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S06E18 – O’Malleys Luck

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DISCLAIMER: You may notice that the captions bear less relevance to Murder She Wrote than usual. In fact, this post is about 25% Murder She Wrote and 739% about me watching all of Jessica Jones in 4 days. If you haven’t watched Jessica Jones yet, come back later because spoilers sweetie.

Oh for God’s sake. 

You guys can we talk about how freaking amazing Jessica Jones was?

You guys can we talk about how freaking amazing Jessica Jones was? And how freaking CREEPY David Tennant was?

You guessed it guys, another bookend episode. This time, Jess has just received a (late) birthday card from her friend Lieutenant O’Malley who has a tale to tell her. Convenient.

This particular tale centres around a real estate magnate, Roland Trent, who is currently far too busy wheeling and dealing to worry about his upcoming tenth wedding anniversary, much to the annoyance of his wife Gretchen. At the same time O’Malley is dealing with his late partner’s daughters demotion from working at city hall to being a beat cop after she rather neatly rejected the advances of one of the deputy mayor’s aides, Paul Abbott.

Like in the first episode when Jessica had that flashback and Killgrave was licking her face I mean bloody hell I was unprepared.

Like in the first episode when Jessica had that flashback and Killgrave was licking her face I mean bloody hell I was unprepared.

While we’re on the subject of creepy dudes being creepy, Roland Trent is going ‘out to dinner’ with his ‘lawyer’ to discuss business, but Gretchen sees right through it. He tells her not to wait up. Ugh. Gretchen’s secretary, Alice, sees how distressed her boss is and suggests they go back to the office to finish the letters they were working on. It turns out dinner wasn’t entirely code, as in the beginning that’s all it is – Trent asking his lawyer David Kingston for a way out of his marriage and Kingston telling him that there isn’t one unless he’s prepared to give up half of everything he owns. They are soon joined by Trent’s new bit of fluff, Cindy and David departs, reminding his client that he has a meeting at 9:30 the next morning, making Trent realise he’d left his briefcase at the office.

Down at the precinct O’Malley is not pleased to hear about the snake Abbott’s advances towards his partner’s daughter, Frances Rawley, and decides to give her a promotion to being his partner. She is stoked, and wants to know what they will be working on. O’Malley tells her that things had been slow but he had a feeling that something was about to happen.

Like Roland Trent typing a fake suicide note and then throwing his dead wife off the balcony?

And when Hope killed her parents! Goddamn. And poor Ruben :*( But damn that show was so unsettling

But the whole thing about Killgrave literally being everywhere and stalking her from a distance DEAR GOD.

O’Malley and Frances are called to the scene, where they find Detective Grillo already chalking it up as as suicide, and takes the opportunity to hit on Frances while O’Malley notices that one bookend is cleaner than another. (Honestly though. Killed by a bookend in a bookend episode. JUST CALM DOWN MURDER SHE WROTE WRITERS ALRIGHT?)

Roland Trent appears from the private elevator (because you’re only really a success if you have more than one lift into your office) and wants to know why the police are investigating since it’s clear his wife committed suicide. O’Malley tells him his cleaning crew is no good – they only cleaned one bookend and left it wet on the wooden cupboard. O’Malley also can’t help but notice that Trent hasn’t asked to see the suicide note yet, and Trent tells him that it’s because he’s worried about what it might contain. O’Malley assures him there’s nothing to worry about and Trent takes a look AT THE NOTE HE WROTE. He asks for it to be returned to him once the investigation is over and goes downstairs to meet his lawyer who apparently just heard the news. In the car, Trent asks Kingston what he knows about O’Malley – Kingston tells him that O’Malley’s service record is the best in the department but that he does get into trouble occasionally. Trent hopes that this is one such occassion.

Sidenote, I’ve just realised that O’Malley is the original Commissioner Gordon. I thought I recognised his face.

And the way Killgrave tries to justify himself and says he acted impeccably WTF.

And the way Killgrave tries to justify himself and says he acted impeccably towards Jessica WTF. 

Back at the precinct, O’Malley and Rawley discuss the case with O’Malley’s boss Captain Cohen, who orders O’Malley to shut the investigation down, until he learns that the suicide was almost certainly murder.

The next day, Trent sees the DO NOT CROSS tape across his private elevator and shouts YOLO (part of this isn’t true). Unfortunately for him, O’Malley is upstairs and is rather surprised to see Trent at work, what with the likely homicide of his wife and all, since the hobo that lives in the alley downstairs never heard Gretchen scream. O’Malley escorts Trent from the office, saying he doesn’t want to make him late for his lunch appointment.

While O’Malley deals with the ‘grieving’ widow, Rawley goes to see Gretchen’s assistant Alice who actually is grieving. She tells Frances that Trent found them working the night  Gretchen died (Alice typing Gretchen’s dictated letters due to her terrible writing) and lost his mind at the thought his wife was trying to force him out. It was only when Alice assured him they would be gone within the hour that he calmed down enough to leave, although forgetting his briefcase again. Frances asks her if she thought Gretchen committed suicide and she says absolutely not, though she wouldn’t know anything about Trent’s extra-curricular activities. Frances reports back to O’Malley who doesn’t quite know what to make of it either. They are interrupted by Sergeant Grillo, who informs O’Malley that he’s wanted back at the precinct to confirm that Gretchen’s death was a suicide. This doesn’t quite go the way the captain plans, as O’Malley informs the gathered press that there is no evidence at this time that Gretchen Trent was murdered. The press pounce on that and O’Malley admits that Roland Trent is a suspect, causing the watching Trent to lose his mind at his television. After the press conference, the captain tells O’Malley his days as a cop are numbered.

