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S09E07 – Sugar and Spice, Malice and Vice

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High up in an office tower in San Francisco, banker Paul Marlowe is wrapping things up for the night while his assistant Laura throws sass around. He suggests a drink, but Laura reminds him he is meeting his fiance Andrea. Laura’s more interested in hearing more about the merger but all Paul will say is he has insurance, and tucks a floppy disk into his jacket pocket. Laura heads off just as the bank’s boss Adam Quatrain sticks his head in. Paul tells him he is just leaving, and they get into the elevator discussing the merger with the Hong Kong bank.

Shady business dealings with foreign countries? That sounds like a job for the world’s second-greatest super spy.

Oh yep. I still got it.

Alas for the world’s second greatest super spy he is interrupted by the security guard and has to leave before getting whatever it was he was looking for.

Meanwhile Our Heroine has just arrived in town for a book convention but when she tries to check in to the hotel she is informed that Mr Smyth has taken care of everything. She goes up to her room which just so happens to be on the same floor as Paul Marlowe, and she passes Paul’s fiance Andrea in the corridor. (Andrea is being played by Ivy Crane from Passions. Man, that was a show).

Inside her hotel room JB notices a big bouquet of roses, with a card that only has a phone number on it. Of course she dials it – it’s Michael Hegarty with a warning. There’s a dangerous man in her suite.

Jessica DOES NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS

Jess tells him that she wants no part of whatever shenanigans he’s caught up in this time, but Hegarty tells her that he is here on leave and wants to take her out for lunch in an hour, that’s all.

LIES! DAMNABLE LIES!

Meanwhile, Paul is meeting with Luc Lee (aka Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi from Die Hard) to celebrate the final stages of the merger and to suggest Lee give Paul five million dollars as payment for his services and for keeping his mouth shut about the sketchier sides of the Hong Kong bank’s business dealings. To prove just how much of a team player he is, he shows Lee a video of Hegarty breaking into his office and suggests that some of Lee’s associates might be able to do damage control.

Down by the bay Michael and JB are strolling towards their restaurant when a dark car pulls up. Someone winds down a window and starts firing. Hegarty pulls JB and a nearby flower seller to the ground and the car speeds away.

“On second thoughts there’s a perfectly lovely restaurant at the hotel,” says Michael.

They return to the hotel, and happen to queue to be seated behind Paul and Andrea, who are about to dine with Adam Quatrain and his wife Cynthia. Andrea sees them and demands to know if Hegarty is following her. He tells her they need to talk but she says they have nothing to talk about, he needs to stay out of her life.

Michael decides he’s no longer hungry and Jess tells him not to be ridiculous, letting an old flame ruin his appetite. Michael tells her she’s not an old flame, she’s his daughter.

Up in the hotel suite Michael comes clean – his marriage never lasted and he was never much of a father. But his ex-wife died the previous year, and he heard Andrea was engaged so he did some digging and found out that Paul was involved with the merger with the Hong Kong bank he got worried. The Hong Kong bank is controlled by Middle Eastern arms dealers and Colombian drug lords, there’s no way Paul’s not guilty as. Long story short could Jessica talk to Andrea woman to woman?

Jess is sitting this one out.

Jess says she’s not cleaning up a mess Michael made years ago. Michael says if she won’t help him, maybe he will just have to kill Paul.

Guys I think I know where this is heading

Luc Lee, nose still out of joint after Paul’s demand for money, goes to see Adam Quatrain and his business associate Brad Filmore to inform them of Paul’s demands. He’s also unhappy to learn that Paul’s future father in law is a British intelligence agent. All this is news to Adam and Brad, who assure Lee that the deal is done. Brad shows Lee out, and Adam’s wife Cynthia pops her head in to tell Adam he’s an idiot for letting Paul into the bank.

The man himself is having coffee in the hotel restaurant with Andrea, giving her pearls as an engagement present and discussing plans. Hegarty spots them and quickly suggests a drink to Jessica, who thinks it’s a bit early for a cocktail. He switches it to coffee and sits down. Jessica sees through the subterfuge though and tells him he’s being compulsive.

Paul gets a phone call and excuses himself, telling Andrea to put the pearls in the vault for safe keeping. Hegarty follows him, despite Jessica’s protests. He tails him down into the basement of the hotel, but gets a whack on the head for his efforts.  He wakes a short time later to find Paul dead from a gunshot wound, Michael’s gun on the ground next to him. Before Michael can grab it and make a getaway hotel security arrive, closely followed by SFPD’s finest, Pat Hogan. Charlie the security guy tells Hogan that he got a call from a hotel staff member saying she heard gunshots , went to investigate and found Michael leaning over Paul’s body. They cuff him and take him away, past a weeping Andrea who demands to know how her father could do such a thing. Michael swears he didn’t. JB just looks unamused.

Jess goes down to the precinct to see Michael who is sticking to his didn’t do it story, but is more interested in making Jess convince Andrea that he didn’t do it.  She does her best, and asks Andrea if she can think of anyone else who might want to hurt Paul. She says no, Paul was about to get a big promotion at the bank, it was all good.

They return to the hotel where they bump into Laura, Paul’s personal assistant. She is super down about the whole murder thing, but has been sent by Adam Quatrain to find some missing papers that might be in Paul’s briefcase. They go up to Andrea’s room to find it trashed – someone was looking for something. Hotel security arrive, but since nothing appears to have been stolen there’s not a lot that they or the police can do. JB is suspicious of this. Laura excuses herself and returns to the bank. The security guy tells Andrea they will move her to another room but Jessica says not to bother, Andrea will stay with her.

Jess heads down to the precinct, where Adam Quatrain and Brad Fillmore are demanding justice for their colleague/sussing out just what the police know. They excuse themselves when JB arrives, JB telling Adam on his way out that they couldn’t find the papers Laura had been sent to find. Adam doesn’t seem to know anything about it and bids them a farewell.

Jessica tells Pat Hogan about the room being searched, which is the first he’s heard of it. Turns out Paul’s house had also been searched, but with apparently nothing taken. Presumably it was something to do with the merger, but Hogan says no. He shows her the video that Adam and Brad just dropped in, of Michael breaking into Paul’s office. Jess tells Hogan about the international conspiracy but suggests he hear it from Michael. Michael tells the tale, but as he has no proof there’s not a lot they can do. He freaks out when he hears they went after Andrea but JB assures him that she is taking care of her. Michael wants out of prison, but there’s nothing he can do until a bail hearing which Jess’s lawyer is trying to arrange for a few days time. On his way back to his cell Michael manages to knock out his guard, pinches his gun and legs it out of the fire escape.

Jess and Andrea return to their hotel room to find Luc Lee chilling out waiting for them. He tells them he is looking for a computer disk that Paul had, and is willing to pay 2 million dollars to procure it. Andrea and Jessica tell him they know nothing, and he’s not buying it but then Michael bursts in gun drawn to save the day. Lee departs, followed a short time later by Michael. He has a theory that Paul was holding something over Luc Lee and he’s determined to find out what.

Michael goes to see Adam at his house, but he knows nothing about what Paul was up to. Cynthia swears he was with her at the time of the murder, which Adam points out is a lie (after Hegarty is gone of course).  Michael then meets up with Jess and Andrea again – he’s convinced Lee organised the breakins but he has no idea where the missing information is. Jess asks Andrea what exactly happened when Paul got the call – she tells her that the bartender brought the phone over to Paul, who sounded like he was talking to someone that he knew, and then told Andrea to put the pearls in the safe before he left.

Honestly, why does Hegarty even pretend to know what he is doing?

Back at the hotel Jess and Andrea pick up the pearls. Jess asks the head of security who called in the tip about the gunshot but he hasn’t found out who. It was definitely a woman, possibly one of the kitchen staff because who else would be hanging around down there?

She really is (although I worked this one out some time ago. Let’s just say I learned from the best)

Up in the suite Andrea puts in a phone call to someone to tell them she has found what they were looking for. Michael doesn’t like it, the plan is too risky but Jessica tells him he will just have to butt out and leave it to the professionals them.

A short time later, the killer arrives.

Surprise! Nah just kidding.

