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S01E15 – Paint Me A Murder

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Disclaimer:

I’m going to be honest here guys. I didn’t like this episode. Maybe it was the fact that Our Heroine only turned up ten minutes in, or maybe it was the extensive use of Killer Cam/fade outs/soap opera directing, but I just wasn’t a fan. As a result, this weeks blog may not accurately depict the events that take place in this episode. I’ve, erm, improved it a bit. My humble apologies…

Jess still hasn’t made it back to the Cove. I worry what Amos is doing in her absence…anyway, this week she’s been invited to stay on the island of her friend Carlos Diego Santana*, a famous painter who is turning 60 and inviting his son (drug addict), wife (trophy), his ex-wife (pianist), a random British policeman (random), an art gallery owner (lord),  a charity worker (Princess Diana), and Willard the playwright (Robert Goulet).

Side note: Everything I know about Robert Goulet can be seen in this video. Also, here’s a picture:

It’s the neckerchief that really seals the deal for me…

Side side note: the English policeman is being played by Ron Moody, who played Fagin in the movie of Oliver! I’m pleased to report in this episode he pickpocketed a tray of snacks at least twice.

The party weekend does not get off to the best start – everyone is fighting with everyone, the trophy is almost having an affair with the island’s resident sculptor, and someone accidentally-on-purpose shoves a stone vase off a rooftop, narrowly missing Diego while he roams the outdoors serenading the moon with his guitar.

Also, the zombie apocalypse breaks out. **

Into this maelstrom of murderousness (and away from the zombie menace***) flies Our Heroine, intent on seeing out the zombpocalypse on Diego’s island stronghold. Alas for JB, the zombie menace has somehow followed her, and Willard is overcome by zombies while fishing in the surf. ****

Willard is flown off to the mainland to avoid contaminating the other guests/receive treatment, escorted by Diego’s son Miguel, who seems rather eager to be on the mainland. I suspect he’s secretly a zombie-killing maniac, bent on avenging the death of his mother to the zombie hordes. I could be wrong though. After Jess settles in, Diego fills her in on his suspicions that someone is trying to bump him off, and not just the threat of the undead. He enlists her to investigate.

It’s not long before she’s hot on the trail of the zombies/killer. Up on the rooftop she finds cigarette butts, a matchbook and Inspector Clousseau Henry Kyle, who pumps her for information, if you know what I mean. They engage in a battle of detective wits, after which it emerges that the only person who could have pushed the stone vase off the roof is Willard the playwright. A call to the hospital establishes that Willard is expressing all the symptoms of a heart attack/mauling by the hungry horde, and that Diego’s son Miguel is MIA. Presumably killing swarms of the undead.

Diego doesn’t believe any of it, especially the zombies. He asks JB and Inspector Rex Henry to keep a lid on their suspicions, which Jess agrees to reluctantly.

Callin’ it like she sees it, yo.

Diego has more pressing matters, like showing off his crossbow (not code for penis, as it turns out). Apparently his son Miguel is a dab hand at the ol’ crossbow, probably from his many years hunting the undead on the mainland. While Diego strokes his crossbow, JB and Inspector Lynley Henry have a pow-wow: it turns out Willard has been buying up Diego’s paintings for the last few months, despite having absolutely no money. That’s a nifty trick.

Now, a brief moment as we bask in JB Fletcher’s audition for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:

Seriously, I want this jacket. Internet, make this happen for me.

Later that night, we see (via the benefit of Killer Cam), a mysterious gloved hand go and retrieve the crossbow from its place on the wall. Clearly someone knows the zombies are coming, and is preparing their defense.

The next morning, Jess is out on her morning constitutional when she sees a boat pulled up at the beach. THE ZOMBIES HAVE GAINED NAVIGATORY TECHNOLOGY. THE END IS NIGH!!

Also, Diego gets shot and killed by a crossbow wielding bandit. Tough break. And to make matters worse, someone (zombie)  has smashed up the radio, preventing them from contacting the mainland. They are all alone, trapped on the island with at least one killer zombie on the loose. Sir John the gallery owner and the sculptor go off to find the missing crossbow, but JB has got more pressing concerns. Like the boat.

Jess and Henry go to check it out and find a mystery man trying to hightail it out of there. Henry and JB’s stunt double retrieve him from the water.

Life Lesson #29 – ALWAYS send others into the water instead of you.

But ye Gods! It’s not a mystery man, it’s Diego’s son Miguel! And he’s got a garbage bag full of Diego’s paintings! WHAT IS THIS? Diego explains that he needed to sell the paintings to raise money for his ongoing zombie genocide/give money to his junkie girlfriend******. Sir John doesn’t believe him.

Jess has other things on her mind. Like sand raking.

Deleted scene from The Walking Dead

Jess is convinced that Willard’s heart attack/zombie mauling was not as it seemed, and was drug induced, in an effort to throw suspicion off the fact he tried to toss a stone vase at Diego. The Inspector is not so sure, but before he can say so Sir John comes a-running. The resident island sculptor has, rather helpfully, legged it.

As the horde of the undead descends on the island******** Jess is woken by the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. Also, the back shed is on fire.

Jess hightails it to the scene, closely followed by everyone else. Henry discovers Diego’s wife Margo collapsed in the shed, and rescues her before the zombies can get their rotten hands on her. The same can not be said for Diego’s paintings, alas.

JB quizzes Margo on what happened.

Indeed.

They have narrowed the suspect field down considerably. Sir John is convinced that the local sculptor did it, but Margo tells them how the sculptor is actually a Hungarian dissident on the run from the Reds, and had nothing to do with it.

Seriously, I feel like I’m watching Passions or something now. In any case, JB’s got her eyes on the prize. Willard tried to kill Diego but failed, so he faked the zombie/heart attack and got out before his partner could dob him in. The same partner who did Diego in…

This image was not digitally altered in any way…*coughs*

And so ends the (practically) true story of how JB Fletcher solved the case and averted  total zombie-geddon.

