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S12E24 – Death By Demographics

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Mmm. Pointed episode title is pointed.

Back to San Francisco one last time Fletcherfans, where David Ogden Stiers is listening to the 1812 Overture and doing a very good impression of me listening to the 1812 Overture.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – once I’m dead, I want whatever can’t be donated or studied to be cremated, mixed with gunpowder and turned into fireworks that can be set off during a very loud playing of the 1812 Overture.

DOS is, in fact, Howard Deems, the host of a classical music radio show on KLOY, and Jessica’s friend. He’s also about to share airwaves with TT Baines, who has just joined the radio station to get the all-important youth audience. The man himself is just coming out of a bar with his PR guy Russ Connell, hyping himself up for his imminent takeover of San Francisco, when someone takes a potshot at him.

The next day Howard is closing out his segment ‘A Look At Books’ with special guest JB Fletcher when Howard gets a message from his producer Eddie Mapes that station boss Graham Forbes wants to see him. TT wanders in and demands to know where his CDs are, and Eddie grudgingly tells him they’ll be delivered that night. Howard tells JB that despite losing his prime time spot he can’t get out of his contract, and he can’t find another gig either.

Before Howard can go and see Head Boss Graham (who IMDB says is from CHiPs, he gets a visit from cat-allergic Lieutenant Evers (previously seen here) who would like a word about the potshot taken at TT the previous night. Meanwhile, Graham’s son Bud has just returned from holiday to learn that the radio station has done a hard turn on its target audience and he’s not happy about it. His father and Russ the PR guy assure him that it’s going to be great, so you know, nothing to worry about. Except for Russ the PR guy has been made co-vice-president along with Bud and will share programming duties with him so you know. There’s that. Graham’s lady friend Lauren wanders in to find out how Bud’s trip was but he’s not interested – he’s got a lot of catching up to do, it turns out.

Down in sales, Dave the Sales Guy is just discovering that fellow sales rep Colleen has poached another of his clients. He tries to complain to Russ, but Russ doesn’t want to hear about it, not even when Dave points out that Russ owes him. Mysterious.

Back with Howard, Lieutenant Evers is suggesting Howard would have the motivation to want TT Baines shot at – Jessica says that’s outrageous, and Evers asks her to let him do his job.

To be fair last week she thwarted an international incident.

Evers points out that Howard doesn’t really have an alibi, as he was off getting a sandwich at the time of the shooting. Jessica protests a bit more but Howard points out that they are just about to announce they’ve found his service pistol, recently fired from when he went to the firing range for his team training the previous evening. Turns out Howard is a crack shot and has won medals for his shooting.

Jess switches to the offensive – how dare Evers to suggest someone so talented at shooting mess up such an easy target?

Fun fact – I did not know at the start of this whole thing just how much of a Slytherin Queen JB Fletcher was but I LOVE IT.

Evers admits they can’t identify the gun the bullet was fired from and asks Howard not to leave town. Also, he and his wife are going to miss Howard’s opera broadcasts, but his daughter is psyched for TT. Jessica shoves Howard out the door to go get the car.

That night, Howard returns to the studio to find TT chucking his CD’s in the trash. TT tells him no more music by dead guys and Howard announces TT is a dolt, a cultural sinkhole and a troglodyte. Maybe he should run for president? Anyway, Russ and Lauren wander in, and Russ announces seeing the fight has given him a genius idea – TT and Howard should do the show together and argue.

People arguing for ratings? Wouldn’t happen today.

Howard wants no part of this and storms out of the studio, closely followed by Russ who is determined to make it work. TT and Lauren chill in the studio – it turns out they all went to high school together, that’s nice.

The next day, Russ finds company bookkeeper Annie Lawson sitting at a cafe on the phone, and stops for a word. He knows that Annie is covering up for Dave the Sales Guys dodgy expense claims but won’t tell anyone – if she pays him two grand a week. Annie wants to know where he thinks she can get that money from, and he tells her the same place she gets Dave’s expenses from.

Howard fills JB in on Russ’s genius idea and how he told Russ to stick it, but then Graham comes in with a reluctant ultimatum – do it or he won’t get paid for the rest of his contract. Howard storms off and Graham asks Jessica to talk sense into him – and not to judge Graham too harshly.

JUDGEMENT JESSICA JUDGES JOYFULLY

Cut to Russ returning home to pour himself a whiskey. Lauren appears and he kisses her and suggests they get in the jacuzzi. She suggests another drink instead. SHENANIGANS!

Apparently, Bud Forbes is the only sane person in town and has done a bit of digging on Russ, TT and Lauren. He and Russ have a stroll by the bay and Bud asks if it’s a coincidence that Lauren comes to town, falls in love with his father and suggests he bring Russ and TT to town, or that it’s a coincidence that she stopped by Chicago – where they were working – on her way to San Francisco. Russ tells Bud to not be so jealous that a hot young chick is banging his father. I mean that’s essentially what he said, I got distracted by a moron on Twitter.

As Howard signs off from his regular classical broadcast with the news he’ll be joining TT’s new show on Monday morning, Jessica demands the employee files of everyone at the station – she is determined to prove Howard didn’t shoot at TT. Meanwhile, Annie tells Dave the Sales Guy he’s been rumbled for his expense fiddling – turns out he was doing it to cover his kid’s medical expenses. He wants to pay it back but he’s broke and it’s 46 thousand dollars.

Dave confronts Russ but Russ tells him to bugger off, he’s in the middle of a fight with Lauren who has just announced she actually is in love with Graham and that she wants no more part in his scheme. Russ says there’s only going to be one villain in this story and it won’t be him – either she dumps Graham like she did with the owners in Chicago and Cincinnati or he tells Graham about the owners in Chicago and Cincinnati.

THE SHADE OF IT ALL.

Cut to the first broadcast of Howard and TT arguing…

Guys I’m not going to lie, this is a very weird way to end after 12 seasons.

…which seems to go over well with everyone. Cut to…

THIS IS SO UPSETTING

everyone celebrating and Jessica agreeing to go on the show the next time she’s in town. She offers to take Howard out for dinner to settle his nerves but he says he’ll take a raincheck and they’ll have breakfast before she flies back to Cabot Cove.

Later that night TT tries to talk Lauren out of staying with Graham, with no success, Jessica suggests that Colleen the sales lady might have been behind the shooting of TT for publicity reasons, with no success and someone stabs Russ with a fire poker, with great success.

As it just so happens, Russ was staying at the same hotel as JB so when she and Howard were getting ready to go to breakfast and saw the commotion they decided to pop by for a little look. Lieutenant Evers is fairly confident that it was an interrupted robbery, his wallet and credit cards are missing. Jess points out there’s a wad of cash sitting on the piano, and that the thief might have been trying to cover up the real motive. Evers thinks that’s an interesting idea, and wonders where Howard was at the time of the murder. Howard says he was home, staring at the ceiling and contemplating the rest of his life #RelatableContent

Over at the radio station, Graham is worried about how badly Lauren is taking the news, while Bud is considering the free publicity. Howard appears and announces that he can’t continue being TT Baines’s sidekick, saying “as the fox once said after making love to a porcupine, I’ve had as much as I can stand.”

Imagine if that was Angela Lansbury’s announcement she was leaving the show though.

Graham and Bud convince Howard to stay on, at least for a little while. JB runs into TT at the studio, who proceeds to give her his life story while insisting the show must go on.

I am really going to miss this.

JB corners Annie for a private word, while Lieutenant Evers confronts Colleen after JB lets him know about her penchant for publicity at her old job in Maine. She swears she didn’t kill Russ and didn’t know he’d issued a memo to have her fired. Bud overhears the conversation and lets her know he’s cancelled the memo – all she needs to do is cover for him and he’ll cover for her.