Laura, who had created the file that Paul was using as an insurance policy, decided to cash in on the information before Paul could.

You guys! This is Michael Hegarty’s last episode (and coincidentally the episode in which I found out I’ve been spelling his name wrong the whole time!)  So instead of some freeze frame love this week I think we should look back on that time JB pretended to be a rich widow on the prowl in Jamaica, the place where it all began.

Until next week, Fletcherfans.

 

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S08E11 – Danse Diabolique

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It’s ballet time Fletcherfans! The most excellent of times!

JB is off to the theatre in San Francisco, where a production of Danse Diabolique is about to be mounted. It’s only the third time in history, on account of the lead ballerina dying in the two previous attempts -the first, in Russia over a century earlier, and the second in Paris in the 1920s. The gathered press and JB watch the footage of the Paris performance – the story of two lovers bumped off by death but reunited in the afterlife –  and JB correctly spots cause of death as a heart attack and everyone is rightly impressed.

Solving crimes via television, because that's just how she rolls.

Solving crimes via television, because that’s just how she rolls.

Considering the body count this ballet has produced, one of the gathered journalists asks where they will find someone to dance the role. Producer Geoffrey Presser is delighted to introduce the prima ballerina who will perform the role, mostly because it’s his wife, Claudia Cameron. Another ballerina in the crowd openly laughs while everyone applauds.

The role of Claudia’s love interest will be played by a mullet on legs.

That is one fine mullet.

That is one fine mullet.

The person standing on the end of that photo, basking in the reflected majesty of Damien Bolo’s mullet, is Edward Hale who will dance Death. (He is also Duncan Macleod from Highlander, the tv series that I still can’t believe was ever a think and you should totally watch it on Youtube because the early 90s were a goldmine for ridiculous television and it’s good to remember how far we’ve come).

Introductions over, Geoffrey invites the gathered crowd to stay and watch the first rehearsal. JB plonks herself in the front row, while Claudia asks the laughing ballerina, Lily, what’s so funny – she tells her it’s hilarious to think of Claudia as a maiden.  Calling it early, Lily is a bitch. Meanwhile, Edward is commanding stage manager Barry Carroll (aka the guy with the eyepatch from Days of Our Lives for those playing along at home) to move a flat, but Barry says the pulley system isn’t working. Geoffrey tells him to figure it out and goes to sit down with Jess, who helpfully brushes dust off his jacket because she takes care of the little people. About 30 seconds into the rehearsal Geoffrey notices a flat about to fall from the ceiling and yells “WATCH OUT” just before it comes crashing down. Helpfully, noone was hurt.

Later, back at the ballet company HQ, Barry approaches Lily looking for a dinner date to clearly rekindle something they had previously going on but Lily gives him the cold shoulder. He tells her when he thinks of her with Edward he can’t breathe but Lily just waits for him to release her hand and she sashays away. Over at JB’s hotel room it is revealed that JB is an old friend of Claudia’s, but there was a specific reason she was at the ballet launch – they want her to stick around and be a good luck charm to protect the production from the curse. Not that they believe in it of course, but theatre people are superstitious.

To be fair she literally just solved a mysterious death via a television. Not to mention solving the murder of a KGB agent last week.

To be fair she literally just solved a mysterious death via a television. Not to mention solving the murder of a KGB agent last week.

JB is technically in town for a book tour, but figures sure why not. She’ll be the resident cursebuster, no worries.

The next day Claudia confronts Lily about her behaviour and Lily promises not to act that way in front of the patrons again, but since there are no patrons there right now she thinks Claudia should retire gracefully and leave the roles to people young enough to do them justice. UGH LILY YOU ARE THE WORST.

Jess arrives at the theatre on her first day as official curse-buster and runs into Edward who offers his assistance. JB says he must be excited after being away for awhile and Edward thinks she’s being diplomatic – he’s been in rehab for a pill addiction but now he has a second chance so whatever he can do to help Jess she only has to say the word.

Barry Carroll shows Jess how the pulley system works, and what he thinks went wrong the day before – he’s surprised it hadn’t happened sooner, everything is old and falling apart. He tells Jess he used to be a dancer until a tumble off stage while dancing ended his career. Jess tells him the company is lucky to have him backstage and he is right chuffed.

Back in the dressing rooms Lily and Edward are going at it with their tongues. Lily is trying to convince Edward to talk to Geoffrey about replacing Claudia with another ballerina, say for example Lily, for the good of the company. Edward doesn’t think he can do it, but Lily tells him if he doesn’t, he knows what could happen. Edward nods and Lily beams. Oh piss off Lily you attention seeking cow.

That afternoon in rehearsals Claudia is struggling with the choreography and Edward is losing his mind. Damien is fine with changing the choreography but Edward calls and end to the rehearsal and asks Geoffrey for a word. Lily is delighted by everything. Later, when Claudia is leaving she hears familiar music and finds Lily rehearsing Claudia’s role. Except it isn’t Claudia’s role anymore, as Lily happily points out. This is confirmed by a sad Geoffrey and a solemn looking Edward. Claudia’s out, Lily is in. Claudia tells Lily she hopes there is a curse and that it comes true and Lily dies.

Fair call really.

The next day, Geoffrey finds Jessica backstage and tells her rehearsal is about to start. Jess tells him they need to talk. They adjourn to his office and Jess tells him she worked it out – it was impossible to reach the pulley that controlled the flat that fell without getting chalk dust on your clothes from the blackboard. And she remembers brushing chalk dust off his jacket the day of the accident.  Geoffrey comes clean immediately – he knew it wouldn’t hurt anyone and it would generate some publicity. He hopes Jess can forgive him and that she will still come to preview night on Friday. Jess says she’ll think about it.

Which is worse, obviously.

Which is worse, obviously.

Mullet update:

YOU CAN'T SHACKLE THE MULLET THE MULLET MUST BE FREE TO SPREAD ITS INFINITE WONDER THROUGHOUT THE COSMOS.

YOU CAN’T SHACKLE THE MULLET THE MULLET MUST BE FREE TO SPREAD ITS INFINITE WONDER THROUGHOUT THE COSMOS.

Honestly this episode is ticking so many of my boxes.

Rehearsal with Lily is not going well, as the mullet Damien is pointing out above. Lily is just not as good as Claudia, and a terrible partner. Lily tells him if he’s not up to it they will find someone who is, and Damien says she sounds like she’s taken over the whole company. Lily flounces back to her dressing room saying she’ll be back when they decide to act like professionals. Edward calls a break and screams at them to be better when they come back. Damien asks Geoffrey how he could replace Claudia and he says he had to do it for the sake of the company, and that preview night is almost here, they just need to pull together. Damien says fine, but one more stunt like that and all bets are off.

Claudia goes to visit Jess at her hotel to beg forgiveness on behalf of Geoffrey – they are all under enormous pressure and doing things they don’t mean (like yelling at everyone a-la Edward). Jess tells her it must have been hard to be replaced like that and Claudia says it happens – ballet loves young people, she just doesn’t know what to do now that she’s too old for it. JB reminds her that she wasn’t exactly a teenager when she started writing, and that age and experience are advantages not disabilities (Life Lesson #64).

Thursday afternoon dress rehearsal rolls around and Lily is nowhere to be found. Edward sends Barry to find her, and finds her sans clothes in her dressing room with Geoffrey Presser DAMNIT GEOFFREY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. After a bit of a scene Geoffrey delivers his message and returns to the stage, not noticing Edward standing in the corridor.

Preview night arrives at long last, and the scene backstage is chaos. Roses arrive for Damien, while Barry confronts Lily about Edward and Geoffrey and she tells him she’s sorry he can’t dance any more but that’s nothing to do with her and leaves. At the last minute a rose is swapped on the prop table, then curtain goes up. Claudia rushes to her seat just after the performance begins.

Basically the whole ballet can be summed up as follows:

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!... but you keep it all inside.

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!… but you keep it all inside.

Of course as Death disappears off the stage, it it revealed that he was a little too good at his job and Lily is lying dead on the stage. The curtain comes down and JB and Claudia rush backstage, but it’s confirmed. Lily is dead.

