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S12E16 – Murder Among Friends

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Welcome back to sunny Los Angeles Fletcherfans, where JB is working on a documentary series about mysteries. The producer of her show, Leo Vardian, has been dropping the ball a bit thanks to the runaway success of the show he co-produces with his wife Ricki. It’s a show about six friends who sit around all day in a coffee shop, entitled BUDS.

Coincidentally my face when the music faded in at the start of the episode.

Tensions are high on the set of BUDS. Despite the roaring success of the show, there’s a rumour going around that the network wants some people cut. JB’s mate in the above pic is staff writer Gene Gains, who took JB’s writing course and got such bad marks he immediately swapped to comedy instead.

Speaking of comedy…

WHAT EVEN IS THIS EPISODE

Leo (on the left) is being chased for a limo payment for one of the BUDS (Timothy) by his father Roy Flint, who also happens to be a cop. After bickering, Leo agrees to foot half the bill to make the conversation end.

Next on Leo’s agenda is his wife Ricky, who is on the phone to the network about cutting two of the BUDS. Ricky doesn’t want to do it, but the network is under new management and they’re looking to cut costs. Leo wants to know why Ricky is nicer to everyone else, and Ricky tells him what he’s dying to know – she was working late the previous night. Leo says it might not be hard to cut anyone, not all of the BUDS are funny, take Vince for instance. Ricky says Vince gets 27,000 fan letters a week and takes off to the set to explain some of her jokes to the director.

As she leaves, Leo’s associate Alex walks in. Leo tells him Ricky says she was working late the previous night and Alex says that’s a coincidence because so was he – and shows him the photos of Ricky and Vince making out in her office the night before. Meanwhile, Timothy tells Roy to back off, he’ll handle things his own way. Roy smiles and then after his son walks away does a dirt check on Leo.

After roaming the set for days hours minutes, Jess finally bumps into Leo who tells her everything will be taken care of for her show. His next target is BUD cast member Diane Emery, who has been offered a starring role in a Rob Reiner film – the bad news is it’s two months shooting in New Delhi straight away. Leo tells her no, she’s under contract for another four more years. But look on the bright side, the show has made her into a star, girls all over America are copying her hairstyle…

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

BUDS co-stars Carly and Vince have a quiet moment on set, and Carly warns Vince to get out of Ricky’s clutches. Ricky wanders past just as they are about to kiss and declares she has new lines for Vince to go over. She links arms with him and escorts him away.

JB has lunch with Timothy Flint, who of course she taught at Manhattan University. She congratulates him on the show’s success, saying “Who’d have thought a group of twenty-something young people sitting around all day long discussing their sexuality would turn out to be a top TV show?”

Actual line of dialogue.

Timothy says there’s more to the show than that, but can’t think of anything off the top of his head.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Timothy is convinced he’s about to be dumped from the show but Jess reassures him that he’s very talented. Carly wanders past to tell him they have a 6am call time thanks to Ricky deciding to dump the whole script and start from the beginning.

That night Ricky gets off the phone with the network, and has agreed to cut one of the BUDS. Leo wants to know if he gets a vote and she says nope, she decides who lives and dies around here. She will rewrite the script that night, and keep the last scene in her safe for now. She refuses to tell Leo who the bumped character will be, so he flings the photos Alex took of Ricky with Vince on the desk.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Ricky gives precisely no bothers about the whole thing, and Leo storms out in a rage. He runs into his pal Alex outside, and he orders Alex to make it go away.

The next day JB has a breakfast meeting with Ricky, in which Ricky scoffs some toast and demands her minions to deliver her new laptop by 5pm. She also would like to pitch a TV show starring Jess’s TV characters.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Jess tries to say no, but it doesn’t appear to be a word Ricky understands.

Over at the precinct, Leo’s pal Alex pops by to ask Roy Flint if he could pull Vince’s arrest record from when he was a kid, but Roy points out it’s sealed, and also he doesn’t want internal affairs on his case. Alex, it turns out, used to be a vice cop and Roy thinks he kept better company then. Alex leaves and Roy calls Ricky to find out who is being bumped off but Ricky’s not talking to him either.

Back on set, Ricky watches the readthrough of the latest version of the episode and isn’t happy with the performance. The director, Joy, tells Ricky they’re all worried they are about to lose their jobs but all Ricky says is that Joy might join them. Later in the morning, she tells Vince they need to can their extra-curricular activities for now.

Timothy finds JB on her set discussing female mystery writers and wants her advice – Roy is digging for dirt on Leo and Ricky to use in case Tim gets bumped off the show. Jessica thinks Tim knows exactly what to do and he agrees – he’ll go and see Ricky and warn her.

