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S11E13 – Death ‘N Denial

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Salaam-Alaikum!  Welcome to Agrabah, city of mystery, of enchantment. AndthefinestmerchandisethissideoftheriverJordanonsaletoday! Come on down!

Guys I haven’t had a lot of sleep. Fair warning.

Jessica is rolling on into Cairo (something I’m very jealous about – I’ve never been to Egypt but I’ve spent most of my life living in denial about something, boom tish), theoretically to help coordinate the cultural exchange between the Cairo Museum and her museum in New York that she helped found/is overlord of. In actual fact, her travel is being used as a cover for Egyptologist Sally Otterburn to smuggle what turns out to be a real artefact back into Cairo at the request of Museum Director Sherif Faris. He’s not the only person interested in its arrival though – a man named Rudy Grimes bugs Sally’s conversation and then calls his employer Bradford Thorpe know that the artefact has turned up. Bradford quickly covers up his excitement when his wife Vanessa walks in and claims that someone has lined up a racehorse for him and it’s a bargain.

Speaking of racehorses there is a horse called Jon Snow AND a horse called Nights Watch running in the Caulfield Cup today, if they don’t come first and second I’m going to start a riot

Jess steps off the plane and immediately starts her charm offensive, greeting her driver with a “As-Salaam-Alaikum”

She’s charming in every language

 

I know this was funny in 1994, but enough.

Jess nails her Arabic so well that the driver starts speaking in Arabic and she asks Sally to explain she ain’t that good (she is though) but guys it’s okay, the driver (whose name is Naser Muhammad Hasan) used to be a cab driver in Manhattan.

I like this episode already.

Just as Jessica spots their luggage Frank Rick Rudy Grimes snatches a bag off Sally’s shoulder and legs it. Unfortunately for him, he grabbed Jessica’s bag, not Sally’s. While they wait for security Sally calls the museum to find out why Sherif wasn’t there to meet them at the airport but he carefully tells her there was an unexpected visit from the minister of culture. Sally explains what happened and says she will bring the statuette around straight away and he tells her no, he’ll call her later.

Inspector Omar Halim is summoned to take a report on the theft, and immediately refers to JB as PD James.

I wonder if PD James ever did versions of Dave Chapelle’s ‘I’m Rick James bitch!’ bit, but with her name. I choose to believe yes.

Omar has just flown in from Luxor and is curious about the theft. Sally explains the purpose of the trip and Omar is not thrilled about the “cultural exchange”, but promises to make sure the report of the theft does not get lost.

Frank Rick Rudy Grimes breaks the bad news to Bradford that he swiped the wrong bag from the airport. Bradford is furious but Rudy says he can still get it. Vanessa comes home and they quickly turn the conversation to racehorses. Vanessa is seeing through the bullshit though and tells Bradford he should find a less dodgy business partner.

Jess checks into the Hotel Osiris at Sally’s suggestion and heads to her room to make calls while Sally flirts away with the hotel owner Boyd Venton.  Naser asks JB for her help getting his American visa approved so that he can get back to his fiance. Meanwhile, Bradford has a meeting with his loan shark Trevor Han, who tells him if he doesn’t deliver the statue by tomorrow, he will foreclose Bradford’s wife. Unable to get hold of Sherif, Sally stashes the statuette in the closet.

Cut to panoramic footage of Egypt, which is all rather lovely of course. Bradford goes to meet his mistress Seven of Nine, who doesn’t seem to be that enthused with his gift of plane tickets to Rome. Frank Rick Rudy Grimes has another crack at the statue while Sally is in the shower. She busts him just as he’s leaving her hotel room but he gets away. Jessica is flummoxed that the same man who stole her bag would return, and Sally explains what was in the bag.

It has become clear to JB that she was used as an excuse to smuggle the real artefact into Cairo to replace the fake one (which apparently was in the museum to cover up the real one’s theft two years earlier). Also, JB is pissed.

This will not stand

Sherif arrives and immediately puts all the blame on Sally, but refuses to go to the police and threatens to pin the whole thing on Sally if they do. What a top bloke.

At a gala at the museum that night, Jessica wanders the exhibition and gets to Fletchsplain a bit of Egyptian history to Vanessa Thorpe, who it turns out was competing for the old department store that JB got turned into a museum. Jess and Sally are introduced to Trevor Han, who Jess later sees fighting with Bradford Thorpe.

