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S11E10 – Murder of the Month Club

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Once upon a time in Buffalo, New York, a man gets strangled at a bus stop.

Once upon another time, a production company is set to film an infomercial under the watchful eye of director Tom Powell (aka Kernickie from Grease). Powell is mostly keeping a watchful eye on his girlfriend, production assistant Sara SoIrrelevantSheHasNoLastName. Producer Larry Shields keeps a longing eye on Sara while trying to run the show, and Tom’s wife Gina has an angry eye on the whole thing. She knows what’s going on with Tom and Sara and she’s not going to take it any more.

The infomercial is being hosted by Hollywood Hasbeen Wade Foster who is going through a messy divorce and hasn’t been able to meditate in weeks the poor dear and is featuring Our Heroine, new talent Joellen Waller and once-legendary author Matt Matthews (did the writers just give up at this point or what?)

She works hard for the money.

While JB and Joellen load up on coffee, Matt Matthews loads up on gin and goes for a wander. Apparently, he hasn’t written a new book for a while and both Larry and JB hope that his presence in the Murder of the Month Book Club will inspire him to keep writing. Later, Wade wanders into the green room and orders Matt to make him a drink and ends up nearly being punched out for his trouble.

The call comes over the PA for the authors to head to the stage and as Jessica is about to leave she bumps into Detective Henderson and Lieutenant Fogel. They’re investigating a lead for a colleague up in Buffalo – a man by the name of Stuart Murphy was found strangled after a suspected mugging, but the name of the production company Telesales Media was found scribbled on a notepad in his apartment so they’re checking it out just in case. Jess tells them she doesn’t know anything about it but she’ll get back to them if she thinks of anything.

On the soundstage, infomercials are explained to Wade while Matt goes hunting for gin. A phone call comes in – we don’t see who it’s for, but we know it’s from the guy who killed Stuart Murphy. He tells whoever is on the other end of the line that he’s a friend of Jason Bayer Saxon and they need to meet immediately. The other person hangs up, and the guy smashes the phone box up.

Jess, Matt and Joellen adjourn for lunch, and Matt explains to Joellen that until this Murder of the Month situation came up all of his books had been out of print for years. He orders another gin and tonic which JB sneakily changes to a coffee. Mr Phonebox Smashing Guy wanders up to the table and introduces himself as crime superfan Arnold Wynn. He hasn’t read Joellen’s book yet but is a big fan of JB and was actually in Matt’s creative writing class up in Buffalo, a fact Matt does not remember (can relate. I retain about 20% of all information fed to me unless it’s Simpsons quotes. Alcohol is not my friend.) Matt orders himself a gin and tonic and one for Albert but Albert quickly declines because gin and tonic is disgusting and a waste of gin.

Back at the studio, Arnold has gotten himself on the list of extras playing audience members for the infomercial taping. He gets his name checked off and then goes for a poke about the studio, where he runs into Tom and Sara having a tiff. He plays dumb and asks where the audience is supposed to be and Tom sends him to studio B.

On stage, things aren’t going great. An audience member (coincidentally sitting next to Arnold Wynn) asks an unscripted question about Joellen’s background and Matt succumbs to the gin. Tom calls time on the whole thing and says they’ll pick it up tomorrow, at which point Matt announces he won’t be there. Larry reminds him of his contract, but Matt says it will never hold up in court, the contract refers to him as an author.

Later that night Jess finds Matt in a bar drowning his sorrows…

Of all the gin joints, and so on and so forth

…and she says she knows she can’t talk him out of his behaviour so she won’t. And that’s that.

The next day Albert sees Wade on the phone to his lawyer and loiters uncomfortably close. Wade hollers for Larry who moves Albert on, despite Albert insisting he was only after an autograph. Meanwhile, Gina informs Tom that unless he agrees to a new contract, she will take sole ownership of the company and both he and Sara will be out of a job.

Gina’s done (and she’s not the only woman).

Over lunch, everyone tries to disentangle their lunch orders. Jessica receives an invitation via sandwich from Jason Bayer Saxon, which she assumes was meant for someone else but no one knows who it is.  Wade asks Gina to be paid in cash and swears he’s not trying to hide his income from his ex-wife, he’s hiding it from his manager. Gina doesn’t believe him but will see what she can do. Jess and Matt toast the end of filming but are interrupted by Lieutenant Fogel and Detective Henderson. Apparently, Stuart Murphy was in Matt’s creative writing course in Buffalo too, but Matt doesn’t remember a thing. He does helpfully remember where he was the night of the murder, and the police tell him they’ll check it out.

