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S11E15 – Twice Dead

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We’re back in NYC this week Fletcherfans, where science is happening!

YEAH SCIENCE

And technology is happening!

My Dad did something similar once, except it was our computer that we’d had about a week and he didn’t know what he was doing. The people we bought the computer off never worked out how he did it #DOSlife 

Supreme, cutting-edge technology is happening.

The 90s – where information was stored on drink coasters.

The man behind all this science and hacking is Dr Max Franklin, and he’s heading off on a jet plane and taking some lab samples with him. He leaves the offices of Biomec Industries late one night, closely followed by a man in a car, who loses him a short time later.

Cut to the next day, where Our Heroine is getting ready to slay the day when news comes on the television about a plane crash in Long Island Sound – there were no survivors and among the dead was Nobel winning biophysicist Dr Max Franklin. Now as it happens, and seriously what were the odds, Jessica is supposed to be heading down to Biomec later that day for a meeting. She calls her contact at the company, Liz White (who is being played by the same woman who played Mary Marsh in the pilot of The West Wing *shakes fist*), who tells her that she would rather Jess still come down, she needs a distraction.

Jess arrives at Biomec just in time to see the end of a press conference in which Liz gets handed an envelope and the CEO Dr Fredrick Grundberg tells the gathering everything is fine, as does the stockbroker overseeing the listing of Biomec, Richard Ellston, and someone called Priscilla Lake. Max was working on a cancer cure, and that work will continue. As the press depart Richard asks if everything really is fine, and Grundberg assures him that he wouldn’t tell Richard if it wasn’t.  Liz excuses herself for a moment, and as Jessica goes outside to wait she bumps into the man who had tried to follow Max the previous night.

Liz goes into Grundberg’s office where her colleagues Stuart Himes and David Randall are confronting Grundberg about his statements during the press conference. It turns out Max had some concerns about the drug L-214 not being ready to test on people, but Grundberg says there’s nothing to worry about and that he won’t let the drug go on the market unless it’s completely safe. After they leave, he grins at Priscilla.

Jessica is apparently there to help Liz write a book about science because why not and apparently the early reports from the publisher are good. Liz tells JB that she has to go clean out things from Max’s apartment and she’s dreading it but Jess tells her it won’t get any easier later. Liz and Max used to date, but apparently, she broke up with him but still always sought his approval like she needed to prove herself to him. David Randall wanders past and said Max was an idiot who never truly loved her and Jessica thinks that’s not entirely true.

Back in Grundberg’s office, there’s bad news – David has just discovered that the culture of L-214 in the fridge isn’t the cancer drug, Max must have switched the samples. To make matters worse, Max has wiped his computer and also the network of all reference to L-214. Grundberg tells Max to get to work, but Max doesn’t think he’s the right person to rebuild the research. Grundberg tells him to do it, or he’s out. After David leaves, Grundberg asks the smoking guy to go take a look at Max’s place to see if the missing culture is there.

Priscilla fills Richard in on all the shenanigans over martinis. Richard is furious that Grundberg is keeping him out of the loop, and tells Priscilla to keep him posted. Priscilla clearly has eyes on Grundberg’s job, and Richard is happy to back her.

The next day, Jessica is out taking care of business when she sees a taxi rear-end another taxi. She’s staggered when she sees the man in the back of the cab is Max Franklin.

Quality acting from the extras might I say.

She calls out to him but the cab drives away. Of course, she manages to memorise the cab number because she is the best.

Jess calls her old pal Lieutenant Artie Gelber, who tells her there might a reason Max had faked his death but asks someone to run the cab number for him. Artie has more pressing business to attend to – his high school is putting him on their wall of fame and he needs a portrait done, can Jess recommend a photographer?

A short time later thanks to some ace detecting by Officer Rizzoli, Jess finds Max’s destination – a hotel. She manages to bluff her way past the front desk but pauses when she sees The Smoking Guy come down the stairs and start loitering by the reception desk.

And then Jessica gets attacked by a zombie hand.

Not the first time this has happened in this show.

The decidedly not dead (or undead) Max Franklin tells JB that the smoking guy just tried to break into his hotel room, and also he and Jess probably need to talk.

Calls it like she sees it.

Back at House Fletcher, Max explains to JB that the smoking guy has been following him two weeks, and when he saw him following him out of Biomec he decided not to take the flight to Montauk that would later crash, so it turned out to be lucky really.

The smoking guy’s name turns out to be Walter Pell, and Jessica finds his detective agency ad in the yellow pages because the 90s. Max rips something out of the paper and apologises to JB but he needs to stay dead for a while longer. He just needs to get his journal from his house and then he will drop off the radar until he figures out what’s wrong with the vaccine. Jess offers to get it for him, which Max is hesitant to agree to but JB doesn’t give him a choice.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, Liz and David are discussing Liz’s breakup with Max when Stuart pops up and orders David back to work. He doesn’t know what game Liz is playing but he’s just heard on the radio that they’ve pulled the bodies from the plane crash – the pilot, the co-pilot and 3 female passengers – and there’s a lot of frantic whispering going on in Grundberg’s office.

