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S08E14 – The Monte Carlo Murders

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So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that The Boss is going to be in the new Mary Poppins movie with Lin-Manuel Miranda and you probably anticipated my thoughts on this but here they are anyway.

Seriously though. And Dick Van Dyke is going to be in it, I mean good god how I am I supposed to wait until next Christmas I already have to wait for Stranger Things and Westworld and Game of Thrones.

THE WAITING GAME SUCKS GUYS.

Speaking of things, we’re in Monte Carlo this week Fletcher fans! The episode kicks off with a cat-burglar (alas, not our favourite cat burglar) abseiling down the side of a building and breaking into a room where a woman is fast asleep. It’s not as entirely weird as it sounds, she is expecting him, but he’s not best pleased with her. Apparently she’s been flirting with someone called Earl Harper and he’s not having it. She tells him that she’s doing it for him – Earl Harper’s wife has a big fat diamond that someone with a certain set of skills (cue Liam Neeson impression) might want to snatch up. The cat burglar isn’t sold on the concept, saying he’s done time in a French jail before, but she promises it will be easy. He tells her he’ll do it, but if she sleeps with Earl Harper he will kill them both.

Our Heroine is herself in Monte Carlo, catching up with her old school chum Annie Floret, the owner of The Claudine Hotel. JB is eager for a tour and Annie is happy to oblige – she has a whole lot of fun planned for JB, including a reception that evening for the Prince of Monaco’s birthday, but first a tour of the Claudine. Annie introduces JB to the hotel’s piano player who has another job, you may be able to guess it from my subtle captioning.

Also previously seen in this episode.

Also previously seen in this episode.

The piano/burglar tells JB he takes requests and will be happy to play her favourites. She tells him she’ll get back to him.

Next on the tour is a visit to the kitchen, home of the head chef Chef Robertwho distrusts all Americans as potential spies for McDonalds. Not even JB nearly passing out from delight at a taste of his wares will change his mind.

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was the world’s famous chef. I’m pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was a nightmare, I’d ring home and he’d answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn’t actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling, he thought it was hilarious. He had another alter ego called Tanaka who was a sumo wrestler, don’t ask.)

JB has no time for this though, there is something in the sauce and she can’t tell what it is.

Screw a murder, JB's got ingredients to sniff out.

Screw a murder, JB’s got ingredients to sniff out.

They take a break for tea, and newest staff member Armand cops an earful from Annie for taking too long. JB asks if anything is wrong, and Annie tells her she’s fine, it’s just hard to get good help these days and it’s a lot harder since her husband Andre died. Annie also tells JB that she’ll be in the suite opposite Earl Fisher (quelle surprise) – JB recognises the name, he’s under investigation for insider trading.

Annie excuses herself to go do hotel things, and Jess decides to head out and do some antique shopping. A thoroughly unscrupulous salesman tries to con her but she is saved by the local policeman, Inspector Morel.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau.  Today is a good day.

Guys I freakin loved the Pretender. And I freakin love Patrick Bachau. Today is a good day.

Inspector Morel, a dear friend of Annie’s, offers to escort JB back to the hotel. As they walk, she asks him why Annie appears to be under so much pressure. Morel tells her that five years earlier, Annie and Andre borrowed money to keep the hotel going, and the man they borrowed the money from demanded a huge balloon payment – a payment due in three days. Guys will it surprise you to learn that the man who loaned the money – the man who is taking over the hotel next Monday – is Earl Harper?

I KNOW RIGHT?

Inside the hotel, we see Armande putting a bug on a telephone. As he leaves the hotel room, JB is entering hers across the hall. Conclusion – Armande is bugging Earl Harper’s phone. GUYS I AM NAILING THIS DETECTIVE BUSINESS.

As they get ready for the Prince’s birthday bash, Richie (Annie’s son) begs her to just let Earl Harper take the hotel so she can go on with her life. As they talk, there’s a knock on the door – it’s the man himself, here for his meeting with Annie. Richie leaves in disgust and Annie begs Earl  for more time but he’s not interested. As he goes to leave, he sees Peter Templeton’s girlfriend from the beginning of the episode stroll past in a red dress and tells Annie it’s a shame she’s not a younger woman, they might have worked something out.

Can't help but feel like I know where this is going...

Can’t help but feel like I know where this is going…

That night, JB and Inspector Morel dance up a storm at the reception. When JB decides it’s time for a break they head for the nearest table but bump into a man named Albert Devere, a creepy looking dude who wants to dance with JB. Apparently he’s her biggest fan. Fortunately Morel is there to help guide JB back to the table where Richie Floret is chilling out – Annie decided it was too late but Richie thinks it’s because of Earl Harper, currently dancing up a storm with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend while his wife is hanging out at the bar with his bodyguard Henry and flashing her big fat diamond necklace around.

Richie excuses himself to go take photos of the Prince’s arrival and Morel returns just in time to see Earl Harper have a deep conversation with Scott Larkins. Morel explains that Larkins owns a fleet of ships that Harper would dearly love to get his hands on.

Guys, sometimes I'm just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

Guys, sometimes I’m just here to amuse myself and this screenshot is one of those times.

The next day JB is caught in the lobby by Albert Devere again, but luckily Inspector Morel arrive just in time to extricate her and take her out galavanting around Monaco for the day. Meanwhile Richie and Earl Harper nearly come to blows, by which I mean Richie nearly stabs him with some scissors, but Earl decides to pocket the scissors and be on his merry way. Annie, who sees the whole thing, looks horrified.

Later that afternoon there is a fancy garden party for reasons I have apparently missed. Richie takes his camera and snaps pics of Earl’s bodyguard handing something sneakily to Scott Larkin and Mrs Harper looking angry at the sight of Earl making out with Peter Templeton’s girlfriend Barbara. Pepter himself isn’t pleased with the sight and goes after Barbara to tell her that she and the job are over. She says she’s fine with them being over, but she’ll do the job herself if she has to.

Larkin and Harper go into a room to have a little chat. Larkin asks him how he thinks he can just go around ruining lives and Harper tells him it’s a game, sport. UGH JUST KILL HIM ALREADY WHAT A DOUCHECANOE. Harper accuses Larkin of having a spy in his company and swears he will find him and string him up by his toes. They punch on and Harper leaves Larkin bloodied on the ground.

Meanwhile, JB is hot on the case.

Toughest case of her career I should think.

i2

Scolded by Robert, JB goes to see what Richie is up to and finds him developing photos from the party (fun fact, it was Scott Larkin’s party there you go). Apart from the photo of Larkin paying off Earl’s bodyguard, JB also spots a photo of Armande the waiter carrying an armload of audio equipment. She’s got no time to worry about that now though, she’s there to make sure Richie isn’t planning on doing anything stupid. He swears he won’t, he doesn’t want to stress his mother out more.

That night while more fireworks explode over Monte Carlo, Albert Devere tries to break into JB’s room but finds the door locked. Hearing someone coming, he departs. Mrs Harper and Henry the bodyguard wander down the hall, all over each other. Mrs Harper sends him back to his room, goes into her room and starts screaming. Shockingly,  Earl Harper is dead. Hearing the noise JB and Annie come rushing in. Annie tells JB to take Mrs Harper into the bedroom and tells the staff to get back to work. She asks Armande what he’s doing on the 3rd floor anyway and he tells her someone ordered alcohol. She asks him to find Richie but he tells her Richie left at around nine that evening and hasn’t returned.

Morel takes up the investigation and asks Mrs Harper what she’d been up to that evening. She’d been disco dancing with a certain bodyguard to “protect” her but it was unnecessary since she wasn’t wearing the Alexandra stone that night…she rushes to check the safe but the necklace is gone.

JB runs into Inspector Morel the next morning, but he’s confident he’ll have the case wrapped up by lunchtime. He knew all about Barbara and Peter Templeton. Barbara was seen leaving Earls room and since she has a reputation for luring married men into compromising situations, it seems pretty likely she and or Peter are involved.

Jess isn’t sure though and goes to see Annie. She tells Annie she knows what she did – opening a window and the safe while JB took Mrs Harper into the bedroom. Annie confesses to that, saying she was worried that Richie had done it and so made it look like a robbery to throw everyone off the scent.

