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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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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.

S04E22 – Body Politic

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Down in Ohio this week Fletcherfans, where JB is visiting her friend Kathleen Laine who is running for state senate. Unfortunately for Kathleen, all anyone (particularly TV host Edmund Hall) wants to talk about is her love life and rumours that she’s been cheating on her husband and resident wealthy dude Jackson with her campaign manager Bud Johnson.

Oh the 80s. Isn’t it great that in 2014 politicians don’t resort to cheap tactics and focus on issues?

*Tumbleweed blows past, crickets chirp*

Indeed.

Unfortunately that is the least of Kathleen’s problems though, as her speechwriter has also resigned. So when JB arrives to help drum up support for her friend’s campaign, Kathleen has a favour to ask – would JB stay and be speech writer?

“Look, Kathleen, if you give me a good juicy murder and a few suspects my imagination will swing into high gear but speechifying? I’m not sure I could write on a soapbox!” says JB.

YOU GUYS JB SAID SPEECHIFYING! The only person I hear say ‘speechifying’ is me when I”m pretending to be a a country lawyer in a 1950s courtroom drama (and you’d be surprised how often this happens, I do get bored doing the dishes).

Anyway, JB is ultimately persuaded by her friend’s campaign slogan and agrees to stay for a week.

I didn't work it out until I IMDB'd. Side note that top is amazing.

I didn’t work it out until I IMDB’d. Side note that top is amazing.

The next day Edmund Hall gets an anonymous tip to go to the train station, where he gets a call on a payphone with instructions to open the phone book. Someone has very conveniently left him a key to a locker and inside the locker – an envelope containing something so shocking Ed Hall’s face begins to twitch with delight.

Meanwhile, JB is hard at work on Kathleen’s next campaign speech and getting tips from Bud. Another member of staff, Nan Wynn, arrives back from a campaign stop and tells them that the Party Chairman invited Kathleen around to his house for dinner after her speech at the old folks home.

Later that night while Jess is getting ready for bed, the eleven o’clock news comes on and it is soon revealed just what had Ed Hall palpitating with delight – pictures of Bud and Kathleen. IN THEIR BATHING SUITS! SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Jess tries to call Kathleen’s room but there’s no answer. On her way over she bumps into Nan who has also seen the news. She can’t find Kathleen or Bud. The mystery is soon resolved when Kathleen pulls up in the campaign car downstairs to find police and onlookers surrounding the body of Bud the campaign manager – an apparent suicide.

While being questioned by local cop Lieutenant Gowans it is revealed that Bud fell from Kathleen’s hotel room balcony, while wearing her robe. Kathleen has no explanation for this, but insists she wasn’t having an affair with Bud. She gets a phone call from her husband who tells her he’s an hour away. Meanwhile, Gowan’s minions have found something in Bud’s room – specifically his pants. JB takes note of this while pointing out to Gowans that his fingerprint dude didn’t find one print on the balcony door, and that it would be weird for someone committing suicide to wipe their own prints off the handle.

Gowan confronts Kathleen with the photos but she still insists that they weren’t having an affair.  Gowans tells her that they have established time of death to be just after the news bulletin aired, and could she confirm where she was? JB tells him she was at the party chairman’s house but Kathleen tells them that when she got there noone answered the door so she sat in her car for half an hour and drove back to the hotel. With that she goes to her new room to wait for Jackson. In her old room, Gowans finds a note with polling numbers scribbled on it showing Kathleen trailing her opponent Arthur Drelinger by only 7 points. Nan tells them that she wrote the note but pushed it under the door when she realised Kathleen wasn’t back in her room (or didn’t want to be disturbed). She hadn’t told anyone else about the new poll. Upstairs, Kathleen assures Jackson that she wasn’t having an affair and he believes her. Yay!

The next morning Kathleen and Jackson call a press conference to present a united front and smack down the unbelievers including Edmund Hall. Jackson tells reporters he believes his wife, and that since she’s only 7 points down in the polls he believes she’ll win on primary day. Everything is awesome until Edmund Hall starts insinuating that Kathleen killed Bud and so Jackson goes ballistic. FFS SOMEONE CALL OLIVIA POPE.

