Back in the Cove this week Fletcherfans, where JB has some new neighbours on Candlewood Lane – Bonnie and Dave Hastings and their daughter Sally. JB is having a tea party with Sally and a doll that is apparently the queen, and answering questions about grandfathers she might have that Sally doesn’t. Apparently Sally’s grandfather died before she was even born…
…cut to a grizzled old dude rolling into the carpark at the Lighthouse Motel. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE WRITERS.
The dude checks in to the hotel, paying cash upfront as demanded by the hotel clerk, who quickly snatches the guest register to check the name once the old dude has gone into his room. A short time later the dude calls the front desk, asking to be connected to a phone number, and I mean actually connected.
Unfortunately for the Dude, the phone rings out. Presumably because the mouse fell off the generator or some such.
The next day The Dude is having breakfast at the diner and sussing out some info from the waitress, like what happened to the old steakhouse, or if she knows a woman called Bonnie Jenks. The waitress tells him she married Dave Hastings, and he departs – not before getting the attention of Gil the short order cook who watches him go into the bank up the road. He puts a call in to bank president Elton Summers to let him know that a man who looked a lot like Ned Jenks just walked into his bank. Elton dismisses it out of hand, but goes to have a cheeky look anyway. The signature on the bank cheque the man cashed confirms it, The Dude is Ned Jenks.
Later on that morning, while Bonnie gets her husband Dave off to work (played by Larry Wilcox who has been in this show about eleven billion times) she sees The Dude, I mean Ned loitering in his car across the street. Later, she tells JB what happened – that the man came up to her and said he was her father, that he didn’t drown after crashing his car after robbing the bank and, you know, surprise!
That afternoon, Jess bumps into Mayor Sam Booth, and fills him in on the latest drama in Cabot Cove, to which Sam says “She might have some barnacles on her bottom but overall I’d say she’s sound.”
Turns out Sam is actually talking about a boat he’s thinking of buying. But ermahgherd, Sam adds, Ned Jinks was trouble from way back and remember how he used to hoon about on his blue motorbike, (red, says JB) and ran off with the homecoming queen (that was his daughter, Julie Jenks was Miss Cabot Cove 1962, says JB), and then the girl’s mother cut them off. JB wonders if that’s what lead Ned into robbing the bank. Sam thinks it’s good riddance Ned died, proving once and for all he wasn’t paying attention to Jess, and is horrified when JB tells him Ned is back.
While Sam considers the looming zombie apocalypse, across town Ned emerges from a store with a giant teddy bear. A man and a woman watch his progress – the woman isn’t at all sure if it’s Ned but the man is certain and accosts Ned as he gets into his car. “Remember me? I was in the bank that day. I’m the one you shot.” The man yells at Ned, who quickly drives off.
JB heads over to the Sheriff’s office to read through the old case file on the bank robbery – they never found Ned’s body or the missing 200 grand from the heist. The man Ned shot bursts into the sheriff’s office demanding Mort do something about Ned Jenks, but a warrant wasn’t issued because they thought Ned was dead and alas the statute of limitations has run out etcetera etcetera. Mort agrees that it stinks but there’s nothing he can do.
Back at the hotel that night Ned gets a phone call. Ned demands that the caller meet him, and he knows why. Noone connected them 20 years ago and they aren’t going to now, he adds.
Back at the diner the next morning, JB and the Sheriff are debating the case over breakfast. Mort’s wife Adele has decided that Ned didn’t even commit the robbery but JB thinks that’s a stretch – a lot of people recognised the man’s voice, including Gil the diner cook, who reminds them he was there that day working security. Gil himself has his own theory, that Ned took the money, hid it at his mother-in-law’s and has come back to town to claim it now that the woman’s dead. The fact that Ned and his mother-in-law hated each other was irrelevant.
Jess goes off to meet the Mayor, while Mort gets accosted by another local unhappy with Ned Jenks’s existence, Maxine Malloy, who informs the sheriff they will all remember how he handled this on election day.
Down at the docks Jess finds Sam hard at work scrubbing barnacles off bottoms (heh heh) and asks him what he remembers about the bank heist but it turns out he was out of town on a fishing trip. Helpfully Ned wanders past at that moment so Jess decides to confront him directly. He’s not entirely polite to her but apologises, asking for her help in putting in a good word with his daughter. He’d been in jail in Arizona which is why he hadn’t come forward sooner, and as for the money a thousand bucks a year for 20 years doesn’t really make it seem worth it.
