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S11E11 – An Egg To Die For

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Spoiler alert: the egg is Faberge, but whatever. This week the peregrine falcons that nested on top of 367 Collins in the city had babies and there’s a webcam and frankly, I’m never getting anything done ever again.

Anyway, once upon a time in a far away galaxy called St Petersburg, a man shows another man a Faberge egg and gets shot for his trouble.

A year later…

Starsky and Hutch, except it’s Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury. Build me a time machine and put me in charge of television.

Jessica is in town for some sort of book convention being hosted by old friends Marcie and James Devon, who are having a bit of a financial crisis and are looking at closing one of their bookstores currently being managed by Marcie’s brother Leo. Leo quickly excuses himself, shortly followed by James who disappears to go set up JB’s booth. Jessica is nostalgic about her first book signing at Marcie’s first bookstore, and Marcie tells her the minute she read The Corpse Danced Alone she knew it would be a hit.

Except JB’s first book was called The Corpse Danced At Midnight so I call shenanigans on this whole business.

Leo wanders off to meet a business colleague who informs him that the payment Leo gave him was in fake roubles and there’s going to be hell to pay, mostly if Leo doesn’t return his commission in 48 hours. A hired goon is about to get to work beating the crap out of Leo when a bearded Russian appears, pulls a gun and orders everyone to leave. He tells Leo he’s here for the egg, and he’d better get it or else. Leo tries to bluster his way out of it by saying the police would want to know about a foreigner with a concealed weapon but the man just says he’ll see Leo that night and skulks away.

Jess wanders into the book fair to get a name badge (like her face wouldn’t work) and runs into Valerie Harris and Ben Peterson. Ben is waiting on a scholarship approval, Valerie is…his girlfriend? The bearded Russian appears to try and get into the book fair but is stopped by security. He is Sergei Nemiroff, and tells Valerie he left his badge in his room and asks for another one but when Valerie can’t find it he quickly says he’ll go back and get it. He’s delighted to meet JB, he’s a big fan.

Who to this day I keep accidentally calling Frank Burns but don’t mind me

While Marcie and Charles continue to argue about Leo, Valerie tries to reassure Ben that his application will be accepted. Valerie’s father and apparent book publisher James Harris turns up to order Leo to set up more booths and to order Valerie to find more space for more booths and to forget Ben. Charmer.

Jessica overhears Sergei on the phone speaking Russian and sees him drop an invoice for a late payment on the hotel room. Meanwhile, at the arranging of hotel owner Victor Roscoe, Marcie and Charles meet with James Harris to request an extension on their loan and to propose a new business arrangement. James shoots it down, and tells them the money is due on Thursday or else he owns their bookstore chain.

As Marcie and Charles leave the meeting in a panic, Jessica watches Sergei filch a security badge from one of the other attendees before following Marcie and Charles outside. They get into a taxi and drive away and Sergei is set to follow when JB stops him and demands to know why a Russian policeman is following her friends.

Sidebar:

I’m very much enjoying that whole necklace situation.

Sergei has no idea what she is talking about but she harangues him into admitting that he is a Russian cop investigating Leo Stone. She’s not done with him yet, and so Sergei gives up on following Marcie and Charles and goes to lunch with Jessica instead. He tells her about a missing Faberge egg and tiara that were stolen from St Petersberg – the tiara turned up in Miami but without the jewels. Leo Stone was known to be in St Petersberg at the time of the theft, and given that the tiara turned up in Miami it seems like a natural conclusion that he was involved in the theft. Jess thinks there is more to the story, and Sergei reluctantly admits that his brother has been sentenced to death for killing the thief and will be executed in the next 48 hours unless Sergei can retrieve the egg and prove his brother’s innocence.

Over at James Harris’s house, James wanders through the rooms alone. He comes to a wall. He presses a hidden button. A door opens. It’s James’s Room Of Hidden Treasures. He walks in and begins stroking the Faberge Egg lovingly.

True fact, James Harris is a Bond Villain.

Over at the hotel, Leo is putting a business idea to Victor but he’s not having a bar of it. He tells Leo to stick with the job Charles gave him, he’s a lucky man. Leo gives up and asks to borrow two grand but Victor sadly tells him no, he’s not a bank.

Meanwhile, Jessica runs into Valerie and a despondent Ben who has just found out his college application has been rejected after the college found out about his chequered past (apparently something to do with a high school football team and a prank). This has apparently torpedoed any chance of him getting into med school.

*mumbles something about the college having higher standards than the US Supreme Court*

MOVING ON

Incorrect. A kangaroo can disembowel you with its eyes and will warn you beforehand with some Tibetan throat singing #AussieFacts

Sergei is solidly minding his own business when Leo confronts him – apparently, someone has ransacked his house. Sergei thinks this is a weird way to thank him for stopping the beating but then warns Leo he knows Leo either has the egg or knows where it is and furthermore, he knows who killed the thief. Leo tells him he’s crazy and walks away. Sergei follows.