Down at the police station Gowans is convinced that Kathleen killed Bud but hasn’t worked out how to prove it yet. He admits to JB that due to insufficient evidence the case might not ever get to trial if Kathleen was even arrested. JB is furious, as her friend is already facing a trial by media, and asks Gowans if he’d considered the possibility that someone was setting Kathleen up. He tells her that yes, the thought had crossed his mind.

“Well next time it starts crossing, Lieutenant, please stop it half way and give it some attention. I have known this woman for seventeen years and believe me, she is incapable of deceit or subterfuge. And also she is incapable of committing murder.” JB declares.

The crowd goes wild (I call myself the crowd now).

“I get it, she’s your friend I understand.” Gowans says in a tone that can only be described as Horrifyingly Patronising,

*pew pew* (I wish I could do this though)

*pew pew* (I wish I could do this though)

 

Back at the hotel Jess is waylaid by Edmund Hall who would like to offer her an open invitation to appear on his show. She tells him she will consider it if he tells her the source of the photos. Eddie is forced to admit he has no idea, he got an anonymous phone call that paid off, but he doesn’t want that info getting out.

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JB goes to see Kathleen who is flummoxed by the thought that someone killed Bud to win an election. JB asks her about the failed dinner with the party chairman and Kathleen tells her that he never called – someone pretending to be him called Nan to set the meeting up/lure her away from the hotel. Jess decides it’s time to visit the source of Kathleen’s troubles.

Great minds think alike. Gowans pays a visit to Arthur Drelinger and his campaign manager (and shady character) CW Butterfield and discovers that their alibi is a little on the hazy side. On his way out Gowans bumps into JB and tells her that her speech got to him so he’s trying to tie off loose ends, and getting nowhere. JB has a different line of questioning, specifically about the photos. CW and Arthur both condemn the photos but get a little flustered when JB mentions the dirt file she’s heard about from an ‘unnamed source’ (Edmund Hall). They are interrupted by someone coming in with new polling info – it’s Nan. She swears to JB she wasn’t a spy for Arthur, she just followed the money and escaped the bad polls. She shows JB the polling history – Kathleen started 20 points behind, got as close as 5 points on the day of the murder but then the scandal made her drop 12.

Well that can’t be right, says JB. The polling data Nan shoved under the door had shown Kathleen down by 7.  Turns out Nan got the info wrong, but luckily the only people she told were Gowans and JB.

Wait a minute…

When JB arrives at Kathleen’s house the media pack have gathered. Kathleen is pulling out of the race. As she speaks to the media JB (and later Lieutenant Gowans) have a quiet word with the killer. They know who took the photos and sent them to Edmund Hall. They know who set up the fake meeting with the party chief. And they know who killed Bud.

This got sad rather quickly :\

This got sad rather quickly

Alas for Kathleen, her husband’s questionable business practices were not going to stand under scrutiny. And when Bud worked out Jackson wasn’t in the Bahamas at the time the photos were taken like he claimed…well you get the picture.

And so concludes season 4 of Murder She Blogged. Stay tuned for season 5 next week. But first, I have a favour to ask you all.

On October 5 I’m taking part in the 7 Parks Walk to raise money for the Cancer Council Victoria (I figured it was more of a challenge that dumping a bucket of ice water on my head). I’m almost half way to my target of $500, so if you have a few coins around that you want to give to a good cause, my supporter page is here.

Thanks gang!

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S04E10 – Indian Giver

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Fun fact, Fletcherfans – if you look up the word ‘cringe’ in the dictionary, you will find a picture of me watching this episode. There’s a lot of casual racism flying about in this episode, so you have been warned. Also, a disclaimer: as I am Australian, I feel like I should point out that everything I know about Native American history is from the movie Dances With Wolves.

JB is at home in the Cove this week, celebrating Founders Day by belting out a rousing rendition of America the Beautiful. As always, Seth helps out in his own special way.

Not even making it up. I swear.

Not even making it up. I swear.

Mayor Sam Booth is just getting started on his Long Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane Speech when a man wearing Native American gear rides up on a horse and hurls a spear into the podium, before riding off into the sunset. Oh lord.

The mayor, not knowing what else to do, immediately forms a barbershop quartet and begins another iconic anthem.

