Thanks to everyone who tweeted along with me during The Last Free Man, aka the episode Jessica solves the mystery of racism. Not gonna lie, that one was grim. (I did bolt off to watch Avengers Endgame when I realised that school holidays were over and guys, it was good).

And now, to business. After this, there are only nine episodes left. Single digits. It is, in fact, the final countdown.

Down on the docks of New York harbour…

(It isn’t that one, but damn the thought made me happy for a minute)

…a woman named Nora Delano is blackmailing a writer by the name of Dirk Mattheson for a quarter of the advance for his next book. He tells her he’ll think about it and walks off. She goes to walk away but gets shot instead.

Earlier that day, high in the tower of Hartley Publishing, JB receives line edits from her new copyeditor, Erin Garman. The newly promoted and nervous Erin spots a continuity error with the make of gun in the book, and JB is quick to tell her that it’s a leftover from a previous draft, but well done for spotting it.

I love it. She doesn’t just say thanks, she has to explain why the error is in there. SHE’S THE ABSOLUTE BOSS QUEEN

JB tells her that her meteoric rise within the publisher is proof her trust in Erin is well founded, and Erin is just grateful not to be working with the new signing Dirk Mattheson, who is apparently a bit temperamental.

The man himself is having a lunch meeting with his agent Charles NoLastName and Hartley editor Laura Kerwin (previously seen here lord what a long time ago) and only wants to hear when he’s getting his money. Charles sends him on his way so he can have a private word with Laura about signing her to his agency as an agent.

Back at Hartley HQ Laura gives Erin Dirk’s manuscript to read. Erin gets a phone call from her mother wanting to know if she bought the apartment she was looking at but Erin decided it was too expensive. Erin’s mother Terry tells her that’s exactly why her grandfather left her the trust fund, but Erin changes the subject and tells her mother she can’t come to dinner, she has to make notes for a new book. Terry tells her that’s fine, she’ll just whizz on out to the Hamptons with Erin’s stepfather Mike (played by the aforementioned John Oliver, now known as Gerry Bean apparently) to check on the progress of the health club they’re building.

Off the phone, Mike shows Terry the new plans for the club and Terry is horrified. It turns out she’s paying for the new health club with Erin’s trust fund and needs to put the money back before Erin finds out. Terry tells Mike she could be prosecuted, but Mike says there’s no way Erin will send her mother to jail. Club employee Sonny wanders past to see why they were looking for him and Terry excuses herself. Mike tells Sonny he’s noticed some discrepancies with his bookkeeping and Sonny tells him he’s been lax but he’ll get on it. Sonny is angling for the manager job at the new club but Mike tells him they’re interviewing other people.

That night Erin sets to reading Dirk’s manuscript and completely freaks out when she discovers the story is clearly based on her kidnapping as a child. Panicked, she calls the detective who investigated her case originally but Lieutenant Phil Corelli has his hands full right now and isn’t terribly interested – he’s just been called to investigate a murder down by the docks.

The next day JB is summoned to Erin’s office to help calm her down, along with Erin’s boyfriend Drew Finley. Jessica is stunned to hear the news and doesn’t quite know what to make of it but Erin tells her she’s sure, despite all the times in the past she was sure too. Jess believes her and accompanies her down to see Lieutenant Correlli, who tells her that even if Dirk was involved, the statute of limitations has expired on her kidnapping and there’s nothing he could do.

Corelli’s sidekick Detective Rogers drops by to deliver the photos of the Jane Doe they found at the docks. Erin snatches them and tells Correlli that the woman was the one who kidnapped her all those years before. Correlli doesn’t want to believe it but JB points out the photo is a match to the police sketch from the kidnapping.

Cut to Dirk having happy hour with Laura behind Charles’s back.

Cut to the health club, where Erin chats to Sonny since her mother is late back from the Hamptons. Terry turns up at the last minute and is stunned to hear that the kidnapper is dead. She wants to know what Dirk says about it all but Erin doesn’t know if the police have spoken to him yet. Terry suggests Erin and Drew take off to the Bahamas for a week, all expenses paid, but Erin tells her no. She’ll be fine. She has a job to do…and takes a gun out of a filing cabinet on the way out.

That night Detective Rogers bumps into Drew outside Hartley Publishing and wants to confirm Erin’s alibi for the night of the murder. Erin arrives a short time later and Rogers excuses himself. Drew wants to go out for dinner but Erin tells him she’s tired and wants to stay home, which is code for going around to Dirk’s place and pulling a gun on him. Corelli has a suspicion this might have been Erin’s plan and he’s not far behind her. Since the gun is empty there’s not much he can do so he orders Erin escorted from the scene so he can have a quiet chat with Dirk about just how the dead woman had his hotel phone number in her possession. Dirk explains that he met Nora in a bar when they were both drunk and she told him the story of the kidnapping. He ran with it as a work of fiction and then met her at the docks when she wanted a cut of his money. He had no reason to kill her, he tells Corelli, because he’d already decided to pay her. Egos are expensive.

