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S09E08 – The Classic Murder

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Back in the Big Apple Fletcherfans, where our Heroine is going out to dinner with her editor Sally Wilson and Sally’s father Buck. Buck is a squillionaire who has just bought a steakhouse chain and is contemplating buying the publishing company where Sally works (much to Sally’s horror).

JB remembers the steakhouse and is excited to go, but is rather taken aback by Buck’s changes.

I had a similar experience the first time I went to Outback Steakhouse, followed by an uncontrollable bout of giggling.

JB is soon introduced to Sally’s uncle Geroge and aunt Janine, and her father Buck who is exactly how you’d expect.

Unless you were thinking about Uncle Buck, which is reasonable because that movie was awesome.

Buck asks his brother in law if he remembered to ship his Cadillac out to the car show in Pasadena and George says he sure did but can they have a word? Apparently Buck’s company is about to be investigated for corporate shenanigans and George is worried but Buck says he has nothing to hide. He leaves George to get hand fed by a waitress/cowgirl (much to Janine’s disapproval) and takes Jess to meet the restaurant’s gimmick star, the psychic Marika Valenti. Apparently she and Jess have a lot in common, Marika uses her abilities to solve crimes too.

I think Jessica begs to disagree on this point.

Buck decides he’s a bit weary and tells Jess and his daughter that he’s going to get the driver to take him home to Westchester. Sally and JB decide to get a propery dinner somewhere less insane, but bump into Sally’s brother BJ who is trying to find his father. He rushes off after Buck, and Jess and Sally make their escape.

Back at House Buck, Buck is making a nightcap for two when the housekeeper, Mrs Oates wanders in. He’s surprised to see her, thinking she would be visiting a friend in Poughkeepsie but she tells him her friend got sick. She’s surprised to see him, as she thought that he was staying in the city but he tells her he changed his mind, he was tired. She offers to bring his nightcap and snack upstairs for him but he insists on doing it himself. After she leaves he finishes pouring the second glass of whisky (considerably less than the other one, stingy bastard) and goes upstairs.

Later that night George and Janine arrive back at House Buck and all is clearly well.

Such romance.

Janine is still rather peeved about her husband’s efforts with the waitress, and George is just miffed in general. She tells him to keep his voice down but he says they are the only ones here, Buck’s getting busy in town.

The next morning Mrs Oates goes to check on Buck but he’s nowhere to be found. Janine pops in and is concerned to see the state of Buck’s bathroom, more so when she finds a cigarette butt with lipstick on it. SCANDALOUS.

Back in the city, Jess and Sally are working on edits for Sally’s next book when BJ calls looking for Sally. He tells her Buck has gone missing, so JB and Sally jet on out to Westchester to see what’s up. Mrs Oates lets them in, saying BJ is out back with his friend and local cop Tom Jarrow interviewing Buck’s driver Carl Graham. Unfortunately for BJ and Tom Carl knows nothing and saw nothing, and when he opens the garage for them there’s not a car missing.

Spoiler alert, Tom is a bit of an early 90s dreamboat.

Sah dreamy.

BJ wants a word with George about business, and they excuse themselves. Tom tells JB and Sally that they couldn’t get much out of Carl, but that he swears that Buck came home alone. Janine appears and says that there was definitely evidence Buck was with a woman last night, and Sally wonders if it was the waitress from the restaurant. Tom says he’ll look into it and leaves.

BJ and George have a heated debate when George finds out BJ has been sniffing around the company accounts but BJ tells him it was serious – they are about to be investigated and there’s 150 million dollars missing, and now Buck is missing too.

A knock at the door is answered by Janine and Jessica – it’s Marika, who had a terrible premonition that something had happened to Buck. She understands now why Buck wanted her to meet JB, he knew they would have to work together to solve his disappearance.

No time.

Marika gets to psychic work, leaving JB to explain what she’s doing to Janine. She latches on to a photo and declares that Buck is dead, just as Jessica finds a bloody sheet under the bed. Janine screams.

Marika decides to hold some sort of psychic conclave (in the lanai, so presumably the Golden Girls are coming too) and sends JB to gather the troops. She finds Mrs Oates in the kitchen with Carl the chauffeur. Mrs Oates is excited to witness Marika at work, but Carl refuses and storms out.

In the lanai (turns out lanai means porch, guys I’m learning all the time), Marika tells the story of Buck’s demise in suspicious detail, including mention of a witness. She asks Jess if that’s enough for her to solve the case and Jess asks her if that’s all she knows.

Jess is leaving this one to the psychic

Marika then says Buck’s body was thrown in a well. Sally loses it and says she’s had enough of this nonsense and storms out. BJ has a theory of what Marika is talking about and takes Rob into Buck’s study to show him a picture of Buck’s first oil well. Rob points out it’s in Oklahoma and that the private jet isn’t missing, but he thinks BJ thinks Buck isn’t dead. BJ says yes but won’t go into why.

JB has a quiet chat with Marika after the performance, to ask her about her previous experience solving cases with her mind powers. Marika says it was with Scotland Yard but doesn’t go into details. She announces she has a headache and goes outside.

You guys I really think JB doesn’t like Marika.

As Marika departs Sally comes in to apologise for running out. Jess tells her she nearly went with her, and asks her if there are any old maps of the property. Sally says there are, but she checked and there are no old wells on the property. Jess gets a magnifying glass and finds something interesting on the map. She tells Sally to call Tom, they’ll meet him there in the morning.

The next day, Tom tells Sally that the waitress from the restaurant went home to her husband after her shift, she wasn’t having an affair with Buck. Jess finds what she was looking for and gets Tom to lift the cement. They find Marika’s body at the bottom of the pit, dead from a gunshot.

Jess takes about five minutes to formulate a theory. She’s convinced that Marika was the woman in the house the night Buck disappeared, and she thinks Carl knew it. They pay him a visit in his apartment next to the garage and find him packing his bags, about to leg it. He admits Marika was in the car when he drove Buck up the night he disappeared and he was meant to drive her back to town the next morning but that she asked him to drop her at a motel instead. Tom orders Carl be read his rights and taken to the police station and Jess excuses herself to go and make a phone call. Outside, she runs into Sally and BJ arguing. Sally is outraged at BJ’s theory that Buck didn’t die, he ran off with the missing 150 million.

Later that afternoon Tom pops in to check on Sally, but Mrs Oates tells him Sally isn’t feeling well. This turns out to be under orders from Sally who doesn’t want to see anyone. An emotional Mrs Oates runs into George, who is concerned about her. Mrs Oates is just devastated by the whole business, including the idea that BJ has about Buck running off with money. George tells her not to worry, he’s sure Buck will walk in the door any minute.

JB gets on the phone with her friend Inspector Mores Scotland Yard, who tells her Marika Valenti was a blackmailer who pretended to be a psychic to get dirt on her victims. JB is delighted to hear it. She runs into Sally again but Sally is determined to leave the house and go back to New York. Jess won’t have a bar of it, and instead wants to hear about BJ and Tom’s old hiding places. They go back to the garage and find Buck’s body in the back seat of one of his cars.

I mean they can’t have done much of a search to begin with *cough cough*

Tom thinks finding Buck’s body in the garage seals the case against Carl, but Jess isn’t so sure – Carl didn’t have a motive, there’s no evidence he knew about the missing money and even if he did they never found a trace of it. She suddenly remembers Buck’s plan to ship his car to a car show in Pasadena and gets Tom to track down the shipping company. When he calls them it turns out the car has changed destination and is now going to be shipped to Rio Di Janeiro.

Later that afternoon George gets a phone call from the shipping company, saying there’s been a delay – the car needs to be searched by customs before it goes down south. That night, the killer breaks into the shipping company to retrieve his money…

George seems to be the only person surprised by this.

It’s the classic tale – man gets busted embezzling money, kills man to stop from being discovered, kills fraud psychic blackmailer to stop from being discovered/blackmailed.

Case closed! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Doctor Who to watch.

Later gang!

S09E05 – The Dead File

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In a big win for continuity, JB has (literally) just got back to her NYC castle from her European trip. Sid, the doorman who isn’t Ahmed carries Our Heroine’s bags into her apartment, but doesn’t want to hear about the trip so much as he wants to tell her how much he and his wife are enjoying the comic strip JB is appearing in.

“What’s this about a comic strip?” Says JB.

“That’s right, you’ve been away!” Says Sid LITERALLY CARRYING HER SUITCASE THROUGH THE DOOR. He shows her that day’s strip, in which Jessica Fox accuses a rat of stealing fish powder from the police station.

Holiday time is over.