The police are called…

Any excuse to talk about Ryan Reynolds really (don't even start me on Deadpool 2. )

Any excuse to talk about Ryan Reynolds really (don’t even start me on Deadpool 2)

…and the accusations start flying. JB heard Barry arguing with Lily, which Geoffrey says isn’t a surprise it was Lily that Barry was dancing with when he had his accident at which point Barry says “when did she tell you that Geoffrey? When you were fooling around in her dressing room?”

Geoffrey says she called him to discuss her costume, and she was like that when she got there, dressing rooms are like that etc etc. Claudia looks horrified. Jess suggests they move to a rehearsal space so that Lieutenant Martin Kinicki can continue his questioning. He starts with Claudia and Geoffrey – Geoffrey admits to tampering with the flat that time, but says he had no reason to kill Lily, certainly not for publicity. JB asks Claudia why she was late to her seat when her car was out front, and Claudia says she went to get asprin, she had a terrible headache.

Mullet update:

SUCH MULLET-Y GOODNESS

SUCH MULLET-Y GOODNESS

Damien tells JB he didn’t notice the rose was real, what with being all psyched for the show and all. Jess notices a bouquet of roses in his dressing room and remarks how lovely they are, except it looks like one is missing. People usually order 12. Damien says he was lucky to get them at all – 11,12 what’s the difference?

He doesn't need to math, he has MULLET.

He doesn’t need to math, he has MULLET POWERS.

Jess leaves the mullet to meditate, but hears crying coming from a darkened room. It’s Edward, crying over what might have been – he was in love with Lily, he wanted to marry her. Jess consoles him as best she can.

The next day though, it’s back to work – undercover at a florists trying to work out who sent Damien the roses. Using a quality Southern accent and some bombardment she learns that Damien ordered the flowers himself. DUN DUN.

Down at the police station Damien confesses to swapping the roses, as a payback for Lily being a bitch, but that he didn’t poison them. This is confirmed by a passing detective who delivers the results of the autopsy – Lily was poisoned but no trace of the poison was found on the clothes, the rose, the skull, nada.

HOW ASTONISHING, says JB.

Jess and Kinicki head back to the theatre to examine the costumes. Kinicki wonders what they are looking for, but JB will know it when she sees it. Or in this case smells it – machine oil. Next it’s back to the police station to watch the tape of the 1920s performance in Paris. Between 6 cups of coffee and men prancing in long underwear Kinicki is close to breaking point but JB says there’s something she can’t quite put her finger on…

This isn't as funny as I think it is.

This isn’t as funny as I think it is.

Whatever Jess is pointing at on the television has solved the puzzle, in her mind at least. She tells Kinicki it’s time to go back to the theatre. “Aren’t you sick of that place?” Asks Kinicki.

“There are three things you can never get enough of Lieutenant,” says JB. “Chocolate, friends, and the theatre.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMEN.

AMEN. (Life Lesson #65)

At the theatre they take an electric lift ride up into the ceiling, until JB says “Say hello to our murderer.”

I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADING

I LIKE WHERE THIS IS HEADING

The next day, Geoffrey announces they will go on with the show, but a different show – Cinderella. The company aren’t pleased but Edward says the public love it. He’ll post assignments and they will begin rehearsal at 9:00am. Geoffrey says to make it 2pm – a maintenance crew are coming to fix the pulley system.

Trap set, Kinicki, and JB kick back and wait for the killer to come and retrieve the murderous skull. And he doesn’t disappoint.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Edward, permanently worried that Lily would reveal he was back on drugs, and seeing her with Geoffrey in the dressing rooms, correctly assumed that she would dump him the way she dumped Barry and took matters into his own hands.

So there you have it Fletcherfans! The show will go on and Claudia has decided to teach dance instead of perform dance. Case closed, I’m off to the beach.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S07E18 – Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy?

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YOU GUYS THIS IS THE LAST EVER BOOKEND EPISODE CAN WE ALL JUST TAKE MOMENT TO GIVE PRAISE TO THE TELEVISION GODS THAT THE MADNESS IS OVER.

But also:

Not for nothing, but the tide's a bit out in those teacups Stanton.

Not for nothing, but the tide’s a bit out in those teacups Stanton.

Dennis has taken umbrage at Jessica’s newest character Duncan Sinclair, a reformed jewel thief that now works for an insurance company that Jessica swears bears no relation to Dennis Stanton, except maybe Dennis inspired certain aspects of the character.  Dennis is sad he didn’t inspire more of the narration…

I MEAN THE NERVE

I MEAN THE NERVE

…but never mind that because he has a story he’d like to tell JB all about. Has she ever heard of Billy Boy?

And so, back to San Francisco we go, to a comedy club called Kate Kelley’s Comedy Club (nice name), where Elwood “Woody” Perkins is doing his ventriloquist bit with his sidekick Billy Boy. Because nothing says early 90s like a ventriloquist act.

The first show over, Woody and Billy Boy adjourn backstage where his manager Tom Benzinger appears to congratulate him and the titular Kate Kelley appears to tell him that he has to do another show at midnight, and she doesn’t care that he’s done eight shows this week already. CON-TRACT.

In the dressing-room, the act’s third wheel and token blonde Brenda McCoy demands more time on stage, but they are soon interrupted by the arrival of Vic De Marco, a performer of some sort who is about to do a run in Vegas and would like Woody and Billy Boy as his opening act. Woody is hesitant but Tom assures Vic that they will make it happen and goes off with him to have a celebratory drink. Brenda tells Woody not to screw up her their big break in Vegas. After the late show Tom tells Kate about the offer but she’s not interested – Woody is contracted to her club for the next seven months, an attitude even her partner in the club Joe Gelardi thinks is harsh.

The next morning, we find Dennis Stantion in his boss’s office explaining why he had to hire twin midgets to assist in the investigation into the Turkish Consul’s missing wife and jewels.

Clearly a rhetorical question.

Clearly a rhetorical question. (I would watch that show)

Robert informs Dennis that one more stunt like that and he’s out of a job, which means back in prison in case anyone had forgotten, and gives him his new assignment – a ventriloquist dummy has gone missing.

Dennis heads over to the club to get the good word on the whole dummy situation, and arrives in time to see former headline act Sally Templeton having a row with Kate over Sally’s requests to get her job back despite being a bit of a boozehound. Kate orders Joe to throw her out, and doesn’t want to hear his objections. She’s less than thrilled to see Dennis until he explains he’s not a lawyer he’s an insurance investigator looking for Billy Boy at which point she sends him down to Woody’s dressing room. Woody is bereft, but is quick to inform Dennis that Billy Boy wasn’t stolen, he was kidnapped.

d2

Dennis assures Woody that the insurance company would be delighted to assist should a ransom be demanded, but the alternative is Dennis gives Woody a cheque for 10 grand. Woody refuses, saying he will not work with a fake Billy Boy – he doesn’t want the money he wants Billy Boy back.

Sidenote I watched all of Stranger Things yesterday and it's amazing and I AM BARB.

Sidenote I watched all of Stranger Things yesterday and it’s amazing and I AM BARB.

Dennis takes a look around and has a chat to Tom Benzinger who explains that he and Brenda dropped Woody at the club on the way to see Vic di Marco, but that as soon as they got to his hotel there was a panicked call from Woody to say that Billy Boy was missing. The police did a bit of a search, and Tom, Brenda and Woody searched the place from top to bottom but there was no sign of Billy Boy. Dennis assures Tom that they will receive the cheque in a few days. Back at Woody’s house Brenda assures Woody that the doll they are picking up on Friday will look exactly the same as Billy Boy and Vegas won’t be any different to San Francisco so not to be scared and just do what she and Tom tell him to do mmkay.

At the office that night Dennis cheers up a heartbroken Rhoda, and offers to take her to dinner (now that his current squeeze has moved into the ex column on account of she wanted a ring on it), but a phone call puts a spanner in the works. It’s Billy Boy, asking Dennis to rescue him from a wardrobe trunk in the basement of the club. Dennis tells Rhoda dinner is cancelled and they head over to Kate’s. Joe is surprised to hear Billy Boy is in the basement, doubly so when he tries the basement door and it’s looked. The only person with a key is Kate, who is conspicuously absent. Joe thinks they are bang out of luck but Dennis has The Umbrella of Justice.

