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S06E21 – The Szechuan Dragon

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Happy Valentines Day Fletcherfans! Fun fact – St Valentine is also the patron saint of bee keepers, plague sufferers and epileptics so go down to your nearest apiary and hug an epileptic beekeeper today!

But before you do, let me tell you a tale. A tale of a  sea captain disembarking a ship in New York late one night. Out of the shadows a woman appears, ordering the captain to give something to her. He tells her he doesn’t have it. She says she knows he took it from the Cambodian five weeks earlier, and it’s hers. She pulls a gun. The sea captain whacks her with his shore bag and she is knocked unconscious. The sea captain picks up the gun, throws the bullets into the water and drops the gun back next to her. With a casual salute, he departs.

Back in her hotel room, the woman gets a knock at the door. That creepy guy from Titanic whose been in other things but is mainly the creepy dude from Titanic walks in, demanding the thing. She tells him she doesn’t have it, that the sea captain told her the Cambodian stole it from him five weeks earlier in Singapore. Which would be a lie, for those playing along at home. She also tells him that’s all she can remember.

“Except their next location.” Says the man. His bags are in his limo downstairs, where are they going?

“Maine.” Says the woman. “A place called Cabot Cove.”

Aha! Well, they have no chance pitted against the Dazzling Brilliance that is Our Heroine right guys?

I MEAN WHY

I MEAN WHY

It turns out that Grady and his rather pregnant wife Donna are in town to house-sit for JB while she’s in England to see her cousin Emma’s new show. Donna isn’t pregnant for another couple of months but Grady refuses to let her be out of the car. He asks Seth to take a look at her when he gets the chance, and as he hands over Jess’s keys Seth tells him he would be delighted. As Grady gets into the car, Seth tells Donna he can give her something to calm those nerves. Donna thanks him but tells him her nerves are fine.

“Not yours. His.” Says Seth.

BURN.

Grady and Donna arrive at House Fletcher and meet Jessica’s neighbour Connie Lewis, who has been watering the plants while Jess is away. While she gives Donna directions for tending the plants, her son Stanley roars up on his motorbike. Connie begs him not to park it where the whole world can see but he just waves and wanders off. Connie tells Donna and Grady that he’s hoping to buy a bigger faster bike but that she’s hoping the bank will reject his loan application. She leaves them to it, and while Donna tries to unpack and Grady decides his wife can’t possibly sleep upstairs (until she points out that’s where the bathroom is, right next to the guest room and MY GOD CALM DOWN GRADY) they are interrupted by a phone call. It’s Jess, checking in. Turns out Emma’s show is predicted to be a smash hit and the Royal Family will be in attendance. And it’s protocol for them to come backstage after the performance.

“You’re going to meet the Queen of England?!?” Says Grady.

GODDAMN RIGHT.

GODDAMN RIGHT.

Before she hangs up, she tells Grady that the phone number for Emma’s flat where she’s staying is next to the phone, and that there’s a blue envelope with a few hundred dollars in it for the plumber in the drawer in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, down in town, Carla Thyssen and Justin Hunnicut (the previously mentioned man and woman looking for the Thing) are sitting in their car awaiting the arrival of the sea captain off the bus from New York. When the bus arrives, and the sea captain isn’t on it, Justin is furious and thinks Carla has joined with The Cambodian to try and double cross him. She asks him why she would be there if that was the case, and anyway he was the one convinced he could work out who the sea captain was in town to see. Unbeknownst to the pair of them, the sea captain has arrived in town by hitching a ride on a truck and YOU GUYS HE HAS A WOODEN LEG THIS IS AMAZING.

100% PIRATE.

100% PIRATE.

Turns out the pirate is the brother of the mum in Happy Days. I think. I read this fact right before I had a nap so that might not actually be true.

Back at House Fletcher, Grady is trying to unpack but is distracted by Donna inadequately resting. (Another fun fact: having someone shout RELAX MORE at you does not help you relax.) When Donna tries to put an (empty) suitcase away Grady snatches it off her, almost smashing an ornament in the process. The ornament in question, a large ceramic dragon, is deemed hideous and relegated to the top shelf of the closet.

COULD THIS BE THE SZECHUAN DRAGON? Spoiler alert the answer is yes and now I want szechuan chicken.

COULD THIS BE THE SZECHUAN DRAGON? Spoiler alert the answer is yes and now I want szechuan chicken.

Grady goes off to do some grocery shopping and picks up some seafood down at the dock – coincidentally the same place that Stanley  Lewis works. As Grady leaves, a man turns to watch him leave – one can only assume he is The Cambodian.

Later that night, Donna is woken by noises downstairs. She wakes Grady up and finally manages to convince him that there’s someone in the house. She asks him if Jess might have a baseball bat in the house but Grady tells her she took it to London with her. (OK Grady.)

Without a baseball bat, Donna is forced to improvise.

BLOW WAVE OF DEATH.

BLOW WAVE OF DEATH.

Downstairs they find the source of all the commotion. It’s the pirate sea-captain, dead on the floor with a smashed lamp and a key next to him. Fortunately, Cabot Cove’s finest are on the case.

I would not watch that show. Or would I? (Nah, probs not)

I would not watch that show. Or would I? (Nah, probs not)

Grady is concerned that a) the broken lamp was Jess’s favourite and b)the whole sorry business is having a dreadful effect on Donna, but as usual Grady is wrong. Donna is having a lovely time reassembling a letter in a foreign language found in the sea-captain’s pocket and pouring coffee for the sheriff who has worked out a basic theory – it’s a burglary gone wrong so all they need to work out is who the dead guy is, who the dead guy’s partner is how any of them got a spare key to Hosue Fletcher, since according to Seth not even he has a key to Jessica’s house.

As they mull things over, the phone rings. It’s JB checking up on them all. Grady freaks but in a remarkably clever move tells his aunt that an old sea-captain looking dude “dropped in” but Jess doesn’t recognise the description. She tells Grady she’s sure he’ll pop in again if it’s important.

“No I don’t think so.” Says Grady.

Jess hangs up, leaving Seth to rant about how Jess never locks her doors when she’s home but as soon as she does, complete strangers turn up in her living room. We get it Seth, you want a key cut, calm your llama.

Over at the Hill House the next morning, Carla awakes to find Justin Hunnicut being A Creepy Dude.

Creepy Titanic dude is creepy.

Creepy Titanic dude is creepy.

He’s learned about the murder of the sea-captain on the radio, and tells Carla he popped by the previous night, but that Carla was out. He went down the beach looking for her but she wasn’t there either. Carla denies seeing the sea-captain or The Cambodian and what’s more she doesn’t have It.

“Not in this room.” Says Hunnicutt. ARGH SO CREEPY EW EW EW EW. He leaves, not before commenting on Carla’s taste in lingerie (EW EW EW EW). As the door closes, Carla picks up the phone and calls The Cambodian to ask where he went after their meeting. He tells her she has insulted him and asks if Hunnicut was responsible. Carla says to leave Justin to her.

Over at the Sheriff’s office Seth has just delivered his preliminary findings re: the sea-captain: death by whack on head with lamp by someone right handed. Mort is less than impressed with this news, as it doesn’t give him much more than he already had. Luckily Deputy Floyd is on the case – he has taken a look at the letter and recognised that it was in Greek, thanks to his days in the frat house at university. Both Seth and Mort are rather taken aback at this Floyd development.

HE IS SO PROUD OF HIMSELF

HE IS SO PROUD OF HIMSELF

Conveniently for everyone but mainly the audience, the shop-keeper where Grady bought his seafood happens to be Greek and he’s delighted to have a crack at translating the message, after a brief interruption from Stanley on his new motorbike with a delivery. Unfortunately for Mort, the letter appears to be nothing more than a holiday letter.

Over at House Fletcher Donna goes next door to borrow some shampoo from Connie when Grady gets a knock at the door. A phone repair guy has come to fix the phone. BUT IT’S NOT A PHONE REPAIR GUY IT’S THE CAMBODIAN! (Why doesn’t he get an actual name?)