Fun fact – Sid was in one of my favourite episodes of The West Wing, Life on Mars. Update your social media accounts accordingly.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, cartoonist Stan Hatter (aka Harvey Fierstein who I know from Independence Day) is hard at work drawing and dodging phone calls from his ex-wives while his assistant Teddy Graves just hangs out, noting that the man who has been loitering across the street from Stan’s office is back at it. The aforementioned man, Jerry Bozell, puts a call in to the man who hired him, Dayton Whiting, to report in on the complete lack of dirt available on Stan Hatter. Dayton, who also happens to be a cartoonist (and we all know the complicated vendettas that cartoonists hold), tells him if he can’t find something make it up. Jerry threatens to quit but Dayton mollifies him with the promise of money on Monday.

JB returns from a successful trip to the supermarket when she is accosted by Lieutenant Peter DiMartini, the aforementioned fish-powder-filching rat from the comic strip. He wants to know why JB has been slandering his name in the press.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy this pic made me.

Jess tells him she has no idea about any of it, but remembers a drug bust a few years earlier where drugs were taken from the evidence locker  – and DiMartini was the main suspect. She tells him to talk to Stan Hatter, she knows nothing. As he leaves, JB asks him if he did steal the drugs but he just walks out. Jess puts in a call to her lawyer, but his secretary tells her he’s already on his way over.

At the headquarters of Empire Feature Syndicate, Dayton is begging for an advance on his royalties from editor Paige Kindle (amazing name), who is disinclined to help as Dayton’s royalties are dropping. They are interrupted by a visit from Stan Hatter, incensed that a counterfeit cartoon has been published under his name. He threatens to walk away from the whole deal until Paige threatens to sue Stan for All Of The Things. He storms out, and Paige wonders whether Teddy could take over the cartoon. Dayton would be happy to help, after all Stan stole the idea from him.

Meanwhile, in yet another part of town, shady financier (aren’t they all though) Roger Melton takes time out from his shady business dealings to read that day’s cartoon – about a shady financier duck that Jessica Fox is accusing of corruption. Roger is incensed and gets straight on the phone to Paige Kindle.

Back at House Fletcher, JB’s defence lawyer Russell Yorke arrives with more bad news – he’s aware of the cartoon and has been contacted by Roger Melton’s lawyers who plan to sue JB, Stan Hatter and Empire Feature Syndicate for All Of The Things. JB is stunned, but Russell says even if she can prove there’s no case to answer the legal fees will rack right up.

Honestly guys, I’m just here to amuse myself, the fact that you all enjoy it is just icing on a delicious delicious cake.

Jess takes matters into her own hands and goes to see Stan Hatter, who is hard at work trying to make deadline on his next cartoon and blaring opera for all to hear. Stan sends Teddy to stop the knocking but JB bursts in demanding answers. Stan assures her he had nothing to do with the DiMartini cartoon, and is horrified when JB pulls the Roger Melton cartoon out of her bag. He had nothing to do with that one either. He shows her the real cartoon, with some horses and a cow with multiple personality disorder.

I’d like to think we are all being punked right now, it’s so much nicer than the alternative.

Stan promises he will get Jessica off the hook – he’ll talk to his lawyers and if need be he’ll write her out of the cartoon. He loves JB, he never meant to complicate her life. NAWWWW.

Back at home, Jess gets another visit from Lieutenant DiMartini. This time he’s received an old-school cutout word blackmail letter demanding 250 thousand dollars to stop the publication of the cartoon that proves he stole the fish powder/drugs. Jess can’t figure out why he has come to her about it until he peels one of the newspaper words back – the newspaper of choice for the blackmailer was the Cabot Cove Gazette, specifically last Tuesday’s paper.

All this and jetlag too, there is nothing she can’t do! #craprhymeSunday

Jess goes back to see Stan, but he swears he had nothing to do with the blackmail either. He tries to show her how the cartoon that was printed differs from the ones he draws but he’s not buying it. Ben Watanabe, the guy who does the lettering on the cartoons swears it’s not his work either. They are interrupted by Paige Kindle who is also furious with JB’s attempts to blackmail.

Paige, Stan and JB pay a visit on Roger Melton who has reached a level of outrage that could only be described as incandescent. Jess has no time for it and tells him to sit down.

Yes I paraphrased the quote. I AM A REBEL.

Jess says assuming that Stan is telling the truth, who else might be behind it? Stan rattles off a long list of names including his five ex-wives, the people he’s skewered in the cartoons, and Dayton Whiting.

Later that night, Ben Watanabe lets himself in to Stan’s office to start work on the newest cartoon when he hears a noise. He goes to investigate, and gets clocked on the head.

The next morning Jessica goes to see Dayton Whiting, who wants to give Jessica some friendly advice – sue Stan Hatter for all he’s worth, that will put an end to her problems. Jerry Bozell appears demanding money, but is shuffled off by Dayton who promises to give him money that afternoon. Jessica refuses to believe that Stan would let his creations be tarnished by something so unsavoury. A fellow cartoonist wanders past and asks if they’d heard about what happened to Ben.

Jess heads down to Stan’s offices where the police, led by Sergeant Martha Redstone, have ruled the case a suicide pending any other evidence. Jess talks her way into the office, and Redstone asks her just what her connection to all this is, bearing in mind she has heard about Jessica’s obsession with death.

(Not entirely inaccurate though let’s be honest)

Jessica points out that the statue on the table has a crack in it, which she doesn’t think was there the previous day. DiMartini pops in after hearing about it on the radio and Redstone starts demanding answers. Jess and Stan dismiss the idea that Ben was the fake cartoonist, killed to stop his cartoons, since the potential murder weapon was already in the office and not brought with the killer. Redstone wonders if the whole thing was staged to look un-premeditated by someone with knowledge, like a disgraced cop. She orders them all not to leave town and departs.

Across town, Dayton Whiting is having a meeting with Roger Melton, to offer his support and services during this difficult time. Dayton tells Roger that he has been conducting an investigation into Stan Hatter, and the investigation is about to pay off big time, and so –

“How much?” Says Roger.

Dayton smiles. “Ten thousand dollars, but it’s”

Roger orders his secretary to cut a cheque for ten grand but tells Dayton he expects results. Dayton goes straight to Jerry’s office and hands over three grand. Jerry asks about the extra week in advance but Dayton shoots him down, saying he doesn’t need Jerry any more.

Down at the precinct DiMartini confronts Redstone about her suspicions about him – she’s faced the wrath of internal affairs before, she should know how it feels. She relents, and tells him to report back on Jessica’s activities…and when they catch the murderer it’s her collar. (Because, it turns out Jess was totes right about the statue being the murder weapon).

DiMartini calls Jessica to let her know about the murder weapon. She’s at the offices of Empire Feature Syndicate trying to work out what the blackmail victims have in common. Paige Kindle wanders in and says they all have the same sleazy secrets in common – which gives Jessica an idea. She and DiMartini pay a visit to Jerry Bozell, who is in the middle of packing to leave town. He tells them that yes he used to have a “Dead File’ of gossip he couldn’t get printed, but that it was stolen. He’s leaving town before someone else works out that he was the source of the slander.

Jess and DiMartini go to see Dayton Whiting again, who denies any knowledge of Jerry’s activities, saying he was paying Jerry for publicity. Unfortunately for Dayton Jerry was recording the whole thing, and so he admits to looking for dirt on Stan but that he was otherwise occupied with a lady friend on the night of the murder. DiMartini thinks they are back to square one, but Jess has the vague inkling of a plan. They go back to Stan’s office and Jess hunts under a pot-plant to find an artists glove. They put it in for testing and report in to Redstone, who isn’t buying it. Ben Watanabe went to a variety of studios to do lettering and no one knew his schedule except Ben. Jess says that’s true but that Ben got a call from one of the artists to say he wasn’t needed that night – leading Jess to think the killer was familiar with Ben’s schedule. Redstone tells them the lab report came back and the blood they found was Ben’s. Jess says that’s fine, and leaves a message for Stan.

Not so much for Stan, more for the killer.

I can’t even tell if I saw this coming to be honest.

Teddy-boy was hired by Dayton to create counterfeit cartoons with the gossip in them, and when Ben came into the office off-schedule, he freaked and clocked him with the statue. He threw Ben off the balcony to make it look like suicide.

Case closed. On another note, sending all the love in the world to the UK today. Don’t let those hate-filled bastards win.

Later gang.

S09E03 – The Mole

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Guys, I tell you what – I’m loving the next level high tech computer hacking that has been going on in Murder She Wrote recently.

