I’m just going to come right out and say it. This wasn’t the Alice in Wonderland Murder She Wrote episode I thought it was going to be, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Once upon a time, there were two men. One night, they both got out of a car on a bridge. One man said to the other man, “Turn around and face me,” and pulled a gun on him.
“To satisfy my curiosity,” says the other man, “Who ordered the hit?”
“What good will that do you?” Says the first man, and fires.
And so concludes this week’s episode of Murder She Wrote. Thank you and good night!
I kid. But in all seriousness the assassin looks like Dick Smith and it’s freaking me out a bit.
Meanwhile, in the city of Hartford Connecticut, Our Heroine is being made a Jedi Commander of the New England Booksellers Association, probably. Job done, one of her new friends offers to whisk her away from all the crazy fans to a late night diner just down the road. Jess is delighted but unfortunately the coffee is delayed by the arrival of a car carrying Dick Smith crashing onto the sidewalk outside the Hartford hotel. The dying man tells JB and her new friend that he can’t breathe, and asks for a priest. Fortunately one happens to drive past so Jess signals for him to come over. Dick Smith can’t wait though, and tells JB that he killed a man tonight – Carl Cosgrove of Farmington.
By the time the priest gets through the traffic the man is dead. 2 dead bodies in under 5 minutes, that’s got to be a new record!
The next day JB goes to see the detective in charge of the investigation, Sergeant Cooper, who is busy trying to work out why his wife left him. Cooper is greatly amused by JB’s surprisingly in depth analysis of the John Doe’s career as a hit man, but grudgingly agrees to call Farmington to see if a Carl Cosgrove is missing presumed shot off a bridge. JB listens in on the extension as Mrs Cosgrove answers the phone and informs them that her husband is asleep upstairs, and not floating around in a river.
JB smells a rat, and takes a taxi up to Farmington to see for herself. While she speaks to the security guard at the gate, a group of men watch her through the security camera and debate letting her in. When the guard calls in, they decide a woman that persistent could be trouble and so let her in to save time.
God damn right.
Jess is met at the front door by Mrs Cosgrove, who tells JB she’s unsurprised to see her. Considering her husband is in bed upstairs recovering from an asthma attack, she seems very upset to hear about the death of Carl Cosgrove. She takes Jess up to see for herself that Mr Cosgrove is lying in bed, an oxygen mask over his face. JB tells him she’s sorry to hear about his asthma attack, and gives the giant mirror a significant look. Behind the mirror, the three men from earlier discuss whether she is buying the situation. The oldest, Jackson (who you might remember from such episodes as Footnote to Murder and that time he was Mike Brady) thinks it’s fine but the other two, Pierce and Van Buren don’t think she’s buying it for a minute.
After JB and Mrs Cosgrove leave, Mr Cosgrove stands up and shouts at the mirror that he doesn’t like role playing. Jackson tells Mr Delgado (apparently that’s his real name) it’s for security purposes. Delgado demands to speak to a superior and Van Buren mutters take a number. Jaclson tells him that Adams has gone to Washington to prepare security before Delgado’s appearance before the Committtee.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel JB has a message from Father Patrick Francis, the priest who was too late to the car accident. She goes to see what he wants and he asks her what the dying man said in his confession. JB is a little surprised to hear this but tells him anyway. Father Francis asks her if the dead man said who hired him but JB is getting suspicious, more so when he calls the other priest in the church by the wrong name when he comes to tell JB she has a phone call. On the line is Sergeant Cooper, who tells her they just found the body of (a) Carl Cosgrove floating in the Connecticut river.
All this talk of Connecticut makes me think of the Babysitters Club. Man, that would have been a great crossover. Claudia could have made earrings for JB and JB could have told Kristy to calm down. Missed opportunity.
Down at the precinct Cooper is still trying to get hold of his wife, with no success. He tells JB that Carl Cosgrove is in the morgue, and she informs him that he’s also in a bed in Farmington taking the news of his death rather well considering he’d been killed by a hitman.