Speaking of, as a TV plays news about Max’s house being firebombed, Grundberg holds a war meeting with Walter Pell. Pell had been down there trying to find the missing culture and files, but the house was already ablaze and then JB showed up so he legged it. Grundberg is furious but Pell thinks he will find Max in the next couple of hours, and they will get everything back then. Pell finds it odd that Grundberg had cancelled all his appointments for the morning, but Grundberg informs him they cancelled on him, and he heard about the fire on the car radio since he asks.

Jess meets Max back at his hotel and delivers the journal, undamaged by the fire. Max isn’t ready to rejoin the world though, but swears to Jess he’s close. As they take their leave of each other Pell starts following Max.

That night, Jess fills Liz in about Max’s return from the dead, and Liz wonders where he is. Jess remembers the piece Max ripped from her newspaper and thinks that if they can work out what it was, it might be a clue. They track him down to an apartment, but when they go inside they find him dead on the floor.

Artie is on the case and quickly rules in a burglary gone wrong. He asks Liz how well she knew Max and she tells him they were close for a long time, and she still cared about him but he was all in on his work. They find a cigarette butt in the hallway of the apartment building and Jess casually mentions that there was a private eye who happened to smoke that particular brand of cigarettes. Artie is on his way to get his portrait done, but he’s interested.

Down at Biomec, Richard is just learning about all of this but Priscilla tells him the police think Max was in the crappy apartment for a romantic meeting, and Grundberg says it changes nothing. Richard asks if Pell had anything to do with it, and Grundberg is surprised to hear Richard knows who Pell is, but says no Pell had nothing to do with it.

Jess goes to have a chat with Walter Pell, who is not her biggest fan after a four-hour interrogation from the cops. Jess says he should know, he used to be a cop. Walter admits to this, and allows just enough time to admit he followed Max after his meeting with JB to the apartment downtown, Walter waited outside for a while, went in and found Max dead so he legged it. Jess has one last question – why was Grundberg having Pell follow Max?

Pell says that’s Grundberg’s business and Jess says thanks – she wasn’t sure who had hired Pell, but now she knows.

Game, set, match.

Jess goes down to the precinct, where Artie is gradually working through interviewing everyone at Biomec. Officer Rizzoli appears to inform them all that Max’s laptop has been found completely wiped. Artie concedes his junkie burglary theory isn’t holding up, and gets back to interviews. Liz suddenly remembers the envelope she received at the press conference and they rush back to Biomec to retrieve it.

Liz gets the envelope from her desk and pulls out an envelope containing that floppy disk from the beginning of the episode. On it is a whole bunch of numbers but also proof that Stuart fudged some data. Stuart, who is lurking in the shadows, appears to explain that he did it so that the drug would be on the market faster, any side effects would be years later and by then they could be cured. Artie wanders in and announces Stuart is under arrest for Max’s murder.

Jess isn’t convinced about any of it, and calls Artie the next day to tell him so but Artie is all over it. Stuart went all in on the Biomec share purchase and would have stood to lose millions if the drug didn’t proceed to trials. Jess wonders how Stuart would have found the apartment, but Artie says Jessica did and the PI did, and maybe Max called him. Jess suddenly remembers there was a cell phone in Max’s briefcase but Artie tells her that there wasn’t one recovered from the crime scene. Jess tells him to call the phone company and find out what his last calls were.

Down at Biomec Richard has just learned that the stock option isn’t proceeding, he’s out 20 million dollars and his reputation is in ruins. Fortunately for Biomec Priscilla had a suspicion something was wrong and so they sold their shares before the sale went live. Grundberg is all good.

Back at the precinct Artie tells Jess there was a call but it was to a pay phone. Meanwhile Stuart’s prints have been found at Max’s apartment (so have JB’s) and the DA thinks it’s a slam dunk. Artie has other things to worry about like picking the right photo for his award.

Actually spat tea at this

Jessica looks at the photo envelope and suddenly realises who killed Max. Later that night she lays a trap, and what do you know…

Expect nothing less from Mary Marsh

All of this happened because Max dumped Liz and she couldn’t handle the truth. Literally. That’s all this was.

Happy voting, Fletcherfans!

Later gang!

 

 

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S07E10 – Murder in F Sharp

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That awkward moment when your nephew puts the wrong LP in the wrong cover.

That's right kids. In the 80s Spotify was called records.

That’s right kids. In the 80s Spotify was called records.

