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S07E01 – Trials and Tribulations

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Alright Fletchefans. Onward and upward! And what better way to kick off a new season with a jailbreak! With car chases! And helicopters! And slow motion car flips! Unfortunately for Eddie Stone, the escapee in this dramatic little situation, the jailbreak goes sideways and he ends up dead when the car crashes evading police.

Meanwhile, down in New York City JB is chowing down on her breakfast when a waiter asks for a favour – there’s this older lady who reminds him of his Grandma who is carrying one of JB’s books and she would love an autograph. Naturally, Jessica doesn’t want to disappoint her fans and so the woman comes over. She’s delighted, and asks if JB still lives in Cabot Cove, Maine.

“And I wouldn’t dream of leaving.” Says JB.

“696 Candlewood Lane?” The fan asks.

“How did you know?” JB is astonished.

“It’s typed right here on your summons.” The woman says. “Thanks JB, I knew you’d be as nice as your picture.”

As she departs, the waiter returns. “What did I tell you – isn’t she just the sweetest thing?”

Unimpressed.

Unimpressed.

JB goes straight to her insurance company attorney, Ray Dandridge (aka Julian Crane from Passions) who lays it out for her. Five years ago she assisted the police in catching Eddie Stone – he who failed in the great jail break of five minutes ago – in connection with a murder. (Seems legit). Now, Eddie’s daughter Geraldine has filed a 50 million dollar law suit against JB for wrongful death, saying that JB’s “help” led to her father’s death.

Imminent Fletcher hulk-out in 5-4-3...

Imminent Fletcher hulk-out in 5-4-3…

“Wait a minute, are you saying that anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone at any time whenever they please?” JB says.

Welcome to America JB.

Ray thinks Geraldine’s lawyer, Charlie Cosmo, is only after a settlemetn and promises JB to find out how much it will cost but JB refuses. She will not settle! In the meantime she’s going to have a chat with Geraldine Stone, an idea Ray thinks is unwise and JB thinks is Best Idea Ever.

Jessica finds Geraldine hard at work at a newspaper and demands to know why she is doing this. Geraldine is clearly uncomfortable with Jessica’s sudden arrival but says her father is dead due to trumped up evidence that JB provided. She will not enter into it though and tells JB if she doesn’t leave she will call security. Jess wisely departs just as Geraldine gets a phone call from her boyfriend Justin Fields, taking a break from his job as a pastry chef. She tells him she didn’t know what to say to JB and that she felt kind of sleazy but Justin tells her that’s what lawyers are for and as soon as Justin opens his restaurant they can forget all about it. He gets off the phone just in time to be berated by his boss Elliott Von Stuben, who is less than impressed with Justin’s continued attempts to find the money to open his own restaurant. He tells Justin he’s a great chef but a terrible businessman, as his many bankruptcies prove.

Guys, I think I see where this is going.

Over at the courthouse Ray Dandridge finds Charlie Cosmo prepping a “injured” client for their hearing. Charlie tells Ray that for 50 million dollars he’s got all the time in the world and isn’t too fussed when the case gets heard. Ray informs him they won’t settle and is off to talk about the case with the lead detective, but Charlie informs him the detective died the previous year. Instead, Charlie tells him about the star witness, Angelo Vitello – Charlie spoke to him just last weekend and took his deposition. He cheerfully gives Ray a copy and bids him a fond farewell.

Down at the police station JB is meeting with the other police officer who worked the case, Sergeant Paulsen. She tells him that she was hoping to review the case and explains that she’s being sued by Eddie Stone’s daughter who is claiming that Jessica was the reason her father went to prison.

“She’s got that right, we couldn’t have done it without you!” Paulsen says cheerfully.

She's just too damn good.

She’s just too damn good.

Ray Dandridge catches up with her to deliver the bad news – Angelo Vitello, whom Jessica remembers as the taxi driver that picked up Eddie Stone a block from the murder scene, has now changed his mind about the whole thing and claims that JB paid him 5 thousand dollars to say he remembered picking up Eddie Stone.

JB will not stand for this, and goes straight to see Angelo Vitello, ignoring Ray’s reservations. She knocks on the door and is greeted by his wife Beatrice, who refuses to let them in but agrees to let Angelo know they are there. While she goes to tell her husband, JB sneaks a peek around the door and sees Angelo hooked up to a gas tank and  looking very agitated at the news of her arrival. Beatrice returns and says her husband is asleep, he’s not been well and next time call first?

Undeterred, JB returns to the police station to review the files and is soon joined by the prosecuting attorney on the case Anne Stephenson, aka Jim’s mum from American Pie. She doesn’t believe the accusation being levelled at JB but she’s in an awkward position – without Vitello’s testimony the whole case is pretty flimsy and she’s running for DA next year and yada yada yada. She wishes JB good luck and hopes she won’t settle the case.

Files presumably reviewed, Jessica hails a cab outside the police station. Who should pull up in one at that precise moment, but Charlie Cosmo who has some thoughts he’d like to share with Jess about how she’s handling the case all wrong, it could be settled so quickly and quietly.

The cab driver asks JB if she wants the cab, which she does, but Charlie’s not done.  The cab driver gives up and leaves.

I'd duck if I were you Charlie.

I’d duck if I were you Charlie.

As Jessica successfully hails another cab, Charlie tries to make it clear – it’s going to be a lawyer and media circus. Does she really want to put herself through that?

Cue Jessica.

“Mr Cosmo I’m still naive enough to think that in a court of law, truth will prevail. Go through it? I look forward to it!”

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

MY HERO.

Jessica decides to recharge her batteries the next day by taking Ray out for afternoon tea and chooses Elliott Von Stuben’s restaurant. Ray is both mystified and horrified at the thought of a snobby expensive lunch but after Elliott himself seats them at the table and promises any request can be met, Jessica fills Ray in. She’s done some research on Geraldine and found out that she is involved with a pastry chef at the restaurant called Justin Fields, who is looking to open his new restaurant and has been struggling to find the financing. JB thinks the timing is suspicious but Ray doesn’t see it. Jess tells him that Geraldine might get 50 million dollars in 3 or 4 years, but how much might the lawyers negotiate for her now?

“That makes a lot of sense.” Says Ray.

Get with it dude.

Get with it dude.

Just then, Geraldine goes running out to the kitchen looking rather worried, and a waiter wanders past with a telephone call for JB. It’s Paulsen – Angelo Vitello has just been taken to hospital and is not looking in good shape. JB and Ray rush to the hospital, and while Ray talks to the doctors Jess finds Mrs Vitello sitting in the waiting room. Mrs Vitello apologises for the way she treated JB the other day – she is very protective of her husband, who has always suffered from diabetes and recently got diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s devasated – her husband has been slowly dying since he got laid off from his job but she’s always been there to watch him except that night when she went down to babysit her neighbours kids for a couple of hours.

Ray reappears and calls Jessica over. Angelo Vitello didn’t make it. Sergeant Paulsen appears with more news – the lab results have come in (extremely quickly I would have thought) and have found Vitello’s blood stream was high in sugar. Add to that a broken back window and a syringe found in the backyard and it all adds up to murder.