Sidenote: the storylines may have been up and down this season but FARSHUN IS FOREVA

Outfit 10/10

Bradford gets a phone call from Rudy telling him the jig is up, and that he couldn’t find the statue. Bradford wants him to break into the museum to retrieve it if it’s true that Sherif has already got it, but Rudy says soz mate and hangs up. It turns out Vanessa has put him up to it and pays him 50K to not give the statuette to her husband.

Boyd Venton goes to see Rudy at home/break into his apartment, but Rudy pulls a gun on him first. Turns out they are both ex-CIA because of course they are. Boyd wants to know where the statuette is but Rudy tells him to jog on.

The next day Jess is down looking at mugshots to see if she can identify the bag thief.  She sees Rudy’s mug shot and pretends not to recognise him but Omar is not fooled. Meanwhile, Sally and Boyd rekindle whatever thing they had going on before she went back to New York and he explains the whole CIA thing.

Rudy meets Seven of Nine (or Maura if you want to get technical about it) and we discover that her relationship with Bradford was bankrolled by Rudy. Maura wants more money but Rudy isn’t having a bar of it. She storms out and he gets a phone call from someone wanting to meet him.

Apparently, the meeting is to take place at the Hotel Osiris, and so Rudy wanders into the lobby and over to the elevator. Naser the driver recognises him and sets off in pursuit. Upstairs, Jessica calls an elevator and is rather startled when one arrives with Rudy’s corpse in it. Inspector Omar is called to the scene and calls everyone on their bullshit (honestly, this is the first cop who has his business sorted in a while). Jessica, Sally and Sherif explain the situation and Omar decides the killer had to have shot Rudy as he went into the elevator, or came out on the third floor.

“Unless the elevator stopped on the second!” Jess says helpfully. Omar decides he wants to talk to Naser the driver again.

Over at House Thorpe Bradford discovers Vanessa has her bags packed. She’s not leaving him though, they are both leaving Cairo and she has a few rules going forward, particularly about young women called Maura and getting loans from loan sharks like Trevor Han.

Back at the Hotel Osiris Jess tells Naser that her friend is looking into his immigration case, and then get Sally to help test her theory that it was possible someone could have beaten the elevator to the second floor and shot Rudy. Boyd wanders past and confesses to Jessica that he did know Rudy – Boyd wasn’t CIA after all but used to work for Rudy back in the day doing shady stuff. Boyd went to see him because he figured if there was money involved so would Rudy be. Jess sees merit in this and thinks she knows where the money was coming from, but a visit to Vanessa and Bradford doesn’t provide much information. Or does it?

Jess heads down to Rudy’s local cafe haunt, where he would have his mail sent to. She tells Naser to tell the owner she’s Rudy’s mother – and ends up with a plate of Egyptian stew to eat, along with Rudy’s mail. According to the local custom, Jess can’t leave the table until the plate is clean.

Life Lesson #74: NEVER TURN DOWN AN EATING CHALLENGE

Following the clue she found at the cafe, Jess retrieves the bag with the statuette at the hotel, just as Omar appears. He takes it off her, confirms the statue is inside and promptly arrests Naser Hasan.

Jess doesn’t believe Naser is involved for a second, and a chance discovery of a missing cufflink at the police station gives her an idea about who the killer might be. She plants a trap and waits for it to spring shut.

Or something like that.

She’s no Salome Otterbourne.

It turns out the statuette wasn’t her main goal – she was so upset about Rudy holding Boyd’s past over him that she took matters into her own hands, bless her.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Naser got his green card and will soon be on his way to America, and as a result, Jessica will never have to wait for a cab again.

Worth it.

Later gang!

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S11E07 – Fatal Paradise

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Once upon a time in a Chicago far away, a man gets dumped by voicemail. Rather than letting it get to him, he calls a pal and asks him to recommend a guard dog who isn’t too bright and won’t ask a lot of questions.