Fun fact I learned from watching QI – nostalgia was once considered a medical disease that was cured by leeches, bullying and all sorts of top level medical skills. I’d be in so much trouble if that was still a thing.

More on Ms Hackity Hack, who has just narrowly avoided capture with her floppy disk file about someone called Max Hagen  later.

JB is out to dinner with her old journalist friend, and when I heard his name I thought I was hearing things.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WHAT WHAT WHAT

Jess’s sidekick in this episode has the same name as me. Putting aside the fact that this is the first time I’ve seen my name attached to a dude, and the spelling looks like it’s been dreamed up by someone at Starbucks, ERMAHGHERD. Guys, this is a big deal. Up until now the only Briony I’ve seen in fiction is the whiny little cow from Atonement, and I effing hated that book (I haven’t seen the movie on account of I REALLY HATED THAT BOOK.)

But there you go guys – if you’ve seen this episode you now know how to pronounce my name, which puts you ahead of most call centre operators, baristas and people I work with. Happy early birthday to me!

Anyway, Jess is chatting to me Brynie about his career as a journalist as inspiration for her new book, while he contends with a managing editor who has issues with his new column and the terrible line it (Brynie points out the line is by F Scott Fitzgerald and the editor looks panicked).

Jess cacks herself laughing as the editor departs and says “I’m sorry Briony Brynie, I know it isn’t funny to you.”

(My response to Angela Lansbury saying my name:

I AM DEAD.
I wonder if I can make this my text message notification or something.

me Brynie rages on about the quality of journalism these days, (oh God, it really is me) and points at the TV as an example – a young reporter is interviewing the coach of the New York Eagles basketball team and is avoiding all the difficult questions like what’s up with his penchant for nose candy and gambling, and just what does he have on his boss, team owner/philanthropist Max Hagen. He rages on a bit more and then says to Jess “Are you sure you want to use me?”

“Briony Brynie, you’re it, and that’s final. Nobody can do what you do, nobody.” Says JB.

I CAN’T GO ON THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED.

me Brynie tells JB he won’t be able to meet her now that he has to make these idiot changes as requested by his idiot editor,  but Jess tells him it’s fine – she has a million things to do before she flies to San Francisco so she will just meet him for a late lunch.

On the other side of town, the aforementioned Max Hagen is busy making himself look good by distributing checks and menacing his employees. The coach of the Eagles basketball team pops round just as another of Hagen’s henchmen swears he has a line on “her” and Hagen says he hopes so. Hagen flicks on the TV to watch the interview of the coach, and grins when the reporter declares the world things that Hagen is too nice a guy to fire the coach.

“At least you know that isn’t true” Hagen tells the coach.

Whatever dude, Angela Lansbury said nobody can do what I do.

The next day Jess is queuing in her hotel lobby awaiting her plane tickets (was that a thing? I barely remember paper tickets, what a time the 90s were) when a very harried desk clerk accidentally puts JB’s ticket in the folder for Liz Foster. Spoiler alert, Liz Foster is Ms Hackity Hack.

JB doesn’t realise the mistake and blissfully goes on her way, while the desk clerk quickly realises her mistake and starts bellowing for Ms Foster. This attracts the attention of a couple of goons, who follow Jess outside, pull a gun on her and muscle her into a car. Despite JB hollering for help, noone does a damn thing – including Liz Foster, who watches it all go down from the other side of the road.

The goons take JB to a deserted warehouse where Max Hagen is just as surprised to see JB as she is to see him.

She’s waiting Max…

Max tries to smooth things over by saying it was a joke on a friend that went terribly wrong, and he’s so sorry. His friends clearly grabbed the wrong woman.

Called it like she saw it.

Max has more explanations where that one came from but JB gets while the getting is good and jumps in the nearest taxi. One of Hagen’s minions offers to bump JB off but Hagen says that might not be the smartest idea, and calls his PR lady instead.

Meanwhile JB goes straight to the NYPD and gets absolutely nowhere thanks to Lieutenant Artie Gelber.

Well it’s no wonder.

JB is furious and threatens to go to his superior Dorothy, but Art tells her he’s eleven days from retirement (WHO SAYS THAT HAVE YOU NEVER WATCHED A TV SHOW BEFORE) and is she sure she wasn’t nabbed by someone who had at least racked up some parking tickets or something?

Art and JB choof on over to Max’s place, where he is delighted to meet JB – for the very first time apparently. He swears he’s never met JB before and is horrified to think someone who looks like him is going around snatching women off the street. It couldn’t possibly have been him, he only just returned from Boston, which air traffic control, his pilot and associated lackeys will of course swear to.

Seems legit, says Art.

Darn right she is. Guys do we need to talk about just how great The Golden Girls is? Nah, I figured we’d all agree on that.

Art drops her back at her apartment with the fervent hope that if JB has any more accusations to fling, she flings them in any direction but his. Jess says he can count on that – and is immediately accosted by some feds.

(Me, everytime I wake up and read the news headlines)

The feds are minions of Louis Paloma, who is investigating Max Hagen. When Jess is brought to his office he is very eager to find out why Hagen’s men abducted Jess and is annoyed when Jess is demanding answers from him. He tells her he knows it was a case of mistaken identity and if she works out why it happened to give him a call.

Back at home JB gets a visit from Max’s publicist Sara Lloyd who has exciting news – as compensation for the trauma of being kidnapped by fake Max Hagen, the 100% real Max Hagen would like to donate money to Jessica’s favourite charity – 25 thousand!

Insufficient zeroes, sunshine.

Jessica tells her nothing doing (obviously) and wonders if Sara knows why Hagen is being investigated. Sara is sure it’s all a mistake and leaves just as I Brynie arrives with good news – he’s wrangled an invitation for them to go to the New York Eagles party Max is hosting that night.

While JB gets ready I Brynie tries to put the Hagen/Paloma puzzle together. It’s only when JB reaches into her handbag and finds her plane ticket with Liz Foster’s on it that she puts it all together. She calls the Grand Palace Hotel, where she picked up her ticket, but there is noone staying there in the name of Liz Foster. Jess and me Brynie agree that this is worth looking into and so head on over to the hotel. When they arrive it’s crawling with Art and his minions and a body being carted away in a body bag.

Art is too busy to talk to JB now but stops when she and me Brynie tell him the Jane Doe body they found in the elevator is actually Liz Foster. He still doesn’t believe there is any connection to JB getting nabbed until they tell him about Louis Paloma’s investigation and suggest they should probably get together for a chat. They leave Art to it and move on to Max’s party. He is horrified to learn of someone’s murder, and says the name Liz Foster rings a very faint bell and asks his assistant to look into it.

JB and me Brynie bail on the party and go to see Louis Palermo who refuses to admit that he is investigating Max, but concedes the dead woman is in fact Liz Foster. me Brynie has a theory that Louis is going after Max in order to drum up support for an election run, but Palermo isn’t buying it, and refuses to agree with Jess’s theory that Liz was working for Louis Palermo. me Brynie offers to sit on the story as long as they get the full exclusive once it’s all over.

Guys for real, this is a really complicated episode. And I don’t think it’s because I cheer loudly every time Angela Lansbury says Brynie.

But it might be.

Louis, me Brynie and JB adjourn to the nearest bar to get up to speed. Turns out Louis has a mole in Max’s organisation, who recruited Liz Foster to get the dirt on Max. Louis was supposed to meet her that morning at the UN but she didn’t show. After Louis heard about JB’s kidnapping he managed to get in touch with Liz again, they met in Central Park and swapped 200 grand for disks containing all the goss on Max. Unfortunately for Louis, the info on the disks was completely irrelevant and Liz ended up dead.

You got all that?

#ImWithHer

Louis departs, but he’s gotten JB thinking. What if Liz wasn’t killed by one of Max’s goons? What if, in fact, she was killed by someone else who knew that she had the disks and the cash and helped themselves?

(Me watching the voting at Eurovision last week)

Over at Casa de Max, the Man himself is assuring Sara that he had nothing to do with any of it, he couldn’t possibly have, does he have the face of someone who could do that etc etc. Mollified, Sara leaves and some other minions come in to assure Max that the police can’t tie him to the murder but that they haven’t found the missing disks. Max goes bananas and wants the disks and the leak found.

Jess goes to see Art Gelber, who has recovered Liz’s suitcase from a dumpster. In it is a wig and a suit jacket but not the matching skirt. Jess appears to think this is important and rushes off. Meanwhile, me Brynie meets Sara the PR lady for a drink to see what she knows, but the answer is not much. She’s starting to freak out about everything and me Brynie assures her he will look out for her – if he gets the exclusive story.

Bahaha go me.

