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S11E06 – The Murder Channel

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Back in New York Fletcherfans, and sadly back in the frosty Melbourne winter, Cairns does winter properly and is 25 degrees basically every day and is terribly civilized.

Anyway, while some sort of bank robber named Roy Phipps gets lie detected by a cop, JB is hosting a meeting of the Museum nomination committee, where they are debating who suggest putting on the board. Gwen Noble wants to go after the money and calls for a vote but JB suggests a prominent female archaeologist.

Gwen does not like having her authority challenged.

It’s a sass-off. It’s a sass-off.

Business concluded, the committee breaks up. Gwen notices Jess’s bracelet is broken and tells her to bring it to the store to be fixed. She gets a page to call her plumber, who is revealed to be the aforementioned bank robber dude Roy Phipps and clearly up to something other than pipe cleaning. Meanwhile, Mike from Twin Peaks arrives to fix JB’s cable.

Over at Gwen’s store, head jeweller Augie Grumbacher explains his job to receptionist Darlene Farber while a singing telegram turns up to congratulate Barry Noble on winning Jeweller of the Year. (Sidenote, to this day the singing telegram remains my favourite part of Clue). While she busts her funky lyrics, the singing telegram also covertly takes photos of Barry’s safe. Gwen arrives just in time and gives her husband a kiss, much to the chagrin of Darlene Farber. It’s all happening at the store you guys.

The singing telegram, whose name it turns out is Kitty Colfax, goes to get her safe photos developed and bumps into old flame and recent parolee Leo Kositchek. Leo’s been looking for his old partner Roy who was meant to be holding money for him but apparently, the money wasn’t there, and there’s no work to be had either. Leo tells Kitty to drop by his new job (selling alarm systems #lol) and see him some time.

Coincidentally enough, Kitty’s mother Leah is also JB’s favourite supermarket worker.

True enough.

Kitty is borrowing her mother’s apartment to host an AA meeting – she’s been in AA for six months. Somehow I think part of this statement is not true. Kitty wanders off, Jessica pays for her goodies and as she leaves, bumps into Lieutenant Giordano who actually wants to talk to Leah about the last time she saw her daughter. Leah tells him not for a while, and to get his hands off her peaches. Not code.

Kitty goes into the apartment building to prepare for the meeting, eagerly observed by Leo. He follows her inside and breaks into a room where the cable TV links all are. He pops a videotape in to record and scarpers out – just as the building super, Mike from Twin Peaks arrives (his name in his is Rob McKenzie apparently) to steal some cable for his girlfriend Susan for her birthday.

YOU GUYS THIS IS ALL GOING DOWN IN JB’S BUILDING WHAT WERE THE ODDS OF THAT.

Rob goes to demonstrate his gift for Susan, who is worried he’s going to get busted, but can’t wait to watch some cable once her nursing exams finish. Rob flicks through the channels to demonstrate his gift:

Classic mid 90s technology plotline. #hackthemainframe

Down at Kitty’s, Roy arrives with a couple of six packs, all set to discuss the heist. Kitty tells him about bumping into Leo and wishes they could have included him in their plans. Roy loses it, slams his beer down on the table and tells her to forget Leo, she’s his girl now. Leo’s old news.

Leo, unaware of this fact, continues his stakeout of the apartment.

That night, everyone gathers in Susan’s apartment to celebrate her birthday. Rob shows off the cable to JB, and they spend some time watching the ‘heist’ movie that is apparently on TV.

It’s not very well directed, says JB.

#ThingsI’veSaidWatchingThisShow

Through a series of AMAZING EVENTS, JB manages not to spot Kitty on the live feed. Susan summons them all to dinner and the tv is switched off.

Later that night, Kitty and Roy hide the evidence of their meeting and wander off into the night. Their co-conspirators leave too – one crosses the road and is immediately run down by Leo in his car.

Down at the jewellery store the next day Jess takes her bracelet in to be fixed. Augie shows off what he’s been working on – a big fat diamond from Sierra Leone. Gwen takes a call from Zurich for Augie, but he tells whoever is on the phone that he’ll call them back. They go to see Barry but he comes bursting out of his office with Darlene, giggling like a schoolboy.

Jesus Barry.

Gwen tells JB she’ll catch up with her later to discuss museum things. Barry returns JB’s bracelet, nicely restored and she goes on her way. Gwen puts a call in to Roy and tells him they need to meet in an hour in the usual place.

