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S11E14 – Murder in High C

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

DEMON AUDIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jessica does not agree.

Jessica is immune to Italian Don Draper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He brought this on himself

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

No comment

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

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

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

Detection on point.

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

Oh how I can relate to this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPIPHANY FACE

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

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

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

Later gang!

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S06E08 – When The Fat Lady Sings

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We’re in San Francisco this week Fletcherfans, where there’s a dead guy on the pavement, another guy looking close to death on the pavement, a gaggle of theatre people looking very sad/hungry

 

Hodor? Hodor.

Hodor? Hodor.

Also at the scene is Jerry Stiller being a cop, Our Heroine being Our Heroine and a ghost from Christmas past who I will get to in a minute.

The gang all adjourn to the nearest hospital to wait for updates on the condition of the not dead guy, while hurling accusations around about who’s fault it is.

HODOR HODOR HODOR HODOR

HODOR HODOR HODOR HODOR

Meanwhile, JB is chatting to Lieutenant Jerry Stiller Birnbaum who wants answers, and since everyone else is hysterical, it’s up to JB to fill in the blanks.

Turns out, the story only begins that morning, when JB is at her hotel having breakfast when she gets a phone call from a mysterious stranger who turns out to be sitting not far from her.

DENNIS STANTON WHAT EVEN ARE YOU AND WHAT IS THAT MOUSTACHE

DENNIS STANTON WHAT EVEN ARE YOU AND WHAT IS THAT MOUSTACHE

You may remember Dennis the Catburglaring Menace from such times as this one. He’s back, much reformed, and he has PLANS for JB. No, not those plans, operatic plans.  Renowned opera singer Rosanno Bertolucci is in town and Dennis wants to take JB not only to the performance, but to meet the singer himself.

Rosanno Bertolucci is delighted to meet JB and even more delighted to tell her about how Dennis has helped to raise over $200,000 for orphans from the takings of that night’s performance. I only mention this because it never comes up again and I don’t know whether Dennis Stanton is a reformed cat-burglar or a hallucination. It’s too hard to tell.

Rosanno’s wife and aunt appear from a morning’s shopping with a new jacket for Rosanno and the news that the production’s tenor has been badmouthing Rosanno and his protege Maria in the newspaper. Rosanno, it would seem, can take insults directed at him but is outraged that anyone is having a go at Teresa. JB and Dennis, on the other hand, are more interested in the gun they’ve just spotted tucked into Rosanno’s pants (not code).

He really does have a gun in his pants! #OrDoesHe #NoHeReallyDoes

He really does have a gun in his pants! #OrDoesHe #NoHeReallyDoes

Rosanno explains that while they were on tour in  Japan and Hong Kong an unsavoury  gentleman by the name of Faraday was hanging around with some shifty looking associates, and so he got the gun for protection. Rosanno Bertolucci has no time for American gun laws, despite JB’s friendly advice.

Lieutenant Jerry Stiller Birnbaum is rather interested to hear about the gun and the shifty associates but Jessica’s not done yet. That night, she explains, she got to the theatre an hour before curtain and was backstage with Dennis The Menace. The place was a madhouse, with people and sets and props everywhere. Maria the protege was having her hands full trying to keep fellow singer Giorgio’s hands off her while her actual boyfriend, a journalist named Barry, sneaks out before Rosanno can catch him with Maria in her dressing room. While Jessica and Dennis deal with Hodor launching a tirade against critics, a shady character slinks backstage before being caught in Maria’s dressing room – it’s Lou Faraday. Rosanno hurls him down the stairs and tells him if he’s caught near Maria again, Rosanno will kill him.

DISAPPROVING FACE.

DISAPPROVING FACE.

Lieutenant Jerry Stiller Birnbaum is even more interested to hear this, but JB still ain’t done. The show went ahead with everyone performing brilliantly, except Maria. After the performance, JB and Dennis went backstage to congratulate everyone, but are cut short by screaming coming from Maria’s dressing room. Rosanno breaks down the door and finds Maria freaking out that Lou Faraday had been in her room, and had just left via the fire escape. Dennis the Menace orders someone to call the police and goes down the fire escape after them. JB and Rosanno’s wife Sylvana rush to the alley, they hear two gunshots and find  Rosanno on the ground, having a heart attack. He tells them Lou Faraday shot at him so he fired back in self defence.

That’s all well and good, says Birnbaum, except that Faraday was almost certainly shot while he was lying face down, there was no gun found on Faraday, but there were two spent cartridges in Rosanno’s gun. A kerfuffle outside erupts when the doctor informs them that Rosanno wants to speak to his aunt Teresa and that’s it – not his wife and certainly not the cops.