After Trent gives a very cold and deliberate comment to a media pack loitering outside his office, in which he declares he has an alibi who will come forward and clear his name, Kingston accompanies Cindy the secretary/mistress to the police station the next day. Frances is surprised to see Kingston, as she recognises him from his frequent visits to Paul Abbott’s office. O’Malley excuses himself, saying he has a meeting he needs to barge into.

Cindy swears that Trent was with her from when he left his office after fighting with his wife, until learning of the suicide on the news later that night. O’Malley confirms that Cindy knowing Trent for several months means what he thinks it means, and remarks on the fact that noone else knew about her. Cindy tells him they kept it very quiet, and that she’d never even been to Trent’s office. After she and Kingston leave, O’Malley swears to the captain that he will do whatever it takes to save the department from embarrassment, which doesn’t delight the captain.

And comparing Killgrave's shitty upbringing with Jessica's childhood, and the nature of victimhood and JESUS WHEN HOPE DIES I MEAN WHAT THE HELL.

And comparing Killgrave’s shitty upbringing with Jessica’s childhood, and the nature of victimhood and JESUS WHEN HOPE DIES I MEAN WHAT THE HELL.

A court order procured, O’Malley and Frances head down to Paul Abbott’s office to get the tape conversations his secretary so helpfully told Frances about at the beginning of the episode. Roland Trent’s shady business practices revealed it becomes clear that Trent couldn’t leave his wife or let his wife leave him. Which was bad news for Cindy.

And the whole thing with Jessica's childhood house!

And the whole thing with Jessica’s childhood house!

I think though, that the below picture sums up this episode quite nicely:

But that last scene on the dock, with what Killgrave threatens to do to Trish. I watched that whole damn episode with my hand over my mouth.

But that last scene on the dock, with what Killgrave threatens to do to Trish. I watched that whole damn episode with my hand over my mouth.

I think we all learned a valuable lesson about me bingeing on TV shows. IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT ON ME AT ALL.

Later gang!

Later gang!

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S06E17 – Murder (According to Maggie)

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THE BOSS IS TALKING

THE BOSS IS TALKING

That grin can only mean one thing – it’s storytime with JB. Again. (HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS FOR SO LONG!!!)

This week, Our Heroine would like to tell you about her favourite student, Mary Margaret McAuley, a talented writer who couldn’t get anything published until she started writing hardboiled detective fiction. Her newest job is as creator of the TV show Beat Cop, starring Bert Rogers as the aforementioned cop, assisted by the token blonde Dana Darren.

Margaret is hard at work on the next script when she gets a phone call from her assistant Vi – there’s trouble on set. Apparently Beat Cop doesn’t like the idea that he has to wait for forensics before proving who the killer is. After some fancy negotiating, Mary Mac gets Dana’s character to make the call, allowing Bert’s character the satisfaction of catching the killer using nothing but a hunch.

UGH.

On her way back to the office Mary Mac gets a visit from her agent, Leo Kaplan. She’s excited to see him and to find out what his other client thought about her script (about relationships and whatnot) but is less than enthused when she learns that he didn’t actually read the script, but he liked the summary his reader gave his secretary. Leo’s actual business on the set is to talk about the future of Beat Cop. The new big boss of the network, Keith Carmody isn’t a fan despite having told the head of the production company, Brian Thursdan, that he never watched the show. His second in command, Julie Pritzer, tries to calm Brian down after he storms out of the meeting but to little effect.  Meanwhile, Mary Mac goes to see the inspiration for the show (and potential crush) Lieutenant Vincent Palermo to tell him the news that Beat Cop might be off the air, but he doesn’t seem all that upset about it.

Later that night, Elizabeth has another crack at dissuading Carmody from cancelling Beat Cop but Keith tells her her job is to look pretty and take pointless meetings.

My how times haven't changed...

My how times haven’t changed…

As Julie leaves, Keith gets a phone call from Brian to discuss Beat Cop but he’s not interested – until Brian puts network owner Harriet De Vol on the phone. Clearly it works out because Mac gets a phone call from Brian saying the show is possibly saved – Keith has agreed to watch some episodes of the show and Mary Mac is charge of which ones, booking the screening room and watching the episodes with Keith. Brian would love to help but he has a development meeting.

The next morning, while Vi puts all the coffee in the coffee pot (VI 4 PM), and Mary Mac tries to sort out how to save the show, Bert Rogers storms in in a huff – he got a phone call from his agent at 6am that morning saying that the show was cancelled. Mary Mac tells him to calm down, and in any case, wasn’t he planning to quit anyway? Bert tells her she shouldn’t believe things just because he says them and tells her that if she doesn’t sort out Keith Carmody he will.

Speaking of. Keith, ensconced in a screening room, is on the phone to someone trying to work out how to remove Harriet De Vol from the equation when someone helpfully sticks a gun through the curtain and shoots him twice. Lieutenant Palermo is called in and learns from the projectionist that he didn’t hear the shots go off, on account of Beat Cop being on the screen. One of Palermo’s minions finds the gun and a hidden door.

While Palermo goes about his 5-0 business, Mary Mac takes care of Brian who has appeared at the studio in a panic – with Keith dead Julie will take over the network, he needs to get in touch with her double quick. Mary Mac tells him that Julie was the one who found Keith’s body and is in the commissary coming to terms.