See you next week, dead dear reader.

*Diego Santana is being played by Ceasar Romero, who was The Joker in the original Batman movie. I mention this because a) the original Batman movie is freaking amazing and you should watch it, and b) I know someone reading this will appreciate this fact. In fact, here’s a photo.

**Not true.

***See above footnote

****Actually it was a heart attack.

***** There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this isn’t true.

****** This is actually true.

******* Also, night.

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S01E14 – My Johnny Lies Over The Ocean

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Alright Fletcherfans? This week starts off on a little bit of a downer, but hang in there because I’m going to make your day.

This week, Jess goes to the aid of her niece Pamela, in a sanotarium and recently widowed after her husband Johnny committed suicide. We also get to meet JB’s brother Marshall, who is a surgeon. (Fun fact – JB’s maiden name is McGill. You’ll thank me when this comes up in a pub trivia night). I am pleased to report neither Marshall nor Pamela are as lame as Grady.

Awwwwwwwww!

To take Pamela’s mind off her troubles, Jess books them on a cruise. What could possibly go wrong? Along with JB and her niece on the cruise are a husband and wife team and two crazy ladies in their forties, both of whom I will no doubt turn out to be like.

About five minutes into the cruise and Pam is in tears again over her husband – she tells Jess that she never knew her husband’s secrets; his money troubles or the fact that he was adopted. Ever the sensible one, Jess calms her down. Pam gives her Johnny’s suicide note to read but before she can do so, there’s a knock at the door.

(I know, this is all very serious. Stick with me kids okay?)

Right, so, knock at the door – it’s Ramone the steward bearing an outrageous Italian accent and a bottle of champagne. The accent is for Our Heroine, the champagne is for Pamela with a note from her dead husband wishing ‘Pepper’ bon voyage.

AWKWARD.

At dinner time, and the two forty-something ladies are bribing maitre d’s so that they can sit near an Oklahoma Cattle King (which I’m assuming is some sort of code for Sex God).

Every day that I don’t own that pink outfit is a day without sunshine.

While they hustle in on the cattle dude, Jess and Pam are about to have a quiet dinner, despite the interruption of the husband half of the husband and wife team I mentioned earlier.  Despatching them with aplomb (as opposed to a plum, which would have been amazingly awesome and a little weird), Jess eyes off the local hot nerd as potential fodder for her niece.

Life Lesson #26 – there is never a bad time to hook your niece up with a hot nerd.

Life Lesson #26, there is never a bad time to hook your niece up with a hot nerd. Pamela accuses her aunt of trying to fix her up, to which Jess is horribly affronted/distracted by the hot nerd.

I have no caption for this still. I mean, look at it.

Matchmaking to the side, JB ready to order some grub before Pam freaks out again. Someone has slipped an added dish onto the menu – her late husband’s favourite and a dish Pam invented.

MORE AWKWARD.

While Pam goes to lie down, the Fletch gets on the case and goes to see the bursar, to find out who sent the champagne. The bursar, who looks like she’s auditioning for The Love Boat, tells her that the champagne was ordered anonymously by someone on board the boat. JB takes a look at the note, and the handwriting is almost match Johnny’s suicide note. Could it be that a Murder She Wrote/X-Files crossover special isn’t just a figment of my imagination. Jess goes back to the cabin to make sure the champagne isn’t poisoned.

Life Lesson #27 – It’s important to be thorough.

Meanwhile, Pam is out on deck taking in the air, when she starts to hear the voice of her dead husband. She goes to investigate, and is pushed down the stairs. I hate it when ghosts do that. Superman comes to her rescue and takes her to the ships doctor for a checkup, and to be interrogated by the ship’s captain.

Interogated? Surely you can’t be serious?

I’m awarding myself a million points for this.

LESLIE NIELSEN IS RUNNING THIS MOFO! LESLIE! NIELSEN!

Alright, I’m calm. Even though all I want to do now is watch Airplane, and Dracula Dead and Loving It, and Naked Gun, I’ll continue.

Jess fills The Captain in on the shenanigans taking place on his ship. He is aghast, but JB has a plan. Because she only booked the cruise at the last minute, they can narrow down the list of suspects to people who booked after she did. BRILLIANT. The Captain fishes out his list, and discovers that narrows the field to just 12 suspects. Handy! Fortunately for everyone on board, Leslie Nielsen is much better at taking orders from Jess than every other person in the history of the show, and so he agrees to have one of his men keep a close eye on Pamela for the rest of the voyage.

And by keep a close eye, I think you know what I mean…

Insert Seamen joke here.

Pamela doesn’t greet this news with the excitement I would Jess hoped for. “Relax!” She tells her niece. “Enjoy him!”

JESSICA FLETCHER YOU ARE MY HERO.

Despite the constant temptations of Officer Morely and Superman, Jess has a case to solve. Smoothly leaving Pamela in the care of Superman, with Officer Morely tagging along behind, Jess goes to make some enquiries. It turns out that Johnny’s birth mother made contact right before he died, but they never met. She calls her brother and gets him on the trail.

Working on this theory, Jess has four suspects on board the ship – the two women I mentioned earlier, the wife in the husband-and-wife team, and the purser who is auditioning to be on the Love Boat. With a narrow suspect list, our heroine should be able to wrap this one up in no time, leaving me to go and You Tube clips from Airplane! right?

Well, maybe, if she hadn’t been accosted by Ramone the steward, who was very disappointed not to see JB at the dance the previous night. He begs her for a dance tonight, and offers to show Our Heroine his hoochie-cooch.