Tom delivers a bag full of cash to Wade with a request to be introduced to all the players in LA to which Wade brushes him off with a yeah sure, call me. Tom leaves and Wade discovers Albert was hiding in the next room the whole time and would like to discuss Wade’s efforts in hiding money from his ex-wife.

Cut to Larry, Joellen, Gina and JB walking past just as Wade punches Albert through the door and onto the floor. Gina escorts ALbet to her office for some first aid while Wade confirms his dinner date with Joellen.

2018 in a nutshell tbh

Later that night Ernie the guard is making his rounds, runs into Larry and Sara heading out for the night, and then rushes back as Sara starts screaming over the corpse of Albert Wynn. The next morning, Fogel and Henderson are on the case, despite the lack of signs of murder. Fogel has a theory that Albert died from being whacked by Wade, but Wade protests his innocence and JB doesn’t think the punch was that severe.

Fogel is outraged that Jessica didn’t tell him that Albert was in the same creative writing course that Stuart Murphy was in but Jessica thought it was a coincidence (until Albert turned up dead). She shows them the sandwich note and they tell her they’ll look into it. Jess snoops through the things found on Albert’s body and notes that a weird key, his medi-bracelet and the 200 bucks that were sticking out of his pocket when he got punched are all missing. Jess later finds the medi-bracelet in the hallway – it turns out Albert was allergic to quinine. Which is fair, tonic water tastes like sadness. Down at the precinct Jess shares her discovery with Fogel and Henderson and remembers how reluctant Albert was to have a gin and tonic with Matt. She’s convinced Albert was murdered.

That night Jess and Matt adjourn to the nearest bar to talk the case over but don’t get very far. Fogel and Henderson turn up to arrest Matt, and by the next day have learned that the missing $200 that was in Albert’s pocket has turned up in Matt’s apartment and that Albert had been staying with his aunt in Yonkers. Jess gets more bad news from the publisher boss – he is pulling the pin on the murder of the month book club. Larry is disappointed, and wonders if they can film around Matt and Jess suddenly has a thought about the script for the infomercial. They watch the girl sitting next to Albert ask the unscripted question about Joellen’s book and Jessica suddenly realises who the killer is.

I mean I might be biased, because I’m writing this on Grand Final day and not only did my team not make it but my two least favourite teams did, but this is another mehpisode. Mostly because I hate infomercials and refuse to believe that JB would go within 2 feet of one.

Anyway, Jess knows who the killer is and they spring a trap at a Yonkers bus station to catch them.

More like plagiariser of death

Joellen, it turns out, stole the story she was about to become famous for from Stuart Murphy. Arnold knew and was blackmailing her so she killed him. The reasons for Albert killing Stuart were drowned out by the sound of GC howling at my feet for a sustained five minutes.

Onwards, Fletcherfans.

Next week will be better.

 

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S11E09 – Murder by Twos

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Back in the Cove this week Fletcherfans, where the Regional Something Something bowling tournament is getting down to the wire. (Side note, Richmond finished top of the table and are playing Friday night for a spot in the Grand Final, what a time to be alive). Not only does Al Wallace let the side down, but the whole thing takes place the same night Seth takes JB and her visiting friend Imogene Shaughnessy to try what is apparently the best corned beef in town. Of course, it’s in a bowling alley, not a restaurant. Makes total sense. Seth apologises profusely, but Jess and Imogene aren’t bothered. Turns out Imogene is a former Cabot Cover, moving back from New York.

 

Resident arsehole and fellow team member Sam Bryce informs Al that he bowls like a girl (nice one, dipshit) and proceeds to pick a fight with everyone. Al tells Seth, JB and Imogene that he was the reason why the team lost, he lost concentration. Seth later explains that Al’s pharmacy burnt down two weeks prior, he’s got a bit on his mind.

Harvey Hoffman wanders in with his date Terry Deauville and is tripped by Sam because I can’t stress this enough, Sam is an arsehole.

I mean how could you say no to that?

The next day JB and Seth are out for a stroll discussing the upcoming Fine Arts Dinner Club and their decision to bump Seth from opening the evening. Jess points out he’s done it for the last five years and perhaps it’s someone else’s turn but Seth won’t have a bar of it. He’s written an ODE TO LITERATURE and to demonstrate how good it is, he’s going to let JB read it. They wander past Sam Bryce’s barber shop and Seth quickly makes excuses to Sam about why he can’t have a haircut just now.