(With Seth providing some tasty beats, obviously)

And I need you now tonight! And I need you more than ever! (With Seth providing some tasty beats, obviously) (Those beards though)

It’s up to JB to spot the note attached to the spear. The Mayor reads it, then distracts the crowd with some opera while he, Seth and Amos leg it out into the countryside. Turns out the note is a photocopy of an old document, granting Algonquin Chief Manitoka and his heirs in perpituity all lands ending at the see that can be seen from the hill of the god that grants rain. Including Cabot Cove.  Oh Good!

The Mayor freaks out and appoints Seth and JB (whom I note WASN’T INVITED on the boys trip to the hill) as committee of two to sort out whether the document is real. Seth and Jess visit the city college to ask the opinion of Professor Crenshaw and his daughter Donna who tell them that without the original it’s impossible to tell whether the land grant is genuine or not. JB tells them that she suspects the possessor of the document might show himself again, given the right amount of attention.

Cut to Cabot Cove town hall, where the Mayor is telling the boys of the press (and the girls, but he seems to have missed them) that they aren’t allowed in. On the steps of the hall local banker Norman Edmonds (previously seen as a Dentist of Death) is chatting with potential investor Harris Atwater on the effect of the land claim on the planned resort development, while local drunk Addison Langley tries to set up a meeting with Harris Atwater, fails and is yelled at by his brother-in-law Tom Carpenter (who is being played by Gary Lockwood who I saw a couple of weeks ago introducing 2001: A Space Odyssey and I LOVE THAT MOVIE).

Erm. Anyway. Inside, the Mayor is opening the meeting the only way he knows how:

*whispers* Turn aroundddddd

*whispers* Turn aroundddddd

Inside, the audience is restless and has no time for the mayor’s singing. They demand to hear from the “half-naked savage” (Not kidding. The 80s, ladies and gentlemen) himself, and he happily obliges.

Fun fact: this actor was born in Sri Lanka. (No Native American actors around guys? Really?)

Fun fact: this actor was born in Sri Lanka.

The “half naked savage” goes by the name of George Longbow, and he informs the people gathered what the Mayor, Seth, Amos and Jess already knew – that the document granted the land to the descendants of Chief Manitoka (i,e George) as a reward for helping to defeat the French. In short, that the meeting was taking place on his property.

As the audience begins to upgrade itself to angry mob, JB steps in and asks George if the document is real – emphasis on the if – then what does he plan to do about it? Evict them all from the Cove?

Au contraire, George basically says. But there is the small matter of rent.

At this, Addison Langley erupts, informs George that he’ll get his land over his dead body, the filthy redskin. At this George explodes and a brawl erupts. Once it dies down, and the angry mob disperses, George, JB, Seth, Amos, the Mayor and Professor Crenshaw gather to examine the real document. George tells the professor he’s a great admirer of his work, and of his daughter.

This is news to Professor Crenshaw.

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They are joined by Norman Edmonds, who demands that George prove his claim, which George does, happily. He shows them the original document, along with validation reports from some colleagues of Professor Crenshaw. The Prof can’t argue, and tells the others that if it all checks out, George owns Cabot Cove. This is not what Norman wants to hear, and a fight nearly breaks out again until JB steps in to ask George what he plans to do. He tells them that he will assess all the land in town and charge the land 0.5% of the worth – no more than $200 a year for most people. The Mayor shrugs and thinks that seems reasonable. “Yes.” Says Seth. “It’s like being mugged, but it’s okay because the mugger only took five dollars.”

Thanks Seth.

George departs, informing them that he will be in contact with them again. As Seth and JB leave the meeting they find George confronted by the remains of the angry mob, led by Tom Carpenter asking George to demonstrate his dance. A couple of swift briefcases swings to the face and the fortunate arrival of Donna Crenshaw in her car and George hightails it out of there before the angry mob becomes a lynch mob.

After Donna drops George off at his truck (as George doesn’t want anyone to know where he’s staying and lets face it fair enough), she returns to the hotel where she’s staying with her father. Her father wants to know why he never knew about George and she says she told him twice but he wasn’t listening. After an argument she tells him that she and George are just friends, and that she didn’t help him with the land grant research. Her father accepts this, and leaves her hotel room. Instead of going to his room though he wanders off into the night.