To be fair I have that reaction to Stanton's umbrella even now. And now I have Umbrella by Rhianna stuck in my head.

To be fair I have that reaction to Stanton’s umbrella even now. And now I have Umbrella by Rhianna stuck in my head.

Thanks to Billy’s phone call, they find him rather quickly. Joe finds it odd that it was so easy, considering the basement had already been searched but Dennis suspects Woody might have been the basement searcher.

And so ends the case of the missing dummy, just in time to start the Case of The Dead Comedy Club Owner when Rhoda finds Kate’s body on the floor. San Francisco’s finest are called in, and Lieutenant Catalano is delighted furious to discover Dennis is at the scene. Dennis explains about the missing dummy, but Catalano just warns him off the case. Taking it as a suggestion more than a command, Dennis leaves Rhoda to watch Catalano’s work and heads over to Woody’s house in time to see Brenda preparing to make a hasty exit. Apparently Vic DiMarco had decided to go with another opening act and Woody had neglected to mention it to either Tom or Brenda. Stanton tells Brenda it might not be wise to leave just yet, on account of an unexplained dead body and all when Rhoda calls in to let him know that the police found Woody and that he’s under arrest.

Down at the police station Catalano tells Dennis that Sally Templeton saw Woody leaving the bar an hour or two before Dennis arrived (and Catalano would also like to have a discussion about the toolkit Dennis has stashed in his umbrella). As far as the lieutenant goes, the case is closed – Kate stole the doll to stop Woody from leaving, so he killed her.

“And left the doll?” Dennis says.

Noone likes a know it all Dennis.

Noone likes a know it all Dennis.

As Woody has thus far refused to speak to anyone, including his lawyer, Dennis offers to help – with some assistance.

Dennis does not nail ventriloquism

Dennis does not nail ventriloquism

Woody, through Billy, comes clean. He didn’t want to go to Vegas so he hid the doll until he heard DiMarco went with another act, but when he went to retrieve the doll the basement door was locked so he called Dennis to get Billy because he knew he couldn’t do it himself. When Dennis reports back to Catalano however, the lieutenant is not bothered. It’s only when Dennis points out that whomever has the key to the basement is the killer that Catalano reacts – presumably because they didn’t find a key on Woody.

The next day, Dennis’s boss is on the warpath, not that Dennis is worried.

0 are the bothers given, and the number of the bothers shall be 0.

0 are the bothers given, and the number of the bothers shall be 0.

Robert is on the warpath having just discovered that Dennis has requested background checks on Kate Kelly, Joe Gelardi, Brenda McCoy and Tom Benzinger, but Dennis assures him he’s only doing to make sure Woody gets off – after all, they don’t want to pay out the life insurance claim Woody’s mother has on him if he gets sentenced to death? (I have questions regarding the logic of this, but I’m hungry so let’s accept that and move on!)

Rhoda appears with a handful of phone records and the news that Sally Templeton got a phone call from the comedy club at 5:42pm, which was a) after Kate was murdered and b)impossible if Sally saw Woody in the alley behind the club when she says she did. Dennis thinks that wants further investigation and so heads over to the club, where Joe and Sally are auditioning new casually racist comedy acts for the club. Coincidentally Tom Benzinger also appears wanting to talk to Joe – there’s a chance Woody could be getting released, since Dennis has a theory about everything, and so Tom is there to pick up Woody’s trunk. Which is in the basement. Joe tells him the basement is sealed off thanks to the police but Tom tells him Stanton is sure the trunk is down there, he saw it there the previous day. Joe gets Tom thrown out and excuses himself from the auditions for awhile. He doesn’t have any issues getting into the basement, on account of he has the key.

Kind of clunky but I'll allow it.

Kind of clunky but I’ll allow it.

He whacked Kate over the head after her lousy treatment of his girlfriend,  Sally Templeton. And so on and so forth.

But there it is guys. The last bookend episode of Murder She Wrote. There is an end in sight.

In the meantime, let’s all take a moment to contemplate the news that Angela Lansbury is in talks to be in the next season of Game of Thrones which even if not true is still a doorway to a whole world of memes that I can’t wait to see.

See you next week Fletcherfans

See you next week Fletcherfans

 

 

S07E12 – Suspicion of Murder

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So this happened.

I can't help but feel responsible for this.

I can’t help but feel responsible for this.

JB is taking time out from her meth lab gardening to tell us a story about everyone’s favourite reformed cat burglar, who is out at a divorce party for his friend, former pro tennis player and Warwick Capper impersonator Ryan Donavan. Dennis is distracted when he sees his friend Christina Hellinger, flying solo without her husband Ben, and they begin to dance.

At the end of the night, Dennis drives Christina home like the chivalrous gentleman that he is, and Christina confesses that she has split up with her husband. She tells Dennis he couldn’t understand how it felt to try and make a marriage work and he informs her that he made his work for 24 years – until the cancer claimed his wife.

Dennis thinks it’s time he should be hitting the road but Christina has other plans for him. Nudge nudge wink wink.

The next day, Rhoda arrives back from her lunch break to find Dennis surprisingly hard at work. He announces he has to go interview an antique dealer but makes a quick call to Christina before he goes. There’s no answer at her house so he goes over there and convinces the doorman to check on her. The apartment is empty but Dennis spots a blinking light on the answering machine – a message from Ben’s son telling him that he fobbed them off but the tax people are coming back tomorrow.

Dennis calls into the office

Basically a shoe phone

Basically a shoe phone

…and Rhoda informs him that Christina has been looking for him. He finds her at a hotel outside town, looking the worse for wear. Christina says after their little something something the night before she went to tell Ben it was over and he mistook her for a punching bag.

Dennis offers to escort her to the police station, but as they leave the hotel he spots a car following a short distance behind.  Dennis gets on his batphone to call the closest police station, but the car behind comes up and runs them off the road, wrecking the Dennis-mobile.

MAD DENNIS IS MAD

MAD DENNIS IS MAD

Dennis and Christina go to see Dennis’s old pal Lieutenant Catalano who promises Christina he will look into it – then berates Dennis for mistaking him for a social worker once Christina leaves his office. Ever the gentleman, Dennis gets Christina settled in a hotel under an assumed name, and gives her strict instructions not to call anyone or leave the room for anything. That done, he heads home for a chat with his late wife’s photo before switching off the light and sitting in the dark, gun in hand.

The next morning Dennis gets a phone call from Catalano, who ended up being awake all night worrying that he’d be done for dereliction of duty should Dennis happen to be bumped off. He tells Dennis no trace of Ben was found at his home or at work. Dennis decided to take a gander for himself and heads out to the house where Ben has been staying. He finds the car responsible for smashing up the Dennismobile in the garage. With a little help from the umbrella of justice, Dennis picks the lock on the door and goes inside to take a look around. Apart from an abandoned glass of whisky, and the discovery that Ben has some sort of steamroom set up in his bathroom, Dennis comes away empty handed. He calls Christina to see how she’s getting on, and tells her his next move is to check Ben’s office.

Dennis finds Ben’s sons Joe and Danny in the office in a heated argument over Joe’s life failures. When they realise Dennis was the man who reported their father missing, Joe gets uppity but Danny throws him out of the office before informing Dennis that he saw his father the previous Sunday, he wasn’t missing and that he should basically just jog on.

Dennis’s next visit is to his friend Ryan, the host of the party that set off this whole business. He tells Dennis that Ben was a bit rough around the edges and was never really welcomed into the San Francisco social scene, which upset Christina who was desperate for the love. He and Christina had a fling the previous year but he ended it when she got too serious.

Listening to Ride of the Valkyries on the way home, a police car pulls Dennis over to inform him he is wanted for questioning for the murder of Ben Dellinger.

Really Dennis, how did you not see this coming?

Really Dennis, how did you not see this coming?

Naturally Catalano has no opinion about this at all.

Clearly no response to this development

No. Opinion.

