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S03E16 – Death Takes A Dive

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This is essentially me, every morning until I have coffee.

This is essentially me, every morning until I have coffee.

Well, I’ll tell you. Our Heroine is in a boxing gym in Boston, summoned by an old friend who said he was in trouble.

We sure did Harry!

We sure did!

Harry and his boxing pal Blaster (who used to be Al’s best friend on Married with Children) take Jess to watch Blaster eat everything on the menu, and Harry explains his predicament. Once upon a time, Harry was hired to find some mob guy’s daughter, and gets paid five grand up front. A week later, the daughter turns up at her father’s house with her new boyfriend, and so Mob Guy tells Harry he wants his five grand back. Unfortunately for Harry, he ain’t got it any more so he goes to see someone who owes him but finds him deader than usual. He also finds the guy’s lawyer, who hands him the only thing worth any money to the dead guy – a management contract for Blaster.

Seeing dollar signs, Harry takes Blaster down to his local boxing gym to see what can be done. Inside, the owner of the gym Cosmo Ponzini –

Oh, Ernest Borgnine. You were so much more than just that guy in BASEketball

Oh, Ernest Borgnine. You were so much more than just that guy in BASEketball

is having a bit of trouble with a local reporter Dave Robinson –

LeVar Burton's hair is winning Best Cameo of the Episode just at the moment

LeVar Burton’s hair is winning Best Cameo of the Episode just at the moment

who is digging up dirt on fight promoter Wade Talmadge, also known as Batman.

THIS EPISODE!

THIS EPISODE!

Harry offers Talmadge Blaster’s contract (for a low low price, naturally) and Batman Mayor Adam West Talmadge responds by having Harry and Blaster thrown out of the gym. Word quickly gets around that Harry is persona non grata, and after a very descriptive phone call from the mob guy looking for his money, Harry gets a knock on the door. It’s Talmadge and his trophy girlfriend with a contract to fight Shaun Shaleen in three weeks time.

Back at the pub, Jessica asks Harry how any of this has to do with her. Harry tells her being a boxing manager isn’t cheap (and neither is feeding a boxer by the looks of it) and asks her to invest in Blaster. To shut him up, JB gives him a cheque for five grand, to do with as he wished. While Harry goes off to make some calls, Blaster thanks her for the money but feels bad as she’s never going to see it again. JB tells him she has faith in him and Harry, and that she thinks he can win the fight but Blaster explains that that’s not how it works – he gets asked to fight to make the other boxers look good, but he’s never meant to win. He’s just getting as much money as he can so he can buy a dairy farm down in Tennessee. He’s almost got it paid for, just a couple more fights should do it.

That sounds ominously like a ‘three days til retirement speech’.  Anyway, good deed done JB goes back to Cabot Cove, where all is well until she gets a phone call from LaForge Dave Robinson asking why she’s listed as Blaster’s manager with the Massachusetts Boxing Commission.

She loves him, you can tell.

She loves him, you can tell.

She immediately gets on the phone to Harry but instead gets Lieutenant Casey (previously seen here) who tells her that Harry can’t come to the phone right now as he’s just been arrested for murdering Batman Talmadge.

JB gets on the first bus to Boston and rocks up to the police station demanding answers. Casey gives her fifteen minutes alone with Harry to let him explain himself. He apologises for the boxing commission thing, saying they wouldn’t let him put his name down, and after all it was her money.

This may be the best screencap I've got so far.

This may be the best screencap I’ve got so far.

According to Harry, he went down to the gym to talk to Talmadge, who was in the office with Ponzini and Shaleen, arguing loudly. Shaleen tells Talmadge that his manager, Dennis McConnell, had told him that all of his previous fights had been setups, and Shaleen wanted to make sure that he won the next fight on his own. Harry gets fed up with Talmadge’s girlfriend hitting on him and goes in to the office to interrupt the argument, declaring that Blaster won’t stage the fight. This is fine with Shaleen, but Talmadge tells Harry to do what he’s told. Ponzini adds his two cents and punches Harry in the face, Harry draws his gun, a scuffle breaks out and the gun goes off. Ponzini takes Harry’s gun off him and gives to Batman Talmadge, who reminds Harry he doesn’t care about threats or firearms. Ponzini and Shaleen escort him from the building.

That night, while Harry is reloading and devouring six pack number 2, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Talmadge’s girlfriend.

Actual quote. (I love a good double entendre in the morning)

Actual quote. (I love a good double entendre in the morning)

“Hey, when you’re rolling sevens you don’t ask to see the dice!” Says Harry.

JB is FIERCE in this episode!

JB is FIERCE in this episode!