Jessica confronts Dave The Sales Guy – not about his dodgy expenses, but about the idea that Russ blackmailed him. Not for money, but for something else – like shooting at them while they were leaving a bar for publicity. Dave capitulates straight away, and Jess tells him to tell Lieutenant Evers so that Howard can at least be cleared of the shooting.

The show goes on, but as the broadcast finishes, Lieutenant Evers pops up to arrest Howard for the murder – apparently, a maid saw him leave the room at around 3am. The following day, JB and Evers are still arguing about Howard’s guilt and Evers offers to consider another angle. Jessica suggests the fake robbery might not have been to cover up the murder, but to hide incriminating evidence. She looks at the crime scene photos and works out that Russ’s class ring is missing.

Dave admits to his dodgy expenses to Graham and hands him a cheque for the missing money – Annie took out a second mortgage on her home so he could stay out of trouble, bless her. Graham says nonsense and hands him the money back as a long overdue bonus. Alls well that ends well. Except for Russ, who is still dead, but JB is on the case. She confronts Lauren about the missing ring, and how she managed to get the invoice for its original purchase which included the engraving Lauren put on there for Russ about being lovers forever. Lauren admits to their relationship, even to wanting to kill him, but she swears she didn’t do it.

This is apparently enough for JB who goes to confront the real killer:

One last person of death for the road.

TT bumped off his old friend because Russ had become unbearable – ruining Lauren’s life was the last straw apparently.

And so it goes. Howard gets his old show back, and advertising goes through the roof. According to Howard advertisers have realised that people like himself and Jessica are a valuable corner of the market. Subtle guys. Very subtle.

And that, my glorious fellow Fletcherfans, is that.

All I can say is thanks. Thanks for coming along on this crazy ride to find JB Fletcher’s Life Lessons. This blog has seen me through seven years including the best and worst days of my life, and I’m so happy to have had you all on board with me. Honestly, I would never have kept going with this if you hadn’t read it, and shared it, and commented on it. I’m rubbish at replying to comments, but I read every single one and it truly means the world.

I don’t know what’s next, but I’ll be floating around the interwebs for a while, so come say hi on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.

You guys are the best. Thank you.

Later gang!

S12E23 – Mrs Parkers Revenge

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Welcome to Atlanta Fletcherfans, home of the BRI (Biological Research Institute, and absolutely not the Centre for Infectious Diseases why would you think that) where some Hard Core Science is happening.

Doctor James Lamont, head Science Guy, is going into the top secret part of the lab, the part that requires fancy outfits and passwords, to take a look at his pet project Project 14 which I can only assume is the zombie virus. He is joined in the lab by Security Chief Mark Reisner (aka Gregg Henry) who would like to know why Lamont has been dodging his requests for a security interview. Lamont is outraged but finally agrees to one to take place on Friday.

Later that day, Our Heroine is rolling into the Gambier Hotel for the weekend to judge the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Conference page 1 competition. She finally gets her suite key after her original suite is given to a cranky man who checks in ahead of her. Oh yes. Suites for days.

As it happens Lamont is in the hotel bar waiting to meet someone and WOULD YOU BELIEVE it’s the cranky man who took JB’s room ahead of her? It would appear he’s got his hooks into Lamont for something, he seems to know all about how Lamont’s wife left him, his lawyer won’t return his calls until he pays him, and the Atlanta Hawks lost something. Raul Jaffa (pronounced Jafar, because of course, it is) is there to purchase the Project 14 Zombie Virus from Lamont, but Lamont is worried that Mark Reisner knows too much. Jaffa tells him not to worry about it and gives him a hundred grand as a down payment on the virus. Meanwhile, a man in a suite listens to the whole conversation on his earpiece.

Meanwhile, Mark is catching up with his old pal from Manhattan University, Jessica Fletcher. His wife Karen Reisner is the president of the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Society and so they discuss the program for the conference – and the fact that the page ones Jessica has to judge have gone missing – before Mark gets a call summoning him back to work. Karen confides to JB that she’s worried the viruses at the BRI are making Mark tired and overworked and turning into a zombie.

Turns out the pages were sent to JB’s room, so mystery solved I guess.

Later that night, Lamont and Reisner sit in a car with FBI Agent Ed Crider. It would seem that Lamont had previously confided in Reisner about Jaffa’s offer and he brought in the feds to investigate. Crider tells Lamont to keep his meeting with Jaffa, and they’ll surveil the whole thing. After Lamont leaves Crider tries to boot Reisner from the investigation but Reisner refuses to be shut out.

Also later that night…

Rocking the polka dots like nobody’s business

…Jessica promises her publisher she’ll do an interview if she has time, and discovers she’s received the wrong manila envelope in her room – instead of mystery stories, she has photos and notes in French.

Down the hall, the FBI has set up surveillance of Jaffa in Jessica’s old room. Crider is taking charge of the whole situation but is pissed now that CIA agent Dennis Quinlan has wandered into proceedings. Apparently, there’s an international arms dealer and assassin by the name of Carl Van Ness in town looking to get his hands on the zombie virus, and he looks suspiciously like the man in the photos Jessica was looking at.

You wouldn’t believe it, but the man himself is already in Jaffa’s room kicking back and reading Jessica’s envelope of short stories. The phone rings and Van Ness inexplicably thinks that answering is a good idea. It’s JB looking for Jaffa, who enters the room just at that moment. Van Ness announces he’s a deliveryman and injects Jaffa with a syringe. He collapses, and Van Ness saunters off with Jaffa’s suitcase.

At that moment, the FBI surveillance cameras kick into life – just in time to see JB walking down the hall towards Jaffa’s room. Crider flips and chases after her, but arrives in time for JB to discover her envelope of short stories and Jaffa’s body. Crider tells her he’s the house detective, clearly, Jaffa died of a heart attack, he’ll take care of it from here. He asks Jessica what she’s doing there and she explains about the mix-up with the envelopes. He takes a look at the one in her hand but dismisses it has he can’t speak French. She translates it for him but he still doesn’t think there’s anything to be concerned about.

I’m going to miss that face.

Reisner and Quinlan wander into the room and beg JB to forget she was ever there. Put out, she agrees and leaves as another man comes in – National Security Agent and JB Fletcher Fanboy Nathan Mitchell (aka the Candyman). He basically tells them all they’re hopeless and hatches his own plan – they will swap out the virus for a knockoff and let Lamont keep his appointment with Jaffa that Van Ness is clearly planning to keep. A tracker in the vial will lead them to Van Ness’s secret lair and then they’ll nab everyone.

Seems like a solid plan to me.

The next day Van Ness plants a bug in JB’s room for reasons I do not understand frankly I don’t think he’s all that, evil genius-wise. Lamont is picked up by Crider, told there’ll be no surveillance following him, and driven to his meeting with Van Ness, while Reisner follows.

Van Ness and Lamont meet in an abandoned factory and Van Ness hands over more money in exchange for the virus later that day. As he leaves, Lamont makes a call and tells whoever is on the line that it’s all arranged, but that something needs to be done about Reisner. High up in the rafters, Reisner records the whole thing.

Back at the hotel, JB is about to head out when she spots Van Ness and so does what any sensible law-abiding citizen would do – follows him. She doesn’t get very far of course, as the Fed/CIA/NSA triumvirate have surveilled the entire hotel and Nathan Mitchell swoops in and diverts her to their surveillance room. He’s a big fan, but he just doesn’t understand what possessed her to trail Van Ness.

“A murder suspect? That question doesn’t deserve an answer. I was hoping to provide you with a location!” Says JB.

ALL HAIL.