Is hoochie-cooch code for penis? Have your say in the comments…

Not to be distracted by Ramone and his hoochie-cooch, JB barrels on. Pamela is still doing laps of the boat with Superman, but their romantic stroll is cut short with a page for ‘Pepper’ to go to the bursar’s office coming over the loudspeaker. This is the final straw for Pam, who marches into the office and demands satisfaction an explanation. Instead, she receives a telex from Johnny, saying ’til death do us part’.

Her response I think is a fair one. She passes out. (I thought about it, actually. I’d forgotten telexes even existed. Yay 80s technology!)

Putting Pam safely in the hospital bay, JB and the Captain decide to play Good Cop/Bad Cop on the bursar to see if she’s Johnny’s birth mother. It all comes to nothing, as it turns out that she was trying to get on the cruise to get away from her boyfriend and his wife.

Ahem.

It wasn’t a total waste, actually. Ramon informs the Good Cop/Bad Cop that the secretaries (and my fashion heroes) are having lunch, but Doctor Reed, the fourth suspect is not in her room. As he leaves, he rubs his moustache at Jess. Is that his hoochie-cooch?

I think we all know what THAT means…

Drunk on his role as Bad Cop, The Captain is pumped to go and interrogate the two ladies having lunch, but after some ego stroking and downright flattery, JB manages to go alone. Alas, the secretaries are a bust too – they are only on the cruise after their boss threatened to take their leave away if they didn’t use some up. Now there’s a story I recognise…wait, where was I?

Right, so, with the secretaries striking out, Jess is left with Doctor Reed. After running into her husband George in the dining room, they go back to the cabin – only to find her full of booze and sleeping pills. Also full of death.

Case closed? I can go and watch Naked Gun right? Doctor Reed had all the incriminating evidence in her suitcase, and a phone call from Marshall confirms that she was Johnny’s birth mother.

Case not closed. Jess has her suspicions about this George fellow. And when she catches him in a lie, about his wife’s photographic ability, her suspicions are confirmed. This was no suicide. And with absolutely no help from The Captain, she’s got to go it alone.

Later that night, George gets a knock on the door…

Life Lesson #28 – When all else fails, get shitfaced.

Our Heroine, apparently after testing all the champagne on the boat for poison, goes and confronts George directly. (Seriously guys, I have tried to find this scene on YouTube, but it’s not there. Trust me when I tell you that this is THE MOST AMAZING THING IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION).

Jess tells George that in the morning she is going to give police proof that his wife wasn’t behind Pamela’s stalking. PHWOAR THIS IS GETTING EXCITING. She slams the door on him and staggers off into the night, George in pursuit. I’m not entirely sure his intentions are noble…

After chasing Our Heroine along the deck, George finally makes his move. But, in a move The Rock would be proud of, JB flips him over her head and stands on his chest. Out of nowhere Pam appears and takes some photos, closely followed by…Jess? But then who is in the Dick Tracey outfit?

Expect Henry Cavill to do something similar in Man of Steel next year…

Like the true boss that she is, JB FAKED drunk in order to obtain information (addendum to Life Lesson #27), then swapped with Superman to get the proof that she needed that George killed his wife.

YOU’VE BEEN FLETCHERED, MOFO.

Another case neatly tied up by Our Heroine. I can’t believe I wanted this episode wrapped up so I could go and watch Airplane!

Speaking of which…

Later, Fletcherfans!

S01E13 – Murder to a Jazz Beat

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Apologies for the mid-season break Fletcher-fans. I got a bit caught up hurling abuse at Channel 9’s coverage of the Olympics before my Asia holiday, but I did leave you a present to tide you over. It’s underneath this post, so if you missed it check it out – it’s pretty amazing.

The good news is, JB is on another roadtrip! This week she’s heading on down to New Orleans to do some promotion for her book/get wasted in Bourbon St. Due to some plane trouble she’s running late, and despite her taxi driver’s best attempts to get her to wag and go drinking/sightseeing, Jess insists on getting to the studio to see her friend Jonathan Hawley.

Unfortunately for Jess, she’s two days early. Her bud Jonathan is delighted and takes her out for lunch in the French Quarter, where he coincidentally has a meeting.

Never stand between a mystery writer and her whisky. Fact.

Jonathan is there to meet Ben Coleman, a big-time jazz musician about to hit it big in Vegas, along with his minion Eddie and his manager Aaron Kramer. Amidst all the introductions and the mutual backslapping, Ben’s backup band appear – they’ve just heard that they aren’t invited to Vegas, and they’re a little bit pissed off. Ben gives them the cold shoulder and leaves, followed soon after by his manager who CLEARLY is in love with Jess after five minutes. Which is fair enough.

Later that night, Jonathan and JB hit up the Bourbon Street Barn to see Ben Coleman and his band perform before they leave for Vegas. Backstage, Eddie is hanging out with Ben’s wife Callie commiserating about the Evil Bastard that is Ben Coleman, and the man himself is having a scream-off with his manager. Does anyone else get the feeling that some shit’s about to go down?

The show begins, and Our Heroine is having a toe-tapping good time (literally. I wish I knew how to make gifs, but take my word for it okay?). A jazz montage ensues, but it all goes terribly wrong when Ben drops dead mid-blow. Awkward. A doctor appears out of the audience and pronounces him dead, but JB isn’t so sure – she’s convinced it’s poison. Apparently so is Ben’s wife Callie, who sneaks Bens cup of water into her handbag. SUSPICIOUS.

The NOPD arrive and the lead detective immediately declares JB’s theory a publicity stunt.

When will these detectives learn? FOOLS.

The detective orders them to be at his office first thing the next morning, before flouncing out. He’s soon replaced by Jonathan’s news director, who is delighted to hear that his network has a celebrity death on tape. (Insert topical joke here). Jonathan is outraged and follows him back to the station to have it out with him, leaving Aaron to escort Jessica back to her hotel, via a bar. Smooth move right there.