Awesome, Brian probably says. Which way to the commissary?

d2

While Brian goes off to hurl sympathy at Julie, Mary Mac accompanies Palermo to the set of Beat Cop. Cast and crew are all surprised to learn that Keith was murdered, and didn’t die of boredom (I don’t think Beat Cop had bookend episiodes, so I can’t imagine why that would happen). Palermo checks alibis and the only person with a shonky one is Bert.

One of Palermo’s lackeys comes to tell him he’s learned something interesting from the prop guy, who in turn informs them that the prop box has been broken into and one of the guns is missing – Bert’s gun to be precise.

Palermo throws Bert in jail for the time being, leaving Mary Mac to tell the director to shoot around the fact that their leading man is now conspicuously unavailable, while at the same time fending off Leo Kaplan who has a convenient list of people (clients) who could replace Bert on the show. She gets a panicked phone call from Brian begging her to come meet with Julie at the network.

Julie, who has hit the ground running despite the terrible shock of finding Keith’s body, tells them that she’s not sure that Beat Cop can survive without Bert Rodgers, and in any case she has a plan for giving Dana Darren her own show as a brain surgeon at a top metropolitan hospital. Ugh. These were clearly the days when the go-to TV shows were cop or doc, before the days of reality TV when you get 37 variations of Australian Model Factor Idol Talent Home Renovation Chef Rescue Kitchen Block.

(I reject all forms of reality, but especially reality television).

After the meeting, Brian begs Mary Mac to help Palermo solve the case/get Bert out of jail, and promises to get the pilot of her romantic story Love in Naples off the ground. Mary Mac asks if Brian is yanking her chain, and Brian says trust me.

When does that ever fail to be a good idea?

When does that ever fail to be a good idea?

Mary Mac visits Bert in prison and gets him to stop crying long enough to swear he didn’t kill Keith. Palermo is unmoved by this fact, nor by Mary Mac’s theory that the only reason that Bert’s prints are on the gun is because the killer wore gloves. Palermo tells Mary to go back to her typewriter.

On set, Mary Mac finds Dana to ask her about the medical show, and to find out why she lied about her alibi. Dana tells her that while she was on the phone to a Broadway producer, a more accurate view would be she was on the phone to his answering machine. Then she was with Leo for 30 minutes after that, which isn’t what Leo says at all. The medical show, it turns out, is being put together by Leo’s agency – in other words Mary Mac’s agent was getting the star of her show a show of her own to replace Mary Mac’s show.

Good old Hollywood forever.

Mary gets the lowdown on the hidden door from the security guard, Burnsy, who also tells her a story from back in the day, when Andy Butler (who plays Beat Cop’s boss) was on a different show that ended up being cancelled by Keith Carmody.  That night, she and Brian update Harriet De Vol on the latest developments and she tells them that the show is cancelled without Bert Rodgers.

Back in her office, Mary Mac sends Vi home and stays to watch what the editor had cobbled together from the day’s shooting. Alas there is a continuity error, and a pencil appears and reappears in the pocket of Andy Butler. She calls the director, Al, to work out what time the footage was filmed. goes back to the studio and….oh come on now.

WHAT THE HELL

WHAT THE HELL

It would seem that Andy couldn’t deal with the idea of Keith cancelling another one of his shows. And apparently he would have gotten away with it if he hadn’t dropped a pencil, and if Mary Mac hadn’t noticed the pencil and decided that it was clearly the PENCIL OF A KILLER.

Worst. Episode. Ever. Now, if y’all will excuse me, to compensate for this, I am going to go binge-watch Jessica Jones until my eyes fall out of my head.

See you next week Fletcherfans!

See you next week Fletcherfans!

 

 

S06E16 – The Big Show of 1965

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Back to New York City this week Fletcherfans, where JB is in the offices of Reynolds and Company publishers being pitched a book idea by Scott Fielding, vice-president of marketing and development. He wants her to write a book about the murder of Richie Kane, a massive star in the 60s. JB remembers him well, but Scott tells her he was in nursery school the year Richie died, 1965.

FLETCH MAD.

FLETCH MAD.

JB is confused as to how she got involved in all of this, but it turns out Scott has a plan. The Haley sisters, who made their debut on the Barry Barnes show the night Richie Kane was murdered, and who quietly retired out of the spotlight in 1974, are coming back to do a Barry Barnes show reunion special. You know what that means – free publicity! And also, JB Fletcher’s name will be on the book, you know, whatevs. Jess is not interested but begrudgingly agrees to visit the studio where rehearsals for the reunion special are underway.

YOU GUYS BARRY BARNES IS DONALD O’CONNOR.

THOSE EYES. ERMAHGHERD THOSE EYES.

THOSE EYES. ERMAHGHERD THOSE EYES.

Barry’s having a bit of a tough time at the moment. The writers hired to work on the new special are more Saturday Night Live than Barry Barnes, and one of the Haley sisters, Lee Haley is about to rage quit after a dancer crashes into her during a rehearsal of one of their songs. Lee’s husband Artie Sommers, head writer for Barry Barnes, assures Barry that she’ll calm down but Barry orders a break anyway.

Jess chooses this moment to sneak in to the theatre to watch rehearsals. Barry sees her sitting in the darkened theatre and freaks out (which is fair enough, JB is a harbinger of death) but relaxes when JB introduces herself. Barry offers her tea while they wait for Artie to come back from consoling Lee, who is currently ordering his wife back to work, and doesn’t seem bothered when Lee points out that they are standing in the dressing room Richie Kane died in. Outside, Art runs into music director Ozzie Gerson who has a bone to pick about the way he’s being treated – just like his father was when his father was music director.