JB heads to the Grand Palace hotel, where she finds the missing skirt in the unclaimed dry cleaning, complete with room number. She goes up to the room, convinced that that is where Liz was killed. Inside, her attention is drawn to a broken curtain runner when the door opens and Art Gelber appears, holding the missing piece in his hands, freshly found by one of his associates. They test it and it’s a match. Housekeeping has already been through, but Art calls the forensic team anyway to see if they can find anything.

Later that afternoon Jess is pacing her apartment like she’s watching Richmond play football. me Brynie tells her to relax, but she’s worried the killer is going to get away. Art finally calls in to tell her they got nothing, but JB is already way ahead – the killer doesn’t know they didn’t find anything. It’s time to flush the mole out.

JB has a quiet word with Louis Palermo that the police have found some forensic evidence that will identify the killer and sits back to wait. Sure enough, the mole returns to try and set fire to the hotel room that could identify him. Which is ironic, because I’d forgotten he existed.

I didn’t even know this character had a name to be honest.

That is Fred Chandler, lackey #1 in Max’s organisation, and also the mole. He took the money and the disks to make his exit from being a mole much easier.

Who cares. Angela Lansbury said nobody can do what I do, and I’m going to have a nap to celebrate. Nobody naps like I do, I take the best naps. Oh God, I sound like Donald Trump, I take it all back.

Oooh icecream! Now there’s a thought.

S08E17 – To The Last Will I Grapple With Thee

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Fun fact – the title of this episode is basically what I shouted at Richmond’s first game last Thursday night.***

***Demonstrably not true.

Back to school in the NYC Fletcherfans, and while JB is in the middle of schoolin’ some kids on the crime things (I don’t know), a cake is being snuck into the classroom by a fellow teacher, the extremely Irish Sean Culhane.

You guys! It’s Our Heroine’s birthday!

Sidebar: I can’t tell what time of year this is. Judging by the primo 90s fashions on display in this episode I want to say autumn but it could be spring. If you know the answer to this burning question, let me know in the comments.

After class Sean pops by JB’s office to say thank you for all the kindness shown to him in his first few months of teaching – in the beginning he thought he’d rather be chasing crooks in the streets of Dublin rather than facing a classroom full of students but he’s all over it now thanks to JB. As a thank you, he decides to take JB out to dinner that night to a little Irish place he knows.

As they leave the building, they run into a zombie.

I mean he’s a happy zombie, but he’s still a zombie

Sean guides JB past the zombie, who is rather talkative for someone who is undead, and gets into the lift. The zombie promises he’ll see Sean later.

That night, Sean and Jess pitch up to the Finians Chase pub to indulge in every Irish tradition known to Californian TV producers.

I’ll be honest – this was basically my experience when I was in Ireland. Except I had about six guinesses and was wearing a traffic cone on my head because that is how I rolled in 2006.

Jess can’t believe she didn’t know about this place – Sean tells her he comes here all the time, jokingly backed up by the owner Patrick MacNair (Lacey from Cagney and Lacey for those playing along at home) who says they’ve had more than a few complaints. Sean jokes that they were complaining about the watered down beer.

It’s her party and she’ll drink if she wants to.

Sean explains that the banter goes way back – he and Patrick were friends in Ireland, Patrick lost his pub over there so Sean helped him come to America to start again. Jess asks him how he came to be in New York, and he tells her he came out on a police exchange to learn American police-y things, but he liked it so much he retired and stayed in America.

Jess and Sean are soon joined by Sean’s daughter Kathleen, who tells JB her father talks about her all the time.

Naturally.

Kathleen has just popped in to let her father know that she’s off to dinner with some friends and she’ll see him at home. She’d tried to call but couldn’t get hold of him.

“Did you know where to find me?” Says Sean.

“Yes.” Says Kathleen.

“Then what would be the point of calling?” Says Sean.

Touche. Kathleen leaves, the food arrives and JB tucks in.

Later in the evening, Patrick is not pleased to see the arrival of the zombie (whose name is apparently Michael O’Connor) with his zombie nephew Ian. Michael tells him he had nothing to do with the business in Dublin, he’s just here for a pint with his nephew and he’s not leaving until he gets one.

Except he’s not just here for a pint, he’s here to conduct some business with a bloke named Finn Dawley.

That is a mullet that means business.

As Sean and JB are leaving, Michael the Zombie spots them and stops them at the door, mostly to talk about how he sold everything he owned, put it in a joint account with his nephew etc etc. Sean tells him to get the first boat back to Ireland, Michael tells JB to be careful, women have a tendency to get hurt around Sean. And probably Michael too, since he is CLEARLY a zombie why are we pretending he isn’t?

In the car on the way home, Sean explains the origin story of Michael – they hated each other as kids, they hate each other as adults, Sean arrested Michael for scamming pensioners, Sean married the woman Michael was in love with, Michael blamed Sean for her death, same old story. He warns Jess Michael is trouble and if he ever bothers her to let him know immediately.

At school the next day, Sean is teaching away when Michael Zombie appears at the back of the class. He releases his students early and demands to know what Michael wants. He says he just wants Sean to know he’s thinking of him, and will be every day for the rest of his life. Sean threatens to call security but Michael produces a visitors pass which Sean promptly swats to the floor before storming out.

Later that evening, Sean goes on the hunt for scones at the pub but Patrick suggests it might be better if he come back later, what with the zombie infestation he’s currently dealing with. Michael calls Sean over to have a chat about Kathleen and Sean warns Michael to stay away from his daughter or he’ll kill him. Michael seems positively delighted by this news.

The next morning, Sean is at work when he gets a visit from one of New York’s finest wanting to have a chat about Michael O’Connor. Sean assumes his arch nemesis has finally stuffed up but no such luck – it turns out Michael popped in that morning to make a complaint against Sean, for threatening to kill him. Sean is furious but there’s nothing to be done. Jess finds him in his classroom a short time later and orders him to come around for dinner that night. Meanwhile, Zombie Michael is across town at the house they are renovating, beating up his nephew – it turns out that Finn bloke they met with is a loan shark Ian owes money to, and despite Michael’s insistence that he will handle it, Ian had taken money out of their account to pay Finn. Michael declares he will handle things from here on out.

At the pub that night, Kathleen is kicking back with a beer and listening to some old country tunes when Ian decides to try and rekindle a romance they apparently once had. Kathleen tells him to jog on but Ian perseveres, until Patrick appears with a baseball bat and suggests Ian go and take in the night air.

I assume this is a standard baseball term, I know precisely nothing about baseball (and I’m alright with that to be honest)

Ian decides to go for a walk, but runs into Finn and his minions bellowing for their money. Ian says he thought his uncle talked to Finn about this and Finn says he talked to Michael and now he’s talking to Ian – whoever stands between Finn and things Finn wants is going to get in trouble.

Across town, Sean and JB are finishing up their dinner and Sean is feeling much better about life. Jess thinks he sounds like a man who has made up his mind about things and Sean says he is – but he has to dash, things to do even at this late hour.

Cut to something completely unrelated…

Can’t be dead though, his heads not off. I know how this works.

Lieutenant Jacoby is called to the scene and quickly rules it a murder. Ian O’Connor, inexplicably at the scene, has a very definitive answer to Jacoby’s question about who might want to kill Michael O’Zombie.

At the precinct, Sean swears he had nothing to do with the murder, even if he’d threatened to kill Michael the day before and went to run errands at several closed stores at the time of the murder and he had the exact same weapon as the one used to kill Michael and his fingerprints were found at the scene.

Awkward.

At the pub, Patrick, JB and Kathleen are having an emergency drinking session to discuss the situation. They agree Sean can’t be guilty, but aren’t sure who else could be. Patrick thinks maybe Finn Dawley is involved (awkward, since Finn is behind a pole eavesdropping) while Kathleen thinks Ian has something to do with it but Patrick thinks Ian is too much of a dumbarse. JB suggests she and Kathleen get to the precinct, and asks Patrick to phone home to find out what he can about why Michael left Ireland.

Later, Jess heads back to her apartment building to find Ahmed not at his post but Finn waiting for her. He suggests she butt out of things she doesn’t understand. He had nothing to do with the murder, but did she happen to know Kathleen and Ian used to date back in Ireland until Kathleen found out who Ian was? But to conclude, stay out of it.

Down at the precinct, JB and Jacoby argue about Sean’s involvement, and Jacoby caves and shares the results of the autopsy – he was shot (duh) and there was traces of gun shot residue on his hands from where he obviously put his hands up to shield himself from his attacker. JB thinks there is another explanation but they are interrupted by the arrival of a video tape – from Michael O’Connor. He has filmed himself saying he fears for his life, and if anything should happen to him, it was because of Sean Culhane.