Cut to…

BRB, googling Martinique

…and JB is being accosted in her hotel room by helicopter mother Melanie Venable who wants Jessica’s opinion on if her son Hilton Augustus Venable has any talent as a writer which also happens if you work in publishing and go online dates just FYI. JB is saved by the owner of the hotel Lauren Delagre, who it turns out is a former resident of Cabot Cove and has her own problems including a belligerent teenage son called Jeff and a gambling addict husband called Maurice. Lauren arranges to meet Jess downstairs and stops to let her son know the sink is blocked in one of the rooms.

Jeff knocks on the door, and the guest lets him in, still talking on the phone.

The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

Turns out, guard dog is another word for a private detective, obviously, and everyone’s second favourite detective (HARRY MCGRAW FOREVER) Charlie Garrett is hot on the tail of the Chicago dude Phil Spurling’s missing wife Dorie and her new boyfriend Graham Farrow. While Jeff attends to the pipes, Charlie informs Phil that his wife and Farrow are on a yacht in the bay.

Cut to

Well shit I thought it was Reno

And a woman reading a book in the park gets a call from Phil Spurling, who tells her Martinique.

“Where on the island?” She says.

“L’Hotel des Deux Perroquets”, he says.

She hangs up and leaves the park. And scene.

Back at L’Hotel des Deux Perroquets, Lauren’s husband Maurice is getting his gamble on with a policeman, some rando, and of all people Graham Farrow. Maurice goes all in, including an IOU on a napkin, but it backfires when his four jacks get beat by a straight flush. Graham tells Maurice it was lucky he lost to someone who is so fond of him, then excuses himself to go check on the women. A gendarme pops in to tell the police captain of Charlie Garrett’s presence in Martinique. Looks like poker night finished early.

The ladies Graham is referring to are Dorie Spurling, Lauren Delagre and JB who are kicking it on the yacht. Dorie thought it would be a good idea for her and Lauren to get to know each other since Graham and Maurice are such good friends – “Am I right Jessica?”

It’s wine time, not sorting out your problems time.

Lauren agrees with Dorie though, and they clink glasses. Dorie understands, you see. Dorie thinks Lauren feels threatened by her because she left her husband and Lauren has only thought about it – “Am I right Jessica?”

Jessica is staying the hell out of this.

Maurice and Graham turn up on the boat at exactly that moment to share the news – Maurice has gambled half ownership of the hotel over to Graham. Good one Maurice.

At dinner, the mysterious lady from the park checks in as Norma Willens and bumps into Hilton Augustus Venable, who gives her puppy dog eyes, and Melanie Venable, who gives her the evil eye. Meanwhile, JB has just polished off her dinner when a familiar voice rings out through the restaurant.

THERE IS NOWHERE JB IS SAFE.

Charlie is delighted to see Jessica, obviously, but before he can tell her what he’s doing there the police captain arrives to ask him that very question. “Scuba diving.” He announces. Jessica tells him her room number and the police captain asks Charlie to follow him outside. Meanwhile, Jeff Delagre has a whinge to his girlfriend on the front desk about how everything sucks especially his father.

Back in JB’s hotel room, Jess and Charlie have a nightcap while he explains he is in town to retrieve Dorie Spurling from her kidnappers. Jess is rather surprised to hear Dorie has been kidnapped but Charlie swears the girl in the photo (who is indeed Dorie) doesn’t look like the kind to leave their husband. Something sketchy is definitely going on, maybe Dorie has Stockholm Syndrome and has gone full Patty Hearst. Anyway, absolutely nothing shady about Dorie’s husband, and Charlie will see JB later.

Charlie really is picking up where Harry left off

Over on the yacht, Dorie is doing a bit of her own investigating and has found a suitcase full of cash. DUN DUN.

The next morning, Graham is over at the hotel bemoaning how it has fallen into disrepair. Jeff’s girlfriend tried to defend the Delagres but Lauren pops up and tells her there’s no need. She points Graham to the door. Graham tells her she should be pleased, now there are two people to worry about Maurice’s gambling. Lauren says there’s nothing wrong with her husband and Graham says whatever,  he’s getting papers drawn up to formalise his share in the hotel.

The lady of the hour, Dorie Spurling, rolls up to the hotel and immediately crashes into Charlie, who can’t believe his luck. He offers to buy her a drink and they disappear into the bar, under the watchful eye of Norma Willens who grins to herself. Jess has tea and sympathy with Lauren, who thinks Dorie was right, she is in denial about Maurice. Jeff pops in to report that the roof is basically cactus, but Maurice joins them shortly afterwards to say that it’s all good, Graham has agreed to foot the bill for a new roof and some other repairs. Jeff says great, maybe he can buy them a new hotel. Lauren tells him not to speak to his father like that and Jeff declares it’s liberating and she should try it.