Jess is helping Marcie set up her booth at the book convention when Charles returns with bad news – the bank is not going to speed up their refinancing, and in fact are pulling out of the whole thing after receiving some not inconsiderable pressure from James. Marcie thinks maybe they can try talking to him again but Charles thinks there’s no point. Jess quietly asks Marcie if all of this is happening because Marcie chucked James to be with Charles and she is starting to think maybe.

That night a reception is held at House Harris and the shenanigans are aplenty. Leo confronts James about their recent business and James drags him into another room to discuss it in private. Ben tells Valerie he shouldn’t be there, James clearly doesn’t want him there, but Valerie thinks he’s being paranoid. Jess arrives with her date Sergei and if that’s a jacket I WANTS IT.

I need it. I want it.

Sergei’s had a big afternoon following Leo around, and he’s not going to let up until he finds the egg. Jess points out Leo wasn’t the only one in St Petersburg the previous year but Sergei’s convinced.

James reappears from his meeting with Leo, decants some white wine (the hell?) and Marcie takes the opportunity to beg him to reconsider the loan extension. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well. Sergei sees the conversation and decides to investigate James’s study. Unfortunately, James notices him sneak in and is all set to have him thrown out when JB sashays in to ask if Sergei’s found her glasses yet. James tells them dinner is ready but JB has just noticed he is a former student of the college Ben was trying to get into. Wouldn’t you know it, he was the one who torpedoed the application.

Ben says the college was unaware of his police record, and so should not be considered for the medical school. (Still doesn’t mumble anything about the college being stricter than the US Supreme Court). JB is disgusted and produces some documents to prove it but James doesn’t care and storms out. Jessica leaves the papers on his desk and follows.

A short time later, as the party is winding down, there is a scream. Valerie has just found her father lying dead in a fountain in his Hidden Room of Treasures. Sergei and Jess rush to investigate, and it is quickly made apparent that the egg is missing. Lieutenant Perez is on the case and doesn’t like the idea of Russian involvement but Jessica assures him that Sergei is just attending the book fair.

(Intense not-mumbling about Russian involvement in things).

The murder weapon is located behind one of the pedestals (and I feel terrible but the actor who delivered his one line did it so earnestly that I sprayed tea everywhere).

The next day Jess tells Sergei she can’t cover up for him forever, and that there is no sign of the egg, or of Leo Stone. Jess suddenly remembers the papers she left on the desk were missing and rushes away. Back at the hotel Marcie and Charles have just discovered James’s death hasn’t changed their problems one jot, and to make things worse Leo’s on the phone begging to meet Marcie. She finds him down at the marina where he begs her for two grand to flee the country (he swears he didn’t kill James though). Marcie promises to get him the money.

Jess goes looking for Ben Peterson at Victor Roscoe’s office and finds Victor working the phones trying to find the money for Marcie and Charles. They mull over the events of the previous night, and Victor says he understands complicated father-son relationships. (Apparently, his Dad was a violin playing genius).

Over at House Harris, Jessica explains about the missing papers to Ben and Valerie but before she can start looking Lieutenant Perez arrives and has questions for everyone about everything ever. Ben confesses to the murder, but then Valerie says no I am Spartacus. Jess wanders into the Hidden Room of Treasure and notices a chain in the fountain. Perez fishes it out and notices it’s inscribed BP. Case closed, says Perez, when Ben says the chain is his. Jess calls shenanigans and later has just enough time to fill Sergei in before Perez pops up and decides to detain him too. Sergei is devastated and yells “Jessica, my brother!” before being shoved into the car.

Back at the hotel, while Marcie weeps over the loss of her last 5 grand being used to get Leo out of the country, Jess suddenly gets an idea about how to free Ben and tracks down Leo for his help.

Long story short (too late!)

Sure, why not.

Victor was apparently procuring the treasure for James’s Hidden Room of Treasure and… I guess he’d had enough? Wait, Leo was working for Victor? I swear I’ve watched this episode twice now and I’m still hazy on why anyone did anything. But I was considering photoshopping Jeff Goldblum into every screenshot of this episode, so that might have had something to do with it.

Until next time!

Onwards and upwards!

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S09E13 – Dead Eye

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We’re in Florida this week Fletcherfans, but not for the Murder She Wrote Golden Girls Crossover Special that I demand someone travel back in time to make. JB is in town to go about her Fletcher-y business and is intrigued by a newspaper headline about the recently discovered skeleton of a private detective that went missing just after the Kennedy assassination in 1963.

