Happy New Year Fletcherfans! I hope you had a lovely time over the festive season and ate/drank/slept a lot, as was appropriate.
Wouldn’t you know it – we’re in Washington DC this week! (#timing.) Soviet trade delegate/spy Yuri Lementov is retiring and heading back to Russia, and feeling a bit bummed out out about it, but has been invited to a trade reception that evening as a last hurrah. Jess is in town to catch up with a friend, Congressman Arthur Prouty, who wants to show her a book he’s written about fly fishing (not quite Dreams From My Father, really) in exchange for an advance copy of her new book. He’s forgotten to bring it though, and instead tells Jess to come to a certain trade reception that’s being held in her hotel that evening. Their discussion is cut short by the sudden arrival of Constantin Kesmek, furious at an article in the paper announcing something that means that his missile shipment can’t leave New York harbour. Arthur’s chief-of-staff, Harry Neville, arrives to tell Constantin he has an urgent phone call from Charles Standish, who is freaking out about the missile deal going south but Constantin tells him that if he starts taking risks now, Charles will lose the deposit on his horse farm, and his woman in Georgetown.
Constantin’s next call is to the aforementioned Yuri Lementov, to advise him he has the “materials” he requested and that he will meet him tonight. Yuri tells him that there might be a problem, but Constantin just says they will be inconsequential in comparison to the problems he will have if he violates the arrangement. Yuri hangs up, and retrieves a piece of paper written in code, looking worried.
Such spy shenanigans can only mean one thing.
Michael isn’t best pleased with Yuri’s retirement plan, but Yuri tells him his apartment in Kiev is tiny, and his pension even tinier. He has no money from his years of spying and so is doing this one last thing before he gets out of the game for good. Yuri is offering his merchandise to Michael, on account of their long history as Cold War foes, and that time Michael saved his life. (Merchandise is clearly code for something but I don’t know what). Michael tells him that he’s having trouble getting those twits at Whitehall (tee-hee) to play along, and he needs 24 hours, but Yuri says he’s closing the deal that night and getting on a plane at 8 o’clock the next morning. Michael threatens to shoot him, and says if the merchandise is damaged in any way, he’ll kill him and Yuri simply tells him death is probably better than his apartment in Kiev.
The reception kicks off that evening, with Arthur giving Jess a copy of his book and with Constantin having a run-in with Charles, who isn’t terribly pleased with the news that Constantin had a bust-up with Arthur that morning. He tells Constantin if he goes through with the Yuri Lementov deal, he can find himself a new lawyer. Meanwhile, Harry is hitting on a woman called Bonnie, who is giving him nothing so he accuses her of having an old man fetish.
“And thank God she does,” says her date, Sir Michael Preston.
Just as Michael spots JB, Constantin spots Yuri and signals that he wants a word. At the last second, Yuri slips his coded message into Arthur’s fly-fishing book and quickly excuses himself. Michael bounds over, Bonnie in tow, and quickly introduces himself to JB as Sir Michael Preston before she can out him.
Michael promises he will explain later, but Jess says this isn’t going to be like San Francisco or Athens. Michael scurries off to block Constantin from reaching Yuri, leaving Jess standing alone.
Arthur wonders what it was all about, and Jess says “You have no idea how much I don’t want to know.”
After the reception, Arthur walks JB back to her room and promises to pick her up at 7:30am for breakfast. He’s still struggling to remember where he’s seen Michael before, but Jess tells him on the few times she’s met Michael he’s been rather secretive on the subject of what he does for a living. Hashtag not a lie.
Jess goes into her hotel room to find Michael relaxing on the couch, assuming that Jess is hanging out with Arthur to cure a bout of insomnia. Jess tells him there is nothing romantic about her relationship with Arthur, which doesn’t mean he’s not very attractive, literate, charming, principled…”
“And boring” Declares Hegarty.
Michael assures her there’s nothing going on between him and Bonnie, she was just his ticket into the reception but JB doesn’t care. She wants answers. NOW.
Michael answers with a question – “Where’s the book?”
The book, is of course still downstairs, where a helpful waiter has just returned it to Arthur, under the watchful eye of Charles and Constantin. Arthur in turn takes it up to Jessica, but when he sees Michael leaving her hotel room he hides in a potplant until he departs. After Michael goes down in the lift, Arthur knocks on her door and hands her the book, saying that her relationship with “Michael Preston” was none of his business, but he wanted to make sure she was alright.