Outside the hotel Jess runs into Barbara, who begs her to help get Peter off the hook. She swears he didn’t kill Earl and neither did she. She did meet Earl in his room, but it was to tell him to leave her alone. He accused her of spying for Larkin, as she’d been present when he’d made some business calls earlier that day and information had gotten out, so she left his room. She also tells JB the reason why Peter wasn’t seen at his piano the previous night was because he’d received a faked note from her asking to meet him. JB tells her she’ll do what she can to help, but she did see a photo of Barbara and Peter looking decidedly out of love from Scott Larkin’s party so there’s that.

Jess sneaks into Harper’s hotel room on a hunch and finds the bug that Armande had planted there. Remembering the photo of Armande with his hands full of audio gear she goes to see him and finds him lying on the floor, dying. She asks him who did this and he tells her something in French.

Morel has a new theory in light of recent events, including the discovery of the diamond necklace (sans diamond) in Armande’s room. It turns out Armande was a private detective, hired by Scott Larkin to spy on his business competitor. Morel thinks Armande got greedy, grabbed the stone and so Larkin killed him. He asks JB about Armande’s dying words and she repeats them to him. He tells her it means “in the fish”, and that Armande was probably delirious.

JB runs into Scott Larkin who tells her Richie’s been cleared, and Scott has loaned Annie the money to make the final payment on the hotel, so they are inside celebrating now that it’s over. JB says it’s not over yet and heads inside, where she runs into Superfan again, this time holding the book ready for Jess to sign. JB notices the title in French is Le Poison Dans Mon Coeur, and asks Albert the Superfan what the difference is between fish and poison. (It’s poisson vs poison, for those playing along at home).

It’s in the poison? JB has an idea and much to Chef Robert’s annoyance goes hunting around his kitchen for the rat poison. Inside, she finds a cassette tape that records the death of Earl Harper. The killer has had the same idea, but gets there just too late…

Noooooooooooooooooo

Noooooooooooooooooo

Oh Fletchefans. The things we do when we’re in love with a widowed hotel owner about to lose her beloved hotel to a raging douchecanoe. And by things I mean double murders.

JB of course worked it out ages ago, because she thought he was a better cop than how he was investigating the case. I think that’s how. To be honest I’ve been googling episode summaries of The Pretender this whole time so if this doesn’t make sense a) sorry and b) has any of this ever made sense ever?

My Dad once decided he had an alter ego called Jean-Claude, who was a world famous chef. I'm pretty sure this is who he imagined. (It was really frustrating, I'd ring home and he'd answer the phone pretending to speak French except since he couldn't actually speak French it was basically a lot of oui oui and giggling)

You said it Jean Claude.

And on that note, I’m going to retire to my couch for a long congested nap. Guys, summer colds are the worst. Don’t get them. Let us leave this week feeling as happy as JB with a jar of Chef Robert’s mystery sauce.

Later Fletcherfans

Later Fletcherfans

 

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S07E19 – Thursday’s Child

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We’re off to Georgia this week Fletcherfans, where JB is hitting the publicity circuit for her latest book, and someone called Steve Landon is having a blue with someone called Ben Olston because the architectural plans for the school Steve designed are not being followed by Olston’s construction company. Etcetera etcetera.

While Steve, outraged at Olston’s shady practices, tries to get the whole situation down on paper, Olston decides to alert his lady-friend and wheel-greaser Dawn Bickford that Steve refuses to be bribed. Dawn is worried, as the money saved from the corner-cutting on this project isn’t enough to justify the expense that might pop up if someone were to look into Olston’s other projects. Plus she’d probably get fired. Olston tells her he has a solution, but quickly changes his tone when his wife appears, but it turns out she’s dropping by to remind him she’s heading out of town to spend time with her mother.

Later that night, a gloved hand breaks into the construction site with a briefcase full of dynamite, the consequences of which interrupt JB’s phone call to Seth (still M.I.A on the show). JB says it’s not thunder but it might be a sonic boom. Shake shake shake the room.

 

No I don't know why I do these things either, look it made sense at the time.

No I don’t know why I do these things either, look it made sense at the time.

The next morning, JB gets a phone call from Steve Landon’s mother Nancy, who is a big fan and was hoping they could meet. Jess explains that she’s fully booked, but Nancy mentions she was stationed in Korea with Frank during the war and Jess discovers that suddenly she’s free for lunch if Nancy can meet her at the hotel.

Downtown, Dawn wanders in to her boss’s office and announces that Steve Landon has been arrested for the bombing at the construction site, he threatened to do it in front of Olston and he has a history of mental illness and really it’s an open and shut case. Meanwhile, JB and Nancy are chatting about Frank and Korea over lunch when Nancy begs JB for her help – Steve has been arrested and she needs help trying to prove the shady goings on. JB sympathises but she doesn’t know the first thing about the situation or Steve or anything. Nancy tells her she’d do anything, to which JB says of course, any mother would.

Or father, says Nancy. And then she drops a bomb – she and Frank were more than just friends in Korea. Steve is Frank’s son.

NOPE. NOPE NOPE.

NOPE. NOPE NOPE.

Bomb dropped, Jess goes to see her lawyer friend Andrew Dixon who immediately calls bullshit on the whole situation and advises JB to continue on her boss-like way.

Accurate representation about 98% of politics

Accurate representation of about 98% of politics

Jess isn’t sure though – she feels for Nancy. She decides to call up her old friend Clint Phelps (whom you may remember from here) to ask about Nancy. He vaguely remembers her as a nurse they used to bump into in the Officers Club from time to time but is hazy on details.

JB decides to meet Steven, against Andrew’s advice, just to suss him out. She’s an excellent judge of character after all. They head down to the police station to meet the investigating officer, Barney Claymore, but he’s in a meeting with Ben Olston and Dawn Bickford so they sit down to wait. JB pesters him for information about Nancy but so far all he has been able to do is confirm her discharge date.

Olston and Bickford sashay away, leaving Claymore free to discuss the case against Steven. He tells them that Steven had made threats to blow the site up in front of Olston and his foreman Ron Crockett, and that Crockett saw Steve near the site at the time of the explosion, but they had only come forward now as they hadn’t taken the threats seriously. Andrew is not pleased to hear about the mental health issues but JB insists on seeing Steve anyway. Steve tells them about the shoddy construction job, and how Olston tried to buy him off, but of course he can’t prove any of it. He tells Andrew that even if it takes him the rest of his life he will pay Andrew the lawyers fees. Jess asks him if his father can help, and he tells her his father was shot down over Pusan in Korea.

Jess decides she believes him and sets to finding out more about Olston. She wanders into his office just as he has finished paying off the actual bomber, and declares herself to be a fundraiser for Councilman Axelrod. Olston informs her he already directly contributes directly to the councilman’s campaign through Dawn Bickford, to which JB says she must have the wrong fundraiser list, apologises and leaves. Olston calls Dawn to tell her he’s paid the bomber off and would she like to come round tonight for some more explosions nudge nudge wink wink urgh. He also promises to tell his wife that their marriage is over when she returns the next day.

Later that night, Olston’s wife Cynthia arrives home to find the door open and her husband dead on the floor. I was wondering when we were getting to the murder part.

The next day Jessica goes round to Nancy’s house to ask her about the mental illness the police are going on about. Nancy tells her he struggled when his wife died, but there was no mental illness. Although she did find a gun in the glove compartment of the car that morning. Jess tells Nancy she doesn’t believe Steve is Frank’s son, to which Nancy goes to her desk and retrieves a letter postmarked Maine. From Frank. Offering to do all that he can for Nancy and Steve.

GODDAMNIT I CAN'T BE DEALING WITH THIS

GODDAMNIT I CAN’T BE DEALING WITH THIS

Claymore chooses that moment to show up. He spots the gun on the table and asks Nancy if she has a permit for it, she explains she found it in the car. He tells her he needs to take her in for questioning – an appointment slip was found at the murder scene that said Nancy had an 8pm appointment with Olston. Nancy says she never had an appointment, she just went around there with the report that Steve had compiled to try and talk sense into Olston but it didn’t work so she left the report there and went home. Claymore tells her she should hire a lawyer, fortunately Jess knows a very good one.

Andrew agrees to take on the case, but doesn’t understand why. Jess says she doesn’t think Nancy did it, but Andrew asks her if that’s the only reason. JB says of course it is, anyone could have planted the gun. She asks Andrew to dig into Nancy’s military service more while she goes over to city hall to have a chat with Councilman Axelrod, who refuses to believe shady shenanigans are happening in his office, or that a report from Steve was ever received. He asks Dawn if she remembers seeing such a report and she swears no such report came in.