The next morning sees the footage of Ben Coleman’s death splashed across the news. Detective Douchebag has Views regarding this, but it turns out he’s wrong. A very hungover Jonathan arrives at the police station to tell them that he was overruled, so he quit. The Detective apologises, and reveals that Jess was right – it was iocane powder poison.

Jessica accepts her victory with good grace

 

That out of the way, the conversation turns to HOW. Naturally they all suspect the missing cup of coffee, so they decided to check out the rest of the footage from the bar to see if they can spot the culprit. Instead, they see Callie drinking from Ben’s cup. Theory blown. To make matters worse, the news director comes in and demands to know what the hell they think they’re doing. Jess informs him that she is taking her theory to his competitor and he freaks out. Later, she tells the detective and Jonathan that she doesn’t actually have a theory, he was just annoying her. DON’T MESS WITH THE JESS.

Naturally, a lady must always keep her word, so Jess hits the streets of New Orleans to find the poisoner. First stop is Ben’s former bandmates, but they know nothing. Outside JB runs into the band manager Aaron – who as it turns out is crap at band managing but great at smuggling things back from South America. He swears that he didn’t kill Ben. JB seems to believe him, but the Detective is less inclined and turns up to arrest Aaron at the viewing of Ben’s body. Man, this episode is getting me down. Where’s Amos Tupper when you need him? The detective is convinced that Kramer poisoned Ben’s clarinet reed, but tests later revealed that the reed was completely clean.

At the television studio, Jess and Jonathan are preparing to tape their segment when the news director wanders in. While he and Jonathan argue (again), Jess stares intently at the commercial being recorded on the stage, for denture cleaner. Then inspiration hits, and she legs it to St Charles Cemetery. She’s worked out who the killer is – and I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this coming.

Well this is just depressing…

It turns out that Ben’s loyal minion Eddie found out that Ben was going to kill his wife and took action. And that’s it. Man, I am so bummed out now. I think we should all scroll down for a video life lesson from Angela Lansbury to make ourselves feel better.

See you next week, hopefully with a much happier murder.

Til then, dear reader.

 

 

 

S01E12 – Broadway Malady

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Guess who’s back guys! JB’s lame-ass nephew Grady!!

Oh how we missed you Grady… wait, no we didn’t!

Grady’s on the phone to Jess bragging about his new job as a book-keeper for a new Broadway show (he even makes that sound lame), and he’s dying for his aunt to come down and see him in action, and meet his new bit of fluff, Kate.

JB is bemused at all this, but isn’t sure if she’ll have time to see him, what with all the high-powered publishing meetings she’ll be attending. (Sounds like an excuse to me).

Grady’s having none of it. He tells his aunt that not only does she get to come down and see rehearsals, but she gets to meet the star of the show, Rita Bristol. “You’ll love her,” Grady says. “Although everyone seems to love everybody around here.”

Yay! Grady made a joke!

While Grady is on the phone being all Grady-like, Rita Bristol is throwing a tantrum and flouncing off stage, the producer, Rita’s son Barry, is trying to hold everything together, and the director is demanding the show’s co-star, Rita’s daughter Patti, sing on-key. Cue the music! (I think this is as close to a musical episode as I’m ever gonna get).

JB arrives in New York and is immediately accosted at her hotel by El Lame-o, who tells her that Rita Bristol has invited her out to dinner with some of the cast and crew of the show. Jess, not wanting to spend any more time with Grady than she has to, tries to wriggle out of it but Grady pouts and she agrees. At dinner, Jess politely chats with everyone, eager to get back to her hotel and sleep. Then Barry starts on his Grand Toast To His Sister, and Jess is  delighted.

It’s just like every cast dinner I’ve been privy to, believe me…

After dinner, the show’s backer Si Parrish offers JB a lift back to her hotel, clearly hoping for a little lovin, and Barry and Patti say goodnight. Unfortunately on their way to the car, between a doomsday priest and card shark, a random mugger jumps out from behind the bin, yells “Gimme your money and your jewels,” and shoots Patti in the chest. Barry pops a couple of rounds off and the mugger drops dead. The card shark grabs his table and legs it.

(I’ll be honest. I was hoping for a musical number here to. Ah well, the show must go on).

The next morning, Jess is watching the news story on the shooting of Patti Bristol. There’s something fishy going on, and the Queen of Cabot Cove is going to get to the bottom of it, because let’s face it, Grady won’t. She pays a visit to the detective on the case, and is unimpressed when he starts rabbiting on about statistics and carrots.

I said 24 CARATS you fool!

Jess asks the cop if he is tracking down the card shark she heard about on the news. The cop very politely tells JB that the case is essentially closed.

What a boss. Honestly, would you mess with her?

Jess turns on her heel and flounces out of the office and goes to see Rita Driscoll at home, trying to cope with the stress by wearing her dressing gown and high heels. After listening to Rita pour forth about her life, her kids and her alcoholism, Jess hits the streets looking for the card shark. She finds one of his colleagues and lures her into finding him with half a hundred dollar note. (Not fifty bucks, literally half a note – they get the other half once she’s spoken to this mysterious card shark named Taki). Naturally the plan works, and JB meets up with Taki for lunch. He tells her that he thinks the mugger was an amateur, and that he didn’t even wait for Patti to give up her money. Jess’s carrot-chomping detective is unimpressed with this news.

Meanwhile, it’s good news at the hospital – Patti is going to be fine. Huzzah! The news is not so great backstage though – the director has gone and imported his own leading lady to replace Patti, and Barry and the cast are less than excited with the news. The show must something something, I guess.