Sean is arrested and brought down to the precinct. JB tries to tell him about the gun shot residue but Jacoby shuts it down. Later, they go back to his office to argue some more and review the tape. Jess notices some smudges on the wall at the crime scene that weren’t there when the video was taped. Combined with Michael’s occasional struggle to get words out gives her an idea. She tells Jacoby to meet her at the crime scene that night. He refuses but she knows he’ll be there.

doodahhhhh doodahhhhh

JB heads over to the pub, to ask Patrick what he learned from the peeps back home about Michael. He tells her Michael sold everything and put it in the joint account (which they knew) and that he’d done it quickly – he would have got more money if he’d waited but he’d been in a hurry. Also, everyone had been asking about his health, his doctor had been trying to get a hold of him. Jess asks him to get the doctor on the phone.

Later that night, Jess and Jacoby meet at the house. Jess has a theory. And of course, it’s the correct one. Ian arrives just in time to hear about it.

This is very heavily borrowed from a Sherlock Holmes story I do believe.

When is a murder not a murder? When you’re dying of brain tumours and all you want to do is revenge yourself on the man who married the woman you love so you stage your suicide to look like a murder.

Wrong choice really. Should have taken a leaf out of this lady’s book.

Case closed, JB is back to work and with a new student in her class – Lieutenant Jacoby. Apparently his boss thinks he could use the extra credit.

Later Fletcherfans!

S08E16 – Ever After

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Once upon a time there was a soap opera called Happily Ever After, in which all the usual soap opera-y things happened, but mainly a dude waking up from a coma after a billion years (or three. I mean, whatever.)

Captain Janeway really pulls out the big hair this episode, just FYI.

Captain Janeway really pulls out the big hair this episode, just FYI.

Unfortunately for the man in the coma, former child actor Devon ‘Don’t Call me Sonny’ Lane, his newly conscious role doesn’t come with more screen time – his character is going back to Philadelphia to his wife and kids and it’s all happening off screen – in short, he’s fired.

Amazingly enough though, Joanna Rollins – star of Ever After – happens to live in the same apartment building as our heroine.   Seriously though, what were the odds of that?

Our Heroine, it turns out, has just returned from Washington DC (no doubt solving some sort of international crisis because that’s how she rolls), and is collecting her mail from everyone’s favourite doorman Ahmed, when Joanna discovers she has accidentally picked up some of JB’s mail. Jess recognises her from the show, she doesn’t get to watch it often and she’s dying to know what happens next. Joanna invites Jess in for some tea, but Jess declines, saying she needs to get inside to check her messages. At that moment Devon Lane appears, baying about how he needs to talk to Joanna. Jess is excited to meet the former child star, but Devon doesn’t quite feel the same way.

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I mean, really.

I mean, really.

Jessica quickly excuses herself, leaving Joanna and Sonny the Douche to duke it out in the hallway – it would appear Sonny and Joanna have had an on-again off-again thing that a) Sonny blames for his getting fired and b) Joanna thinks is very much over. JB listens to the blue while she puts the kettle on, but a banging on the door gets her back into the action – Joanna is freaked out, and tells Jess to lock the door before Sonny can get in. Jess puts the chain on and Sonny starts bashing the door but stops after a patented Jessica Fletcher scolding. He promises he’ll be back, but leaves.

Job done, thinks JB, as she turns to Joanna, but Joanna is busy watching herself on TV.

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This might be my autobiography, now that I think about it.

This might be my autobiography, now that I think about it.

Out on Long Island, a man named Walter Bowman is on an exercise bike also watching Joanna’s performance with some interest – apparently he is planning to marry her. His personal trainer Bo agrees she is a stunning looking woman. They are soon joined by Walter’s daughter Marci and her boyfriend Teddy.

Yes that is Marcia Cross. That is also Barry, the guy who stands Rachel up in the first episode of Friends. (Bad Barry is also a newspaper headline I will tell you about another time)

Yes that is Marcia Cross. That is also Barry, the guy who stands Rachel up in the first episode of Friends. (Bad Barry is also a newspaper headline I will tell you about another time)

Teddy has a business proposal for Walter – ROLLERCOASTERS! ROLLERCOASTERS EVERYWHERE! MOAR ROLLERCOASTERS – but makes the mistake of switching the television off so Walter has his undivided attention.

The number 1 old white guy rule.

The number 1 old white guy rule.

Marci(a) is furious that her father would rather watch dreadful television than listen to her boyfriend’s (dreadful) business plan, and doubly so when her father informs her that he is marrying Joanna. Apparently he kept it quiet until his divorce from Marci(a)’s mother went through, but now that’s over and done with the bells can ring.

(Cut to the soon to be ex Mrs Bowman finding out about the wedding in the newspaper and blowing a gasket)

But you can’t stop true love Fletcherfans, and especially not true love at the registery office surrounded by paparazzi and film cameras.

Such romance, I am overcome.

Such romance, I am overcome.

The ceremony begins, but is interrupted by the arrival of everyone’s least favourite former child star Sonny Lane, who demands that Joanna not go through with it.

Across town, JB is watching it all go down from her desk.

 

Clearly needs popcorn.

Clearly needs popcorn.

(Sidebar: My desk is clearly not living up to the standard thrown down by our Heroine:)

This might be the neatest my desk has ever been tbh

This might be the neatest my desk has ever been tbh

I would however point out that while JB has flowers on her desk, I have a TARDIS and a Lego Ghostmobile, so I think I am following her teachings mostly kind of, whatever I have a TARDIS.

Sonny rages on, but Joanna declares that she loves Walter. Sonny goes nuts and security escort him out.

I thnk JB and I are having similar weeks *screams silently into the void*

I thnk JB and I are having similar weeks *screams silently into the void*

The next day, Our Favourite Doorman is reading all about the chaos at the wedding ceremony when Sonny Lane walks through the lobby. Ahmed, bless him, tells Sonny he’s under strict orders not to let him into the apartment and anyway Joanna is out. Sonny tells him he’s not here to see Joanna he’s here to get something that belongs to him – a painting. Ahmed says sorry but there’s nothing he can do, but is distracted by a painter trying to use the guest elevator instead of the service elevator. By the time he sorts that crisis out Sonny has disappeared.

Upstairs, JB is hard at work on her next book when she gets a knock at the door – an art appraiser by the name of Irwin Fisk has arrived to appraise a painting of Joanna’s and was told Jess had a key to let him in. Jess finds the key and goes to let Fisk into the apartment – apparently Joanna is selling a Von Hockhauser, and he is a fan of the artist’s work, especially the large nudes with the plump bottoms.

I don't even know where to begin with this.

I don’t even know where to begin with this.

Joanna and Walter arrive just in the nick of time, and they all go into the apartment together to discover the aforementioned big butt-ed nude slashed to hell. Joanna is convinced it’s Devon, he gave her the painting, and Walter is inclined to agree. (Irwin Fisk takes himself home to mourn not getting his hands on a plump nude).

Walter calls the police, and a friendly local sergeant comes down to take statements. He clearly finds the whole thing baffling, from Ahmed’s tales of spurned lovers and painters sneaking into lifts, and men with keys slashing up paintings that they own anyway. He tells Joanna that there’s not a lot he can do, despite the threats he made on TV. If he makes good on a threat, then he can do something.

But we’ll be dead, says Joanna.

I hope it don’t happen. Says the friendly local sergeant.

Feeling less than impressed, Joanna and Walter head out to Long Island, where Joanna is about to meet the ex for the first time. While she freshens up, Marci(a) and Miriam greet Walter. Marci(a) departs in tears when Walter claims Teddy has been stealing the silverware, and Walter orders Miriam out when she informs him she wasn’t sleeping with his chauffeur, she was too busy sleeping with his personal trainer, Bo.

SAH DRAMA ERMAHGHERD

SAH DRAMA ERMAHGHERD

Which reminds me

Joanna is amazed to think that her precious little Walty-Walty ever shared a bed with such a heinous creature and proceeds to make out with him, until Bo arrives, having been summoned by Walter, who is unimpressed that his beloved personal trainer was nailing his wife. Bo is booted, with pay.

The next evening, JB and Joanna are hanging out drinking tea. Joanna is bemoaning her thoroughly un-glamourous lifestyle but JB says if she’s learned anything it’s that success comes from within, not out there in the world (Life Lesson #66).

Joanna realises she’s late to call Walter and uses the phone in JB’s room. He tells her it’s the chef’s night off and he’s going to have some low sodium soup after his workout so Joanna invites JB out for some “divinely authentic” Chinese food which JB can’t resist. Unfortunately for Walter (but fortunately for the premise of this TV show), when he goes to the closet after his workout he is met with a shotgun blast to the chest.