The next day Ray goes to see Charlie, who has just finished a meeting with Geraldine. Charlie thinks Vitello’s death changes nothing, and that if Ray had any sense he would settle the case. The price – a little less than a million dollars. Ray tells him no deal, a man has been murdered and he wouldn’t settle for a dollar. Charlie says if anyone had a motive for murdering Vitello it was Jessica – and funnily enough a woman was seen leaving the Vitello house at 7:30 the night of the murder.

JB goes to the Vitello house where Sergeant Paulsen is having a poke around. Paulsen is surprised to learn that Jessica has learned of the witness seeing the mysterious woman leaving the house but she tells him Ray told her – and for the record she was in her hotel room changing for dinner. It turns out this mysterious woman was seen leaving via the front door which makes no sense to Jessica, since if she was the killer why would the deadly syringe have been thrown out the back door?

Paulsen stops. He thinks JB is a terrific lady…

Flattered Queen is Flattered.

Flattered Queen is Flattered.

…but his boss has a theory and she doesn’t have a terrific alibi for the night of the murder and so…

This is an alternate Usual Suspects cast I can get behind.

This is an alternate Usual Suspects cast I can get behind.

Paulsen and Anne Stephenson oversee the lineup and start to panic when the witness identifies JB but are relieved when the witness decides she just can’t be sure. After the lineup Anne tells JB she’s free to go for now, and JB nearly explodes. She volunteers to do the lineup again, as long as Anne was also a participant. Jess requires food, and invites Anne to lunch. She thinks they have a bit to talk about.

At lunch, at the Von Stuben restaurant, Anne comes clean – she did go and see Angelo Vitello, but despite hearing the TV on the background, no-one answered her knock, and she didn’t hear him moving around. Elliott swings by to check on their meals and to answer questions about Justin Fields, who it turns out got fired after leaving his shift early the night of the murder. When called to be informed of his termination, Justin apparently laughed and said he’d worked his last shift as a pastry chef.

Jess goes to see the two lovebirds at Justin’s new restaurant to get some answers. After some badgering, and a suggestion that the police examine Geraldine’s bank records, Justin flees but Geraldine comes clean – they were trying to get money for the restaurant. At the police station later, she tells them that Charlie Cosmo went to the Vitello house and paid Angelo Vitello 25 grand in cash to change his story, a tidbit that Paulsen is delighted to hear. Charlie is not a popular bloke. Apparently Angelo was too sick to leave the house, which gives Jess an idea.

But that doesn’t solve the murder.

Because apparently there wasn’t a murder.

Angelo, filled with guilt after what Charlie had paid him to do, coupled with his deteriorating health, took matters into his own hands. So to speak. His wife, determined to have her husband buried appropriately, took matters into her own hansd.

Eesh. That took a dark turn. Let’s not dwell on that.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S06E22 – The Sicilian Encounter

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It’s the season six finale Fletcherfans! Who thought we’d ever get here? (I was starting to wonder)

It appears this week we have been house-sitting for JB while she’s been in NYC doing her boss author bit.

It's been a long week.

It’s been a long week.

As JB goes through her mail for the week, she finds a letter postmarked Paris. It would appear her old pal Michael Hegarty has gotten himself into a spot of bother. Again.

Bookend time!

Welcome to Sicily, home of many Italian cliches and in this particular instance soon-to-be-married Claudia Carboni and Peter Baines are enjoying a bit of lunch while Peter is anticipating his siesta quite a lot.

There is a reason he looks familiar. More on that later.

There is a reason he looks familiar. More on that later.

Claudia is having no part of it. Her late first husband’s family will have no shame brought upon it and have sent a chaperone to keep an eye on proceedings. Peter is less than thrilled, but he only has to wait one more week until the wedding and then they can be on their way. Peter is eager to learn more about Claudia’s late husband’s business but she tells him all she knows is that he dealt mostly in cash. Peter is also curious to learn how her first husband died.

“Suddenly.” Says Claudia.

Why yes I did write that in Scooby Doo's voice, and thank you for noticing!

Why yes I did write that in Scooby Doo’s voice, and thank you for noticing!

After lunch they stroll around the park and discuss the Completely Miraculous Coincidence that led to their meeting, which turns out to have happened when Peter begged to switch seats on a flight from Boston. While they stroll, they progress is followed by a man watching from a nearby apartment.

Peter is overcome again but Claudia reminds him that the wedding is only a week away and that until she’s legally married to him – in a church, with a priest – that she’s still technically a threat to the family and so they need to behave. Their chauffeur/chaperone honks for them to hurry up.

As they depart, the watching man makes a note in his notebook. The door behind him opens and an extra from The Sopranos walks in. The watching man tells the extra that he’s got the wrong TV show room, but the other man pulls a knife. It would appear he has exactly the right room.

A short time later everyone’s favourite not-quite-Bond arrives and asks an onlooker what happened. She tells Hegarty that an English tourist cut his throat shaving – and that noone saw nothin.

Hegarty phones home to tell them that the plan has gone belly-up and that his business associate “caught a cold”, but his boss tells him his mission is ago. A package needs to be delivered to London and Hegarty has to make sure that it does. At this point I couldn’t tell you what is or isn’t code, but Michael has a picture of Claudia Carboni so she is the package or has the package or likes a good package if you know what I mean.

His boss hangs up, leaving Michael unexpectedly listening to Downtown by Macklemore.

#you'rewelcome

Why did I decide on Downtown? Because my Mum keeps calling Downton Abbey Downtown Abbey and my mind is a dangerous and confusing place.

Back at the villa, Peter is getting fitted for a suit or six, much to Claudia’s surprise/mild irritation. After the tailor and the maid depart, Peter tries it on again but this time they are thwarted by the sudden entrance of the guy who killed Hegarty’s associate just before. Peter tries to cover up his leching by telling the man Claudia rolled her ankle.

I wish I could pull this face. Well I can. I wish that it worked though.

I wish I could pull this face. Well I can. I wish that it worked though.

Claudia asks him what he wants (it turns out his name is Mario, obviously), and it turns out that her priest has arrived from Boston.

This can only go well.

This can only go well.

Hegarty introduces himself as Monseigneur O’Shaunessy, and tells Claudia that he’s been sent to represent the Boston chuch on behalf of her priest back home, who has come down with a cold. Father O’Shaunessy, it turns out, knew Claudia’s late husband from way back and wonders if her future husband is from the same parish. She tells him no, he’s from England and calls for Peter to join them.

DRAMATIC HEGARTY IS DRAMATIC.

DRAMATIC HEGARTY IS DRAMATIC.

Now here’s the thing guys. Hegarty recognises Peter Baines, and says he knew a man named Harold Baines which turns out to have been Peter’s brother.

Harold Baines was the spy who killed back in episode one of this season.

THIS WHOLE SEASON JUST GOT BOOKENDED.

(My reaction, after working this out, can be seen here. In this gif the role of me will be played by Orson Welles).

But wait, there’s more news – Claudia’s brother-in-law Gino is flying in to attend the wedding. Claudia seems less than enthused about this, but when asked O’Shaunessy says he knows Gino Carboni, he is terrible at golf.

Brushing off this sudden shock of seeing his former friend’s brother, (who amazing looks EXACTLY LIKE HIS FRIEND), Hegarty announces that he promised Father Flynn that he would hear Claudia’s confession as soon as he arrived in Sicily, and whisks her out into the garden. As they walk, Hegarty makes discrete enquiries about Peter Baines, and her relationship with her dead husband’s family but she assures him she don’t know nothing about nothing (paraphrasing). She is looking forward to the week’s vacation in Switzerland she’s going on with Peter after the wedding.