Back on stage, Barry serenades JB with piano playing and tea while he tells her the story of how Artie met Lee on the set of his show, 25 years earlier. Lee hated him on sight, but two weeks later they were married. True love. JB asks him about Richie Kane but all Barry can say is that everyone loved him except his killer. The police investigated everyone but the killer was never found.

Artie reappears and begs Barry to go calm Ozzie down, leaving JB to ask about why Barry was so startled to see a shadowy figure in the theatre but Art has no idea. He introduces Jess to the Haley sisters but they are called away to rehearsal, so Art offers to show Jess the scene of the crime. Despite it all, Jess isn’t sold on the idea of writing the book and tells Scott accordingly.

Later that night, Barry is alone in the theatre with the piano when Art comes to see if he wants to have dinner with him and Lee. They chat about Richie Kane for a bit then Barry spots a figure moving in the shadows – a veiled woman pointing him. Barry shouts, then collapses.

At her hotel JB receives a message and rushes down to the hospital, where she runs into Artie. She asks him what happened and he tells her that Barry suffered a severe shock.

“Well is he okay?” Asks JB.

If I ever end up in hospital, please assume that this is what it will look like

If I ever end up in hospital, please assume that this is what it will look like

d2

Barry throws everybody out and comes clean to JB. He saw the woman in black, the same woman he saw the night after Richie Kane’s murder, pointing at him like he was to blame for what happened. He wants JB to find the woman in black and get to the bottom of who killed Richie. Jess tries to beg off, saying he needs a proper detective and Barry gives her the phone number of the officer who investigated back in ’65 – Broadway Bulldog Kowalski.

Jess pays a visit on old Bulldog, who has kept all of the case notes regarding the murder but has just recently loaded all of the files onto his fancy new computer.

Sidenote: The best thing about rewatching The X-Files, apart from all the other best things, is the size of the monitors and the size of the mobile phones.

Sidenote: The best thing about rewatching The X-Files, apart from all the other best things, is the size of the monitors and the size of the mobile phones.

Bulldog tells her that at the time of the murder, Barry was on stage in front of 50 people rehearsing a sketch, which puzzles JB. Why would the woman in black be accusing Barry of the murder if there’s no way he did it? Bulldog assumes she’s just out to scare comedians and instead turns to the women involved in the story – the Haley sisters and Richie’s wife Sharon. According to Bulldog, she was at the theatre the night of the murder but left 20 minutes before the murder occurred, although Bulldog concedes she could have slipped back in. Jess asks him if he knows where she is now and Bulldog asks if she wants to meet her.

 

 

Sometimes making myself laugh is all that matters.

Sometimes making myself laugh is all that matters.

Bulldog and Jess find Sharon Kane about to go and pick up her grandson. Bulldog introduces JB and says she wants to know about the woman in black, since she’s made another reappearance. Sharon tells her she’s not the avenging angel type. She knows she can’t tell JB what to do, but she wishes JB would let Richie Kane remain a man his family can be proud of.

Nothing gets past Our Heroine.

Nothing gets past Our Heroine.

JB remarks on Sharon’s choice of words to Bulldog, who confirms what JB was beginning to suspect. Richie Kane wasn’t the cleancut family man everyone made him out to be. And he liked them young.

Ew.

Back at the studio the Haley Sisters are rehearsing another number while the show’s writers Sid Lyman and Joe Roth demand to know why their sketch has been cut from the show. Bulldog and Jess run into Artie while he’s being harrassed by Sid and Jo, but tells them to go and sit down out the front. The Haley sisters finish up, but Cathy is called back to change into another costume for a sketch. The next act, some plate spinners, come out to rehearse while Cathy goes back stage to try and get out of being in the sketch. There are screams from backstage, Bulldog goes to investigate and finds Art dead in a chair, after having a vase smashed over his head.

The police roll in, in the form of Lieutenant Mayerling, who appears to suspect everyone individually and collectively – the Haley sisters, Ozzie, the lot of them. He’s not pleased to see Bulldog at the crime scene, and even less pleased when Jess sweetly points out that the two writers Art had been arguing with hadn’t been seen since the murder. Sid and Joe are tracked down but swear they only found out about the murder after they’d left the theatre. While Mayerling goes off to interrogate them further, Barry asks Jess to calm Cathy Haley down.

Out in the park, Cathy tells Jess she just wants to get home to her kids. They heard about it on the news and are naturally devastated – he had no children of his own but he was a great uncle to his nieces and nephew, according to Cathy. Cathy is emotional and says she’s not like her sister Lee, who didn’t even break down when their parents died in 1964. JB asks her about Richie Kane and she tells her he was a creep.

Back in Bulldog’s kennel, JB gets him to pull up the photo of the Kane family he was showing her earlier. They identify the mother and father, and each of the Haley sisters, but then hit a snag. Cathy didn’t start having children until 1974, and if this picture was taken before their parents died, then who is the baby in the picture? After careful consideration of nappy and bottle holding, they suspect it might be Marge’s. As Bulldog said, Richie liked them young.

Ew.

Bulldog is onto it, and shows JB an admissions form from 1974, the year the Haley sisters retired, showing Marge being admitted into a psychiatric hospital.

(Just trust me on this one guys. I’m getting confused too).