Later on that day, Jess accompanies Imogene to see a potential home, which turns out to be Terry Deauville’s mother’s home. Terry is teaching maths and science at Cabot Cove High and has just taken over domestic science, which is apparently the class dedicated to running your own home, a curriculum Terry is basing on her experiences renovating her mother’s house.

A GOOD DETECTIVE IS ALWAYS ON THE DETECT FOR DETECTIONS.

Terry has had about enough and is thinking of moving to New York to look for some eligible men. Jess tells her if she gets serious about the idea to let her know, she might be able to help. The phone rings and Terry has an argument on the phone with Sam. Ugh, no wonder she’s moving. Imogene is delighted with the place but seems to cool on it when the neighbour invites herself in for a hello. Imogene seems to hate Medora Finney on sight and spoiler alert, this is never resolved in the episode.

Later that night Terry is working on the house when a knock at the door signals the arrival of Sam Bryce, who muscles in and declares nothing is over until he says it’s over. Apparently, Sam got jealous when he saw Terry with Harvey. They fight and Terry throws him out. Medora spies from outside and takes notes in her notebook. Sam skulks off home and has a run in with his daughter Gloria, who is dating Sam’s bowling teammate Ollie Rudman. Sam won’t let her marry him, and after Ollie leaves, reminds his daughter that he didn’t send her to no fancy computer school just so she could marry a deadbeat. She tells him that he stinks of booze and has lipstick all over him, what prince charming would want to marry into that family? She storms into the house, past her weeping mother.

The next day…

THESE TWO.

…Jess tells Seth she loves his poem and he celebrates by ordering extra lobster. They spot Sam ordering some dude named Ron to return his saw, which he does. Ron tells Sam he’ll see him at the game that night, but Sam says no you won’t. Seth tells JB that Ron’s workshop got broken into the previous night but that nothing was taken. I have no idea what I’m supposed to think about any of this.

That night there’s a poker game with Al, Ron, Ollie, Harvey and Mort Metzger and without Sam there it turns into a bitchfest. Mort wisely stays out of it. Ron gets a call from the man himself, who can’t the saw to work but Ron tells him it works fine and to try another plug, and hangs up. Sam plugs it in, turns it on and is electrocuted.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

To be fair it even looks like it wants to kill you.

Mort thinks it’s all a bit suss – Sam was an arsehole but he knew not to stand in water when using electrical equipment, or to use it with both hands. Jess thinks Mort should follow his instincts, as she goes through Sam’s cupboards and finds a burnt old beaker. Seth tells Jess to hurry up, he has patients to see.

Time passes. The day of Sam’s funeral rolls around and Medora goes to the Sheriff’s office to report a burglary – someone has taken her diary, where she keeps her notes of all the Doings That Happen around Cabot Cove, including Sam Bryce’s murder. Mort doesn’t understand what she’s talking about, so she starts ranting about the Bible and suggesting Terry had something to do with it, I mean she wasn’t even at the funeral. Mort warns her off being so slanderous and Medora departs, sulking about how the Sheriff treats honest, God-fearing citizens. Deputy Andy tells Mort that Terry’s prints were found in Sam’s garage, and the tech team concluded the whole thing happened as a result of deliberate interference.

Seth and JB go for a post-funeral stroll and comment on Medora and her cronies gossiping about  Terry’s affair with Sam. They run into Al, who is clearing out his burned-out pharmacy. Over at Sam’s, Ollie is tending to the newly bereaved mother and daughter and is a little surprised to find them grinning with delight as they burn photos of Sam.

I mean that’s fair.

Demonic daughter is demonic.

Mort drags Terry down to the office for an interview – she let them search her apartment and they found Medora’s notebook.

“Sheriff why would Terry risk jail over stealing a notebook?” Says JB.

“Don’t you have an appointment or something?” Says Mort.

Mort seems to be confused as to who is in charge here.

Apparently, Mort’s men also found a diagram about how not to wire a power point. Terry says no duh, it’s for her domestic science class. Mort tells Andy to drive Terry back to her car.

That night the bowling team send a drunken farewell to Sam, the guy they never liked or wanted to be around. Ollie has the decency to look uncomfortable about the whole thing but the rest of them are basically good riddance. Ron asks Al about a 25K payment and a condo deal Al and Sam were cooking up and Al wants to know how Ron knows about it. Ron says Sam’s family are going to notice the money Sam took is missing sooner or later.

