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S11E21 – Game, Set, Murder

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Back in the Big Apple and spying on a therapy session this week Fletcherfans. Pro tennis player and former Cabot Cove resident Louise Henderson is trying to unlock her memory so she can remember who killed her mother when she was a child. Unfortunately, she’s no closer to solving the mystery and her doctor sends her off to train for the US Open. (Plot point – he puts a recording of the session in his Wall of Cassettes)

JB is summoned by entertainment lawyer Portia Dekker – JB’s publisher is trying to put together a charity tournament and they need a top-seeded female player and since JB knows Louise Henderson… Apparently, Louise is keen to participate but her coach Wendy Maitlin doesn’t want a bar of it.

Louise is back at the hotel flicking through a magazine with her face on it when 90s Dreamboat Guy, whose name is apparently Jamie Carlson, suggests Thai for lunch or going to see a reggae band that night. Louise’s father Lane steps in, orders Louise to change into something appropriate before she meets JB and tells Jamie to keep walking, Louise has a tournament to win.

It was a time for ponytails.

Jessica explains to Portia that she and Wendy did not really gel when they met some years early, and Wendy promptly appears to grovel forgiveness from Jessica – at the time she’d just discovered she had to retire from tennis and she didn’t take it well. Wendy is mega apologetic but Louise needs to stay focused on the US Open and can’t compete in the tournament. Lane appears and orders Louise to memorise the responses he’s prepared for her interview and sends her off to practice. JB notices a cassette tape in his briefcase but thinks nothing of it.

Spoiler alert: Lane Henderson is a douchebag.

Jamie calls Louise in her hotel room to make sure she’s okay. One of Louise’s rivals, Francesca Garcia overhears the conversation and wants to know why Jamie never said such nice things to her when they were on in Paris the previous year. Jamie declines, he knows she’s got a thing going with Andrew Bascombe but she says that’s just business, not pleasure. Jamie suggests she focus on the business side as Andrew wanders over to take Francesca to lunch.

Lane’s next target is John McCarver, who works for a sporting goods company or something. Lane is angling to take over management of Francesca Garcia so that no matter who wins the US Open he will make a boatload with sponsorship from John’s company. John doesn’t want anything to do with it, so Lane tells him all about how he found out about John’s shady business practices. TL: DR he blackmails him.

You know what the trouble with this episode is? There is no Bryan Cranston in it.

Louise goes to training and is completely distracted, much like how I am currently googling when this weather will end (seriously, it’s like being in Thailand except it’s expensive and cocktails cost more). Wendy decides to call off training for the day but Lane magically appears and announces a) this is what happens when you hang out at all hours with boys and b) Louise’s court time will be doubled before the open.  Wendy tells him it’s no wonder Louise is in therapy which comes as news to Lane. He decides to fire Wendy like the douchecanoe that he is.

That night JB is packing for her imminent trip to London when she gets a call from Louise and she sounds miserable. Before JB can find out what’s wrong, Lane has taken the phone off Louise, told Jess she’ll get back to her and hangs up. He wants to talk about therapy but Louise wants to talk about getting Wendy back. Lane announces practice is at 10am and storms out. Louise tries to call her therapist but there’s no answer. Downstairs Lane bumps into Francesca and wants to know if she’s cut ties with Andrew Bascombe yet but she’s hesitant – he’s been good to her. Lane tells her there’s a 2 million dollar deal in it when she wins the Open. Francesca says if she wins, and Lane tells her she’s a sure thing, Wendy is out of the picture. They make out and wander off, while John McCarver ponders what this means.

Later that night, Louise dreams about the murder of her mother but doesn’t see the killers face while across town her therapist opens his door and asks “Can I help you?”

Apparently, the answer was no because the next morning when Louise pops round for an emergency sesh, she finds her doctor dead on the floor.  Lieutenant Estelle Garr is on the case and quickly rules it a robbery gone bad. She gently tells Louise to go home, she can sign her statement later.