Mark Reisner wanders in looking absent-minded and asks to meet Jessica for tea later while sneaking a key into her coat pocket. Mitchell begs JB to leave Atlanta but until she fulfils her obligations to the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Society she’s not going anywhere except back to her room to write her presentation speech.

As she walks out she crashes into Crider, who spills his takeaway coffee and wants an update. Quinlan announces they ran a check on every licence plate within a mile radius of Lamont’s meeting with Van Ness and wants to know why Reisner’s car came up. Reisner tells them his position is clear – he’s there to protect the zombie virus and if they try to arrest him on obstruction of justice he’ll go public and bring it all down on them.

Back in her suite, JB calls the local police station looking for Lieutenant Paul Bragg, a friend of Artie Gelbers, while Van Ness listens in on the whole thing. Hanging up, JB spots the flowers in her room and goes in for a closer look and finds the bug. Mark Reisner knocks on the door and she warns him to shush and they head out.

Mark begs her to leave Atlanta with Karen but Jessica’s not having a bar of it. She’s had her papers confused with an assassin’s, she’s been accused of seditious meddling by three federal agencies and her room’s been bugged. She wants in on whatever is going on, and she wants in now.

I’ve been looking forward to this episode and it hasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Mark caves and explains the whole thing. JB promises to look after Karen, while Mark heads to Washington to tell the Attorney General what he knows. As he heads up the escalator JB finds his key in her pocket but he’s too far away to see her waving. Suddenly there are shots and Mark crashes down the escalator, dead.

Lieutenant Paul Bragg is summoned to the scene but quickly informs JB that whatever intrigues she knows about, he doesn’t need to know. It’s already being written up as a robbery gone wrong. Meanwhile, over at the BRI, Lamont takes a vial of zombie virus out of storage.

Back in her hotel room with Karen, JB remembers the key she found but has no idea where it’s for. She calls Lieutenant Bragg and asks where Mark got the parking ticket they found on his body, and he tells her it was for the midtown train station. While Lamont and Van Ness conclude their business, JB sends Karen to the train station to see what Mark left in the locker – a cassette tape and a note for JB explaining that Mrs Parker’s Revenge solved the problem. Karen doesn’t understand and JB doesn’t really either except that Mrs Parker was a character in one of her books. They listen to the taped recording of Lamont’s first meeting with Van Ness, and his subsequent mystery call, and are stumped until Jessica has a Second Thought about cell phones and calls Bragg to get him to trace the call. (Her first thought being, it’s a shame about the thunder on the tape I could have heard the phone buttons being pressed and worked out what the number was that way, oh the 90s it was a simpler time).

With the news that Van Ness is being tracked to the Middle East, the Spy Team decide to have a beverage to celebrate, despite the fact that Lamont has disappeared with two million dollars. JB runs into Lieutenant Bragg in the hotel lobby and learns that Lamont’s phone call on the tape came from a Starbucks two blocks from the hotel.

JB enlists Lieutenant Bragg as backup and goes to visit the Spy Team for a little chat.

Of course, it was

Turns out Crider and Jaffa were in cahoots and transporting the virus in Jaffa’s duck umbrella. But never mind that, because what happened next made me so deliriously happy that it can only be explained in screen caps.

SLY-THER-IN QUEEN.

Mrs Parker’s revenge, it turns out, came from one of JB’s novels in which a wife discovered her husband was planning to poison her and so subbed out the offending liquids. And then presumably killed her husband, we’ll never know.

And that, my dear Fletcherfans, is the story of how Jessica Fletcher single-handedly stopped the zombie apocalypse, received a job offer to work at the NSA and the CIA, and deliver the keynote presentation to the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Society.

Stay tuned next week for the *gulp* last ever episode of Murder, She Blogged.

Last. Ever.

Boy, I am not ready for this.

Later, Fletcherfans!

S12E17 – Track of a Soldier

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JB is off to Wyoming for a bit of R&R this week. Fortunately, her friend Ellen Levering operates a lodge with her husband the ex-soldier Howard, and his son Pete. And a dog called Solider, presumably the leaver of the aforementioned tracks.

Jessica is not the only one staying at the lodge – she arrives with Marla Hastings (who is pretending to having a fling with Arthur Wainwright), Lloyd Nichols (who is having a fling with Marla Hastings),  Greta Bayer (who used to have a fling with Lloyd Nicholls), and Harley Foote, who hasn’t and isn’t having a fling with anyone but is Arthur Wainwright’s assistant.

You got that love rhombus sorted? OK.

As Jessica settles into her room, Ellen tells her that Howard is planning to run for Senate, but she’s less excited about it as she wanted to go travelling. Downstairs Harley Foote gets a phone call from his doctor telling him he is terminally ill. Greta, fresh from registering her displeasure at the lack of a safe at the hotel, finds him sitting stunned in a chair and suggests they go for a walk.

While Greta solves the lack of safe problem by hiding a big fat diamond in her minibar icecube tray, Marla calls Lloyd and tells him everything is under control. She tells Arthur she’s on the phone to her mother. Meanwhile, the Sheriff comes up to tell Pete that there’s been another complaint made about Soldier the dog, who is so far the only person in this episode I care about. Lloyd arrives and asks Juan the assistant about Howard. It seems he knows who Howard is, but he’s not telling Juan (who served with Howard) anything about it. When Howard arrives home from declaring his Senate candidacy Juan warns him about Lloyd.

Lloyd knocks on Greta’s door and forces himself into her room. A passing JB hears the commotion behind the door and knocks on the door. Greta answers and Jessica reminds her about happy hour. Lloyd informs her Greta’s had a change of plans, and JB tells him if he doesn’t let Greta go that instant he’ll be in more trouble than he knows how to deal with.

Very much current mood.

Down in the bar, Harley celebrates winning ten grand on a college basketball game and celebrates by taking Greta for a walk. Arthur wants to know if Harley called Arthur’s wife like he was supposed to, or skimmed the retirement accounts to bankroll a share trade like he was supposed to? Harley just walks off, because Harley’s getting his groove back.

Howard has only just arrived in time to see Jessica when Lloyd offers a drive-by sneak attack. Instead of explaining what that was about to Ellen, JB and Pete, Howard goes outside to confront Lloyd and get him away from the hotel. It transpires that Lloyd holds Howard responsible for the death of his brother. Juan comes upon them and breaks up the discussion. Howard tries to explain to Juan what happened but Juan doesn’t care, all he knows is that Lloyd is a troublemaker.

The next morning, while Greta goes shopping and JB hangs with Ellen, Lloyd sneaks into Greta’s room for a rummage, presumably for Greta’s big fat diamond. He’s forced into the closet when Juan’s daughter Luisa comes in to do housekeeping. She spots the diamond in the ice tray and quickly leaves the room, which is lucky as Lloyd had his gun out.

JB meets Soldier but is soon joined by Howard who tells Pete that the Sheriff’s called him about Soldier’s roaming ways and that he’ll be put down if he’s not brought under control. Later down in the bar Jess spots Lloyd and Marla having a cosy chat. Lloyd has just worked out where Greta hid the diamond but he can’t get back into her room now, and tells Marla to keep Greta away from her room that night.  They arrange to meet after the theft but Lloyd won’t give Marla her air tickets just yet.

Arthur confronts Harley about his lack of action on his instruction from the previous day. Harley tells him he saved the retirement funds 123 million dollars, but he bought the shares with Arthur’s money as requested. Also he should call his wife. Also Harley quits.

Harley’s going rogue

Jessica heads back to her room and finds Lloyd there looking to apologise for his behaviour but mostly asking Jessica to butt out. Jess wants to know what Lloyd has on Howard and Lloyd gives her just enough information to tell Ellen, who finds a newspaper clipping about the death of Lloyd’s brother. Howard decides to withdraw from the Senate election, much to the sadness of Pete and Ellen.

