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S07E16 – From the Horse’s Mouth

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Fletcherfans, I think we all learned a valuable lesson last week about multi-tasking. I shouldn’t try and write while Richmond are playing, and Richmond shouldn’t throw away 35 point leads in the last quarter.

Let’s not dwell on that.

JB is in Kentucky putting bets on for our old friend Harry McGraw when she bumps into her friend, veterinarian Dr Christy Morgan and her fiancee Todd Sterling. It seems they are destined to remain engaged for awhile, until their fathers can stop feuding. That old chestnut. BOOM HORSE PUN.

But now I’d like to discuss possibly my favourite one-time character in this whole series:

Next Derby Day I'm wearing that outfit.

Next Derby Day I’m wearing that outfit.

Emmaline Bristow can talk to horses, so naturally she’s at the stables wishing all the horses good luck in their race and getting the latest equine gossip. One horse, Big Palooka, tells her he has a terrible headache, which is bad news for Harry since he got JB to put 200 down on him. Emmeline bumps into Christie’s father, Lamar, who wonders if any of the horses mentioned who would win the race.

“Oh Lamar. Horses can’t predict the future.” Says Emmaline. GEEZ LAMAR GET WITH IT.

A token blonde wanders past, excited to meet Lamar Morgan, but more excited to serve him papers. Todd’s father, Randolph Sterling, is suing.

Trackside, Randolph is taking a constitutional with his lady-friend Althea Mayberry (played by someone credited as Woman in Titanic). Althea is trying to talk Randolph into a cruise but Randolph has big things to worry about, like getting his stallion King Paragon laid. They are soon joined by Randolph’s daughter Diana with news on that score – some Japanese businessmen have expressed an interest in King Paragon and so Diana orders Althea to make sure sake is on tap when they come by the farm. Althea is delighted to be promoted to caterer. And by delighted I mean not happy.

Althea spots Christy, Todd and JB walking towards them and remarks how good Christy and Todd look together – Todd’s so handsome and Christy’s so full of life and virginal purity.

“What would you know about virginal purity?” Says Diana.

SICK BURN

SICK BURN

JB is reintroduced to everyone, and she tells Diana the last time she saw her she was home from university in England. Turns out Diana was at Cambridge, until she got thrown out but then she married Lord Snowcroft, until she got tired of him and threw him out.

JB's a little impressed.

JB’s a little impressed.

Lamar interrupts this trip down memory lane brandishing the court notice and demanding an explanation. It turns out King Paragon went a-wanderin’ some enchanted evening and knocked up two of Lamar’s mares and Randolph wants compensation for – well something. Lamar says he doesn’t owe Randoph a cent, he had nothing to do with King Paragon getting loose and knocking up his mares, but Randolph doesn’t care. He’ll see Lamar in court. And with that he walks off, Althea and Diana on each arm.

The next day, JB visits Christy at the farm, to hear more about the nocturnal wanderings of King Paragon.

ARGH SO CUTE I CAN'T EVEN

ARGH SO CUTE I CAN’T EVEN

Christy says there are no witnesses and if they lose the court case they would lose the farm. The police haven’t been any help, so JB suggests a private detective she knows…

It's Harry's second last MSB episode! Things are WINDING DOWN.

It’s Harry’s second last MSB episode! Things are WINDING DOWN.

Harry tells JB he’s not taking any new cases just at the moment, but is forced to reassess the situation when the radio informs him his horse lost again.

Now we need to talk about this guy.

THIS GUY.

This is Melvin Belli.

Here are some things I’ve just learned about Melvin Belli. He defended Jack Ruby for killing Lee Harvey Oswald, he got a letter from the Zodiac Killer (it really annoys me they never caught that guy), he defended people like Errol Flynn, The Rolling Stones and Mae West, he once played a character on the original Star Trek, and whenever he won a court case he would raise the Jolly Roger flag on his office and fire a cannon off the roof.

For real. I never knew how much I wanted to fire a cannon off a roof until just now.

For now though, he is Judge Charlie Harley, and Randolph is on the phone to him trying to demand that his suit against Lamar Morgan is tried immediately if not sooner. Things don’t get better for Charlie when he asks for scotch and gets a soda water from his secretary instead.