Cooper wants to know how JB knows the dead man in the car was a professional killer and JB tells him she learned in church. Something very strange is going on here, she tells him. Cooper shows her a photo of the body that they pulled from the river and JB confirms it’s not the same man she saw in the bed. Cooper decides it’s time for a housecall and they zoom up to Farmington.
Inside, Van Buren tries to stall them but Delgado’s assistant pulls a gun and it all goes a bit wrong until Jackson steps in. He informs them that they are in a DSS safehouse which has now been compromised thanks to their arrival. Van Buren and Jackson are both cagey about their activities at the safe house but Mrs Cosgrove breaks after seeing a photo of the dead Cosgrove. He turns out to be their colleague Adams, who according to Van Buren went out to meet a guy in a deserted parking lot on his own and never came back. Jackson says he had no idea about that. Jackson confirms that the dead man is the unit boss.
Back at her hotel JB has had about enough of spies, which is unfortunate as one has broken into her hotel room and gotten stuck into her mini bar.
Father Patrick Francis (seen lurking in the background above) not only is a mini-bar raider, but isn’t a priest. He’s in the DSS Internal Affairs, and now that JB has penetrated his cover she’s going to have to trust him.
“Why should I trust you?” Asks JB.
“Because I work for the government.” Says Francis.
JB agrees to listen to the Tale of Francis, but only where there are people around, i.e the
dog park. They sit down, and Francis tells Jess that the previous week Adams called Internal Affairs to tell them he thought there was a traitor at the safe house but it could be anyone – Jackson, Van Buren, Pearce, Mrs Cosgrove, the “houseguest” and rebel leader Delgado or his bodyguard Sanchez. The previous day, Adams called Francis and told him he’d been contacted by an informant who had information revealing the identity of the traitor. Adams arranged to meet him at Trinity College that night, and told Francis that he hadn’t told anyone at the safe house about it. Francis was suspicious, so followed Adams to the meeting and told Adams to put a tracker on the car. Francis followed them using the tracker but lost them at the bridge. He lost the signal but then saw the informants car so followed it back to town, only to see him crash into JB’s hotel.
That’s all well and good, but what does he want from JB? To spy on the safe house of course! She can use her mystery writer acumen to pick up on things.
“Ah, so you’ve read up on me too.” says JB
“Does that bother you? Well, when this is over tell me what you want and I’ll pluck it out of your file.” Says Francis
Unfortunately for Francis JB ain’t nobody’s snitch and says no. That night back at the hotel JB gets a call from a Mr Secretary and her no becomes a yes.
In the car the next day Francis tells Jessica to be herself, and gives her a present – a lipstick. But it’s no ordinary lipstick. It’s a
bazooka flame thrower nuclear warhead tracking beacon – just twist and Francis will come running with the cavalry. On that note, he gets out of the car and leaves JB to be dropped at the safehouse. Van Buren and Mrs Cosgrove are less than enthusiastic to see her on the security camera but Jackson left word for her to be allowed in.
Jessica tells Jackson she wants to write a book about the safehouse but before she can get too much further (and before Jackson can chuck a tantrum) Sergeant Cooper arrives full with the news that he’d just discovered Adams had a criminal history longer than his arm. Meanwhile upstairs Pearce has just woken up to discover Sanchez shaking the lifeless body of Delgado. Pearce runs down to inform Jackson and they all go to see for themselves, leaving Jess to turn the beeper on (after accidentally picking up the wrong lipstick first trolololol).
Francis and Cooper are satisfied that Pearce woke just in time to see Sanchez murder Delgado but JB isn’t sure. There was no way for Sanchez to know that Pearce was asleep behind the two-way mirror, and in any case how does it link back to the death of Adams? It’s not until JB is talking to Mrs Cosgrove that she suddenly works it out. Because Adams didn’t tell anyone about his secret meeting the night he died.
But someone knew.
Ah yes, the old “assassinate a guy for money but get my boss out of the way in order to do it” routine. Classic Van Buren.
Let us end this week on one of the better freeze-frame endings the show has had for awhile – the face JB pulls after having to explain to Sergeant Cooper that he’s just hung up on his wife.
So until next time