While they await the San Rafael police who are taking Dennis in to be processed, Catalano outlines his triumphant victory – that a phone tip said Dennis had been seen hanging around Ben Dellinger’s house, and that when police went to investigate Ben’s body was found in the shower at 4pm that afternoon with an icepick through the heart and a whole lot of unidentified fingerprints around the house. Dennis agrees that the fingerprints are his, but swears he wouldn’t commit such a stupid and obvious murder.

Catalano disagrees.

Nor, Dennis adds, is he brave enough to stab someone front on with an icepick.

Catalano couldn’t make sense of that either, but he’ll live with it.

The San Rafael police arrive to escort Dennis back to their jurisdiction, but Dennis is already 10 steps ahead – he busts out of the handcuffs and escapes. He goes to see Christina, but AMAZINGLY she’s checked out of the hotel. The desk clerk informs him that she checked out earlier that evening, and why yes she did make a phone cal to San Rafael. Dennis tests out a theory and confirms the number Christina dialed was the San Rafael Police Department. Meanwhile, Christina is back at home and telling Catalano just how terrified she is now that her husband is dead and Dennis is on the run.

Dennis decides to pay an afterhours visit to Ben’s lawyers to see just what tax trouble he might be into, and is nearly busted by a silent alarm and two cops.

The next day Rhoda is in the office reading all about her boss’s escapades in the paper while listening to Robert lose his mind when Dennis calls in asking for a favour – he needs Rhoda to track down the other call that Christina must have made from the hotel. Dennis’s next call is to Catalano, who demands he turn himself in at once. Dennis suggests that instead Catalano find out whether the freezer in the garage was padlocked, and whether Ben’s organs showed signs of frozen tissue.

Rhoda picks Dennis up later that afternoon and delivers the news that Christina did make another phone call – to Joey Dellinger. Dennis decides it’s time to fill Catalano in and goes to the police station. Catalano concedes that it does appear that Ben Dellinger was kept in the freezer and then moved to the steam to thaw out and that he no longer considers Dennis a suspect.

He's so delighted!

He’s so delighted!

Dennis has it all figured out. Joey Dellinger got cut out of the will and so offered to help Christina in exchange for a chunk of inheritance, and Christina did it because she wanted to get back with Ryan – and was a bit put out when she discovered Ryan wasn’t so wild about the idea.

So, to conclude:

What a surprise. Wait, that's not the right word.

What a surprise. Wait, that’s not the right word.

But I think we really need to focus on the really important part of this episode:

 

Later gang

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S07E10 – Murder in F Sharp

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That awkward moment when your nephew puts the wrong LP in the wrong cover.

That's right kids. In the 80s Spotify was called records.

That’s right kids. In the 80s Spotify was called records.

So I just googled the album that Ben accidentally played and it’s called Head On Collision, which is a New Found Glory song so can we just take a minute to ponder the fact that New Found Glory have apparently discovered how to time travel? Yeah, I know right!

While Ben is delighted to think that his nephew is now listening to Mozart courtesy of his Vaacclav Maryska album, he’s sad his nephew won’t get to hear the maestro play live. “You did hear what happened?” He asks JB.

Hear! JB got a blow by blow account. Apparently a certain friend of hers was tied up in the whole thing and just couldn’t wait to tell her about it.

I'm not going to lie. I love Dennis and his umbrella of justic a little bit, by which I mean a lot.

I’m not going to lie. I love Dennis and his umbrella of justice a little bit, by which I mean a lot.

Cut to San Francisco, where Vaacclav Maryska is preparing for a concert.

Seriously though, KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN

Seriously though, KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN

Vaacclav gets a visit backstage from his star pupil Nicole Geary, in from New York to see her teacher play. He’s delighted to see her, and less delighted when his wife Milena turns up. Nicole excuses herself and Milena asks Vaacclav why he didn’t mention Nicole was in town. Vaacclav shrugs, he thought he had. He tells Milena to take her seat, but she tells him she’s going home – this is one concert she’d rather miss.

Ouch.

The concert begins, but it’s clear that something is wrong. Vaacclav slams his hands down on the piano and declares he can’t play a piano that’s out of tune, before storming off the stage. After detouring through every bar in San Francisco he arrives home well sloshed. Milena tells him she heard about the show and she’s sorry. Vaacclav tells her at least it was short, and excuses himself to go into the study to continue his pity party.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

The important thing is I make myself laugh.

Milena takes herself back to bed, but is woken later that night when the fire alarm goes off. She hears Vaacclav yelling. After some hand-wringing and some door knocking by the building’s security, they managed to break down the study door to find Vraacclav in a pretty bad shape.

Serves you right you Spock-killing bastard. You think I'd forgotten about that?

Serves you right you Spock-killing bastard. You think I’d forgotten about that? 

Now it just so happens that Vaaclav has insured his hands and of course there’s only one man with the mad skillz required to investigate this insurance claim.

Classic Dennis.

Classic Dennis.

Dennis heads straight to the hospital to let Vaacclav and Milena know that the insurance claim will be processed expeditiously. Milena thanks him, but says they aren’t worried about the fire damage, Vaacclav’s recuperation is more important. Dennis apologises for not being clear, he was referring to the policy on Vaacclav’s hands. It’s obvious Milena knew nothing about this, but Vaacclav declares that he won’t be claiming, his hands will recover. There’s a knock on the door – it’s Milena’s son (and Vaacclav’s stepson) Alex. Milena ignores her son, and bids farewell to Dennis before leaving the room.

Dennis goes home with Milena to see the damage. Milena asks him how long Vaacclav has had the policy on his hands, and Dennis says at least 10 years. She tells Dennis Vaacclav was very drunk the night of the accident, and gets so emotional she has to leave the room. Dennis tells her he’ll only be a minute. He does a quick search and finds a challenge but resists the urge.

THE PRECIOUS

MY PRECIOUS!

Back at the hospital, Milena tells Vaacclav about Dennis’s investigation and begs him to tell her if he set the fire on purpose to damage his hands. Vaacclav tells her to leave so he can rest. DUN DUN.

Dennis adjourns to his office to study the footage of Vaacclav’s last show, while his boss Robert demands to know how Dennis can justify a $120 lunch expense. Dennis says he was getting information out of a forensic specialist.

“Oh yeah what was her name?” Says Robert.

Dennis has no time for your crap Robert.

Dennis has no time for your crap Robert.

Dennis, eyes on the prize, stops the recording. He can hear it, Vaacclav  is way out. Robert says doi, the piano wasn’t tuned correctly. Dennis goes to the concert hall and tries the piano out for himself – it’s in tune.

Meanwhile, Nicole goes to see Vaacclav in hospital, who is in fine spirits despite the condition of his hands. He tells Nicole he will start teaching, and has a pupil in mind…they could go to Majorca where Chopin wrote some of his finest…

Nicole laughs and says if she thought he was serious… “But I am!” Insists Vaacclav.

Milena appears to tell Vaacclav  the good news, he’s being discharged. Nicole excuses herself and leaves. Vaacclav  sees Milena’s face and tells her it’s not what she thinks.

Back at home, the doorman announces the arrival of Milena’s son Alex. Milena takes herself off to the bedroom while Vaaclav chats to Alex. Vaaclav tells Alex about a letter he’d like to reply to but you know, hands, so Alex offers to write it for him and gets the stationary out of the desk. Vaacclav  changes his mind and says he’ll go and get Milena – it’s high time their rift was solved. It’s obvious Alex has turned his life around, Milena needs to accept this. He goes into the bedroom and tells her he’s going out for awhile, and that Alex is ready to forgive her. Milena is disgusted. Her! Forgiven!

Vaacclav, after checking the time with the doorman (3:05pm) goes to meet Nicole for coffee, while a neighbour of Milena and Vaacclav hears a fight between Milena and Alex and sees Alex leave. Nicole arrives at 4:15, apologising for being late. Vaacclav  isn’t bothered, he wants to talk more about his Majorca plans. Nicole feels terrible, she thought he was joking – she can’t go to Majorca, she has classes and concerts in New York. Pish tosh, says Vaacclav. Cancel the concerts, he’s a better teacher than anyone etc etc.