Back at the Morgan’s farm, Christy and JB are relieved and surprised respectively when Harry turns up.

g2

heh heh heh

THEY CALLED EACH OTHER RHETT AND SCARLETT 

Harry reveals the owner of the sharp threads doesn’t actually know Harry borrowed them so if they could move this along so Harry can return the suit by Friday that would be grand.

JB and Harry head over to the Sterling house where a shindig is in full swing to drum up interest in King Paragon and his lovelife. While Randolph puts the squeeze on Charlie re: the court case, Harry investigates the bar situation and gets hit on by Althea. Althea’s moves are squashed by a drive-by from Diana reminding Althea that champagne ages the skin (nonsense, I drink it by the bucketload and I look fabulous) and that her hair could do with a colour job.

“Thank you Lady Chatterly.” Althea mutters. Zing!

Harry finds JB in conversation with Todd and Randolph and she introduces him to the group. “Randolph Sterling? The guy who owned Randolphs’ Rebel?”

“The same.” Says Randolph.

“Whatever happened to that nag?” Asks Harry.

Spoke like someone who watched Richmond play last week wait what nevermind

Spoke like someone who watched Richmond play last week wait what nevermind

Jess tells Randolph Harry is considering investing in a racehorse. “I hear you got the best around. Can I get a peek at King Paragon eh Randy?” Harry adds.

They all go out to the stables to see the stud’s finest in action. And I’m not talking about the horse.

LOOK AT HIS FACE SUCH SMOULDER BAHAHAHA

LOOK AT HIS FACE SUCH SMOULDER BAHAHAHA

Randolph announces that the minimum return for buying in on King Paragon’s…services…is 100 grand in the first year.

Harry is flabbergasted.

m2

n2

*Actual quote

Emmaline, also in attendance, is more concerned about King Paragon’s state of mind. Apparently he’s thoroughly depressed. “Wouldn’t you be?” She says to Harry. “Your body being used in that dreadful fashion?”

Steady on Harry.

Steady on Harry.

The King Paragon party is soon crashed by Lamar Morgan, drunk as a lord and informing Randolph he’d kill him before he paid him a cent. Todd escorts him outside to get some fresh air, while Diana mumbles something about family loyalties.

Back at the Morgan farm Christy is worried when Todd is still at the track and her father has disappeared, but Harry is on the case and calls in to let them know that Lamar is propping up a bar in town. As soon as she gets off the phone from Harry there is call from Todd – there’s been an accident at the track, one of the horses needs medical attention. They drive down to the track to find Randolph dead on the floor of his office.

The police arrive and quickly take charge. Sheriff Tyrone McKenna tells JB not to touch anything and she informs him she wasn’t touching she was reading – a note from Althea Mayberry saying how hurt she was by Randolph and that he’d be hearing from her attorney. Diana Sterling arrives, devastated but quick to remind them that Lamar had threatened to kill Randolph earlier that day. Lamar had called Diana, wanting to talk to Randolph and Diana was the one who told him her father was at the track. She breaks down and Todd takes her back to the house. Christy remembers that she was called about an injured horse and rushes out to the stables.

JB decides to walk Sheriff McKenna through the crime scene and points out the odd stain on Randolph’s jacket, hanging up on a hook. McKenna tells her that poking around crime scenes might be alright in the city, but he’s got a water moccassin by the tail and something something tread lightly.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Jess decides to go find Christy/poke around in the stables, and finds Rex Manning attending to King Paragon, who had spooked, broke down his stable door and hightailed it across the paddock before Rex could catch him. (For those interested in fact based reporting, his character’s name is Derek Padley). Rex suspects the noise of the argument in the office might have spooked him, but when pressed he couldn’t say he recognised the voices. Christy reappears after attending to another injured horse and offers to x-ray King Paragon’s leg but Rex Manning tells her he knows best. Because he’s Rex Manning.

Back at the farm, Harry is pulling into the drive way with a well sloshed Lamar Morgan when the police pull him over. Harry is his belligerent self until Sheriff McKenna mentions murder.