Hegarty next visits Peter Baines, who is busy scoping himself out in his new suits. Petper is curious to know how Father O’Shaunessy knew Harold but “Father O’Shaunessy” can’t remember the exact details just now. Likewise, Father O’Shaunessy is eager to learn more about Peter, but it is soon apparent that Peter is a bit of a ladies man, and presumably not after The Package.

(God. This is starting to remind me of the time my friend Rachel and I watched all of R Kelly’s ‘ Trapped In The Closet’ in one sitting. We were (and still are) very confused about that Package too).

 

Anyway.

Gino arrives, and is greeted with the proper Italian kissing and so forth. Inside, Claudia is summoned to greet her soon-to-be-former brother-in-law but declares him to be a fake while Gino declares Claudia is not his brother’s late wife. The stalemate persists until Father O’Shaunessy appears and declares that he’s met Gino Carboni and that this man, while having a seemingly legit passport, is no Gino Carboni. A gaggle of Sopranos carry the supposed Carboni away, leaving Hegarty and Claudia to size each other up.

Well this seems odd.

Well this seems odd.

Later that night, Peter Baines is out having a cigarette on the terrace when he sees Gino Carboni being escorted off the premises whilst being stabbed by Carboni henchmen.

s2

k1 k2

This is my face when I realise it's Monday morning and I have to go to work

This seems like a fairly open and shut case, now that I think about it.

Peter rushes inside to tell Claudia the news. He’s frantic, but Claudia manages to calm him down.

EVERYTHING IS HASHTAGS

EVERYTHING IS HASHTAGS MY BRAIN HAS STOPPED

Claudia reassures her future husband that as soon as they’re married and have been to Switzerland to empty the safety deposit box they will never have to go back to Italy if they don’t feel like it.

Turns out the plants have ears. Or something.

I'll be honest, I just got home from my 3rd watching of Deadpool in a week, I don't know what life is anymore.

I’ll be honest, I just got home from my 3rd watching of Deadpool in a week, I don’t know what life is anymore.

On the other end of the bugline are the Carboni’s, who are most interested to learn that the safety deposit box is in Switzerland. Mario decides he will be the one to travel there, retrieve the boxes contents, eliminate Claudia and return to Sicily but his colleagues have been talking and they’re coming too.

Later, Mario finds Peter trying to calm himself with a fortifying brandy or twelve. He offers Peter a Cuban cigar and a cautionary tale about a man who ran away with Mario’s sister to Rome. “My poor sister.” Says Mario. “She becomes a widow before she’s even married.”

More brandy required.

More brandy required.

Down at the church the next day Claudia is getting a little fed up with her constant supervision by the Carboni family, but surprisingly Peter has gone cold on the idea. It’s only when O’Shaunessy offers to marry them on the spot that Peter brightens up. They go into the church, Hegarty improvises a vaguely accurate wedding ceremony and Peter seals the deal by kissing his bride. This rouses some suspicion with the chaperones looking on but Hegarty assures them that it’s practice. He tells Peter and Claudia to go and wait at the car, and once they go knocks out the two Sopranos extras and legs it, shouting a thankyou to the actual priest for letting him borrow the hall for a bit.

A chase ensues, with one of the goons hijacking a convertible and following Hegarty, Peter and Claudia to the local airfield. Thanks to some ace driving from Peter, who can also conveniently fly a plane, they escape the goons clutches and fly to Geneva.

This is all terribly factual. I do apologise.

On arrival at their hotel suite in Geneva, Peter promptly orders the hotel’s finest beluga caviar and champagne – “two glasses”, he adds.

His Holiness is not amused.

His Holiness is not amused.

Despite Peter’s attempts to say goodbye to Father O’Shaunessy, Hegarty parks himself on the couch. Claudia tells Peter to go and pick up some things from the hotel store. The door closes behind him and Claudia turns to Hegarty – “Alright Father – let’s talk turkey.”

It would appear that Hegarty’s priestly disguise wasn’t entirely cunning after all and Claudia has guessed that he is her MI6 contact. Hegarty agrees, saying that he would have revealed himself earlier but his associate had his throat cut which rather put a dampener on things. Hegarty is most curious to know why Claudia has acquired Peter but she says she is in love – and then confesses she just has him around for the muscle in case her former in-laws get uppity. Hegarty is also concerned about the in-laws – apparently they too have an interest in the package, which turns out to be a little black book of Mafia contacts that Claudia has pinched. Claudia tells him she doesn’t know what’s in the book and doesn’t want to know – she just wants the money, as agreed in their deal.

Peter returns and is less than excited to see Hegarty. When Claudia excuses herself to take a bath, he sees his opportunity to rush Hegarty out the door. He has no time for Hegarty’s priest bit, he himself has impersonated a priest before, but he doesn’t want Claudia to know that. Hegarty informs him that a)she already knows  and b)Hegarty is secret service, and until the transaction he and Claudia are conducting is concluded in the morning, Peter will be sleeping on the couch.

Peter is not excited.

Heh heh heh

Heh heh heh

Later that night Mario Carbone gets a phone call…from Claudia. She’s pretending to be a bank clerk confirming the time of Claudia’s appointment the next day.

PLOT TWIST YOU GUYS.

The next morning, Claudia wakes Peter from his almost-sleep on the couch to tell him…she is attracted to him. Weird. They commence making out horrifyingly energetically and only stop with the arrival of the recently-defrocked Michael Hegarty, who announces the car is waiting and the bank opens in half an hour. Peter informs them he is coming too, which Hegarty is against until Claudia announces she would prefer to have Peter there – she’s not sure she can trust Hegarty yet.

On the drive over Claudia notices that a car is following them but keeps that information to herself, while Peter ponders how much money he’s going to get his hands on. At the bank, Hegarty tells him to wait in reception while Claudia produces the key for the box. Inside the bank vault, the extent of the money is revealed, causing Claudia to do a fairly decent Sleepless in Seattle reenactment. In her excitment she drops some money on the ground, and while Hegarty graciously picks them up Claudia swaps the little black book in the box for one in her bag. WHAT THE HELL CLAUDIA?

As they leave the bank, the Carboni gang appear, guns drawn, demanding the book. But then some more people appear with guns and arrest the Carbonis. Hegarty rushes Claudia and Peter into the car and hightails it out of there. While Peter and Claudia are distracted, Hegarty sneaks the little black book out of Claudia’s handbag.

Back at the hotel the truth is revealed – Claudia is really Jennifer Page! Jennifer is working for the CIA! Jennifer is conveniently a dead ringer for the real Claudia Carboni!

Peter doesn’t take this news at all well. And neither does Jennifer when she discovers that Hegarty has swapped the black books back and has the real one. Hegarty leaves the two of them to sort out their feelings while he calls home to tell his boss the good news.

And that, Fletcherfans, is the end of Season 6. I AM OFFICIALLY HALF WAY. OH GOD I AM ONLY HALF WAY. This was such a good idea in 2012, but then the world was meant to be ending that year so I think I figured I’d be off the hook. God damn Mayan prophecies, always letting me down.