While Grady babbles, The Cambodian stalks the house for the Th-can we all just agree it’s the damn dragon? Excellent. Anyway while he looks Grady says since The Cambodian has been in town for so long he must know his aunt Jess and read her books. The Cambodian agrees, says that JB is a fine woman and that her books are very instructive.

“Instructive?” Grady is horrified. “On how to kill people?”

The Cambodian neatly covers his mistake by going on a kung-fu rampage both glorious and destructive.

Now is it me or is Michael Horton grinning in this screencap? Because let's face it, holding a chair while the guy who designed fight sequences for Inception and Get Smart destroys it with his foot would make me grin too.

Now is it me or is Michael Horton grinning in this screencap? Because let’s face it, holding a chair while the guy who designed fight sequences for Inception and Get Smart destroys it with his foot would make me grin too.

Before the house gets reduced to toothpicks they hear sirens. The Cambodian leaves (sadly by opening the door and not by flying kick) and escapes. Seth and Floyd give chase but they return empty handed. Donna rushes in, saying she got worried when the phone repair guy didn’t have a van. Grady says he wishes he’d thought of that.

Later that afternoon, The Cambodian is on the beach (meditating? Thinking about cheese?) when he opens his eyes. Hunnicut is standing behind him. “Were you followed?” The Cambodian asks.

“No.” Says Hunnicutt. “Dear Carla doesn’t suspect a thing.”

Fast forward to the next day, when the plumber has come to check the plumbing and Seth has come to check pulses. Everything is working fine except Grady’s heart rate which is going at a million miles an hour. Once the plumber finishes, they discover that the envelope JB left them with the money has disappeared from the drawer. The killer!

Later that night, Donna is in bed looking at one of Jess’s photo albums when she makes a discovery – Jess’s Aunt Harriet is in a picture with the sea-captain! Grady gets on the phone to a sleepy JB who tells him that the man’s name was Herbert Malachi, an ex-boyfriend of her aunt who no-one had heard from in years. Jess gets suspicious when Grady starts innocently inquiring whether Jess owned any rare antiques or coins but tells her he broke the lamp. Happily for him the lamp was an old eyesore according to JB. Donna gets on the phone for a two second hello before Grady announces to JB they have to go.

I now present to you possibly The Best Screencap I’ve ever grabbed, that I feel sums up the JB/Grady relationship completely.

Also sums up my feelings about Mondays.

Also sums up my feelings about Mondays.

Grady can’t sleep though and goes down to get a glass of milk. Instead he rings Mort and tells him what Jess told Grady about the dead man’s identity. As Grady is about to go back upstairs, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Carla – her “car” has “broken down” and could she use his phone? As soon as she’s inside, the story gets better. Carla tells Grady that Captain Malachi was her father and her only family, that he died trying to retrieve his possession and would Grady help her?

Grady says of course. Well he tries to. Which is when Donna comes downstairs.

I feel like this might have happened before??

I feel like this might have happened before??

They hear a car scream to a halt outside. Carla thinks it’s Hunnicutt and begs them not to do business with him. She flees via the back door. Grady hides Donna behind a chair and arms himself with a poker but it’s only Mort and Floyd. Mort is interested in Carla’s story since he’s managed to discover that Herbert Malachi wasn’t a captain – just a disgraced former seaman who got busted smuggling art out of Burma. Moreover, the same World War 2 incident that cost him his leg also cost him his chance of making babies (Mort’s words, not mine).

Grady can’t believe he fell for Carla’s story.

Guys Donna is kind of awesome.

Guys Donna is kind of awesome.

Mort has decided the risk is too high, and appoints Floyd to stay at the house for the rest of the night, much to Floyd’s surprise.

The next morning, Donna wakes to find the house torn apart and Floyd tied to a chair with tape around his neck. Guys I think Jess really needs to reconsider her housesitters.

Mort takes Floyd to see Seth and get checked out but Seth pronounces him fine. The phone rings – it’s Jess. She’s worried about Grady and Donna but Seth assures her that they, the baby and her house are all fine. She asks him about Captain Malachi but Seth plays dumb on that point. It’s only when Jess starts telling him the story of her Aunt Helen, and the hideous dragon she left Jess in her will that Seth starts freaking out, tells Jess he has an emergency call and calls Mort. Mort, Floyd, Seth, Donna and Grady go to retrieve the dragon from the wardrobe but it’s gone.

Mort decides to get a second opinion on that letter he found. His hunch is correct – the letter isn’t about a cruise, it’s all about how much the dragon is worth. It would appear that Mort’s former translator, Nick, was less than accurate with his translating, and when they pick him up they find the dragon on him. Unfortunately though his alibi for the murder checks out, leaving them back at square one.  Seth has been to the library and has found out the long exciting history of the Szechuan Dragon, including the fact that it’s currently worth eight figures. The phone rings again – Jess in a panic. She can’t get hold of Grady, Donna or Seth. Mort tells her it’s fine, it’s just a murder. She demands information and Mort tells her he hopes she’s not at a pay phone.

Over at the coffee shop Donna is about to settle into an icecream sundae when she sees Carla sitting with the Cambodian and Justin Hunnicutt across the room. She marches over there and places the whole lot of them under citizens arrest, and when the Cambodian starts to grab her arm she screams the place down, sending a horde of teenage footballers to her aid.

Learnt that from her aunt. No question.

Down at the police station chaos erupts, but Mort shuts them all up. He returns to the phone and asks JB who he should arrest for the murder, but is surprised to hear the answer is none of them.

Life Lesson #59: When in doubt, phone a friend.

Stellaaaaaaaaaaa

Stellaaaaaaaaaaa

Oh Stanley. He who got rejected for a bank loan and got busted nicking JB’s plumbing money by a pirate. That old story.

But for now, I think it’s best we celebrate the fact that Our Heroine can solve cases via phone, and reflect on the fact that Grady is only in one more episode. Next week marks the end of season six, and the halfway point in Murder She Blogged, so to celebrate I think it’s time I tweeted another movie.

So! By the power vested in me, by me, I pronounce Murder She Blogged Epic Tweetathon Part The Third will take place on Monday, 14 March at 12pm Melbourne time. The film shall be Murder She Wrote: A Story To Die For.

Set your twitters to EPIC TWEET.

Until next time!

Later gang!

Later gang!

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S05E09 – Something Borrowed, Someone Blue

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You guys! WE’RE INVITED TO A WEDDING!

Weddings! I love weddings! Drinks all around! (Captain Jack Sparrow is my spirit guide)

Nothing says romance like Fishkill.

Oh wait a minute. Here’s the bride and groom:

I take it back I'm not coming I'm washing my hair

I take it back I’m not coming I’m washing my hair

Preparations are in full swing for the wedding of the millenium, and Jess has arrived to be the voice of sanity in all the chaos, and also to insist that Donna and Grady open her present right away.

All the better for taking a good hard look at yourself Grady

All the better for taking a good hard look at yourself Grady

JB’s gift to them is the mirror she got from her  mother on her wedding day. She tells them she thought they’d need something old, and it also brought great luck to Frank and her.

Dammit Grady!

Dammit Grady!

Donna is whisked away by her mother Maisie to prepare for the rehearsal. Grady reminds her that he might need to attend that too and Maisie agrees, but says she wishes she would stop seeing Wilfred down the end of the aisle. Wilfred, it turns out, is Donna’s childhood sweetheart and the man Donna’s parents still wish she would marry. Gotta admit, I kind of feel bad for Grady a bit.

A BIT.

Jess is joined by the housekeeper, Harriet, and it was bugging me for ages that I recognised her voice but IMDB solved the case.

Berta from Two and a Half Men, a show once loved by my Grandma #weird

Berta from Two and a Half Men, a show once loved by my Grandma #weird

Harriet scolds Jess for attempting to put her suitcase on the bed, and tells her there will be hell to pay if she doesn’t sharpen her pencils over the bin.