Back at House Fletcher Imogene is getting increasingly worried – she was supposed to hear from Terry to confirm the sale of the house, but she can’t get through on the phone. Jess suggests they head on over there, but when they do they find the phone off the hook and Terry hanging from the landing.

Mort and Seth roll up, and it seems to be a cut and dried case, but Imogene finds the contract confirming the sale of the house to her and Jess hands it to Mort as clear evidence of Terry’s state of mind before she died.

The next morning there’s a terribly written scene with Ollie and the Bryces that frankly no one needs to dwell on, while JB tries to explain to Mort that it seems highly unlikely that someone would get dressed and made up right before killing themselves.

Jess asks if Mort checked Terry’s answering machine and you guys…

LOOK AT HIM HE’S SO PROUD

…there was a message but they couldn’t really understand it.

Mort asks Seth to take Sam’s chair at the poker night which he agrees to but tells Jess they have to get going for a fine arts dinner club meeting. Jess says fine, but she needs help with something first.

All Seth wants to do is recite his poem. Literally, all he wants.

Mort goes on his own investigating and asks Harvey about a delivery he made to Terry’s place that included some sail rope. Harvey doesn’t remember much, he got the order and dropped it off at the house. Mort says the signature doesn’t match the one on the house contract and Harvey says no shit, that says Delivered, not Terry Deauville. Terry wasn’t there.

Over at Terry’s house, Jess proves to Seth that Terry couldn’t have hung herself. Seth calls the coroner and confirms that the tell-tale signs weren’t there for a hanging. Mort accepts he was wrong and shows Jess Medora’s notebook, filled with bible quotes and reports of all the Goings On around town, including the night of the fire of the pharmacy. Medora arrives and is furious that her private ramblings have been shared around. Oh, shut up Medora. Andy pops up to tell Mort the phone company identified the calls that came into Terry’s house the night she died – one was from a phone box outside the library. The other came from a local bar and more than that the bartender remembers Ron Friendly being on the phone about that time. Mort and Andy confront him about it and he admits to going around to Terry’s to bust some moves on her but no one was home when he got there.

Down by the water, Seth shows off some purchases and Jess has an idea. This episode really ain’t great you guys.

A trap is set at the poker game, and a short time later…

Literally everyone in this episode was sketchy, I feel nothing about this.

Apparently, Sam found out Al set fire to the pharmacy and blackmailed him about it. Also something about the 25K condo that I’m a little hazy on. Terry had to die because Al loved her but she picked Sam. Hashtag not all men.

I still don’t understand why Imogene hated Medora on sight (not that she was wrong). Also, Seth resigns from the Fine Arts Dinner but takes it back when Mort threatens to read his poem. The usual.

Anyway, no blog next week, but I’ll be back the week after, hopefully full of news of how Richmond are back-to-back premiers and how I intend to ruin lives with this fact.

Later gang!

S11E08 – Crimson Harvest

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Our story begins this week in San Francisco where Paul Grimaldi is taking his lady friend Michelle out to dinner. The next day Paul is taking her to meet his wine-making family but first, he has to go make a last minute business stop. Unfortunately for Paul his business stop (to a jeweller to buy a necklace for Michelle) ends with someone he apparently knows shooting him in the chest.

Cut to Sonoma County (that’s right you guys, I know where the wine is but also there’s a title card) where JB has flown out to console her friend Anna on the death of her son. All is not well at the Grimaldi family vineyard – there are money troubles galore and Lars Anderson (aka Gregg Henry, who pops up on this show on the regular) is looking to buy.

Side note: THIS HOUSE

I mean just look at it.

Jess toasts her arrival with Anna, her daughter and casual bitch Alicia and the family business advisor Edgar Warner. Alicia is summoned by the overseer Henry Wilson to tap the cabernet and she asks Jessica to walk her out. Alicia wants Jessica to help convince her mother not to sell to Lars Anderson. This whole situation has apparently been made worse by Paul’s selfish decision to go and get murdered. She leaves Jess to go find her adopted brother Pete Grimaldi.

Pete, it turns out, has been summoned to a meeting with Lars Anderson and the Sheriff. Lars has a sweet offer on the table for Pete if he helps convince Anna to sell the winery to him but Pete is not having a bar of it. As he jets off on his four-wheeler we see that the whole thing has been overheard by a man and his dog.