Across town presumably later that day there is a cocktail party for some reason or another. John McCarver wants a word with Andrew while Portia finds Jessica pondering the possibilities.

Death caused by an MVP to the back of the head.

Portia is busy looking for new clients and Jess is saved by a phone call from Louise who wants to talk in person. JB says she’ll be home in 30 and bolts out of the party. John tells Andrew what he saw re: Francesca and how Lane’s moving in on Andrew’s turf, and also how he’s being blackmailed so he can’t help. Andrew thinks he probably should have a chat to Francesca.

Back at the hotel, Jamie is looking for Louise but she’s not answering. Lane wanders past and tells Jamie to stay out of Louise’s life but Jamie says he got a worrying phone call from her after the death of her therapist. Lane says she’ll be fine, now stay away or he’ll go to the tennis association about how Jamie bribed his way out of a drugs charge in Rome the previous year.

At JB’s Louise tells Jessica she was shaken up by the death of her therapist, but she will be fine and she will absolutely be playing in the charity tournament and Wendy will be her coach. She heads off to practice, and Wendy asks Jess what’s wrong. Jess isn’t sure, but she thinks Louise should be far more upset about the death of her coach than she is. In other news, Andrew confronts Francesca and it doesn’t go well – she tells him it’s over, Lane is taking over managing her career and it’s worth more than anything Andrew can put together. She leaves, and Andrew calls Lane with a mysterious business proposition that apparently will earn three times as much.

The charity tournament happens and naturally, Louise wins her first match. Jamie comes out to congratulate her and she tells him to win his match. She’s so wrapped up in the victory that she grabs his bag instead of hers. That night Jessica comes home to a disturbing message from Louise and rushes over to the hotel, where Lane is having a beverage with Andrew. Andrew excuses himself to take a phone call from Paris just as Jessica arrives on the floor. She hears gunshots quickly followed by the figure of a woman limping quickly down the hall to the stairs. Thinking it’s Wendy, Jess calls out but the woman bolts. JB enters the room the woman came out of and sees Lane dead on the floor. She frankly saunters over to the fire escape and hears the killer heading down the stairs. Meanwhile, Andrew has reappeared and confirms that Lane is dead.

Lieutenant Garr is on this case too and tells JB to cancel her trip to London for now. Andrew explains he was on the phone at the time of the murder. Louise was apparently with Jamie at the time of the murder. Wendy tells Jess she will take Louise home, and asks her to tell Portia Louise is out of the tournament but Louise tells her she will absolutely be competing and limps out of the room. After they leave, Garr asks JB if Louise has always been so cold and JB says no.

The next day Louise smashes her training session while Andrew and John toast their freedom from Lane’s tyranny whilst simultaneously protesting their innocence. Wendy limps after Louise and Jamie down to her car, when Garr rolls up asking Wendy to pop downtown for a chat. Later, Garr takes Jessica’s statement around to be signed and assures JB that Wendy isn’t under arrest – yet. JB is stunned that she’s not interviewing Andrew Bascombe, but the phone records and the person in Paris don’t lie – Andrew was on the phone at the time of the shooting. Jessica bids Garr farewell, and suddenly notices her cassette tape of notes for her research trip to London.

Jess goes to see Louise who is confused at the idea that her father knew about the therapy before he claims he did, but won’t go into why she called Jessica. Lieutenant Garr wanders past escorting Jamie to a police car – apparently, his prints were on one of the unfired bullets of the murder weapon so that seems as good a reason as any to charge him. He says he lied about being with Louise and she lied to protect him. Louise is distraught but Jamie tells her he’ll be back, they have some things right but not all of them. As they depart Louise swears he’s innocent and JB says she believes that, but they aren’t done talking.