Later that night the family sits down to  the dinner table, joined by Donna’s Uncle Ben who is precisely the type of uncle you are imagining right now. He spends a good amount of time winking salaciously at Jessica, who asks him what he does for a living but the answer is quickly cut off by Donna’s father quizzing Grady on accounting practices. Thug life.

Ben excuses himself, saying he needs ice to cool down his hot blood, “you know what I mean Jessica?”

She is so badass.

She is so badass.

In the kitchen, Ben has a fondle of Harriet’s backside. Harriet reacts appropriately.

*insert Charlie Sheen joke here*

*insert Charlie Sheen joke here*

The doorbell rings and they are soon joined by Maisie’s brother Ziggy Stardust and his new wife Valerie. Some dramatic tension gets thrown about when it seems like Harriet and Valerie recognise each other but the moment passes and Jess shows them to their rooms on account of Harriet going off to abuse a soup tureen probably. Later that night, Jess is chillaxing with a book when she is interrupted first by Uncle Ben on the prowl (after her or Valerie, I think the phrase is ‘any port in a storm’), and then by Grady and Donna who aren’t coping with anything but specifically Donna’s parents.

The next morning, chaos sets in early. Harriet picks a fight with the wedding caterer, and Ben decides it would be a good idea to slap Jessica’s bum as she walks past to see Donna’s father in his office.

Isn't it great that now women aren't treated as objects oh wait...

Isn’t it great that nowadays women aren’t treated as objects oh wait…

Jess goes in to try and spruik her nephew’s fine qualities to Donna’s father, (may the force be with her on that) but Maisie interrupts them to announce that the caterer is threatening to walk out as Harriet won’t let him in the kitchen and now Harriet has disappeared. Jess volunteers to help Maisie look for her, but is unaware of the situation in the bushes just next to her.

Just so we're clear, Harriet is facedown in the  petunias.

Just so we’re clear, Harriet is facedown in the petunias.

While the Hunt for Red October Harriet continues, Ben attempts to coach Ziggy in marital harmony but is distracted by the arrival of the waitresses. Jess meets Cousin Clara, who is very keen to get hold of some food. Grady sneaks into Donna’s bedroom to tell her he’s not taking the job at her father’s firm, and that they definitely shouldn’t move in next door in the house the Mayberry’s bought them as a wedding present. Grady goes to confront Donna’s father, gets nowhere, and whinges to Jess that maybe Donna should be with Wilfred, since their wedding appears to be cursed. “Nonsense” says Jess. “What could possibly go wrong?”

Now I can’t really explain what happens next, but if you’ve seen it y0u know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t, there are sound effects involved that left me looking like this:

k2

In any case, the Chief of Police is called and makes the following discovery, not edited by me in any way.

l1 l2

Nailed it

Nailed it

I don’t even.

Slocum decides in 30 seconds that the culprit is a professional burglar, but his mind is blown when Jess gently explains to him that it would appear the wrapping paper from the present was placed in Harriet’s hand as an afterthought to cover up the motive of the crime. More importantly, the killer has to still be in the house as the guard told Jess earlier when she was looking for Harriet that no one had left the premises.

While the wedding guests are redirected to the open bar, Jess and Slocum begin the investigation. Jess shows Slocum where the meat thermometer was kept, and tells him that the killer can’t have been acquainted with the house since they didn’t know where the knives were kept and went for the handiest weapon. This probably means that the body was moved to buy time.

Slocum is on board so far.

Nailing it

Nailing it

Meanwhile, Donna and Grady’s attempts to talk to her father about their future are overshadowed by the arrival of Wilfred, the ex-boyfriend and shining light to the Mayberry parents.

Not so much any more.

*starts humming Born in the USA*

*starts humming Born in the USA*

Outside, Ben and Ziggy suddenly realise that neither of them have a cousin Clara. Jess goes in to investigate and discovers that Clara is in fact a wedding crasher.

Ugh you guys, lets cut to the chase because this episode is weird.

Mmmmkay

Mmmmkay

Turns out Valerie accidentally on purpose killed her ex husband, and Harriet was her maid, And honestly, whatever.

As Grady and Donna finally tie the knot, I think Jessica sums it up best.

I need to lie down.

I need to lie down.

S05E01 – J.B as in Jail Bird

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Welcome to season five Fletcherfans! Only seven more seasons to go! This must be how it feels to run a marathon :S

JB is in San Francisco this week, and whatever plans she had planned have fallen apart very quickly thanks to an old friend.

This can only mean trouble.

This can only mean trouble.

JB bumped into him leaving the airport, and gentleman that he is he offered her a lift to her hotel, Unfortunately it’s all gone a bit wrong and he’s now on the trail of some Bulgarian dude who hightails it out of a hotel room window and down the fire escape. He tries to hijack the car containing JB but as she helpfully points out that she doesn’t have the keys and she doesn’t know how to drive, shots ring out and he collapses. Jess looks up just in time to see Hegarty scarper as the police cars make an unexpectedly quick arrival leaving Jess no time to do anything but pick up the book the dead Hungarian had in his pocket.

Damn it Hegarty!

Classic Hegarty

Classic Hegarty move

While JB gets hauled off to the cop shop Hegarty is back at base listening to his boss list all the things he is going to throw at Hegarty for stuffing up the mission.

Hegarty is a bit cranky and tells his boss that he didn’t shoot the guy, it was their arch nemesis the Cobra, a deadly assassin who has evaded capture for some time. Lancaster is vaguely appeased but is still furious that Hegarty got a civilian involved. She’ll talk to the police! She’ll talk to the press! She’ll compromise everything!

Hegarty assures his boss that he has JB covered. At least, temporarily.

Down at the police station JB is trying to persuade the detectives to let her go, but they aren’t having it. They want to know her real name and nationality. When she tells them her name is Jessica Fletcher from Cabot Cove Maine they tell her the REAL Jessica Fletcher reported her bag and luggage stolen from the airport. Sergeant Nash orders her to be booked as a Jane Doe. JB tells them she was supposed to be meeting her nephew Grady who is in town on business. He’ll vouch for her.

Oh dear.

Back at base, Lancaster, Hegarty and his colleague Roger Travis assess the situation. There’s an African politician coming to give a speech at Berkeley in a few days, to publicly shame his home country. The ruling party can’t bump the guy off at home but sources indicate that the Cobra has been hired for half a million bucks to assassinate him. Lancaster says the Americans don’t believe there’s a threat so they’re on their own. Hegarty is furious, saying that if it all goes wrong the Americans don’t have to worry about the clean-up in Africa, they do. Travis says they already have a mess to clean up thanks to Hegarty’s panicky trigger finger. They nearly come to blows before Lancaster threatens to get out his axe again. They calm down, but not before Travis warns Hegarty not to say any more.

BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY ME I DECLARE TODAY TO BE REX MANNING DAY

BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY ME I DECLARE TODAY TO BE REX MANNING DAY

Back at the precinct JB is in a holding cell bored out of her brains when Sergeant Nash arrives with Grady. He asks Grady if this woman is his aunt and he tells the sergeant he’s never seen this woman before in his life.

Really though, what did you think was going to happen? Grady barely knows who HE is

Really though, what did you think was going to happen? Grady barely knows who HE is

Outside, Nash tells Grady that the woman pretending to be his aunt iced a Commie in an alleyway. Grady is flabbergasted – that sweet old woman? Nash shrugs and tells Grady to get his aunt to call him when she gets a chance. In his office, Nash finds a detective from Miami going through a file on his desk. Detective Santiago tells him he recognised the MO of the Bulgarian’s murder as they had something similar in Miami six months earlier and a description of the killer matched JB.

Hegarty catches up to Grady outside the police station to confirm he didn’t identify his aunt. Grady is horrified that he helped keep his aunt in jail on a murder charge but Hegarty insists it’s for her safety and explains the situation with the assassination attempt. Grady insists that he help the case (oh for crying out loud) and Hegarty tells him to go back to his hotel room and call if anyone turns up asking for Jess.

