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S12E08 – Shooting in Rome

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Welcome to Rome Fletcherfans, where a movie set in the deserts of Texas is being shot for tax reasons probably. The director, Monte Hayes, is a slave driver, his ex-wife is the lead star and his son is a stuntman in training, but the person sent in to clean up the script is pretty rad.

Jessica saves the day again.

While Monte rages around the place, the producer Boyce Brown convinces Jessica it’s all going to be fine, except he has money problems and someone keeps stealing things. He ducks off to have a quiet word to the leading man Rex Toland about his garlic breath in the love scene.

Monte’s son and wannabe stuntman Gary Hayes gets his flirt on with one of the production assistants Adriana Bonelli before Rex steps in, confidence doubled now that he’s got breath spray. In her trailer, Gary’s mother Kate Danbury chats with her agent Jake Farber about getting Monte off the movie, before she is summoned to the set.  Boyce meets with a familiar face about the recent spate of thefts on set.

Last seen here, still as dashing as ever.

Inspector Amati is investigating the thefts but is also very confused that the movie is based on a JB Fletcher book set in Chicago, but is being filmed in Italy to look like Texas. Tax reasons m’dude. Boyce gets a call from script editor Lucy Hendrix to let him know that the movie backer has just arrived – pasta tycoon (and Adriana’s father) Raimondo Bonelli. He assures Boyce that their financial troubles will be over by Thursday,

The rehearsal with Kate Danbury, Rex and Monte descends into a shouting match and Gary feels bad about it but Jessica assures him none of it is his fault. Later, Monte tells his son that basically he wanted a wife and got an actress, and Kate wanted a husband and got a director and that’s why it all went wrong. He also asks if Gary knows anything about the thefts, on account of that trouble he got into at school but Gary is outraged even at the thought.

Raimondo gets a phone call from a shady character by the name of Tomaso Cirullio, who is very unhappy that he was unable to get on set after-hours the previous night. Raimondo assures him it was an accident, the security was meant to be turned off. Tomaso tells him he will try again tonight but Raimondo says no, there’s a construction crew, it will have to be tomorrow. He hangs up and drives away. Jessica watches all this go down and notices a business card fall from Raimondo’s pocket. Tomaso Cirullio seems to be a loan shark.

Monte, Gary and stunt gaffer Webb Prentiss go over a stunt for the next day’s shoot, involving a car chase. Webb says it will look flashy but it will be safe, so Monte suggests Gary does it. Webb is surprised but agrees as long as it’s alright with Monte. Gary takes off to celebrate and Webb offers to film it with the second unit so Monte can focus on other things, but Monte informs him there is no second unit, he will direct every foot of this film. Webb tells him that isn’t what Boyce promised him and Monte tells him to take it up with Boyce then.

That night, someone takes to something with a blowtorch. MYSTERIOUS.

In the morning, Jess meets with Boyce who is stressed out of his gourd and wants JB to talk to Kate about stopping her crusade to get Monte fired. JB tells him Kate said she would if he apologised. Boyce throws his hands up and moves on to stressing about the thefts, which makes Jess think of a certain loan shark she’s just become aware of.

Over on a sound stage Gary lures his parents into a room and begs them just to talk for 30 seconds, and it nearly works. JB bumps into Tomaso Cirullio skulking around the set and pretends to be Raimond’s secretary Dominique, complete with Outrageous Italian Accent.

I did think at one point she was South African, but I’ve got heat insanity again so who knows.

Jake Farber wanders into Kate’s dressing room to tell her the good news – Monte’s leaving the film. Kate fires him immediately, which seems a bit weird but it turns out Jake has been pitching Boyce replacements for Monte – and for Kate – already. Lucy comes in to tell her that Gary is doing the car stunt and Kate flips and heads straight to the set to tear Monte a new one. Gary is adamant he’s going to do it, despite Webb’s discovery that someone did a shoddy weld job on part of the stunt. Raimondo takes off. Jessica notices a container of breath spray on the ground.

Five star rating all day.

Raimondo gets on his car phone and tells Tomaso he’s received his message via the damaged stunt rig. He’s just relieved no one got hurt but Tomaso says someone still might. Raimondo promises the security system will be turned off that night.