“Fine thanks bye!” Says Jess, snatching the book and slamming the door. She pulls the coded paper out and looks at it.
In the early hours of the morning, Yuri breaks into her hotel room, looking for the book. He spots a bunch of copies of JB’s new book, but then gets clocked on the head by a masked man who snatches a copy of JB’s book and legs it out of the room. JB awakens at the kerfuffle and comes rushing in to find Yuri lying dead on the floor. The police arrive with the sun, and Lieutenant Blaisdell, slightly crazed member of Washington DC Police, who wants to take everyone in for questioning but realises noone will talk to him. Jessica is about to tell him about the piece of paper when Hegarty shows up, trying to ask her where the book is. Blaisdell is about to lose his mind and when Hegarty won’t answer his questions Blaisdell demands he be arrested. In response, Hegarty punches him in the stomach and jumps out the window.
Blaisdell loses his mind and orders JB to the police station, where she still refuses to name Hegarty, even when lab results show her and his fingerprints were on the phallic statue murder weapon. It’s only when Sergei Onyegin from the embassy arrives to demand justice for his countryman, murdered by a British agent, that Jessica reveals Hegarty’s name. She also points out Yuri was KGB, to which Sergei says “Yuri Lementov was no longer KGB, not that he was saying he ever was.”
Blaisdell evidently gives up on JB and lets her and Arthur leave. Harry Neville picks them up from the police station and takes Jess back to her hotel, where he compliments her on her new book. They spot Bonnie getting into a car and driving away. Arthur offers Jess his spare room but she’s happy to stay at the hotel, and rest up.
Alas JB isn’t quite done yet – inside the hotel she is accosted by Charles Standish (Benjamin Horne from Twin Peaks and OMG YOU GUYS DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW EXCITED I AM FOR NEW TWIN PEAKS FOR REAL I CAN’T EVEN) who offers to buy Yuri’s list from her. She asks him if he killed Yuri and he says no, to which she asks him how he knows the killer didn’t take the list. He tells her the marketplace suggests no one has come forward with an offer yet.
“And how much are you willing to pay for this list?” Asks JB.
Charles tells her she’s clearly equally as good at business as she is at writing but JB don’t care.
JB tells him she’ll think about it, and departs. Charles spots Constantin across the lobby, hiding in a potplant.
Upstairs, Michael is waiting. Her room has clearly been searched and he is worried about the list but JB assures him it’s safe. Michael also wants to tell her that she needs to beware of Arthur – “on the surface he’s all tea party etiquette, but dull enough to put a shark to sleep, and underneath he’s oilier than Saddam Hussein’s hair”.
Michael asks her for the list again, but JB puts her foot down. She swore she wasn’t going to get dragged into his shenanigans again, but this time it would be different. She wanted the truth. He comes clean – the list is 5 MI6 operatives who are in deep cover in Libya that they can’t get to to warn. Yuri came across the list and saw it as a retirement plan. According to Yuri there was only one copy of the list but there was no way to be certain. There was a mission underway to get the operatives out of Libya but they need to protect the list until that could happen.
Blaisdell bursts in to arrest Hegarty for All The Things. He considers arresting JB for harbouring a fugitive but she tells him he has the wrong guy, the killer was the one who searched the rooms and not for nothing but Bonnie and Charles Standish were both in the hotel right before she came upstairs. Hegarty is taken away in handcuffs, but Blaisdell relents and orders a fingerprint team to come check her room. Back at the precinct it is revealed Bonnie’s fingerprints were all over the room, but Blaisdell chalks it up to Bonnie being Hegarty’s date at the reception. Jess tells him she can prove who the real killer is, but he just tells her to have a nice day.
Undeterred, Jess sets her trap in action. She calls Arthur to confirm a couple of details, arranges for a delivery to go to his office at the end of the day, and then waits for the killer to knock on her door.
After Jess verified that Harry couldn’t have read Arthur’s copy of her new book, she knew Harry had taken an advance copy of her book from her room. Turns out Harry had been taping Arthur’s conversations and selling the information to the highest bidder.
Before I go, here’s a message not from the Queen, but from a Princess. Today of all days, I think it’s worth remembering. I don’t know who made it, but it’s perfect.