I’ll be happy if I ever hear the word election or vote again after this weekend if I’m honest.

That night Harley, Marla and Greta make plans to see a movie but Harley withdraws at the last minute after a Mysterious Phonecall. When Greta and Marla return with JB and Juan, they all agree the movie was terrible. Ellen tells JB she’s off to bed but JB decides she’s going to read for a while. Juan finds a drunk Howard and tries to cheer him up.

As the clock strikes one, JB wraps up her reading and hears someone go outside. Soldier goes out on patrol. Lloyd packs his car for his getaway but hears something in the bushes and thinking that it’s Marla he goes to investigate. Cut to JB listening to a dog howling. Cut to Pete standing over Lloyd’s dead body on the ground.

The next morning Sheriff Bullock is on the case, and it is quickly discovered that Greta’s diamond is missing. The sheriff is horrified to learn that Greta was keeping the diamond in an ice tray, and tells her to come down the station to file a report for her insurance. Jessica suddenly realises that she knows what the murder weapon is – an old knife that belonged to Howard, that temporarily went missing from a display.

Harley resurfaces with the news that his terminal diagnosis isn’t so terminal after all – in fact, he’s going to be completely fine. He thinks this will put Greta off, but far from it. Naw. Alas for the happy couple I’m too bitter about how Australia did at Eurovision to summon up anything other than that #spoilsport.

That night Sheriff Bullock arrests Pete for Lloyd’s murder – his prints are on the knife, there was blood on the knife and he refuses to tell them anything. The next morning Jessica checks on Soldier, who delivers her a clue in the form of a broken watchband, and then goes to sort out Pete who she correctly guesses thinks he is covering for his dad. Pete reluctantly tells her the truth – that he went looking for Soldier, found the body, found the knife and then panicked when he heard someone in the bushes.

Jess floats a theory by Sheriff Bullock that someone might have found the body earlier than the people who “discovered it”, and might have stolen the diamond.

THERE I SAID IT DON’T @ ME ALSO WTF WAS MADONNA ON/DOING THERE/ABOUT?

Anyway, Jess knows all the answers because of course she does, and orders Bullock to drive her to the hotel.

This is a late contender for best-timed pause for Uber Eats I’ve ever done.

Back at the hotel, JB makes a pitch to the thief to buy their jacket for two million dollars but she refuses…

A shock to literally no one.

Marla confesses to finding Lloyd’s dead body and stealing the diamond from it, but 100% didn’t kill him.

Oh dear.

GRIM GRIM GRIM.

Juan took matters into his own hands to protect his army buddy.

Eesh. In light of the tyre fire that is 2019, please accept the below image as your own personal liferaft.

Later gang

S12E16 – Something Foul In Flappieville

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Welcome to Flappieville Fletcherfans, where the newly arrived Inspector Lachère, who I think is a possum is charging a racoon with theft.

If only.

JB is watching the Flappieville puppet show with a keen eye, as Inspector Lachère is her creation, something she came up with for her grand nieces and nephews, and now Flappieville Toys want to take Inspector Lachère on the road. Think Hercule Poirot, with a tail.

Unfortunately, the delivery is a bit more Gerard Depardieu than Poirot, and JB is not here for it.

Someone’s gonna die for this.

JB is not the only person with notes.  Stevie, one of the kids in the audience (being played Angela Lansbury’s grandson), thinks Inspector Lachère sounds like Pound Dog, the main character in the Flappieville TV show. (Spoiler alert, he doesn’t). Robbie Dorrow, the designer of Flappieville toys, agrees with Stevie when his wife Mary brings Stevie over for like three seconds in a completely weird move. Also, Robbie thinks Mary is cheating on him, but you know, whatever.

Head puppeteer David Crossley locks Inspector Lachère up in a filing cabinet and hands the key to security chief Alvin Bucknell for safekeeping. David is delighted to be bringing Inspector Lachère to the world but is offended when Robbie suggests that it’s time to retire Pound Dog. They nearly come to blows before Mary steps in. Mary later explains to JB that she used to date David before she fell in love with Robbie, and it tore the friendship between the two apart. Also, they can’t have children.

Back at Flappieville HQ, puppeteer Kim Swofford is complaining loudly about the costume for her puppet Happy Bunny so that the costume designer can hear her. She also asks puppet designer Jason Cardino to take a look at the puppet controls before cheerfully rejecting his request for a date and walking off.  Costume designer Helena McKenna (aka Veronica Mars’s mother) warns him off her, but Jason would rather listen to his hormones. Another puppeteer, Gus Hayward offers to go over Jason’s contract so that he can sign it, but Jason tells him it’s all good. Later, Jason catches Alvin with Inspector Lachère and loses it.

Meanwhile, David has a meeting with the TV network about the Pound Dog Show.

I’m glad we fit in one last round of Breaking Bad She Wrote.

Parker Foreman has some bad news for David – Pound Dog is not getting renewed, it’s old and tired. David says amazing timing, he’s just come up with a new character, Inspector Lachère – he was going to fold him into the Pound Dog show gradually before spinning him off into his own show. Did he mention it was based on a JB Fletcher character, and JB happens to be in town?

START KNEELING (BITCH)

Parker sees dollar signs and agrees to the idea, but he wants to see samples. He also wants someone different to voice the Inspector and tells David to get Natty Holt. David agrees that someone like Natty would be great but Parker says no, he wants Natty.

Back at Flappieville Jason and Helena show JB the new sketches for Inspector Lachère’s new look and she is delighted. Helena goes to get the material for the costume to show JB and leaves JB flipping through sketches. Meanwhile, Darren is hard at work designing when Kim pops in for a flirt and to complain she’s not having any input into her character’s costume. Gus needs a word so Darren leaves her in his office and goes off with Gus – it turns out Natty Holt is Gus’s ex-wife and Darren needs his help convincing her to come on the show. He also has a separate job for Alvin – he needs him to follow someone.

That night, Jason conducts a secret trial and sentences Darren to one hundred years in the electric chair. Using puppets.

Really though, enough said.

Also, it turns out Darren bought Pound Dog off Gus and presumably for a very low price.

The next morning Jason and Darren unveil the new look Inspector Lachère and JB is delighted. Darren sends Jason off with the sketches to be delivered to Parker Foreman at the network, then makes a last minute change swapping the magnifying glass from his right hand to his left. He also decides to bump Jason’s profit share up to five per cent, and JB’s to thirty per cent.

Kim delivers the sketches over to Parker Foreman.

Not the only one who knocks, it turns out

Later that afternoon, Mary Dorow has lunch with her mystery man while Robbie watches them from behind a tree. Parker appears out of nowhere to congratulate Robbie on the imminent success of Inspector Lachère and laughs at the fact Robbie seems unaware the Inspector will be released in four weeks time.

Gus goes to see Natty and talks her into joining the show. Darren later confirms she’s on board in a walk-and-talk with Parker, who informs him it’s all going ahead – on the condition that he gets 50% of the merch profits wired to his private Cayman account. As he walks off, Darren produces a tape recorder from his pocket. Later, Mary Gus and JB discuss Darren’s latest batch of wheeling and dealing to get the Inspector Lachère show on the air. JB asks Gus for a favour.

Robbie calls Darren and tears him a new one – it turns out Robbie actually owns all the merchandising rights that Darren has been dishing out all over the place. Darren assures Natty that everything is fine, but she has her own demands – 30% merchandising for Jason and Gus, 10% for her and Gus must executive produce the Inspector Lachère show. Darren agrees because he’s not smart.

