fair enough) and asks that they go straight to the concert hall where she is rehearsing and arguing with her brother. Over lunch Wyckham regales them with tales of his adventures in Africa (including the time he flew an airplane with Brendan Fraser through a cursed sandstorm and died) before they are interrupted by a journalist requesting an interview.

Hang on a minute.

It's everyone's favourite Irish spy Michael Hegarty!  You know, from that time JB was pretending to be someone else?

It’s everyone’s favourite Irish spy Michael Hegarty! You know, from that time JB was pretending to be someone else?

Before JB can give the game away Hegarty introduces himself as Dennis McElvey, a reporter from the London Evening Sentinel. Greta seems irritated at the intrusion but her brother Franz seems quite excited to have an interview arranged and so tells Hegarty to come backstage at the concert the following day.

Later that evening Hegarty pops round JB’s hotel to enlighten her – he’s on a mission from God for the SIS but he still has plenty of time to catch up. She owes him a date, so he proposes dinner at a restaurant the following evening at which he hopes they “will both be on their worst behaviour”. Ew.

Ugh, it seems our heroine is not completely perfect after all.

Ugh, it seems our heroine is not completely perfect after all.

The next night at the concert hall there’s mystery and intrigue in the air. Hegarty meets with Franz Mueller who is quickly found out to be an East German intelligence source. Hegarty tells him that there’s a problem with Mueller’s information provider, a woman named Ilsa Steiner – she’s gone missing, and is suspected of going to the East German authorities to out Franz as a spy. Later, a call to SIS HQ contains news so bad that Hegarty’s colleague Jack Kendall goes racing down to the theatre to deliver it in person. Since mobile phones have yet to be invented.

At the interval JB and Wyckham are chatting merrily in the foyer when Hegarty appears, bleeding. He orders them to leave immediately and pulls a gun when Wyckham starts whingeing. With Brunner and his minions in hot pursuit, JB and Wyckham get into the limo – but not before Wyckham and the limo driver/SIS agent exchange a Look. SUBTLE PLOT POINT!

Hegarty tells Jack to drop JB and Wickham at a cab rank but Jack informs them that Brunner is still on their tail. Hegarty tells him to drive to the embassy and phones ahead to make sure the gates are open or he’s crashing through them. First Secretary Henry Claymore (who is inexplicably Australian but pretending not to be) is not particularly excited about this, and explains that there’s barely any staff at the embassy as most are off guarding the Prime Minister after an assassination attempt had been made in Australia the week before, HEY LEAVE US OUT OF THIS!  Claymore tells his wife (played by Jenny Agutter who I know from Spooks, The Avengers and that episode of Coupling with Patrick’s love cupboard). They come out to meet the car and are amazed when Hegarty produces Greta and Franz Mueller out of the boot of the limo. I’m pretty sure this is also how Julian Assange ended up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Hegarty takes charge and orders Claymore not to tell the Ambassador that the Muellers are in the building. Dr Lynch, who just so happens to be hanging out in the embassy, checks Hegarty’s bullet wound and informs him that he will be fine. Despite all of this, Hegarty won’t tell Jess what is going on. I always said that Hegarty was shifty.  JB goes for a stickybeak around the embassy and overhears Jack Kendall on the phone asking for information on Operation White Rose.

Hegarty finally comes clean after a stinging rebuke from JB and tells her the story of how Franz Mueller came to be a British informant. Until his source Ilsa Steiner is found, no one can leave the embassy. Just as he finishes his tale, Claymore appears with an update – the East German government has issued an arrest warrant for Franz Mueller. JB goes to tell Greta the news – and discovers the body of Jack Kendall lying on the ground clutching a white rose. OH THE SUBTLE PLOT POINTS DAZZLE ME WITH YOUR SUBTLETY!

Claymore regains control, orders everyone inside and gets on the phone to the guardhouse to search the grounds for intruders. Hegarty stands guard over the body and tells Jess that he was the one who recruited Jack to the service. He was perfect because he looked so much like a stuffy banker. The trick to being a spy, is to not look like a spy (Life Lesson #47). I don’t know how Hegarty thinks he doesn’t look like a spy, he’s one shady character.

Jess asks Hegarty about Operation White Rose.  White Rose, Hegarty informs JB, was an operation in Johannesburg nine years earlier in which a group of agents (including Jack Kendall) were sent to guard an anti-apartheid leader by the name of Benjamin Kombassa, who was assassinated in a public square. His killer was never apprehended. Before he can go on one of Claymore’s minions arrives to request they rejoin the group. Instead they harangue Claymore until he grants Hegarty access to the Code Room. He hopes that that will be sufficient for Ms Fletcher?

Hegarty would be still whinging if it weren't for JB. FACT.

Hegarty would be still whingeing if it weren’t for JB. FACT.

JB goes for a snoop around Doctor Ryan’s office and discovers that Jack Kendall was not only stabbed but poisoned as well, suggesting a) a professional hit and b) Jack Kendall was killed because he was recognised. Hegarty tells her  that Doctor Ryan was in Transvaal the same time as Benjamin Kombassa but since he was an anti-apartheid supporter it makes no sense that Kendall killed him. He also tells her that there is no file on Mrs Claymore. Meanwhile, Colonel Brunner gives the embassy a call and tells them that the Mueller’s parents have been taken into custody as a precaution against their treasonous son.

Leaving the group again, Our Heroine informs Hegarty that she has a fairly good idea what’s going on but needs some more information. She talks to the Claymores and hears a long-winded story about Mrs Claymore’s history that is boring and irrelevant but essentially JB realises that the Claymores and Doctor Ryan were not the killers of Benjamin Kombassa. But I think we all know who is, thanks to those SUBTLE PLOT POINTS.

Excuse me while I have heart attack and die of NOT SURPRISED

Excuse me while I have heart attack and die of NOT SURPRISED

It turns out our Mr Wyckham is a deadly assassin for hire, sent to America to kill the British Prime Minister, and used JB’s invitation to get in to the party. Unfortunately it all went a bit wrong for him with the whole East German defection business., but I guess you can’t plan for everything.

Job done, there’s still the matter of the East Germans to deal with. Greta decides to return to East Berlin and leave her brother in America, and Hegarty assures JB they will do all that they can for Greta in East Germany.

And by assures, I think you know what I mean.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!