Gene confronts Leo on behalf of Carly about who is leaving the show but Leo tells Gene to get back to work. Diane calls her agent with the good news that someone is about to be bumped off, but is told that there’s a lawsuit pending if she tries to leave. She confronts Ricky with this but Ricky tells her that’s Leo’s department, not hers. Diane goes in search of Leo, who overheard her conversation with Ricky and wants to know what he’s supposed to say to her. Ricky just tells him to take the heat so she hates him instead of her for a change.

Carly confronts Ricky about potentially firing Vince, but Ricky sees her off. Carly thrusts Ricky’s Emmy at her and tells her that it doesn’t give her a license to be mean and storms off, just in time for Tim to wander in. Ricky is having trouble with her new laptop and he offers to assist.

Later that night, Jessica finds Leo slouched on the set mumbling about how much his marriage sucks. Jess suggests he talk to Ricky.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Later that night, once she’s wrapped for the day, Jessica decides to return the treatment Ricky gave her to read for the potential new show. When she gets to Ricky’s office she finds Ricky dead on the floor, and her safe open.

The police arrive to investigate, in the shape of Lieutenant Roy Flint which seems terribly inappropriate. Jess asks if they’re assuming the Emmy was the murder weapon and Roy agrees. Jess then wonders if the murder wasn’t a robbery in the usual sense – if the safe was open, perhaps someone was in there looking for the scene detailing who gets bumped from the show.

One of Roy’s minions surfaces to let him know that they’ve gotten alibis for everyone except Tim, and Roy shouts that he was with Tim at the time of the murder. Jessica suggests it might be inappropriate for him to investigate but he ignores her. Leo arrives and Tim asks him why a copy of their prenup was on the desk at the time Ricky was killed. JB and the lab tech discover the missing script in the safe.

The next day the script is shared with the BUDS – Diane was the unlucky one about to be bumped off the show, but Leo says Gene will rewrite the script, and that no one is getting bumped. Diane is relieved – her part ended up being given to Meg Ryan anyway. Jess finds her later having a coffee outside, and goes to see how she’s doing. Diane is happy the show is continuing but sad about Ricky, who did a lot for her career. It turns out her character on the show is based on Ricky, including the glasses. Diane has perfect vision though, so her prop glasses don’t have a prescription in them.

Something Diane says triggers a memory and JB rushes off to see Gene, busily working on the new script. He admits he came into Ricky’s office the previous night to talk to her but found her dead and the safe open. He saw the real ending to the show and swapped it out to save Carly from being booted, but he swears he didn’t kill Ricky.

Roy Flint is not impressed…

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

…but lets Gene go. He tells JB that Leo and Ricky just got life insurance policies that paid double for death by murder. While he seems fairly convinced Leo is the killer, Roy takes time to go find Tim and get his alibi. Tim tells him he went for a run but Roy says wrong, Tim was at Roy’s place the entire time.  Meanwhile, Alex finds Leo and says a) you’re welcome and b) I want a producing credit on the show.

That night JB is hanging out with Carly and Tim. Carly is freaking out that her prints are on the Emmy but she didn’t kill Ricky but it turns out she didn’t need to worry. Roy arrives with the news that it’s been discovered that one of the cast was being paid less than the others (Tim) and that there were only three sets of prints on the laptop – Ricky’s, the delivery guys and Tims.

With his son the prime suspect in the murder, Roy decides to take himself off the case. JB tells him she doesn’t think Tim did it but Roy says he has to look at the facts. JB asks him what he did when he went back to see Ricky the night of the murder – turns out Roy boy was trying to get an alibi for himself just as much as Tim. He says he tried to talk sense into Ricky but she wasn’t having a bar of it and so he left her office, but she was alive.

Filming the last day of her Mystery show, JB suddenly realises who the actual killer is and rushes off to trap them.

Her mother warned her there’d be days like these

This is what happens when someone tries to stop you from being in a Rob Reiner movie. That’s just science. Clap clap clap clap.

Later gang

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S05E21 – Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Part One)

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Once upon a time, in a galaxy land far far away, there was an incredibly successful, award-winning mystery writer called Eudora McVeigh whom shall be known henceforth as Chuckles.

Classic Chuckles.

Classic Chuckles.

Poor Eudora isn’t having a good run just at the moment. Her husband is an idiot, her stepson is mooching off her and her publisher Lew Bracken has suggested she take a year off to er, recharge. Eudora refuses, and her agent Liza Caspar has an inkling why Lew is recommending some time off – word on the street is that Lew is about to sign JB Fletcher. Lew confesses that they are talking, but nothing is set in stone just yet. But JB’s last six books have been bestsellers and she’s about to get awarded Mystery Writer of the year, and Eudora…isn’t. Outraged, Eudora storms out, leaving Liza to demand answers. Lew tells her he doesn’t deal in subtlety – ever since Eudora married Hank Shipton her work has been mediocre. “Tell me something I don’t know.” Liza says.