When confronted with the photo, Marge admits that she had a baby with Richie Kane. They had been sneaking around even before they were on the Barry Barnes show – she was already pregnant by the time the show came around. When Richie found out he was going to have the sisters bumped from the show, Marge panicked, picked up the knife and stabbed him.

Seems definitive.

Seems definitive.

JB gently points out she’s leaving something out and Marge agrees. Art was there, and saw the whole thing. Lee appears and tells Jess that they will deny everything Marge says, and it will be them against JB.

“And me,” says Bulldog appearing from the next room. Lee refuses to listen, saying that she won’t let them put her sister on trial, but Bulldog seems to think it won’t come to that. He produces the admissions form from the psych hospital and says that it’s clear that Marge had a history of mental illness. When she was released in 1984, with the diagnosis ‘no further treatment required’ – now that’s another story. She could tell right from wrong. So there’s no getting away from Art’s murder.

Actually there is. She didn’t do that one.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

When Lee tried to put the show off, after seeing Marge suffering, Art threatened to expose Marge as the killer and so Lee lashed out.

Afterwards, when JB and Barry are debriefing, it’s revealed that Barry’s show has been cancelled. He’s looking to the future though, a future where TV isn’t just on the tube. The actors will be in the room with you.

j2

Now I know that Gene Kelly was a genius and could tapdance on rollerskates, but according to YouTube Donald O’Connor did it first but more than that, he did this:

Long live the king.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S06E15 – Fixer-Upper

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Welcome to sunny Los Angeles Fletcherfans, where Victoria Griffin, local real estate agent and niece to Our Heroine, is hard at work trying to sell the home of Deborah Tarkington. She almost does it too, until Deborah finds out the person with the generous bid is her ex-husband Alec Burton. She throws the deliverer of the bid, Arnold Hastings (aka the man with the golden name, Dack Rambo) out of the house and forbids Vicky to sell the house to him or any one else connected to Alec. To make matters worse Deborah’s son Kevin thinks it’s a good time to do the creepy lech thing and come onto Vicky.

D-rama. Fortunately, there is someone who can put an end to this madness.

LIKE A BOSS.

LIKE A BOSS.

Vicky meets her aunt for lunch to tell her about just how difficult it all is – Vicky’s husband Howard is back on the audition trail after being killed off his old job on a TV show and she’s trying to sell the Tarkington house for 4.9 million.

-our million dollars!

-our million dollars! (Heh heh)

Vicky has no time to eat though – her pager goes off (naw, pagers!) and away she goes again, leaving JB to prepare for an afternoon of meetings with booksellers.

Meanwhile across town Alec Burton is more than a little displeased with Arnold’s inability to seal the deal, and tells Arnold’s wife Claire to get it done. Claire tells him there’s nothing to worry about since there’s been no deal done yet, and pops some diet pills recommended to her by Deborah Tarkington.

Couldn't possibly be relevant, I don't know why I'm mentioning it #subtle

Couldn’t possibly be relevant, I don’t know why I’m mentioning it #subtle

Back at work and Vicky’s run of bad luck continues when a prospective buyer calls her to tell her he’s decided to go and live on a boat instead. Her boss, Didi Blair, tells her it’s ridiculous to have an open house on the last day of an exclusive arrangement, half the people there were brokers telling their clients to wait a day. Vicky tells her about the offer from Alec Burton and doesn’t understand why Deborah turned it down so flatly.

Didi fills her in. It’s the same old story: boy meets girl, girl is daughter of Hollywood studio boss, boy gets cast in picture, movie becomes a blockbuster, boy gets too famous for girl and dumps her. That old chestnut.  A call comes in for Vicky – it’s Seymour Densch (runner up to Dack Rambo for best name), #1 car dealer in Orange County. He was at the open house, he liked what he saw and if Vicky could knock off a million from the asking price then she had herself a deal. He even promises to pay the binders cheque in cash. Vicky agrees to take the offer to Deborah Tarkington and arranges to meet him at 11pm that night, which isn’t at all weird.

Everything’s coming up Vicky.

Later that night, before seeing Howard perform in a play,  Jess is at dinner with Howard waiting for Vicky to arrive and listening to him moan about how he doesn’t like the insecurity of Vicky’s real estate career.

 

Sassy JB is sassy.

Sassy JB is sassy.

They are soon joined by Vicky, but only for a moment.

We've all been there amirite

We’ve all been there amirite

Vicky makes her apologies but she has to type up the agreement so that the sale of the Tarkington residence can go through. Howard is less than excited considering how much money his wife is about to make, but he valiantly puts his hurt feelings aside. JB is still keen to go to the play which cheers Howard up – he tells her it’s an allegory.

Not gonna lie, I've been here too :O

Not gonna lie, I’ve been here too :O

Later that night JB and Howard return home from the play, having mostly avoided the catestrophic special effects failure that didn’t so much “regenerate the corn” on stage so much as it soaked the first three rows of the audience. Jess notices that the light is blinking on the answering machine – it’s a message from Deborah Tarkington declaring Seymour Densch to be a phoney. Clearly Vicky didn’t get the message and went over to the house anyway. Howard has had about enough and decides to go over there and drag Vicky away. Jess announces she’s coming too – “I wouldn’t want to miss what may turn out to be the best play of the night!”

Heh heh heh.

Over at the Frankenstein Tarkington place, Vicky has just found Deborah lying dead on the floor, a pile of those mysterious pills next to her. Told you it was a plot point. Vicky hears a noise and grabs the fire poker as a weapon, bnt it’s only JB and Howard, closely followed 2 cops who would be later joined by some Serious Hair.