Back at the vineyard, Anna tells JB about the mysterious girlfriend of Paul’s that they know so very little about. They have no idea how to find her, but JB is happy to look into it for her. The man and his dog appear, Felipe Paez and his dog Bolivar. Felipe is all set to give Jessica his recipe for rabbit enchiladas (no thank you) when Bolivar announces via Felipe he’s having a vision, a man is dead and there’s a lot of blood.

The mid-nineties were all about telepathic dogs.

That night Alicia hits the roof when she learns Lars has been invited to Paul’s wake, but Anna insists he is a neighbour and must come. Alicia calls him a vulture, Pete points out that she thought enough of him to date him for a year and she tells him to stay out of it, it’s a matter of blood.

Someone needs a wine.

A well-timed doorbell signals the arrival of Michelle and Anna is delighted to see her (as is Pete tbh). Alicia has no time for it, as Anna escorts Michelle upstairs, delighted that her prayers have been answered. Later, as they all have a nightcap (I swear to God it’s 9am in the morning as I’m writing this and it is making me want wine so bad) Michelle demonstrates her knowledge of the Grimaldi clan. Jessica notices the crest ring Michelle is wearing and Anna remembers how she used to wear her husband’s when they first got engaged. Michelle says actually it’s a wedding ring, she and Paul got married about an hour before he was killed.

The next morning Alicia makes her views on the subject of Michelle known.

CALM DOWN ALICIA

Jess heads off on a shopping trip with Anna, Pete takes Michelle on a tour of the winery, Edgar goes off to meet with investors about getting some funds to stave off the wolves and Alicia is Alicia.

Edgar, it turns out, is meeting with Lars to try and buy the Grimaldis more time but Lars isn’t having a bar of it. He tells Edgar to get the deal done or a not so nice alternative will happen – he will buy the Grimaldis second mortgage and they will lose everything. Edgar is horrified but Lars is unmoved.

Pete takes JB on a tour of the bottling plant and grumbles about not being a proper Grimaldi. JB assures him that Silvio never thought that and she’s sure Alicia doesn’t mean it now. She asks to use the phone and walks in just as Michelle tells whoever she’s on the phone to that she will speak to them tomorrow darling etc. She sees Jessica and hurries away. Felipe bobs up and says Bolivar has some thoughts on Michelle and Lars Anderson but when Jessica asks Felipe what he means Bolivar barks and he excuses himself.

That night the wake is held for Paul. Lars works the room like a professional and quickly gets introduced to Michelle who doesn’t seem terribly interested in talking with him. Edgar turns up and Anna walks off on him – Jessica explains they saw him talking with Lars when he was meant to be meeting with the financiers and Anna now wonders where Edgar’s allegiances lie. Edgar swears he does it all for  Anna and walks off. Meanwhile, Michelle gets bailed up in the corner by Lars and it’s clear they’ve met before.

She sees you when you’re sleeping, she knows when you’re awake…

Lars summons the room to silence (don’t know who put him in charge) and toasts to Paul’s memory and to Michelle’s arrival in the family. Weird.

The party over, Edgar bids Anna and Jessica a goodnight and departs. Anna takes herself off to bed, leaving Jessica to peruse the shelves in search of a little late night reading. As she flicks, Michelle hurries down the stairs and out the door without seeing JB. Over in the distillery, Lars asks someone if they’d thought about his offer and gets clocked over the head with Felipe’s walking stick. Bolivar comes running to the rescue but is knocked out for his trouble. #SAVEBOLIVAR

Lars’s body is found the next morning and the shady Sheriff rolls in to investigate. Felipe comforts a recovering Bolivar and announces that St Francis came to Bolivar and told him to forgive the man who killed Lars and whacked Bolivar over the head. Felipe also explains he lost his walking stick the night of the party, and that Bolivar was probably in the shed because one of the cellarmen has a dog Bolivar has his eye on.

GET BACK TO THAT TASTY TASTY WINE TALK

The Sheriff asks JB what she remembers when she heard Bolivar barking the previous night but she doesn’t know much. The Sheriff asks where Michelle and Pete were and Michelle surfaces to say they both went to bed at about 11:30, she didn’t hear a thing.

JB is about to call time on this nonsense.