Axelrod assures JB that she’s mistaken about the whole thing, and she says perhaps but that a report is also missing from the crime scene. On that note she leaves, and Axelrod orders Dawn to find out what’s going on with the investigation.

Meanwhile, JB hops on a plane to Seattle to talk to Clint about Frank’s relationship with Nancy. They meet at a restaurant…

Lunch plans confirmed.

Lunch plans confirmed.

…and JB comes straight to the point. Clint was Frank’s best friend, and she wanted to know the truth.

Clint tells her the truth was they were all terrified they’d be dead in a week, and that some people took comfort where they could. He wasn’t Frank’s confessor.  The truth was that Frank loved Jessica.

This episode is murdering my tearducts

This episode is murdering my tearducts

Back in…wherever the hell she is…Andrew calls Jess to let her know that Nancy received a compassionate discharge because she was unmarried and pregnant. The next day she goes to see Steve to ask him about the report he supposedly gave Councilman Axelrod but he tells her he gave it to Dawn Bickford. JB finds the whole thing suspicious but still doesn’t know how it ties into Olston’s murder. Steve begs her to stay and help release his mother and she promises to do what she can. He hugs her and tells her she’s terrific.

I may never stop crying. Ever. This episode is killing me.

I may never stop crying. Ever. This episode is killing me.

Jessica confides her suspicions to Lieutenant Claymore, who says he’s already under enough pressure from the councilman’s office. Jess wonders if the pressure is coming from Dawn Bickford, and Claymore wonders how she knew? She tells him she saw Dawn in his office the morning after the explosion, and coupled with the fact that Steve says he gave her the report makes her think Dawn’s relationship with Olston was a little more than business.

At least everyone is agreeing on JB's mad skillz this episode.

At least everyone is agreeing on JB’s mad skillz this episode.

Claymore confirms that Dawn and Olston were an item. JB is convinced that the gun and the appointment slip were planted to throw suspicion on Nancy, possibly by someone else in the house at the time Nancy came by. JB also mentions the man she saw in Olston’s trailer when she was pretending to fundraise for Axelrod. Claymore wonders if she could identify him in a mug book.

Please. Of course she can.

Claymore and JB go to City Hall to confront Dawn about Steve’s report and the real bomber and she caves, saying she knew about the bombing but she didn’t kill him, she was supposed to go around to his house but she had to work so she called him at about 8pm, and Nancy was already there.

This triggers something in JB’s brain (and my stomach – refer you to the earlier picture of the dessert tray) and she and Claymore go over to the Olston residence.

Tale as old as time....

Tale as old as time….

Sick of her husband’s cheating, Mrs Olston came back from her mother’s early to try and catch him cheating, and was about to give up until she heard Dawn’s phone call saying she couldn’t come over. Then she snapped, killed Ben and planted the evidence on Nancy.

This is the most depressing episode ever.

Case closed, JB catches up with Nancy one last time and Nancy comes clean. She was so desperate about her son that she lied. Frank wasn’t Steve’s father. Steve’s father was a flier in Frank’s squad, a married man, who was shot down and killed. Frank knew about the whole thing and offered to do what he could.

NEVER A DOUBT IN MY MIND.

I'm just going to weep quietly in the corner for awhile okay?

I’m just going to weep quietly in the corner for awhile okay?

S07E04 – Hannigan’s Wake

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First of all, thank you to everyone who played along watching ‘A Story To Die For’ last Monday. If you haven’t seen it, I completely recommend it for some boss level sass from JB, and the chick from Cold Case with Meg Ryan’s hair among other things. I will storify it and put the link on Facebook soon.

But now, to business. Our heroine has just returned from her morning constitutional when her phone rings. It’s a lady by the name of Phyllis Thurlow, who has some bad news – her husband, Daniel Hannigan has passed away. Jess is saddened by the news and asks if there is anything she can do. Phyllis says just being there will help and promises to call back with the arrangements. Before she hangs up she asks JB if she’s read any of Daniel’s research – most of it, JB tells her. Phyllis says they will talk about it when JB arrives.

Phyllis hangs up and JB looks at the folder on her desk.

BOOM FLASHBACK.

JB travels back in time to when she first met Daniel Hannigan, not long before he died. He tells her he’s writing a murder mystery “not one of those frothy confections you whip up…”

Sometimes there is no need for silly captions.

Sometimes there is no need for silly captions.

It’s a true crime, in fact, with a true miscarriage of justice. Phyllis’s brother Martin is in prison for a crime he did not commit – the murder of his wife.

BOOM FLASHBACK FLASHBACK (FLASHCEPTION)

They all travel back in time to watch Martin go into his house, well drunkard. He fights with his wife (as observed by a nosy neighbour) then a short time later we see a light flicker, then glass break. 10 minutes later, the police arrive to find Lydia the wife lying dead on the floor next to a shattered breakfront. (Yeah I had to google it too, mostly because I thought they kept saying breadfront but it’s some type of cabinet #themoreyouknow).

BOOM UNFLASHBACK

Daniel tells JB that there were no other suspects investigated in the murder, mostly because all the doors were locked. But, Martin passed a polygraph test, hangover and all (fair effort) but the results were ‘conveniently’ lost and a second test was never done. Daniel asks JB to take his notes and see if she comes to the same conclusion he did – that Lydia was killed by her brother Eric, and the whole thing was covered up by their father, Richard Thompson Grant.

And now the kicker – Daniel tells JB that he won’t live long enough to write the book and asks JB to write it for him.

BOOM UNFLASHBACK

We all confused now? Good.

We all confused now? Good.

Jess travels down to Philidelphia and meets Phyllis at the funeral home but is soon joined by Bradley Folkes, Deputy Police Commissioner, who just so happened to be in the area and in a miraculous coincidence was one of the investigating officers of Lydia’s murder back in the day. He offers to take JB to lunch, which Phyllis does not seem pleased with but Jess assures Phyllis that a chat with one of the detectives in charge of the case would be most helpful.

Over lunch, JB drills Folkes for information, and in particular wants to hear his thoughts on Daniel’s theory that Lydia caught her brother Eric breaking into her house to steal money and he killed her. He tells her that he heard the theory, and if there was any truth to the rumor he would have arrested Eric on the spot – he has no time for drug addicts, he says with a scowl on his face. To conclude, Daniel Hannigan was a brilliant writer but he was ill and as far as Folkes is concerned, the illness clouded his judgement in regards to the case.

“Or, he didn’t bow down to those who wanted the case forgotten”, says JB.

“Like Richard Thompson Grant? Ask him yourself, here he comes now.” Says Folkes.

Seriously though, what were the odds???

Seriously though, what were the odds???

Richard Thompson Grant sits himself down for a chat, and tells JB that if Daniel had published his book, Grant would have sued the pants off him. Jess thinks that sounds like a threat, Folkes assures her that it wasn’t but Grant says damn straight it was. He wants the little lady to know what she’s getting herself into if she decides to go ahead with the book.

THAT FACE THOUGH

THAT FACE THOUGH

Folkes apologises, and JB understands. She suspects that when Richard Thompson Grant makes a request, he is very hard to refuse.

Meanwhile, the man himself has gone to meet his son who has just flown in on the private jet from Atlantic City with his thing on the side, whose name is apparently Madeline. Madeline is quickly shoved back on the plane despite her protests that she wants to see the Liberty Bell, and RTG fills his son (who is being played by Not Quite Will Arnett, or in more factual terms, Luke Spencer from General Hospital according to IMDB) on the news –  Hannigan’s death has not killed off the book. Eric swears that he didn’t kill his sister, and his father tells him he believes him. He’s had to.

Sounds conclusive.

Over at the funeral home the wake has kicked off and the whisky is flowing, which it should be at all good wakes. Jess finds Phyllis talking to her nephew Stephen (played by Jiminy Cricket from Once Upon A Time, which I haven’t seen) who is furious that his aunt is still trying to dig this all up, and storms off. JB needs to talk to Phyllis urgently – an article has appeared in the paper that day all about how JB is going to finish Daniel’s book, and she knows Phyllis is responsible for it. As a rousing rendition of Danny Boy strikes up amongst the whisky crowd, JB and Phyllis go into the next room to talk. JB has a problem – she’s read all the notes and while she agrees that the case against Martin is circumstantial, there’s no real proof that Eric did it either. She just doesn’t think she can continue. Phyllis begs her to look at the evidence again, she’s sure JB missed something.