Upstairs, Louise confesses – she recovered the memory of the night her mother was murdered and SURPRISE HER FATHER KILLED HER. Jess calls Lieutenant Garr with the news and she pops round to take statements. It turns out that the gun used to kill the doctor was in amongst Lane’s things. MOAR SURPRISE. Lieutenant Garr tells JB that fun fact, Lane’s gunshot wound wasn’t fatal but the whack he took to the back of the head was. They are scouring the hotel for the murder weapon as they speak, but Jessica already knows what it is. A quiet word to Louise reveals the second half of the truth and then Jess gets to work setting a trap.

So, here’s the thing:

Not surprise

Louise was the one who shot her father – she got Jamie to buy the gun, and she grabbed his bag instead of hers at the tennis match because his bag had the gun in it.

But of course, the bullet wasn’t fatal. But the MVP trophy to the back of the head was.

Because of course.

And that, dear Fletcherfans, wraps up Season 11 of Murder, She Blogged.

For now, the blog is going on a teeny tiny break, but will be back on maybe the 6th of January. But! On Saturday the 5th of January I will live-tweet the one remaining Murder She Wrote telemovie that I 100% had not forgotten about – Murder, She Wrote: The Last Free Man, so stay tuned to Twitter for that.

Only 24 episodes left! *starts belting out The Final Countdown*

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S01E21 – Murder at the Oasis

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Apologies for the delay, Fletcherfans! It turns out the Murder, She Blogged typewriter is very much like Melbourne’s public transport system in that it freaks out when it gets hot.

This week Our Heroine is back on the road, this time catching up with an old school-friend who has tickets to her ex-husband’s tennis tournament. You know, that old story. I can’t imagine why he’s her ex though…

There’s a lot going on here…

Or maybe I can. In any case his name is Johnny Shannon, his kids hate him, and he has upset the local Mafia representative. I can’t imagine any of these being a problem…

It’s not all bad news though – he has his very own minion, who travels with him everywhere. An Amos to his Jessica, if you will.

For some reason, I’ve started humming ‘All The Single Ladies’.

Johnny and his jester-friend are on their way to meet JB and Peggy Shannon, who are reminiscing about their shared hatred of brussel sprouts while watching a John McEnroe wannabe spit the dummy out on the tennis court. Jess can’t help but notice that said dummy-spitting man is a bit of all right.

You know what I love about tennis? The double entendres.

They are soon joined by Johnny (the jester and the bodyguard/Hulk relegated to another table) and by Peggy’s daughter Terry, who doesn’t stick around long – she’s got a hot lunch date with He-Who-Thinks-He’s-John-Macenroe. It’s obvious she’s only doing it to spite her Dad, and has a great old time watching him get into a shoving match with El Dummy Spit. Only the convenient arrival of the local constable calms everyone down.

Later that night, Johnny’s jester comes down to his study to deliver a ‘glass of milk’ (actually, it looks like it is just milk…huh) but finds the door locked. While he bangs on the door, his son Mickey runs to find his sister – who is in her bedroom with El Dummy Spit. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more. Lou the friendly bodyguard/Hulk breaks the door down and they find Johnny more dead than ususal.

The next morning JB and Peggy go to comfort the recently bereaved. Except Terry, who’s gone to the tennis club to suggest that El Dummy Spit gets out of the country before the po-po start knocking on his door. At least I think that’s what she’s saying. I can’t hear her over her necklace.

Seriously though, what is that?

Back at the house, recently relocated from Chicago Lieutenant Barnes (previously only known as The Constable) informs Peggy, Mickey and JB that he’s on the case, since there is no homicide division. Mickey suggests that JB help him out, but JB humbly says that her occasionally exploits are grossly over-exaggerated. (Liar!). Lieutenant Barnes says he doesn’t mind though – JB has covered the subject of murder fairly well in her books, even if she isn’t always accurate.

For insulting her honour, JB considers punching him in the face.

He takes her down to the scene of the crime, where they quickly establish that there was no way someone could have snuck in via security. THE CALL KILLER CAME FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! They are interrupted by Buster-the-Jester, who tells them that Lou is out on the patio trying to kill Mickey as payback for Mickey killing his father. Lieutenant Barnes deftly handles the situation by shoving Lou into the pool.