The next morning JB is walking the streets of Cabot Cove (and rocking the double denim) when she sees Addison’s wife Helen Langley talking to Harris Atwater outside her house. As he departs, she trips over walking back inside. JB swoops, noticing the bruises on her arms, and helps her inside for a cup of tea.  She compliments Helen on the renovations (by which she means the newly painted chair) which Helen says was her handiwork. JB asks her about Harris Atwater and Helen tells her he was there looking for Addison, but that she hadn’t seen him since after the meeting.

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Later, JB heads down to the Sheriff’s office for a meeting with the brains trust, who is in a flap after the sudden departure of Professor Crenshaw after a phone call from Norman Edmonds. The Mayor is on it, saying he is expected to do something and by gum he’s gonna do it, just as soon as he works out what it is he’s supposed to do, but his train of thought is interrupted by a phone call. There’s trouble at the town hall. Something about Addison Langley.

That something turns out to be a complete lack of pulse, on account of being stabbed with the spear George threw at the Founders Day celebrations. Oh good. That won’t stir up more racism.

Seth informs JB that Addison definitely wasn’t killed at the town hall, there wasn’t enough blood. JB wonders at the location of the body, saying that most killers hide their bodies, not display them.  She wonders whether Addison’s body being dumped at the hall was symbolic. Seth points out that it makes you wonder about George Longbow, but JB says he mightn’t be a lot of things, but George Longbow isn’t stupid.  Amos asks Seth if there’s anything else about the body and Seth says apart from some varnish on his hand, there’s nothing more. Addison Langley died around midnight.

Suspicious about the timing of Professor Crenshaw’s sudden departure, and the knowledge that a lot of people stood to gain from Addison Langley’s demise, JB goes to see Harris Atwater, who admits that he went to see Helen Langley to try and get her to use her influence over her husband, and that he certainly is better off now that Addison is dead, but that he didn’t kill him. With that, he flounces into his limo and drives away.

Meanwhile, outside of town, George has fallen foul of the angry mob, which has very much now upgraded to a lynch mob once again led by Tom Carpenter. They finally capture him trying to leg it, and tell him that he’s in a world of trouble now.

JB’s next stop is to see Norman Edmonds, who is also convinced of George’s guilt. Jess asks him about his phone call to Professor Crenshaw, and he finally tells her that he offered the professor fifty big ones to find proof that George Longbow isn’t who he says he is.  As they talk, a ute full of lynch mob drives past hooting and hollering, a battered George Longbow restrained in the back of the truck.  JB jumps on her Fletchmobile (bike) and hightails it to the Sheriff’s office, where the lynch mob are gleefully showing off their catch. Amos ushers them all inside past the press pack and orders George be taken to the cells. While JB scolds the mob for the condition George is in, Tom Carpenter arrives driving George’s truck. He dumps George’s personal effects on the desk – a wallet and a hotel key – and goes back outside to have his picture taken.

THIS EPISODE. UGH.

JB goes to see George in his cell and tells him that she’s the only person in the whole town who knows he is innocent, but that she can’t help him until he starts telling the truth starting with why he really came to town. Tom tells her that he wanted to get the money so he could start a scholarship program for Native American kids who wouldn’t otherwise have had the means to go to college. Next JB asks him for his alibi, and George admits that he didn’t get back to his hotel until after 11:30pm but that no one saw him arrive. Amos wanders in to tell JB that the Mayor wants to see them, that Professor Crenshaw has turned up again, and she tells George she’ll do what she can to help. Outside, Amos tells JB that they found sand in George’s pickup truck, sand that matched the sand they found on Addison Langley’s body.

At the Mayor’s office, Professor Crenshaw tells them that George Longbow can’t possibly be the direct (and proveable) descendant of Chief Manitoka, as almost all of his descendants were wiped out in the flu epidemic of 1918.  Oh, well, that’s a relief then.  JB asks him if, in his haste to collect on Norman Edmonds’s offer, he may have overlooked something and both the professor and the mayor are equally offended. “Just whose side are you on?” Demands the Mayor.