It’s even better news at Grady’s apartment though – Jess has spotted the man who shot at Patti on the TV. He was an actor! (See? TV solves everything). The carrot-muncher is still unimpressed, and tells JB that if she  continues on, he may not be able to help her. Because he’s done such a great job up until now. Jess tells him he’s a moron (paraphrasing), and goes to see the dead man’s agent, who happens to also be Milton Berle.

Among Milton Berle’s lesser known film roles are a guest spot on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and an uncredited role as a transvestite at a wedding on Roseanne. Thanks, IMDB!

In between chatting up the bright young things, Milton Lew tells Jess that he hadn’t seen his client for years. He gives her the last address he had for him, and promises to get a full list of his credits. Jess is convinced that he is tied to the Driscoll’s somehow, dammit! Back at rehearsals, Rita is less than happy that Patti’s role has been increased ever since the director’s new toy came on as Patti’s replacement.

Sidebar:

Sometimes I’m sad the 80s ended. This is not one of those times. (Be grateful I didn’t use a reverse angle)

This particular scene ends with Barry punching the director in the face, mostly because he was bad-mouthing his mother and sister, but I’d like to think a part of it was to do with that leotard. I mean, I’d get punchy too if I had to see that.

Grady unhelpfully rushes on stage to tell Barry something, but Barry tells him to take hike (something I think we’d all like to do, amirite?). Instead he takes his grievances to his aunt – he thinks Si the moneyman has oversold shares in the production, which means that if the show is a hit, he owes a lot of people a lot of money Jess patiently explains that is the basic plot of The Producers, and turns her attention to more pressing matters, that is, going to visit the home of the late actor/mugger Morley. Grady escorts her, on account of the general dodginess of the locale. They meet his landlord, who tells them that Morley had just met a guardian angel who had promised to produce his movie.

Jess doesn’t like this and orders Grady to stop ogling a random couple dancing and get to Lew to get a list of Morty’s credits while she hoofs it over to Rita Driscoll’s to make sure everything is alright. They find Rita passed out on the floor of the kitchen with the gas on, an empty bottle of booze and an empty bottle of pills. Bummer.

Cut to an ambulance roaring down a street, and soon the gang is all congregating outside Rita’s hospital room. Si somewhat inappropriately asks the director if he has someone who can replace Rita in the show. The doctor comes out and announces that it’s touch and go with Rita. Grady finally shows Jess the credits list for Morley, and straight away, she knows who set up this whole charade.  Barry Driscoll gets a page over the PA system to report to intensive care…

Later, Jess and Barry are sitting in Rita’s lounge room drinking coffee, and Jess calls him out. Barry denies it.

Life Lesson #25: Red and white polka dots are acceptable sartorial choices when interrogating a suspect.

And of course, she’s right.

Sinister man drinking tea…

Not only did he arrange for his sister to get shot, but he faked his mother’s suicide just to get his hands on the money. Bastard!

The joke’s on him though – his mother isn’t dead. Jess just made him think that! LOL! Another case closed, JB heads back to the Cove to get back to work on her book. Grady gives her a call on opening night and tells her that the show is success. Jess asks after Grady’s bit of fluff, but it turns out she’s run away with a weatherman, but it’s okay because he’s met Francesca!

Freeze frame on JB laughing at her loser nephew, and we wrap on another action-packed week of Murder, She Wrote.

Until next time, Fletcherfans!

 

S01E11 – Capitol Offence

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I tell you what gang, I’m pretty excited about this episode. Hold on to your bicycles guys!

After the local congressman for Cabot Cove (and the rest of Maine too, probably) turns up dead with a heart attack, the politicians are flummoxed. Who can they get to be acting congresswoman until the vote is sorted out in six weeks time?

When there’s someone dead in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call?

Mrs Fletcher Goes to Washington

And with a blast of patriotic pipe music, our JB is off to Washington, so beginning possibly the greatest television mash-up I’ve ever invented…

YOU’RE WELCOME.

JB is met at the station by CJ Joe-the-media-advisor, who is sassy (like CJ!) and likes to wear driving gloves (like CJ, probably). At first Joe treats his new boss with epic amounts of condescension, but Our Heroine puts him firmly back in his place. He introduces her to Congressman Dan Keppner, a friend of her predecessor, as well as her assistant Donna Dianna, who promptly tries to resign but Jess isn’t having a bar of it.

Before she can even sit down Gary Parmell, a lobbyist, waltzes into the room with a big bouquet of roses to welcome her to the neighbourhood/get her vote/get in her pants. Dianna very gently gets Jess out of an awkward situation, and Jess decides she’s going to need a “fast education,” which I’m guessing is code for a double Jameson’s on the rocks, but is actually a nice cup of tea.

Jess checks into her hotel and settles into bed with her “fast education” (not a euphemism, stop sniggering), but is interrupted by a phone call from Congressman Keppner. He wants to meet her to talk about his pal Wendell’s heart attack, but Jess is plumb tuckered out, and begs off until the morning. He hangs up and runs into a girl named Marta, who tells him she was also there the night Wendell had his heart attack, and that she helped him move the body.

The plot! It is thick!

After a good night’s rest, Jess is up and ready to filibuster the hell out of something. (I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what a filibuster is, but I like to say it, and I’m sure it’s possible to filibuster the hell out of something if you properly commit, and anyway…) As she leaves the hotel, a mysterious stranger follows her. SUSPICIOUS…but no, it turns out he’s just the local fuzz.

The role of Det. Lt. Avery Mendelsohn will be played by Toby Ziegler, who will be played by Herschel Bernardi

Sidenote: here’s a completely irrelevant quote from Herschel:

There are five stages to an actor’s career: who is Herschel Bernardi? get me Herschel Bernardi; get me a Herschel Bernardi type; get me a young Herschel Bernardi; and who is Herschel Bernardi?