The next day JB is going over old newspaper reports when Stephen Thurlow comes to see her to beg her to leave the case alone.  She curiously asks him what he remembers of the night but since he was 3, obviously the answer is not much. She asks him if his uncle could have killed his mother in a drug induced haze and he says “I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m a college student.”

Jeez, JB. I love you, but cool your jets.

Armed with more questions than answers, JB goes to see Folkes at the police station. Her main question is who is this mysterious drug pusher known as JR that rumour had it was the person Eric Grant owed money to. Folkes tells her that since he took over the case a couple of weeks in, that line might have been dismissed by the previous detective, Detective Kravitz, who was transferred to South Philidelphia and left the force 8 years ago.

Folkes gets a phone call from the front desk, saying that a note arrived about Daniel Hannigan’s death. It’s brought up to his office, and he reads it to JB – apparently, Daniel Hannigan was poisoned to shut him up.

Word filters through to RTG about the note and he is less than impressed. Even less impressed is Stephen, who has recently come to the conclusion that people are keeping things from him. He demands to know if his grandfather knows who JR is, and RTG tells him that he doesn’t. He checked it out, after he put Eric in an overseas rehab place, but JR disappeared. The fact that Eric went to Lydia on the day she died begging for money was a complete coincidence.

Later that night JB goes to see Detective Kravitz, hard at work at his new job at a pub. Now, are you all imagining Lenny Kravitz as a cop? Because yes.

For a tiny second I thought it might have been Brian Blessed based solely on epic beardness but alas no.

For a tiny second I thought it might have been Brian Blessed based solely on epic beardness but alas no.

Over a cup of coffee, Kravitz tells JB that he got transferred after a couple of days on the case, at which time Folkes volunteered to take over. JB wonders if the transfer was a coincidence, but Kravitz tells her he had the same theory Folkes did. If Eric had been involved, Folkes would have been all over it. It turns out Folkes’s son Eddie was an undercover drug cop, straight out of the academy (seems unlikely but alright) and was killed in a raid.

As they go to leave, shots are fired at the bar. Word gets back to Commissioner Folkes who rushes to the scene, but everyone is fine, (Kravitz) and suspicious (JB). Considering how badly the shooter missed JB, if the shooter was in fact aiming at JB, has made her wonder and she asks Folkes if the report has come back on the digitalis levels in Hannigan’s blood. He tells her it hasn’t come back, but she says it doesn’t matter. Hannigan wasn’t poisoned, and whats more she thinks she knows who is responsible for the note and and the gunshots.

It doesn’t take long for Phyllis to cave in. She was so desperate to keep JB on the case that she sent the note and shot out the window. She apologises but swears that her brother is still innocent.

The next day the memorial service is held for Daniel, but JB phones ahead and leaves a message for Phyllis that something has come up and to proceed without her. Jess is in fact over at the home of RTG, where Eric is telling JB that he is innocent. Jess is about at the end of her tether and starts concocting a scene where Stephen comes downstairs to see his mother, trips over the lamp and then when Lydia tries to stop him falling over she slips into the breakfront. RTG tells her that’s ridiculous, and more ridiculous the idea that he would a)interfere with a police investigation and b)allow an innocent man to rot in prison.

JB asks Eric about the mysterious JR but Eric has nothing for her. That was all he knew him as, he bought drugs off him and he owed him money. He drove a blue Porsche and wore a bullet around his neck on a chain, a souvenir of a time when a cop shot at him in Chicago in 1967. JB pounces on this tidbit and goes to see Folkes, but gets his wife instead. While she tries to get Folkes on the phone, JB looks at some family photos on the mantle, including one of his son Eddie. Or as he’s formally known, Edward Bradley Folkes Jr. Who likes to wear a bullet on a chain around his neck.

That noise you hear is a penny hitting the floor.

That noise you hear is a penny hitting the floor.

At the cemetary, JB finds Folkes and confronts him. No wonder he volunteered to take the case.

Well this is unexpected.

Well this is unexpected.

It would appear that Eddie Folkes had gone bad while being undercover, had gone to the house to get money, and accidentally killed Lydia. He went to his father the next day who got himself onto the case and threw Martin Thurlow under the bus.

To conclude, DEPRESSING. So to end on a lighter note, please enjoy this video of a baby wombat named Derrick running along a beach on Flinders Island in Tasmania.

Later gang

Later gang

S07E01 – Trials and Tribulations

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Alright Fletchefans. Onward and upward! And what better way to kick off a new season with a jailbreak! With car chases! And helicopters! And slow motion car flips! Unfortunately for Eddie Stone, the escapee in this dramatic little situation, the jailbreak goes sideways and he ends up dead when the car crashes evading police.

Meanwhile, down in New York City JB is chowing down on her breakfast when a waiter asks for a favour – there’s this older lady who reminds him of his Grandma who is carrying one of JB’s books and she would love an autograph. Naturally, Jessica doesn’t want to disappoint her fans and so the woman comes over. She’s delighted, and asks if JB still lives in Cabot Cove, Maine.

“And I wouldn’t dream of leaving.” Says JB.

“696 Candlewood Lane?” The fan asks.

“How did you know?” JB is astonished.

“It’s typed right here on your summons.” The woman says. “Thanks JB, I knew you’d be as nice as your picture.”

As she departs, the waiter returns. “What did I tell you – isn’t she just the sweetest thing?”

Unimpressed.

Unimpressed.

JB goes straight to her insurance company attorney, Ray Dandridge (aka Julian Crane from Passions) who lays it out for her. Five years ago she assisted the police in catching Eddie Stone – he who failed in the great jail break of five minutes ago – in connection with a murder. (Seems legit). Now, Eddie’s daughter Geraldine has filed a 50 million dollar law suit against JB for wrongful death, saying that JB’s “help” led to her father’s death.

Imminent Fletcher hulk-out in 5-4-3...

Imminent Fletcher hulk-out in 5-4-3…

“Wait a minute, are you saying that anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone at any time whenever they please?” JB says.

Welcome to America JB.

Ray thinks Geraldine’s lawyer, Charlie Cosmo, is only after a settlemetn and promises JB to find out how much it will cost but JB refuses. She will not settle! In the meantime she’s going to have a chat with Geraldine Stone, an idea Ray thinks is unwise and JB thinks is Best Idea Ever.

Jessica finds Geraldine hard at work at a newspaper and demands to know why she is doing this. Geraldine is clearly uncomfortable with Jessica’s sudden arrival but says her father is dead due to trumped up evidence that JB provided. She will not enter into it though and tells JB if she doesn’t leave she will call security. Jess wisely departs just as Geraldine gets a phone call from her boyfriend Justin Fields, taking a break from his job as a pastry chef. She tells him she didn’t know what to say to JB and that she felt kind of sleazy but Justin tells her that’s what lawyers are for and as soon as Justin opens his restaurant they can forget all about it. He gets off the phone just in time to be berated by his boss Elliott Von Stuben, who is less than impressed with Justin’s continued attempts to find the money to open his own restaurant. He tells Justin he’s a great chef but a terrible businessman, as his many bankruptcies prove.

Guys, I think I see where this is going.

Over at the courthouse Ray Dandridge finds Charlie Cosmo prepping a “injured” client for their hearing. Charlie tells Ray that for 50 million dollars he’s got all the time in the world and isn’t too fussed when the case gets heard. Ray informs him they won’t settle and is off to talk about the case with the lead detective, but Charlie informs him the detective died the previous year. Instead, Charlie tells him about the star witness, Angelo Vitello – Charlie spoke to him just last weekend and took his deposition. He cheerfully gives Ray a copy and bids him a fond farewell.

Down at the police station JB is meeting with the other police officer who worked the case, Sergeant Paulsen. She tells him that she was hoping to review the case and explains that she’s being sued by Eddie Stone’s daughter who is claiming that Jessica was the reason her father went to prison.

“She’s got that right, we couldn’t have done it without you!” Paulsen says cheerfully.

She's just too damn good.

She’s just too damn good.

Ray Dandridge catches up with her to deliver the bad news – Angelo Vitello, whom Jessica remembers as the taxi driver that picked up Eddie Stone a block from the murder scene, has now changed his mind about the whole thing and claims that JB paid him 5 thousand dollars to say he remembered picking up Eddie Stone.