Outside JB asks the sheriff if whether Lars was whacked from the front or behind, but the Sheriff has no interest in indulging in Jessica’s theories. He seems certain that Lars was killed by a Grimaldi, he just needs to work out which one.

Back at the house, Edgar informs the Grimaldis that with the death of Lars there is to be no more deal to buy the vineyard. This is good news for everyone but Anna, who thinks that it is just delaying the inevitable. She asks Jess to find Michelle so that they may go for a walk, leaving Alicia, Pete and Edgar to quietly agree that whoever killed Lars did them a favour.

Jessica finds Michelle out in the garden thinking about Paul – he had planned to sell his share and had called the vineyard the night he died but couldn’t get hold of anyone. Jess asks her why she lied to the sheriff. Michelle tells her she went out to a bar with Peter, he went to get the car while she waited for him at the time of the murder. She didn’t tell the Sheriff because she didn’t think it was important.

Jessica then asks why she pretended she didn’t know Lars when she clearly did.

“Oh God, Paul warned me about you, Jessica.” Says Michelle.

THAT FACE THOUGH.

Michelle comes clean – when she had her son (the person she was speaking to that Jess overheard the other day) she moved from Seattle to Modesto. Men saw the situation she was in and gave her money to help, including Lars. It wasn’t like “that”, but Lars was going to tell the Grimaldis she had been a whore. Jess tells her that it will be okay, but no more lies.

Alicia and Peter have a quiet conversation in the bottling room about alibis. Turns out neither of them has a good one, but Peter’s is worse – he saw Lars go into the building, followed him and found him dead on the ground so he legged it. They declare a truce. The Sheriff rolls up to return Felipe, cleared of any wrongdoing, and instead arrests Peter. His fingerprints are on Felipe’s stick (which Peter attributes to having found the stick after the party and then leaving it where it was when he couldn’t find Felipe), and a witness saw him leave the bottling room when Lars was killed.

Jess finds Edgar on the phone getting a lawyer for Pete and they have a chat. Jess finds it odd that the sheriff didn’t speak to the SFPD guy when he came down after Paul’s murder but Edgar doesn’t know anything about that. The SFPD detective came and spoke to the family, he knew that much. Jess is trying to find a connection between Paul’s and Lars’s deaths but Edgar can’t help there. He spoke to Paul the night he died and remembers Paul telling him he was going to sell his share but he doesn’t know any more than that.

Inside, Jess is about to cook spaghetti bolognaise when she suddenly has a thought. She knows who the killer is, she just needs to prove it,

That night, Jess gets a call from Felipe – Bolivar has solved the case and says that the proof is in the vats. A piece of cloth from the clothing of the killer.  Jess promises to check it out.

Guys, it’s a set up.

I must have seen this episode before, I solved this crime about 10 minutes in.

Oh Edgar. Silly silly Edgar. Edgar has been madly in love with Anna for years and would do anything for her, including embezzling from his other clients to pay for the second mortgage. Paul found out so Edgar killed him and then killed Lars to prevent the embezzling from being discovered.

Brutal. More brutal, when Edgar gives Jessica the necklace Paul picked up from the jewellers and asks her to give it to Michelle.

Let’s end with something more cheerful. Like this GIANT GLASS OF WINE OMG.

GIT IN MAH BELLEH

 

Later Fletcherfans.

S11E07 – Fatal Paradise

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Once upon a time in a Chicago far away, a man gets dumped by voicemail. Rather than letting it get to him, he calls a pal and asks him to recommend a guard dog who isn’t too bright and won’t ask a lot of questions.

Cut to…

BRB, googling Martinique

…and JB is being accosted in her hotel room by helicopter mother Melanie Venable who wants Jessica’s opinion on if her son Hilton Augustus Venable has any talent as a writer which also happens if you work in publishing and go online dates just FYI. JB is saved by the owner of the hotel Lauren Delagre, who it turns out is a former resident of Cabot Cove and has her own problems including a belligerent teenage son called Jeff and a gambling addict husband called Maurice. Lauren arranges to meet Jess downstairs and stops to let her son know the sink is blocked in one of the rooms.

Jeff knocks on the door, and the guest lets him in, still talking on the phone.

The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

Turns out, guard dog is another word for a private detective, obviously, and everyone’s second favourite detective (HARRY MCGRAW FOREVER) Charlie Garrett is hot on the tail of the Chicago dude Phil Spurling’s missing wife Dorie and her new boyfriend Graham Farrow. While Jeff attends to the pipes, Charlie informs Phil that his wife and Farrow are on a yacht in the bay.