The next morning, Harry threw Talmadge’s broad out and went to convince Blaster not to take the dive. When he came home, the 5-0 were waiting for him. They informed him that Talmadge had been found in his car, under a bridge just outside of town, shot in the head with a 38 like Harry’s gun.

Upstairs, JB tries to shoot down Lieutenant Casey’s proof that Harry killed Talmadge, but is stumped when he shows her the ballistics report that shows the bullets in Harry’s gun match the bullet found in Batman Talmadge. JB jumps in a taxi to head to Ponzini’s gym to look for clues but is waylaid by Dave Robinson and his photographer, Pam Collins (literally waylaid, Pam is driving the taxi).

Can’t really be mad though. I mean, look at him.

Seriously though, That hair is a work of architectural genius,

Seriously though, That hair is a work of architectural genius

Dave tells her about the story he’s planning to write exposing Talmadge for the douchebag that he was. He explains that Talmadge had a habit of building boxers up and then staging fights for them to lose – he did it with Ponzini fifteen years ago and he was planning to do it with Shaun Shaleen in the future. JB wonders how come Dave seems so bitter about Talmadge, but he changes the subject.

At Ponzini’s gym JB finds McConnell and Shaleen training, and sneakily (read: outright) asks them where they were at the time of Batman’s Talmadge’s death. McConnell tells her they were out doing roadwork at the time, but it’s an obvious lie. Ponzini appears out of his office to tell McConnell that the TV networks still want to carry the fight.  JB tries to ask Ponzini about his whereabouts, but he just points at the NO WOMEN ALLOWED sign and skulks off back to his office.

Next stop for Jess is the bar, where Blaster is having lunch with his trainer Doc Penrose (played by Fitz from West Wing, and I still haven’t gotten over what happened to him but anyway). Jess asks him to take over as manager of Blaster, since she doesn’t know anything about boxing and Harry is not around. He is hesitant, but after losing another horse race he decides to take her up on the offer.

That night Jess goes to see Harry to fill him in on her progress. Unfortunately, there isn’t much. Everyone seems to have an alibi for the time of Talmadge’s murder – Ponzini was at the gym, Doc Penrose was at the track, Talmadge’s girlfriend Lois went back to her apartment and McConnell and Shaleen were out training. Harry tells Jess that it might be wise to call off the fight but Jess won’t have a bar of it. She’s going to keep sleuthing, and since she’ll have Blaster with her most of the time what could possibly go wrong?

Back in her hotel room after an early morning run, JB is watching a sports report on Shaun Shaleen and his upbringing in the wilds of Minnesota where he was good at boxing and duckhunting. The report goes on to mention the fight, and that Blaster Boyle’s new manager isn’t a grizzled veteran of the fight wars but a sweet old lady…

Shows how much they know...

Shows how much they know…

…who doesn’t know a left jab from a right cross.

THEM'S FIGHTING WORDS!

THEM’S FIGHTING WORDS!

And that, my friends, is a cue for a TRAINING MONTAGE! We haven’t had a montage since the first episode! Oh, this show has everything!

Worn out from the montage, JB sits down with the Doc and Blaster about the murder of Talmadge, saying that she was convinced that he was murdered to stop the fight, but now she thinks she was wrong. Blaster says he’s not sorry Talmadge is dead, murder is bad but so is fight fixing. Doc tells JB that it wasn’t just Ponzini who was a victim of Talmadge’s greed – he can name a dozen people who fell foul of Talmadge, including the Scranton Scrapper, Lou Robbie who lost a fight he should have won and ended up practically a vegetable.

As it happens, someone else is from Scranton. Someone with a name that sounds like Robbie. Someone who didn’t like Talmadge very much at all.

Pam-the-photographer finds JB in the archives of the Evening Tribune, going through back issues for more information on Lou Robbie/Louis Robinson. They go for a walk out in the park, and Pam confirms that he is Dave’s father, but that Dave didn’t kill Talmadge – he was with her the night of the murder. JB accepts this, then inexplicably asks Pam about Talmadge’s clothes. Apparently when he was killed he was only wearing regular pants and a plain white shirt – not a tweed jacket or tie in sight. Pam tells her that it certainly is weird, Talmadge was a snob and liked to dress accordingly, he wouldn’t be caught dead in plain clothes. Boom tish.

This pun gives JB an idea, and she takes off with Blaster, much to the interest of Talmadge’s girlfriend who appears to be following them in a car. She calls her real boyfriend – McConnell, Shaleen’s trainer – and tells him what she’s seen but he’s not interested and tells her don’t call me I’ll call you.