Long Island Police roll in, in the form of Sheriff Beals and Deputy Ginger Billis. Ginger is quite pleased with herself when she finds the murder weapon stashed under the bed, and announces that she followed the rules of discovery and it totes doesn’t have fingerprints on it. You go Ginger. You do you.

We all need more Ginger in our lives.

We all need more Ginger in our lives.

Joanna and JB arrive, storming the press throng and making it into the house. While Joanna delicately wipes a tear from her eye Jessica quickly takes control of the investigation, noting dents in the butt of the shotgun which Ginger (and therefore the sheriff) think happened when the gun got tossed under the bed. JB is not so sure, and asks to take a look at the crime scene.

How could you say no to that face though

How could you say no to that face though

Ginger takes JB through the crime scene, and tells her that Walter wasn’t shot in the back, he copped both barrels to the chest. The best they can figure out is that the killer hid in the closet and waited for Walter, except it was a closet full of women’s clothes so it doesn’t make sense.

“Unless the killer was waiting for a woman.” Says JB.

To be fair I read a fan theory that said that Sean Connery's character in The Rock was really James Bond and this was my exact face.

To be fair I read a fan theory that said that Sean Connery’s character in The Rock was really James Bond and this was my exact face.

*saving for R U OK Day later this year*

*saving for R U OK Day later this year*

Downstairs, the Sheriff is getting a precise explanation of just why Joanna thinks Sonny is the killer when the ME calls in a time of death – some time between 6 and 8 o’clock. JB arrives just in time to remember that Joanna called her husband about 6:45, and so most likely Walter was killed about 7:05pm.

Joanna spots Sonny lurking on the balcony and starts shrieking. Ginger goes out and drags him in for questioning – but he has a rock solid alibi. He was in the casting office reading for a part at the time of the murder, verified by the casting director who begs Ginger to arrest Sonny for being a psycho.

What a charmer

What a charmer

I really don't.

I really don’t.

The next morning Jess comes down to breakfast where Marci(a) is eating and Teddy is trying to pitch his rollercoaster idea. He tries it on JB but she’d rather talk about where they were the night before. They were off eating oysters in the Hamptons, which might be code for something I have no idea. Joanna appears, to declare she can’t take it any more she’s going to the studio to film more Happily Ever After and tells Marci(a) she’ll be staying in the town house and not to take anything out of the house until the will gets read. As Joanna and JB are getting ready to leave, a car screeches up the driveway, only just missing them thanks to JB’s quick thinking. It’s Sonny, wondering if there’s a chance for him and Joanna now that Walter has shuffled off.

Timing, bro.

JB returns to her apartment where Ahmed tells her Miriam Bowman has been waiting for Joanna for a while. Miriam tells JB she feels awful about what happened, if she hadn’t told Walter about Bo then he wouldn’t have been alone in the house and she just wants to apologise to Joanna. JB wants to talk to Bo though, and Miriam points her in the direction of his gym. It’s soon apparent that Bo knows nothing, about the murder or life.

(I'm just here to amuse myself guys)

(I’m just here to amuse myself guys)

JB’s last stop is to the previously mentioned casting agent, Dorothy Fremont, who is in the middle of casting prostitutes for a TV show that is almost definitely Law and Order. She tells JB that Sonny turned up a day late claiming he hadn’t been told the audition had been changed and raged all over the place until security got called. Jessica stares at a lamp and has an epiphany.

I can't begin to tell you how much I wanted it to be Marci(a) of Death

I can’t begin to tell you how much I wanted it to be Marci(a) of Death

Everyone’s favourite over-actor, along with everyone’s least favourite former child star, combined to kill Walter. Except it was mostly Joanna. Because I still don’t really know.

Before I go, three things – I just discovered that my email forwarding thing wasn’t working so if you’ve sent an email to twister.in.the.sun@gmail.com I’ve only just found it (and sent a very late reply) so my bad but thank you guys so much for telling me how much you’re enjoying the blog!

Thing the second – You may have noticed a donate button pop up on the side of the blog. Think of it as a tip jar – the posts will still be coming and make less sense than ever, but if one particularly tickles your fancy I’d love it if you could hit the donate button. It would mean a lot.

Thing part 3 – I’m going offline for a couple of weeks to attend to some things, least of which is a wedding (huzzah) but never fear I shall return.

So until next time, dear reader.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S08E09 – The Committee

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Back in the Big Apple this week Fletcherfans, where JB is signing ALL THE BOOKS for her adoring fans. That comes to an end however, when Jess’s old friend Winston Devermore appears to take her to dinner.

And I think we should just all pause and reflect on her outfit for a minute.

I MEAN COME ON.

I MEAN COME ON.

Winston has an ulterior motive for inviting JB to dinner though. He wants her to come speak at the Avernus Club, a men-only club for rich white dudes, in the hopes that it might persuade members to finally allow women into the club. Would she be interested?

THIS IS WHAT SHE'S BEEN TRAINING FOR HER WHOLE LIFE

THIS IS WHAT SHE’S BEEN TRAINING FOR HER WHOLE LIFE

Meanwhile, somewhere else in New York, fellow Club member Lawrence Cayle is pissing off people left and right, including but not limited to Gerald Innsmouth, who he has screwed out of a business deal. When he complains to Lawrence, he says hashtag get over it, it’s just business etc etc, but his assistant/brother Theo quietly tells Gerald that he’s not the only Avernus Club member mad at Lawrence.

JB’s reading is naturally a success, thanks largely in part to her outfit:

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, HER FASHION GAME THIS EPISODE IS JUST MAGNIFICENT.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, HER FASHION GAME THIS EPISODE IS JUST MAGNIFICENT.

Winston brings some of his friends to come and greet the Queen herself, including Avernus Club president Philip Arkham, and new member Edward Dunsany (vineyard owner) who says that a guest speaker from the distaff gender was well overdue.

Distaff, while sounding like a nasty infection requiring antibiotics, is actually a noun that means "of or relating to women". It also means the stool used to sit on when spinning wool, or women's work. Blergh.

Distaff, while sounding like a nasty infection requiring antibiotics, is actually a noun that means “of or relating to women”. It also means the stool used to sit on when spinning wool, or women’s work. Blergh.

Philip tells her she made more sense than Hemmingway and departs, as does Dunsany when he sees Lawrence Cayle making a move on his wife. He busts up the little flirt fest and tells his wife to get her coat and Cayle to stay away from her. Cayle tells him to tell that to his wife, she’s a good year and he can’t keep her locked in his wine cellar forever. YES YOU COMPARED HIS WIFE TO A BOTTLE OF WINE CONGRATULATIONS.

As Jess and Winston are getting ready to leave, a young man delivers an envelope to Winston. Inside is a key and a note that says midnight. Later, when Winston returns to the house he finds the rest of the gang – Arkham, Dunsany, Harcourt, Gerald Innsmouth – all there. Arkham says they were wondering where he was and Winston tells him he got held up, but that he wants no part of this. This, it turns out, is the matter of what to do with Lawrence Cayle. Gerald rants about how much it’s cost him now that Gerald has squeezed him out of his business deal, but Arkham tells him to calm down. He’s not the only one Cayle has pissed off, they need to decide what the consequences will be. Another club member, Harcourt Fenton, asks why they need to sanction him at all, why can’t they just kick him out, but Arkham says they never know when they might need him, although Edward’s report about Cayle and his wife is at best inappropriate (which Edward thinks is lowballing it a bit).

Let's get to drinking!

Let’s get to drinking!

Arkham orders that a vote be cast to decide if Cayle should be sanctioned and summons Philip’s assistant Lisa Sutton in to collect the votes – a black marble means sanction, a white marble means no sanction. The votes are in – Cayle is being voted off the island. Harcourt says he’s had enough of this and leaves.

Arkham isn’t done though – a new vote must happen, to decide who enforces the will of the committee. Whomever catches the snitch selects the gold marble will be in charge of doling out punishment. Lisa trots around the table with a bag, and each member grabs a marble out of the bag. “The selection has been made.” Intones Akham. “Now let’s never speak of this again.”

The next night, Jess is out to dinner with Winston when the Cayle’s pop in. While Winston and Lawrence have a heated discussion in the corner, Lawrence’s brother Theo tries to distract JB, who is having none of it but is unable to find out what the deal is. The following day, at a shooting party, Lawrence confronts Arkham about the secret meeting but Arkham tells him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That night at a party, Jess meets a bedraggled Lisa Sutton, caught out in the rain, while Lawrence Cayle gets an envelope with a key and a note that says midnight. Jess and Winston are on the way out when Winston asks the valet where Theo Cayle is – he’s not sure but he thinks he just left as his car is gone.

