Welcome to season 4 Fletcherfans! JB is kicking off this season with a roadtrip to Paris to visit her old friend Eva who is about to launch her fashion line. Naturally all is not well in the city of love. Eva’s business partner Maxim has issued her an ultimatum – either she signs over 50% of the business to him, or he won’t give her an extension on her loan, or give her the money to pay for the star of the show Lu Watters. Also, be a dear and put his mistress’s daughter in the show?
But never mind all that.
She’s got the moves like Jagger, probably.
Eva takes JB to the rehearsal, where she meets the star of the show Lu Watters, who seems far too nice to be a supermodel. Maxim also pops his head in, with his mistress Valerie. He begs her to leave as his wife is coming in from the country for the show, but she just laughs. She wishes her daughter Kim good luck for the show, and asks her to keep an eye on Maxim with Eva, because apparently it’s fine for Maxim to cheat on his wife with her, but damned if he’s going to cheat on her with someone else.
That night JB is seated next to Maxim’s wife Claudia. Maxim tells them he will watch the show from backstage, but is called away by a telephone call just as the montage begins. The show goes off almost flawlessly, except for one minor hiccup when Lu appears in the wrong dress – blue sequins instead of white sequins, for those playing along at home.
Backstage after the show, with champagne corks flying everywhere, JB congratulates Eva but Eva is devastated. She tells JB about the partnership agreement, but JB scoffs saying any good lawyer could poke holes in that. They go up to his hotel room to confront him but find him with two more bullet holes in his chest than is generally considered to be healthy. Excuse me while I don’t feel bad.
The French 5-0 roll up in the form of Inspector
Clousseau Panassic who takes a break from fangirling over JB to establish that Maxim went up to his room at 9:30 and was shot at 9:50, according to a maid who saw a woman wearing a big hat and a grey checked white jacket run down the hall shortly after. This sets off an alarm bell in J’s head. Clousseau Panassic also finds two plane tickets to the Italian Riviera departing next week, and I’m not entirely sure but I think he just asked JB if she’d like to go there with him.
Let’s face it, Harry McGraw isn’t taking JB to Italy. Little Italy, maybe.
Clousseau Panassic’s minions appears with something he found in Maxim’s jacket pocket. Clousseau Panassic is horrified and agrees that it is not for sensitive lady’s eyes. So, porn. Clousseau Panassic interviews the models from the show who all swear that they saw Eva backstage for the whole show, and that she couldn’t possibly have killed Maxim.
That night, while trying to get Eva on the phone, JB spots Claudia Soury go back in to the room where her husband died to collect her stole. Before she leaves she bends down and picks something up off the floor, out of sight of the policeman escorting her, and puts it in her pocket. Jess goes to confront her about it and Claudia tells her that she picked it up thinking that it belonged to Maxim’s mistress Valerie. She wanted to protect her daughters from scandal. JB asks her about the plane tickets to Italy but she knows nothing about it, saying that the other ticket was clearly meant for Valerie. JB looks at the coat buton and recognises the white with grey check that the maid spoke of earlier. The coat belonged to Eva.
The next morning JB pays a call on Valerie, who is packing up her room at the nightclub where she sang. Her engagement there is over, but Maxim had managed to book her to sing at a fancy hotel that Saturday. Inspector
Clousseau Panassic is there asking where she was at the time of the murder, and she tells him she was backstage resting between performances. Another nightclub worker, Albert, says that’s not right – her show started late and she was on stage til just after 10pm. Dodged a bullet there sweetheart. Clousseau Panassic’s minion appears with good news and bad news: the good news is they found the murder weapon. The bad news is that another hotel maid has come forward saying that she heard a gunshot a bit after 10pm.
At Eva’s store, Eva is bouncing off the walls, helping clients and swearing to write Lu Watters her cheque, as it turns out Lu is a bit strapped for cash just at the moment. JB comes in and tells Eva she needs a word, immediately and not at six o’clock at Harry’s American Bar. She tells her about the maid seeing a woman wearing Eva’s jacket leaving Maxim’s floor, and Claudia finding the button in her room. Inspector
Clousseau Panassic appears with said button, just as Eva realises her jacket is in fact missing a button.
Back at the hotel JB spots the maid who saw Eva’s jacket, and asks her about the other maid who heard a shot after ten o’clock. Fortunately the other maid is with her and tells her that she knows what she heard but that the police aren’t interested, and more to the point, who stole the two towels from Maxim’s room?
The next morning JB goes to Eva’s store to ponder the Great Dress Mixup of Two Nights Ago with Eva’s assistant Peter. JB wonders if it was possible for Lu to go up to Maxim’s room, shoot him, come back down and change dresses in ten minutes. Peter says it’s certainly possible but why?
JB goes to share her theory with Inspector
Clousseau Panassic who is fascinated, and has decided she is Watson to his Sherlock Holmes.
For those who wondered if I could work Benedict Cumberbatch into an epsiode of Murder She Wrote, WONDER NO MORE. #IAmHopeless
Clousseau Panassic is surprisingly fine with throwing away his original plan and investigating Lu Watters, throwing his hands up in the air and saying “Come Watson! The game is afoot!”
(Caption unavailable: the owner of this blog has fallen down a Benedict Cumberbatch YouTube rabbit hole)
The Inspector and JB confront Lu, who breaks down and admits that it was her in the dirty photographs. Maxim was blackmailing her, and so to put an end to it, she shot him.
Remember that time Benedict Cumberbatch was on Sesame Street? Honestly, I would pay to listen to him read the phone book.
Lu thinks she would have gotten away with it if she hadn’t panicked when she realised that Maxim’s wife was in the bathroom.
But hold on – Claudia was in the audience with JB. Jess asks her how she knew someone else was there and Lu tells her she saw a purse. “Was it red?” Asks JB. It was indeed.
Clousseau Panassic cares not for purses or colours. He orders Lu be placed under arrest and sidles up to JB looking for praise.
“You’ve done it again, Inspector.” Says JB.
“I think you have once again arrested the wrong woman.”
Benedict Cumberbatch wouldn’t have screwed this up.
Because, you see, there is the small matter of the plane tickets to Italy. He wasn’t taking his wife, and he wasn’t taking his mistress since she was singing at a fancy hotel in Paris. So who was he taking?
Who indeed. Remember when I said Valerie was fine with Maxim cheating on his wife, but not with her? It turns out it wasn’t Eva she should have been worrying about. It turns out Maxim was shagging her daughter. And you better believe that had consequences…
Yeah, not surprised either, I’m getting better at this. Although I didn’t pick the daughter bit.
So, when Lu bolted after shooting Maxim she didn’t realise she had only wounded him. Maxim called Valerie to come and help him, but when she arrived and saw the purse her daughter was supposed to be modelling in the show she put two and two together and went bang.
And there you have it. We conclude this week’s episode with Inspector
Clousseau Panassic listing his virtues as a gentleman – then advising JB she owes him 100 francs for the bill.