JB will not stand for this, and goes straight to see Angelo Vitello, ignoring Ray’s reservations. She knocks on the door and is greeted by his wife Beatrice, who refuses to let them in but agrees to let Angelo know they are there. While she goes to tell her husband, JB sneaks a peek around the door and sees Angelo hooked up to a gas tank and  looking very agitated at the news of her arrival. Beatrice returns and says her husband is asleep, he’s not been well and next time call first?

Undeterred, JB returns to the police station to review the files and is soon joined by the prosecuting attorney on the case Anne Stephenson, aka Jim’s mum from American Pie. She doesn’t believe the accusation being levelled at JB but she’s in an awkward position – without Vitello’s testimony the whole case is pretty flimsy and she’s running for DA next year and yada yada yada. She wishes JB good luck and hopes she won’t settle the case.

Files presumably reviewed, Jessica hails a cab outside the police station. Who should pull up in one at that precise moment, but Charlie Cosmo who has some thoughts he’d like to share with Jess about how she’s handling the case all wrong, it could be settled so quickly and quietly.

The cab driver asks JB if she wants the cab, which she does, but Charlie’s not done.  The cab driver gives up and leaves.

I'd duck if I were you Charlie.

I’d duck if I were you Charlie.

As Jessica successfully hails another cab, Charlie tries to make it clear – it’s going to be a lawyer and media circus. Does she really want to put herself through that?

Cue Jessica.

“Mr Cosmo I’m still naive enough to think that in a court of law, truth will prevail. Go through it? I look forward to it!”

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

MY HERO.

Jessica decides to recharge her batteries the next day by taking Ray out for afternoon tea and chooses Elliott Von Stuben’s restaurant. Ray is both mystified and horrified at the thought of a snobby expensive lunch but after Elliott himself seats them at the table and promises any request can be met, Jessica fills Ray in. She’s done some research on Geraldine and found out that she is involved with a pastry chef at the restaurant called Justin Fields, who is looking to open his new restaurant and has been struggling to find the financing. JB thinks the timing is suspicious but Ray doesn’t see it. Jess tells him that Geraldine might get 50 million dollars in 3 or 4 years, but how much might the lawyers negotiate for her now?

“That makes a lot of sense.” Says Ray.

Get with it dude.

Get with it dude.

Just then, Geraldine goes running out to the kitchen looking rather worried, and a waiter wanders past with a telephone call for JB. It’s Paulsen – Angelo Vitello has just been taken to hospital and is not looking in good shape. JB and Ray rush to the hospital, and while Ray talks to the doctors Jess finds Mrs Vitello sitting in the waiting room. Mrs Vitello apologises for the way she treated JB the other day – she is very protective of her husband, who has always suffered from diabetes and recently got diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s devasated – her husband has been slowly dying since he got laid off from his job but she’s always been there to watch him except that night when she went down to babysit her neighbours kids for a couple of hours.

Ray reappears and calls Jessica over. Angelo Vitello didn’t make it. Sergeant Paulsen appears with more news – the lab results have come in (extremely quickly I would have thought) and have found Vitello’s blood stream was high in sugar. Add to that a broken back window and a syringe found in the backyard and it all adds up to murder.

The next day Ray goes to see Charlie, who has just finished a meeting with Geraldine. Charlie thinks Vitello’s death changes nothing, and that if Ray had any sense he would settle the case. The price – a little less than a million dollars. Ray tells him no deal, a man has been murdered and he wouldn’t settle for a dollar. Charlie says if anyone had a motive for murdering Vitello it was Jessica – and funnily enough a woman was seen leaving the Vitello house at 7:30 the night of the murder.

JB goes to the Vitello house where Sergeant Paulsen is having a poke around. Paulsen is surprised to learn that Jessica has learned of the witness seeing the mysterious woman leaving the house but she tells him Ray told her – and for the record she was in her hotel room changing for dinner. It turns out this mysterious woman was seen leaving via the front door which makes no sense to Jessica, since if she was the killer why would the deadly syringe have been thrown out the back door?

Paulsen stops. He thinks JB is a terrific lady…

Flattered Queen is Flattered.

Flattered Queen is Flattered.

…but his boss has a theory and she doesn’t have a terrific alibi for the night of the murder and so…

This is an alternate Usual Suspects cast I can get behind.

This is an alternate Usual Suspects cast I can get behind.

Paulsen and Anne Stephenson oversee the lineup and start to panic when the witness identifies JB but are relieved when the witness decides she just can’t be sure. After the lineup Anne tells JB she’s free to go for now, and JB nearly explodes. She volunteers to do the lineup again, as long as Anne was also a participant. Jess requires food, and invites Anne to lunch. She thinks they have a bit to talk about.

At lunch, at the Von Stuben restaurant, Anne comes clean – she did go and see Angelo Vitello, but despite hearing the TV on the background, no-one answered her knock, and she didn’t hear him moving around. Elliott swings by to check on their meals and to answer questions about Justin Fields, who it turns out got fired after leaving his shift early the night of the murder. When called to be informed of his termination, Justin apparently laughed and said he’d worked his last shift as a pastry chef.

Jess goes to see the two lovebirds at Justin’s new restaurant to get some answers. After some badgering, and a suggestion that the police examine Geraldine’s bank records, Justin flees but Geraldine comes clean – they were trying to get money for the restaurant. At the police station later, she tells them that Charlie Cosmo went to the Vitello house and paid Angelo Vitello 25 grand in cash to change his story, a tidbit that Paulsen is delighted to hear. Charlie is not a popular bloke. Apparently Angelo was too sick to leave the house, which gives Jess an idea.

But that doesn’t solve the murder.

Because apparently there wasn’t a murder.

Angelo, filled with guilt after what Charlie had paid him to do, coupled with his deteriorating health, took matters into his own hands. So to speak. His wife, determined to have her husband buried appropriately, took matters into her own hansd.

Eesh. That took a dark turn. Let’s not dwell on that.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S06E16 – The Big Show of 1965

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Back to New York City this week Fletcherfans, where JB is in the offices of Reynolds and Company publishers being pitched a book idea by Scott Fielding, vice-president of marketing and development. He wants her to write a book about the murder of Richie Kane, a massive star in the 60s. JB remembers him well, but Scott tells her he was in nursery school the year Richie died, 1965.

FLETCH MAD.

FLETCH MAD.

JB is confused as to how she got involved in all of this, but it turns out Scott has a plan. The Haley sisters, who made their debut on the Barry Barnes show the night Richie Kane was murdered, and who quietly retired out of the spotlight in 1974, are coming back to do a Barry Barnes show reunion special. You know what that means – free publicity! And also, JB Fletcher’s name will be on the book, you know, whatevs. Jess is not interested but begrudgingly agrees to visit the studio where rehearsals for the reunion special are underway.

YOU GUYS BARRY BARNES IS DONALD O’CONNOR.

THOSE EYES. ERMAHGHERD THOSE EYES.

THOSE EYES. ERMAHGHERD THOSE EYES.

Barry’s having a bit of a tough time at the moment. The writers hired to work on the new special are more Saturday Night Live than Barry Barnes, and one of the Haley sisters, Lee Haley is about to rage quit after a dancer crashes into her during a rehearsal of one of their songs. Lee’s husband Artie Sommers, head writer for Barry Barnes, assures Barry that she’ll calm down but Barry orders a break anyway.

Jess chooses this moment to sneak in to the theatre to watch rehearsals. Barry sees her sitting in the darkened theatre and freaks out (which is fair enough, JB is a harbinger of death) but relaxes when JB introduces herself. Barry offers her tea while they wait for Artie to come back from consoling Lee, who is currently ordering his wife back to work, and doesn’t seem bothered when Lee points out that they are standing in the dressing room Richie Kane died in. Outside, Art runs into music director Ozzie Gerson who has a bone to pick about the way he’s being treated – just like his father was when his father was music director.

Back on stage, Barry serenades JB with piano playing and tea while he tells her the story of how Artie met Lee on the set of his show, 25 years earlier. Lee hated him on sight, but two weeks later they were married. True love. JB asks him about Richie Kane but all Barry can say is that everyone loved him except his killer. The police investigated everyone but the killer was never found.

Artie reappears and begs Barry to go calm Ozzie down, leaving JB to ask about why Barry was so startled to see a shadowy figure in the theatre but Art has no idea. He introduces Jess to the Haley sisters but they are called away to rehearsal, so Art offers to show Jess the scene of the crime. Despite it all, Jess isn’t sold on the idea of writing the book and tells Scott accordingly.