Meanwhile, Santiago and Nash continue interrogating JB, and she’s rapidly losing patience. She tells them to do a nitrate test to prove that she didn’t fire a gun, but they point out she was wearing gloves. She snaps and tells them to test the gloves then,  and Santiago asks her how come she knows so much about nitrate tests. She tells him it’s her business to know – then seeing his reaction hastens to add she’s a mystery writer. She insists on her phone call to her attorney but Nash says her attorney is already here.

Oh look, now he’s Clark Kent.

Genius.

Cunningly disguised in glasses and a thick southern accent Hegarty explains the situation to JB and says it will only be for a few more days. JB is furious, but decides to make the best of a bad situation and asks for the book she had when she was arrested (that she lifted from the dead Bulgarian) so she could “finish reading”.

Meanwhile back at his hotel, Grady finds a mysterious blonde banging on the door looking for Jess. She says she’s Glenda Morrison, the one writing a piece about JB for the Chonicle and that JB needs to get in touch, pronto. Grady alerts Hegarty who isn’t particularly concerned until Grady reports that he rang the Chronicle and they’d never heard of a Glenda Morrison. While Grady searches for the phone number to show Hegarty, a car pulls up across the street, and Hegarty spots a gun barrel sticking out of the window. He tackles Grady to the ground as shots ring out and the car screeches off. Grady is hysterical and calms down only when Hegarty tells him the bullet was probably meant for him. Hegarty tells Grady to go back to his hotel, while he baits and casts another line.

Back at the precinct Nash has a visit from Kevin Styles from the State Department, looking for a copy of the file and checking in on the investigation. He tells them that they’re reporting it to the Bulgarians as a robbery turned homicide which Santiago thinks makes no sense as there was nothing found on the ‘Jane Doe’. The Jane Doe herself is still kicking back in her cell, investigating the book when she gets a visit from Rex Manning Travis, who tells her that they know she and Hegarty were in it together and that if she comes clean they can cut her a deal. JB decides to call the guard instead and Travis (with an inexplicable Australian accent) slinks off again. JB’s next door neighbour overhears the conversation and says “Gee honey, I had you figured for shoplifting or maybe kiting cheques but murder…Jessica, I knew you had class.”

Indeed

Indeed

Meanwhile, Grady and Hegarty lure Glenda Thompson back to the hotel to find out who she really is, and are a little disappointed to discover that all she lied about was working for the Chronicle. She’s working freelance and was planning to sell the article about JB to Rolling Stone. Hegarty checks in on JB who tells him about her visitor and he correctly guesses it was Travis.  She asks what happened to the payoff money and Hegarty tells her his theory that there was never any money, as half a mill would be too bulky. Instead it would be something less obvious like a cheque or an account number, and judging on what’s happened since, the Cobra hasn’t received whatever it was. JB has had enough of Hegarty’s shenanigans and demands to be released. Back to the cell she goes. and as she’s flicking through the book again she notices the postage stamp on the postcard that was being used as a bookmark. With a smile she asks her neighbour Veronica for writing materials. She’s going to write a letter.

Across town, Grady is taking the spying business a little too seriously.

You're an idiot Grady.

You’re an idiot Grady.

The subject of Grady’s clandestine viewing is Glenda Morrison, who is covertly following Detective Santiago for reasons noone has bothered to make clear so let’s not dwell on that. Santiago goes in to Grady’s room, Glenda follows him and Grady follows Glenda. Sensing them behind him, Santiago pulls his gun. He explains he was looking for…something? Seriously though, why is he even there? They don’t know they have Jess in custody, why are they searching the room? And why hasn’t Jess told someone to go buy her book to prove who she is?

Anyway.

JB has a viist from Kevin Styles, the guy from the State Department, arrives to check on JB who tells him that her identity is easily proven if he goes to the nearest bookstore…oh there you go. Thanks MSW writers. He asks her if he can get her anything, and notices the book on her bed. He decides after close examination that he’s read that one, and leaves, but promises to return and bail her out if he can confirm her identity. Nash soon appears to tell JB’s neighbour Veronica to get ready for court. After he departs, JB asks Veronica for a favour – can she call Grady from the courthouse and pass a message on?

Back at their top secret base, Travis tells Lancaster of his suspicions that Hegarty killed the Bulgarian. Fed up, Lancaster tells Travis to tell Hegarty he wants to speak to him but Travis tells him Hegarty has been AWOL for the last hour.

Kevin Styles returns to see JB but instead of bailing her out he demands the stamp. It turns out the stamp is worth 3 million dollars. It also turns out Kevin Styles doesn’t work for the State Department. He works for himself. In a way.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

The Cobra tells JB that he has Grady, and that if he doesn’t walk out of there with the stamp, Grady’s in trouble. JB tells him the stamp is in her shoe, and kicks it off for him. It lands at the edge of the cell, and as the Cobra bends down a hand holding a gun shoots through the bars and around his neck.

Wait, WHAT?

Wait, WHAT?

And there you have it. And I’ve watched this episode twice now and I’ve only just realised that the reason why JB asked for writing materials is because she wanted to swap out the expensive rare stamp for another one to lure the Cobra. At least, I think that’s what was happening. At this point I don’t even know.

So until next time…

Sometimes I hit pause at precisely the wrong time. This is not one of those times.

Sometimes I hit pause at precisely the wrong time. This is not one of those times.

 

 

S04E19 – Just Another Fish Story

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Oh look who’s back.

Why. Just, why.

Look at him. No clue.

JB is in New York to visit the World’s Worst Human Being, who has just gotten engaged. Now if that doesn’t prove there’s someone in this world for everyone then I don’t know what does. Grady, Donna and JB are set to have dinner at Alice’s Farm, a restaurant that Grady does the books for and convinced JB to invest in (so presumably it’s about to go under then). Donna is late, leaving Grady and JB to fight with the maitre’d  Chaz Gautier (aka Hymie from Get Smart) about the mysterious case of the disappearing reservation. It is left to the brother of the chef, Doug Brook, to sort it out and scold Chaz about taking bribes for tables (I should point out that it seems like the restaurant is a steakhouse that serves flaming ribs on pitchforks and charging $22.50 for fried chicken. Blessed are the 80s).

While they wait for a table JB gets stuck into the wine list and listens to the bar tender tell stories about pouring wine for Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. They are joined at the bar by ‘trends’ columnist Mimi Harcourt who calls JB Jennifer and says that her readers don’t read fiction, they prefer to make their own scene. What a top human being. As she swans off to go be fabulous somewhere else, Donna finally arrives with some news – her parents are going away to Europe but want to throw a party for the happy couple, specifically tomorrow night at their house upstate. Grady doesn’t take the news well but JB loves a party and says it will be delightful. She begs them to tell her all about their plans for the wedding and it is soon revealed that neither of them have any idea about life/wedding planning.

JB has a similar view of weddings to me, as it turns out.

Amen.

Amen.

They finally get a table and Grady and Donna are amazed to discover that they want the same things. JB is on to her third glass of wine and is delighted for them/everyone who has ever lived and tries to order caviar to celebrate but alas the kitchen is out. Instead the waiter offers oeuf de poulet  -hard boiled eggs. Same same, right?

By the end of the night JB is well and truly boozed, and offers a sneak preview of the speech she’ll give at the wedding.

MY HERO.

MY HERO.

Chef Alice comes out to thank JB for investing in the restaurant and JB congratulates her on her success and the fish. Later, they drop Donna home and Grady celebrates life by jamming his fingers in the door of the taxi. Not even making that up.