Sidebar:

That shirt is tremendous.

In the bar, Charlie and Dorie are having a lovely time reminiscing about Chicago when a thug wanders past to cut the chat short. Dorie wishes Charlie a nice day and leaves. Huh. Maybe Charlie wasn’t insane about the kidnapping theory.

Jess is at the front desk getting a fax from her editor when Norma Willens wanders past to buy some stamps. Colette tries to introduce her to JB but she politely rushes off. She then bumps into Hilton Augustus Venable and tells him she hasn’t responded to his messages because she’s not interested. He suggests later, as his mother appears to growl at him. Jessica returns his story and tells him she enjoyed it, but Melanie Venable hasn’t got time to be pleased about that, she wants Hilton to back off Norma until the family lawyer can work out if she’s an appropriate woman for him to date. Ay ay ay. PS. Hilton looks about 35.

Jess and Charlie go for a stroll, and Jess warns Charlie even if he is right about the situation with Dorie, he shouldn’t let his feelings get involved. He spots Dorie with Graham and the thug and goes over to greet her. Graham nods at the thug who beats the crap out of Charlie before walking away.

Sidebar this might be the best screencap I’ve yoinked since the last time I said that.

I CAN’T EVEN.

Later that night Charlie’s recovering in his room when he gets a call from Dorie. She tells him Graham knows who he is and why he’s here. She knows he’s here to return the money Graham stole from Phil and Charlie says uh, yeah, sure. Dorie wants out of everything – she can get her hands on the money, but she doesn’t want to lead Charlie on. Charlie’s on the case and enlists Jessica’s help while he gets over to the yacht, whacks the thug on the head and gets Dorie out of there.

Meanwhile back at the bar…

This episode represents a golden shirt era.

…Jessica distracts Graham with quality shirts and also questions about boats “for her next book”. Graham has had enough at this point and excuses himself.

Charlie and Dorie make to land, but a hidden figure shoots Dorie and then scarpers when Charlie starts firing back. Dorie has enough time to say Charlie’s name before she dies, and he looks miserable.

The next day Jessica is dragged down to the police station to tell police what she knows about the affair and where Charlie is now. Before she can answer a gendarme frog marches Charlie into the office, with his recently fired gun. Jess asks if it matches the bullet used to kill Dorrie and the police captain says they couldn’t find it but he hardly thinks that matters.

Back at the hotel, Jeff bumps into his father coming out of Charlie’s room. Maurice tells him the pipes weren’t fixed correctly the first time and storms off. Jeff tells JB his father is fuming because Graham Farrow has pulled out of plans to fund the roof repair. I bet he has.

Jess goes for a walk with Lauren to hunt for clues. Lauren is suspicious of Charlie, but JB says he’s got a good heart underneath it all and immediately finds the bullet that Charlie fired off the previous night because at this stage JB has achieved god-level status in all forms of criminology.

Things kick up a notch. Graham gets on the phone to Spurling and accuses him of arranging the hit on Dorrie. Phil says well yeah duh, now return the money to continue being alive. Graham tells him he doesn’t have it and to ask Charlie where it is. Melanie Venables watches Norma Willens walk through the library and gets a call from her lawyer. Charlie gets a call from Spurling asking where the money is, and Charlie tells him he knows nothing. Graham and the thug arrive and Charlie’s room looking for the money and he tells them the same thing. The thug starts beating the crap out of Charlie, interrupting Jessica’s phone call in her room. She goes to investigate and pushes past Graham telling her that Charlie is unavailable. She scolds the thug and goes to Charlie’s aid while Graham and the thug depart. Jess scolds Charlie for not telling her the truth and says Phil Spurling is in deep money trouble ever since Dorie ran off. Charlie swears Dorie had nothing to do with the missing six million bucks.

Six mil is a lot of early 90s dollars you guys.

Charlie takes JB to where he hid the money after Dorie died, but someone’s grabbed it. Charlie panics, but Jess notices some distinctive footprints in the dirt.

