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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…