The next morning, JB gets a call from Donna. The police are at her apartment to take her down to the restaurant. Chaz has turned up dead in the freezer room. At the restaurant NYPD’s finest, led by Lieutenant Rupp, show the ledgers to Donna and ask her why some of the entries have been whited out. Donna has no idea, she only brought the books up to date the previous day. Rupp is delighted, and says it shouldn’t be too hard for them to work out what was removed. Jess tries to explain that they have to go upstate to attend an engagement party but he is unmoved, even when JB helpfully spots a pocket knife wedged in between some boxes in the freezer room. Alice and Doug Brooke arrive and Alice discovers that six cases of lobster tails have disappeared. Rupp asks Doug about the receipt found in Chaz’s pocket and Doug explains its from the register, showing the final days take.

Back at his apartment Grady tells JB that he’s off to help Donna with the books and might be some time. JB asks him why he’s so terrified of meeting Donna’s family and the truth comes out – Grady has met Donna’s father before. About five years ago. When he fired Grady after a couple of days.

UNSURPRISED JESS IS UNSURPRISED

UNSURPRISED JESS IS UNSURPRISED

While JB comforts Grady as best she can, the phone rings. Mimi Harcourt is doing a piece about the restaurant and would like to have a late breakfast with JB. Grady accepts immediately on JB’s behalf and begs her to go, saying that she might find out all sorts of gossip that might help them get away quicker so he can face his doom.

Over breakfast, Mimi tells JB that the proprietor of the establishment, Valentino (aka Sonny Bono), was furious when Alice left to start her own business, taking Doug and Harry the bartender with her. Business has been quiet ever since, to the point where he now plays a tape of people talking to make the restaurant have more ambience. JB asks Mimi about the article she’s writing but it isn’t about the murder, it’s about people investing. Or something. I kind of zoned out for a second. Mimi is then called away on urgent business – her nail designer has just been arrested and Mimi has a party to get to.  She hands JB money for her share of the bill and sashays away.

JB goes to have a chat with the owner, Valentino

#sorrynotsorry

#sorrynotsorry

JB tells him that’s very kind, but he says not at all. Besides, it’s easier than starting a new register tape.

Cue ‘clue discovery’ music.

JB heads to the police station with Grady and Donna to report to Lieutenant Rupp her theory that Chaz was closing the till early and pocketing the money that came in later. Donna and Grady also discovered that the restaurant was paying for goods that were never received. Rupp is disappointed they haven’t found more, and ask them to continue examining the books. JB tells him that he can’t keep them there against their will, but he says they can do it the easy way or the hard way. He has bigger fish to fry – the murder weapon was a knife with a sickle shaped blade but they haven’t had any luck finding it yet.

While Donna and Grady go back to the books, JB eats with Alice and Doug. JB compliments them again on the fish, and Alice says it was the same as the previous night, the frozen yellow-tail. Doug had pulled it out of the freezer the previous night to defrost. Doug denies it.

The point, apparently, is this:

I TOLD YOU HE HAD BIGGER FISH TO FRY *drops mic*

I TOLD YOU HE HAD BIGGER FISH TO FRY *drops mic*

This danger fish business does have a precedent, as you might remember:

Oh dear. I’m about to fall down a youtube rabbit hole. Focus!

Back at the police station, Rupp is suspicious of Alice’s assurances that she didn’t see blood on the fish before she cooked it, and that she and Doug were both home all night. JB points out that the cunning use of fish indicates the murder wasn’t premeditated and that it was most likely that the killer caught Chaz in the middle of stealing the lobster tails. Rupp decides he needs to read one of JB’s books.

Down at the restaurant Grady and Donna are poring over the books but not getting anywhere. It takes a visit from JB to point out that the initials on the list of investors are probably silent partners, and that it seems likely that M.H stands for Mimi Harcourt, whom JB decides to pay a visit on. Donna says she needs something from the office and share the cab. While they drive. Donna tells JB she’s starting to have doubts about everything, including the wedding. Apparently, Grady is starting to remind Donna of her perfectionist father.

Donna seems to have gotten Grady confused with someone else

Donna seems to have gotten Grady confused with someone else

JB assures her that she’s never met two people more suited to each other, and in this I agree. (They got married in real life, so aww to that). JB tells her that if she doesn’t want to be an accountant she shouldn’t, and Donna confesses all she wants to be is a stay-at-home Mum.

Mimi is alarmed with JB outs her as an investor and tells her that noone was meant to know, except Chaz had been blabbing all over town. Jess says that must have made Mimi angry but Mimi’s having none of that, besides she has an alibi for the whole night Chaz died. She was in her apartment, with Doug Brooke. Jess then confronts Alice with this news and Alice admits she made up the alibi because she wasn’t sure where her brother was.

Jess has a theory about who was buying the stolen food, and goes to see her buddy Valentino. He denies stealing the food but doesn’t deny buying food from less than reputable sources. The phone rings, and it’s Grady looking for JB. “It’s happened again.” He tells her.

“Another murder?” JB asks, horrified.

“I’ve been dumped.” Says Grady.

Her work is never done.

Her work is never done.

At the restaurant, JB tries to console Grady who is miserable. All he wants is a wife who will stay home and raise the kids, but he doesn’t want to get in Donna’s way for her career. Yada yada you see where I’m going with this right?

Rupp turns up and tells JB he’s arrested Valentino for the murder, which makes no sense to JB since he had no motive. She wonders how the stolen supplies got delivered, since the merchandise was gone after Chaz’s murder. She remembers where she last saw the pocket knife she found in the freezer room and confronts Harry, who confesses to being Chaz’s accomplice but not his killer.

Meanwhile, Grady is still sitting at the bar mumbling about whether it was his fault when he said that Donna shouldn’t have been calculating the value of the stolen lobster tails and caviar. This sets off alarm bells in Jess’s head, which is funny because this whole damn episode has been a giant alarm bell.

Nevertheless, the killer has been busted. And yes it’s who you think it is.

This episode is so weird.

This episode is so weird.

But the good news is, it was self defence. Donna worked out Chaz’s scam, and went to confront him about it. He tried to cut her in on the deal but she refused, so he came at her, so she came at him with a dead fish, causing him to slip and whack his head.

Who cares though, right? Grady and Donna are back on (and even though they are equally derpy it’s nice to know they’ve found each other) and JB has saved the day. Again.

So until next time.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

S04E11 – Doom With a View

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Oh look who’s showed up to play the role of DOOM.

Ugh.

Ugh.

Jess is in New York to stay with her nephew, but alas his apartment building is full of cockroaches like Grady and so instead he takes her off to the Montaigne Plaza, the five star hotel owned by Cornelia Montaigne and her new husband (and Grady’s old fraternity buddy) Garrett Harper who has invited them to stay for free.

Speaking of Cornelia Montaigne, she’s pissed off. (And also Janet Leigh, from Pyscho)

Psycho is one of the few movies that genuinely creeps me out. Damn you Hitchcock.

Psycho is one of the few movies that genuinely creeps me out. Damn you Hitchcock.

While she is berating her husband and her right-hand man Mark Havelin for being crap at their job, Grady arrives with JB to check in. Garrett greets them and tells them that he’s arranged dinner at 7pm for them, his mother and an old school friend Sandra Clemens at which news Grady quietly loses his mind. Apparently he was completely in love with her in high school, third cheerleader from the left at homecoming, he informs Jess.

“I must have been watching the game.” Says JB.

Upstairs they run into Sandra who is weirdly happy to see Grady again. She is delighted to meet JB, whom she’s heard so much about. “I remember you!” JB says. “Third cheerleader from the left, right?”

“Homecoming!” Says Sandra. “You have some memory!”

“Oh no.” Says JB. “Grady has a photo on his coffee table.”

Ahahahahaha

Ahahahahaha

After dropping that little truth bomb JB leaves them to it, and Sandra makes Grady promise to come get her for dinner. Leaving Grady gawking like an idiot, she goes down to the lobby and runs into Garrett, who asks her if she saw Grady. She says yes, and that this is really dumb. Garrett tells her he needs to keep Cornelia off his back or it’s over for both of them.

Guys I think Garrett might be a bit of a dick.