Robbie tells JB about Mary’s affair. Later, JB meets with Gus who has fetched her the merchandising percentages for Inspector Lachère.

Helpful camera shot is helpful.

Me in work meetings.

That night JB goes to Flappieville and finds Darren over the body of Alvin the security guard. Lieutenant Spevak is summoned to the scene and quickly discovers the filing cabinet has been jimmied open. Jessica suggests it was a rookie move and Spevak identifies her as the Mystery Maven, while he’s just a hick cop.

If the shoe fits sweetheart…

They quickly find the murder weapon (an iron) and also discover that there appears to be nothing missing from the filing cabinet. Darren and JB adjourn to the nearest bar for an emergency meeting, and JB tells him about his merch snafu. Darren didn’t realise how much he’d messed it up, and panics until JB suggests he goes to the other parties and explains what he’s done. JB thinks he should be fine – as long as that’s all he’s done. Darren doesn’t mention his deal with Parker.

Later that day the team meet in Darren’s office for a good luck phone call from Parker, who is too busy working on his putt in his office to attend the new focus group session for Inspector Lachère. But he’s very happy with all the changes, swapping the magnifying glass to the other hand etc etc. Parker hangs up as his assistant comes in with a special delivery – it turns out to be the tape of the conversation Parker had with Darren.

The focus group is a resounding success. Mary reintroduces Stevie to Robbie, and Stevie says Inspector Lachère is much better than that Pound Dog. Lieutenant Spevak arrives to arrest Darren for Alvin’s murder. Later, Kim meets Parker and outs herself as the sender of the tape.

Down at the police station, Darren tries to understand what’s happening to him while Helena and JB offer support. JB is convinced there must have been something else in the filing cabinet that was worth breaking in and killing for. Across town, Robbie confronts the man he’s seen with his wife, and it turns out he’s a social worker – Mary is hatching a plan to adopt Stevie but hadn’t discussed with Robbie yet. And so ends the stupidest plot thread we’ve seen for a while.

Back at Flappieville JB suddenly works out the whole deal, thanks to something she remembers seeing on a clipboard. She sets a trap for later that night and gets Kim to confess that she was the one who broke into the filing cabinet and stole the tape. But she’s not the one who killed Alvin.

He is, was, and will always be The Danger.

Apparently, Kim wasn’t the first person to try and blackmail Parker – Alvin got it into his head first and copped a flatiron to the head for the trouble.

And so it goes.

Later gang!

S12E15 – The Dark Side of the Door

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Thanks to everyone who tweeted along with me during The Last Free Man, aka the episode Jessica solves the mystery of racism. Not gonna lie, that one was grim. (I did bolt off to watch Avengers Endgame when I realised that school holidays were over and guys, it was good).

And now, to business. After this, there are only nine episodes left. Single digits. It is, in fact, the final countdown.

Down on the docks of New York harbour…

(It isn’t that one, but damn the thought made me happy for a minute)

…a woman named Nora Delano is blackmailing a writer by the name of Dirk Mattheson for a quarter of the advance for his next book. He tells her he’ll think about it and walks off. She goes to walk away but gets shot instead.

Earlier that day, high in the tower of Hartley Publishing, JB receives line edits from her new copyeditor, Erin Garman. The newly promoted and nervous Erin spots a continuity error with the make of gun in the book, and JB is quick to tell her that it’s a leftover from a previous draft, but well done for spotting it.

I love it. She doesn’t just say thanks, she has to explain why the error is in there. SHE’S THE ABSOLUTE BOSS QUEEN

JB tells her that her meteoric rise within the publisher is proof her trust in Erin is well founded, and Erin is just grateful not to be working with the new signing Dirk Mattheson, who is apparently a bit temperamental.

The man himself is having a lunch meeting with his agent Charles NoLastName and Hartley editor Laura Kerwin (previously seen here lord what a long time ago) and only wants to hear when he’s getting his money. Charles sends him on his way so he can have a private word with Laura about signing her to his agency as an agent.

Back at Hartley HQ Laura gives Erin Dirk’s manuscript to read. Erin gets a phone call from her mother wanting to know if she bought the apartment she was looking at but Erin decided it was too expensive. Erin’s mother Terry tells her that’s exactly why her grandfather left her the trust fund, but Erin changes the subject and tells her mother she can’t come to dinner, she has to make notes for a new book. Terry tells her that’s fine, she’ll just whizz on out to the Hamptons with Erin’s stepfather Mike (played by the aforementioned John Oliver, now known as Gerry Bean apparently) to check on the progress of the health club they’re building.

Off the phone, Mike shows Terry the new plans for the club and Terry is horrified. It turns out she’s paying for the new health club with Erin’s trust fund and needs to put the money back before Erin finds out. Terry tells Mike she could be prosecuted, but Mike says there’s no way Erin will send her mother to jail. Club employee Sonny wanders past to see why they were looking for him and Terry excuses herself. Mike tells Sonny he’s noticed some discrepancies with his bookkeeping and Sonny tells him he’s been lax but he’ll get on it. Sonny is angling for the manager job at the new club but Mike tells him they’re interviewing other people.

That night Erin sets to reading Dirk’s manuscript and completely freaks out when she discovers the story is clearly based on her kidnapping as a child. Panicked, she calls the detective who investigated her case originally but Lieutenant Phil Corelli has his hands full right now and isn’t terribly interested – he’s just been called to investigate a murder down by the docks.

The next day JB is summoned to Erin’s office to help calm her down, along with Erin’s boyfriend Drew Finley. Jessica is stunned to hear the news and doesn’t quite know what to make of it but Erin tells her she’s sure, despite all the times in the past she was sure too. Jess believes her and accompanies her down to see Lieutenant Correlli, who tells her that even if Dirk was involved, the statute of limitations has expired on her kidnapping and there’s nothing he could do.

Corelli’s sidekick Detective Rogers drops by to deliver the photos of the Jane Doe they found at the docks. Erin snatches them and tells Correlli that the woman was the one who kidnapped her all those years before. Correlli doesn’t want to believe it but JB points out the photo is a match to the police sketch from the kidnapping.

Cut to Dirk having happy hour with Laura behind Charles’s back.

Cut to the health club, where Erin chats to Sonny since her mother is late back from the Hamptons. Terry turns up at the last minute and is stunned to hear that the kidnapper is dead. She wants to know what Dirk says about it all but Erin doesn’t know if the police have spoken to him yet. Terry suggests Erin and Drew take off to the Bahamas for a week, all expenses paid, but Erin tells her no. She’ll be fine. She has a job to do…and takes a gun out of a filing cabinet on the way out.

That night Detective Rogers bumps into Drew outside Hartley Publishing and wants to confirm Erin’s alibi for the night of the murder. Erin arrives a short time later and Rogers excuses himself. Drew wants to go out for dinner but Erin tells him she’s tired and wants to stay home, which is code for going around to Dirk’s place and pulling a gun on him. Corelli has a suspicion this might have been Erin’s plan and he’s not far behind her. Since the gun is empty there’s not much he can do so he orders Erin escorted from the scene so he can have a quiet chat with Dirk about just how the dead woman had his hotel phone number in her possession. Dirk explains that he met Nora in a bar when they were both drunk and she told him the story of the kidnapping. He ran with it as a work of fiction and then met her at the docks when she wanted a cut of his money. He had no reason to kill her, he tells Corelli, because he’d already decided to pay her. Egos are expensive.

Jess pops around the health club to fill in Terry and Mike on Erin’s shenanigans and to deliver a copy of Dirk’s manuscript for Terry to read. Terry asks JB if there are any other clues as to Nora’s accomplice in the kidnapping but JB says not really – just that it was a man with enough inside knowledge to know how to pull it off. In the book, it says the kidnapper tampered with Terry’s car and that’s why she wasn’t there to pick Erin up but Terry tells JB the police looked into it and couldn’t find any evidence the car had been tampered with. JB thinks it’s possible Dirk was involved with the kidnapping, but that writing a book about it seems like a very odd thing to do.

