YOU GUYS THIS IS THE LAST EVER BOOKEND EPISODE CAN WE ALL JUST TAKE MOMENT TO GIVE PRAISE TO THE TELEVISION GODS THAT THE MADNESS IS OVER.
Dennis has taken umbrage at Jessica’s newest character Duncan Sinclair, a reformed jewel thief that now works for an insurance company that Jessica swears bears no relation to Dennis Stanton, except maybe Dennis inspired certain aspects of the character. Dennis is sad he didn’t inspire more of the narration…
…but never mind that because he has a story he’d like to tell JB all about. Has she ever heard of Billy Boy?
And so, back to San Francisco we go, to a comedy club called Kate Kelley’s Comedy Club (nice name), where Elwood “Woody” Perkins is doing his ventriloquist bit with his sidekick Billy Boy. Because nothing says early 90s like a ventriloquist act.
The first show over, Woody and Billy Boy adjourn backstage where his manager Tom Benzinger appears to congratulate him and the titular Kate Kelley appears to tell him that he has to do another show at midnight, and she doesn’t care that he’s done eight shows this week already. CON-TRACT.
In the dressing-room, the act’s third wheel and token blonde Brenda McCoy demands more time on stage, but they are soon interrupted by the arrival of Vic De Marco, a performer of some sort who is about to do a run in Vegas and would like Woody and Billy Boy as his opening act. Woody is hesitant but Tom assures Vic that they will make it happen and goes off with him to have a celebratory drink. Brenda tells Woody not to screw up
her their big break in Vegas. After the late show Tom tells Kate about the offer but she’s not interested – Woody is contracted to her club for the next seven months, an attitude even her partner in the club Joe Gelardi thinks is harsh.
The next morning, we find Dennis Stantion in his boss’s office explaining why he had to hire twin midgets to assist in the investigation into the Turkish Consul’s missing wife and jewels.
Robert informs Dennis that one more stunt like that and he’s out of a job, which means back in prison in case anyone had forgotten, and gives him his new assignment – a ventriloquist dummy has gone missing.
Dennis heads over to the club to get the good word on the whole dummy situation, and arrives in time to see former headline act Sally Templeton having a row with Kate over Sally’s requests to get her job back despite being a bit of a boozehound. Kate orders Joe to throw her out, and doesn’t want to hear his objections. She’s less than thrilled to see Dennis until he explains he’s not a lawyer he’s an insurance investigator looking for Billy Boy at which point she sends him down to Woody’s dressing room. Woody is bereft, but is quick to inform Dennis that Billy Boy wasn’t stolen, he was kidnapped.
Dennis assures Woody that the insurance company would be delighted to assist should a ransom be demanded, but the alternative is Dennis gives Woody a cheque for 10 grand. Woody refuses, saying he will not work with a fake Billy Boy – he doesn’t want the money he wants Billy Boy back.
Dennis takes a look around and has a chat to Tom Benzinger who explains that he and Brenda dropped Woody at the club on the way to see Vic di Marco, but that as soon as they got to his hotel there was a panicked call from Woody to say that Billy Boy was missing. The police did a bit of a search, and Tom, Brenda and Woody searched the place from top to bottom but there was no sign of Billy Boy. Dennis assures Tom that they will receive the cheque in a few days. Back at Woody’s house Brenda assures Woody that the doll they are picking up on Friday will look exactly the same as Billy Boy and Vegas won’t be any different to San Francisco so not to be scared and just do what she and Tom tell him to do mmkay.
At the office that night Dennis cheers up a heartbroken Rhoda, and offers to take her to dinner (now that his current squeeze has moved into the ex column on account of she wanted a ring on it), but a phone call puts a spanner in the works. It’s Billy Boy, asking Dennis to rescue him from a wardrobe trunk in the basement of the club. Dennis tells Rhoda dinner is cancelled and they head over to Kate’s. Joe is surprised to hear Billy Boy is in the basement, doubly so when he tries the basement door and it’s looked. The only person with a key is Kate, who is conspicuously absent. Joe thinks they are bang out of luck but Dennis has The Umbrella of Justice.
Thanks to Billy’s phone call, they find him rather quickly. Joe finds it odd that it was so easy, considering the basement had already been searched but Dennis suspects Woody might have been the basement searcher.
And so ends the case of the missing dummy, just in time to start the Case of The Dead Comedy Club Owner when Rhoda finds Kate’s body on the floor. San Francisco’s finest are called in, and Lieutenant Catalano is
delighted furious to discover Dennis is at the scene. Dennis explains about the missing dummy, but Catalano just warns him off the case. Taking it as a suggestion more than a command, Dennis leaves Rhoda to watch Catalano’s work and heads over to Woody’s house in time to see Brenda preparing to make a hasty exit. Apparently Vic DiMarco had decided to go with another opening act and Woody had neglected to mention it to either Tom or Brenda. Stanton tells Brenda it might not be wise to leave just yet, on account of an unexplained dead body and all when Rhoda calls in to let him know that the police found Woody and that he’s under arrest.
Down at the police station Catalano tells Dennis that Sally Templeton saw Woody leaving the bar an hour or two before Dennis arrived (and Catalano would also like to have a discussion about the toolkit Dennis has stashed in his umbrella). As far as the lieutenant goes, the case is closed – Kate stole the doll to stop Woody from leaving, so he killed her.
“And left the doll?” Dennis says.
As Woody has thus far refused to speak to anyone, including his lawyer, Dennis offers to help – with some assistance.
Woody, through Billy, comes clean. He didn’t want to go to Vegas so he hid the doll until he heard DiMarco went with another act, but when he went to retrieve the doll the basement door was locked so he called Dennis to get Billy because he knew he couldn’t do it himself. When Dennis reports back to Catalano however, the lieutenant is not bothered. It’s only when Dennis points out that whomever has the key to the basement is the killer that Catalano reacts – presumably because they didn’t find a key on Woody.
The next day, Dennis’s boss is on the warpath, not that Dennis is worried.
Robert is on the warpath having just discovered that Dennis has requested background checks on Kate Kelly, Joe Gelardi, Brenda McCoy and Tom Benzinger, but Dennis assures him he’s only doing to make sure Woody gets off – after all, they don’t want to pay out the life insurance claim Woody’s mother has on him if he gets sentenced to death? (I have questions regarding the logic of this, but I’m hungry so let’s accept that and move on!)
Rhoda appears with a handful of phone records and the news that Sally Templeton got a phone call from the comedy club at 5:42pm, which was a) after Kate was murdered and b)impossible if Sally saw Woody in the alley behind the club when she says she did. Dennis thinks that wants further investigation and so heads over to the club, where Joe and Sally are auditioning new casually racist comedy acts for the club. Coincidentally Tom Benzinger also appears wanting to talk to Joe – there’s a chance Woody could be getting released, since Dennis has a theory about everything, and so Tom is there to pick up Woody’s trunk. Which is in the basement. Joe tells him the basement is sealed off thanks to the police but Tom tells him Stanton is sure the trunk is down there, he saw it there the previous day. Joe gets Tom thrown out and excuses himself from the auditions for awhile. He doesn’t have any issues getting into the basement, on account of he has the key.
He whacked Kate over the head after her lousy treatment of his girlfriend, Sally Templeton. And so on and so forth.
But there it is guys. The last bookend episode of Murder She Wrote. There is an end in sight.
In the meantime, let’s all take a moment to contemplate the news that Angela Lansbury is in talks to be in the next season of Game of Thrones which even if not true is still a doorway to a whole world of memes that I can’t wait to see.