Meanwhile JB has gone to Talmadge’s house, where she runs into Lieutenant Casey. Apparently he had the same sartorial idea, and tells her that a jacket and sweater belonging to Talmadge are indeed missing. While he doesn’t think this proves anything, JB is convinced the killer took the clothes to cover something up. While Casey searches Harry’s apartment for the missing clothes, JB speaks to the man himself and asks him again if he’s sure the gun was on him the whole time.

“Of course it was!” Says Harry. “Well, almost all the time. I mean I don’t sleep with it, especially on those occasions when I am entertaining a young lady.”

Good work Sergeant,

Good work Sergeant,

JB finally agrees with Harry that there’s no way Talmadge’s girlfriend could have swiped the gun. Lieutenant Casey arrives with good news for Harry – they’ve traced the call that lured Talmadge out to the bridge where he was shot. It came from the phone in Ponzini’s office at the gym. Casey is all set to bust Ponzini for all the things, but JB thinks a better idea would be to let her go in and snoop around. Noone takes her very seriously and she might hear something they wouldn’t say in front of a cop.

Seems solid.

At the gym, Ponzini is not forthcoming with information of any kind until JB subtly hints he’s under investigation. Then he lets loose with a torrent of names of people who were at the gym at the time of the call, including Doc Penrose (who was heading to the track) and McConnell and Shaleen (who were about to go out to do road work). All further questions are shot down when McConnell starts talking smack talk at JB, Blaster defends her honour and punches Shaleen in the face for being mouthy.

Down at the police station Shaleen tells them that he didn’t make any calls, but McConnell made a couple, presumably to a ladyfriend. Then he came back, cancelled road work and took off to see said lady friend, so Shaleen went back to his hotel room to watch TV. Harry and Casey don’t buy this story, but JB does. More than that, she knows who the lady is.

JB goes to visit Dave Robinson at the Tribune to get more information on Lois. He doesn’t see why Lois would kill Talmadge, since he was her meal ticket. It’s only as JB is leaving his office and hears the football commentator say shotgun that she realises who the killer is. (THANK GOD, BECAUSE I AM EXHAUSTED). JB goes to see Casey and gets Harry released, and asks him to make sure that everyone involved knows that Harry is released.

The thing is gang, Talmadge was killed with a bullet from Harry’s gun, but it wasn’t fired from a Harry’s gun. The bullet was retrieved from the cushion (where it lodged during the fight in the office twenty years ago when we were all young) and was subsequently fired from a shotgun, by someone who used to be a duck hunter back in the day…

Oh thank God, I thought this was never going to get resolved.

Oh thank God, I thought this was never going to get resolved.

So there you have it. Shaleen decided it was kill Talmadge or be killeed in the ring, and to be fair I can’t argue with that logic.

Anyway, I decided one of the screencaps deserved meme status, so I made one. If you would like to make your own, here’s the image. I used quickmeme.com to make this one…

Internet! Get to work! (And let me know if you do!)

And on that note,

z2

I need a lie down.

S03E07 – Deadline for Murder

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Trouble’s brewing at the Boston Daily Sentinel this week Fletcherfans. The paper’s star reporter, Haskell Drake, is a little bit miffed that his most recent story in the paper (about one JB Fletcher) was “edited” by the paper’s new owner Lemar Bennett.

An evil tyrant dictating an agenda to a newspaper? Nope, don’t believe it.

*tumbleweed blows past*

Anyway, Haskell’s reaction to being called a washed up old has-been is to promptly have a heart attack. (Bennett’s reaction to Haskell’s heart attack is to order a photographer in). His old pal and former assistant Jessica goes to see him in the hospital and he tells her that he’s done, Finito. He shows her the most recent edition of the paper, containing a photo of JB with a salacious caption.

Captioning photos of JB Fletcher? It will never catch on. Ahem,

Captioning photos of JB Fletcher? It will never catch on. *another tumbleweed blows past*

JB goes to pay Lemar Bennett a visit, and finds him in an editorial meeting picking fights with the current editor Billy Simms, the Editor Emeritus Walter Revere, his son Perry Revere, Perry’s girlfriend Kay Garrett and the sports writer Stan Lassiter. Bennett tries to fob Jess’s demands for satisfaction off (after all, evil newspaper tycoons have a lot on their plates) but finally invites Jess to attend a little shindig that evening.

While Jess goes in to bat for Haskell and tries to get Bennett to give him his job back, the rest of the newspaper stand around glumly, Bennett, being an evil tyrant, is not disposed to help filthy old losers and says so, resulting in a punch in the face from Walter Revere. This sets Bennett right off, and launches into a tirade about how the Revere family are all fired, a tirade that ends only when he drops dead. Aw.