So I just googled the album that Ben accidentally played and it’s called Head On Collision, which is a New Found Glory song so can we just take a minute to ponder the fact that New Found Glory have apparently discovered how to time travel? Yeah, I know right!

While Ben is delighted to think that his nephew is now listening to Mozart courtesy of his Vaacclav Maryska album, he’s sad his nephew won’t get to hear the maestro play live. “You did hear what happened?” He asks JB.

Hear! JB got a blow by blow account. Apparently a certain friend of hers was tied up in the whole thing and just couldn’t wait to tell her about it.

I'm not going to lie. I love Dennis and his umbrella of justic a little bit, by which I mean a lot.

I’m not going to lie. I love Dennis and his umbrella of justice a little bit, by which I mean a lot.

Cut to San Francisco, where Vaacclav Maryska is preparing for a concert.

Seriously though, KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN

Seriously though, KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN

Vaacclav gets a visit backstage from his star pupil Nicole Geary, in from New York to see her teacher play. He’s delighted to see her, and less delighted when his wife Milena turns up. Nicole excuses herself and Milena asks Vaacclav why he didn’t mention Nicole was in town. Vaacclav shrugs, he thought he had. He tells Milena to take her seat, but she tells him she’s going home – this is one concert she’d rather miss.

Ouch.

The concert begins, but it’s clear that something is wrong. Vaacclav slams his hands down on the piano and declares he can’t play a piano that’s out of tune, before storming off the stage. After detouring through every bar in San Francisco he arrives home well sloshed. Milena tells him she heard about the show and she’s sorry. Vaacclav tells her at least it was short, and excuses himself to go into the study to continue his pity party.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

Milena takes herself back to bed, but is woken later that night when the fire alarm goes off. She hears Vaacclav yelling. After some hand-wringing and some door knocking by the building’s security, they managed to break down the study door to find Vraacclav in a pretty bad shape.

Serves you right you Spock-killing bastard. You think I'd forgotten about that?

Serves you right you Spock-killing bastard. You think I’d forgotten about that? 

Now it just so happens that Vaaclav has insured his hands and of course there’s only one man with the mad skillz required to investigate this insurance claim.

Classic Dennis.

Classic Dennis.

Dennis heads straight to the hospital to let Vaacclav and Milena know that the insurance claim will be processed expeditiously. Milena thanks him, but says they aren’t worried about the fire damage, Vaacclav’s recuperation is more important. Dennis apologises for not being clear, he was referring to the policy on Vaacclav’s hands. It’s obvious Milena knew nothing about this, but Vaacclav declares that he won’t be claiming, his hands will recover. There’s a knock on the door – it’s Milena’s son (and Vaacclav’s stepson) Alex. Milena ignores her son, and bids farewell to Dennis before leaving the room.

Dennis goes home with Milena to see the damage. Milena asks him how long Vaacclav has had the policy on his hands, and Dennis says at least 10 years. She tells Dennis Vaacclav was very drunk the night of the accident, and gets so emotional she has to leave the room. Dennis tells her he’ll only be a minute. He does a quick search and finds a challenge but resists the urge.

THE PRECIOUS

MY PRECIOUS!

Back at the hospital, Milena tells Vaacclav about Dennis’s investigation and begs him to tell her if he set the fire on purpose to damage his hands. Vaacclav tells her to leave so he can rest. DUN DUN.

Dennis adjourns to his office to study the footage of Vaacclav’s last show, while his boss Robert demands to know how Dennis can justify a $120 lunch expense. Dennis says he was getting information out of a forensic specialist.

“Oh yeah what was her name?” Says Robert.

Dennis has no time for your crap Robert.

Dennis has no time for your crap Robert.

Dennis, eyes on the prize, stops the recording. He can hear it, Vaacclav  is way out. Robert says doi, the piano wasn’t tuned correctly. Dennis goes to the concert hall and tries the piano out for himself – it’s in tune.

Meanwhile, Nicole goes to see Vaacclav in hospital, who is in fine spirits despite the condition of his hands. He tells Nicole he will start teaching, and has a pupil in mind…they could go to Majorca where Chopin wrote some of his finest…

Nicole laughs and says if she thought he was serious… “But I am!” Insists Vaacclav.

Milena appears to tell Vaacclav  the good news, he’s being discharged. Nicole excuses herself and leaves. Vaacclav  sees Milena’s face and tells her it’s not what she thinks.

Back at home, the doorman announces the arrival of Milena’s son Alex. Milena takes herself off to the bedroom while Vaaclav chats to Alex. Vaaclav tells Alex about a letter he’d like to reply to but you know, hands, so Alex offers to write it for him and gets the stationary out of the desk. Vaacclav  changes his mind and says he’ll go and get Milena – it’s high time their rift was solved. It’s obvious Alex has turned his life around, Milena needs to accept this. He goes into the bedroom and tells her he’s going out for awhile, and that Alex is ready to forgive her. Milena is disgusted. Her! Forgiven!