Later that night Grady goes to pick up Sandra with a bunch of flowers. Her hunt for a vase is interrupted by a phone call, so while she’s jotting down a phone number on the back of an envelope, Grady helpfully deposits the bunch of flowers into a pitcher of martinis. Good work Grady.

Classic Grady.

Classic Grady.

At dinner, Garrett’s mother and Sandra are not entirely pleased to see each other while Cornelia paces the restaurant looking not pleased about anything. Later that night she and Garrett argue, and he tells her she’s being paranoid, he was just setting up a reunion between two old friends. Meanwhile, Jess gets sick of Grady pacing around the hotel room and tells him she’s going to bed and that he should go out. Grady delightedly agrees and leaves JB to go over her manuscript in peace.

Grady goes straight to Sandra’s room, and is surprised to find the door open. Inside, he finds Sandra dead on the floor. As he goes to call the police he notices Garrett’s refection in the mirror, running out of the room. SHADY DUDE.

(I just looked up the actor who plays Garrett on IMDB. He will be appearing in Sharkansas Prison Massacre later this year. Do with this information what you will.)

Anyway, Grady calls the police much to the irritation of the hotel house detective Fritz Rice, who would much prefer not to alarm the hotel guests with sordid tales of people accidentally hitting their heads on hotel furniture and dying. JB is staggered that he thinks it’s an accident. Meanwhile, Garrett wants a private word with Grady to assure him that he stepped in to Sandra’s hotel room just as Grady saw him and he was running to get help and not not tell the police about it because Cornelia was upset enough already.

Inpsector Donald Matheney drops in during the intermission of the ballet to make his presence felt. JB insists on showing him the crime scene, and points out that there was absolutely no way Sandra tripped over nothing and hit her head on the dresser. Also, why was there lipstick and makeup on the pillow but the rest of the bed was completely undisturbed? The Inspector tells her that if there was foul play he’d be most likely to talk to Grady, and then departs for the theatre.

Unhappy with how the investigation isn’t running, JB wakes up hotel manager Mark Havlin, who had taken his phone off the hook to get a couple of hours sleep before a sheik arrives at midnight with all 37 wives, causing him more headaches. As he replaces the flower in his buttonhole with a fresh one he notices the time and says “Night shift came on at eight, at least the beds have been turned down.

PRIORITIES.

Upstairs, JB tries to console a miserable Grady who is convinced that the Inspector thinks he’s guilty, and that Grady and Sandra were romantically involved, when the most exciting thing that happened was when Grady put the flowers in the martini jug. He tells JB about Sandra’s phone call, and how she wrote the number down on an envelope in her bag and Jess tells him he needs to tell the Inspector immediately. Grady says he did, but there was no envelope found. Jess asks Grady if Sandra still worked as a computer operator (ahaha) and he says yes, back in Fort Wayne. Jess wonders in that case how she can afford to stay at the Montaigne, but Grady just figures Garrett is paying for her too.

The next morning, JB goes to see Mark Havlin on a fishing expedition and offers to cover Sandra’s hotel bill but Mark sees through it, and informs Jess that Sandra has stayed at the hotel nine times in the last year or so, and that he has absolutely no idea how she’s paying for it.

JB’s next visit is to Garrett’s mother Nettie, who has very carelessly left the door open while she’s on the phone to Garrett talking about what a stroke of good luck it is that Sandra’s dead. JB offers her condolences but Nettie shrugs. She hadn’t seen the girl in years. JB mentions that she understood Sandra had stayed at the Montaigne on a regular basis but Nettie just offers JB more hotel chocolates and tells her how badly she feels for Grady.

Meanwhile, Grady is having lunch with Garrett who is in a dilly of a pickle as Ned Flanders would say. He admits to Grady that he and Sandra had a thing after graduation, and that he gave her an engraved bracelet. Sandra brought it to New York “for old times sake” and it’s still in the pocket of her bathrobe. Now, obviously Garrett can’t go and retrieve it, Cornelia would have a fit. But what about Garrett’s old pal Grady?

Grady accepts the challenge, successfully retrieves the bracelet and they all live happily ever after. LOL, J/K, when does Grady successfully do anything?

Well shucks.

Well shucks.

JB is on a rampage through the hotel lobby on her way to see Inspector Matheney to bail Grady out when she bumps into Cornelia. Cornelia wants to offer her condolences but JB wants none of it. It’s obvious that Grady got the passkey to break into Sandra’s hotel room from Garrett, and it’s obvious he did it to retrieve the bracelet for Garrett. Cornelia reluctantly agrees, and tells JB if she’s looking for the inspector, not to try police headquarters.

Jess finds Inspector Matheney holding court at a Van Gogh exhibit and demands to know what Grady has been charged with, why Matheney is so quick to assume the G on the engraved necklace stands for Grady when it could easily stand for Garrett and why he hasn’t followed up on the lead about the envelope with the phone number written on it. Matheney tries to respond, but has got nothing, naturally.

With Grady safely out of custody, they return back to the hotel. Grady thanks his aunt for all the trouble she went to (again) and Jess demands answers. Grady tries to explain that he was only helping a friend, after he’d been so supportive when they found the body.

h2

Where would you begin though, really…

Grady explains what happened when Sandra died, but that it wasn’t what it seemed. Jess tries to convince him that Garrett might be the killer but Grady doesn’t want to know about it,

“It must have entered your mind!” Says Jess. “I mean, you’re much too smart to accept that man at face value!”

I hate to argue with you boss, but…

Really though....

Really though….

Grady spits the dummy and goes for a walk, while JB gets a phone call from the Inspector who has just gotten hold of Sandra’s bank account statements. Jess goes down to police headquarters to take a look – there are a bunch of deposits for around 25 grand each. I think we all know what that spells!

Jess asks to see the dates when Sandra stayed at the Montaigne, and naturally, her hunch pays off. The deposits and the checkin dates match exactly.

You're goddamn right.

You’re goddamn right.

JB has a fairly good idea of who has been blackmailed and goes to see Nettie who tries to bluff her way out but admits that Sandra and Garrett used to be married, and that the divorce was never finalised, making Garrett’s marriage to Cornelia invalid. Sandra used to come up and to stay in the hotel and wave the marriage certificate around. And so, blackmail! Also motive.

Jess meets Grady at a jazz bar and fills him in on what she’s learned. Grady still thinks that it might not be Garrett, and that maybe Nettie killed Sandra, but JB gently points out that they’ve been waiting an hour to meet Garrett and he still hasn’t showed.

Grady is heading back to his hotel room when he overhears Garrett talking to the house detective Fritz Rice. Garrett offers Rice five grand to “remember” something that might tie Grady to the murder.  Fritz accepts and wanders off to “jog his memory” while Grady steps forward and confronts Garrett, who tells Grady he was just pushing Rice to see how far he would go, and that he would never dream of –

“You’re good. Real good.” Says Grady. “Ten, maybe eleven years and I never saw it. I guess maybe I’m not too bright.”

j2

Jess decides to cheer Grady up with some dinner, but is distracted when the turn down service arrives. Something about flowers and turn down services has solved the case!

What can this mean?

k2

When Mark Havelin discovered the blackmail going on he decided he wanted in, killed Sandra and took the marriage certificate for himself, before taking his phone off the hook and telling Jess he’d been asleep for three hours. But as Jess points out, if he’d been asleep for three hours at 10:30pm, the night maid wouldn’t have been able to get in to leave the flower and chocolate.

So there you have it. Grady escapes a murder rap again, and stands up for himself against shady Garrett. Unfortunately, his stand includes refusing to be Garrett’s best man in the upcoming sequel to their wedding, and refusing to be comped for staying in the hotel, and is left with a 2500 dollar hotel bill. But good for him. Ugh, that hurt to admit.

And on that horrifying note.

e2

PS – A few people have asked me when I’ll be live-tweeting another Murder She Wrote movie, so I’ve decided that when Murder She Blogged hits 100 likes on Facebook, I’ll do another one. So if you know someone who would enjoy the incoherent ramblings of a madwoman disguised as reviews of Murder She Wrote episodes, send them this way!