Cut to

Well shit I thought it was Reno

And a woman reading a book in the park gets a call from Phil Spurling, who tells her Martinique.

“Where on the island?” She says.

“L’Hotel des Deux Perroquets”, he says.

She hangs up and leaves the park. And scene.

Back at L’Hotel des Deux Perroquets, Lauren’s husband Maurice is getting his gamble on with a policeman, some rando, and of all people Graham Farrow. Maurice goes all in, including an IOU on a napkin, but it backfires when his four jacks get beat by a straight flush. Graham tells Maurice it was lucky he lost to someone who is so fond of him, then excuses himself to go check on the women. A gendarme pops in to tell the police captain of Charlie Garrett’s presence in Martinique. Looks like poker night finished early.

The ladies Graham is referring to are Dorie Spurling, Lauren Delagre and JB who are kicking it on the yacht. Dorie thought it would be a good idea for her and Lauren to get to know each other since Graham and Maurice are such good friends – “Am I right Jessica?”

It’s wine time, not sorting out your problems time.

Lauren agrees with Dorie though, and they clink glasses. Dorie understands, you see. Dorie thinks Lauren feels threatened by her because she left her husband and Lauren has only thought about it – “Am I right Jessica?”

Jessica is staying the hell out of this.

Maurice and Graham turn up on the boat at exactly that moment to share the news – Maurice has gambled half ownership of the hotel over to Graham. Good one Maurice.

At dinner, the mysterious lady from the park checks in as Norma Willens and bumps into Hilton Augustus Venable, who gives her puppy dog eyes, and Melanie Venable, who gives her the evil eye. Meanwhile, JB has just polished off her dinner when a familiar voice rings out through the restaurant.

THERE IS NOWHERE JB IS SAFE.

Charlie is delighted to see Jessica, obviously, but before he can tell her what he’s doing there the police captain arrives to ask him that very question. “Scuba diving.” He announces. Jessica tells him her room number and the police captain asks Charlie to follow him outside. Meanwhile, Jeff Delagre has a whinge to his girlfriend on the front desk about how everything sucks especially his father.

Back in JB’s hotel room, Jess and Charlie have a nightcap while he explains he is in town to retrieve Dorie Spurling from her kidnappers. Jess is rather surprised to hear Dorie has been kidnapped but Charlie swears the girl in the photo (who is indeed Dorie) doesn’t look like the kind to leave their husband. Something sketchy is definitely going on, maybe Dorie has Stockholm Syndrome and has gone full Patty Hearst. Anyway, absolutely nothing shady about Dorie’s husband, and Charlie will see JB later.

Charlie really is picking up where Harry left off

Over on the yacht, Dorie is doing a bit of her own investigating and has found a suitcase full of cash. DUN DUN.

The next morning, Graham is over at the hotel bemoaning how it has fallen into disrepair. Jeff’s girlfriend tried to defend the Delagres but Lauren pops up and tells her there’s no need. She points Graham to the door. Graham tells her she should be pleased, now there are two people to worry about Maurice’s gambling. Lauren says there’s nothing wrong with her husband and Graham says whatever,  he’s getting papers drawn up to formalise his share in the hotel.

The lady of the hour, Dorie Spurling, rolls up to the hotel and immediately crashes into Charlie, who can’t believe his luck. He offers to buy her a drink and they disappear into the bar, under the watchful eye of Norma Willens who grins to herself. Jess has tea and sympathy with Lauren, who thinks Dorie was right, she is in denial about Maurice. Jeff pops in to report that the roof is basically cactus, but Maurice joins them shortly afterwards to say that it’s all good, Graham has agreed to foot the bill for a new roof and some other repairs. Jeff says great, maybe he can buy them a new hotel. Lauren tells him not to speak to his father like that and Jeff declares it’s liberating and she should try it.

Sidebar:

That shirt is tremendous.

In the bar, Charlie and Dorie are having a lovely time reminiscing about Chicago when a thug wanders past to cut the chat short. Dorie wishes Charlie a nice day and leaves. Huh. Maybe Charlie wasn’t insane about the kidnapping theory.