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That awkward moment when you realise the shadowy figure isn't there to hug you.

That awkward moment when you realise the shadowy figure isn’t there to hug you.

Jess comes in the next morning as soon as she hears but Winston doesn’t know much. He introduces JB to the investigating officer, Lieutenant Tartarus, who tells her she won’t get much of a story – Cayle was shot with a shotgun, they’ll just test the club members for gun shot residue and see who the guilty party is. Jess points out there was a trap shooting competition there yesterday so everyone will test positive. Tatartus is not pleased. He departs, and Jess asks Winston why he wanted her there so urgently, and a minion appears to let them know the rest of the committee is in the drawing room.

“Let me get this straight,” Jess says. “You all voted to sanction Lawrence Cayle 4-1, someone was chosen to be the enforcer and now he’s dead?

This is exactly the sort of shenanigans that will happen when you let rich old white men form clubs.

This is exactly the sort of shenanigans that will happen when you let rich old white men form clubs.

Arkham asks her to try and solve who killed Cayle so that they’re off the hook, or if it was one of them, that they can get out in front of it before the police find out. JB agrees, thinking it’s a little odd that she’s being hired by the group that almost certainly has a killer as a member. Dunsany doesn’t see the funny side and leaves. Harcourt says to Jess she’s got her work cut out for her.

This is not an unfamiliar state of being for JB.

This is not an unfamiliar state of being for JB.

JB wastes no time and so she and Winston head over to House Cayle, arriving just as Harcourt Fenton is departing. Jess tells Winson she thinks she should talk to Theo Cayle alone, and so he leaves her there. Before he drives off, he calls Harcourt asking to meet him that afternoon at 4pm.

Inside, Theo tells Jess he has no idea who killed his brother – they were always a great team. Jess doesn’t want to take up too much of his time, but Theo offers to drive her back to town. As he adjusts the car seat, she asks him why Harcourt had been to see him but he says he was just offering condolences.

Across town, Lieutenant Tatartus informs Arkham that he has found out about the vote, and that the Club is set to inherit a whole wad of money from Cayle’s will. Arkham’s response is to hand the phone over – the commissioner is on the phone.

Later, Winson and Harcourt are in Harcourt’s car when Harcourt realises he has no brakes – and the car goes off into a ravine. Winston survives, but Harcourt doesn’t make it. JB goes to see him in the hospital and he tells her they were on their way to see Philip to tell him they needed to come clean to the police. Winston is pretty out of it and starts saying he didn’t even want to sanction Lawrence, he was the only one who voted not to. 1 white marble, 4 black…

The doctor says the sedatives are kicking in and asks them all to go outside. A nurse pops up to tell him that someone has broken into Winston’s locker and stolen his clothes, and that another locker that had contained Harcourt’s things had been broken into but nothing taken, as Harcourt’s belongings had already been sent to the morgue. JB thinks they’d better have a look at them so they head on down to the coroners office. Amongst his things they find a black marble. Tartarus doesn’t see the significance but Our Heroine does and they have a taxi company to find.

Later that day, midnight notes are sent to the Committee and they assemble in the boardroom. Lisa Sutton and Theo Cayle are also in attendance. Jess explains her discovery – two people voted white, Winston and Harcourt. The only solution is that someone pre-rigged the vote, and that someone was Lisa.

But, Fletcherfans, she’s not the killer! It turns out someone paid her ten thousand dollars to rig the vote, and there’s no way Lisa’s going down without taking them down with her…

Spoiler alert: My friend's cat makes this face almost constantly.

Spoiler alert: My friend’s cat makes this face almost constantly.

Ah yes. Everyone was sick of Lawrence’s behaviour, but someone had to put up with it a little longer than everyone else.

Case closed! And with Winston out of hospital he wants to thank Jess the only way he knows how.

With dinner.

In Scotland.

Tonight.

See you soon Fletcherfans!

See you soon Fletcherfans!

S08E05 – Lines of Excellence

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First, a spoiler: lines of excellence is not a reference to cocaine no matter how much I tried to make it be. Trust me, I tried.

JB is hard at work on her typewriter in her New York bunker this week Fletcherfans when DISASTER STRIKES. Her L key breaks off her typewriter, which wouldn’t be so bad if her characters weren’t named Lola and Larry Lamont.

Fun fact: the exact same thing happened to me with my old laptop, except it was the M key which as you may guess gets used a bit when you’re writing wildly inaccurate reviews of episodes of Murder She Wrote.

JB hasn’t got time to worry about a broken typewriter now though, she’s got a class to teach on how to pick a guilty person over an innocent person in interrogation. The first student guesses the guilty one would be pacing the room, agitated but JB says no. The second student, Michael Rossari (aka Salvatore Abruzzi from this time), suggests the guilty person would fall asleep due to coming down off the adrenaline and stress, which Jess says is exactly right. Just as the class is about to end, JB’s boss Dr Auerbach pops in to have a word with Michael. While Jessica issues homework for the next class, she notices the discussion becomes quite heated before Michael storms off. Jessica quizzes Auerbach later and he informs her that Michael will no longer be taking her class after it was discovered that Michael had hacked the university mainframe and faked his results in order to get in.

YOU GUYS I LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING.

Jessica heads to her office to call administration to find out more infp on Michael Rossari. While she’s on hold, she notices an envelope on her desk with JESSICA FLETCHER written on it. Challenge accepted, she opens the envelope to find a bunch of short stories written by Michael. Getting his address from the admin office, she goes round to his place to return his books and ask him why he did it. He confesses that he’s a writer and a fan, and he wanted to learn more from her about how she does what she does.

Shout out to anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year by the way. 50K or bust!

Shout out to anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year by the way. 50K or bust!

JB tells him she wished he’d come to her sooner. He’s a bright student, a hard worker and a talented writer. She’s willing to help Michael get back into the class on one condition – he helps her find a word processor to replace her old typewriter. A WORD PROCESSOR.

Michael knows just the guys and takes her around to the offices of the Serious Cybernetics Corporation (SCC) (SHOUTOUT TO THE SIRIUS CYBERNETICS CORPORATION NICE WORK WRITERS), where Linda Truitt and and Alan Miller give her the grand tour. Not only do they teach people how to use computers, they design both hardware and software (space games mostly) and do commercial scanning for viruses (I’M DYING THIS IS WHAT THE 90S WERE ALL ABOUT).

Michael pops up to tell them that the man in charge of teaching computing to their select clientele of writers, lawyers and so on is in the workroom. As they go in, a student, Henry Waverly, comes out looking less than impressed.

Inside…

WE HAD ONE OF THOSE COMPUTERS. Dad broke it within about a week of getting it, but we had Kings Quest and Space Quest and you young people of today have no idea the struggles I went through

WE HAD ONE OF THOSE COMPUTERS. Dad broke it within about a week of getting it, but we had Kings Quest and Space Quest and you young people of today have no idea the struggles I went through

The man fixing the keyboard is Derek St James, who teaches the hardware side of things, while Alan teaches software. As part of the course, the company builds a computer for the student and sets it up in their home so they are all set to hack the interwebs. Alan leaves Jess with Derek, who starts to quiz her on what she wants for her computer.

“How much RAM, how much ROM, VGA, SVGA, 386, 486, 33 25 megahertz…if you do a lot of research you may want to get a CD-ROM or a worm optical system…do you have any offhand preferences? Asks Derek.

This is almost the exact conversation I had with Rob, who built my new computer. And what the hell is a worm optical drive?

This is also the exact conversation I had with Rob, who built my new computer. And what the hell is a worm optical system?

Oh I just googled the worm thing, it’s like a CD burner. I’m going to stop feeling so smug now.

Anyway, while JB chats to Derek and makes absolutely zero jokes about floppy disks, Alan and Linda take time out in Alan’s office to “discuss their latest game collabration” (partially true) but also get a bit handsy, which is brought to a skidding halt when Alan’s wife rings up to say hi.

The next day, Derek drops JB’s new computer around and sets it all up, including the connection to the phone line. Now she can send and receive information to any other linked up computer in the country.

If you haven't seen Kung Fury yet you 100% need to stop reading this blog right now and go and watch it. You're welcome.

If you haven’t seen Kung Fury yet, you 100% need to stop reading this blog right now and go and watch it. You’re welcome.