But I digress. The Det-Lieu  wants JB’s help – it turns out that the death of the former congressman for Cabot Cove (and the rest of Maine, probably) wasn’t as straight forward as they all thought. The autopsy shows that someone moved the body, and since his stomach hurts it means that “there’s a fox loose in the china shop” (Life Lesson #24, brought to you by Confucius).

Jess is naturally taken aback by this news…

I know how she feels…

…and while she (and we all) ponder exactly who let the fox into the china shop in the first place, her new friend Congressmne Keppner has turned up passed out in the gutter and being felt up by a random hobo. Ahh, Victoria Park station, what memories we’ve had…anyway, while the congressman attempts to retrieve his wallet from the aforementioned hobo, he stumbles into a police car. Which is convenient for them, because he’s wanted for questioning for the murder of Marta Craig.

Unaware of this juicy new development, JB is kicking it in her office, reading up on a proposed cannery that developers want to build about a mile from Cabot Cove. (I’m pretty sure all of Maine is a mile from Cabot Cove, but that’s neither here nor there). Jess is all over that, but she has more pressing issues, like her predecessor getting into bed dead. She asks Donna Diana what her thoughts are, and Diana reveals the late Wendell had been invited to a party with Gary Parmell, who JB refers to as the “unctuous gentlemen with the roses”. There’s no time to dwell on that though, JB is late to a committee meeting, and after being briefly waylaid by another lobbyist named THOR DANZIGER (NOT MAKING THIS UP), JB settles in for some hardcore governing.

On a break from all that law making and speechifying, (or as I like to call it, half-time), Jess goes back to her office. CJ Joe is trying to talk Jess into having lunch with Kaye Sheppard, the local gossip columnist, which Jess doesn’t want a bar of. In her office, Avery is troubled. Keppner is under arrest, but his stomach hurts and to make matters worse his feet do to, and that means that something isn’t kosher. At the police station Keppner reveals all – that Wendell had a heart attack and that they panicked and moved the body. Marta took photos in order to blackmail him but he didn’t kill her Mrs Fletcher you’ve got to believe me! etc etc.

Avery takes her down to the morgue to look at the body.

And with that, the congressman was proven innocent. Any questions?

Avery is well pleased with this, understandably, and tells Jess she should have been a cop.

“I am a cop,” she replies. “When I’m at the typewriter.”

As I said, LIKE A BOSS. Back at the Jess Wing, JB is trying to get the skinny on the congressmen, Marta Craig, Gary Parmell, and Ray Dixon, the boss of the company who wants in on Cabot Cove. She sends CJ Joe out for information. Meanwhile, Dianna has gone home to see her boyfriend THOR DANZINGER. To be honest, I’m not sure that has anything to do with anything, but I just wanted to say his name again. It turns out he was being blackmailed by Marta too and has been helpfully sent the photos to prove it, along with a note ordering him to stay away from Mrs Fletcher.

Unlikely. The lady in question has gone off to have lunch with Kaye Sheppard after all.

Face it, that’s a Bond villan right there… the lady in the hat could be too, I guess.

The divine Ms K has information about Marta Craig, but she ain’t just giving it up for nobody, not even JB Fletcher. After a bit of wheeling and dealing, she comes clean – she saw Marta coming out of the Watergate building, looking upset and being chased by Ray Dixon. JB has a vague whiff of a scent, and she’s hot on it.

The scent takes her to Donna Diana’s home, where she and THOR DANZIGER come clean on their relationship, as well as their former friendship with Marta. Joe the press agent tells her all the goss he can garner on Marta. The scent is now a full-blown olfactory tirade. JB has worked out the killer’s identity, and now it’s all she can do to trap him and vote on the cannery bill at the same time.

First thing’s first. JB rocks the vote like a boss. Words can’t do her speech justice, so here’s a video recreation.

Oh remember when Mel Gibson wasn’t an anti-Semitic lunatic? I’d forgotten too. Anyway, one victory down, one to go. Jess goes to check on the trap she laid for Marta’s killer and happily, the killer took the bait.

Life Lesson #25 – Never trust a man who wears driving gloves.

To celebrate, Avery invites JB out for lox and cream cheese, something Jess has barely heard of but is intrigued by, natch.

And so another chapter closes on Murder, She Blogged. See you next week, Fletcherfans!

 

S01E10 – Death Casts A Spell

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We’re on the road again this week Fletcherfans, this time to Lake Tahoe where Jess has been lured under false pretenses by her editor’s assistant Joan. She has a BRILLIANT IDEA for JB’s new book, based on the resident hotel hypnotist who goes by the name Cagliostro, and who happens to be George Clooney’s uncle.

He’s hypnotising you right now…

Remember when hypnotism was a thing? Somebody once hypnotised me and made me watch Maid in Manhattan – now that I think about it, I still haven’t had justice for that. But I digress.

This Cagliostro character is adored by his fans (especially Joan) but has made an enemy of the hotel owner, mostly because the C-bomb shagged his missus. His missus naturally claimed she had been hypnotised. What a genius excuse! A couple of reporters – Andy Townsend and Bud Michaels –  have a bone to pick with the C-bomb too, and so he makes a deal: they can come up to his room and ask anything they like, as long as they let him hypnotise them first.

Across the restaurant, JB does an exceptional job of not being interested…

JB learnt her powers of surveillance from her neighbours in the Cove.

Joan can’t handle a gauntlet being tossed around like that, and runs off to demand that the celebrated mystery writer JB Fletcher be permitted to attend the demonstration, to which the C-bomb magnanimously agrees. Jess meanwhile is being harrassed by a lunatic at the slot machines who is convinced that JB is a character from Doctors after Hoursand desperately trying to get JB to come and meet her bridge club who are playing craps. Jess tries to get Andy’s attention, but he flees in the elevator.

