Zdravstvuyte Fletcherfans – JB is on the road again, this time in Moscow as part of a cultural arts exchange where she is single handedly ending the Cold War and also wearing a hat while sitting on a statue with Sergei Chaloff aka Fox Mulder’s Dad.
That night, a lavish dinner is thrown to celebrate the success of the exchange and for general crapulence wallowing. Sidenote: LOOK!
While JB scoffs down Russian caviar (until she is informed by her new friend journalist Bert Firman that it’s actually from Iran),
Duckie Cyril Grantham introduces Sergei to his friend Peggy Brooks who has recently decided she wants to be a literary agent and is on the hunt for some Russian talent. As the evening progresses Cultural Minister Melnikov toasts Sergei as he prepares to fly to London and on to America.
After the toast, one of Melinkov’s minions signals to him and he goes out into the foyer, completely bypassing the security checkpoint because his friend Comrade Vodka told him it was okay. His minion informs him that Peggy Brooks had previously been kicked out of Russia for ‘irregularities’ in her import/export business and Melinkov demands the minion find out how Peggy imported herself onto the guest list before he exports said minion to Vladivostok. Meanwhile, Sergei is busy with his sightseeing plans in America until he catches sight of a waiter and he goes pale. He quickly recovers, although not before knocking Jess’s bag over and pointing out Mrs Gorbachev’s dress. He escorts Jess out onto the dance floor for a turn, but she still notices the mysterious waiter grabbing her purse and shouts for someone to stop him. He legs it out of the room, followed by Jess and a couple of guards, but ends up shot on the ground by the time Jess reaches him. The guards order her back to the party and her journalist friend escorts her back.
The Russian 5-0 arrive in the form of Chief Inspector Bernicker, who takes the matter in hand. He tells Cyril and Peggy they can leave when he is done, and asks JB to check her purse to make sure nothing is missing. JB’s inspection reveals that she has more in her purse than she started out with, namely a film cannister. Bernicker opens it and shows it to her – it’s a roll of microfilm. Man, remember microfilm? JB tells him she has no idea where it came from and he tells her that her stay in Russia has been extended. Down at his office Bernicker tells JB that since the other other person who can say with any certainty what happened is dead in a box, he is forced to question her. They are soon joined by KGB agent Alexandrov, who claims jurisdiction over the whole business as Sergei was a potential defector/troublemaker from way back. JB is permitted to go back to her hotel, leaving Alexandrov and Bernicker to view the microfilm – a manuscript written by the recently deceased Anton, a friend of Sergei’s, but it makes no sense. Spoiler: the funeral was actually at the start of the episode and the dead waiter was there too but I was so busy belting out James Bond theme music that I forgot to mention it.
The next day JB goes to the embassy for help getting a new passport and finds men sweeping the room for bugs and an under-secretary distinctly put out about not being invited to the dinner the night before. She discovers that she’s left her glasses at the reception and goes back to the hotel to track them down. While there, she bumps into Minister Melnikov who asks her how she’s getting on in her dealings with the militia, saying that he has not escaped their notice either – the KGB paid him a visit earlier that day to get files on the dead waiter. He puts a call in to Bernicker and Alexandrov, who are in the middle of questioning Sergei, and Bernicker tells Melnikov he believes JB to be an innocent bystander and that her passport will be returned. He’s in a better mood now that Sergei has confessed to putting the micofilm in the bag, but annoyed that Sergei swears he doesn’t know what is on the film.
Speaking of James Bond music though…
While I’ve just proven that I might be a bigger lunatic genius than I previously thought, JB has just proven to herself (and also us) that the waiter wasn’t shot by the two guards but in fact shot by a third gunman, grassy knoll style. She calls Bernicker to tell her of her discovery and he is delighted, saying she’s just cleared up something that had been troubling him.
Back in his office Bernicker tells her that the autopsy report confirms her theory. Alexandrov informs her that Sergei has confessed to putting the microfilm in her purse and has been arrested. JB is determined to track him down but they won’t help and neither will the American embassy. Fortunately, she runs into
Duckie Cyril in the lobby of her hotel and he volunteers to make some calls. He is the cultural attache after all, although he made me think of something else as you can see:
Cyril comes through and takes JB to see Sergei in his cell. He tells her that he did put the film in her bag, he recognised the waiter as a KGB agent from Anton’s funeral and tried to get his friend’s manuscript out. He also tells her that he has no alibi for the shooting – he followed her but got lost in the corridors.
Finding Cyril is the extent to which Cyril wants to help, so JB manages to enlist the assistance of Bert Firman who reluctantly agrees. They go to see Alexandrov who refuses to admit the dead waiter was KGB, and instead throws them out. JB smells a rat, and under the guise of forgetting her handbag returns to Alexandrov’s office to find Cyril nattering away in Russian. She tries to convince Alexandrov to take another look at the dead waiter’s files but he tells her that he hasn’t had a first look – victim is homicide area, not KGB.
A wild goose chase in the air, JB goes to see Bernicker who confirms Cyril is a double agent, working for both British and Russian secret service, but tells her he doesn’t have the files either, as employment records belong to KGB. JB has an inkling of an idea about who is behind all this but gets everyone together to look at Anton’s manuscript one last time. This time, they crack the code, and have all the information they need to nail the killer.
It turns out that back in the War, Melnikov collaborated with the Nazis. Anton put it all in his manuscript, and Melnikov found out about it, and hired the waiter (who wasn’t KGB after all) to steal it.
With Sergei off the hook JB decides to return home, a a little micro gift from Bernicker in her pocket. Yeah justice!