Later that night, Barry is alone in the theatre with the piano when Art comes to see if he wants to have dinner with him and Lee. They chat about Richie Kane for a bit then Barry spots a figure moving in the shadows – a veiled woman pointing him. Barry shouts, then collapses.

At her hotel JB receives a message and rushes down to the hospital, where she runs into Artie. She asks him what happened and he tells her that Barry suffered a severe shock.

“Well is he okay?” Asks JB.

If I ever end up in hospital, please assume that this is what it will look like

If I ever end up in hospital, please assume that this is what it will look like

d2

Barry throws everybody out and comes clean to JB. He saw the woman in black, the same woman he saw the night after Richie Kane’s murder, pointing at him like he was to blame for what happened. He wants JB to find the woman in black and get to the bottom of who killed Richie. Jess tries to beg off, saying he needs a proper detective and Barry gives her the phone number of the officer who investigated back in ’65 – Broadway Bulldog Kowalski.

Jess pays a visit on old Bulldog, who has kept all of the case notes regarding the murder but has just recently loaded all of the files onto his fancy new computer.

Sidenote: The best thing about rewatching The X-Files, apart from all the other best things, is the size of the monitors and the size of the mobile phones.

Sidenote: The best thing about rewatching The X-Files, apart from all the other best things, is the size of the monitors and the size of the mobile phones.

Bulldog tells her that at the time of the murder, Barry was on stage in front of 50 people rehearsing a sketch, which puzzles JB. Why would the woman in black be accusing Barry of the murder if there’s no way he did it? Bulldog assumes she’s just out to scare comedians and instead turns to the women involved in the story – the Haley sisters and Richie’s wife Sharon. According to Bulldog, she was at the theatre the night of the murder but left 20 minutes before the murder occurred, although Bulldog concedes she could have slipped back in. Jess asks him if he knows where she is now and Bulldog asks if she wants to meet her.

 

 

Sometimes making myself laugh is all that matters.

Sometimes making myself laugh is all that matters.

Bulldog and Jess find Sharon Kane about to go and pick up her grandson. Bulldog introduces JB and says she wants to know about the woman in black, since she’s made another reappearance. Sharon tells her she’s not the avenging angel type. She knows she can’t tell JB what to do, but she wishes JB would let Richie Kane remain a man his family can be proud of.

Nothing gets past Our Heroine.

Nothing gets past Our Heroine.

JB remarks on Sharon’s choice of words to Bulldog, who confirms what JB was beginning to suspect. Richie Kane wasn’t the cleancut family man everyone made him out to be. And he liked them young.

Ew.

Back at the studio the Haley Sisters are rehearsing another number while the show’s writers Sid Lyman and Joe Roth demand to know why their sketch has been cut from the show. Bulldog and Jess run into Artie while he’s being harrassed by Sid and Jo, but tells them to go and sit down out the front. The Haley sisters finish up, but Cathy is called back to change into another costume for a sketch. The next act, some plate spinners, come out to rehearse while Cathy goes back stage to try and get out of being in the sketch. There are screams from backstage, Bulldog goes to investigate and finds Art dead in a chair, after having a vase smashed over his head.

The police roll in, in the form of Lieutenant Mayerling, who appears to suspect everyone individually and collectively – the Haley sisters, Ozzie, the lot of them. He’s not pleased to see Bulldog at the crime scene, and even less pleased when Jess sweetly points out that the two writers Art had been arguing with hadn’t been seen since the murder. Sid and Joe are tracked down but swear they only found out about the murder after they’d left the theatre. While Mayerling goes off to interrogate them further, Barry asks Jess to calm Cathy Haley down.

Out in the park, Cathy tells Jess she just wants to get home to her kids. They heard about it on the news and are naturally devastated – he had no children of his own but he was a great uncle to his nieces and nephew, according to Cathy. Cathy is emotional and says she’s not like her sister Lee, who didn’t even break down when their parents died in 1964. JB asks her about Richie Kane and she tells her he was a creep.

Back in Bulldog’s kennel, JB gets him to pull up the photo of the Kane family he was showing her earlier. They identify the mother and father, and each of the Haley sisters, but then hit a snag. Cathy didn’t start having children until 1974, and if this picture was taken before their parents died, then who is the baby in the picture? After careful consideration of nappy and bottle holding, they suspect it might be Marge’s. As Bulldog said, Richie liked them young.

Ew.

Bulldog is onto it, and shows JB an admissions form from 1974, the year the Haley sisters retired, showing Marge being admitted into a psychiatric hospital.

(Just trust me on this one guys. I’m getting confused too).

When confronted with the photo, Marge admits that she had a baby with Richie Kane. They had been sneaking around even before they were on the Barry Barnes show – she was already pregnant by the time the show came around. When Richie found out he was going to have the sisters bumped from the show, Marge panicked, picked up the knife and stabbed him.

Seems definitive.

Seems definitive.

JB gently points out she’s leaving something out and Marge agrees. Art was there, and saw the whole thing. Lee appears and tells Jess that they will deny everything Marge says, and it will be them against JB.

“And me,” says Bulldog appearing from the next room. Lee refuses to listen, saying that she won’t let them put her sister on trial, but Bulldog seems to think it won’t come to that. He produces the admissions form from the psych hospital and says that it’s clear that Marge had a history of mental illness. When she was released in 1984, with the diagnosis ‘no further treatment required’ – now that’s another story. She could tell right from wrong. So there’s no getting away from Art’s murder.

Actually there is. She didn’t do that one.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

When Lee tried to put the show off, after seeing Marge suffering, Art threatened to expose Marge as the killer and so Lee lashed out.

Afterwards, when JB and Barry are debriefing, it’s revealed that Barry’s show has been cancelled. He’s looking to the future though, a future where TV isn’t just on the tube. The actors will be in the room with you.

j2

Now I know that Gene Kelly was a genius and could tapdance on rollerskates, but according to YouTube Donald O’Connor did it first but more than that, he did this:

Long live the king.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S06E13 – If the Shoe Fits

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It’s a beautiful day in the Cove Fletcherfans, and JB is hard at work in her garden with the assistance of local boy Kevin.

Jonathan Brandis. God it still makes me sad to think about it.

Jonathan Brandis. God it still makes me sad to think about it. 

JB tells Kevin he’s the best worker she’s ever had and he’s right chuffed. It’s just him and his Mum at home and he’s got to earn a living.

Sidenote: this actually happened:

Please see Murder, She Blogged on Facebook for an accurate representation of my reaction to this line.

Please see Murder, She Blogged on Facebook for an accurate representation of my reaction to this line.

Over at the shoe factory where Kevin’s mother Marla works Stuff is Going Down. The owner of the shoe factory is freaking out after his landlord, Jack Franzen increases his rent (and hits on his workers, this time Patsy aka Liza Minelli’s half sister). In a helpful coincidence, Jack Franzen is also Marla and Kevin’s landlord and he’s keen to collect if you know what I mean. Marla tells him that she hasn’t got the money on her and he says he’ll come around later but Marla says not in front of her son. Jack is fine with that – if she’s short he can find a way she can make up the difference.

EW.

(Sidenote part the second: Jack Franzen is being played by Crispin Glover’s father which is kind of totes appropes considering it was Back to the Future Day the other day).

Back at Casa Fletcher JB has returned with Seth Hazlitt and a load of garden supplies so they can crack on with the gardening on Monday. Jess gives Kevin his weeks wages and Seth offers to give him a ride home considering how dark it has become. Kevin tells them he’ll be fine – he’s got errands to run and he has an excellent headlight. On his way home, however, he’s nearly run off the road by a swerving car. His bike damaged, Kevin walks the rest of the way.

A couple of days later JB is on a mission to get a whole heap of packages sent of to various family members (because as we know, The Family is huge), ably assisted by Seth.

Heehee

Heehee

On the way to the post office they spot Kevin appearing to wait for a bus to arrive, but as it leaves he does too, telling Jess he will go and get started on her garden. While getting the mail sorted Seth and Jess run into Jack Franzen’s wife Gloria, picking up some fancy lingerie she ordered. Seth asks after Jack, saying he hadn’t seen him for awhile but she says likewise. Outside the post office they run into Jess’s former colleague and Kevin’s history teacher Lydia Johansesen who tells JB to tell Kevin she hopes he’s feeling better, since he wasn’t in school today.