Huzzah for a topical caption! (Sorry)

Eventually she is saved by Joan, who tells her that the C-bomb will be honoured to have JB attend his soiree. Jess pointedly tells Joan that she most certainly will not be attending, and Joan says “You’re a writer…aren’t you the least bit curious?”

MAGIC WORD.

Joan and Jess hit up the elevator, but they’re too late. The C-bomb has started his demonstration and his lackey on the door doesn’t even have a key to get in, which is a problem when they hear the glass of the window shattering. Fortunately the boss of the hotel appears with his Boss Key and opens the door.

The C-Bomb is dead, and the six journalists are all hypnotised. THAT’S GOT TO SUCK.

Enter the pipe smoking Lieutenant Bertcam (not kidding), who is stumped. Fortunately, JB is on the case. She Using Joan’s recording of the C-Bomb’s most recent performance, the police bring the journalists out of their trance. Honestly, where would these people be without our gal?

The good news is, JB’s picked up the scent of a juicy murder. The bad news is, she’s completely stumped as to how it happened…

JB sums it all up.

…so she pays a visit to the town shrink, to get a professional opinion. He volunteers to give Jess a demonstration by hypnotising her, and despite her rampaging scepticism she agrees. The doctor promptly turns our hero into a drunken barfly and a rich snob, just for our amusement.

I’m going to be honest with you – I got a bit distracted by the ink blot behind the doctor’s desk.

Freud would have a field day with me.

Reinvigorated, Jess goes back to the casino to do some sleuthing and discovers that the police are convinced that the hotel owner, Mr Kellijian is their number one suspect, despite the small matter of him walking out of an elevator seconds after the C-bomb was murdered. Jess isn’t the only one asking around either – Bud Michaels, whose drunken shenanigans caused the whole shindig in the first place, is determined to find out who killed the C-bomb and why, so that he can stop writing for Today Tonight the local rag, and work for a proper newspaper again. What he neglected to mention is that the reason he is writing for the local rag is because the C-bomb ruined his life back in the old country. Jess has a chat with the C-Bomb’s assistant and learns the truth. That, and that she used to be a trapeze stripper in Vegas.

Yeah. Just think about that one for a minute.

JB decides it’s high time she has a chat with this Mr Michaels, and asks him why he pretended to be rolling drunk the night of the murder. (Obviously that incident down in Hollywood has made her drunken senses much more keen). He admits to faking drunkeness in order to avoid the C-Bomb Sideshow, but doesn’t have an alibi. Before Jess can grill him even further, she spots a guy abseilling down the building and runs off to find out how such unauthorized activity can be taking place without her.

It turns out it’s a joint effort between the PD and Joan, who have the new working theory that a trapeze stripper from Vegas could easily rig up an abseil, wander over the side, stab the C-Bomb in the back and bugger off without being seen by anyone.  Sigh. People like this are why the Lindbergh baby was never found. Besides, a trapeze stripper from Vegas wouldn’t stab someone in the back, she’d glitterbomb them to death.

Fed up with the incompetence of those around her, Jess has a word with Mr Kellejian who scoffs at her mild suggestion that he is a suspect, and doubly so at the idea that his wife did it. Jess is unsure about this, and even less so when she spots Mrs K slinking out of the parking lot looking furtive.

Faced with a fleeing suspect, JB does the only thing she can do – hijacks a motorbike and guns it.

Life Lesson #22 – it is possible, if not advisable, to wear a skirt while riding a motorbike…

They tail Mrs K to a deserted road and watch her give an envelope to a mysterious man of mystery. JB’s chauffeur asks what that was about and JB primly says “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff”. Her new friend pisses himself laughing, so presumably “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff” is code for something, or JB goosed him. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Back at the hotel JB goes up to Mrs K’s room and demands an explanation. Mrs K admits to ordering a hit on the C-Bomb but was getting blackmailed by the hitman. She swears she had nothing to do with it, and JB tends to believe her, despite the whole contract killing biz. Jess is stumped, but when the Lieutenant mutters about his suspects being deaf, dumb and blind, she has an idea.

A cunning trap is set, and the killer falls right into it. JB ALWAYS GETS HER MAN.

And the killer is…Andy!

And there you have it folks. Andy is busted trying to avenge the death of his father, who committed suicide after the C-Bomb ruined his career, and Joan finally convinces Jess to write a book about it.

What hijinks will ensue next week? Stay tuned!

S01E09 – Death Takes a Curtain Call

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I’m pretty excited guys. This week’s episode contains two of my favourite things in the whole wide world: ballet and Communist plots. Naturally, JB is in the middle of it.

Jess has been invited to a touring Russian ballet production in Boston by fellow Cabot Covian and former Russian, Leo Peterson, but all is not as it seems. (Ethan can’t understand why she’s going to see a Russian ballet. Ethan is more concerned with the application of pie to his belly). While Ethan moans about his lack of pie, Jess flicks on the news to see a large protest going on outside the theatre where the ballet is to be held. Apparently not everyone is excited that the ballet has come to town.

Undeterred, Jess and Leo head to Boston. When they pick up their programs, Jess’s eagle eye notices that the man distributing the programs, Art Director Palmer Eddington (whose real name is Paul Rudd – I nearly had a heart attack in the opening credits) pointedly gives Leo one from the bottom of the pile. MYSTERIOUS.

Backstage, Kerry Armstrong is a Russian ballerina named Irina being hit on by a capitalist pig-dog (American). Yes, THAT Kerry Armstrong. I KNOW!

And the winner of most unexpected actress to appear in an episode of Murder She Wrote goes to….

Before the Americanski can get any ideas, KGB guard and all-around Bond Villan Serge Berensky steps in and sends him on his way. Can’t have that sort of business happening backstage! Irina goes to visit her friends Natalia and Alexander, who have big plans for the curtain call of tonight’s show – they’re defecting the hell out of Russia and coming to live in the West.