Liza catches up to Eudora and tells her that there are plenty more publishers in the sea, but Eudora tells her Lew isn’t her problem. Her problem is she’s being “outflanked – out-written – by an English teacher from Maine.” Eudora’s writing career is in tatters, her marriage is hanging by a thread, and who does she have to thank for this? Dear, sweet, loveable Jessica Fletcher.

“You can’t blame her personally?” Says Liza.

“You’d be surprised what I can do, and will do, to get back on top.” Says Eudora and storms off into a taxi. At home later that night, Eudora picks a fight with her no-good husband Hank, and tells him his son Bobby has charged a VCR to her account – almost $400! (Ahahaha, the 80s). Hank takes off, leaving Eudora home alone with a JB Fletcher novel.

Meanwhile, in Cabot Cove, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and Our Heroine has just out-fished Seth Hazlitt. Surprisingly though,Seth isn’t that beat up about it, he’s just pleased that Jessica left her house. Jess tells him she’s been busy working on her book, and Seth tells her she’s always busy working on a book – in fact he wonders sometimes how she can tell them apart.

Shots fired.

Shots fired.

Back at Casa Fletcher JB demands to know what Seth meant by that remark, but he refuses to elaborate. He gets a temporary reprieve when the phone rings – Lew Bracken, saying he can be in Cabot Cove in 2 hours with contracts, but JB puts him off, saying she hasn’t made up her mind yet. Seth tries to make a hasty retreat but Jess isn’t letting him go until he explains himself.

Reluctantly he does. He reminds her about the hiking trip she backed out of to write an article, and the fishing trip to Rockford she turned down to have a meeting with her accountant. He thinks at their age they shouldn’t have to “rev the engine” as much as they used to.

“Are you saying I’m working too hard?” says Jess.

“I’m saying it seems that’s all you have time for.” Says Seth. “Have you even looked at your garden lately?” He knows that writing helped her get through the early days after Frank passed away, but Frank is a long time gone, and writing another bestseller isn’t going to bring Frank back, and if Frank were still here JB wouldn’t be spending half as much time chained to the typewriter, she’d be out smelling the salt air at sunrise.

SETH HAZLITT STOP MAKING JB CRY YOU BASTARD.

SETH HAZLITT STOP MAKING JB CRY YOU BASTARD.

And on that note, Seth departs. WHAT THE HELL SETH.

Later that afternoon, JB takes a subtle hint and gets out in the garden to attack the weeds when she receives a surprise visitor: Eudora McVeigh, and she hasn’t come empty handed.

So if Eudora is the Wicked Witch, and JB is Snow White, does this make Seth all seven dwarves?

So if Eudora is the Wicked Witch, and JB is Snow White, does this make Seth all seven dwarves?

Back in New York, Hank Shipton arrives home to find Eudora out and Bobby eating a sandwich. He passes and instead goes to take his insulin shot he forgot to have earlier. One can only assume this is important. That taken care of, Hank calls down to the front desk to find out where his wife is. The doorman has no idea, but knows that Eudora was asking for a map of Maine. Well that seems like a bit of a bloody giveaway doesn’t it?

Hank, concerned that Eudora is going to do something stupid, orders Bobby to bring the car around and they take off, closely followed by a man in glasses. SUSPICIOUS.

Meanwhile, Eudora and JB are finishing up dinner when Eudora decides she’d better get moving if she wants to find somewhere to stay for the night. She’s not going back to New York just yet, she tells JB, she wants to soak up some of this down east atmosphere, and since the Hill House is full she’s just going to have to find somewhere else.

Nonsense, says JB. You can stay here with me. Eudora is so grateful that she puts sleeping tablets in JB’s coffee, so that later she can break into Jess’s filing cabinet and read her new novel. Guys, I think Chuckles has a screw loose.

The next moring, JB wakes up feeling rough but finds Eudora in the kitchen cooking up breakfast. Jess goes to retrieve the morning paper and notices Eudora’s car has been moved. She asks Eudora about it but Eudora tells her she must be mistaken. They are interrupted by a ring at the doorbell – it’s Hank Shipton come to bring Eudora home. Chuckles orders him out. Before he leaves, he asks Jess if she’s okay – Eudora has been under a lot of pressure and has been acting a little crazy, but Jess tells him she’s fine, and Eudora’s fine. Hank tells her he and Bobby are staying at the Hill House, which surprises Jess. Apparently a practical joker rang and made phony bookings to book the place out, but when Hank and Bobby arrived there was plenty of room.

