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S06E10 – Class Act

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Once upon a time, in a magical faraway land called Los Angeles, there was a hobo named Leo Gunderson. Leo was wandering along a beach late one night, looking for somewhere to sleep when he heard a scream on the other side of the sand dunes. When he rushed to see what the matter was, a dark figure slammed into him and pushed him down. After he dusts himself off he goes to investigate and finds the body of a woman lying in the dunes just as the police arrive.

That’s right Fletcherfans. It’s story time with JB again.

A few months after Leo’s arrest the detective in charge of the case, JB’s pal Jake Ballinger is staggered to learn that Leo confessed, when it was obvious that he didn’t do it. His boss tells him the case is closed and when Jake threatens to go over his head the lieutenant says it wouldn’t make a difference – the case is done and Jake’s been reassigned to the teaching position at Freemont University. It would appear someone wants Jake out of the police department rather badly.

Is it me or does this guy look like someone tried to morph Dustin Hoffman and Leslie Nielsen together?

Is it me or does this guy look like someone tried to morph Dustin Hoffman and Leslie Nielsen together?

On Jake’s first day of class it’s already apparent that the course he’s to be teaching is widely recognised as the bludge class, and there are people throwing paper airplanes around to prove it. Paper airplanes? At a university? I mean, turning up to class after just getting home from the pub, sure. Getting to class late because you thought something was about to happen in Passions, absolutely. But paper planes? Honestly, fictional students. Lift your game.

In a move that will be filed under “Things That Would Never Happen On TV today”, Jake quiets the rabble by firing his gun into the air before informing them that there’s a new sheriff in town. He gives them 24 hours to decide whether they want to continue with the course and lets them go. That night  when Jake is chillaxing at home with his daughter Janie, he declares with absolute certainty that there will be no-one at the class tomorrow but his mood darkens when he gets a phone call from the hospital – the mother of Leo Gundarson was just hit by a car and is asking for him. He goes to see her and she tells him Leo only confessed because they told him he would get the death penalty if he didn’t. She begs Jake to keep investigating.

The next morning Jake visits an old friend in the forensics lab to suss out the evidence gathered after the murder, specifically a tyre tread cast, but his friend tells him the case is closed and sealed and there’s nothing he can do about it. Upstairs, his boss reminds him that he’s a teacher now, and that while it’s a crappy deal, Jake is six years away from his pension and to ride it out.

At the university, Jake’s gunshow has had the expected affect:

The guy in the front there grew up to be George Clooney's production partner, and won an Oscar for Argo. #FactBasedReporting #ItFeelsWeirdToBeDoingIt

The guy in the front there grew up to be George Clooney’s production partner, and won an Oscar for Argo. #FactBasedReporting #ItFeelsWeirdToBeDoingItThough

Bernie Berndlestein is nothing compared to Elizabeth Mills sitting behind him though, especially when Jake feels the need to comment on the presence of someone of Elizabeth’s…maturity.

The face of every actress when they're told they're too old to play a part (and my face when someone says I'm really funny for a girl)

The face of every actress when they’re told they’re too old to play a part (and my face when someone says I’m really funny for a girl)

Elizabeth, taking the course to get a promotion at the insurance company where she works as a claims investigator, enquires as to what textbook they will be using, but Jake’s decided it’s going to be more of a practical course.

Cut to the beach where the murder took place. While Elizabeth deals with sand in her heels, Bernie explains to Jake that he’s actually taking the course in order to become a PI.

heh heh heh

heh heh heh

Jake tells them the story of Leo’s arrest for the murder of Janet Carr, and says there’s nothing against a current case being turned into a class project. Is this basically the first season of How to Get Away With Murder? (I only just started watching the first season, Viola Davis is fierce as hell).

While Jake goes back to the university to demand such things as An Office and A Secretary, Elizabeth jumps into the case and begins calling around to find out if the dead woman had an insurance policy. She strikes gold and heads out to the home of the beneficiary of the policy, Jeremy Summerfield. Mrs Summerfield is friendly until Elizabeth asks for Jeremy – Jeremy, it turns out, is the new son of Mr and Mrs Summerfield. Mrs Summerfield takes her son back into the house, but Elizabeth is able to dig up some dirt from the neighbours and calls Jake. Janet Carr is actually Jeanette Cardini, and was the birth mother of Jeremy Summerfield. The nuns at the home for wayward girls where Janet stayed for a time is not willing to divulge any information, but does tell them that Janet made a call to Sacramento the night before she gave birth. Elizabeth, hot on the scent, calls the number pretending to be a wrong number and finds out that the phone belongs to State Senator Andrew Grainger.