Back at the hotel Norma packs up her gun and suitcase for the money and is almost out the door when she runs into Hilton. He apologises, but his mother arranged for her lawyer to look into Norma’s background and she’s completely clean except the teacher’s registration office think she’s been dead for two years. Norma swears she will look into it, and Hilton asks if he can call her. JB and Charlie appear and tell him she’ll enjoy hearing from him IN JAIL. Norma pulls a gun but Charlie has no time for that.

Norma confirms JB’s suspicions at the police station – she was hired to bump off Dorie, but someone beat her to it. After the murder she followed Charlie and grabbed the money and would have gotten away with it, etc etc. Jess sees the captain cleaning a metal pipe and suddenly realises Norma is telling the truth. JB knows who the killer is, she just needs to stop in the village for a prop.

For you see…

Well, this took a dark turn.

…Maurice overheard Dorie and Charlie’s phone conversation and took matters into his own hands. He wanted that money for himself.

Let’s not dwell on that depressing twist.

Later gang!

S10E08 – Love and Hate in Cabot Cove

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Welcome to 2018 and welcome back to the Cove Fletcherfans!

Mort is burning the midnight oil down at the Sheriff’s office trying to solve the case of Why Can’t He Access His Files On His Computer.

Noone likes a smartarse, Andy.

Giving up on computers and the prospect of the 21st century in general, Mort goes to retrieve his paper files from the storage room and is shot at by a shadowy figure outside. A car screeches away as Andy comes running in gun drawn. Mort didn’t see the shooter but he has a good idea who it was.

Meanwhile, at the home of Sam Bennett Public Accountant (I would not watch that show), Sam has just returned home to his anxious wife Laura, who wants to know why celebrity client Jessica Fletcher keeps calling. She calls back just as Sam walks in the door but Sam makes faces like he’s not home. Laura tells him she will get dinner ready but he says not to bother, he has another client. After she leaves he grabs a bundle of money out of the safe and puts JB’s file inside.

Over at the new hotspot in town, Jess is treating Seth to dinner while puzzling over the fact that she’s just been swamped with late notices and missing payments that Sam Bennett is supposed to have handled. Seth tells her to calm down, they’ve known Sam for 25 years there’s nothing to worry about. Frank Fletcher was one of Sam’s first clients, it turns out, and Jess is struggling to work out what’s going on. Seth is a client of Sam’s too, but before Jess can find out if Seth knows anything Lou Karamides, the new owner of the hotspot, pops past their table to offer a bottle of champagne for Cabot Cove’s unofficial monarch and his gold cufflinks for the upcoming rummage sale fundraiser.

(Fun fact, Lou Karamides is being played by Richard Beymer so this is basically the Great Northern Hotel)

If it’s true that there are infinite universes in the multiverse, there is a universe where Angela Lansbury was in Twin Peaks and holy crap that makes me happy.

Lou is called away upstairs, where it turns out he has the Star Wars Cantina a hidden casino full of hapless punters including a rather jolly Sam Bennett (aka Wings Hauser from all those other episodes, you guys know). I can’t even begin to wonder where this plot line is going. Lou checks in on Sam’s winnings (none) and Sam asks for some more credit. Lou gives him a grand, because what the hell he’s going to lose it anyway.

(Spoiler alert – I’m not a fan of casinos. Crown Casino in Melbourne is a depressing windowless hellhole filled with loud pinging noises and zombies. And shitty nightclubs. But does have a very good Christmas decorations).

Back at the Sheriff’s office, Mort is putting a call in for a warrant to go on a raid after getting an anonymous tip (and shot at), while new deputy Ethan Loomis gets on the phone to his new girlfriend Candace Bennett aka Sam’s daughter. Apparently, Sam doesn’t like Ethan all that much but Ethan can’t imagine why. Mort gets off the phone and orders Ethan to wrap it up and get the raid gear. Andy does it instead, but Ethan gets off the phone, quickly dials another number and says “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” Andy appears with an armload of guns and Ethan quickly says he was talking to Candace.

