Welcome back to San Francisco Fletcherfans, where JB has popped in to discuss the serialization of one of her books in the local paper with editor and inexplicable Australian Harry Mordecai. Harry Mordecai is being played by John Rhys Davies who is very much not Australian but is doing a pretty good job of pretending to be one.

It is teetering on cockney but overall very well played. 8 Rupert Murdoch’s out of 10

Paper editor, John Galloway, has decided to resign in the face of Harry’s constant meddling but has been convinced to stay a month. Harry is sorry to tell Jessica he has to move his meeting with her until the next day, but he has lots of ideas for editing her story – making the victim a sexy career woman in the space industry instead of an old man, and she dies in a jacuzzi instead.

(Trust me, don’t say this to an Australian if you ever want them to make sense again. Also, sorry to all the people who asked me if Australians spoke English when I was backpacking. They do, and what I was speaking to you was a combination of throat noises and Indonesian)

There’s plenty of other shenanigans transpiring at the paper. Journalist Alexis Hill is up for a prize, finance reporter Max Charles is into some shady dealings and Loretta, the paper’s gossip columnist is swamped with mail, including a death threat from a creepy looking guy we see at the start of the episode. The mail boy Troy also delivers an old copy of the paper Loretta was looking for – specifically an article about the death of a homeless activist. Loretta is being played by Eileen Brennan and there is a 100% chance I’m going to smash through writing this so I can watch Clue this afternoon. Loretta gets a call from security – there’s a homeless lady called Nell who would like a word. Loretta asks him to send her up. Alexis, who is in the middle of thanking her colleague Emma Kemp for voting for her for the prize, is puzzled to see Nell in the newsroom as Nell was one of the sources for her story about homeless people. Nell isn’t there for her though, she wants to chat to Loretta. Nell saw something that belonged to the dead homeless guy but it’s missing. Loretta tells her to keep looking.  Later, while Harry decides to offer his opinion to Alexis about her article, Loretta has a quiet word to Max Charles about his obvious shady tactics in his articles – she knows he’s making a fortune writing pieces that cause stocks to tank and she warns him to be very careful.

Jessica wanders into Loretta’s office for lunch but instead of ordering in they go eat in the park, where Nell pops up again to tell Loretta she still hasn’t found what she’s looking for. Everyone else adjourns to the local bar where Troy the mail guy tries to pick up Emma and Harry has an idea to throw Alexis a party to celebrate her imminent prize win. Later, Loretta informs Harry that if John leaves she’ll quit too. As night falls, the staff make their way out of the lobby when creepy old mate from the start of the episode shoots Loretta and hightails it out of there.

Phew. There’s a lot going on you guys.

Loretta is fine, just a bullet graze on her arm and a broken hearing aid, and checks herself out of the hospital the next morning. She returns to work, where she has a phone message from Nell saying she’s at the usual place. Loretta calls her back and assures Nell she’s fine and to keep looking for the thing. John wanders in and tells her she shouldn’t be at work. He arranges to have her stay at a hotel room and promises to have her hearing aid delivered as soon as it’s fixed. Meanwhile, Jessica refuses to make the editorial changes Harry requests.

SHE IS THE ONE WHO KNOCKS

Harry is impressed with Jessica and says they’ll do it her way. Jess celebrates by bumping into the detective investigating Loretta’s shooting but he has no news. Harry and Alexis put their heads together and come up with a suitably hysterical story about the shooting. Later, John sends Troy over to pick up Loretta’s hearing aid and drop it at the hotel.

Jess and John head to the pub for lunch. Alexis wanders past, having just filed her story about Loretta. John asks her if Loretta’s hearing aid worked okay and Alexis tells him Loretta seemed to be fine. She goes over to tell Harry about her story, as a call comes in from Lieutenant Evans to say they’ve arrested the shooter – they tried to get hold of Loretta but the line was busy. John and JB are in the neighbourhood and say they will go tell her the good news – making sure to tell Harry and Alexis as they walk past their table.

Unfortunately, when they get to the hotel they find Loretta dead on the floor. The police arrive a short time later and quickly discover that Loretta’s real name is Claire Hogan and that she took over the Loretta column when the original retired. They also find the words John Kill Me etched into the glass of the coffee table, which is news to John but enough for Lieutenant Evans. Jessica isn’t so convinced and demonstrates it would have been impossible for Loretta/Claire to have written on the desk with her ring, but Evans is done.

Down at the newspaper office Alexis is grateful for Max’s congratulations about her Loretta story, but also she knows that he was up to no good with his stock reporting and that she’ll keep her mouth shut if he suggests to Harry that she’d make a great acting editor. Jessica does a bit of sleuthing and works out Max’s side hustle and confronts him at the bar where he’s interviewing a martini. He confesses to the scam, swears he didn’t kill Loretta/Claire but he did go to the suite, as he has a key, but bailed when he saw her dead at about 5pm.

Jess learns that John has been charged with murder and heads straight to the police station, where she outs John as the real writer of Loretta Lee’s column – he took over when the previous writer left, and Loretta/Claire agreed to be the public Loretta. Evans is stumped, but a chance sentence about the time gives Jess an idea. She rushes back to the newsroom where she gets Troy to confess to lying about what time he dropped the hearing aid off – he took himself off to watch All The Presidents Men for the afternoon before picking up and dropping off the hearing aid.

Jess then goes to see Nell the homeless woman, who gives Jessica the thing she was looking for on behalf of Loretta. Back at the newsroom, Harry announces he’s sold the paper and brought a satellite news network, and Jess confronts the killer.

I’ve got nothing.

Nell, it turns out, had discovered that Alexis stole her friend who died’s journal and was publishing it as her story. Nell told Loretta, who confronted Alexis and received a water jug to the head for her trouble.

This was a good episode, you guys. I am a raging nerd for movies and TV shows set in newspapers and I always will be, despite what certain world leaders say. Anyway, I’m off for a couple of weeks to lie on a beach in Queensland with no social media and help Mum turn a Significant Birthday But I Can’t Tell You Which Or She Will Come After Me.

Later gang!

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