“The side of right.” Announces JB.

BOOM.

The Mayor and Professor Crenshaw decide to go and have a talk with George. Amos decides to go with them but JB says it might be more productive to go and search George’s hotel room.

Turrrrn arounddddddd

Turrrrn arounddddddd

Amos spots George’s shoes on the floor, covered in sand. Case closed! But wait. JB points out that there’s no sand on the soles of the shoes, which are gumsoles, and therefore get everything stuck to them. What’s clear to her is that someone is framing George for murder, and she has a fairly good idea of where to get answers.

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It had nothing to do with Native American land rights, and everything to do with an abused wife fighting back and getting her redneck brother to cover it up. The good news is, Donna and George are back on, JB is going to find the money to set up George’s scholarship, and Seth rents his house so the whole business didn’t affect him in the slightest.

And with that, I bid this terrible episode goodbye.

Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you all.

Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you all.

S04E02 – When Thieves Fall Out

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There’s something fishy going on in the Cove this week Fletcherfans. Coach Kevin Cauldwell is finally retiring as coach of the Cabot Cove High football team, and so to celebrate Our Heroine is throwing him a retirement party, and to celebrate that one time Cabot Cove High won the thing in 1966 (I’m not entirely sure what. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s Aussie Rules football and Sports That Aren’t Aussie Rules football. This is most definitely in the latter category).

Before I continue, I’d just like to subtly point out something that caught my attention:

(Not pictured: Dack Rambo)

(Not pictured: Dack Rambo)

Before JB can get to Coach’s retirement party there’s a knock at her door. A man named Andrew Durbin, has come to collect the keys to JB’s pal Lila’s house which he’s renting for a few weeks. Before he drops her at the party he asks her where the sheriff’s office is, he has some paperwork to give him. MYSTERIOUS.

Meanwhile, all is not well with the Great and Glorious Team of ’66.  Arnie Wakeman is in a wheelchair after a car accident, Dan Pulling is drunk all the time and has just been fired from the caryard fellow team member Bill Hampton (aka Dack Rambo) owns,  and Judge Perry Sillman has just had Amos Tupper and Andrew Durbin in his office with some paperwork. MYSTERIOUS PAPERWORK OF DEATH, probably.

Oh no, just parole papers. At the coach’s party Judge Sillman tells JB that it turns out that Andrew Durbin has just been released from prison after serving 20 years for murder. Shady. Coach isn’t really up for reliving past glories and the party dies down pretty quickly. As they leave, Bill Hampton finds a cutout of a newspaper article from the Cabot Cove Gazette, a story about a businessman that died and the hitchhiker accused of his murder. His wife asks him why he looks so upset and he says it’s nothing, just someone’s idea of a practical joke. He gets in the car and drives off, but not before noticing the red corvette parked across the street.

SUBTLE PLOT POINTS ARE SUBTLE.

That night, Bill and his wife are woken by a phone call and a jack-in-the-box.

Dack Rambo is cool in a crisis.

Dack Rambo is cool in a crisis.

As the newspaper cuttings rain down around them, the red corvette drives past at a crawl. Bill’s wife Alison wants to call Amos but Bill says no, he’ll handle it himself.

The next morning Alison takes things into her own hands and goes to see JB for guidance. She tells JB the whole story, including the subject of the newspaper articles – businessman dead, hundreds of bearer bonds missing. She begs JB to talk to Bill and naturally she agrees, but she wants to do some research first.

That night, when Bill is driving home from the car lot, he is run off the road by – SURPRISE! A red corvette with one headlight! The next morning, Alison finds JB coming out of the offices of the Cabot Cove Gazette and tells her that she heard Bill tell someone he was killed by a red corvette, and now he’s carrying a gun. Who does he think he is, Rambo? Oh wait…

When JB goes to see Bill at the showroom he’s a bit flustered. Andrew Durbin has been in complaining of car trouble – his little red corvette only has one headlight working. He tells Bill the story about he bought the car from a little old woman whose husband was killed twenty years ago. OKAY, WE GET IT, DURBIN IS THE HITCHHIKER, JESUS. Bill tells Andrew that he will take a look at his car at nine o’clock that night. JB asks him what the connection is between him and Durbin, and Bill tells her to leave. After she’s gone, Bill calls someone and tells them that Durbin has been around, and to meet him at the caryard before 9 o’clock so they can end it, gun style.