While Kay calls in and gives Billy the update, Jess and Stan ponder what brought the tyrant’s downfall. JB suspects a brain haemorrhage, which surprises Stan, who always assumed that someone would off the old coot. JB, using her Encyclopaedic Knowledge of Evil happily explains to them how it could have been murder, to which Stan says “Well it couldn’t have been one of us then – we’re not that smart, we all still worked for him!” Bennett’s personal assistant Clyde The Moustache takes a bit of offence to this and yells at them for being heartless.

The next morning JB is getting ready to head back to the Cove when she gets a knock on the door from Boston PD. It turns out that Jess is not the only one who suspects murder now, the Medical Examiner agrees and Lieutenant Caruso is quite interested to know what made JB think it was murder. The lieutenant suggests that JB not leave town just yet, but Jess is having none of it, and basically tells the lieutenant to arrest her or bugger off.

In the hospital Haskell Drake is looking a bit better. And by a bit better I mean positively glowing. His mood only improves when Jess tells him that the police suspect foul play. He immediately decides to investigate Lemar Bennett’s life and begs Jess to stick around for a few days to do his leg work for him. Jess is hesitant, and Haskell quickly says not to worry about it, she was never that much good as an assistant anyway.

...

I suspect I know where this is going.

Outraged, JB immediately agrees to any and all of Haskell’s demands, and sets off to snoop out as much info as she can. She goes to see Kay and Perry and tells them about her mission. Perry is less than excited and leaves, saying he has laundry to collect. Kay is a bit more forthcoming, and tells her about how Bennett was trying to rewrite her story about abandoned children, a story Kay was very protective of.

Meanwhile, at the hospital Haskell Drake is doing an excellent impression of me writing this blog…

Not even joking, not even about the cigars. (That's a lie).

Not even joking, not even about the cigars. (That’s a lie).

Haskell is less than impressed with what Jess has come up with and sends her back out into the field to dig up who benefited from Bennett being less than alive. She goes to see Perry at the newsroom but he’s still not budging. Billy Simms is a bit warmer, and grudgingly tells JB that the only beneficiaries of Bennett’s will are himself and Bennett’s sidekick Clyde.

In an amazing and clearly not at all planned coincidence, JB happens to run into Clyde on her morning jog. He refuses to be baited about the (small) amount of money he’s inherited from Bennett, or the new popular theory that Bennett killed himself. And by popular I mean theory that Jess has just invented. She asks Clyde if it was possible that Bennett’s sinus medication had been tampered with, but he says no. He was the only person with access.

Let the record show that this is how you interrogate someone in a park.

(I don't know why I find this as funny as I do, but I do and there it is)

(I don’t know why I find this as funny as I do, but I do and there it is) 

Meanwhile back at Murder She Blogged HQ the hospital Haskell is digging up some dirt on Bennett via an old society reporter from Tulsa Oklahoma. Rumour has it Bennett knocked up one of the local women who went and died a short time later. SCANDALOUS. Haskell starts throwing some crazy ideas around, but JB isn’t listening. She’s had a thought she doesn’t want to think – about Kay growing up in an orphanage. In Tulsa Oklahoma.

Haskell Drake did not see this coming,

Surprised Haskell is Surprised,

Surprised Haskell is Surprised,

JB pays a visit on Lieutenant Caruso, who is not overly excited about this new poisonous sinus medication/abandoned daughter theory, and more interested in the poisoned handkerchief/killing for her father theory which only makes sense because Walter Revere’s daughter Eleanor has been in it for about 30 seconds and based on previous experiences that’s enough motive for her to kill.

Fortunately Jess is not having a bar of it and sticks to her theory. A presumably legal search of the files from the recent blood donation drive at the sentinel reveal that Kay has the same blood type as Lemar Bennett. Jess goes back to the hospital to talk it out with Haskell, and is hit with a bolt of inspiration when Haskell fakes taking a pill.

Because apparently Clyde wasn’t the only person who had access to Bennett’s medication. And Haskell isn’t the only one who can palm a pill.

Pity. I was kind of hoping it was Walter's daughter.

Pity. I was kind of hoping it was Walter’s daughter.

There you have it. Billy objected to Lemar’s treatment of his daughter, and finally cracked. But  whatever, because!

Did you know there was a Magnum PI/ Murder She Wrote crossover special? There is! And since I have watched precisely 0 episodes of Magnum PI up until now I’m going to take a little break from misrepresenting episodes of Murder She Wrote and misrepresent an episode of Magnum PI instead. At an early guess I would say at least 75% of my thoughts will be about Tom Selleck’s moustache, and that’s a conservative estimate.

So, until then,

z2

Moustaches. So many moustaches.