JB’s back in the Cove Fletcherfans, but only long enough to finish the edits on her next book, with the occasional help of a personal assistant by the name of Dana Ballard. It turns out Dana is a fairly terrible research assistant, and only a marginally better liar but the good news is that she’s off to make her fortune in the stock market and is no longer JB’s problem.

A question I ask myself frequently.

While Jessica prepares for her book tour, Dana scoots on down to Portland to interview to be a stock market person. Her potential boss, Ethan Stevens, hasn’t yet checked her references but will get right on it. He’s been a bit busy with the Train of Destiny.

Why is it there? Where does it go? These are the mysteries of our time.

Dana mentions she has another one to add – she has just finished up working as a personal assistant to a mystery novelist up in Cabot Cove and Ethan Stevens freaks out and says he’ll get right onto it. Dana quickly tells him that Jessica only takes calls after three, and he completely understands. Such self-discipline!  Dana tells him he has no idea – Jessica gets up at five every morning, walks three miles along the same route and then has four cups of coffee before sitting down to her computer.

Ethan Stevens is already in love with JB and he hasn’t even met her yet

Fun fact – the name Ethan Stevens gets mentioned so much in this episode that if you were so inclined you could have a shot for every time someone said it. From here on out, every time I say Ethan Stevens will be every time someone says it in the show. Shots of tequila are totally optional.

Back in Cabot Cove, Jessica is about to head out the door when her editor pops round to drop off revisions for JB’s next book – she’s worried about how many simple research mistakes are in it and wonders if Jess is feeling alright. An exasperated Jess tells her she’ll fix them all on the road and rushes out the door. Meanwhile, Dana Ballard returns to her hotel room in Portland, rings JB’s answering machine and replaces the message with one of her own. A short time later Ethan Stevens calls to leave a message asking Jessica to call him regarding a reference for Dana.

(Fun fact, the message Dana records and the message Ethan hears are different. Hashtag continuity).

Ethan gets off the phone to cop a scolding from his wife Missy, who is concerned that they are about to get busted for something, but who has also made reservations for Portland’s hottest new restaurant Atlantis.

The following afternoon, Dana plays back the recording from Ethan Stevens and calls Ethan Stevens’ office pretending to be JB, while simultaneously throwing back some Chardonnay because why the hell not. She gives herself a sterling reference to Ethan, who is delighted, and more so when “JB” asks him to look her up if he is ever in Cabot Cove.  His good mood evaporates when he gets off the phone and his associate Baker Lawrence tells him the jig is up, he’s going down for insider trading, and if he makes a full confession he will only have to serve less than a year, and then Baker will conveniently buy him out. Ethan refuses, but Baker tells him he has 48 hours to come clean or else he’ll go to the SEC on his own and tell them he’s literally just discovered what Ethan has been up to.

Jess arrives in Portland and has her first stop on her book tour – a dinner with local critic Thomas Gideon at Atlantis restaurant. And you guys, you’d never believe who else is there!

Ethan Stevens goes up to JB and introduces himself with excitement.

Another question I ask myself frequently.

Ethan thanks her for the reference for Dana, introduces her to his wife and Baker, and then decamps for his table leaving Jessica feeling a bit lost. Thomas cheerfully explains that Ethan Stevens is one of the foremost stockbrokers in the city (as evidenced by the whispered argument he is currently having at the table with Baker and another man).

Dana starts her first day on the job and gets a lot of assistance from one of Ethan’s brokers, Todd Merlin. Ethan meanwhile is on the phone to someone saying he has sixteen million problems, which is more problems than Jay Z. See, I know what’s going on.

Dana goes into her office to find JB waiting for her, demanding an explanation. Dana swears she has no idea about any of it ever, but JB isn’t having it. Before she can press the issue Dana gets called into a meeting so Jessica departs, with Dana’s promise that she’ll have Ethan get back to Jessica as soon as possible. After Jessica leaves Dana gets on the phone and tells someone that they too have a problem, but only one, which is less than Jay Z. #Maths

That night, as Dana is getting ready to leave, Missy Stevens pops by to warn her to stay away from Ethan. It would appear that Missy isn’t buying Dana’s game for a minute. She seems to be on the money because later that night Dana is snooping around Ethan Steven’s office when the man himself walks in, greets her, and is promptly shot.

Let’s just get this out of the way now. Dana didn’t kill him.