Wait, this is more Scandal than How to Get Away With Murder. DRAHMAH.

After stopping in to meet his new secretary and move a bookcase (Why?) Jake heads right on over to the offices of Andrew Grainger. Grainger is more than delighted to meet Jake until the name Janet Carr comes up, at which point he hits the panic button in his desk, summoning his aide Colin Hale. They clam up about any knowledge of the girl, but Jake spots a photo of Grainger’s son on the desk and puts two and two together. Grainger and Hale warn him off the case but Jake’s not having a bar of that. He bids them good day and leaves. Grainger tells Hale to make sure that the record is sealed, neither he nor his son had anything to do with it and he won’t have his son’s future marred by this.

What a lovely bloke. Urgh.

Jake summons Elizabeth to his favourite diner and fills her in on what he’s learned and tells her to try and suss out this Son of Grainger. That night however, while Jake deals with the concept of his daughter moving in with a guy, Elizabeth drops by to report on what she’s learned.  Douglas Grainger was definitely having a thing with Janet Carr, there was a hint of blackmail but then the bad news – both Graingers were in Hawaii at a golf tournament the night Janet died.

context shmontext

context shmontext

Apparently, this nails it for Jake who decides to perform the solution as Richard the Third.

“Dispute not with her, she is a lunatic”: every one of my report cards ever.

While Moira the secretary doesn’t care for Shakespeare’s language, Jake is proving a point – whether he was implicitly told to or not, he thinks Colin Hale killed Janet Carr to make his boss happy. He has a theory of how to prove it, by getting hold of the car Hale hired the night of the murder.

I AM THE ONE WHO POURS

I AM THE ONE WHO POURS

And the cast is a match. The theory is confirmed, Fletcherfans.

I want to see more crimes solved by Shakespearian performance now that I think about it

I want to see more crimes solved by Shakespearian performance now that I think about it

Murder She Blogged is actually taking a week off, but shall return for more wildly inaccurate recaps in two weeks.

But for now, Fletcherfans

BRB, Fletcherfans!

BRB, Fletcherfans!

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S04E05 – The Way to Dusty Death

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Fletcherfans, remember that time I discovered Benjamin Horne and Tony from West Side Story were the same person? Well he’s back but this time as Morgan McCormack, the heir apparent  to the throne of business tycoon Duncan Barnett. His wife Virginia has enlisted the help of three witches a psychic to try to predict when said ascension is going to take place. Luckily for Lord and Lady Macbeth, the psychic has good news – he will take over sooner rather than later. But beware! There is a determined woman with a will far greater than even his.

And then the psychic tries to steal Morgan’s watch. But it’s all good news really. Lady Macbeth is beside herself, and even more so when a call from Duncan Barnett comes in inviting them to a weekend at his estate. (Side note, whenever the I hear the name Duncan this happens inside my brain.)

The only thing puzzling Lady Macbeth is who is this mysterious determined woman with a great will?

Seems appropriate

Seems appropriate

JB has also been invited to Duncan’s little shindig as she loves to have a beer with him is on the board of directors. She’s not just there to make up the numbers though. Duncan wants to close down a paper mill in Cabot Cove, and JB is having none of it.

Unrelated: Duncan Barnett looks like an older version of Steven Moffat. *mumbles something about Duncan Barnett being better at writing female characters than Steven Moffat*

Ahem. 

Next to arrive is Spruce Osborne (not kidding) with his girlfriend Serena “Just one name, like Ann-Margaret”. Duncan’s wife Lydia introduces them to Jess but Jess is already acquainted with the Sprucester – he’s after her shares in the company. JB wonders at Spruce’s presence at what appears to be a special gathering of the board but Lydia has no idea what her husband is up to.

That night, as they gather for drinks and desserts on the terrace, Lord and Lady Macbeth mutter to themselves that Duncan isn’t going to announce his retirement, while Lydia gives her husband side-eye as he cosies up to the only other female on the board, the conveniently named Anne Hathaway. Lydia reminds her husband to take his heart medication, and the Sprucester is horrified when he takes it with seltzer instead of brandy. Duncan informs him that his doctor only permits one brandy a day, which he takes right before bed. He sticks to it, because he plans to be around for a long long time, much to the general dismay of almost everyone gathered.

Well, that’s the nail in the coffin right there.