JB isn’t the only one interested in this sudden skeletal arrival. In Chicago, private investigator and all-around wise guy Charlie Garrett (aka Trapper John from MASH) is delighted to hear the news – it turns out the dead guy, Bernie Callan, owed him some money and apparently now that Bernie’s corpse has turned up, Charlie can collect. Solid logic. Meanwhile, somewhere else in Florida, Santo Angelini is concerned that photographs the dead guy had might also resurface, while up in Colorado Bernie’s daughter Laura is packing her bags for Florida after hearing the news that her father has shown up.

Charlie heads on down to Florida to see police chief Herman Gillis to claim his money – it turns out that the body was found with 10 grand on it. Herman tells him they also found Charlie’s business card on the body so thanks for making his job easier, and that Charlie should start thinking about where he was at the end of 1963.

That moustache needs to be arrested immediately.

Meanwhile, JB is heading out of her hotel when she hears a woman shouting on the phone. It’s Laura Callan, a bit peeved that someone has broken into her hotel room and ransacked it. She sees JB sticky beaking and slams the door.

Over at Charlie’s less salubrious hotel, the same deal – Charlie wanders into his room to find an old guy in a cowboy hat going through his stuff. Instead of answering Charlie’s questions the man punches him in the face and legs it, leaving the hotel manager to call the police.

Later that day, Laura finds out who JB is and wants to apologise for slamming the door in her face. (Damn straight). JB tells her there’s nothing to apologise for, and asks her if anything was stolen. Laura says no, which surprises JB as she figured it had something to do with Laura’s father’s murder. Laura tells her that if her father was murdered it was just a random killing, there’s no way it could be anything more than that.

Laura and JB head down to see Herman to find out more about Bernie’s case, but Herman just wants to talk about how much he doesn’t like Jessica’s books.

Honestly, why do people do this? Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean I have to care about it!

Although he does go on to point out that hers are too real-t0-life, and he hates that. I can relate. As we all know I fully reject reality when it doesn’t suit my interests, which is most of the time, to be honest. Charlie Garrett wanders in under police escort, and Herman introduces him to Laura as one of her father’s associates, although not one she’s likely to get any truth out of.

Charlie, Laura and JB adjourn to a diner, where Laura asks Charlie about some photos that she has that belonged to her father – the only real thing she has left that was his, as his office/house burned down not long after he died. Charlie recognises the woman as the wife of some tycoon or another, and figures that Bernie had been hired to catch her out in an affair, but JB thinks it’s about something else. She shows Charlie another photo and they freak out. The photo is of Lee Harvey Oswald and another man.

Well this has taken a turn.

The gang stash the photos in the safe at Charlie’s hotel and go to call the FBI. Agent James Whitman meets them at the hotel and agrees to take a look at the photos but he’s dubious as to their authenticity (despite JB’s insistence) and has no comment on Charlie’s claims that the man with Oswald is renowned mobster Santo Angelini. He has even less comment when they walk into the hotel’s reception to find the poor manager lying on the floor with a whack to the head and the safe empty.

Down at Herman’s office, they explain the situation to Herman. Whitman is called away and tells Laura he hopes the police find out what happened to her father. JB insists that they all saw the photographs and Whitman says he’s sure they believe they did. JB is going all in on this conspiracy business. As Whitman leaves Dr Abner Farrow, professor of modern history, arrives at the request of Herman. Jess lays out her theory – Bernie was in Dallas taking photos of the cheating wife a couple of days before the assassination, and then after Kennedy is shot and Oswald’s face is everywhere he realises what he has.

Back at the hotel, Laura doesn’t understand why her father would have hung on to the photos and not turned them in, and Charlie tells her the ten grand they found on his body makes it pretty clear – he was going to blackmail someone with them. Laura refuses to believe it, but JB says it makes a lot of sense. Although, there’s always the chance that she’s wrong! (There isn’t). Charlie thinks that now the photos have gone, that’s the end of it.

Over at house Angelini, Santo is simultaneously burning photos and berating his minion for not finishing the job he didn’t finish in 1963. The minion assures Angelini that the negatives don’t exist or else someone would have tried to blackmail him by now, but Angelini isn’t afraid of blackmailers, he’s afraid of the FBI. He wants proof the negatives no longer exist.

Jess and Laura go to Agent Whitman’s office to demand answers and also the current whereabouts of Santo Angelini. He tells them the Warren Commission resolved the assassination ages ago, and if they want to dig it up then they can do it on their own time. JB yells at him about burglaries and responsibility and he caves, telling JB he’ll get back to her.

I call shenanigans. No way would Jessica Fletcher be a conspiracy nut. This just doesn’t make sense to me.