While JB wrangles her computer, Michael is at the office of the SSC tinkering with a computer when he sees Henry Waverley march into Alan’s office and tell him he won’t stand for it, he won’t be giving him a penny, and either it ends or Alan ends. Alan seems rather perplexed about the whole situation to be honest.

The next day, JB tries to make good on her offer to get Michael back into her class but Auerbach is having none of it. He wonders if Michael mentioned to her that he has a police record?

Cut to Michael receiving a whole bunch of computer parts from a shady character who pulls a knife and reminds Michael his last payment was late. Ah yes. The shady guy who brings in the 386s. 90s New York was the danger you guys.

That afternoon, JB is sitting down to her first computing class and having her mind blown by it all. “So if I finish a chapter of my book in Cabot Cove, I can send it from my computer through the phone lines to my agent’s computer in New York?”

“Exactly.” Says Derek.

THE REVOLUTION IS NOW. (Wait until JB discovers cat videos on Youtube)

THE FUTURE IS NOW. (Wait until JB discovers cat videos on Youtube)

But never mind that, Jessica is just about to cross paths with the GREATEST SERIAL KILLER ON THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET.

This whole blog has been leading up to this moment...

This whole blog has been leading up to this moment…

While Alan gets Michael to set up another computer for Jessica (and dust the old one for fingerprints trolololol), the class adjourns for a tea break and Jessica gets to chatting with a fellow classmate who tells her he’s been through the course three times and still can’t get the hang of it. “Maybe I’m too old.” He muses.

The Queen has no time for self-pity.

The Queen has no time for self-pity.

The man, Jason O’Connell, thinks maybe he’s just having a bad day – he just found out he’s been underbid on a contract by four thousand dollars, for the second time in a month. Jessica notices that Henry Waverley is back in Alan’s office and things are getting heated but Derek wanders past to announce that break time is over and it’s time to get back to work.

Later that night, Michael is closing up the office for night but JB is still hard at work hacking mainframes and patrolling the interwebs. She promises to finish up and Michael goes to finish closing up. He runs into Linda Truitt who is fuming – she’d just found the game she’d been working on with Alan on the shelves and without her name on it. She rants and leaves, and Jessica is unable to keep from eavesdropping. Michael is sure that it’s nothing, and offers to give JB a lift home.

As they drive, Jess tells Michael that she spoke to Dr Auerbach and he mentioned something about a police record. Michael tells her it was for boosting hubcaps, stealing comic books etc etc. He’s hardly a national security threat, but he understands if he can’t rejoin the class. Jessica tells him she hasn’t given up hope yet. Michael says his mother has ordered him to invite Jessica round for lunch the next day and will kill him if she says no.

The next day, Mr and Mrs Michael’s Parents are delighted to have Jessica over, but are puzzled by this whole writing endeavour. Michael’s father in particular thinks it’s a scam. Stephen King, sure. Jessica Fletcher, sure. But Michael? He ain’t the type. He gets into trouble too much.

“So who is the type, Norman Mailer?” Michael retorts.

“Don’t answer back. And who’s this Norman guy, he one of these friends getting you in trouble? Says Michael’s father.

A knock at the door is the final word in the argument. It’s one of their neighbours, rather fancily dressed for a trip to the laundry. She just popped into say hi…but recognises JB in an instant. Michael’s mother swears she only mentioned it in passing, but the woman wonders if JB could sign a copy of her book…and a few of her friends?

“Sure, but I’m not sure this is the right ti-” says JB.

 

 

INCOMING

k2

INCOMING PARTY WOMEN ACTIVATE CLOAKING DEVICE

It becomes all too much for Michael, who adjourns to the kitchen. JB comes in to check on him and he goes into rant mode about how he wants to get out of the neighbourhood and make something of himself but he’s worried he isn’t good enough.

JB starts singing that song from Sister Act II tells him to follow his passion and everything else will follow. Fame and success is just smoke and mirrors.

The next day Derek arrives at SSC HQ to find the class milling around outside the classroom door. He tells them he left a message with Alan that he was going to be late, and that they should have started without him. Jason guesses that Alan didn’t get the message.

Inside the classroom, they find the body of Alan on the floor. “It appears you’re wrong Mr O’Connell” says JB. “Looks like he got someones message.”

I will never get tired of this.

I will never get tired of this.

NYPD’s finest double act roll in, in the form of Lieutenant Cynthia Deveraux (cousin of Blanche almost definitely) and Lieutenant Timothy Chance. Chance is delighted to meet JB, he’s a big fan. JB tells him her theory that Alan was strangled by a computer cable, and also mentions the discussion she’d heard between Linda and Michael the other night. Derek tells them Linda had quit and gone to work at a competing company. JB says Michael can back up her story but it seems he’s not here just now. Derek says Alan told him he was going to fire Michael but he didn’t know why.

“Are you sure the business is doing okay?” Says Deveraux. “You seem to be losing a lot of staff.”

“In more ways than one,” Chance chimes in.

Never step on another person's YEAAHHH. That's just etiquette.

Never step on another person’s YEAAHHH. That’s just etiquette.

Michael, it turns out, is at home reading when he gets a knock on the door – it’s the Shady 386 guy, and he is looking for payment.

Later that afternoon, JB is on the phone to Cabot Cove, issuing strict orders to be called the minute someone’s baby is born, when she gets a knock on the door. It’s Michael’s mother wondering if JB had heard from Michael. Jessica says no, but she’s sure he has nothing to do with the dead body at the SSC. Michael’s mother says if that’s true then why is he running?

The lieutenants head over to Linda’s new office to ask some questions but she tells them she had nothing to do with Alan’s murder, and she’s not talking to them unless they arrest her which means a Miranda in which case they only thing they will be getting is the name address and phone number of her attorney.

“You been watching too many of those TV crime shows.” Says Chance.

Nothing but lol.

Nothing but lols with the lieutenants.

Back at the Fletcher Bunker, JB is tinkering with her computer when Michael calls her to ask that she tell the police to look into Henry Waverley, and explains about the fight he overheard. She says she’ll do what she can but she’d rather discuss it in person. Michael agrees to meet and gives her directions, which she types onto the computer due to lack of pen.

Over at the SSC that night, the lieutenants have been summoned by Derek who has made an Alarming Discovery – the computers that the company gets Michael to purchase are made of stolen parts. Chance thinks this cracks the case, but Deveraux, who’s just had a page from the office, says JB thinks they should look into Henry Waverley.

The next morning JB meets Michael at the park, but they soon hear sirens heading towards them. Michael tries to leg it but is caught. JB swears she didn’t tell anyone she was meeting him, but Michael says she was the only one who knew he was coming.

Ouch.

Jessica goes to the precinct but Michael doesn’t want to see her. She does however see his parents, who are devastated. At the moment Michael is only being charged with receiving stolen goods, but he swears he thought the computer parts were just fakes with brand names stuck on, and he swears he didn’t kill Alan. Jessica thinks it’s time to get to the bottom of it all and asks Lieutenant Deveraux where the info came from. She says it was an anonymous tip, but she doesn’t know how the tipster knew where the meeting was happening.

Later that afternoon JB gets a phone call from Susan Cabot Cove – someone had a baby boy. Jessica is delighted but a bit miffed she wasn’t the first phone call. Susan tells her they tried to call at four in the morning but the line was engaged.

Seriously Susan, what the hell?

Seriously Susan, what the hell?

JB just can’t understand it. How could her phone line be busy when she was in bed asleep?

She gazes at her computer. The phone line! Internets! Lines of Excellence! (Whomp there it is)

After calling the phone company to find out what numbers have been dialled in the last 24 hours, JB goes to find the Lieutenants who are on their way to have lunch. JB offers to shout them a sandwich if they take her to reinterview Henry Waverley, and heaven forbid the lieutenants ever knock back a free lunch.

When they find Waverley at his office, he is fairly tight-lipped about the whole thing, but when JB shows him the phone number her line had been dialling he comes clean – he was being blackmailed after someone found out about his affair. He thought it was Alan, but when he confronted him Alan knew nothing about it.

And that, my friend, is because Alan was in charge of hardware, not software. And thanks to some clever acting on Jason O’Connell’s part, they manage to trap the killer.

The first of many, no doubt.

The first of many, no doubt.

And because JB cares, she launches into an indepth explanation about how computers work and how Derek managed to get all the information he needed to blackmail people.

And, because Jessica is a firm believer in not tying up loose ends, she pops round to Mrs and Mrs Michael’s Parents house to see a newly released Michael and to let him know that while Auerbach won’t let him take the class, there’s no reason he can’t audit the class for free.

Cue the entrance of the party women.

Later, Fletcherfans!

Later, Fletcherfans!

 

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