But I am curious – now that we’re half-way, what has been your favourite episode so far? I think mine might be “If It’s Thursday It Must Be Beverley” but it’s a tough call.

Let me know your thoughts, and stay tuned for season 7 next week!

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S06E21 – The Szechuan Dragon

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Happy Valentines Day Fletcherfans! Fun fact – St Valentine is also the patron saint of bee keepers, plague sufferers and epileptics so go down to your nearest apiary and hug an epileptic beekeeper today!

But before you do, let me tell you a tale. A tale of a  sea captain disembarking a ship in New York late one night. Out of the shadows a woman appears, ordering the captain to give something to her. He tells her he doesn’t have it. She says she knows he took it from the Cambodian five weeks earlier, and it’s hers. She pulls a gun. The sea captain whacks her with his shore bag and she is knocked unconscious. The sea captain picks up the gun, throws the bullets into the water and drops the gun back next to her. With a casual salute, he departs.

Back in her hotel room, the woman gets a knock at the door. That creepy guy from Titanic whose been in other things but is mainly the creepy dude from Titanic walks in, demanding the thing. She tells him she doesn’t have it, that the sea captain told her the Cambodian stole it from him five weeks earlier in Singapore. Which would be a lie, for those playing along at home. She also tells him that’s all she can remember.

“Except their next location.” Says the man. His bags are in his limo downstairs, where are they going?

“Maine.” Says the woman. “A place called Cabot Cove.”

Aha! Well, they have no chance pitted against the Dazzling Brilliance that is Our Heroine right guys?

I MEAN WHY

I MEAN WHY

It turns out that Grady and his rather pregnant wife Donna are in town to house-sit for JB while she’s in England to see her cousin Emma’s new show. Donna isn’t pregnant for another couple of months but Grady refuses to let her be out of the car. He asks Seth to take a look at her when he gets the chance, and as he hands over Jess’s keys Seth tells him he would be delighted. As Grady gets into the car, Seth tells Donna he can give her something to calm those nerves. Donna thanks him but tells him her nerves are fine.

“Not yours. His.” Says Seth.

BURN.

Grady and Donna arrive at House Fletcher and meet Jessica’s neighbour Connie Lewis, who has been watering the plants while Jess is away. While she gives Donna directions for tending the plants, her son Stanley roars up on his motorbike. Connie begs him not to park it where the whole world can see but he just waves and wanders off. Connie tells Donna and Grady that he’s hoping to buy a bigger faster bike but that she’s hoping the bank will reject his loan application. She leaves them to it, and while Donna tries to unpack and Grady decides his wife can’t possibly sleep upstairs (until she points out that’s where the bathroom is, right next to the guest room and MY GOD CALM DOWN GRADY) they are interrupted by a phone call. It’s Jess, checking in. Turns out Emma’s show is predicted to be a smash hit and the Royal Family will be in attendance. And it’s protocol for them to come backstage after the performance.

“You’re going to meet the Queen of England?!?” Says Grady.

GODDAMN RIGHT.

GODDAMN RIGHT.

Before she hangs up, she tells Grady that the phone number for Emma’s flat where she’s staying is next to the phone, and that there’s a blue envelope with a few hundred dollars in it for the plumber in the drawer in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, down in town, Carla Thyssen and Justin Hunnicut (the previously mentioned man and woman looking for the Thing) are sitting in their car awaiting the arrival of the sea captain off the bus from New York. When the bus arrives, and the sea captain isn’t on it, Justin is furious and thinks Carla has joined with The Cambodian to try and double cross him. She asks him why she would be there if that was the case, and anyway he was the one convinced he could work out who the sea captain was in town to see. Unbeknownst to the pair of them, the sea captain has arrived in town by hitching a ride on a truck and YOU GUYS HE HAS A WOODEN LEG THIS IS AMAZING.

100% PIRATE.

100% PIRATE.

Turns out the pirate is the brother of the mum in Happy Days. I think. I read this fact right before I had a nap so that might not actually be true.

Back at House Fletcher, Grady is trying to unpack but is distracted by Donna inadequately resting. (Another fun fact: having someone shout RELAX MORE at you does not help you relax.) When Donna tries to put an (empty) suitcase away Grady snatches it off her, almost smashing an ornament in the process. The ornament in question, a large ceramic dragon, is deemed hideous and relegated to the top shelf of the closet.

COULD THIS BE THE SZECHUAN DRAGON? Spoiler alert the answer is yes and now I want szechuan chicken.

COULD THIS BE THE SZECHUAN DRAGON? Spoiler alert the answer is yes and now I want szechuan chicken.

Grady goes off to do some grocery shopping and picks up some seafood down at the dock – coincidentally the same place that Stanley  Lewis works. As Grady leaves, a man turns to watch him leave – one can only assume he is The Cambodian.

Later that night, Donna is woken by noises downstairs. She wakes Grady up and finally manages to convince him that there’s someone in the house. She asks him if Jess might have a baseball bat in the house but Grady tells her she took it to London with her. (OK Grady.)

Without a baseball bat, Donna is forced to improvise.

BLOW WAVE OF DEATH.

BLOW WAVE OF DEATH.

Downstairs they find the source of all the commotion. It’s the pirate sea-captain, dead on the floor with a smashed lamp and a key next to him. Fortunately, Cabot Cove’s finest are on the case.

I would not watch that show. Or would I? (Nah, probs not)

I would not watch that show. Or would I? (Nah, probs not)

Grady is concerned that a) the broken lamp was Jess’s favourite and b)the whole sorry business is having a dreadful effect on Donna, but as usual Grady is wrong. Donna is having a lovely time reassembling a letter in a foreign language found in the sea-captain’s pocket and pouring coffee for the sheriff who has worked out a basic theory – it’s a burglary gone wrong so all they need to work out is who the dead guy is, who the dead guy’s partner is how any of them got a spare key to Hosue Fletcher, since according to Seth not even he has a key to Jessica’s house.

As they mull things over, the phone rings. It’s JB checking up on them all. Grady freaks but in a remarkably clever move tells his aunt that an old sea-captain looking dude “dropped in” but Jess doesn’t recognise the description. She tells Grady she’s sure he’ll pop in again if it’s important.

“No I don’t think so.” Says Grady.

Jess hangs up, leaving Seth to rant about how Jess never locks her doors when she’s home but as soon as she does, complete strangers turn up in her living room. We get it Seth, you want a key cut, calm your llama.

Over at the Hill House the next morning, Carla awakes to find Justin Hunnicut being A Creepy Dude.

Creepy Titanic dude is creepy.

Creepy Titanic dude is creepy.

He’s learned about the murder of the sea-captain on the radio, and tells Carla he popped by the previous night, but that Carla was out. He went down the beach looking for her but she wasn’t there either. Carla denies seeing the sea-captain or The Cambodian and what’s more she doesn’t have It.

“Not in this room.” Says Hunnicutt. ARGH SO CREEPY EW EW EW EW. He leaves, not before commenting on Carla’s taste in lingerie (EW EW EW EW). As the door closes, Carla picks up the phone and calls The Cambodian to ask where he went after their meeting. He tells her she has insulted him and asks if Hunnicut was responsible. Carla says to leave Justin to her.

