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