If you guessed Ethan was alerting the Great Northern, then give yourself a gold star and an elephant stamp as my grandfather would say. Lou oversees the casino’s return to its regular job as a function room and sends all the gamblers down to the bar for a drink, including Sam who was apparently on to a good run. Sam heads downstairs and spots Jessica and Seth just as they spot him. He goes over and says hi, and Jessica tells him they need to talk. Sam tells her he has to get home but he’ll check his calendar for tomorrow and give her a call, and Seth tells him he’d like a word too.

In the background, Mort and co come barreling in demanding to go upstairs but one of Lou’s minions steps in to stall them. Lou appears, and tells them it’s fine, go on up, we’re just a humble restaurant etc. Upstairs, there is no evidence of any gamblification except a solitary chip lying on the ground. Lou asks Mort why he insists on wasting everyone’s time and Mort tells him to watch himself. Basically.

Over at the Cabot Cove Gazette, apparent new editor Irene Macinoy is finishing up for the night and listening to a classical concert from Berlin when her pouty son Chad bursts in, turns the radio off and demands to know if she’s finished. Irene tells him she saw Candace at the post office, she said to say hi. Irene thinks she misses Chad. Chad thinks Candace doesn’t care if he’s alive or dead and storms out.

#NotAllMen.

Over at House Bennett, Ethan and Candace are making out in the cop car when Sam comes outside to see what’s going on. He orders Candace back in the house, and tells Ethan there’s no way he’d allow Ethan to marry his daughter, especially after seeing Ethan in Lou Karamides’s office earlier in the week. Ethan says he will marry Candace, and Sam orders him off his property.

Laura is not impressed by any of it. YOU DESERVE BETTER LAURA.

It’s like that age-old thing about fathers welcoming their son’s hot girlfriends over for dinner, but greeting their daughter’s hot boyfriends at the door with a shotgun. I mean put it back in your pants, your daughter’s not an idiot. Sorry. That’s a rant for another day.

The next day Mort pops round to see JB. JB wants to talk about her accounting predicament but Mort has fan mail to discuss and a coffee craving that needs dealing with.

(Accurate representation of my feelings towards coffee)

Jess is horrified by Mort’s fan mail and the idea that someone shot at him. Mort tells her it was Lou Karamedis, the owner of the Timber Lane Inn (oh, not the Great Northern. Whatever).  Mort can’t prove Lou fired the gun but he certainly knows who did. Mort asks what JB’s predicament is, but she’s running late for an appointment, so Mort offers to drive her over. Unfortunately, Mort’s car is falling apart so Jess gets a lift with Seth while Mort gets his car towed. Seth happens to drive past – on his way to see Sam, who has some explaining to do, and offers to drive JB to the Gazette office so she can place the ad for the rummage sale.

As it happens, pouty mcPoutface Chad is back in his mother’s office yelling at her to give him a job delivering newspapers, but she tells him he’s far too successful to be doing that. He was such a success in Philidelphia (I WAS FIRED IN PHILIDELPHIA says Chad). Irene thinks he’s just a bit stressed, what he needs is a wife to take care of him.

(At this point I paused the show, beat my head against the desk five times, then resumed)

Irene agrees to get him the job, and offers to give him some money to tide him over. Chad storms out.

Seth leaves JB at the Gazette office, where she runs into Chad, who very politely tells her he loves her books. They chat about things for a bit, before Jess goes into the office, walking straight past Laura Bennett, who is looking worried. Which is fair, her husband is embezzling money and her daughter’s dating an idiot.

Irene takes JB’s ad and starts prepping it for print. Jess says she ran into Chad on the way in, and Irene tells her he’s doing great, he is working for a big company in Philly, and if it weren’t for the fact Cabot Cove was part of his territory she wouldn’t ever see him. Jess thinks the last time she saw him was when he got his football scholarship to college, and Irene says oh yes, he gave it up, no future in it.

I don’t think Irene is okay. Later, when Seth gives JB a lift home from the supermarket, he tells her that Chad got booted from college for drinking all the time, and returned back to the Cove to be near his high school girlfriend Candace Bennett. Because that’s healthy.

Later that afternoon Laura is waiting for Sam when he gets home. She plays Sam the message Jessica has left on the answering machine, in which she tells him her financials are a mess, he didn’t call her, she has to assume he’s avoiding her, and so on and so forth.