As he goes up to bed, Lord and Lady Macbeth and Tom and Kate Dutton scurry after him to try to allay any suspicion that they wanted him dead/retired. He just laughs at them and goes to bed. Lady Macbeth doesn’t take kindly to being mocked and decides it would be a better idea to kill him.

That night, JB is reading Macbeth a book when the lights flicker. She notes the time, 12:15am, because JESSICA FLETCHER MISSES NOTHING. The next morning she is woken by a screaming Lydia.

You're welcome, fellow nerds.

You’re welcome, fellow nerds.

Will it surprise you to know that King Duncan is dead from a television in the bathtub? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

#sorrynotsorry

#sorrynotsorry

Doctor Grayson is called, and he decides that Duncan had a massive heart attack either before or after the TV went in the tub. JB goes to get Lydia the glass of brandy she’d spotted earlier but it’s disappeared. Macbeth comes in to offer his condolences to Lydia and to tell JB he’s called an emergency board meeting for that night. He tells her she doesn’t have to be there, but JB tells him she thinks she should be there if they are electing a new chairman.

That night, as they all meet in the boardroom at Barnett Industries Macbeth and Tom Dutton compete over who can fawn over JB the most. While the new arrival, Q.L Frubson arrives and tries to work out which board meeting he’s at, JB sneaks into the kitchen and calls Doctor Grayson – she suspects Duncan might have been murdered but has no proof.

Macbeth calls a vote to elect a new chairman, He gets two votes, Tom Dutton gets two votes, Anne Hathaway abstains but gets a vote from Q L, leaving the deciding vote to Jess who is unwilling to cast a vote without knowing the candidate’s positions on things. This is not good news for Q L who announces it’s gonna be a long night. He goes in to change his plane reservation, but actually calls the Sprucester, and tells him he has things under control. The meeting drags on until morning, when a compromise is finally reached between Macbeth and Tom Dutton – Macbeth is to be temporary chairman for ninety days.

That crisis temporarily averted, JB returns to her suspicion that Duncan was murdered. While she waits for the results of the drug test to come back she tells Macbeth of her concern for the company if there is a murder investigation and asks him if he heard anything suspicious, since he and Lady Macbeth were in the suite next to him. Macbeth is very quick to inform JB that both he and Lady Macbeth were asleep by 11:30pm. JB then goes to see the Sprucester, who tells her that he sold his shares in Barnett Industries that morning, and is no longer terribly interested in the company.

The next day, JB attends the wake for Duncan and confides her suspicions to Doctor Grayson, that Duncan was killed by an overdose of heart medication. She suspects that it was in the brandy but that it can’t have been as she saw the full brandy glass the morning after Duncan died. The good doctor does some checking and discovers that four of Duncan’s digitalis pills are unaccounted for. Tom Dalton’s wife Kate overhears their conversation and drops a vase in shock – Duncan murdered? Inconceivable!

Kate Dutton manages to get over her shock enough to tell JB and Doctor Grayson that she heard the Sprucester’s girlfriend Serena in the hot tub with Duncan the night he died. Jess confirms this when she finds one of Selena’s charms on the floor near the hot tub.

Later, when Jessica is leaving the graveyard after Duncan’s service, she runs into Doctor Grayson and the lieutenant. There was no trace of digitalis found in Duncan’s system. He was electrocuted when the TV went in the tub, either accidentally or on purpose.

Back at the Barnet house, JB spots Serena sneaking upstairs, presumably looking for her charm. Jess confronts her and she admits to knowing Duncan before she arrived at the house that weekend. She had in fact ended up with the Sprucester on Duncan’s orders, to keep track of him so to speak. She swears he was alive when she left him in the hot tub at 12:15 though and has the Sprucester as an alibi. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more.

JB finally confronts Lord and Lady Macbeth, who try to bluff it out but eventually Lady Macbeth comes clean. Her husband got chicken when he heard the woman’s voice in the hot tub, leaving Lady Macbeth to put the digitalis in the brandy. She doesn’t know if it was Serena or not, as the water was running and the door was closed.

And therein lies the final clue, apparently.

Or as I shall always think of her, Other Lady Macbeth of Death

Or as I shall always think of her, Other Lady Macbeth of Death

So we weren’t entirely wrong. She wanted her husband to get a better deal, Duncan laughed at her, she got mad and threw the television in the hot tub.

In other words…

#neversorry

#neversorry

And on that note…

Later gang!

Later gang!