Over at the Sheriff’s office Seth has just delivered his preliminary findings re: the sea-captain: death by whack on head with lamp by someone right handed. Mort is less than impressed with this news, as it doesn’t give him much more than he already had. Luckily Deputy Floyd is on the case – he has taken a look at the letter and recognised that it was in Greek, thanks to his days in the frat house at university. Both Seth and Mort are rather taken aback at this Floyd development.

HE IS SO PROUD OF HIMSELF

HE IS SO PROUD OF HIMSELF

Conveniently for everyone but mainly the audience, the shop-keeper where Grady bought his seafood happens to be Greek and he’s delighted to have a crack at translating the message, after a brief interruption from Stanley on his new motorbike with a delivery. Unfortunately for Mort, the letter appears to be nothing more than a holiday letter.

Over at House Fletcher Donna goes next door to borrow some shampoo from Connie when Grady gets a knock at the door. A phone repair guy has come to fix the phone. BUT IT’S NOT A PHONE REPAIR GUY IT’S THE CAMBODIAN! (Why doesn’t he get an actual name?)

While Grady babbles, The Cambodian stalks the house for the Th-can we all just agree it’s the damn dragon? Excellent. Anyway while he looks Grady says since The Cambodian has been in town for so long he must know his aunt Jess and read her books. The Cambodian agrees, says that JB is a fine woman and that her books are very instructive.

“Instructive?” Grady is horrified. “On how to kill people?”

The Cambodian neatly covers his mistake by going on a kung-fu rampage both glorious and destructive.

Now is it me or is Michael Horton grinning in this screencap? Because let's face it, holding a chair while the guy who designed fight sequences for Inception and Get Smart destroys it with his foot would make me grin too.

Now is it me or is Michael Horton grinning in this screencap? Because let’s face it, holding a chair while the guy who designed fight sequences for Inception and Get Smart destroys it with his foot would make me grin too.

Before the house gets reduced to toothpicks they hear sirens. The Cambodian leaves (sadly by opening the door and not by flying kick) and escapes. Seth and Floyd give chase but they return empty handed. Donna rushes in, saying she got worried when the phone repair guy didn’t have a van. Grady says he wishes he’d thought of that.

Later that afternoon, The Cambodian is on the beach (meditating? Thinking about cheese?) when he opens his eyes. Hunnicut is standing behind him. “Were you followed?” The Cambodian asks.

“No.” Says Hunnicutt. “Dear Carla doesn’t suspect a thing.”

Fast forward to the next day, when the plumber has come to check the plumbing and Seth has come to check pulses. Everything is working fine except Grady’s heart rate which is going at a million miles an hour. Once the plumber finishes, they discover that the envelope JB left them with the money has disappeared from the drawer. The killer!

Later that night, Donna is in bed looking at one of Jess’s photo albums when she makes a discovery – Jess’s Aunt Harriet is in a picture with the sea-captain! Grady gets on the phone to a sleepy JB who tells him that the man’s name was Herbert Malachi, an ex-boyfriend of her aunt who no-one had heard from in years. Jess gets suspicious when Grady starts innocently inquiring whether Jess owned any rare antiques or coins but tells her he broke the lamp. Happily for him the lamp was an old eyesore according to JB. Donna gets on the phone for a two second hello before Grady announces to JB they have to go.

I now present to you possibly The Best Screencap I’ve ever grabbed, that I feel sums up the JB/Grady relationship completely.

Also sums up my feelings about Mondays.

Also sums up my feelings about Mondays.

Grady can’t sleep though and goes down to get a glass of milk. Instead he rings Mort and tells him what Jess told Grady about the dead man’s identity. As Grady is about to go back upstairs, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Carla – her “car” has “broken down” and could she use his phone? As soon as she’s inside, the story gets better. Carla tells Grady that Captain Malachi was her father and her only family, that he died trying to retrieve his possession and would Grady help her?

Grady says of course. Well he tries to. Which is when Donna comes downstairs.

I feel like this might have happened before??

I feel like this might have happened before??

They hear a car scream to a halt outside. Carla thinks it’s Hunnicutt and begs them not to do business with him. She flees via the back door. Grady hides Donna behind a chair and arms himself with a poker but it’s only Mort and Floyd. Mort is interested in Carla’s story since he’s managed to discover that Herbert Malachi wasn’t a captain – just a disgraced former seaman who got busted smuggling art out of Burma. Moreover, the same World War 2 incident that cost him his leg also cost him his chance of making babies (Mort’s words, not mine).

Grady can’t believe he fell for Carla’s story.

Guys Donna is kind of awesome.

Guys Donna is kind of awesome.

Mort has decided the risk is too high, and appoints Floyd to stay at the house for the rest of the night, much to Floyd’s surprise.

The next morning, Donna wakes to find the house torn apart and Floyd tied to a chair with tape around his neck. Guys I think Jess really needs to reconsider her housesitters.

Mort takes Floyd to see Seth and get checked out but Seth pronounces him fine. The phone rings – it’s Jess. She’s worried about Grady and Donna but Seth assures her that they, the baby and her house are all fine. She asks him about Captain Malachi but Seth plays dumb on that point. It’s only when Jess starts telling him the story of her Aunt Helen, and the hideous dragon she left Jess in her will that Seth starts freaking out, tells Jess he has an emergency call and calls Mort. Mort, Floyd, Seth, Donna and Grady go to retrieve the dragon from the wardrobe but it’s gone.

Mort decides to get a second opinion on that letter he found. His hunch is correct – the letter isn’t about a cruise, it’s all about how much the dragon is worth. It would appear that Mort’s former translator, Nick, was less than accurate with his translating, and when they pick him up they find the dragon on him. Unfortunately though his alibi for the murder checks out, leaving them back at square one.  Seth has been to the library and has found out the long exciting history of the Szechuan Dragon, including the fact that it’s currently worth eight figures. The phone rings again – Jess in a panic. She can’t get hold of Grady, Donna or Seth. Mort tells her it’s fine, it’s just a murder. She demands information and Mort tells her he hopes she’s not at a pay phone.

Over at the coffee shop Donna is about to settle into an icecream sundae when she sees Carla sitting with the Cambodian and Justin Hunnicutt across the room. She marches over there and places the whole lot of them under citizens arrest, and when the Cambodian starts to grab her arm she screams the place down, sending a horde of teenage footballers to her aid.

Learnt that from her aunt. No question.

Down at the police station chaos erupts, but Mort shuts them all up. He returns to the phone and asks JB who he should arrest for the murder, but is surprised to hear the answer is none of them.

Life Lesson #59: When in doubt, phone a friend.

Stellaaaaaaaaaaa

Stellaaaaaaaaaaa

Oh Stanley. He who got rejected for a bank loan and got busted nicking JB’s plumbing money by a pirate. That old story.

But for now, I think it’s best we celebrate the fact that Our Heroine can solve cases via phone, and reflect on the fact that Grady is only in one more episode. Next week marks the end of season six, and the halfway point in Murder She Blogged, so to celebrate I think it’s time I tweeted another movie.

So! By the power vested in me, by me, I pronounce Murder She Blogged Epic Tweetathon Part The Third will take place on Monday, 14 March at 12pm Melbourne time. The film shall be Murder She Wrote: A Story To Die For.