That night, Ethan meets Lou for the traditional Paying of the Bribes. Lou wants to know who is firing at Mort, and Ethan says if Lou’s going to tell him who to arrest, that will cost him extra. Lou doesn’t like that idea or ambitious people. Over at House Bennett, a drunk Chad turns up to force himself on Candace, and is escorted out by the cops after Sam barges in with a shotgun. The next day Sam demands Chad be locked up but Mort tells him Candace declined to press charges so Chad is free to go. Sam is furious, but when Mort gets on the phone to tell Ethan to go pick up his car Sam gives up and walks out. Ethan tells Mort he has an idea about Chad but he’ll tell Mort when he brings the car in.

Except nope, because someone just shot him while he was driving the car back.

Fast forward to the funeral where Sam is very condescendingly comforting his daughter, while Irene tells Chad now isn’t the right time to chat up Candace.

#TeamLaura

JB and Seth try to console Mort as best they can but he tells them to go, he’ll be fine. Secretly though he thinks he was supposed to be the target, the killer saw his car and fired.

Poor Mort is devo.

Jess and Seth go and have a look at the crime scene but there’s not much to discover. Seth waves at a passing car and Jessica realises there was no way that the killer mistook Ethan for Mort, Ethan was the intended target. Jess thinks this will reassure Mort, but he still thinks he was the target – what with all the hate mail he was getting after all. Lou Karamedis definitely hired a hitman if he didn’t do it himself. Jess tells him a hit man would be more professional, and Mort tells her everyone makes mistakes. Jess says sure, Mort doesn’t even know for sure that there is a gambling casino in the Timber Lane!

Ouch, that was a bit harsh.

Jess decides to take matters into her own hands and enlists Seth as a sidekick. They head down to the Timberlane that night and watch a steady stream of punters head up the stairs. Jess tells Seth to keep an eye out and follows one group up the stairs. They enter the banquet hall and Jess sweet talks her way past the guard. She bumps into Lou Karamedis who says all she had to do was ask, and offers her champagne in his office.

JB has no time for your bullshit Ben Thorne

While Seth continues on his chowder downstairs, Lou and JB drink to her new novel, which she explains is about a hapless small-town accountant that gets caught up in illicit gambling, a local deputy gets shot and the casino owner is suspected. Lou thinks the casino owner wouldn’t bother, it would be easier to just pack up and leave town rather than get caught up in local shenanigans. Jess casually mentions that the local deputy is being paid by the casino owner to tip him off to any raids. Lou gets more and more creepy til a phone call from Seth, in which Seth announces he has Mort on the other line and Jess needs to be back in the dining room in one minute.

Down at the Sheriff’s office, Jess and Seth ask Andy about whether it was possible Ethan was on Lou’s payroll and he tells them about the weird phone call the night of the last raid. Mort wanders in with Sam and announces Sam is under arrest for the murder of Ethan. Mort tells them that Ethan remembered seeing Sam with a shotgun the night they arrested Chad, and when Mort went to investigate the gun looked like it could have been the one that killed Ethan, though he couldn’t be certain. Sam admits he hated Ethan but it wasn’t about him not having enough money to marry Candace, which is apparently what Ethan claimed. Sam admits to his gambling addiction and tells them about seeing Ethan at the casino with his free drink being happy as. Mort loses it but Andy tells him that Ethan was bent. Mort then loses it at Andy but Jess explains he only just worked it out.

Mort doesn’t care.  Sam was in the office when Mort told Ethan to pick up his car, he knew where to be to shoot Ethan. Jess tells him anyone with a police scanner could have heard it but Mort is not backing down. When Jess tells him Lou Karamedis has a police scanner he asks her if he has an over and under shotgun too?

This gives Jess an idea, and she tells Andy she needs to speak to Chad.

PLOT TWIST.

I really did not see this coming.

Ah yes. Irene’s classical music concerts were right next to the police band on the radio, so she heard where Ethan would be. Her husband had an old over-under shotgun, so she thought she’d eliminate Ethan’s rival for Candace. I told you Irene wasn’t okay.

Before we all get too depressed, let us leave with the good news that Sam is going to Gamblers Anonymous, Laura is taking care of him (after being the one calling the tips in to Mort) and the tie she donated to the rummage sale has been bought – as a present to Sam from Candace.

Hooray for the Cove!

Later gang!

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

 

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!

 

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