After coffee they head back to Vaacclav’s apartment, where he discovers he forgot his key. The doorman lets them in – to discover Milena’s body on the floor. Everyone’s favourite San Francisco detective Lieutenant Catalano is called in, much to Dennis’s delight when he arrives a short time later. Catalano demands to know what Dennis is doing there, and he says he’s there to see an old friend. He gives his condolences to Vaacclav who tells Catalano (and Dennis) what happened. Dennis is interested to hear more about Nicole Geary but Catalano throws him out.

At the office, Dennis gets Rhoda to dig out everything she can find on Vaacclav Maryska. On top of all the houses he owns, and the overheads he has accrued, Rhoda also discovers a life insurance policy on Milena – but before Dennis can get excited she tells him Milena’s son Alex was the beneficiary, not Vaacclav. Dennis goes to see Alex who had no idea about the insurance policy. Dennis tells him he should speak to a lawyer quickly, before Catalano turns up. Later than night Vaacclav  goes to see Alex at his office at the rehab clinic and tells him there’s nothing to worry about. He asks Alex to retrieve his reading glasses from the car, and after Alex goes to get them, stares at the typewriter thoughtfully.

Dennis goes to see Catalano at the police station. Catalano is on the phone, barking orders at someone to search the apartment and the office until they find the gun. Dennis has heard about this mysterious letter, supposedly from Alex to Milena, that has only just conveniently turned up. Catalano doesn’t care, the paper has Alex’s fingerprints on it and the typewriting matches the typewriter in Alex’s office, he’s clearly guilty.

Unconvinced, Dennis goes back to his office to see what else Rhoda has managed to dig up on Vaacclav. She tells him that apart from some trips to New York, Vaaclav’s only other recent trip was to Rochester Minnesota – home of the Mayo Clinic. This only adds to Dennis’s theory that Vaaclav is behind the whole thing, and further demonstrates this by setting fire to some plum brandy.

For science! Is the best reason to do anything. Fact.

For science! Is the best reason to do anything. Fact.

Dennis decides there is only one possible course of action, especially since Vaacclav is out to dinner that night.

Safes are to Dennis what bookshops are to me.

Safes are to Dennis what bookshops are to me.

Unfortunately for Dennis, he is soon interrupted by a visit from the doorman and the aforementioned neighbour who swears she heard noises in the apartment.

Once a cat burglar...

Once a cat burglar…

Back at the office the next day…

ALWAYS FOR SCIENCE.

ALWAYS FOR SCIENCE.

Dennis is trying to prove that Vaacclav was able to write the extortion note. It turns out thatduring his nocturnal sojourn in Vaaclaav Maryska’s apartment Dennis managed to find two tickets to Majorca, booked months earlier departing in a couple of days, in the names of Vaacclav Maryska and Nicole Geary.  Considering Vaacclav was meant to be in Tokyo on his world tour, this would indicate that he knew he wasn’t going to make it. SUSPICIOUS. Rhoda also confirms that Vaacclav went to the Mayo Clinic but couldn’t get any info on his diagnosis – a situation remedied by a call from Doctor Dennis Stanton who discovers Vaacclav was suffering from degenerative arthritis and wouldn’t have been able to play within a year. Dennis is convinced Vaacclav is behind the whole thing but cannot see how to prove it.

That night, Nicole is at Vaacclav’s house where he  bestows the Majorca tickets on her. She tells him she just can’t up and leave to Majorca tomorrow but Vaaclaav won’t have a bar of it. The phone rings – it’s the doorman. Dennis is there with a cheque for Vaaclav. Nicole tells Vaaclaav she’ll call him from New York, and the truth comes out – she’s getting married. To a composer. A talented young composer.

Pun partially intended.

Pun partially intended.

As Nicole departs Dennis arrives with a 10 million dollar cheque and a theory. A correct one, naturally.

Damn right he is. #livelongandprosper

Damn right he is. #livelongandprosper

It happened exactly how you imagine it did. Vaacclav did it all for the girl, not stopping to check whether the girl wanted it done for her. You know, the usual.

Case closed. And only two more Dennis the menace episodes left in the series! Does that mean the bookends are coming to an end?

Stay tuned!

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S07E08 – The Great Twain Robbery

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Let’s head back to San Francisco Fletcherfans, where our heroine is on a tour promoting her newest book about a gentleman thief. The readers love it, but one person has some complaints.

God I genuinely love Dennis Stanton a little bit.

God I genuinely love Dennis Stanton a little bit.

Dennis has a hell of a story to tell JB, she can tell because he’s flirting outrageously. He points to a book on the shelf – it’s a recently discovered and never previously published story by Mark Twain. Jess remembers it well – the manuscript was stolen, and there was an insurance policy and –

“Who’s story is this anyway?” Says Dennis.

Hashtag bookend.

Once upon a time a while ago, a man named Lawrence Erlich announced that a previously unpublished story of Mark Twain’s had been discovered and authenticated by renowed scholar Professor Chandler Fitzpatrick. The owner, Anna Louise Barlow has generously allowed it to be published for the first time, and Lawrence is simply there to help ensure Anna gets what she is owed.

Naturally there is only one place where such a treasure can be insured, as Dennis discovers when he waltzes into work. He is rather surprised to hear that the person applying for the policy is Lawrence Erlich, and decides to take a closer look at the manuscript by setting a fire in his rubbish bin and filching a page while no one is looking.

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

Dennis decides to head down to the Mark Twain convention where the manuscript is to be unveiled and runs into Lawrence, who it turns out is a master forger and second only to Dennis in the con game (according to Dennis). Lawrence assures him he was better but that he’s been legit for the last 10 years (and is amused to hear that Dennis is now working for an insurance company). Dennis doesn’t believe a word of it, but Lawrence says surely Dennis can appreciate a man turning his life around?

It's pretty great to be fair

It’s pretty great to be fair

Professor Fitzpatrick finds Dennis in the lobby, and informs him that if Dennis doesn’t stop with his insinuations that the manuscript is a fake then there will be consequences.

Undeterred, Dennis takes the filched pages to his friend Konstantin Stavros to get a second opinion regarding the authenticity. Constantin is unsure – recently discredited by Fitzpatrick he tells Dennis his opinion is worthless.

“Not to me,” says Dennis, and tells Constantin that the professor was the one who authenticated the book in the first place.

Heh heh heh

Heh heh heh

Back at the Twain convention Anne and Lawrence are watching people with magnifying glasses examining the book through the glass and Ann is worried. Lawrence shrugs it off and tells her he will see her later. Anne’s daughter Lindsey arrives from London, freshly broken up from her aging rock star boyfriend but coping okay now that a priceless manuscript has turned up in her family’s possession.

At home, Dennis is telling a photo of his late wife Elizabeth everything that’s happened, especially the tearing pages out of a priceless manuscript part. If he’s right, it won’t matter. If he’s wrong he’s sure he can find another job with his qualifications, although what that job might be he’s not sure. He clicks the TV on just in time to see a news report that a fire at the Fairmont Hotel has resulted in the destruction of the Mark Twain manuscript.

DENNIS SASS-TON

DENNIS SASS-TON

Dennis rolls on down to the hotel to suss things out and finds a cop who says the fire was started by an electrical fault. Dennis wonders if it could have been arson and the cop says he hopes so, he hasn’t had a good arson case in months. Lawrence pops up and swears he wasn’t involved – he was at a costume party and still has the giant fig leaf he wore to prove it. Dennis tells Lawrence he’s going to catch him and Lawrence smiles. He believes Dennis is going to try.

At the office, Dennis finds his boss Robert Butler having a breakdown, and casually asks what the reward might be if someone could prove that the manuscript was a fake. Robert blows his stack, but Dennis isn’t after money – he just wants his CD player that Robert confiscated returned to his office so he can blast Mozart at anyone who wanders past.

Dennis goes to check on Constantin’s progress uncovering the fraud and is frustrated. Constantin wonders why Dennis has a bee in his bonnet about Lawrence and what it has to do with Dennis’s late wife. Lawrence, it turns out, made a play for Elizabeth when she and Dennis were going through a rough patch. BOOOOOOOO. Constantin tells Dennis that for now at least, the paper is genuine, the ink is genuine, the writing appears genuine – but not to worry, a warning bell has gone off in Constantin’s mind and until he can work out what that bell is, he can’t be of any more use right now.