While Charles and Laura go into damage control about Dirk’s new book (and Laura tells Charles he might need to have a word with his client), Erin returns to work. Drew is waiting for her in her office but Erin’s got more important things to do, like internet search where Dirk has been the last ten years. Laura confronts Dirk about all his shady dealings and he tells her that a) he had nothing to do with the kidnapping, b) yes he was going to screw over his agent but he won’t and c) the reason why he wanted a longterm deal with Hartley was because of her. Laura tells him if they’d had this conversation three days earlier, they’d be speaking in his bed. Lucky for her, they aren’t.

JB has a go at getting access to Dirk’s source material but she gets nowhere, only learning that Dirk made a guess that the kidnapper’s hideout was in the West Village. Over at the health club, Mike tells Sonny they’re going with someone else to manage the club in the Hamptons.

That night Terry confronts Dirk but she gets even more nothing than JB. At the precinct, JB agrees to help Lieutenant Corelli get his five-year-old son into art school, and exchanges theories on what Nora did with the ransom money given that she lived in a trailer park when she died. Corelli gets a hot tip that Dirk making it rain at the time of the kidnapping and decides to go over for another chat – only to find him dead on the floor with Drew hovering over the body. Drew swears he only just arrived but Corelli arrests him anyway. Jess finds a suicide note in the typewriter, in which Dirk confesses to everything.

Corelli thinks this is a clear cut case of either Drew killed Dirk or Dirk killed Dirk, but JB isn’t so sure. All of Dirk’s recorded interviews with Nora have disappeared – Corelli thinks Dirk destroyed them to save his reputation but Jess argues why would he do that if he was killing himself anyway. The whole thing is dodgy.

The next day a gunshot residue test proves Drew is innocent and Dirk killed himself, but Jess still wants to know where the tapes are. Corelli is more interested in knowing if JB’s friend has written a glowing endorsement of his son’s fingerpainting for the art school and JB tells him as soon as she’s heard she’ll let him know. (I like to think she puts these favours off until she can’t put them off any more). Erin is relieved that Drew isn’t a killer, but JB is stuck on those tapes. Where are they? Why did Dirk have them in the first place if he was a kidnapper? Are the tapes nothing more than Dirk taping the top 40 off the radio, rushing to hit pause so he doesn’t record an ad break (and by Dirk I mean me).

Jess tracks down the kidnapper’s lair with the help of Drew, who works for the City of New York. They find Erin’s secret stash of jacks and dried carrots she didn’t want to eat. A cracked painting on the floor gives Jess an idea. Over at the club, Sonny tells Mike he has all the proof that he and Terry have been embezzling out of Erin’s trust fund but is happy to be made a third owner of the Hamptons health club.  Terry and Erin have an argument in Erin’s office that seems to be about whether Erin blames her mother for the kidnapping?

Jess and Lieutenant Corelli go back to Dirk’s hotel room and dig around in the pot plant to discover a second bullet. Corelli gets a phone call and tells Jess they finally found the maid who was working Dirk’s floor when he was killed. She says she saw Erin at the hotel room the day Dirk was killed.

Sidenote, JB has her own sheriff’s badge.

LICENSE TO JUDGE

Erin admits to being at the hotel but swears she didn’t get past the front door. Drew followed her there and talked her into going home. When Drew went into the hotel room and found Dirk dead he assumed Erin did it. Detective Rogers informs them that Dirk had a big win on the horses at the time of the kidnapping, eliminating his involvement. A picture of a rabbit eating a carrot gives JB all the answers she needs.

After Erin leaves the precinct with her mother and Drew (and Terry calls the house to arrange dinner and a white tablecloth), JB sets her trap and waits.

Well, this took a dark turn.

Terry and Mike, dating at the time of the kidnapping, arranged the kidnapping to get the ransom to open the health club and then killed everyone who threatened to expose the plot. Which is all a bit grim, but I must admit this episode was a good one.

Later gang!

 

 

S12E14 – Murder in Tempo

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Welcome back to Cabot Cove Fletcherfans, where Seth is putting on a Benefit Concert Extravaganza to save Maine Woods. Not Cabot Cove woods. He’s going statewide and has enlisted the help of band In Tempo led by Tommy Vaughan – a band so beige Richie Benaud once tried to wear them as a jacket. (You’re welcome, people who are laughing at that).

Of course, there’s trouble in paradise. Seth is struggling to get everything done, Tommy Vaughan is losing his voice, band manager Wylie Trey is creeping and local businessman Jim Maddox is hoping the whole thing will flop so he can build a global hyper mega mart or whatever. Coincidentally his son is in Tommy Vaughan’s band. Life is a circle.

Anyway, Jim rolls in to ask Seth for payment for something.

Seth has no time for anyone.

Seth storms off and Jim tries to defend himself, saying some people prefer jobs to trees. Jess tells him he can build a factory anywhere, these trees have been here since the last ice age and will hopefully be here till the next one.

2019 IN ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION

Seth goes to deliver some paperwork to band manager Wylie Trey by getting his attention via the old jacket tug.

I mean really though, why?

The band gets shut down by an electrical short circuit, that Dan the local electrician apologises for. On top of all of this, some bozo with a shotgun decides to take potshots at Tommy Vaughan but misses. Chaos breaks out and Seth gets knocked off the stage.

Jess escorts Seth to the hospital and then back to her house where she gets a call from Rachel Weldon at Palmer’s Music Store, sponsors of the Extravaganza. JB gets caught in the middle of Seth rumbling about unpaid bills and Rachel fangirling over Tommy Vaughan.

In other news, there is a Bryan Cranston/Cher mutual appreciation thing going on on Twitter that is making me VERY HAPPY.

Jessica suggests Seth postpone the concert until he’s recovered from his injuries but Seth will not surrender. He thinks he should definitely not worry about the rain insurance for the concert though, Mrs Carter’s lumbago hasn’t played up yet and Mrs Carter’s lumbago is as dependable as the Rock of  Gibraltar. Mort pops in to check on Seth before heading out to investigate if the shooting was a hunting accident. Jess suggests he check with Tommy Vaughan, as she seems to remember he had trouble with a stalker the previous year.

Over at Hill House, Tommy and Udella are both threatening to leave In Tempo and Wylie has to do some slick talking to get them both to calm down. It turns out In Tempo have made the transition from being a good heavy rock band to be a great modern pop band (agree to disagree there sunshine) but their label is sick of the fighting and if they don’t get assurances that In Tempo is a band about a married couple being in love then they will revoke the contract. Tommy tells Wylie to leave the music to him and gazes at a bottle of gin. Wylie warns him not to or he’ll end up in rehab again.

I choose to believe this is an alternate ending to A Star is Born.

Tommy is summoned to the Sheriff’s office to spill the beans on his stalker in Denver but Tommy just says it was some weirdo with a badge of his guitar. Mort thinks differently, and Tommy cracks it. Mort tells him that his number one job is to keep him alive until after the concert.

After skulking out of the Sheriff’s office Tommy wanders down to Palmer’s music store to see his local fling Rachel. Jim Maddox’s son (and fellow In Tempo member) Blue Maddox is there too. Blue Maddox sounds like the name of a celebrity child. Maybe one of Brangelina’s army or a Gwenyth/Chris Martin production.  In any case, Blue went to school with Rachel and is clearly still in love with her and wants Tommy to stay away from her but she’s mad because he nicked off after school finished because old mate Jim wanted Blue to study engineering and not be in a band. You know. The classic tale.