Down at the police station, Lamar confesses he was at the track that night. He’d had an offer for one of his foals, and was hoping Randolph would agree to the sale provided the money was held in trust until after the court case but that clearly didn’t go well. Jess asks him if the fight was so loud that they didn’t hear King Paragon destroying his stall but he swears that noise would have stopped them cold.

Sheriff McKenna appears to tell JB that the stains on Randolph’s hands weren’t blood but hair dye. The stains on the jacket were blood, but not Randolph’s. Shout-out to Kentucky CSI for upping their game on that one. He bids them goodbye and departs. Harry has a speck of an idea floating in his brain about hair dye, and goes to see Althea Mayberry, who promptly busts a move on him but aborts when Harry casually wonders whether she was dying her hair when Randolph came to see her. She throws Harry out, Harry offers to take a raincheck on the tour of her bedroom.

The next day Harry asks JB about Lady Chatterley, and Jess explains that Lady Chatterley fell in love with her husband’s gamekeeper. Harry thinks it’s screwy, Diana isn’t married and there’s no gamekeeper in sight.  Not so screwy, says JB. Diana was married to Lord Snowcroft, and he had a large estate in England.

“Hunting game?” Says Harry.

“Racing horses.” JB says.

But he's trying and that's good.

But he’s trying and that’s good.

JB pops around to see Todd but instead finds Edie the housekeeper. She tells JB she heard a fight between Diana and Randolph earlier that week – Randolph was pissed at his daughter, saying she never did have good taste in men, while she told her father that Todd hated them.

Down at the police station Lamar is pestering Harry for more info about his investigation into King Paragon’s adventures with the mares, but Harry is more concerned about why Lamar is still being held, since Randolph wasn’t killed by a punch. Lamar tells him the blood on the jacket is his, a consequence of a busted up nose, but that his prints are also on the walking stick murder weapon, after he threw the stick away during the fight.

Later that night Harry, JB, Todd and Christy have a war meeting at the Morgan farm to decide what to do next. Jessica is sure that Lamar is innocent, but they need to prove someone else was at the stable that night – either by invitation or by knowing the security code. Todd and Christy head down to the track and Jess asks Harry if he knows anyone in the British racing industry – turns out Harry is friends with the Prince of Wales’s bookmaker (pfft) and he puts a call in to get more information on…

…cut to Judge Charlie Harley having a meeting in chambers where Christy, Todd and the defence attorney all requesting that the trial be held at King Paragon’s stables. Because that’s normal. Diana and her attorney bust in shouting I OBJECT (not true, whatever) and the judge decides a trip to the stable is in order. Apparently JB has located a surprise witness. King Paragon himself.

Emmaline steps up to conduct the interro-neigh-tion (nailed it)

Just amazing.

Just amazing.

After Emmaline asks a bunch of questions about King Paragon’s nightly wanderings, JB breaks in to request that she ask whether King Paragon’s name even is King Paragon, or if in fact it is Night Sword. Because apparently Night Sword was struck by lightening and killed. But what if it was King Paragon that was killed? And what if someone decided to dye the white sock on Night Sword’s leg brown to cover it up? And what if that someone got busted in the act of touching up the dye job by Randolph Sterling and so killed him to cover it up?

Say no more, mon amor.

Say no more, mon amor.

YASSSSS THIS MAKES ME HAPPY AND I DON’T KNOW WHY 

I feel like I’ve made insufficient horse puns in this episode, so if you think of some let me know. I think I’m still miserable from Richmond’s “effort” last week.

Until next week, then.

THESE TWO.

THESE TWO.

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S05E01 – J.B as in Jail Bird

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

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

This can only mean trouble.

This can only mean trouble.

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

Damn it Hegarty!

Classic Hegarty

Classic Hegarty move

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

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

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

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

Oh dear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh look, now he’s Clark Kent.

Genius.

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

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

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

Indeed

Indeed

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

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

You're an idiot Grady.

You’re an idiot Grady.

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

Anyway.

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

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

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

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

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

Wait, WHAT?

Wait, WHAT?

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

So until next time…

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

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