Roy has a coffee with Leo, pays him back for the last job Leo took the fall for and offers him in on his new scheme now that his tech guy is in the hospital after a hit and run. Leo is interested, but won’t do it for less than 50-50 of Roy’s cut. Kitty goes to get her mum’s key for the apartment, saying she’s meeting with her sponsor. Leah confides in JB that she’s worried Kitty is drinking again. JB pops around to Susan’s for another look at this mysterious TV show but when they turn it on the room is empty. Susan tells JB that one of the actors was brought into ICU after a hit and run, and the guy who played the boss came to see him that morning.

JB thinks the whole thing is suss and goes to see Lieutenant Giordano who thinks she’s stark raving until she spots Roy Phips photo on his desk. Back in the cable room Leo finds the cable splitter sending the feed up to Susan’s apartment. JB calls Susan who tells her the show is still running and a new character has just been shot (spoiler alert, it’s Gwen Noble). Jess tells her it’s not a real show and that police are on their way. Just then, there’s a knock at the door. Susan assumes it’s the police and goes to answer it. It’s Leo, ordering her to come with him.

Rob is contrite that he was bootlegging the cable TV from downstairs (blessed were the days before torrenting) but confirms someone had tampered with the cable. He thinks the source is 3E, and Jessica has a pretty good idea who will answer the door in 3E.

I’m assuming she thinks it will be Kitty, but it’s Leah.

Side note:

I am notoriously bad at noticing this stuff, so well done me.

Leah has only just arrived and knows nothing. She and Jessica spot stains on the floor that look suspiciously blood-like but might be olive oil, but there’s no body. Rob finds the camera and Lieutenant Giordano tells him not to touch it. There’s no sign of Kitty or Susan.

That night, with Susan in the back of the car, Kitty and Roy head to the jewellery store, each thinking the other killed Gwen. Down at the Noble jewellery store, Barry and Augie are just packing up for the night when Jessica calls looking for Gwen. Barry figures she’s just stuck in traffic but is on her way. He departs with Darlene, Augie and the security guard head their separate ways.

As Barry’s car rolls out, Roy tells Leo to get to work. He hacks the alarm and they head inside with Roy’s sidekick Axel Dorsey. Meanwhile, Jessica calls the lieutenant for an update but there’s not much to tell – they’ve identified who’s involved but not where they are breaking in. Jess suddenly has an idea about that, and about the blood they found on the carpet.

Down at the jewellery store things are taking longer than anticipated. Kitty freaks out and releases Susan. Roy and Axel finally crack the safe open when the lights come on and they hear guns being cocked. Lieutenant Giordano thanks Jessica for noticing the jewellery store logo on the TV feed and arrests them all. Susan rushes in to tell JB that Kitty freed her but they were going to kill her.

The next day Lieutenant Giordano calls JB to tell her it’s neatly tied up but JB’s not so sure and heads to the precinct to explain why.

Turns out…

Surprise!

Augie the diamond cutter was in on on the robbery and decided to double cross them all. When Gwen found out (via that call he got at the store) she threatened to expose him so he killed her. Jess worked it out because Augie used olive oil on his machines, and he had it on his shoes when he killed Gwen apparently.

And so, Jess goes on into the day, still with broken cable. Shoutout to my fellow Australians – as the saying goes, another prime minister ousted, check your smoke detectors. Sigh.

Later Fletcherfans!

 

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S11E05 – Dear Deadly

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Welcome back to San Francisco Fletcherfans, where JB has popped in to discuss the serialization of one of her books in the local paper with editor and inexplicable Australian Harry Mordecai. Harry Mordecai is being played by John Rhys Davies who is very much not Australian but is doing a pretty good job of pretending to be one.

It is teetering on cockney but overall very well played. 8 Rupert Murdoch’s out of 10

Paper editor, John Galloway, has decided to resign in the face of Harry’s constant meddling but has been convinced to stay a month. Harry is sorry to tell Jessica he has to move his meeting with her until the next day, but he has lots of ideas for editing her story – making the victim a sexy career woman in the space industry instead of an old man, and she dies in a jacuzzi instead.

(Trust me, don’t say this to an Australian if you ever want them to make sense again. Also, sorry to all the people who asked me if Australians spoke English when I was backpacking. They do, and what I was speaking to you was a combination of throat noises and Indonesian)

There’s plenty of other shenanigans transpiring at the paper. Journalist Alexis Hill is up for a prize, finance reporter Max Charles is into some shady dealings and Loretta, the paper’s gossip columnist is swamped with mail, including a death threat from a creepy looking guy we see at the start of the episode. The mail boy Troy also delivers an old copy of the paper Loretta was looking for – specifically an article about the death of a homeless activist. Loretta is being played by Eileen Brennan and there is a 100% chance I’m going to smash through writing this so I can watch Clue this afternoon. Loretta gets a call from security – there’s a homeless lady called Nell who would like a word. Loretta asks him to send her up. Alexis, who is in the middle of thanking her colleague Emma Kemp for voting for her for the prize, is puzzled to see Nell in the newsroom as Nell was one of the sources for her story about homeless people. Nell isn’t there for her though, she wants to chat to Loretta. Nell saw something that belonged to the dead homeless guy but it’s missing. Loretta tells her to keep looking.  Later, while Harry decides to offer his opinion to Alexis about her article, Loretta has a quiet word to Max Charles about his obvious shady tactics in his articles – she knows he’s making a fortune writing pieces that cause stocks to tank and she warns him to be very careful.