No seriously, wat?

No seriously, what even is that? (He went on to Dean Winchester in that episode when Dean got old, and I mean just what?)

The serious hair questions Vicky, while minions gather evidence. The verdict appears to be that Deborah overdosed on pills and whiskey, and whacked her head when she fell. Jessica wonders about this, as there is a half empty bottle of scotch and another opened bottle of scotch with another glass which makes no sense. The hair (aka Detective Lieutenant Redick but who cares, he’s The Serious Hair) tells her that drunks don’t often makes sense. Fair call that.

After a good night’s sleep JB finds Vicky up early the next morning trying to deal with the bills. Ugh, bills. Jess feels for her niece and offers to help but Vicky says no, saying Howard’s ego can barely handle the fact that Vicky is earning the money.

GET A GRIP HOWARD.

A phone call comes in from The Hair requesting Vicky come down to the station to answer a few questions. The Hair has found out about the phone call from Deborah declaring the buyer to be a phoney (although how he found out is a mystery for another time) and tells Vicky it’s obvious she went round and killed Deborah as vengeance. Vicky swears she never heard the message, and therefore had no motive to kill her. The Hair also suspects Howard, despite the fact that he was on stage at the time of the murder.

Meanwhile, Vicky’s boss Didi is paying a visit on Arnold Hastings, Alec Burton’s broker to talk turkey. With Vicky on suspicion of murder the exclusive listing is up for grabs, and since Didi has an in with Kevin Tarkington she has dibs – dibs she could share with Arnold since he has a very interested Alec Burton wanting to buy. She asks him if he wants to check with his wife first but Arnold is on board.

JB, on the other hand, is getting down to the business of clearing Vicky and so goes back to House Tarkington to investigate. She is met by the maid, who wasn’t there the night before but says was in charge of refilling Deborah’s amphetamine prescription – and in fact was supposed to refill it the day before but forgot until that morning. She hated her boss, but without her she was out of a job thanks to her son who chooses that moment to appear. JB grills him on where he was the night before but he was away up the coast. Jess is surprised to learn that he is showing the house one day after his mother’s death but he wants a beach house in Malibu and so there it is. He grows suspicious and demands to know why Jess is there, but she tells him she was looking for her glasses which she has now found (spoiler – she never lost them to begin with. Genius).

Outside she finds Vicky setting up for the open house. She’s been unable to find the buyer Seymour Densch to corroborate her story, but she’s out for now. At that moment The Hair pulls up. The autopsy results are in on Deborah Tarkington (that was quick). No pills in her system but plenty of scotch and a whack on the head that they believe was delivered by the fireplace poker and guess whose prints are on the poker?

Down at the police station Howard is going nuts until JB very cleverly sends him on a mission to find Vicky a lawyer. The Hair is convinced that Vicky is guilty despite the rather odd fact that her prints were on the murder weapon but she remembered to wipe them off the scotch bottle. They are soon joined by the enigmatic Seymour Densch who drops in to tell them that he was actually acting as a front man for Alec Burton who was bankrolling the deal. He was to give the money to the broker Arnold Hastings who would give the money to Seymour to conclude the transaction. The only reason Seymour signed up was to meet Deborah Tarkington.

Back at Casa Tarkington Vicky is taking down the for sale sign when Kevin appears to tell her to leave it up as he thinks she knows how to move some prime….real estate (ew ew ew ew) and also to ask her to have dinner with him that night. When she tells him she busy seeing Howard in his play, he tells her he thought she was serious about selling the house.

At home, Vicky tells JB what happened and JB wonders whether Vicky misunderstood his intention.

h2

i2

Bless your optimism though JB.

Howard then returns home after running an errand for Jess to the tax assessors office to follow up on a hunch she has.

After the standard Howard and Vicky greeting:

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…Howard fills them in. It turns out that all the houses surrounding Deborah Tarkington’s residence have all recently been bought by Alec Burton. It would appear that someone is planning a McMansion. Ugh.

When confronted with this news, Alec Burton denies nothing. He used intermediaries to buy all the houses so that the owners wouldn’t jack the prices up, and then purchased the properties outright from the intermediaries. Having said that, he’s never heard of Seymour Dentsch. When asked about his alibi Burton tells them he was at a party, hanging out (definitely code) in the servants quarters with the lady of the house while her husband was downstairs entertaining the guests. Fortunately Alec had taken some of Claire Hastings’s red and yellow diet pills so he could stay awake.

This gives JB an idea and the next day  she visits the office of Arnold Hastings, appropriately dressed for someone looking to buy a house in Beverly Hills.

Shine bright like a diamond.

Shine bright like a diamond.

Jess declares she’s simply enchanted by the Tarkington estate and wants it. Arnold is on board, but his wife is suspicious given that JB is the aunt of the prime suspect in the murder. Bored, Jess departs telling them that she will pay 10% over the asking price, as long as the deal won’t conflict with any arrangement they have with Alec Burton, but it would appears the Hastings have already forgotten Alec Burton.

They go straight to see Kevin Tarkington and give him the good news – they want to put in a bid for 3.9 million for themselves. They love the house and they want it.

This is news to JB, who wanders in, saying that she’d just offered a bid of over 5 million. It would appear these real estate agents are a bit shonky and were busted by Deborah Tarkington. One more so than the other.

Yeah, not surprised.

Yeah, not surprised.

Unhappy with dealing with all these rich people and having no money herself, and about to be busted for fraud, Claire Hastings took matters (and the fire poker) into her own hands.