Jess finds Kevin hard at work in her garden and offers a banana bread and milk break, which Kevin gratefully accepts, saying that his Mum wasn’t feeling well and didn’t make him lunch. Jess tells him his teacher will be glad to hear that he’s okay since he wasn’t in school today. Kevin tells her that he had to stay home and look after her, but refuses any offers of help or seeing Doctor Hazlitt. Instead he asks JB for his wages for the day just in case he needs to pick something up for his mother. Jess sends him on his way, but is concerned and starts rummaging through her fridge for leftovers.

To the Fletch-mobile!

 

The Hero Cabot Cove Deserves

The Hero Cabot Cove Deserves

JB knocks on the door and hears Kevin say “Mom?” but when he answers the door and realises it’s JB he tells her she can’t come in, his mum is asleep. When JB presses Kevin comes clean – when he got home on Friday there was a note from his mother saying she’d gone to Portland and that she’d be back that night, but she’s been gone for three days.

Jess is in shock and asks him why he didn’t call the sheriff and he tells her about the time in Chicago he got placed in foster care – he swears he will never go back. JB tells him she understands, but that his mother is probably worried sick about him too and convinces him to go see Sheriff Metzger, saying she thinks she can convince Mort to holdoff on calling the authorities for a little while.

Down at the Sheriff’s office Mort hears the story and tells Kevin he will call around the hospitals in Portland to see what he can find out. Privately he tells Jess that he should call child services but Jess asks him to hold off until he’s made his calls. Mort agrees and tells her to get Kevin to check his statement. While they do that, Gloria Franzen wanders in to make an official report – not that she cares but her husband has been missing since Friday. Jess tells her she’s sorry to hear it, and wonders if she knows Marla Bryce. Gloria tells her that it wouldn’t surprise her if they’d run off together – Jack charged Marla 200 bucks a month rent but the place is worth triple that. Presumably (Gloria tells them) Marla makes up for it with services rendered.

 

So gross.

So gross.

Leaving the Sheriff’s office, JB asks Kevin if he recognised Gloria Franzen which he did, as the wife of their landlord. Kevin tells JB that Jack Franzen would come around all the time chasing rent, but that his mother didn’t like him at all and said they would be free of him soon enough. Jess suggests they go out to his place, leave a note in case his mother turns up, and get some of his things so he can spend the night at House Fletcher. On the way they take a short cut and find a crashed car down a ravine – with the body of Jack Franzen in it.

Well I think we all saw that coming.

While Seth, the sheriff and his men go about their business, Kevin confides in JB that he used to think it would be cool to find a dead body.

“Well it isn’t,” says JB. And let’s face it guys, SHE WOULD KNOW.

Mort reports in that Jack Franzen had been dead about 3-4 days, meaning he was killed on Friday. It was no accident either, Seth tells them. Jack was hit over the head, probably with a two-by-four – or the Bryce’s missing shovel. While Seth gets Kevin to help him put the bikes in the back of Seth’s truck, JB follows the Sheriff, who’s just found some broken tail light pieces on the ground. They’re interrupted by Deputy Floyd arriving with the news that Marla Bryce has been located in a Portland hospital.

Marla is relieved to see Kevin but doesn’t really remember what happened. She came down to Portland for a job interview, got lost heading back to the bus station and was mugged when she asked for directions. Mort asks her if she saw Jack on Friday, and Marla says she thinks so but is shocked when they tell her he’s been murdered. Mort tells her he will have to take her in for questioning.

Mort is convinced Marla is guilty but JB isn’t so sure. Back in the Cove though, Jess has more pressing concerns. She invites former student Lee McAdam around who is conveniently also a social worker. Kevin is suspicious when she suggests foster care, but is delighted when she tells him that the foster carer would be JB – as long as Jessica is a responsible adult.

“I try!” says JB. NAWWWWWWWW.

That night, JB checks in on Kevin all tucked up in bed and asks him if he remembers anything else about Friday that might help his mother. Kevin remembers the car, and tells JB it only had one taillight. A clue! Kevin is all set to start looking right away but Jess tells him they will go chat to the Sheriff in the morning.

The next morning, Jess goes to wake Kevin with the promise of blueberry pancakes but he’s gone. In a panic she calls Seth and they set out to look for him and sure enough they find him down the street in town, checking all the parked cars for a broken taillight. On the way back to Jess’s for pancakes (which Seth has conveniently wrangled an invitation to), they spot Marla’s boss at the shoe factory getting into the car of Gloria Franzen.

After breakfast, and a brief speech about how horrible that such things like the case of Marla and Kevin Bryce are happening in their little town, Seth drives JB to see Marla to try and jog her memory about where she went on that fateful Friday. JB shows Marla the job advertisements from the paper that day and Marla remembers where she she had the interview. She tells JB she’s terrified of losing Kevin but Jess is on the case. Marla also mentions that her boss, Owen might have had a reason to kill Jack, on account of the rent raising.

On a mission, JB heads down to the shoe factory where she bumps into one of Marla’s co-workers, Danny Snow (JD from Hill Street Blues for those who are playing along at home), who offers to help pay for Marla’s legal fees. Jess mentions she heard the funeral was going to be on Friday but Danny tells her not to expect a crowd. Jess is surprised to hear this, she remembers Danny and Jack were the best of friends back in high school but Danny tells her Jack just liked having people around who made him feel better about himself.

Inside, while JB orders a pair of moccasins from Patsy she notices Gloria Franzen and Owen the factory owner busy talking up in the managers office. She goes to investigate – Owen tells her that Gloria has found a way for Owen to buy the building outright, paving the way for a joint business selling shoes via catalog. He’s excited, she’s excited, JB’s suspicious and even more so when she learns that Owen got rid of his car last Saturday morning. As she leaves the factory with her new slippers, she runs into Sheriff Metzger who has bad news – the company Marla says she interviewed at has never heard of her.

JB won’t stand for this and so calls the company herself, speaking to the man who actually interviewed Marla and forgot to write it in his calendar. This doesn’t clinch it for Mort, although his new focus is the busted tail light pieces he found. Jess tells him that if they belong to a twelve-year-old Chevy to check with Owen the factory owner. Floyd gets an anonymous tip placing Jack Franzen at Patsy’s place at 3pm that Friday afternoon so Mort troops over to suss it out, since if Jack was at Patsy’s after Marla left for the interview she will be completely off the hook. Patsy confirms the timeline, and with a quick look at her taillight for good measure Mort returns to the sheriff’s office one suspect less than what he had to begin with.

Meanwhile Seth is raiding JB’s brownies at her place when he and JB have a seemingly pointless conversation about red lights on coffee makers that leads to a JB epiphany.

*if epiphany persists, please see a doctor*

*if epiphany persists, please see a doctor*

While JB gets Mort to start checking for people who might have bought new taillight covers, Kevin is out doing his own investigating – and finds a fresh new taillight and the person who did it.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

JB and Mort arrive just in time to avert disaster. Danny confesses to killing Jack Franzen but says it was in self-defence.  Something about a lifetime of bullying. Poor bloke.

Guys this episode was just depressing. I recommend you scroll down and look at Bill Maher’s hair until we all feel better.

So until next time.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S05E16 – Truck Stop

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JB is on the road this week Fletcherfans, and has holed up at a truck stop in California. The reasons for this will become clear (hopefully – I fell asleep watching this episode during the week so today will be an adventure for everyone).  Right now, someone called Walter Murray has just been shot and gone back to his hotel room to make a noir audiobook about his imminent demise. Which is what most people do, clearly.

A short time later, Sheriff Tugman appears, fondles the front wheel of Walter’s car and hollers for Walter to open up. This brings Jessica out of her slumber and she arrives to find out just what’s the deal. The sheriff tells her that Walter is a dangerous criminal.

“Dangerous? He’s a writer, you can reason with writers!” (Life Lesson #57).

JB convinces the sheriff not to crash in all guns blazing and just open the door, and find Walter’s body slumped in the chair. JB is perplexed as to why Walter chose to make a book-on-tape instead of seeking help, but nevertheless she and the sheriff settle in to listen to the audiobook.

Right off the bat, the motive for Walter’s murder becomes clear – he thinks he is living in a film noir movie, and narrates everything accordingly. In any case, the story begins with he and JB driving from Vegas to Los Angeles (despite JB’s request that they fly), and as they detour off the interstate he outlines the opening scene for the movie.

“A guy plants a smacker on a girl. She slaps him. He kisses her again, she likes it. But as their lips are suctioned together, she pulls a gun out of her purse. He grabs her hand. The gun goes off.”