Jess pops around the health club to fill in Terry and Mike on Erin’s shenanigans and to deliver a copy of Dirk’s manuscript for Terry to read. Terry asks JB if there are any other clues as to Nora’s accomplice in the kidnapping but JB says not really – just that it was a man with enough inside knowledge to know how to pull it off. In the book, it says the kidnapper tampered with Terry’s car and that’s why she wasn’t there to pick Erin up but Terry tells JB the police looked into it and couldn’t find any evidence the car had been tampered with. JB thinks it’s possible Dirk was involved with the kidnapping, but that writing a book about it seems like a very odd thing to do.

While Charles and Laura go into damage control about Dirk’s new book (and Laura tells Charles he might need to have a word with his client), Erin returns to work. Drew is waiting for her in her office but Erin’s got more important things to do, like internet search where Dirk has been the last ten years. Laura confronts Dirk about all his shady dealings and he tells her that a) he had nothing to do with the kidnapping, b) yes he was going to screw over his agent but he won’t and c) the reason why he wanted a longterm deal with Hartley was because of her. Laura tells him if they’d had this conversation three days earlier, they’d be speaking in his bed. Lucky for her, they aren’t.

JB has a go at getting access to Dirk’s source material but she gets nowhere, only learning that Dirk made a guess that the kidnapper’s hideout was in the West Village. Over at the health club, Mike tells Sonny they’re going with someone else to manage the club in the Hamptons.

That night Terry confronts Dirk but she gets even more nothing than JB. At the precinct, JB agrees to help Lieutenant Corelli get his five-year-old son into art school, and exchanges theories on what Nora did with the ransom money given that she lived in a trailer park when she died. Corelli gets a hot tip that Dirk making it rain at the time of the kidnapping and decides to go over for another chat – only to find him dead on the floor with Drew hovering over the body. Drew swears he only just arrived but Corelli arrests him anyway. Jess finds a suicide note in the typewriter, in which Dirk confesses to everything.

Corelli thinks this is a clear cut case of either Drew killed Dirk or Dirk killed Dirk, but JB isn’t so sure. All of Dirk’s recorded interviews with Nora have disappeared – Corelli thinks Dirk destroyed them to save his reputation but Jess argues why would he do that if he was killing himself anyway. The whole thing is dodgy.

The next day a gunshot residue test proves Drew is innocent and Dirk killed himself, but Jess still wants to know where the tapes are. Corelli is more interested in knowing if JB’s friend has written a glowing endorsement of his son’s fingerpainting for the art school and JB tells him as soon as she’s heard she’ll let him know. (I like to think she puts these favours off until she can’t put them off any more). Erin is relieved that Drew isn’t a killer, but JB is stuck on those tapes. Where are they? Why did Dirk have them in the first place if he was a kidnapper? Are the tapes nothing more than Dirk taping the top 40 off the radio, rushing to hit pause so he doesn’t record an ad break (and by Dirk I mean me).

Jess tracks down the kidnapper’s lair with the help of Drew, who works for the City of New York. They find Erin’s secret stash of jacks and dried carrots she didn’t want to eat. A cracked painting on the floor gives Jess an idea. Over at the club, Sonny tells Mike he has all the proof that he and Terry have been embezzling out of Erin’s trust fund but is happy to be made a third owner of the Hamptons health club.  Terry and Erin have an argument in Erin’s office that seems to be about whether Erin blames her mother for the kidnapping?

Jess and Lieutenant Corelli go back to Dirk’s hotel room and dig around in the pot plant to discover a second bullet. Corelli gets a phone call and tells Jess they finally found the maid who was working Dirk’s floor when he was killed. She says she saw Erin at the hotel room the day Dirk was killed.

Sidenote, JB has her own sheriff’s badge.

LICENSE TO JUDGE

Erin admits to being at the hotel but swears she didn’t get past the front door. Drew followed her there and talked her into going home. When Drew went into the hotel room and found Dirk dead he assumed Erin did it. Detective Rogers informs them that Dirk had a big win on the horses at the time of the kidnapping, eliminating his involvement. A picture of a rabbit eating a carrot gives JB all the answers she needs.

After Erin leaves the precinct with her mother and Drew (and Terry calls the house to arrange dinner and a white tablecloth), JB sets her trap and waits.

Well, this took a dark turn.

Terry and Mike, dating at the time of the kidnapping, arranged the kidnapping to get the ransom to open the health club and then killed everyone who threatened to expose the plot. Which is all a bit grim, but I must admit this episode was a good one.

Later gang!

 

 

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