Jess confronts Rex with the breath spray, and he tells her he was just wandering past the rig the previous night. He did see someone, but it didn’t and doesn’t make any sense since the person messing with the rig was Webb Prentiss himself.

JB rushes over to stop the stunt but it’s too late – the cars come round the corner, one goes up off the ramp but crashes into the car it was meant to clear. Everyone rushes over to check, but Gary wasn’t in the car – it was Webb.

The set shuts down. Monte tells anyone who’ll listen that this is a first for him, and Lucy Hendricks tells him to stop talking. Monte cracks the sads until JB reminds him that Lucy and Webb were a thing. Gary wanders past but isn’t interested in talking to his father either. Inspector Amati would like to know why JB thought it necessary to try and stop the stunt and she explains how she learned that Webb was the one who sabotaged the rig. Later, Amati chats to Boyce and Kate and they tell him it was Boyce’s decision to swap Gary for Webb. Amati thinks they still need to consider the possibility of murder, and given the late driver swap, they need to consider that Gary was the target. Gary himself is outside having a crisis while Adriana tells him he needs to come forward with what he saw.

JB and Amati have a chat down at the garage where the car is being examined. JB says Webb claimed all the driver needed to do was maintain a speed of 60 miles an hour and the stunt would work perfectly – but what if he only thought he was going at 60? Amati tells his men to check the speedo, and then gets a message from another colleague. Jessica’s hunch about Raimondo Bonelli has paid off.

Raimondo refuses to admit his financial situation, but Amati has the good word straight from his bank. Raimondo folds, and says he only wanted to make a movie, but he ran out of money and fell into Tomaso’s clutches. He tells it all to Amati, who manages to catch Tomaso in the act of stealing stuff off the set later that night.

The next morning, JB finds Boyce chucking it all in. He was going to beg Jake Farber to get him a deal back in America but Jake would only do it if Boyce convinced Kate not to fire Jake. JB calls BS on the whole thing and tells him he’s a bigshot he can make this work with no favours from anybody. She then finds Gary moping around the set and gets him to unload – apparently he saw Monte tinkering with the car before the stunt, and he thinks Monte tried to kill him. Monte swears it’s not true but Amati appears with the news that Monte’s fingerprints are all over the car and could he have a word?

Monte swears he had nothing to do with anything, he just lifted the hood to make sure that everything was okay because it was his son in the driver’s seat. Amati thinks it was all about revenge on his ex-wife but Monte says not possible, he’s still in love with his ex-wife. Kate overhears this and begs JB for help.

Jess watches the tape of the crash with Boyce, crunches some numbers and realises that Webb was going 50 miles an hour, not 60. Back at the police station, Amati regales JB and Kate with the story of when he was an extra in Cleopatra with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and something about the word diamonds explains the whole thing to JB.

Back at the lot, Jake tries to get his new client Rex Toland off the film, but after Boyce tells him he’s solved his money problems he changes tack and tries to offer a new director. Boyce says the only problem he has is getting Kate back to work, but Jake tells him just to threaten to take her money away, she’s broke and she needs it. Meanwhile, Gary tells Adriana that JB has solved the case and the police will be coming to take the car away the following day. Rex lurks in the background eavesdropping until Lucy shoos him away.

With the trap set, JB waits for the killer to take the bait, and sure enough –

Not my first choice. Not my second choice. This is why JB Fletcher solves crimes and I eat cheese.

Something something car talk, Lucy killed Webb because Webb killed her father four years ago to take over as the head stuntman.

Bring on the cool change you guys. There are fires that need putting out.

Later gang!

 

 

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S11E14 – Murder in High C

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Ciao e Benvenuto in Italia Fletcherfans, Genoa to be exact, where an opera singer wanders the foggy streets in a blind panic while having chats with weirdos with high pitched voices and her friend kicks it at the definitely haunted theatre watching rehearsals.

DEMON AUDIENCE

Okay on second watching the guy is reading a newspaper. To be fair I can’t be bothered going to get my glasses.

In any case, JB watches on while Stella Knight rehearses and Maestro Drew Granger waves his baton about (not code). Fun fact – he used to be married to Linda Hamilton way back when thanks IMDB. Someone called Vicki Lawson appears to get Drew’s approval on the album artwork (he hates it) and Stella’s husband appears to offer his opinion on Stella no longer being the star of the show (he hates it, but not as much as Stella).