S03E19 – No Accounting For Murder

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UGH.

The derp is strong in this one.

The derp is strong in this one.

Once again, Grady is failing at everything. He works as an accountant for a company called Paul Carlisle and Associates in a building which is supposedly haunted, and someone just stole his sandwich. In fact, when JB arrives to see her nephew, the security guard has him in a head lock after he mistakes Grady for the ghost the secretary claims is chasing her.

(Or the security guard just wanted to arrest Grady for being SO LAME)

(Or the security guard just wanted to arrest Grady for being SO LAME)

While the security guard goes to sort the actual ghost out, Grady’s boss Ralph Whitman takes JB to meet the big boss Paul Carlisle, who tells her that he can see where Grady gets his sharp intellect from…

WTF is right

WTF is right

…and that he’s been a big fan of JB’s for twenty years…

JB keeps her composure well

JB keeps her composure well

…and that he always says there’s nothing better than a good romance novel.

Man, this guy makes Grady look intelligent. I don't like it.

Man, this guy makes Grady look intelligent. I don’t like it.

Having been overwhelmed by Paul Carlisle’s stupidity graciousness, JB takes her leave, saying she and Grady have reservations for an early dinner. As Whitman shows them out he tells Carlisle that the Hammond account files are in his office, but Carlisle is going home and is all “Yolo, bro.” (Paraphrasing).

Whitman is waylaid in the foyer by Lester Grimshaw, IRS agent, so Whitman returns to his office leaving Grady and JB to go off to dinner. Grady whinges about how the ghost stole his lunch, which Jessica completely empathises with.

Classic Grady.

Classic Grady.

After dinner Grady goes back to the office. As he gets out of the cab a woman tries to get in but JB is unmoved.

This might actually be my favourite screenshot yet,

This might actually be my favourite screenshot yet

When Grady goes up to his office he sees his boss Ralph Whitman’s office light on and goes to investigate. El Whitman is in fact dead and on the wall someone has helpfully scrawled LEAVE ME ALONE OR I WILL KILL AGAIN in big red letters.

Needless to say, Grady isn’t coping with this new development. JB comes to check up on him and meets the investigating detective Lieutenant Hanratty, played by Jerry’s Dad in Seinfeld with an inexplicable Irish accent. JB takes charge straight away and tells him that the message on the wall is obviously a red herring, that the fact that Whitman was killed in his chair suggests that Whitman knew the killer. Handratty points out Whitman wasn’t alone in the office, that Grady was also in the building, to which Jess replies with “Yes, he told me he’d reported the crime…so obviously he didn’t kill him.”

“Well, it’s unlikely.” Says Hanratty.

“UNLIKELY!” Jess exclaims.

“Now now. Mrs Fletcher. Let’s not be giving ourselves a bellyache until after we’ve tasted the stew.” Says Hanratty.

Mmmkay.

Despite the death of his “close personal friend”, Carlisle and Associates is open for business the next day. Apparently off the hook, Grady is telling the secretary how he nearly lost his lunch seeing Whitman like that when Grimshaw calls Grady into his office to talk about a dodgy tax deal with Grady’s name on it. Grady asks Carlisle about it and Carlisle is surprised to learn that Grady doesn’t know anything about it.

Grady is in the middle of moaning to Jess about it all when there are raised voices outside his office. Mrs Whitman, the newly widowed wife of Ralph, is trying to get into her husband’s sealed office. JB comes out to investigate the hubbub and recognises Mrs Whitman as the woman who tried to commandeer her taxi the previous night. She tries to deny it but relents and agrees to go talk to Lieutenant Hanratty with JB. As they leave the office, Carlisle tells Grady the Hammond file he needs for the meeting is in his office. UGH FILES AND GRADY AND EW.

Mrs Whitman tells the Lieutenant and JB that she went to see her husband but he didn’t answer her knock. Hanratty asks her why it was so difficult to get in touch with her to tell her about her husbands death and she admits she spent the night *cough* in someone else’s apartment *cough*. The interview is interrupted when another policeman comes in to tell them that there’s been an incident at the office. The ghost has left another message and frightened the janitor.

This is turning into an episode of Scooby Doo. WAIT. Obviously in this scenario JB is Velma…is Grady a combination of Shaggy and Scooby? Or is he Scrappy Doo because he’s so damn annoying? This wants thinking about.

ANYWAY.

The janitor tells Lieutenant Hanratty that she can hear the ghosts in the walls. He tells her there’s no such thing as ghosts – banshees maybe and of course The Little People, but no ghosts. JB asks the janitor where she hears the spirits the most and the janitor directs her to the janitor’s closet. Upon closer inspection JB finds a secret door in the wall, leading into a passage. SERIOUSLY THIS IS SCOOBY DOO, SOMEONE GIVE GRADY A SCOOBY SNACK. JB goes in to investigate, and is followed by an Ominous Shadow that turns into Thing from Addams Family.

*clicks fingers*

*clicks fingers*

The disembodied hand is attached to a random hobo who has taken up residence in the walls of the building. He tells her that he had nothing to do with the killing and to please leave him alone while he plays the organ in the basement.

On a stroll through the park JB fills Henretty in and he decides that if the killer isn’t the ghost it must be Scrappy Doo Grady. JB won’t have a bar of it, and reminds him that Lana Whitman stood to gain a bit by her husband ceasing to be. Meanwhile, Whitman’s office is unsealed and Grady sets to finding the files about this mysterious Neptune Ventures he’s said to be involved with. He can’t find anything in the office (SO MUCH FAIL) but JB notices an appointment with a Marty Giles in Whitman’s planner with the notation NV next to it. NV = NEPTUNE VENTURES! I GET IT! (For some reason this reminds me of when I was a kid and my Mum was reading me a story about Barbie solving a mystery of the case of the missing wedding dress or something and Mum raged because the clues were ridiculous. Heh heh. My Mum is awesome).

JB decides to pay a visit to said Marty Giles, whom you may remember from this episode (or from the future).

k2

He will. Promise.

Marty isn’t inclined to be of assistance to JB, and even less so when he hears the name Neptune Ventures. JB then escorts Grady to see Grimshaw at the IRS office, where Grimshaw declares that Grady is the mastermind behind a scheme to defraud the government out of millions of tax dollars.

Seriously though...

Seriously though…

Despite Grimshaw’s exhaustive interrogative techniques, Scrappy Doo Grady insists he knows nothing about Neptune Ventures.

Meanwhile, back at the office Lana Whitman informs Paul Carlisle that she wants to sell off her late husbands share in the business so she can move to Spain with her lover ZOLTAN. Carlisle tries to give her the brush off but she tells him that if he doesn’t agree to her terms she’ll take him to court and force him to open his books.

JB and Grady return to the office just in time to catch Lieutenant Henretty, who promptly takes Grady in for questioning. He asks Grady about his trips to the Cayman Islands and his nefarious deeds for the company (LOL) but Grady continues to swear that he knows nothing. (I think we can all agree that this is true). JB asks Henretty if they can go through the files one more time to try and find more information about Neptune Ventures.

Before that though, JB goes to see Marty Giles and comes down on him with a world of pain. He cracks, and tells her that he was being blackmailed into investing in Neptune Ventures or else he would be ratted out to the IRS for some of his more shady business dealings.

That night, Grady and JB are going through the files and getting nowhere. Grady, being the interminable failure we all know gives up halfway through, goes to splash water on his face and gets distracted walking the secretary to her subway station, leaving JB to stumble on to the file on her own. The Hammond File. Remember that time everyone in the episode was talking about the Hammond file?

As she’s realised what she’s discovered, the killer helpfully walks in to explain how he cocked up.

Surprised? Nah, me neither.

Surprised? Nah, me neither.

Ah yes. That shifty Carlisle stuffed up when he admitted to Grady the day after the killing that the Hammond file was in his office, when the previous day it had been in Whitman’s office and should have remained there since he was at the office alone. EXCEPT FOR WHEN CARLISLE CAME BACK AND KILLED HIM AND STOLE THE FILE.