JB and Amos confront Durbin, who freely admits to being the hitchhiker who was in the car with the businessman the night he died, and was later convicted of his murder. He tells them his version of events – that a car ran them off the road, turned around to come back towards them, he went to get help but couldn’t find any and when he returned to the car the business man was dead and the police were pulling up. JB asks him how Bill Hampton figures into all of this and Durbin tells her that while he was in prison he subscribed to the paper to work out who he saw that night – the passenger, not the driver, was Bill Hampton, wearing a white dinner jacket as it was prom night. JB correctly guesses that Durbin still hasn’t found out who the driver was, which is why he is messing with Bill, in order to smoke the mystery man out.

Amos has had enough of this, and tells Durbin to leave town before he’s arrested. Durbin correctly points out he hasn’t done anything yet, he’s just out for justice.

Amos is breaking bad

Amos is breaking bad

That night, at the scheduled meeting time, Bill Hampton is greeted by his co-conspirator and the click of a gun safety. The next morning, Bill turns up dead, an apparent suicide to everyone except JB as the bullet wound was on Bill’s right side and Bill was lefthanded. JB points out that a stranger might not have known Bill was left handed…

Cut to Durbin being asked for an alibi, and OH THE SURPRISES, he has an airtight one. JB asks him if he will be leaving town now but he’s got unfinished business with the driver of the car. JB then goes to see the judge and his wife, who are consoling Alison and are equally convinced Bill didn’t kill himself. Jess tells them her murder theory and asks them if they remember anything about the night of the prom and they all agree that they went to a diner after prom and had a wonderful time. LIARS!

Down on the docks Coach Cauldwell spots Andrew Durbin and punches him in the face. Jess takes him back to her place to calm down and asks him what he remembers about prom – it turns out he left early for the same reason JB did, the flu. Coach is convinced that none of his boys could be killers, but Jess remembers one of the boys having the nickname Animal. That was Dan, the raging alcoholic who doesn’t have two cents to rub together, so an unlikely holder of stolen bearer bonds. JB then considers Arnie, suing Bill for selling him a dodgy car that landed him in a wheelchair, who became unexpectedly wealthy after high school.

JB pays Arnie a visit, who is outraged when Jess asks him where he got his money from after highschool. He throws her out of the house, even after she helpfully brought in a special delivery letter from his insurance agency.

I've used Stayin Alive lyrics three times in this blog now and I'm still not sorry.

I’ve used Stayin Alive lyrics three times in this blog now and I’m still not sorry.

Eagle-eyed JB spotted scuff marks on the newly polished floorboards (that’s convenient) and so set a cunning trap using her phone bill as bait. Busted, JB escorts Arnie to Amos’s office, where he admits to setting up the dodgy insurance scam because he’d run out of money, but the money he had after high school was an inheritance. JB asks him about the prom and Arnie tells them that Bill was blind drunk that night, and that Alison abandoned him on the dance floor part way through the night. She left at about eleven o’clock, despite Bill trying to get her to stay. Amos gets a phone call placing Dan the Drunk in a drunk tank a couple of towns over, ruling him out as a suspect.

Jess confronts Perry, his wife and Alison about their prom night lie, and Alison comes clean. Bill was trying to get her to go to a hotel with him but she refused. She left early, but Bill went back to the prom, saying he had a trophy to collect. And therein lies the clincher for JB. Because the person he collected the trophy from was supposed to already have left.

This has taken a turn for the depressing

This has taken a turn for the depressing

Coach lied about leaving the prom to cover up the truth – he was driving a very drunk Bill home, and while Bill was trying to get Coach to take him to the diner where his friends were the car began to swerve all over the road and they hit the corvette. When he saw the bearer bonds on the backseat of the car he snapped, killed the driver and took half the bonds, giving the other half to Bill. That way he could have the football camp he always wanted, but it never got off the ground.

Well. That was…miserable. Better luck next time Fletcherfans!

Until then.

See you next week gang!

See you next week gang!

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