Vaacclav, after checking the time with the doorman (3:05pm) goes to meet Nicole for coffee, while a neighbour of Milena and Vaacclav hears a fight between Milena and Alex and sees Alex leave. Nicole arrives at 4:15, apologising for being late. Vaacclav  isn’t bothered, he wants to talk more about his Majorca plans. Nicole feels terrible, she thought he was joking – she can’t go to Majorca, she has classes and concerts in New York. Pish tosh, says Vaacclav. Cancel the concerts, he’s a better teacher than anyone etc etc.

After coffee they head back to Vaacclav’s apartment, where he discovers he forgot his key. The doorman lets them in – to discover Milena’s body on the floor. Everyone’s favourite San Francisco detective Lieutenant Catalano is called in, much to Dennis’s delight when he arrives a short time later. Catalano demands to know what Dennis is doing there, and he says he’s there to see an old friend. He gives his condolences to Vaacclav who tells Catalano (and Dennis) what happened. Dennis is interested to hear more about Nicole Geary but Catalano throws him out.

At the office, Dennis gets Rhoda to dig out everything she can find on Vaacclav Maryska. On top of all the houses he owns, and the overheads he has accrued, Rhoda also discovers a life insurance policy on Milena – but before Dennis can get excited she tells him Milena’s son Alex was the beneficiary, not Vaacclav. Dennis goes to see Alex who had no idea about the insurance policy. Dennis tells him he should speak to a lawyer quickly, before Catalano turns up. Later than night Vaacclav  goes to see Alex at his office at the rehab clinic and tells him there’s nothing to worry about. He asks Alex to retrieve his reading glasses from the car, and after Alex goes to get them, stares at the typewriter thoughtfully.

Dennis goes to see Catalano at the police station. Catalano is on the phone, barking orders at someone to search the apartment and the office until they find the gun. Dennis has heard about this mysterious letter, supposedly from Alex to Milena, that has only just conveniently turned up. Catalano doesn’t care, the paper has Alex’s fingerprints on it and the typewriting matches the typewriter in Alex’s office, he’s clearly guilty.

Unconvinced, Dennis goes back to his office to see what else Rhoda has managed to dig up on Vaacclav. She tells him that apart from some trips to New York, Vaaclav’s only other recent trip was to Rochester Minnesota – home of the Mayo Clinic. This only adds to Dennis’s theory that Vaaclav is behind the whole thing, and further demonstrates this by setting fire to some plum brandy.

For science! Is the best reason to do anything. Fact.

For science! Is the best reason to do anything. Fact.

Dennis decides there is only one possible course of action, especially since Vaacclav is out to dinner that night.

Safes are to Dennis what bookshops are to me.

Safes are to Dennis what bookshops are to me.

Unfortunately for Dennis, he is soon interrupted by a visit from the doorman and the aforementioned neighbour who swears she heard noises in the apartment.

Once a cat burglar...

Once a cat burglar…

Back at the office the next day…

ALWAYS FOR SCIENCE.

ALWAYS FOR SCIENCE.

Dennis is trying to prove that Vaacclav was able to write the extortion note. It turns out thatduring his nocturnal sojourn in Vaaclaav Maryska’s apartment Dennis managed to find two tickets to Majorca, booked months earlier departing in a couple of days, in the names of Vaacclav Maryska and Nicole Geary.  Considering Vaacclav was meant to be in Tokyo on his world tour, this would indicate that he knew he wasn’t going to make it. SUSPICIOUS. Rhoda also confirms that Vaacclav went to the Mayo Clinic but couldn’t get any info on his diagnosis – a situation remedied by a call from Doctor Dennis Stanton who discovers Vaacclav was suffering from degenerative arthritis and wouldn’t have been able to play within a year. Dennis is convinced Vaacclav is behind the whole thing but cannot see how to prove it.

That night, Nicole is at Vaacclav’s house where he  bestows the Majorca tickets on her. She tells him she just can’t up and leave to Majorca tomorrow but Vaaclaav won’t have a bar of it. The phone rings – it’s the doorman. Dennis is there with a cheque for Vaaclav. Nicole tells Vaaclaav she’ll call him from New York, and the truth comes out – she’s getting married. To a composer. A talented young composer.

Pun partially intended.

Pun partially intended.

As Nicole departs Dennis arrives with a 10 million dollar cheque and a theory. A correct one, naturally.

Damn right he is. #livelongandprosper

Damn right he is. #livelongandprosper

It happened exactly how you imagine it did. Vaacclav did it all for the girl, not stopping to check whether the girl wanted it done for her. You know, the usual.

Case closed. And only two more Dennis the menace episodes left in the series! Does that mean the bookends are coming to an end?

Stay tuned!

Later gang!

Later gang!