I AM GOING TO MAKE AN OCTOPUS FILM NOIR CALLED THE BIG INK AND I WILL WIN ALL THE OSCARS AND MORTALS WILL KNEEL BEFORE MY GREATNESS

I AM GOING TO MAKE AN OCTOPUS FILM NOIR CALLED THE BIG INK AND I WILL WIN ALL THE OSCARS AND MORTALS WILL KNEEL BEFORE MY GREATNESS

Jessica points out that octopuses making out and pulling guns on each other is not a scene from her book and Walter tells her he’s there to adapt the essence of her book. I’m almost positive Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick had this exact conversation when making The Shining, a film that remains the scariest film ever conceived by humans (closely followed by The Babadook – anyone who makes Babadook noises near me for the next ever is going to feel my wrath).

Wait, I’m getting off track. Anyway, they pull up at a truck stop, and Walter decides he’s starving and goes into the diner. “There she was – a little the worse for wear but still a hot cup of coffee to a thirsty guy like me.”

I don't think JB is enjoying being in a film noir

I don’t think JB is enjoying being in a film noir

The cup of coffee in question is  Vera Gerakakis, waitress and co-owner of the diner along with her husband Peter, who is basically fed up with everything. Down the other end of the bar a random hobo is kicking back and wondering if Vera was from the south, she seems so familiar. A bike pulls up outside, on which rides Vera’s daughter and her boyfriend Desmond. Flora comes in to get some money out of the till, to which Peter offers to give her a swift kick in the backside and she takes off on the back of the bike again.

Walter watches her drive off into the sunset then realises he left his wallet in the car. On his return to the diner Sheriff Tugman is receiving his dinner order from Vera. “You sure know how to make a man happy baby,” says the Sheriff.

“From the appearance of your girth, one can only surmise that you must be ecstatic.” Says the hobo.

Tugman is not amused.

Tugman is not amused.

Tugman gets all up in the hobo’s grill when the hobo says Tugman had put on weight since the last time they met, and he goes to flee, but passes out. Vera thinks he must be hungry. “I was hungry too – a different kind of hungry,” narrates Walter.

Ugh, Walter needs to calm down.

Ugh, Walter needs to calm down.

Jess has a quiet word with Walter and demands they hit the road. Walter points out it will be dark soon but JB is done. Alas, when they get to the car, it is mysteriously not working. Roscoe the mechanic sticks his head in and offers to take a look at it.

The audiobook skips ahead to the return of Flora on the motorbike but JB calls timeout because she’s just remembered something. She was going to talk to Walter, having second thoughts about the octopus-centric nature of his script, when she spies Roscoe lurking outside Walter’s door. He tells her he’s out for a walk. JB asks him about the car, since she’d hoped he’d be able to fix it that night.

“So do I.” He muttered and wandered off.

When JB went in to see Walter, he was with Vera. Vera was crying and Walter looked distracted, like he’d been told something surprising. WHAT ON EARTH COULD IT POSSIBLY BE I WONDER.

Flora and her boyfriend Grange reappear on the bike. Pete goes nuts and slaps his daughter for being a tramp like her mother, Grange punches Pete a couple of times, everyone wins. Later that night, Walter was out narrating to himself when he heard banging from the garage. He checks it out and finds Pete smashing up his car. Pete goes after him with a tyre iron, drops it and goes for the wrench. Walter grabs the tire iron and clocks Pete with it, killing him. This is the worst game of Cluedo ever.

JB and Tugman continue the tape (although if you watch carefully, when Tugman presses play you can’t see the tape winding. Yes I know all about tapes).  “So there I was, a still on my hands, and a damned heavy one too,” says Walter.

I'M NOT LAUGHING SHUSH

I’M NOT LAUGHING SHUSH

Walter decides to make Pete’s death look like an accident, by lowering the car lift onto his body. “And it would have worked too, if that busybody Fletcher dame hadn’t stuck her nose in it…”

Damn straight.

Damn straight.

Tugman endorses this development.

Tugman endorses this development.

“…that lard-bottomed lawman would have bought the whole scheme.”

Poor Tugman.

Poor Tugman.

JB is on the case and straight away sees it’s murder. Tugman immediately jumps to conclusions and decides it’s Grange, Flora’s bikie boyfriend. This gives Walter an idea and when he sees Grange drop one of his bike gloves on his way in to get Flora, he pounces. He grabs the glove and leaves it in the garage, knowing that it won’t be hard to get Tugman to go back to search the garage again. Tugman plays his part and arrests Grange, while being beat up by Flora.

Later that night Flora goes to pay Walter a visit to apologise for suggesting Walter and Vera were getting it on, and to ask for a ride to LA. Walter refuses, saying she’s better off staying with her mother. Flora tells him her bags are packed, and if he won’t help her she’ll find another way. Vera comes rushing out of the next room to stop her – Flora tells her she hates her and isn’t going to get stuck in this crappy town like her mother.

After being harangued by JB Walter goes to find out how long til the car is fixed. He finds out that Roscoe and Pete were in the service together, and that Pete wasn’t too pleased that Roscoe liked Vera. Roscoe informs Walter that someone disconnected the fuel line on his car, which seems like someone wanted to stay in town and get something done. He also knows that gloves don’t just walk int garages – they need a hand. OH THE LOLZ.

Since it was clear Roscoe wanted Walter to pay him off and get out of town, Walter hatches a plan to solve all his problems. He decides to plant the murder weapon at Roscoes, kill him and make it look like self defence. Alas, it didn’t go according to plan, and Roscoe and Walter end up shooting each other.

And there, the audiobook ends. Tugman and JB confirm that Roscoe is dead, but JB is not convinced by Walter’s confession. She cannot understand why he didn’t come to her after he’d been shot. Tugman grudgingly agrees to get caliber and fingerprint tests, but as far as he’s concerned they’ve got his favourite kind of killer – a dead one.

JB investigates Walter’s room but the police have taken everything. Vera appears to tidy up, and she’s devastated that after all these years he’s gone. JB tells her she thinks it’s not a coincidence that she and Walter came to the trucksop. Flora turns up and is shocked to learn a) that Walter is dead and b) that he confessed to killing Pete and Roscoe. She goes off to find out from Tugman when he’s releasing Grange but he tells her that he already has and Grange has gotten the hell out of Dodge. The hobo reappears and says the sheriff would know all about it, and Tugman goes nuts again. JB asks him if he found the envelope Walter was consulting on their drive over but it’s nowhere to be found. Jessica is convinced Walter lied, but Tugman won’t have a bar of it – besides the gun shot residue on Walter’s hands confirms that at he killed Roscoe.

Jess finds the hobo (it turns out his name is Desmond) in the diner and asks him how he knows so much about Tugman. Before she can get a straight answer a man comes in and introduces himself as Terence Locke, life insurance. He asks for Vera who comes out of the kitchen and tells him it’s not a good time to be selling life insurance to her. He tells her he’s here to settle up Pete’s life insurance – $250,000, as per her phone call the previous day, an hour after Pete had been found dead.

JB shows him the crime scene and shows him the report of Pete’s injuries – they don’t match the way Walter said it went down on the tape. Terence agrees that it was murder, and that it would appear someone hit him from behind but with not enough force to kill him. Terence comes clean about a fact he’s been withholding – Vera isn’t the beneficiary of Pete’s policy, Flora is.

As they drive over to the hotel where Flora lives with her mother, JB explains that she’s almost certain that Flora is Walter’s daughter, not Pete’s, and she thinks she has a way to prove whether or not Flora killed Pete to stop him changing his life insurance policy away from her.

JB pays a visit to Flora, who is preparing to get the hell out, and passes on her condolences about the death of her father…and also the death of Pete. Flora tells her she only found out a half hour earlier from her mother. She asks JB how she’s getting back to LA and whether she can get a lift. JB says she’ll see what she can do. Meanwhile, Terence is giving Vera papers to sign. She’s surprised to learn that Flora is the beneficiary of the policy, but says she’s glad Pete thought of her. Terence (clearly under instruction from JB) tells Vera she made a mistake, that she forgot to destroy the letter she sent Walter. She tells him if he doesn’t leave she will call his company and threaten law suits until he is fired. She leaves, rushes back to her room to find the letter and burn it.

Well there it is.

Surprise!

Surprise!

Vera killed Pete, got Walter to cover it up and kill Roscoe. And in the end the insurance money wasn’t even hers. What I’m trying to say is that this episode absolutely needed more octopuses.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a movie to make.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a movie to make.

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