We’re off to Boston this week Fletcherfans, where JB has just been interrupted going about her business by a man slamming into her. She recognises him straight away as her old neighbour, John Winslow, but is confused when he pretends he doesn’t know her.
Well, I say confused.
Back in Cabot Cove, Jess looks at her old photos of John with his wife Maude. Nope, it was definitely him. She decides to call them up in Chicago to get an explanation, but instead gets Maude telling her her husband died of a heart attack two weeks earlier.
But that’s impossible, says Jess. She saw him on the street in Boston that morning!
Maude makes her apologies and hangs up the phone, saying to the man standing to her that she doesn’t think they’ll get away with it.
Speaking of –
Remember that creepy dude in season 1? I still think they should have done a whole storyline about Jessica doing battle against the creepy dude leeching off rich old women, but never mind.
In any case, Jessica is faced with a dilemma. And there’s only one person with the mad skillz to solve it.
Harry is delighted to have a case to work on, on account of being temporarily out of the business and his phone is disconnected and his office is for rent and he’s hustling pool most days. He takes Jess out to lunch to discuss the case.
The way Harry sees it, either it was a guy who looked like John Wilson, just like Maude said happened, or it was John Wilson in which case what then? JB begs him to look into it anyway and Harry agrees, but warns her it will be strictly on the down-low on account of having lost his PI license after a run-in with vindictive cop Roy Quinlan. Jess tells Harry she saw John coming out of the bank, and Harry decides it will be the easiest 1 days work he’s ever had.
“Suppose I write you a cheque.” Jess says.
“On second thoughts, how about cash?”
Hot on the scent, Harry pays a visit to the bank, conveniently the employer of his old flame Gladys. Gladys is not pleased to see him, but after hearing the story of “Millicent” the scorned wife of a man who looks exactly like John Winslow, she agrees to help Harry nail him for child support.
Harry reports to Jess and gives her the address where John has been hiding out under the name John Wilson. She goes down to see him, but once again he gives her the cold shoulder.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Harry thinks it’s case closed but JB isn’t so sure – she talked to the landlord and John Wilson only moved in 6 days ago, and paid cash to boot. Harry agrees that’s shady, but thinks it could be dangerous. JB doesn’t care – Maude and John were two of her and Frank’s oldest friends and if she can help them she will. She decides to go to Chicago to see Maude and try and find out the truth. She sends Harry off to nose around “in your own inimitable way”, but begs him to be discreet.
Harry wanders down to the precinct to see what information he can dig up. He finds his old buddy Howard Sternhagen in a less than helpful mood – it turns out Harry returned Howard’s golf clubs in less condition than when they were borrowed. Harry reminds Howard of all the favours he owes him and Howard agrees to run the names John Winslow and John Wilson through the system. He quickly changes the subject on the arrival of Lieutenant Roy Quinlan, who offers to arrest Harry for detecting without a license, and Harry offers to rearrange his face.
Meanwhile, Jess has arrived in Chicago and she’s on a mission. She goes straight to Maude’s and meets her brother Adam Paulson. They tell her about the night John died, but Jess isn’t buying it, especially when Adam tells her there was no autopsy and that John was cremated. She tries to get the truth out of them but is thrown out of the house for her trouble. As she leaves, a man in a car with a telephoto lens takes some happy snaps and then follows her taxi as she drives away. The taxi driver points this out to Jess and she tells him to drop her off at one of the big hotels, she doesn’t want to lose the guy in the car.
“Whatever turns you on lady.” Says the cab driver.
Jess goes into the hotel, and very loudly asks for the restrooms. She manages to lose him in the crowd and hides in a janitor’s closet until he gives up, two hours later. She tails him to the public phones, and eavesdrops on his phone call to a Nathan Swathmore, who tells him the problem is almost resolved, and to lose his number. Jess calls Harry with an update and gets him to go and check on John, while she makes plans to see this Nathan Swathmore.
Harry heads over to John’s apartment, but there’s no answer. He breaks in and finds the body of John Winslow next to an open window. Before he can do anything, Roy Quinlan and another cop appear. Roy is delighted to finally be nailing Harry for something and gets on the phone. Harry asks the other cop, Frank, what happened. Frank tells him they only just got there themselves – a neighbour heard shots and called 911. Best he can figure, someone shot John from the fire escape, through the window.
Back in Chicago, Jess casually name-drops her way to a meeting with Swathmore who is delighted to meet her until she starts talking about John Winslow. He agrees that he is representing his former employer Danford Industries, but has had nothing to do with John Wilson.
“Wilson?” JB asks.
“I said Winslow.” Swathmore says, and throws her out.
JB returns to Boston to discover that Harry has been arrested. She heads down to the precinct to bail him out and runs into Quinlan, who tells her she’s the next suspect if Harry wriggles off the hook. Also the Feds want to talk to them.
Sometimes I press pause and go to make a cup of tea at really odd times.
The hand in that picture belongs to FBI agent Guilfoyle, who tells them that John Winslow had been turned whistleblower against his former employer, but had dropped off the radar recently. He also confirms that Swathmore was representing Danford in the charges the FBI was bringing against them.
Jessica tells him about Swathmore’s slip-up when she spoke to him in Chicago, and adds that his secretary had told her Swathmore had just returned from a trip to Boston. Guilfoyle is interested, but says that there’s no way Swathmore would have killed anyone – he would have hired someone else and made sure to have an unimpeachable alibi for the time of the murder. As she goes to leave she spots Maude and Adam across the precinct. Later, over lunch they tell her how they orchestrated John’s disappearance in order to avoid a life of running, including claiming the body of a dead hobo in the hospital as John and getting it cremated.
Harry picks Jessica up and takes her back to his place to collect her suitcases. She agrees there’s nothing more she can do in this case and will head back to Cabot Cove first thing in the morning although I think for Jess it might be sooner.
There is a knock at the door and Howard Sternhagen comes marching declaring his friendship with Harry is over. Not only did Harry get him looking for Michael Wilson but then Quinlan comes in asking the same thing and now he’s dead and Howard is done. Harry sends him on his way and tells Jess he has to go – he has a date with Gladys and her kids, as a thankyou for helping him out. Jess goes on her way, but as soon as she’s gone Harry pulls a tape recorder and a gun out of his closet.
I see where this is going.
Jess goes back to the precinct to give her details to Frank the detective, should he need them, and to tell him she feels terribly about getting Harry involved in all of this. Frank tells her not to worry, it was just bad luck that he and Quinlan were in the dinner down the street from the murder, and when Quinlan got back from visiting a ladyfriend, the call came through.
Guys, I get it.
Jess puts a call in to Harry where he’s supposed to be taking Gladys on the date, but there’s no sign of Harry. Harry is in an alley somewhere, doing a deal.
Chalk up another win to Team Fletcher-McGraw.