In the audience, Jess notices a number scribbled in Leo’s program but before she can ask him about it the ballet montage starts. And you must never interrupt a ballet montage.

While the audience enjoys the montage, there are a-doin’s a-transpirin backstage. Berensky and the capitalist pig-dog, whose name is Skip Fleming, are circling each other spoiling for a fight. Outside, the leader of the protesters, Velma Rodecker, is banging to be let in. She’s about to give up when someone helpfully leaves a window open. Palmer Eddington disappears backstage and spots Berensky looking the worse for wear.

All this mysteriousness is too much for Leo, who wanders off himself, leaving Jess to enjoy the ballet montage on her own. When it finally ends Jess is still on her own, wondering just what it is she’s signed up for. WORST DATE EVER. The dancers come out for the curtain call, but the stars of the show are nowhere to be found. Happy to take their place, Velma Rodecker runs onstage, bellows something about Reds under her bed, and is escorted off by police.

Seriously, you don’t get this in Cabot Cove.

Before Jess has time to think, Leo reappears to drag her out of the theatre, and in the nick of time too. KGB kingpin Anatole Karzof (who bears a little resemblance to the Fatman from Jake and the Fatman), is on the hunt. His two star ballet dancers have disappeared, and his right-hand-man has just turned up dead.

Eventually the penny drops for Jess, when she realises her chauffeur looks just a bit like a certain missing ballet dancer. That, and she’s sitting next to his wife. Leo apologises for involving her in such a dangerous scheme, but JB doesn’t care. They turn the radio on and learn about Berensky’s death. Talk about a spanner in the works. Jess takes charge and sends them back to Cabot Cove to be looked after by Ethan while she pokes about in Boston.

Back in the theatre Jess asks for the man in charge. The FBI man wants her out, but in a conveniently happy twist of fate, Colonel Karzof is a massive JB Fletcher fan and insists she be allowed to help.

FANBOI.

Together they visit the scene of the crime, and while Anatole is convinced Alexander is guilty, JB is quick to point out there were other people with motives. Like Anatole.

Anatole is delighted to be accused of murder! Honestly, the sexual tension between these two is insane.

Jess rents a hotel room for a couple of hours. See! Oh, it’s just so she can call Ethan, who is less than excited about having some Soviet houseguests.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…

She finally gets Ethan to do what he’s damn well told, before an incessant knock at the door. It’s the friendly neighbourhood KGB. Anatole asks JB if she’d like to check out his lab report, if you know what I mean.

LOOK AT THAT FACE.

Down at the local copshop, Jess is hot on the scent and manages to cast doubt over Mr FBI and Mr KGB’s theory that Alexander and Natalia killed Berensky. She does such a good job, that they all agree that it must have been the crazy protestor lady, and go off to prove it. Anatole offers JB a nightcap (and by nightcap, I think you know what I mean), but our gal takes a raincheck, and heads out on the town. She’s got questions for Cornelius Snodgrass III Palmer Eddington. P-Ed admits his involvement in the defection, and tells Jess about how he saw Berensky looking a bit beaten up. Eureka! says Jess (not really, but you know what I mean).

Back in the Cove, the sheriff is of course making trouble. Poor Ethan is stressed out trying to keep Amos from sticking his nose in and flirting with Natalia.  Amos asks him if he’d seen any Russians lurking around in the shadows, Ethan helpfully points out that he’s not sure he knows what a Russian looks like.

After having breakfast with Anatole (ooer), Our Heroine is on the road back to the Cove. Her spidey senses were telling her that Ethan was in over his head. Everyone wants to hear about the murder in Boston (and by everyone, I mean Amos), but Jess tells him it was Velma-the-protestor. Privately, she tells Ethan that ‘s not entirely true.

That night, she cooks up dinner for everyone to celebrate Defection ’84, but is rudely interrupted by a man at the door looking to buy a part for his boat from Ethan. Ethan tells him to ring someone else, and Jess shows him to the phone. She asks him if he’s from down east, and he replies no, he’s from Maine. Jess and Ethan have a good chuckle over this after he leaves – apparently it’s the same thing. Crazy Maine wit right there.

The next morning, there is a familiar banging on Jess’s door. And by Jess’s door….well, I’m sure you can guess. Anatole, along with Sheriff Amos, were there to see if Jess had any reds under her beds. Well, Anatole was. Amos was more concerned with muffins under the towel, and fair enough too really.

Anatole informs Jess that the missing dancers are back on his radar, and Leo swoops in to take the blame.

And the winner of worst Eastwood impression goes to…

Anatole tells Jess the arrest of Leo was a shot across her bow…and by that I think you know what I mean. The sexual tension has somewhat cooled.

Jess lets them all out, then gets on the blower to Boston – specifically to Irina. JB tells her that all is well with the two runaways, and that maybe she could come up to Cabot Cove and visit them. Seed planted in Irina’s mind (and the mind of the man eavesdropping on the call), Jess goes off on her run, followed by another mystery man.

Anatole is unhappy. Not only can he not find his missing ballerinas, but now Irina has gone missing too. Amos meanwhile is loving life.

Amos, not being browbeaten by Our Heroine.

Irina is closer than he thinks – she’s on her way to the cove with the American pig-dog who was flirting with her at the start of the show. The gang’s all here – someone must be guilty.

Well, whaddya know…

I’ll be honest. I called this one about ten minutes in. Still, WTF!

The things we do for love, kids.

All is well with the world. Alexander and Natalia are safely defecting to America (fuck yeah). Irina does not have to go back to Russia to face trial. Ethan and Amos have both been fed. Alas, JB must say goodbye to Anatole, and like all relationships I invent in my head, this one ends with a freeze frame.

It’s just like James Bond.

Until next time, dear reader.

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