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S04E21 – Deadpan

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Back in NYC this week gang where a little play is preparing for opening night and town critic Eliot Easterbrook is interviewing the show’s producer, playwright and the author of the book the show is based on.

Frankly, I think she could have done all three jobs but whatever

Frankly, I think she could have done all three jobs but whatever

As you can probably guess, Eliot is instantly dismissive of the play but is curious to know whether JB is in town to help rewrite the show before it opens the following evening. The producer, Shayne Grant, assures him that there will be no rewrites and JB says she’s only in town to see the show and to bask in her former student Walter’s  success.

“So is that a prediction, or is that hype?” Frowns Eliott.

“Isn’t it true that the only thing you can predict about the theatre is that it will be unpredictable?” Smiles JB.

“Oh bravo Mrs Fletcher! You must have stayed up all night thinking that one up!” says Eliott.

“No, actually Moliere did it for me about 200 years ago.” Says JB.

I love the sound of a Fletcher burn in the morning. (Or evening)

I love the sound of a Fletcher burn in the morning. (Or evening)

Across town, Elliott’s competition, a critic called Danny O’Mara watches the show and has a good old cackle to himself (and his film crew if you look closely in the above photo). The next day, while JB tries to get out of more interviews and Walter wonders how they can get Danny O’Mera to review the show when he appears before them, introducing himself to JB and saying he likes her style in taking down Eliott. He asks her if she’s seen the show yet and she tells him they are going to watch a dress rehearsal right after lunch. Danny tells her that from what he’s heard she’d better make it a light lunch.

As they get ready to depart Walter tells JB that there have been some changes between the first script he sent to her and the script being used for the show. JB says he doesn’t need to fish for compliments but that he wanted to let her know about the witch.

“Which witch?” Asks JB.

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Walter says that JB must hate and despise it, which Jess says isn’t true (because she’s a diplomat and has had years of dealing with the hot mess that is Grady Fletcher). She asks him what happened to the original script but he says it got buried in “improvements”.

Not to worry, says Jess. Bad dress rehearsal, good opening night!

This is the EXACT FACE I had watching Richmond "play" football today. #stillnotninththough

This is the EXACT FACE I had watching Richmond “play” football today. #stillnotninththough

Oh God. You guys, look what the play is called!

Aw yeah

Aw yeah

It’s opening night time, and while Walter stresses out in the audience after spotting the arrival of Danny O’Mara and his associate Denise, an announcement goes out that one of the roles will be performed by an understudy due to illness. Just as the curtain goes up, Eliott Easterbrook appears to take his pompous place. During the intermission Walter takes his stress to the bar, and after watching Eliot and Danny have an argument in the middle of the foyer Walter decides the best move is to go and get really drunk, leaving Jess to take in the second act on her own.

Later at the afterparty, Walter is nowhere to be seen and JB is working hard to avoid talking to the witch – Barbara Blair. Shayne calls for attention and they tune in to Elliot’s segment on the 11 o’clock news. The review of the show is…well, terrible. To celebrate, Shayne throws her glass at the television.

But wait! All is not lost! Walter reappears looking much like I did on Saturday night drunk and waving the early editions of the papers around. Specifically, Danny O’Mara’s review in the Chronicle. It’s a smash hit! Walter particularly enjoys reading out the bit where Danny points out that it’s the sort of play a low-calibre high-ego critic is sure to hate.

He wishes he thought of it firs though

He wishes he thought of it firs though

Eliott can take a hint where he hears one and announces it was time to shut the windbag (paraphrasing a lot) up permanently.

Cut to shots fired and the NYPD rocking up to finding Danny O’Mara dead on the floor and Eliot standing over him, gun in hand.

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Denise Quinlan, O’Mara’s assistant, is summoned to the crime scene with JB in tow. When they arrive they hear Lieutenant Jarvis interrogating Eliot and Denise tells the lieutenant of Eliot’s threat to end O’Mara permanently. Eliot claims he meant get him fired.

JB tries to explain to the lieutenant that it was impossible for Eliot to have gotten to O’Mara’s with enough time to kill him but Jarvis has been awake for 3 days and has bigger problems. He arrests Eliot who informs him that the facts will clear him and when they do Jarvis will find himself in a spot of trouble. He also asks JB he would sincerely appreciate it if she would direct her attention to murder at the quilting bee or whatever her next pot boiler is going to be called.

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Don’t sass The Sass

Down at the theatre the next morning everyone is surprised to hear JB’s news that Eliot didn’t kill Danny. They have bigger fish to fry – namely capitalizing on Danny’s review. JB is about to make her final escape back to Maine when Walter finds her and begs for her help trying to save the play. As they talk, JB realises she can’t let Eliot’s arrest slide and goes to see Danny’s boss at the paper. He explains that Danny didn’t write the review at the office, he wrote it at home and emailed it in.

 

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Life Lesson #56 – They have the internet on computers now

She does manage to establish that Danny sent his review in at 11:15pm, meaning he died right after. JB’s next stop is to see Denise, newly appointed temporary critic, to ask her about Danny’s review. During Denise’s demonstration of Why Computers Are Better she accidentally uncovers a second review draft, one that matches Danny’s notes to a T.

JB’s suspicion that someone faked the printed review doesn’t go over well with Jarvis, or the fact that no bullet casings were retrieved from the crime scene despite the 911 call claiming to hear shots. He does concede that Danny could have been killed earlier and asks JB to think of all the people who came late or left early.

JB goes to see newly released Eliot, who is just as delightful as ever, saying that he got out of jail because the facts spoke for themselves, and that to please not bother him with her little show.

“Mr Easterbrook doesn’t it get tiring being the voice of disdain?” asks JB

“I never tire of putting people in their place.” Says Eliot.

Me, at least once a day.

Me, at least once a day.

An eagle-eyed Jess notices that Eliot has a copy of the script on his desk, one that belonged to the witch Barbara Blair. JB asks him who he thought wrote the fake review (since it made him apocalyptic ally angry) and while he bitches about O’Mara for a while, he gives her some names. Apparently the director, Jason Richards had a vested interest in the show’s success, having been on a downward streak with previous shows.

Cue taken, JB pays a visit to Jason who is drowning his sorrows after hearing that the Chronicle is pulling the “fake” O’Mara review and publishing the real (terrible) one. He reminds her that he was at the party with her when they found out about O’Mara’s death. The only person who wasn’t there was Walter.

Uh oh.

JB yells at his front door for a bit then returns to the theatre, where publicist Barney tells her he’s backstage working on rewrites. Walter is delighted that his original script is starting to come back, but has nothing for JB on where he was the night of the murder. This is news to Lt Jarvis’s ears and he promptly drags Walter down to the police station where Mrs Rizzo the eyewitness declares she saw Walter in the building the night O’Mara died.

Oh dear.

Lieutenant Jarvis needs no convincing and prompty arrests Walter. JB tells him not to worry, she’s got an idea. She goes down to see Barbara Blair, who confirms that she and Eliot were a thing on precisely one occasion, under orders from Shayne. Shayne confirms this but is in the middle of trying to find the good bits of the televised reviews. Rewatching Eliot’s episode causes JB to exclaim, and run out of the room.

LOL, j/k, it was Eliot the whole time!

LOL, j/k, it was Eliot the whole time!

This, my friends, is what happens when a young playwright gets burned by a critic. And he would have gotten away with it apart from the whole using the wrong name in his reviews because he got to the play late situation.

But for now

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

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!