Jess is at the front desk getting a fax from her editor when Norma Willens wanders past to buy some stamps. Colette tries to introduce her to JB but she politely rushes off. She then bumps into Hilton Augustus Venable and tells him she hasn’t responded to his messages because she’s not interested. He suggests later, as his mother appears to growl at him. Jessica returns his story and tells him she enjoyed it, but Melanie Venable hasn’t got time to be pleased about that, she wants Hilton to back off Norma until the family lawyer can work out if she’s an appropriate woman for him to date. Ay ay ay. PS. Hilton looks about 35.

Jess and Charlie go for a stroll, and Jess warns Charlie even if he is right about the situation with Dorie, he shouldn’t let his feelings get involved. He spots Dorie with Graham and the thug and goes over to greet her. Graham nods at the thug who beats the crap out of Charlie before walking away.

Sidebar this might be the best screencap I’ve yoinked since the last time I said that.

I CAN’T EVEN.

Later that night Charlie’s recovering in his room when he gets a call from Dorie. She tells him Graham knows who he is and why he’s here. She knows he’s here to return the money Graham stole from Phil and Charlie says uh, yeah, sure. Dorie wants out of everything – she can get her hands on the money, but she doesn’t want to lead Charlie on. Charlie’s on the case and enlists Jessica’s help while he gets over to the yacht, whacks the thug on the head and gets Dorie out of there.

Meanwhile back at the bar…

This episode represents a golden shirt era.

…Jessica distracts Graham with quality shirts and also questions about boats “for her next book”. Graham has had enough at this point and excuses himself.

Charlie and Dorie make to land, but a hidden figure shoots Dorie and then scarpers when Charlie starts firing back. Dorie has enough time to say Charlie’s name before she dies, and he looks miserable.

The next day Jessica is dragged down to the police station to tell police what she knows about the affair and where Charlie is now. Before she can answer a gendarme frog marches Charlie into the office, with his recently fired gun. Jess asks if it matches the bullet used to kill Dorrie and the police captain says they couldn’t find it but he hardly thinks that matters.

Back at the hotel, Jeff bumps into his father coming out of Charlie’s room. Maurice tells him the pipes weren’t fixed correctly the first time and storms off. Jeff tells JB his father is fuming because Graham Farrow has pulled out of plans to fund the roof repair. I bet he has.

Jess goes for a walk with Lauren to hunt for clues. Lauren is suspicious of Charlie, but JB says he’s got a good heart underneath it all and immediately finds the bullet that Charlie fired off the previous night because at this stage JB has achieved god-level status in all forms of criminology.

Things kick up a notch. Graham gets on the phone to Spurling and accuses him of arranging the hit on Dorrie. Phil says well yeah duh, now return the money to continue being alive. Graham tells him he doesn’t have it and to ask Charlie where it is. Melanie Venables watches Norma Willens walk through the library and gets a call from her lawyer. Charlie gets a call from Spurling asking where the money is, and Charlie tells him he knows nothing. Graham and the thug arrive and Charlie’s room looking for the money and he tells them the same thing. The thug starts beating the crap out of Charlie, interrupting Jessica’s phone call in her room. She goes to investigate and pushes past Graham telling her that Charlie is unavailable. She scolds the thug and goes to Charlie’s aid while Graham and the thug depart. Jess scolds Charlie for not telling her the truth and says Phil Spurling is in deep money trouble ever since Dorie ran off. Charlie swears Dorie had nothing to do with the missing six million bucks.

Six mil is a lot of early 90s dollars you guys.

Charlie takes JB to where he hid the money after Dorie died, but someone’s grabbed it. Charlie panics, but Jess notices some distinctive footprints in the dirt.

Back at the hotel Norma packs up her gun and suitcase for the money and is almost out the door when she runs into Hilton. He apologises, but his mother arranged for her lawyer to look into Norma’s background and she’s completely clean except the teacher’s registration office think she’s been dead for two years. Norma swears she will look into it, and Hilton asks if he can call her. JB and Charlie appear and tell him she’ll enjoy hearing from him IN JAIL. Norma pulls a gun but Charlie has no time for that.

Norma confirms JB’s suspicions at the police station – she was hired to bump off Dorie, but someone beat her to it. After the murder she followed Charlie and grabbed the money and would have gotten away with it, etc etc. Jess sees the captain cleaning a metal pipe and suddenly realises Norma is telling the truth. JB knows who the killer is, she just needs to stop in the village for a prop.

For you see…

Well, this took a dark turn.

…Maurice overheard Dorie and Charlie’s phone conversation and took matters into his own hands. He wanted that money for himself.

Let’s not dwell on that depressing twist.

Later gang!