The star of the show, Andrea Beaumont, is late to rehearsal which sours Drew’s mood and he kicks JB out of the rehearsal. The reason for the lateness is revealed – she was the person wandering the fog having chats with weirdo strangers and being threatened. JB and Drew rush over to the hotel room where Andrea’s husband Jonas Cole watches over while a doctor checks her out. The doctor tells them she is fine but Drew wants to hire more security. Jonas informs him he can take care of his wife and tells Drew to leave. (Drew and Andrea were hot and heavy pre-marriage to Jonas and Drew isn’t coping in this brave new world).

Jonas is worried that it’s a repeat of a year earlier when a crazy fan stalked Andrea but he’s apparently in prison back in New York. JB suggests there is a second possibility – that the stalker is disguising their voice because they are known to Andrea.

I mean I wouldn’t have thought that was the standard reaction to the idea that someone you know is stalking you

Jessica decides to have a little investigation of her own and goes for a wander. She bumps into Inspector Piero Amato aka John Hamm’s Tall Italian Cousin who is also investigating the attack on Andrea.

This is freaking me out a little bit. Yes I meant signor, it’s too late to change it now, sorry Italy and Spain.

Piero knows nothing about opera but is a Jonas Cole fanboy (apparently Jonas is a bit of a daredevil rock climber). He knows about Andrea’s stalker in New York, but thinks this is nothing more than a stunt drummed up by Jonas Cole in order to sell opera tickets.

Jessica does not agree.

Jessica is immune to Italian Don Draper

The next day Drew rolls into the theatre and informs the company director Rudolfo Petrocelli that there’s nothing else for it, he needs to release Drew from his contract for the good of the production. Rudolfo wonders if it has anything to do with Drew being offered a sweet gig back in New York and Drew says how dare you and how did you know about that.

Fun fact Rudolfo is being played by Bob Hoskins in Super Mario Bros.

I WILL DEFEND SUPER MARIO BROS TIL THE END OF TIME DON’T @ ME

Rudolfo is in a bad mood after Drew’s little stunt and it doesn’t improve when the company accountant Carlo Rossoni comes to talk finances. Only when Carlo confirms that the company would get a substantial payout if Andrea pulls out of the show does Rudolfo feel better about life.

Back at the hotel, Andrea is getting ready to go to the theatre and Jonas is fondling his gun (not code) when there is a phone call – it’s the weird-voiced person again telling Andrea all about how they plan to kill her.

Piero summons them to his office, where he assures Jonas that his team will protect Andrea, saying that a policeman in Italy won’t get far if he can’t stop an opera singer from being hurt. He has the situation under control – he’s going to tap their phone, and a preliminary investigation has revealed no suspects.

Jessica informs them all that the stage door manager hasn’t noticed anyone lurking around.

He brought this on himself

Piero has more news – the crazy New York stalker guy is out of jail, but reporting to his parole officer and is not in Italy. Jonas wants to know where this leaves them and Piero says he is an an unsophisticated guy with no knowledge of opera…

No comment

…do Andrea and Jonas have any personal or professional enemies?

Probably, says Jonas. They’ll all be at our house tonight, says Andrea.

And so, later that night, everyone rolls up to Jonas and Andrea’s for a shindig. Rudolfo is outraged that he wasn’t recognised by the police at the front door, Stella and her husband apparently hate Andrea according to Andrea.

Detection on point.

While Rudolfo tries to discuss finances or lack thereof with Jonas, Drew gets Andrea alone and delivers a heartfelt speech that is only ruined by Jonas wandering in and giving him a golf clap. Jonas and Drew get heated before Drew throws himself out.

Oh how I can relate to this.

After the party is over and Jonas is trying to suck up, the phone rings with the mystery weirdo again. Jessica isn’t worried – the call is being traced, it’s going to be fine.

At the theatre the next day Stella’s husband Paul is begging Drew to give Stella more songs to sing but Drew isn’t interested in stroking Stella’s ego – she’s yesterday’s news. Drew then bumps into Carlo Rossoni who suggests he might have a way for Drew to get out of his contract (for the right price) but Drew isn’t interested in that either.