But for now, with Vicky finally selling a house and Howard getting an acting job as a talking pineapple, I bid you farewell.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

S06E14 – How to Make a Killing Without Really Trying

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Welcome back to the Big Apple Fletcherfans, to the headquarters of the investment firm Ashcroft and Royce, where we find the secretary of one of the owners, Norma Pulaski trying very hard to cover up the fact that her boss isn’t in yet while being hit on by office lech Sid Hooper (more on him later). Said boss Philip, the Royce part of Ashcroft and Royce, is still in bed and coming to terms with the fact that his girlfriend wants to marry him.

Dude needs to get his business together, because his lunch meeting just walked into his office.

...

Sidenote – there is a lot of 80s power dressing in this episode, and it’s amazing.

Norma tells JB that Philip will meet them at the restaurant to discuss her portfolio, which JB is keen to get into. She’s had a hot tip in Cabot Cove to buy up on Spruce Electronics, but Norma tells her they’re on the way down, but that it’s competitor Lowsonic is much more interesting – they have the inside running on HD TVs which Norma claims will be in everyone’s home within 5 years.

You guys WE ARE LIVING IN THE FUTURE (except my TV is still an old cathode one I bought in 2002)

My TV is still an old cathode one I bought in 2002 so YOU WERE WRONG NORMA.

In fact, Norma tells JB, she – that is to say Philip, bought some Lowsonic stock for her portfolio that very morning. JB tells her if she and Philip think it’s a good buy then she trusts them. Norma says Philip spends all his time on research – JB says he spends a lot of time in meetings too, he’s never around when she calls. She notices a set of golf clubs and wonders when he ever finds time to play.

As Norma and JB prepare to “meet Philip” for lunch, they run into the Ashcroft of the firm, Jerome Ashcroft, who started the firm with Philip’s father. He’s delighted to hear that JB is so pleased with the performance of her portfolio but is cut off by the arrival of his daughter Candice – previously seen in bed with Philip Royce – who has a bee in her bonnet about the lack of wedding plans. As JB and Norma leave she drags him into his office and fills him in on her recent dumping – Jerome orders her to go back to Philip and make up. Philip owns half the company courtesy of his late father, and Jerome wants his precious. (The company, clearly not his daughter). Candice informs her father she’d rather see him dead.

In the lobby JB and Norma run into Sid Hooper, who gives her some free financial advice.

Sidenote: Edd Byrnes also played a character called Kookie who said things like "Baby you're the ginchiest".  I  can only assume ginchy means  excellent at solving equations and doing science.

Sidenote: Edd Byrnes also played a character called Kookie who said things like “Baby you’re the ginchiest”. I can only assume being ginchy means excellent at solving equations and doing science.

Sid tells JB to call him if she wants a better broker, he’d never put her on that dog stock Lowsonic and disappears up his own arse into the lift. Outside, JB and Norma then run into Norma’s baker fiance Rudy who wants to know why Norma is 10 minutes late for lunch. She apologises but says she can’t have lunch. JB offers to take herself over to meet Philip but Norma tells her she should be there (to make sure Philip doesn’t screw up, probably). She smooths things over with Rudy and promises to cook him dinner that night.

At the restaurant they get through their meal without Philip, but they spot legendary corporate raider Gordon Gecko Tully having a quiet heated discussion with Jerome Ashcroft about Tully wanting to buy Ashcroft and Royce, and Jerome saying they’ll be ice skating in hell before Tully gets his hands on the firm. Philip chooses that moment to arrive in a cloud of apologies, before looking at the time and realising he can’t stay. He reminds Norma to confirm his golf date with a Buddy Black, and offers to take JB to dinner. Alas, she has plans, so he offers breakfast instead saying he can’t let JB slip away to New Hampshire without going over he portfolio again.

Guys I really think I should marathon Breaking Bad again.

Guys I really think I should marathon Breaking Bad again.

JB has breakfast plans with her nephew (CANCEL THEM! CANCEL THEM! CANCEL THEM!) but Philip wants to tell her all about a stock he’s just gotten a tip about, Spruce Electronic.

Poor Norma

Poor Norma

JB decides that on second thoughts she and Philip probably do need to have a serious talk and so agrees to breakfast the next day.

When the new day dawns, JB goes around to Philip’s place to find out why he stood her up and finds his apartment swarming with cops and Philip considerably more deceased than the night before. Someone had mistaken his head for a golf ball. The lieutenant investigating, Lieutenant Moynihan, asks JB how much she was fleeced and is surprised to learn she had no complaints about Royce Ashcroft. Apparently he once got done for $500 after a shady deal. He tells her that Philip was killed some time the previous evening, and JB tells him how ironic it all is that he got whacked with a putter on account of his upcoming golf game with the mysterious Buddy Black. One of the lieutenant’s henchmen appears holding a very familiar looking red beret with news that they also found lipstick on a glass. The lieutenant notices JB’s reaction to the beret and demands a name.

They find Norma at the office, and she’s horrified to learn that her boss is dead. She tells them that she took his briefcase over to his apartment the previous night, and obviously forgot her hat. JB helpfully points out a phone number scrawled on a notepad on Philip’s desk – the lieutenant calls it and discovers its Gordon Tully’s office. Sid Hooper appears to console Norma and ask for Philip’s computer access codes since he’ll be taking over Philip’s clients – including JB.

Can it, Fontaine.

Can it, Fontaine.