The next morning JB pays a visit to Lieutenant Jerry Stiller Birnbaum to ask him what happened to Lou Faraday’s windbreaker – he was wearing it when he first went to the theatre, but wasn’t when his body was found. Fun fact – some outrageously awful overdubbing happens in this scene, I had to skip back about 5 times to see whether I was going nuts or not. But that’s neither here nor there. JB also asks about the angle of the gunshot – a 45 degree angle. Lieutenant Jerry Stiller Birnbaum is unconcerned about all of that though – he’s got the case pretty much locked down, he just needs proof. He’s keen to find out what Rosanno told her in the hospital the night before but Teresa ain’t talking.

A call comes in for JB – it’s Dennis the Menace, offering to chauffeur her around for the day. He makes plans to meet her at the opera house, hangs up and grunts (trust me, watch the episode). As he leaves, he notices a car tailing him and tries to evade them in a car chase through San Francisco but never mind that because I’VE WORKED IT OUT DENNIS STANTON IS A SHAPESHIFTER.

g2a

I mean what other possible explanation could there be????

I mean what other possible explanation could there be????

Dennis Stanton. Dennis Stand-in. Something something funny.

Over at the theatre JB is filling in Maria and her boyfriend Barry on Rosanno’s condition – he’s much better, but won’t be performing for awhile. JB wonders how Lou Faraday got into Maria’s dressing room again, but Barry tells her the stage guard always watches the performance, so it wouldn’t have been difficult. JB also asks Maria about the windbreaker, but Maria knows nothing, just that he must have changed his clothes – he wasn’t wearing it when he was in her dressing room that night. Jess thinks that’s odd considering Rosanno’s threat. Rosanno made no effort to hid his jealousy. Hint hint.

Maria informs JB that Rosanno is only a friend, nothing more.

 

DISBELIEVING JESS IS DISBELIEVING

DISBELIEVING JESS IS DISBELIEVING

Dennis arrives with the news he’s being tailed and offers to take Jess over to the hospital to chat to Rossano, who has just woken up and is expected to make a full recovery. She runs into Birnbaum and tells him her new theory – that someone dressed as Faraday, shot the real Faraday and made Rossano think he was shooting at Faraday. Birnbaum thanks her kindly for passing her theories along, and that she has an enjoyable flight back home to Vermont.

The sass is strong in this one.

The sass is strong in this one.

Back at his apartment, Dennis has just discovered his home trashed and a customs agent with a gun pointed at him. It turns out that there are some missing emeralds that he believes were smuggled into the country via the opera company, and since Dennis’s record was – noteworthy – he became the target of the investigation, although they are keeping tabs on everyone hoping that the emeralds will be recovered.

Over at the hospital, Sylvana and Rossano are arguing about Maria when the phone rings – and it’s Maria. Sylvana listens in but only hears Rossano say he will take care of it. He tells her he is tired and bids her goodnight. As soon as she leaves, he sneaks out of the hospital (after clocking his police guard on the head and stealing his uniform) and heads to Maria’s boyfriend Barry Sanderson’s apartment. Inside, he finds the apartment trashed, Maria unconcious and Barry lying dead in the courtyard below the fire escape. He goes to Maria just as the police arrive.

My GOD the melodrama.

Down at the police station Birnbaum won’t let JB near him or Rossano, but Dennis has been able to ferret out some information, the most interesting of which is that the missing emeralds were found in Barry’s pockets. The new theory is that Rossano found out Barry was double crossing him and so killed him, which seems plausible until Rossano’s aunt butts in – Rossano, she says, is only guilty of being a devoted father.

UGH SO DRAMA.

Long story short, Rossano had an affair, found out later that a baby resulted, and when that baby turned up on his doorstep with letter from her now dead mother asking for Rossano to put the girl in the company how could Rossano say no? So he didn’t.  Teresa swears Sylvana knows nothing about it.

Birnbaum still doesn’t buy it, but he has time to tell JB and Dennis that they found the missing windbreaker before kicking them out of his office. That seals it for JB as to who the killer is, but hasn’t got a clue how to prove it.

Cue suitably melodramatic trap.

Naturally

Naturally

Through a cunning use of Sylvana being jealous of her husband’s daughter, they get her to reveal she’s not really Rossano’s daughter, she and her boyfriend Lou Faraday had to get the emeralds into the country, blah blah double cross etc.

What I want to know is, when are we going to talk about Dennis Stanton’s shapeshifting ways?

Such drama, very sleepy.

Such drama, very sleepy.