Next stop on Dennis’s list is Anne Louise Barlow, but he instead finds her daughter Lindsey at the door, who takes his coat and flirts her little head off. Dennis asks when her mother will be home, and is told she is at the publishers office with Lawrence getting the transcribed manuscript ready for a bidding war with the publishing companies. Ah, so there is a copy, Dennis notes. Lawrence has thought of everything. Lindsey asks Dennis if he’d like something to eat, or drink, or to have dinner with her that evening.

Can't stop won't stop

Can’t stop won’t stop

Anne arrives home and is not entirely pleased to see Dennis, but he assures her he’s just there to confirm that the company will pay out on the policy as long as there is absolutely no chance that the fire was started deliberately. Lindsay tells him she will see him at Otto’s Grotto for dinner at 8:30, but Anne declines Dennis’s invitation to join, saying she has somewhere to be.

That night, Dennis blows a kiss to the photo of his wife and heads out to dinner, unfortunately missing an excited phone message from Constantin, who has worked it out. As he hangs up the phone, a car pulls up outside and Constantin peers through the blinds, worried.  At the restaurant, Dennis is about to declare himself stood up when Lindsay and Anne both appear in the restaurant, Lindsay having convinced Anne to come, and Anne taking ages to get ready.

After a presumably successful dinner, Dennis goes home, hears the message from Constantin and heads around to his house only to find the place crawling with police led by Lieutenant Catalano who figured Dennis had to be involved with a rare book dealer being shot. Inside, Catalano tells Dennis that Constantin was shot at his desk but managed to crawl over to his bookshelf and retrieve a copy of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Catalano’s theory – it’s got something to do with *whispers* adultery. Dennis examines the book but finds nothing.

Back at his office, Rhoda fills Dennis in on large discoveries of old paper – the most recent of which occurred in London earlier that year, but doesn’t know how they will ever prove that the book is a forgery, or if/how it is connected to Constantin’s murder. Dennis decides the only thing he can do is say ‘The Scarlet Letter’ to himself over and over until inspiration hits.

Life Lesson #60  - Just keep repeating yourself until it makes sense.

Life Lesson #60 – Just keep repeating yourself until it makes sense.

Armed with inspiration and his umbrella (which has a lockpick in it, he has Macgyvered the hell out of his umbrella), Dennis returns to Constantin’s house. He sees a figure searching the shelves and turns on a light – it’s Lawrence. Dennis tells him he’s looking in the wrong section and Lawrence pulls out a gun. He swears he didn’t kill Constantin but figures it doesn’t matter now.

And then the truth comes out – Lawrence has always hated Dennis for marrying Elizabeth, and for being rejected by Elizabeth even when she and Dennis were having problems. Dennis smirks, Lawrence goes to pull the trigger and Dennis shoots him with a dart from his umbrella. YES. They struggle and Lawrence manages to get away.

Dennis calls in the cavalry and Lieutenant Catalano is delighted to think that he is finally putting Dennis under arrest. He’s unconvinced by Dennis’s story that he didn’t know the page was still missing until Lawrence turned up looking for it, or that Dennis has only just worked out where the missing page is thanks to the clue left by Constantin. (It was hidden in Gone With The Wind – the Scarlet Letter was actually the Scarlett letter and was to do with a case Constantin worked on something something moving on).

Dennis goes to see Professor Fitzpatrick and tells him everything he knows about Constantin’s research. Fitzpatrick tells him he can’t see anything dodgy about the page. Catalano arrives to tell Dennis they found Lawrence at the hotel and points out the window. Dennis peers out and sees Lawrence’s body on top of an air conditioning unit.

Cut to Dennis clearing out his office on account of being fired. Rhoda is heartbroken but Dennis tells her as soon as he finds another job he’ll send for her, he won’t be sent back to prison. While he’s waiting for the lift he takes a closer look at one of the books in his box – the pages have red binding on them.

Dennis goes back to Professor Fitzpatrick and tells him he knows all – that Lawrence bought the paper from the people in London and forged the book, that Fitzpatrick authenticated it so it would appear genuine. Dennis doesn’t care about that though, he wants the professor’s help to catch Constantin’s murderer, Anne Barlow, the reward for Fitzpatrick being avoiding having his name attached to the scandal. All he needs to do is go to Anne’s house and find the gun that was used to kill Constantin.

Fitzpatrick has lunch with the Barlows and tells them they need to steal the manuscript page back from Dennis. Anne is horrified, does he expect her to go over and seduce Dennis? God no, Fitzpatrick says, Lindsay should do it. Lindsay sighs and says she’ll take one for the team.

That night, Lindsay drives away from her mother’s house and someone breaks in. The gun is retrieved from the pocket of the killer…

Plot twist!

Plot twist!

The police swarm in and Fitzpatrick puts a gun to Dennis’s head.

OH DENNIS

OH DENNIS YOU MENACE

Fitzpatrick’s escape is foiled by a well executed thrust of the umbrella that sends he and Dennis tumbling down the stairs, but Dennis is pleased to report that rumours of his death are greatly exaggerated.

Newly reinstated back at the insurance company, Dennis sets off for a date with Anne Barlow, who agreed to withdraw her claim for the definitely faked manuscript.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

S06E19 – Always a Thief

3 Comments

We're ba-ack!

We’re ba-ack!

Apologies for the break in transmission Fletcherfans but there was shenanigans a-plenty this summer, including the safe arrival of my nephew Harry  James Williamson as you can see by this incredibly Youtube recreation of our meeting.

On second thoughts, not so accurate. My brother doesn’t have that much hair. I am definitely a hornbill though. And my sister-in-law is basically Nala. And I’m almost certain my brother’s puppies bowed.

I should also mention, the blog appears to have accumulated some new followers so if you’ve just wandered onto this omnishambles of a blog I say welcome! And sorry! And I hope you enjoyed Breaking Bad because that comes up way more often than you think.

But never mind all of that, because we have business to attend to and by business I mean bookends. Our Heroine has just received a cassette tape letter from her old pal Dennis The Menace Stanton and while it was adequate, she can’t help but think of an earlier cassette he sent her about a case he’d worked on. Because as it turns out, Dennis The Menace has retired from being a cat burglar and is now a..er…consultant to insurance companies.

Would you like to hear the tale?

That question was purely rhetorical.

That question was purely rhetorical.

Imagine, if you will, a cafe in San Francisco called the Pepper Pot Cafe. Now imagine that the owner, a Mr Langston ‘Lanny’ Douglas has squandered his family fortune including the cafe.

Also, you probably aren’t imagining Lanny properly, so let me help you out a little:

SO GROSS.

SO GROSS.

Now imagine a mysterious stranger called Mahmoud Amini wanders in offering Lanny a lifeline – 10% of 2 million dollars. $200,000 grand easy money, as long as he convinces his mother to sell Amini a priceless Stuart Silver dollar that Lanny’s father bought not that long ago for a whopping five hundred grand.

(Bless the 80s. You can’t buy an apartment for that in Melbourne).

Lanny’s mother, Monica Douglas, is less impressed, mostly because she already has 2 million dollars and a great deal more besides. In fact, Andrea is furious that these foreigners insist on coming over and buying up her heritage. Her husband loved that coin and she won’t be parted from it.

 

**not code

 

Poor, poor Lanny.

 

Possibly not petunias. But definitely Pedro.

Possibly not petunias. But definitely Pedro.

More on Pedro later.

To make Lanny’s day just that little bit better, his wife Andrea saw the whole failed shambles and is toasting him with a 2pm whiskey.

 

*bah-boom tish*

*bah-boom tish*

Andrea’s got bad news for Lanny – she talked to her father about borrowing more money from him and while it amused him no end, the money ain’t coming. Lanny announces he won’t be home that night, he has to “work” in the city to which Andrea retorts that she knows how to play too. As Lanny departs Andrea realises someone has been eavesdropping.

Later that night, Lanny hatches his DIABOLICAL SCHEME.

Classic Lanny.

Classic Lanny.

Lanny sneaks into the study, opens the safe, steals all the jewelry inside, closes the safe, puts gelignite on the safe and blows up the safe closes the door to the patio, smashes the glass in the door for good measure and is promptly busted by Pedro the gardener, whom Lanny promptly stabs to death with a pitchfork.