Back at the hotel JB spots a familiar looking man in a Stetson side-eying them – she thinks he’s been tailing them all day. She goes over to confront him (like a boss!) and demands to know who he is or she’ll call hotel security. He turns around and walks away, leaving Laura to wonder what that was all about. JB thinks the person who had the photos stolen isn’t satisfied and wants the negatives. They go upstairs, as Dr Farrow peers over a newspaper.

Upstairs Jess gets on the phone with Whitman, who tells her he’s tracked down Angelini. JB says never mind that, if those photos weren’t real why was her room broken into and ransacked? Also where is Santo Angelini? Meanwhile, Charlie pops in to say goodbye to Laura and to tell her he doesn’t need the money her father owed him anymore – he’s picked up a fancy new client and his financial woes are solved, so he’s heading back to Chicago.

That night, the Stetson wearing bloke meets his new friend in the car to talk about how much money they can get out of Angelini when his friend pulls a gun and shoots him.

Jess and Laura are having breakfast the next morning when news of Stetson’s death comes on. Jess finds the whole thing rather suspicious and calls Agent Whitman to get him to do a background check on this mysterious Frank Hemet.

Jess and Laura head down to Hermans office, where Charlie has already wandered in to confirm that Hemet was the guy who tossed his room but Herman’s not having a bar of it.

A fax comes in for JB:

Helpful labelling is helpful.

Frank Hemet, it turns out, moved to Florida from Dallas a couple of months prior to Kennedy being assassinated, after being booted off the police force for suspected ties to organised crime. Dr Farrow (inexplicably also there) thinks everyone is reading too much into it, but JB thinks they should find out if Hemet owned a .45 – they might solve Bernie’s murder after all.

At House Angelini, Santo is on the phone assuring someone that he is about to get his hands on the negatives and that if anything should happen to him, a trail of breadcrumbs is going to lead to whoever is on the other end of the phone. Whoever it was hangs up, just in time for Jessica to make her entrance. She tells him she just wanted to make sure that what she’d heard was true, that Santo was the person in the photo with Lee Harvey Oswald. Santo tells her that such a claim is dangerous and baseless on account of the photos being stolen, and Jessica agrees, telling him she also doesn’t have the negatives so he can stop tearing her hotel room apart. She’s not giving up though, and he tells her that if such a conspiracy exists, the people involved would not look kindly on her meddling.

Back at the hotel, JB gets an envelope left for her at the front desk, before running into Dr Farrow, who warns her to leave the Kennedy assassination alone – her reputation will be destroyed if she continues down this path. JB is touched by his concern, except doesn’t he have a book coming out that supports the Warren Commission findings, even though after the assassination a reporter by the name of D. A. Farrow had said he’d heard four shots, and isn’t Abner’s first name Desmond?

*doo doo doo doo DOO Dooooooo* #XFiles

Inside her room, she finds Charlie, who wants the envelope she’s just received. They’re the negatives, that Charlie had the whole time. He tells her he’d never looked at them until after Bernie died, and when he printed them he didn’t recognise anyone in them and so filed them away again until Bernie’s body turned up.

The phone rings – it’s Laura. She’s being held at gunpoint and begs Jessica to come alone to the docks and to bring the negatives. Charlie wonders how they knew Jess even had them and Jess quickly finds a bug hidden in the lamp.

Down at the docks, Santo’s minion has Laura tied up at gunpoint. Santo himself emerges from the shadows demanding the negatives but Jessica tells him she doesn’t have them. Santo gives the word to shoot Laura and Charlie appears, gun fixed on Santo. Laura elbows the minion in the chest and he throws her into the water. Charlie dives in to save her, and Jessica sighs as the negatives float away into the murky depths.

Back at Herman’s office, he tells them that the divers and Coast Guard couldn’t find a trace of the negatives, but the good news is Frank Hemet definitely killed Bernie Callan, and he’s sure that they’ll find some trace evidence that Angelini killed Hemet.

No, they won’t, says JB. Laura did it.

Well that escalated quickly.

Turns out that retransmitted plot point I mentioned earlier was retransmitted because Laura received the original, realised that Frank killed her father and so she killed him.

Herman is delighted – two murders neatly wrapped up. Charlie thinks that as soon as Angelini gets arrested they will be able to find out what really happened in Dallas.

Just then, Herman gets a phone call – you guys! Angelini was killed in a car accident not three minutes earlier, and they’re a bit worried that the brake lines were cut. Do you think that maybe it was deliberate…?

Ugh, whatever. Forget the Kennedy assassination, I want to find out who the hell DB Cooper was. Do you really think that many people could keep their mouth shut about a conspiracy to assassinate a president? Half the politicians in Australia don’t even know what country they are a citizen of.  Of course, I could also be a government plant, set about maintaining the status quo as set down by the Illuminati, the Lizard People and the space hamsters.

We’ll never know.

Later gang!