Just as Whitman is about to strangle JB with the lamp cord, the friendly neighbourhood hobo ghost bursts out of the wall, hogties Whitman and then disappears. I’m not gonna lie, I like his style.

And there you have it. Grady remains the most useless human being on Earth and JB lives to write another day courtesy of a hobo ghost with a heart of gold.

On that note…

Later gang!

Later gang!

S02E19 – Christopher Bundy…Died on a Sunday

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Our Heroine is not having a good time, Fletcherfans. She’s just found out that the magazine about to print her first short story has been bought out by Bundy Publications, publishers of renowned skin mags such as Playgal Magazine.

I think we can all agree only one person could be responsible for such a cock-up…

Oh good, an episode of Murder, She Wrote with Grady in it! SAID NOONE EVER

Oh good, an episode of Murder, She Wrote with Grady in it! SAID NOONE EVER

When Christopher Bundy refuses to take her calls about withdrawing her short story from the magazine, she orders Grady to drive her to his estate to have it out with him in person. Proving she’s a much more magnanimous person than I, she thanks Grady for driving her and hopes it hasn’t interfered with his plans. Apparently the plans were called Cynthia and she (SHOCKINGLY) dumped him.

Alas when they arrive at Fort Bundy the Bossman, Christopher isn’t there. (And at this point I would refer you to the title of this week’s episode). A terrible misunderstanding occurs when the Bundy Butler, Everett Jensen, refers to JB as Grady’s mother, but JB handles it deftly. Grady is naturally no help, as he’s just spotted a bimbo someone has carelessly left lying around.

ARGH GRADY WHY DO YOU SUCK SO MUCH?

ARGH GRADY WHY DO YOU SUCK SO MUCH?

Sadly Grady’s perusal of his new bosses assets is shortlived, and he is rudely interrupted by a helicopter flying said new boss in for the weekend. Christopher is a man in a hurry and fobs JB off with platitudes until she says “Mr Bundy, I’m Jessica Fletcher.”

DAMN STRAIGHT

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Sir Christopher of Bundy tells JB he will be with her as soon as he can, and sends his assistant/henchman Bert Yardley to take them on a tour of the house and meet the family – his sister Rachel and niece Vanessa are playing croquet, while his nephew Antonio films them. Of course, Grady manages to ruin this too…

Sigh

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And so ends the story of Grady's life...

And so ends the story of Grady’s life…

JB finally gets to meet with El Bundy in the library with the candlestick. He offers her a seat and then apologises for the blinding sun coming through the window so profusely one can only assume this will come up later. He professes innocence about the terms of her contract but offers to put her and Grady up for the night so that they can meet with the lawyers in the morning. Sunday morning, in fact. JB is reluctant but accepts. She enjoys a good family brawl as much as the next person and it’s clear that everyone in this family is a bit nuts. The Bundy leaves her to call her friends in privacy, but not before JB notices the security camera on the wall. He tells her they’re manned 24 hours a day but are film only, no sound, and promises there aren’t any in the bedrooms. Ho ho.

(Sidenote: Am working on a device that removes all knowledge of Kardashians from my consciousness. I call this device TEQUILA)

(Sidenote: Am working on a device that removes all knowledge of Kardashians from my consciousness. I call this device TEQUILA)

Grady is naturally delighted to have a whole night to try and hit on the resident bimbo, also known as Millie although as usual he is thwarted at every attempt – first at dinner with the unexpected arrival of his old boss Chester Harrison looking for Bundy blood and then later when Millie wanders off, mid-conversation. Jess gives up and goes to the library to find a little bed time reading and runs into Chester Harrison (who is played by Robert Stack, aka the former host of America’s Most Wanted). He tells her how Bundy got his paws on Harrison’s company, and that he’s about to accept his fate. Jess suggests they turn away from the security camera in case someone is lurking who can lip read, but there’s no need. The camera picks up audio and sound. THAT BUNDY IS A LYING BASTARD.

Jess tells Chester to fight Bundy at dawn with pistols and Chester gets all excited. “You’re right! What would Hemmingway do?” (Get blind drunk and punch someone?)

The next morning JB goes on her morning run (because woe betide anyone who stops Our Heroine from going on her run) and   finds Christopher and Vanessa playing tennis. JB tells them she had a dream where Grady suddenly moved to Vladivostok forever she was being chased by a security camera. Vanessa suggests she might like to take a look at the security room as inspiration for her next book.

Jess takes her up on her suggestion and meets Pete the security guy. From his bunker they watch the butler sneak off for a mid morning whiskey, Vanessa tear the library apart in search of a book before they hear gunshots. They rush to the hallway to see Christopher Bundy collapse from a gunshot wound and fall down the stairs. Because he’s dead. And it’s Sunday. And so the prophecy came true.

The gunshot brings everyone except Chester running and Bert is quick to take charge. He sends Pete and Everett out to check the fences and the grounds and orders everyone else into the sitting room. Alibis are flung around – Antonio was playing tennis with Millicent, Rachel was in the dining room and Vanessa claims to have been outside, although JB is quick to call her on this point and Vanessa changes her story to say that she was in the library when the shot was fired. UGH THIS IS THE WORST GAME OF CLUEDO EVER I BLAME GRADY.

Meanwhile, it appears Chester has legged it. Bert pronounces him guilty but is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the police. Unexpected, as no one called them. Detective Lieutenant Greco is on the case, and a sly nod to Everett solves the case of the Mysterious Call to the Police. ERMAGHERD THE BUTLER DID IT.  Grady attempts his own detective work and fails miserably, although Antonio accosts him in the hallway and asks Grady to show the company books to himself and to Rachel. He also shows his aunt a bowl of candy on the floor in the library as clue but JB gently tells him that she saw Vanessa knock it over while she was rummaging through the books in the library.

Truer words were never spoken.

Truer words were never spoken.

Chester reappears and begs for Jess’s help. Jess checks out the room he was sleeping in and thinks there was no way he could have known Bundy was on the stairs. Then Grady discovers another door, with the perfect view. I know, I refused to believe that Grady found something out either, but there you go.

I particularly like the part where you can't see stupid Grady's stupid face.

I particularly like the part where you can’t see stupid Grady’s stupid face.

Despite JB’s protestations that the butler had less of an alibi than Chester, Greco books him and takes him down to the precinct. Later, Grady and JB are talking over the case in the garden when they spot said butler photographing documents in the study. THE BUTLER STILL DID IT!

Nope. Because apparently the butler isn’t a butler, he is in fact an undercover agent of the IRS, investigating Christopher Bundy for shenanigans. Crossing one suspect off the list, JB sends Grady to check on Chester while she tests the strength of a few other alibis. Vanessa still swears she was outside right up until the moment her uncle was shot, and Antonio and Millie maintain they were playing tennis. (99% sure tennis is code for something else).

Rachel asks Bert to show JB into the library and orders Our Heroine off the property. Grady returns with Chester who despite being let off the hook wants to make a deal with Rachel to return to his magazine. As Our Heroine and Grady prepare to leave Jess realises she still has a Bundy book in her bag. When she returns it, she has a sparkling idea.

The killer stuffed up (no, it’s not Grady unfortunately. Remember that whole thing with the sun in the library?

Pity. She seemed to be the only relative who wasn't a complete arse.

Pity. She seemed to be the only relative who wasn’t a complete arse.

Through the cunning use of such modern technologies as a VCR, Vanessa managed to fool them all into thinking she was in the library when actually she was Wreaking Vengence for her father’s suicide caused by her bastard uncle. You know, the usual.

Another job well done for Team Fletcher. As Jensen and his team of crack IRS accountants move in to thwart Rachel Bundy’s plans to hide the money, Chester roars off into the sunset with Millie (???) and JB berates Grady for having a train wreck for a love life and a terrible choice in career moves.

All is well with the world.

Later gang!

Later gang!