Jess and the lieutenant go to see Jerome Ashcroft, who is shaken by the news and more so when told that the murder was almost certainly committed by someone Philip knew. Lieutenant Moynihan demands a list of clients that lost money recently and Jerome informs him that it’s standard practice to conduct an audit when someone leaves the company. Sid Hooper reappears with some startling news – the buy orders Norma gave him to process were dated that morning, 12 hours after Philip was killed.

Dun dun.

Norma is called into Jerome’s office and confronted with the buy orders. She tells them that she had to do it to get things done, since Philip was always out of the office. JB says it makes perfect sense, and that Norma has given her much better investment advice than Philip ever did. Jerome doesn’t like the sound of that and orders Norma to pack up her desk. Well that backfired.

JB tries to console Norma as she packs up her things but also drops in that she thinks Norma didn’t quite tell the lieutenant everything that happened the night before. Norma tells her nothing that Lieutenant Moynihan would be interested in happened. CRYPTIC CLUE IS CRYPTIC. As she goes to leave, she’s stopped by Jerome and the lieutenant. Apparently there’s 2 million bucks missing from Philips account and the lieutenant would like a word downtown.

Jessica decides to take matters into her own hands and goes to see Gordon Tully. His secretary stonewalls her until Jess tells her that she wants to share her information with Gordon Tully before going to the police.

g2b

g2c

Sorry Helena Bonham Carter, there is only 1 Mrs Lovett.

 

Sidesidesidenote, JB’s outfits are completely amazing this episode.

While Gordon Tully does important things on the phone, JB scopes out his office and notices a signed photo of himself with Buddy Black. Tully finally gets off the phone and asks JB just what information she wants to share. She wants to know more about his relationship with Philip (since he was Philip’s last call) but Tully tells her he spoke to Philip only, then was on a call to Japan half the night and that’s all there is to it. Meanwhile Lieutenant Moynihan is following up his own lead, after a local told him he saw a bread delivery van outside Philip’s the night of the murder.

Norma’s fiance Rudy knows nothing about any of it, but unfortunately for him a co-worker finds an envelope with around 20 grand in it. He tells Lieutenant Moynihan that he won it, but caves and tells him that he found it in his car that morning after someone broke into it. Moynihan isn’t buying it and orders Rudy down to the precinct. When they arrive they run into JB who wants to talk about Gordon Tully but  Moynihan is on a roll. He’s got the case sorted.

Norma refuses to change her story under interrogation even with Rudy’s arrest but fills in some missing details – like the part where Philip offered Norma a drink after eventually getting out of the shower to answer the door, and then Rudy turned up unexpectedly and blew his stack and Norma eventually managed to drag Rudy away. Philip  was very much still alive.

Moynihan doesn’t believe a bar of it, even when JB points out that they found Philip’s body fully clothed.

Actual quote:

 

Historically inaccurate, but I'll allow it.

Historically inaccurate, but I’ll allow it.

Moynihan is convinced he’s got the guilty parties but JB is less sure. She goes to offer her condolences to Candice Ashcroft, who let’s be honest isn’t entirely cut up by the demise of her ‘fiance’. JB says it must have been difficult to be the last person to see him alive but Candice tells her a) the wedding was off but it was totes amicable, b) she didn’t see him the night he died and c) he spent more time playing golf with Buddy Black than anything else.

Guys I think this Buddy Black character might be important.

Down at the precinct Moynihan is unmoved by JB’s news about the breakup. He’s busy looking for the missing money, although he’s starting to worry they blew it all on dodgy trades like his crappy Lowsonic purchase that time. This sets off memory bells in JB’s head and she scurries off with Lieutenant Moynihan to see Vince Fontaine Sid Hooper who is hard at work moving into Philip’s office. He blusters when JB asks him just how he knew she was invested in Lowsonic, but after a trip to the police station and confronted with proof of his Cayman islands accounts and 25 grand missing from his personal account, he concedes that he “borrowed” the money, but was 100% going to pay it back.

Rudy and Norma are released, but JB still thinks there are some loose ends, like this whole business with Gordon Tully and the mysterious Buddy Black. Jess asks Norma about him, but all she knows is that he’s a golf hustler who used to get large sums of money out of Phillip Royce.

I think it’s about time we met this mysterious Buddy Black.

Dyke-anosis Murder. Now there's a blog idea.

Dyke-anosis Murder. Now there’s a blog idea.

Buddy Black knows nothing about the murder, it turns out. He was told by Gordon Tully to play some golf against Philip and that’s it. No blackmail, nothing. When JB confronts Gordon Tully with this news he tells her that Philip shouldn’t have bet more than he could afford, but that in any case Philip had already agreed to sell up and was all set to go ahead the next day. Later, when Jess sits down with Norma and Rudy for lunch she asks Norma about that and Norma tells her that would explain why he had all those Ashcroft Noyce stocks in his briefcase.

Jess bails on lunch and goes back to the office with Lieutenant Moynihan. She knows how the golf clubs getting from the office to Philip’s apartment, but there’s one little loose end. And when Jerome tells all the company stocks are kept in his safe, it all fits together.

Fair enough.

Fair enough.

When Philip came to pick up his golf clubs he called Tully. Philip overheard him and then begged him to stop when he came to get the stock out of the safe. He went round to Philip’s house, words were exchanged and blows to the head delivered. Case closed.

So while we all contemplate just how glorious a cross-over Diagnosis Murder She Wrote episode would be…

Until next time Fletcherfans!

Until next time Fletcherfans!