Jess and Eudora go on a walking tour of Cabot Cove. Eudora is unconvinced but Jess tells her the public library is good, the townspeople are friendly once they get to know you, and most of all the streets are safe.

Cue the arrival of Boy Scout Johnny, who has been sent by the scout leader to get the sheriff. They’ve found a dead body at the bottom of the cliffs. Jess and Eudora go to investigate – they have no idea who the dead person is, but we do. It’s the guy who followed Hank and Bobby out of New York.

DUN DUN DUN.

While the press have a field day taking photos of two famous mystery writers hanging out on a cliff, Sheriff Metzger and Seth deal with the newly retrieved body. Neither of them recognise him either, but Seth has worse news for Mort – the man was murdered somewhere else.

Mort drags JB away for a quiet word. He’s had enough. He’s been here a year, and this is his fifth murder – is Cabot Cove the death capital of Maine?

(Yes. Yes it is).

More to the point, they have no way of identifying the dead guy. On the contrary, says Eudora, popping up out of nowhere. Clearly the suit is an expensive one, and the watch is worth two grand, and that stain on his shirt is gun oil so he obviously carries his weapon in a shoulder holster.

e2

Heh heh heh

Heh heh heh

JB leaves Eudora to Marple Sheriff Metzger, and has a word with Seth. She’s thought about what he said and she does kind of agree with some…she supposes most of the things he said.

“You suppose right. Just because I’m an opinionated, self-righteous Yankee chauvinist doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” Says Seth.

THESE TWO THOUGH.

THESE TWO THOUGH.

Jess invites him around for dinner that night. She’ll make pot roast and he’ll bring around rhubarb pie.

Down in New York, Eudora’s agent Liza is still trying to find her client. Her husband Victor wanders in to ask her where she’d been the previous night, and she says out. She asks him the same question and he tells her he got home to find the house empty so went out to seek alternative companionship.

“Terrific. Was it a cash transaction?” Asks Liza. BURN.

Liza gets a phone call to turn on the TV. Eudora’s on the news – well a picture of her. In Maine. Hanging out with JB Fletcher. Liza takes off, leaving Victor alone to hear the description of the deceased. Not for nothing, I think he might know a little something something.

In the Cove, Eudora is getting ready to leave JB’s for a stint in the newly unbooked-up Hill House, and is carefully deflecting any questions about her car’s movements, what she put in JB’s coffee or what she’s got in her briefcase. Mort arrives just as she’s loading the car up, asking her if she’s leaving town. She tells him she’s planning to stay for a few days to solve – that is help solve – the murder. Mort appreciates that, being as they’ve just identified the victim as being a private detective from New York, who’s car had been abandoned up on the bluff with a piece of paper with Eudora’s name, address and phone number in it.

JB cares not for this development.

How very dare you.

How very dare you.

Mort escorts her down to the sheriff’s office to answer some questions. Eudora tells him that she’s sure that his position required rigid qualifications, but clearly intelligence isn’t one of them.

I think JB's had enough of your shit Eudora.

I think JB’s had enough of your shit Eudora.

Mort couldn’t care less. He wants to know just how she knew so much about a dead body she claims to never have seen before, and how long the PI had been working for Eudora. She tells him he wasn’t working for her.

“You know Sheriff, Ms Mcveigh didn’t spot any clues that weren’t fairly obvious.” Says JB sweetly.

“Well thank you Jessica. How sweet of you to make that observation.” Says Eudora.

YOU CAN'T OUT-FLETCHER FLETCHER.

YOU CAN’T OUT-FLETCHER FLETCHER.

Eudora informs the sheriff she can’t possibly be a suspect in the murder, since she was staying with JB at the time, and leaves. JB confronts her about the car, the sleeping pill and the copied manuscript but Eudora just screeches off in her car. Mort comes out to watch her depart and tells JB his theory – the murder, the body being dumped and the car being dumped happened at seperate locations. JB is sure he’ll solve the case, but for now she has shopping to do.

Over at Hill House, Liza has just arrived to see Eudora. Instead she finds Hank, and promptly makes out with him. Huh. That old chestnut. They agree that Eudora is out of control and Hank tries to call JB’s house to arrange to meet with her away from Eudora.

At Casa Fletcher, Seth has just let himself in but he phone stops ringing just as he picks it up. He takes JB’s pie dish, leaves a note and spots the apples sitting on the counter. He takes one and starts chowing down.

A short time later JB arrives home from the supermarket, and sees Seth’s car out the front. She goes inside, and finds Seth lying unresponsive on the floor.

Wait, Seth Hazlitt is Snow White?

See you next week Fletcherfans!

See you next week Fletcherfans!