Jessica wanders into Loretta’s office for lunch but instead of ordering in they go eat in the park, where Nell pops up again to tell Loretta she still hasn’t found what she’s looking for. Everyone else adjourns to the local bar where Troy the mail guy tries to pick up Emma and Harry has an idea to throw Alexis a party to celebrate her imminent prize win. Later, Loretta informs Harry that if John leaves she’ll quit too. As night falls, the staff make their way out of the lobby when creepy old mate from the start of the episode shoots Loretta and hightails it out of there.

Phew. There’s a lot going on you guys.

Loretta is fine, just a bullet graze on her arm and a broken hearing aid, and checks herself out of the hospital the next morning. She returns to work, where she has a phone message from Nell saying she’s at the usual place. Loretta calls her back and assures Nell she’s fine and to keep looking for the thing. John wanders in and tells her she shouldn’t be at work. He arranges to have her stay at a hotel room and promises to have her hearing aid delivered as soon as it’s fixed. Meanwhile, Jessica refuses to make the editorial changes Harry requests.

SHE IS THE ONE WHO KNOCKS

Harry is impressed with Jessica and says they’ll do it her way. Jess celebrates by bumping into the detective investigating Loretta’s shooting but he has no news. Harry and Alexis put their heads together and come up with a suitably hysterical story about the shooting. Later, John sends Troy over to pick up Loretta’s hearing aid and drop it at the hotel.

Jess and John head to the pub for lunch. Alexis wanders past, having just filed her story about Loretta. John asks her if Loretta’s hearing aid worked okay and Alexis tells him Loretta seemed to be fine. She goes over to tell Harry about her story, as a call comes in from Lieutenant Evans to say they’ve arrested the shooter – they tried to get hold of Loretta but the line was busy. John and JB are in the neighbourhood and say they will go tell her the good news – making sure to tell Harry and Alexis as they walk past their table.

Unfortunately, when they get to the hotel they find Loretta dead on the floor. The police arrive a short time later and quickly discover that Loretta’s real name is Claire Hogan and that she took over the Loretta column when the original retired. They also find the words John Kill Me etched into the glass of the coffee table, which is news to John but enough for Lieutenant Evans. Jessica isn’t so convinced and demonstrates it would have been impossible for Loretta/Claire to have written on the desk with her ring, but Evans is done.

Down at the newspaper office Alexis is grateful for Max’s congratulations about her Loretta story, but also she knows that he was up to no good with his stock reporting and that she’ll keep her mouth shut if he suggests to Harry that she’d make a great acting editor. Jessica does a bit of sleuthing and works out Max’s side hustle and confronts him at the bar where he’s interviewing a martini. He confesses to the scam, swears he didn’t kill Loretta/Claire but he did go to the suite, as he has a key, but bailed when he saw her dead at about 5pm.

Jess learns that John has been charged with murder and heads straight to the police station, where she outs John as the real writer of Loretta Lee’s column – he took over when the previous writer left, and Loretta/Claire agreed to be the public Loretta. Evans is stumped, but a chance sentence about the time gives Jess an idea. She rushes back to the newsroom where she gets Troy to confess to lying about what time he dropped the hearing aid off – he took himself off to watch All The Presidents Men for the afternoon before picking up and dropping off the hearing aid.

Jess then goes to see Nell the homeless woman, who gives Jessica the thing she was looking for on behalf of Loretta. Back at the newsroom, Harry announces he’s sold the paper and brought a satellite news network, and Jess confronts the killer.

I’ve got nothing.

Nell, it turns out, had discovered that Alexis stole her friend who died’s journal and was publishing it as her story. Nell told Loretta, who confronted Alexis and received a water jug to the head for her trouble.

This was a good episode, you guys. I am a raging nerd for movies and TV shows set in newspapers and I always will be, despite what certain world leaders say. Anyway, I’m off for a couple of weeks to lie on a beach in Queensland with no social media and help Mum turn a Significant Birthday But I Can’t Tell You Which Or She Will Come After Me.

Later gang!