Andrea is there ready for her final costume fitting and rugged up due to some dodgy ac (which Stella offers to fix by swapping changerooms so she can get the star changeroom back). Vicki excuses herself for a moment to take a call – the lights go out, the weirdo’s voice is heard and there’s a hand with a knife before the lights flick back on. The stalker runs away and Vicki reappears to comfort Andrea.

Jessica has a chat to Piero about all the shenanigans and tells him she knows the American stalker guy has gone awol but Piero is all over that. Plus he has a suspect in mind – the call from the stalker that JB overheard came from a payphone two streets away from Rudolfo’s house.

Apparently, this guy was in Die Hard, which I will report back on when I do my annual Christmas watching of Die Hard. (DIE HARD IS #1 CHRISTMAS MOVIE DON’T @ ME)

Meanwhile, Vicky has just discovered that Rudolfo has been leaking information about Andrea and the stalker to the press, and is outraged about it. Rudolfo, on the other hand, has discovered who has been messing with Andrea and wants in on the whole thing. He arranges to meet the stalker later that night back at the theatre, and after some frankly terrible dialogue about how cold it is (they are obviously in Andrea’s dressing room) the stalker shoots Rudolfo dead.

The next day Jonas is on the warpath after seeing news articles about Andrea and storms off to find Rudolfo. Vicky arrives just in time to hear two gunshots. They all rush upstairs and find Jonas leaning over the body of Rudolfo, gun in hand. “It’s my gun!” Jonas says, confused, as the security guard draws his weapon and orders Jonas to drop it. “Jessica, I didn’t do this,” Jonas adds.

(At this point let the record show that an auction started next door and as I am fascinated by anyone who can afford real estate in Melbourne I immediately lost interest in everything else, and then I heard the asking price for said auction and immediately gave up on life. And then I started playing the Murder She Wrote theme really loudly because if you are moving near me you may as well be prepared).

Back in Genoa Piero thinks everyone needs to relax – Andrea isn’t in any more danger now that Rudolfo has shuffled off. JB wants to know if his voice matched the voice on the call recording but Piero isn’t sure yet. He explains to Jonas that if he comes clean he will word up the prosecutor but Jonas swears he didn’t do it. Piero sighs and arrests him for being obstinate.

Later, in the theatre, Drew dumps Vicki (apparently they were a thing) and also fires her as the PR rep. Jess drops by the theatre to pick up some of Andrea’s things and runs into Drew, who tells her he’s moving back to New York and he’ll keep in touch with Andrea. Apparently, his contract is void now Rudolfo has gone. Jess then comes across Caro and Paul Fuller arguing about who will pay for the audience to clap and cheer Stella now that she’s taking over Andrea’s role.

Jessica sneaks into Andrea’s room for a bit of sleuthing.

Auction update: no one bought. It was either the loud Murder She Wrote theme or the high cost of living in Melbourne. Or both.

A pen dent in the floor and a broken air conditioner later, and Jess gives Jonas the good news – there’s no way he could have killed Rudolfo, he’d been dead for hours! While Piero reinstates Andrea’s security detail, Jonas calls to give her the good news (after a wrong number false start). Andrea is delighted to hear he is free, goes and locks the door as instructed, and is devastated when the next phone call she gets is from the psycho killer.

Jonas and Andrea make plans to leave for New York, while Stella makes plans to reclaim her rightful dressing room. Piero assures Andrea that she will be well guarded but she doesn’t feel secure. Later that night Jonas gets a call from a furious Carlo who threatens to get an injunction forbidding them from leaving Genoa. Jessica shares a wad of paper she found in Andrea’s dressing room with Piero, and after a wrong number and a reference to mountains, Jessica works out how the killer did it.

EPIPHANY FACE

And luckily for Andrea, she’s worked it out just in time to stop the killer from getting to her.

As far as villainous plots go, this was pretty good.

Jonas hatched a plot to bump off Andrea and get her life insurance money and recruited Vicky as an accomplice. Rudolfo found out what Jonas was up to so he killed him and framed himself so that Jessica could prove he didn’t do it. Except then she proved he did. Suck it, Jonas.

Later gang!