Jess arrives at the office the next morning to talk to Ethan but finds Portland 5-0 all over the scene led by Lieutenant Rodrino, who is mostly concerned with how fancy the desk is. Baker Lawrence pops by to tell them that it appears nothing was stolen, and that the desk is made from jasmine wood. Jess heads back to her hotel to get the hell out of town when she gets a knock on the door from local attorney Vincent Polaski, who has been assigned to represent Dana Ballard, who has been arrested for the murder of Ethan Stevens. The police found a gun in a storm drain not far from the building, and hair and blood they found on the desk is a match to Dana. Despite Dana’s casual relationship to the truth, Vincent believes she didn’t do it and is here to beg JB for her help. She’s in no mood to offer any assistance until Vincent asks her how she would feel if Dana was innocent and went to prison for a crime she didn’t commit all because JB was too eager to get her train to Boston.

JB swears it’s because there are some loose ends, but you know…

Down at the courthouse, Dana denies everything from re-recording JB’s answering machine to being in the office the night of the murder, and so Vincent and JB leave her to it. Outside, Rodino tells them that Dana also lied about college and so there’s probably no limit to the number of lies she told. They are summoned to Deputy Prosecutor Bruce Hastings’s office where he is willing to offer a deal for Dana to avoid trial but Vincent isn’t having a bar of it. JB wants to know why Dana was under the desk and Hastings tells her it was to search for Ethan Stevens’s security pass. That leads to JB’s next question, which is how Dana could have known to search for the pass, but Hastings says whatever, she’s a liar, who cares.

After they leave Hastings’s office, Jessica correctly deduces that Vincent is in love with Dana, and cops a soliloquy about Vincent’s love life in response.

I bet she regrets that particular deduction right about now.

JB shuts him up by wondering if Dana had taken that particular job as requested by someone else, i.e she had a partner in crime. Vincent runs with this, and thinks that maybe said partner got Ethan Stevens’s last assistant fired so that Dana could step in. Jess asks him if there might be a way to look at the employment records for Stevens & Lawrence on the down low, and he says yes – if she doesn’t mind bending the rules. While he gets on the phone to organise it, Jess spots the guy who had the fight at Atlantis with Ethan wandering the halls.

Vincent’s plan is solid gold you guys. When you need help, ask your hacker grandmother.

For real, why isn’t there a TV show about a group of geriatric hackers who are trying to stop the creeping invasion of privacy by mega global corpogovernments. Maggie Smith is their leader or I’m not signing off. Call me, Hollywood.

Guys have I told you my idea for a reboot of Charlies Angels where Angela Lansbury is Charlie and Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are the angels and Patrick Stewart is Bosley and when they aren’t solving crimes they are passing judgement on how crap everyone else is?

I KNOW. IT’S GENIUS.

Wanda the hacker informs JB that Ethan’s former assistant left voluntarily without a forwarding address but that there is another employee at the company who came from the same town as Dana – Todd Merlin. Jess heads down to the office to confront him, and he finally admits to setting the last assistant up to get fired so that Dana could get the job. When Jess and Vincent ask Dana about it, she tells them that Todd had found out about her pathological lying situation and told her to do what he said or he’d tell her father. All she knew about the murder is that they went there to steal some bonds, Ethan Stevens found her in his office, she got a whack on the head and when she woke up Todd was gone and Ethan Stevens was dead.

Now that they are at something resembling the truth, it now falls to Vincent and JB to find out who the real killer is. Jess thinks someone else was in the room with Dana but she doesn’t remember seeing anything. Out in the hall, Jess and Vincent run into Hastings and Lieutenant Rodino, the former still determined to charge Dana with murder. Jess announces she thinks she can prove that there was someone else in the room – the real killer of Ethan Stevens.

Back at the House of Hacking, Wanda announces she received a fax from an old friend in Washington, who had seen the name Ethan Stevens and Portland and sent it through to Wanda. JB reads it and declares that the SEC were investigating Ethan Stevens for insider trading. She thinks it’s time they took another look at Ethan’s office.

A close inspection of the desk in Ethan’s office reveals no bumps from Dana’s head, and then Jessica realises something and long story short

To be fair I really thought the wife did it.

Surprise! The murder weapon was from a case Bruce tried! The missing millions have turned up in his accounts! Jess worked it all out because of a man bag that was there, but then it wasn’t, and Ethan Stevens didn’t carry one.

Bruce Hastings admits that the mystery man from the dinner/courthouse hallway was the inside man who helped arrange the insider trading for Bruce and Ethan Stevens.

Final Ethan Stevens count: 27. Approximately. To be honest I kind of lost count. If you did have a shot for every Ethan Stevens, then I salute you, also please go and have a big glass of water.

Later gang!

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