Jess agrees to pass the message along to Bonnie, but her husband is less than thrilled with the idea, even less so when Ned is a dinner guest. While Bonnie and Ned look at old photos Dave sits in the corner and work/sulks before taking Sally upstairs for her nap. When he returns he is not happy to see his wife reconnecting with her father and demands a meeting in the kitchen to demand Ned be gone by the time Dave gets home from work. UGH I HATE WHEN THIS BLOG IS FACTUAL I’M SORRY GUYS.
Sidenote: my neighbour’s kid is learning the recorder. So far it’s been Mary Had A Little Lamb in the key of screaming. Why do schools do this? Give them a triangle! Or a stick with bottle caps on it! Or maracas. LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE.
Anyway, Dave goes back to work and is promptly fired by Herb for being related to the guy who shot him. I’m not kidding. Clearly the union rep wasn’t at work that day, so instead of going to his lawyer/the press/JB Dave goes to a bar, gets drunk, sees Ned chowing down on some pancakes at the diner, goes over and tries to punch him. Ned retaliates but before the fight can really kick off Gil pulls a gun and orders Ned out. Ned comes over and says “What are you going to do, shoot me?” He stares Gil down, until Gil drops the gun. “Couldn’t do it last time, can’t do it now,” says Ned, and leaves.
The next morning, while Dave recovers from the hangover/beating double, he orders his wife to tell her father to leave town, he’s tearing them apart. “But he’s my father!” Says Bonnie.
“But I’m your husband!” Says Dave.
Bonnie agrees to at least go and talk to her father, but when she arrives at the Lighthouse Motel she finds him dead on the floor, because this is Murder She Wrote not Statute of Limitations, She Wrote.
The sheriff, the coroner and JB are all summoned to the scene (Seth is apparently MIA/working on another TV show). Mort is convinced that it’s all connected to the bank robbery, but JB points out the “evidence” he found was printed a long time after the bank robbery. She asks George the manager if Ned had any visitors or calls and George tells her that he couldn’t be sure if he had visitors, he had one call but George didn’t recognise the face, but he did know that Ned made a whole heap of calls to the same number. Mort tries the number and is stunned when Adele answers – turns out it’s the laundromat in town. Mort convinces himself Herb is the guilty one and goes off to see how he can prove it. Unfortunately for Mort, Herb was playing bingo with Adele the night of the murder, so he’s back to square one.
Jessica on the other hand heads to the bank to transact some Fletcher business. There she runs into the bank president, Elton Summers, who is fishing for information regarding Bonnie and the murder. In his office Jess asks him about the day of the robbery and he tells her he was there, as was Gil, but the bank president a guy named Hankin was not and would later be fired as a result. Gil froze up during the robbery and became the town drunk but he sorted himself out. Elton was promoted after the robbery, so in a way it was in fact the luckiest thing that could have happened to him.
Jess pops over to the diner to refuel on coffee and has a chat to Gil about the night before, when he pulled the gun on Ned. He tells her it was exactly the same thing that happened in the bank 20 years earlier – he froze up and panicked, even though there weren’t any bullets in the gun. Jess is very interested in this fact and asks Gil who else knew the gun wasn’t loaded and Gil explains in infinite detail how Maxine Molloy knew because he was sweet on her but she loved Elton and she was devo when he dumped her after he got promoted to bank president and
Meanwhile, Mort has decided Dave is the guilty party and manages to track him down at his new job. Deputy Floyd (naw) notices a coil of wire in the back of Dave’s truck, the end of which matches a piece they found behind the hotel where Ned was murdered.
Back at the Sheriff’s office JB pops in to explain to the Sheriff exactly why he’s wrong but the Sheriff won’t be moved, even when Jess points out it’s impossible for Ned to have planned to talk to someone at the laundromat when it closes at 6pm and he wasn’t calling til 8pm. Mort shows Jessica the piece of paper with the number on it, the back of a 1971 receipt from a pharmacy and Jess quickly excuses herself. She heads over to see Bonnie to look at some old photos her father had given her and finds a folded up piece of paper that says “Hankin off Wednesdays, 10am best time.”
Jess takes the note and the photo over to see Maxine Malloy, former bank teller and current seller of old things to rich city people and asks her who she told about the empty gun. Maxine admits she probably told Elton since they were going out at the time. Jess mentions that Ned told her he only got 20 grand for the robbery and Maxine tells her that can’t possibly be right, there was over 200 grand that got taken.
After a quick trip to study some old phone books at the library, Jess calls the Sheriff. She knows who killed Ned but she needs a little help to prove it.
A short time later Dave is released from prison and goes straight to the killer to blackmail it out of him. When he pulls a gun, Mort bursts in.
Case closed, thanks to something about a pharmacy being closed and a wrong phone number. I couldn’t quite catch it over the recorder concerto going on out my window.