Set your twitters to EPIC TWEET.

Until next time!

Later gang!

Later gang!

S06E20 – Shear Madness

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Welcome to Fairville Texas Fletcherfans where the the sky is blue, the leaves are – green probably, and a bus has just arrived into town. Some people get off, including this guy:

Back to him in a sec

He arrives, he takes his suitcase, he tries to make a phone call. More later.

But frankly I’d like to talk about how this guy:

(This one is for the boys with the boomin systems)

YEP.

Grew up into this guy:

Frankly I don’t know how I can continue with this, but I will do my best.

While we all dwell in this new reality where Joseph Gordon Levitt was once in Murder She Wrote, Our Heroine is helping her cousin Ann Owens Arden prepare for her upcoming wedding to Bill Spenser, renowned bad boy turned good. Or so says Ann’s sister.

Sorry Doris. You aren't the best cameo in this episode.

Sorry Doris. You aren’t the best cameo in this episode.

While Ann gets coffee ready for the rehearsal dinner, Helen and Jess take her dress and things upstairs, laughing when Jess forgets to skip the squeaky step. You guys, I think this might come up again later. Jess remarks that nothing in the house has changed, and apparently apart from getting a new fridge, nothing has.

Helen tells JB that she will be moving out once the marriage happens, she refuses to share a house with Billy Spenser. Jess thinks he can’t be as bad as all that, some youthful scrapes but nothing serious. Helen tells her Billy was the wildest boy in town with never a dime to his name. Jess says that’s obviously changed now that he spent 15 years making his fortune in Alaska. Helen conceeds that Billy doesn’t have the gambling debts of Anne’s last fiance, but he’s bad news and wrong for Ann. DEAD WRONG.

PROPHETIC STATEMENT IS PROPHETIC PROBABLY.

Speaking of the devil, Billy arrives and is delighted to meet the famous cousin Jess. He’s just sorry that his future brother-in-law George is too unwell to attend the wedding. Jess is surprised to hear this, she thought Ann had said that George was getting better, but Ann quickly says overall the doctors are encouraged but he couldn’t attend. Billy says he knows depression can be tough, not that he’s ever had to deal with it.

THAT FACE IS GLORIOUS I MUST LEARN IT

THAT FACE IS GLORIOUS I MUST LEARN IT

The doorbell rings and Helen goes to see if it’s the Reverend in time for the rehearsal. Jess helps Ann with the coffee and wants to know just what is going on? How does Billy not know about George?

Ann tells her she hasn’t told Billy the whole story, because she doesn’t really understand what happened. George idolised her former fiancee Nathan. Jess agreed but thinks surely Billy won’t be worried about something that happened 15 years ago, and that surely he’s heard gossip. Ann tells her that if he has, he hasn’t said anything.

The rehearsal kicks off with Helen busting out her rendition of Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won’t Do That’.

h1

h2

Seems like a weird choice for a wedding though,

Seems like a weird choice for a wedding though.

Just as the rehearsal concludes, Ann gets a phone call. She tells them it’s Rosemary Taylor down at the paper, who is covering the wedding party that night and got confused about some of the details, although Ann seems more rattled than a call about details. Helen still thinks it’s weird that they are having the wedding reception before the actual wedding but Billy tells them he and Helen have a flight to catch and a cruise to make. The reverend tells them he’ll make it quick. As he leaves, Ann opens the door and finds George.

George is in fact auditioning for Children of the Corn: They're Ba-ack!

George is in fact auditioning for Children of the Corn: They’re Ba-ack!

Needless to say everyone is a little bit surprised to see George, which confuses him since the hospital told him that they would let his family know. George himself is a lot surprised when Billy introduces himself as Ann’s fiance. Billy tells Ann to show George her ring and for a second he is hypotised.

The Reverend quickly departs, telling them he will see them all tonight. Billy departs as well, telling Ann he has a little errand to run. Ann tells Helen to show George up to his room while she and JB fix him some food. Ann gets on the phone to the hospital who confirm George has been released but she can’t speak to his psychiatrist as he left that morning and hasn’t been seen since. Ann confesses to JB that she loves her brother, but that he scares her.

Meanwhile, it turns out Billy’s errand is to the newspaper to see Rosemary Taylor. He’s furious with her, saying he was there when she called Ann. “Oh, then you must have met George! I saw him get off the bus –

(This one is for the boys with the boomin systems)

I wasn’t sure if it was him or not

(This one is for the boys with the boomin systems)

so I made a few calls before I called Ann.”

Oh right, she’s talking about George.

Rosemary and Billy are soon joined by Rosemary’s daughter Meg who’s just found the newspaper her mother was looking for. Billy takes one look at Meg and departs, leaving them to look at the headline.

A newspaper. That thing that Buzzfeed isn't.

A newspaper. That thing that Buzzfeed isn’t.

Later that night the party is in full swing(ish) and Jess and George are having the time of their lives.

George remembers his great aunt’s punch recipe fondly, but still can’t remember the night he bumped off his sister’s husband. Problematic. They are blinded by a flash – Meg and Rosemary have arrived and Jess swears she’s met Meg before (but apparently not, according to Meg). Rosemary on the other hand is dying to know how George is post-hospital life. She’s knows how hard it must have been, she’s seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Amen

Amen

She asks him all about his therapy, and whether or not he had shock therapy, and he tells her no, she can check his records. This is music to her ears, she has big plans for an article about George. Or 2! Or 3! George starts to panic and tells them he needs air. Ann, Helen and Billy arrive just as he leaves and Ann demands to know what Rosemary said to George. She denies saying anything, but when Billy orders her to leave Meg sparks up, saying Billy has no right to speak to her mother like that. Rosemary shrugs it off, and they depart.

God this is exhausting.

Later, one of the caterers brings Billy a note she found left for him on the veranda. Jokes fly about a secret admirer but Billy informs them it’s just a business thing and heads for the cellar, where someone stabs him with some gardening shears because duh.

An hour later, as the final guests are departing, Ann is worried about Billy but has to contend with an excess of leftovers. She gets Jess to fish out the cheque and goes to show the caterers where the old fridge is in the cellar. Jess finds the cheque, along with a written telephone message saying George had been released and asking them to call Dr Carlsson. Helen finds JB with her hand in the till (so to speak) but when Jess asks her why she didn’t tell Ann about George’s release she says there wasn’t time. She herself didn’t speak to Dr Carlsson either, it was his secretary. All she knew was that Dr Carlsson was very upset that George had been released.

A scream from the basement – Ann’s just found Billy. When the police arrive Jess begs them to defer questioning until the next day, as Ann has been sedated. The Sheriff is fine with that, it’s an open and shut case – exactly like the one 15 years earlier. George was clearly guilty. Jess is suspicious – how can George recreate exactly a murder he doesn’t even remember committing? The Sheriff tells her the details were in the papers, it wouldn’t be hard.

Shouting erupts from upstairs and the Sheriff is summoned. The source of the commotion is Dr Carlsson who says George was one of his patients.

Actual quote. (Actually snort laughed).

Actual quote. (Actually snort laughed).