Guys, Lanny is an arsehole. Who apparently has access to mild explosives. But apparently we shouldn’t dwell on that.

The next morning, the cavalry arrive in the form of Lieutenant Catalano (being played by Ken Swofford, because always). Catalano gets the low down from Mrs Douglas before noticing a familiar figure gazing at a painting in the next room.

Oh Dennis. I actually have missed you.

Oh Dennis. I actually have missed you.

Dennis informs Catalano that his bosses are the insurers of the magical silver dollar, and he’d like a word with Mrs Douglas if he might. Catalano can’t think of any objections so Dennis heads on in to see Mrs Douglas, now joined by her sister Grace Lambert (aka the woman overhearing arguments the previous day). Dennis gently interrogates them about the other occupants of the house, which Grace sees through in about 5 seconds. She asks him why he’s so interested in the fact that Lanny spent the night at a hotel in the city.

Why? Because Dennis smells a rat, that’s why and he says as much to his assistant back in the office. The timeline of the theft is all wrong. If Monica heard the bang and rushed straight downstairs as she claims, there would hardly be time for a thief to ransack the safe, smash the door, kill Pedro and flee the scene. And let’s not forget dear old Lanny’s been harassing his mother to sell the coin.  Dennis gets his assistant to track down the mysterious Mr Amini, while he pays a visit on Lanny.

On arriving at the Pepper Pot, Dennis nearly crashes into a hastily departing vehicle being driven by someone who isn’t Lanny. Dennis receives some resistance from Lanny’s associate on the desk, but after displaying the fact that HIS UMBRELLA HAS A SWORD IN IT (WTF?) Dennis convinces the man to stand aside, leaving the doorway clear. Inside, the office is empty but Dennis notices a small pool of blood, and a photo of Lanny and his wife posed in the office next to a ridiculously over-sized golf trophy, now missing. Dennis bids Lanny’s minion good day and returns to his office to fill Lieutenant Catalano in. Catalano is surprised to hear that Lanny Douglas is almost certainly deceased, and probably at the hand of the mysterious driver of the car. When pressed for more information, Dennis simply says “I’ve given you my pearls, don’t ask me to string them for you too”.

Almost definitely code.

Dennis’s next visit is to Mr Amini, who is Mr Affable until Dennis confronts him about the coin. He denies all knowledge of anything ever in the history of time, but after being informed the likely sentence for murder he comes clean. He did receive a coin from Lanny, paid for in 2 mill in cash, but it was a fake. Amini was outraged, but not as outraged as Lanny was when Amini got him on the phone. They had made plans to meet later that day to sort the matter out, so to hear Dennis’s theory that Lanny is now dead is worrying for Amini.

Later that night, the old guy in the car pulls up beside a ditch, pulls Lanny’s body out of the trunk of the car and throws him in it.

Conclusive.

The next day, Dennis’s expert confirms that the coin is a fake and demands her payment be dinner with Dennis that Friday. Dennis looks unhappy at the prospect.

Dennis is about to out-Hegarty Hegarty.

Dennis is about to out-Hegarty Hegarty.

Dennis’s boss is curious though. Who has the coin? Lanny? Dennis thinks not, and here’s another thing – where’s the 2 million dollars?

Dennis returns to the scene of all the crimes, and on the way in passes the mysterious car driver leaving the Douglas family driveway. Inside, Grace Lambert informs Dennis that Monica is too worried about her son to see him right now. It’s clear that Grace doesn’t like Dennis very much. (Possibly wise.) Dennis asks about the mysterious man in the car, and Grace tells him that that was Lanny’s father -in-law, Ray Bascomb.

THIS PLOT IS THICK FLETCHERFANS.

As Dennis departs he runs into Lieutenant Catalano, who tells him Lanny Douglas’s body has just been discovered. Back at the office Dennis is filled in by his assistant about the body, and that Lanny still had his wallet, cash and ring on him, so it probably wasn’t robbery. Except the silver dollar and the 2 mill are missing so it almost definitely was. Dennis tells his assistant to find out all she can about Grace Lambert while he pays a visit on Ray Bascomb.

Ray is hard at work overseeing a photoshoot involving a model and some pigeons but takes time to inform Dennis he was shocked by the news of his son-in-law’s death.

“Was that before or after you killed him?” Dennis inquires.

Bascomb doesn’t take very kindly to this, and refuses to say another word. Not when Dennis explains that he knows Ray went to see Lanny. Not when Dennis informs him that it’s impossible to remove all evidence of a dead body from a car. Not when Dennis tells him that the police are at the site where the body was dumped taking plaster casts of the car treads. Not even when Dennis takes that back, as the sirens grow louder, and he tells Ray he thinks they’ve finished.

At the police station, Ray tells Dennis and Catalano that he went to see his son-in-law to not give him money to his face, but that he didn’t kill him. Catalano gets called away, but Dennis isn’t done yet. He asks Ray if it’s true that he only went to see Lanny after a hysterical phone call his secretary remembers he got at work. Dennis thinks Andrea killed Lanny and got her father to cover it up but Ray ain’t talkin.

Dennis returns to House Douglas but is refused entry by a super-apologetic housekeeper who tells him Monica is out and Andrea is not to be seen by anyone. Dennis gallantly responds to this news by jumping into the nearest hedge.

I can relate. I have a sneaking suspicion I too have jumped into a hedge yelling FOR SPARTAAAAA at some point. #dejavu

I can relate. I have a sneaking suspicion I too have jumped into a hedge yelling FOR SPARTAAAAA at some point. #dejavu

Dennis might not have quite achieved high level ninja status but he has achieved boss level cat burglar status and so climbs the nearest drainpipe to see Andrea for himself. Inside, Andrea comes clean.

Well, Dennis said it was so, and lo so it was. Or something. Honestly, I'm still wondering whose bush I jumped into.

Well, Dennis said it was so, and lo so it was. Or something. Honestly, I’m still wondering whose bush I jumped into.

She went to see him and they fought. He told her he didn’t need her any more so she lashed out. She doesn’t want her father to go to prison for her crime, and asks Dennis to take her to the police station. Dennis agrees, but has one last question – does she remember seeing a brown briefcase in the office when she was there with Lanny?

Andrea does, but wants to know why that’s important. Dennis tells her it’s terribly important – the briefcase was gone by the time her father went round to move the body.

Oh yeah, that whole burglary business.

Back at the Pepperpot Cafe, Lanny’s minion (whose name, it turns out, is Joey Freeman) has just closed up for the night and is set to kick back in the freezer room with his briefcase full of money when Dennis sneaks up on him. Joey pulls a gun and warns Dennis not to come any closer, he knows about Dennis’s magical umbrella/sword. Dennis informs him is umbrella isn’t also a sword, aims the umbrella AND SHOOTS A TRANQUILIZER DART INTO JOEY’S NECK DENNIS STANTON WHAT EVEN ARE YOU??

Dennis delicately steps over a now comatose Joey, retrieves the money and departs. The next day, Dennis goes to explain the whole story to Monica Douglas who is naturally devastated by the whole situation. Dennis isn’t done though – he thinks he’s worked out why Grace doesn’t like him. He thinks he reminds her of someone she once loved – Jerome Woodward.

Monica is surprised – that was ten years ago, who told him about that? Dennis makes it his business to know who he’s dealing with. Monica says it was a difficult time in their lives, but Grace returns and says it wasn’t for her. It was, for awhile, a wonderful time. She offers to show the grounds to Dennis who cheerfully accepts.

As they stroll, the story comes out. The story about how Grace was wooed by a rogue who went after her money, and how he convinced her to swap the original Stuart silver dollar for a fake, and who ran off with it.

Dennis is outraged and promptly invites himself to lunch to cheer Grace up immediately.

And so ends the Case of the Silver Coin.

Keith Michell passed away just before Christmas so in honour of everyone’s favourite reformed cat burglar:

And if I jumped into your bush yelling FOR SPARTAAA then I apologise.

And if I jumped into your bush yelling FOR SPARTAAA then I apologise.

 

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