Downstairs, Wylie runs into Jim Maddox who offers a thought – what if Tommy got an offer that would send the band out of town before the concert. Meanwhile, Seth wanders out of the bank after taking out a mortgage on his house to pay for the concert bless him.

That night, JB kicks off the festivities with a little speechifying as Cabot Coves Celebrity Resident who only lives there like ten per cent of the time, while Seth takes his medicine.

Seth’s self-care is amazing and I’m here for it. (But seriously, probably don’t do this. I am a cautionary tale you guys. Take tequila responsibly).

And because I can…

I mean…

While the crowd rise to their feet and the revolution begins, the shooter from the woods sets up outside but can’t get a clear shot and is forced to run when Deputy Andy does a security check. Jean the librarian (and possibly genuinely my favourite resident of Cabot Cove just because of the backstory) invites Tommy to come to check out her exhibition about the woods at the library.

Later, Tommy and Rachel go for a romantic stroll around the carpark, and Wylie and Jim Maddox go for a romantic sit in the car to talk business. Wylie tells Jim Tommy could be persuaded to go and have the surgery he needs on his vocal cords – all for the low low price of a million bucks for Tommy and a hundred grand for Wylie. In cash. That would leave Seth unable to pay, and Jim free to take the woods for himself.

Back at House Fletcher Seth is flabberghasted when he learns JB is staying until after the concert, and JB tells him she’s flabberghasted he remortgaged his house. Seth says he’s got a plan, and Jess says that’s fine, she’s here to help him get it done.

The next day, while I rejoice

Everything about this makes me so happy.

…In Tempo get back to rehearsing.

Told you.

Also side note, the drummer is my favourite person in this episode.

THIS GUY MAKES ME VERY HAPPY FOR REASONS I CANNOT EXPLAIN.

Over at the House of Fletcher, Hal Palmer has fixed JB’s stereo for her and orders Seth not to experiment with it which of course he promptly does as soon as Hal leaves, and a blast of metal crashes out of the stereo.

“Sounds like Ted Nugent.” Says Mort.

“Nah, more Metallica,” Says JB.

“Whatever happened to Guy Lombardo?” Asks Seth.

JB loves Metallica, this is canon.

That night, Wylie lays out the offer for Tommy – six hundred grand from Jim Maddox will pay for his surgery and get him back on his feet with his creditors. Tommy calls Palmer’s – Hal answers, but puts Rachel on. Tommy wants to talk, and they agree to meet at the concert site. As a tasty storm moves in to provide an appropriate atmosphere, Tommy explains to Rachel why he needs to pull out, and she’s devastated. JB and Seth work the books – Jess asks after Mrs Carter’s lumbago and Seth says she felt not a twinge…and he might get that rain insurance for Saturday. Tommy goes back to Hill House and tells Wylie he’s not quitting.

A new day dawns and the rain passes. Deputy Andy tells Mort they found a badge in the shape of Tommy’s guitar up in the woods. They rush down to the concert site to tell Tommy…but get there just as he is electrocuted and drops dead. Grim.

While Mort assists Jessica with her investigation and gets Dan the Electrician to open up the back of the amp Tommy was connected to, one of the band members tells Tommy’s wife Udella that she’ll be better off without him.

That is cold dude.

Dan the Electrical guy confirms that the amp was tampered with and Mort orders it off for testing. Seth bemoans the murder and violence – he never thought anything like this would happen when he started arranging the concert. Nothing like this ever happens in Cabot Cove except for the fifty other times its happened. Meanwhile Dan the Electrical Guy goes off for a quiet word at Hill House with Jim Maddox – he wants his payment now that the concert isn’t going ahead.

Jess goes looking for Rachel at Palmer’s. Hal tells her he hasn’t seen Rachel but he’s worried about her and has been since she met with Tommy at the square the previous night. JB ends up finding Rachel at the Sheriff’s office, where she tells them about her meeting with Tommy the night before, and how Tommy had been going to take Wylie’s offer but changed his mind. Jess tells Rachel they’re going ahead with the concert, but Mort says this is going to be difficult now the band are packing up and leaving.

While Jim confronts Wylie and demands his money for bribing Tommy out of the show back, JB goes to see the rest of In Tempo to talk them out of leaving. She manages to do so just as Mort arrives to arrest Blue, after finding solder in his room that looks like the solder that was used to tamper with the amp. Fortunately, Udella cutting the thread on a friendship bracelet she was making has given JB an idea and she takes off.

While Mort has Blue and Wylie in the cells for safe keeping, JB pops around Palmer’s music store and has a quiet word to Hal Palmer.

Because –

This is a depressing development. (Also, Ern Lively!)

Hal fell in love with Rachel after his wife died (which is SUPREMELY AWKWARD because I thought they were father and daughter for most of the episode) and killed Tommy because he was going to take Rachel away from him.

Grim.

Speaking of which, I have one last Murder She Wrote movie to live-tweet. So I’m going to do that, this Friday at 10am. Follow the hashtag #thelastfreeman on Twitter for that – so far all I know about the movie is that it’s heavily to do with slavery and the guy who plays one of the main characters is now in jail for life for murdering his wife.

I promise if it all gets a bit grim I’ll start some Game of Thrones theories. Like imagine if Angela Lansbury had played Lady Olenna.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

(And on Friday!)

 

S12E09 – Deadly Bidding

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Once upon a time in New York two years ago, Kenneth Rundle (played uncredited by Edd Byrnes aka Vince Fontaine from Grease) stole a Degas painting from a museum and took it round to struggling painter Angus Neville’s house.

I apologise in advance for this week’s post.

Angus assured Kenneth that he can disguise the Degas without damaging it, and showed him the painting that will go over the top of the Degas – an original work entitled Arrangement in Grey And Red.

Once upon a time in New York one month ago, Kenneth Rundle gets roughed up by a couple of toughs in a car park, looking for the Degas. Rundle has a heart attack and dies.

FACT! BASED! REPORTING! NOTHING BUT FACTS!

Once upon a time in New York right now (but more specifically 1995), JB has her Museum Board hat on and is on the phone to gallery owner Felix Wesker about an Arthur Conan Doyle manuscript he is selling. JB wants another look at the manuscript as Felix has screwed them before (unintentionally according to Felix) but Felix has already sent it to the auction house so if JB wants to look at it she’ll have to go there.

Do not mess with JB in murder mode or museum mode.

The museum’s assistant curator, Reggie Evers, is hoping that Felix has had a look at her boyfriend’s photography portfolio but he tells her he’ll get to it in a couple of days.

Felix gets off the phone and is confronted by Angus Neville, who wants to know why his painting is lit so badly and also can he borrow fifty thousand dollars so he can buy his painting back. Felix tells him absolutely not happening.

Angus isn’t the only one interested in buying Arrangement in Grey and Red. A dude by the name of Milt Solomon represents a private collector who doesn’t want it known he is interested in Angus’s painting so he is engaging the services of a representative to bid on their behalf.

This is Charlie’s last episode, you guys.

Charlie doesn’t know art or auctions, but he knows an inside scoop and he wants to know why Milt’s client is so interested. Milt tells him he wants to buy it, hang it on the wall and look at it, and all Charlie needs to do is not bid one cent over 100K.

Over at the auction house, auction chief Giles Havelock oversees final arrangements for the auction, while his assistant Diana Barrow tells Pete Dunning (Reggie’s boyfriend and assistant at the auction house) to tell the caterers that if she sees one more canape with cheese sauce or mayonnaise they are fired. Reggie tells Giles that JB is just finishing up her examination of the Conan Doyle manuscript and she has questions.