Doctor Carlsson informs them that George is basically a zero change of killing someone. He was against George’s release because he felt that George was on the brink of remembering the night Ann’s last fiance died, and to return home prematurely could jeopardise that. The Sheriff doesn’t care, and tells them he will post a man outside in case George comes home. Carlsson tells JB that George was beginning to remember one detail from the night of the murder – seeing something shiny. He tells Jess he will go get a room at the hotel and call her in the morning to see if he can be of assistance.

Meanwhile, on the veranda:

Children of the shrubbery

Children of the shrubbery

The next morning Helen and Jess try to take care of Ann but she’s determined to get things done. Helen offers to drive her to the mortuary to make arrangements for the funeral, and Jess volunteers to stay behind in case George turns up. Ann hears the squeaky floorboard go and rushes to get ready. Jess rushes down after Helen, herself stepping on the squeaky floorboard, but Helen is nowhere to be seen. As Jess hunts for Helen she notices the crime scene tape is all cut up on the door to the cellar. She goes to investigate and finds Meg taking pictures. Meg rushes out a side door, and JB returns to the front door to try and stop her before she gets away. Instead she finds Rosemary, who says she’s been knocking but no-one heard her. Rosemary is just after a quote from the family for the paper, she doesn’t want to intrude, she remembers how brutal the first crime scene was with blood all over the walls and the fridge and the whatnot. Jess enquires as to why Meg was down their taking pictures if she was so horrified, and Rosemary tells her she is wrong. Meg is at the fairground.

Later that night (my god this episode just keeps going), Jess gets a phone call from Helen – the storm is pretty bad and they are going to wait until it passes before driving home. Jess promises to check on the windows, and as she goes to the stairs she spots muddy footprints leading up – footprints that skip the squeaky step. She follows the trail upstairs and finds George, holding the bloodied pruning shears. Because SHEAR MADNESS GUYS GEDDIT.

George tells JB that he had returned to the house just in time to hear what he had done, and hid again, only coming out to pack his things. As he packed though he found the murder weapon. George catches sight of JB’s brooch and starts mumbling about seeing Ann’s jewellery in the basement as the Sheriff appears to disarm the situation. He agrees to let Dr Carlsson see George the next day.

Dr Carlsson hypnotises George to take him back to the night of Nathan the first fiancee’s murder. George finally remembers what happened – that he busted Nathan trying to steal Ann’s jewellery to pay off a gambling debt and when George tried to stop him Nathan went for the shears. Long story short, self defence!

The Sheriff is unmoved by this revelation – it doesn’t prove George didn’t kill Billy. Au contraire, Sheriff. JB thinks it proves exactly that, and what’s more she knows who did kill Billy – she just doesn’t quite know how to prove it yet. She and the sheriff go to the newspaper to ask Rosemary about her daughter’s whereabouts, but Rosemary refuses to believe that Meg had anything to do with it – she had no motive! No motive, says Jess, except that Billy Spenser was her father.

At the realisation that the truth is out about Meg’s paternity, and the fact that Meg put the shears in George’s desk, Rosemary finally comes clean.

You guys will never know how much I wanted to write Doris Roberts of DEATH but it just wasn't to be.

You guys will never know how much I wanted to write Doris Roberts of DEATH but it just wasn’t to be.

The sheriff apologises – to JB. He was convinced it was the daughter, but JB knew it – she knew it when Rosemary said the fridge had been covered in blood 15 years earlier when the fridge had only been moved down a month ago. Also, something something squeaky stairs and revenge for Billy leaving her pregnant.

Guys I’m not going to lie to you. The whole time I wrote this my brain was doing this. I need to lie down and reassess my life up until this point.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S06E19 – Always a Thief

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We're ba-ack!

We’re ba-ack!

Apologies for the break in transmission Fletcherfans but there was shenanigans a-plenty this summer, including the safe arrival of my nephew Harry  James Williamson as you can see by this incredibly Youtube recreation of our meeting.

On second thoughts, not so accurate. My brother doesn’t have that much hair. I am definitely a hornbill though. And my sister-in-law is basically Nala. And I’m almost certain my brother’s puppies bowed.

I should also mention, the blog appears to have accumulated some new followers so if you’ve just wandered onto this omnishambles of a blog I say welcome! And sorry! And I hope you enjoyed Breaking Bad because that comes up way more often than you think.

But never mind all of that, because we have business to attend to and by business I mean bookends. Our Heroine has just received a cassette tape letter from her old pal Dennis The Menace Stanton and while it was adequate, she can’t help but think of an earlier cassette he sent her about a case he’d worked on. Because as it turns out, Dennis The Menace has retired from being a cat burglar and is now a..er…consultant to insurance companies.

Would you like to hear the tale?

That question was purely rhetorical.

That question was purely rhetorical.

Imagine, if you will, a cafe in San Francisco called the Pepper Pot Cafe. Now imagine that the owner, a Mr Langston ‘Lanny’ Douglas has squandered his family fortune including the cafe.

Also, you probably aren’t imagining Lanny properly, so let me help you out a little:

SO GROSS.

SO GROSS.

Now imagine a mysterious stranger called Mahmoud Amini wanders in offering Lanny a lifeline – 10% of 2 million dollars. $200,000 grand easy money, as long as he convinces his mother to sell Amini a priceless Stuart Silver dollar that Lanny’s father bought not that long ago for a whopping five hundred grand.

(Bless the 80s. You can’t buy an apartment for that in Melbourne).

Lanny’s mother, Monica Douglas, is less impressed, mostly because she already has 2 million dollars and a great deal more besides. In fact, Andrea is furious that these foreigners insist on coming over and buying up her heritage. Her husband loved that coin and she won’t be parted from it.

 

**not code

 

Poor, poor Lanny.

 

Possibly not petunias. But definitely Pedro.

Possibly not petunias. But definitely Pedro.

More on Pedro later.

To make Lanny’s day just that little bit better, his wife Andrea saw the whole failed shambles and is toasting him with a 2pm whiskey.

 

*bah-boom tish*

*bah-boom tish*

Andrea’s got bad news for Lanny – she talked to her father about borrowing more money from him and while it amused him no end, the money ain’t coming. Lanny announces he won’t be home that night, he has to “work” in the city to which Andrea retorts that she knows how to play too. As Lanny departs Andrea realises someone has been eavesdropping.

Later that night, Lanny hatches his DIABOLICAL SCHEME.

Classic Lanny.

Classic Lanny.

Lanny sneaks into the study, opens the safe, steals all the jewelry inside, closes the safe, puts gelignite on the safe and blows up the safe closes the door to the patio, smashes the glass in the door for good measure and is promptly busted by Pedro the gardener, whom Lanny promptly stabs to death with a pitchfork.

Guys, Lanny is an arsehole. Who apparently has access to mild explosives. But apparently we shouldn’t dwell on that.

The next morning, the cavalry arrive in the form of Lieutenant Catalano (being played by Ken Swofford, because always). Catalano gets the low down from Mrs Douglas before noticing a familiar figure gazing at a painting in the next room.

Oh Dennis. I actually have missed you.

Oh Dennis. I actually have missed you.

Dennis informs Catalano that his bosses are the insurers of the magical silver dollar, and he’d like a word with Mrs Douglas if he might. Catalano can’t think of any objections so Dennis heads on in to see Mrs Douglas, now joined by her sister Grace Lambert (aka the woman overhearing arguments the previous day). Dennis gently interrogates them about the other occupants of the house, which Grace sees through in about 5 seconds. She asks him why he’s so interested in the fact that Lanny spent the night at a hotel in the city.