According to IMDB, you will know Lieutenant Barnes from such things as 30 Rock and Grey Gardens.

The reason for the confusion, it seems, is that Lou saw Mickey going into the den and obviously 2 + 2 = 5. Mickey explains that while he did go into the den he came out of it again, and at no point did he shoot anybody. I believe him – he’s starting to remind me of Grady.

Peggy comes running up to inform everyone that Mickey didn’t do it and admits to sneaking El Dummy Spit in through the service entrance. This is enough for Lieutenant Barnes, who demands to know where El Dummy Spit is. Peggy admits to giving him money to get out of town, but Lieutenant Barnes doesn’t give up that easily.

Our Heroine asks Lou where he was when Johnny got shot. Apparently Johnny told him to get lost, which is code for having a girl over according to Buster. Lou says that this is impossible, since he didn’t have a name to call down to the security gate.

Ah, says JB. Which is short for, “But what if it was someone the guard knew by sight? Someone who might have been married to Johnny once upon a time?”

Back at the tennis club, Peggy admits to ‘paying her ex-husband a visit’, if you know what I mean. She swears she didn’t kill him, and her children didn’t either. Jess apparently accepts this and talk turns to Johnny’s enemies, of which apparently he had a few of. Like Milo Valentine, the friendly neighbourhood Mafia guy.

Hanging out in Lieutenant Barnes’s office, JB sketches out her mob hitman theory, and he agrees. He seems convinced that El Dummy Spit is a tennis player by day and a mob hitman by night. Which is a genius set-up for a television show, and you’re welcome TV land.

Back at the house, Terry overhears Buster on the phone trying to get in touch with said Mr Valentine. SUSS.  JB arrives in a taxi (and says to the taxi driver “Thank you for a lovely ride!”). She goes to visit Terry who tells her about overhearing Buster on the phone to Mr Valentine. JB notices a video tape missing from Johnny’s collection and Terry says it’s from the camera over the billiard table. Johnny used to film himself ‘playing’ so that he could ‘correct’ his mistakes. I bet he did.

Lieutenant Barnes arrives, and wants to know what JB’s doing there.

“Taking care of business,” she says sweetly.

Seriously though, she’s the best.

Turns out Lieutenant Barnes just wants Mickey’s statement. They’ve found El Dummy Spit making a break for Mexico.

Having his ass busted on the border, El Dummy Spit is hauled back for questioning. He insists that he didn’t kill Johnny Shannon, and that Terry did. JB quietly suggests he might want a lawyer, and the interview is over. Peggy, Mickey and Terry head home, accompanied by JB who has some unfinished business to take care of.

Out on the patio, JB grills Buster on his phone call with Milo Valentine and he admits to calling, but only to make sure there was no hit out on him. This is just like The Sopranos, probably. Buster explains to Jess that Milo got Johnny started in show business, but when he got famous Johnny resented being told what to do. One night, to clear the air, Johnny had Milo over for a friendly game of pool.

Aha! That explains the missing tape! SEE HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER. JB has it all figured out. The killer had two assignments – kill Johnny and steal the tape. More than that, she knows who the killer is.

I’m glad she knows, because I didn’t see this one coming.

Sigh. Can we trust no one in this crazy world?

I liked the Lieutenant of Death, right up until he pointed a gun at JB and said “You’ve won a prize – a trip to oblivion!” It turns out he’s a cop by day, mob hitman by night. The opposite of Batman, if you will.

Before things get too out of control Jess hollers and her posse come running.

There you have it, Fletcherfans. Another case neatly tied up by our heroine. Stay tuned for the season finale next week!

Until then, dear reader.

See you next week!

PS – I’ve made a Facebook page for Murder, She Blogged. Go and like it, and enjoy the random pictures that people send through!