Diana goes to meet her boyfriend for a quick walk and guys wouldn’t you know it, it’s Milt Solomon. Somehow they know what’s really going on underneath Arrangement in Grey and Red and they want it for themselves. Diana’s furious that Milt only gave 100K to Charlie to bid, but she decides any other serious bidder will be someone who knows the true value of the painting and the only person she can think of is Angus, who can’t afford it.

Jess can’t find fault with the manuscript, but she just can’t shake the feeling that it’s a fake. Giles understands, he doesn’t trust anything either especially anything Felix sells. But it doesn’t sell for much, it’s had a couple of owners so it doesn’t seem worth faking. Meanwhile, Reggie and Pete have a fight about Reggie showing Pete’s photographs to Felix.

Speaking of which, Felix decides to take another look at Arrangement in Grey and Red but doesn’t explain why to Diana. He is interested in what she knows about the seller, Serena Rundle, and Diana tells him not much, just that she seems to be liquidating her late husband’s estate.

Back at home, Angus is having no luck trying to find someone to bankroll his efforts to buy back his painting when he gets a visit from the two goons who scared Kenneth Rundle to death. Angus thinks they are looking to buy one of his paintings but Mr Mezznou tells him if Angus bids on Arrangement in Grey and Red, or gets anyone to do so for him, Mezznou and his associate will kill everyone involved.

Auction night rolls around and while Charlie tries to make sense of such a circus, Felix tells Angus he’s worked out why Angus is so interested in buying his painting back. Angus persuades him to buy it and they’ll split the profits – Angus suggests 60/40 but Felix only agrees when he drops it to 90/10.

JB loiters in the corner throwing back bubbles and chatting to Peter. She confirms to Felix that despite her misgivings the museum will bid on the manuscript. Felix wanders off and Peter tells her he has to get some artworks out for the auction, but he’ll definitely look into the previous owners of the manuscript for her. He produces the code for the door on a piece of paper and gets inside while across the room Angus watches on. The newly widowed Mrs Rundle is cornered by Mezznou and his associate who are keen to find out more about where her late husband acquired the painting but Giles steps in and shoos them away. Reggie and Peter chat in his office, and Angus steals the code for the door out of Peter’s pocket.

The auction kicks off, while JB reviews the information Peter got for her in regards to the previous owners. The last three times the manuscript came up for auction it was through Felix Wesker, and the buyer had a T next to their name. This can only be valuable intel. Just as the manuscript comes up for auction, JB bumps into Charlie.

Guys if I could explain this I would.

JB has no time for Charlie just now though, she has a manuscript to bid on. That shady cat Felix decides to throw a spanner in the works by bidding to jack the price up (just like buying a house in Melbourne, probably) but taps out when Jessica reaches the limit the museum gave her.

Jess sits back to celebrate as the next item is brought up for auction – Arrangement in Grey and Red. Bidding kicks off at thirty grand and eventually turns into a bidding war between Charlie, Felix and Mezznou.  Charlie taps out at a hundred grand as instructed, but then accidentally bids four hundred grand on it waving at Jessica and wins it anyway.

Ah the classic accidental bid at auction scenario.

After the dust settles, Diana puts a panicked call into Milt who tells her he can’t get more money and she tells him she can’t either. Giles walks in so she hangs up the phone. Giles is happy with the evening’s result, though apparently a couple of Angus Neville fans aren’t too happy – they were on the phone bidding when Diana put them on hold and then they were disconnected. They were less mad when they heard how much the painting went for.

Over dinner, JB explains to Charlie just how screwed he is when a waiter appears to tell Charlie there’s a call on the house phone. Charlie’s surprised, as no one could know where he was but the waiter assures him the caller asked for Charlie by name. Charlie wanders off to see who’s on the phone – but it’s Mezznou and his pal, and they’re not happy that Charlie didn’t listen to the warning Angus received. Charlie tells them to back off, and they start laying into him. It’s only when Jessica appears and threatens to call the police that Mezznou and pal depart.

Jessica and Charlie adjourn to JB’s apartment for a nightcap but Charlie’s got a big day trying to find some cash and so takes off. Back at the auction house Angus breaks in and steals the painting. He takes it home, but no sooner does he get home there’s a knock on the door. Angus recognises whomever it is and opens it. He says “Look, if this is about my painting,” and is stabbed to death by the guy at the door.

The next day the police are all over it, led by Sergeant Unger who is stoked that JB was at the auction as it means one less person he needs to track down. (As we all know, JB is friends with every cop in New York. Clues are thin on the ground – there’s a piece of paper with what they think is a phone number on it (which JB recognizes as the security code for the auction house), a frame that has had the painting cut out of it, and the news that there was a theft from the auction house the previous night – Arrangement in Red and Grey has gone AWOL. Jessica mentions that that is the painting Charlie bought, and Unger is surprised to learn JB is acquainted with such a loser as Charlie Garrett.

Down at the auction house, Reggie tells Peter about the security code being found but he’s as puzzled as she is. He couldn’t track down any of the former owners of the Conan Doyle manuscript, but he did manage to find out that all the winners were phone bids. Upstairs, Giles is on the phone reassuring patrons about their security. He’s printed out a list of recent art thefts for JB as requested.

Milt and Diana’s relationship appears to not be surviving the disappointment of not acquiring Arrangement in Grey and Red, while Felix is sorry that Charlie’s painting has gone missing but he is too busy to care. Charlie tells him he thinks he knows where the painting is but Felix doesn’t care – he has a gallery full of Angus’s painting and now that he’s dead the value has quadrupled. Lieutenant Unger arrives and would like a word with Charlie immediately.

JB and Peter manage to discover that all the previous owners of the Doyle manuscript were dead when they bought them (awkward) and they stumble onto Kenneth Rundle’s obituary which happens to mention that he was a life-long bachelor, something that would be a surprise presumably to his widow.

Back down at the auction house, Unger has a word with Peter who has no idea how the security code ended up with Angus. It is very clear that Unger thinks that Peter is involved but simply tells Peter not to leave town.

Over lunch, JB explains to Charlie exactly what he’s gotten himself into – she has worked out what Arrangement in Red and Grey really was, and that Kenneth’s wife is a lie. Charlie is more interested in what the painting is worth.

I mean I could explain this, but honestly, some things are better left unexplained tbh

Jessica thinks it’s time they went to the police but she wants to know for certain Charlie knew nothing of any of it – and just as she asks this Mezznou and his friend wander over to their table, as Felix told them that Charlie knows where the painting is and it would be terrible if they all ended up dead from not sharing that information. Taking matters into her own hands, Jess spills a bowl of soup and they make a dash for it – only to run into Rundle’s widow, who is actually an FBI agent with questions, and Sergeant Unger, who has questions of his own.

It turns out the FBI was onto Kenneth Rundle for a long time, and they suspected there was more to Arrangement in Red and Grey than met the eye, so they decided to keep the painting on offer to see who else knew. The agent has plenty of questions for Charlie but Unger gets in first so she sashays away. Unfortunately for Unger Charlie’s alibi checks out – the waitress at the diner Charlie loitered at that night said it was like time stood still, six cups of coffee for a twenty cent tip.

I don’t know what that means either, but Jess does and she sets a trap to prove it.

And of course…

Let’s be honest, this wasn’t a complete surprise.

Giles was late to the ‘Oh that’s a Degas’ party, but he got there, and was going to bail out the auction house with it. Also the Conan Doyle manuscript was totally fake, which they worked out from a passing news bulletin on the television. Nice work MSW writers.

And so we say good-bye to another regular. Peace out Charlie Garrett, the not-quite Harry Macgraw.

Onwards and upwards, Fletcherfans.

 

 

 

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