Why? Because Dennis smells a rat, that’s why and he says as much to his assistant back in the office. The timeline of the theft is all wrong. If Monica heard the bang and rushed straight downstairs as she claims, there would hardly be time for a thief to ransack the safe, smash the door, kill Pedro and flee the scene. And let’s not forget dear old Lanny’s been harassing his mother to sell the coin.  Dennis gets his assistant to track down the mysterious Mr Amini, while he pays a visit on Lanny.

On arriving at the Pepper Pot, Dennis nearly crashes into a hastily departing vehicle being driven by someone who isn’t Lanny. Dennis receives some resistance from Lanny’s associate on the desk, but after displaying the fact that HIS UMBRELLA HAS A SWORD IN IT (WTF?) Dennis convinces the man to stand aside, leaving the doorway clear. Inside, the office is empty but Dennis notices a small pool of blood, and a photo of Lanny and his wife posed in the office next to a ridiculously over-sized golf trophy, now missing. Dennis bids Lanny’s minion good day and returns to his office to fill Lieutenant Catalano in. Catalano is surprised to hear that Lanny Douglas is almost certainly deceased, and probably at the hand of the mysterious driver of the car. When pressed for more information, Dennis simply says “I’ve given you my pearls, don’t ask me to string them for you too”.

Almost definitely code.

Dennis’s next visit is to Mr Amini, who is Mr Affable until Dennis confronts him about the coin. He denies all knowledge of anything ever in the history of time, but after being informed the likely sentence for murder he comes clean. He did receive a coin from Lanny, paid for in 2 mill in cash, but it was a fake. Amini was outraged, but not as outraged as Lanny was when Amini got him on the phone. They had made plans to meet later that day to sort the matter out, so to hear Dennis’s theory that Lanny is now dead is worrying for Amini.

Later that night, the old guy in the car pulls up beside a ditch, pulls Lanny’s body out of the trunk of the car and throws him in it.

Conclusive.

The next day, Dennis’s expert confirms that the coin is a fake and demands her payment be dinner with Dennis that Friday. Dennis looks unhappy at the prospect.

Dennis is about to out-Hegarty Hegarty.

Dennis is about to out-Hegarty Hegarty.

Dennis’s boss is curious though. Who has the coin? Lanny? Dennis thinks not, and here’s another thing – where’s the 2 million dollars?

Dennis returns to the scene of all the crimes, and on the way in passes the mysterious car driver leaving the Douglas family driveway. Inside, Grace Lambert informs Dennis that Monica is too worried about her son to see him right now. It’s clear that Grace doesn’t like Dennis very much. (Possibly wise.) Dennis asks about the mysterious man in the car, and Grace tells him that that was Lanny’s father -in-law, Ray Bascomb.

THIS PLOT IS THICK FLETCHERFANS.

As Dennis departs he runs into Lieutenant Catalano, who tells him Lanny Douglas’s body has just been discovered. Back at the office Dennis is filled in by his assistant about the body, and that Lanny still had his wallet, cash and ring on him, so it probably wasn’t robbery. Except the silver dollar and the 2 mill are missing so it almost definitely was. Dennis tells his assistant to find out all she can about Grace Lambert while he pays a visit on Ray Bascomb.

Ray is hard at work overseeing a photoshoot involving a model and some pigeons but takes time to inform Dennis he was shocked by the news of his son-in-law’s death.

“Was that before or after you killed him?” Dennis inquires.

Bascomb doesn’t take very kindly to this, and refuses to say another word. Not when Dennis explains that he knows Ray went to see Lanny. Not when Dennis informs him that it’s impossible to remove all evidence of a dead body from a car. Not when Dennis tells him that the police are at the site where the body was dumped taking plaster casts of the car treads. Not even when Dennis takes that back, as the sirens grow louder, and he tells Ray he thinks they’ve finished.

At the police station, Ray tells Dennis and Catalano that he went to see his son-in-law to not give him money to his face, but that he didn’t kill him. Catalano gets called away, but Dennis isn’t done yet. He asks Ray if it’s true that he only went to see Lanny after a hysterical phone call his secretary remembers he got at work. Dennis thinks Andrea killed Lanny and got her father to cover it up but Ray ain’t talkin.

Dennis returns to House Douglas but is refused entry by a super-apologetic housekeeper who tells him Monica is out and Andrea is not to be seen by anyone. Dennis gallantly responds to this news by jumping into the nearest hedge.

I can relate. I have a sneaking suspicion I too have jumped into a hedge yelling FOR SPARTAAAAA at some point. #dejavu

I can relate. I have a sneaking suspicion I too have jumped into a hedge yelling FOR SPARTAAAAA at some point. #dejavu

Dennis might not have quite achieved high level ninja status but he has achieved boss level cat burglar status and so climbs the nearest drainpipe to see Andrea for himself. Inside, Andrea comes clean.

Well, Dennis said it was so, and lo so it was. Or something. Honestly, I'm still wondering whose bush I jumped into.

Well, Dennis said it was so, and lo so it was. Or something. Honestly, I’m still wondering whose bush I jumped into.

She went to see him and they fought. He told her he didn’t need her any more so she lashed out. She doesn’t want her father to go to prison for her crime, and asks Dennis to take her to the police station. Dennis agrees, but has one last question – does she remember seeing a brown briefcase in the office when she was there with Lanny?

Andrea does, but wants to know why that’s important. Dennis tells her it’s terribly important – the briefcase was gone by the time her father went round to move the body.

Oh yeah, that whole burglary business.

Back at the Pepperpot Cafe, Lanny’s minion (whose name, it turns out, is Joey Freeman) has just closed up for the night and is set to kick back in the freezer room with his briefcase full of money when Dennis sneaks up on him. Joey pulls a gun and warns Dennis not to come any closer, he knows about Dennis’s magical umbrella/sword. Dennis informs him is umbrella isn’t also a sword, aims the umbrella AND SHOOTS A TRANQUILIZER DART INTO JOEY’S NECK DENNIS STANTON WHAT EVEN ARE YOU??

Dennis delicately steps over a now comatose Joey, retrieves the money and departs. The next day, Dennis goes to explain the whole story to Monica Douglas who is naturally devastated by the whole situation. Dennis isn’t done though – he thinks he’s worked out why Grace doesn’t like him. He thinks he reminds her of someone she once loved – Jerome Woodward.

Monica is surprised – that was ten years ago, who told him about that? Dennis makes it his business to know who he’s dealing with. Monica says it was a difficult time in their lives, but Grace returns and says it wasn’t for her. It was, for awhile, a wonderful time. She offers to show the grounds to Dennis who cheerfully accepts.

As they stroll, the story comes out. The story about how Grace was wooed by a rogue who went after her money, and how he convinced her to swap the original Stuart silver dollar for a fake, and who ran off with it.

Dennis is outraged and promptly invites himself to lunch to cheer Grace up immediately.

And so ends the Case of the Silver Coin.

Keith Michell passed away just before Christmas so in honour of everyone’s favourite reformed cat burglar:

And if I jumped into your bush yelling FOR SPARTAAA then I apologise.

And if I jumped into your bush yelling FOR SPARTAAA then I apologise.