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S08E13 – Incident in Lot 7

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We’re in Hollyweird this week Fletcherfans, where JB has just rolled up to Universal City Studios meet the people who want to turn her most recent book into a movie.

Side note, I love it when an actor name is also a subtitle.

AMAZING NAME

AMAZING NAME

Turns out that woman opening the car door to greet Our Heroine is the aforementioned parked Lincoln, today playing Carolyn Price, the secretary of the producer Daryl Heyward. She’s been sent to escort JB through the lot to a meeting.

b2

*violins intensify*

*violins intensify*

At the meeting, JB meets Daryl, his agent Willy Montego, and the writer hired to adapt the screenplay, John Cavershaw.

e2

*intense violin intensifies*

*intense violin intensifies*

JB tells Daryl her publisher was impressed with his persistence, and asks him whether he thinks there will be any creative problems adapting the book. He says that’s John’s purview and John tells her he’s got a few fixes to do…

g2

…fixes meaning, making things more visual for the screen.

Daryl’s watch beeps, he has to be somewhere in 20 minutes. He’s set up a lunch meeting between JB and John to discuss the script, which gives JB just enough time to check into the hotel. Willie tells her she hopes she will enjoy herself – on the lot they are just one big happy family.

Cut to a bottle being thrown at Daryl’s head by the movie’s star, Leonora Holt.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Seems fair.

Seems fair.

The reason for the bottle smashing is a report in the paper that says that Leonora’s creepy nemesis Kevin Maxwell is going to be in the movie, but Daryl swears it isn’t true, and that the actor probably planted the story himself to try and get on the cast. Leonora cautiously believes him, and promises to come to the set later that day to meet JB.

Across town, on the set of Baywatch…

No seriously, don't. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the upside down now...)

No seriously, don’t. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the Upside Down now…)

…Daryl is on the phone to his secretary to tell Kevin Maxwell’s agent that if his client opens his mouth again there will be trouble, he was only offered the role on the proviso he kept it quiet. Daryl also says he won’t be back in the office for a bit, he has an errand to run.

Over at the lot, JB and John Caversham are having lunch and discussing his plans for the movie, which is based on a true story. Caversham thinks they don’t need to do much, just add a couple of car chases, 2 or 3 more murders and they’ll have to change the ending, audiences won’t pay five dollars to go and see it if they’ve already read the book and know who the killer is.

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

FIVE DOLLARS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It costs 25 dollars to go see a movie! Damn I miss 90s prices.

l2

Tonight, on Plots, They Murdered...

Tonight, on Plots They Murdered…

Daryl, meanwhile, is about to do his errand.

Blergh,

Blergh,

Back at the lot though, a little old man is sneaking into a shrubbery in a truck.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Jess has given up on explaining to John what a nonce he is, so he has delivered her to the head of production, Ben Miller for a tour of the lot. As they walk, Ben asks JB if she thinks evil is a real thing. For example, say you spend a lot of money to convince the world that something is evil – does it then become evil?

JB thinks it depends on what it is.

“That,” says Ben, and points.

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

That, as I’m sure you know, is the Psycho house. Home of the originator of on-screen mummy issues, Norman Bates. Naturally JB wants to get in there and have a poke about, but alas it’s locked up tight. Ben promises to get the key tomorrow so they can go in and take a look around. As they leave JB sees a shadowy figure cross the window, but decides she’s imagining it.

Daryl has finished doing his errand (ERGH), and decides it’s the end of the line. She’s married to one of his biggest investors, she’s got kids, it’s all too complicated. He launches into a speech about Darwin’s theory of evolution and she points out he didn’t think it was complicated when she was convincing her husband to invest in Daryl’s company when it was about to go broke. Daryl tells her he’s grateful, they’ll do lunch.

Back at the lot, Carolyn introduces JB to Leonora Holt, who is thrilled when she discovers that the book is based on a true story and she will be playing JB (how she didn’t work this out until now is in fact a mystery). She can’t wait to spend all her time with JB picking her brain, finding out about her life and her work, how she investigates murders, how she dresses, she wants to make the role as true to life as she can. She’ll have to learn all those words like moxy and hood and how to put someone on ice. She wonders if she will have to learn to type…

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Faced with the overwhelming omnishambles that this production is turning into, JB goes to Daryl and says she would rather withdraw her book from the deal rather than see it eviscerated. Daryl tells her sure, no problem, they’ll get rid of John Cavershaw, he never wanted him anyway (which is news to Leonora, she always thought Daryl liked him.) Daryl has a brainwave – JB should write the script and he’ll set up a brains trust of people to help her through the learning curve and then that way Leonora can spend more time learning about her character.

“Oh no, I really wouldn’t want to impose.” JB says through gritted teeth.

That night, as Carolyn and Daryl are leaving, Daryl’s errand rolls up. Turns out her name is Monica. She’s not thrilled with the way things ended, and when Daryl tells her right now isn’t the best time or place to be discussing it she suggests they go to his place, to see what his wife thinks about it all. Daryl sees no reason for her to know, but Monica thinks there’s plenty – so she can hurt him the way he hurt her. Daryl says it will happen over his dead body and Monica tells him that suits her down to the ground.

After a clearly bad nights sleep Daryl arrives at work and tells Ben Miller he’s being let go for cost cutting reasons. Ben swears he won’t leave and Daryl tells him he can either leave with dignity and a month’s pay or leave with security. Ben tells him this ain’t over. At lunch Jess runs into Daryl and Willie at the commissary and says she’s looking for Ben so they can finish the tour of the Bates House. Daryl says Ben’s not available just now, but he’d be delighted to finish the tour with her and arranges to meet her at the Bates Hotel at 3 o’clock. As Jess leaves, Roger the Shrubber peers up over a menu.

That afternoon Daryl lets himself into the Bates House. JB arrives a little while later and sees a figure move in front of one of the windows. She goes inside and finds Daryl dead on the floor.

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

The police rock up and…excuse me I have something in my eye…

He's so young in this!

He’s so young in this!

Lieutenant Hanrahan listens as JB points out a few details in the crime scene, like a weird blood smear, but they are soon interrupted by Carolyn who would like a private word with the lieutenant. JB politely leaves them too it and joins the rest of the staff in the office. Ben comes in with a shaken Willy, who collapses on the couch.

The shoes are a thing, I'll get back to them.

The shoes are a thing, I’ll get back to them.

Lieutenant Hanrahan arrives just in time to hear Ben Miller say he’s not sorry Daryl’s dead, and asks him to go into much greater detail. Afterwards, he goes to see Daryl’s errand Monica to find out more about this fight she and Daryl had that Carolyn overheard,  and Monica says she didn’t kill Daryl and Carolyn was probably making the whole thing up.

Back at the office, Jess is worried that Daryl was killed because of the movie, but Willy says he doesn’t know anything about anything. Leonora thinks this is the perfect time to practice her 1940s noir detective words she’s learnt and starts demanding information.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting, probably.

Leonora takes her self off to practice more gangster words, and JB asks if Willy knew anyone else who would try and hurt Daryl. Willie says he gave the list of names to Lieutenant Hanrahan who told him to keep it confidential. JB understands, and says at least he got to see Daryl right before. He tells her they were in the commissary finishing the paperwork on his new agent contract, Willy was going to rep Daryl for another 2 years. Meanwhile, Carolyn is fielding calls and barely notices when Roger the Shrubber comes in to ask when Leonora will be in again. She tells him she won’t be back til the afternoon but the phone rings again and Roger says that’s okay, he can wait, and goes into the office.

Jess gets back to her hotel room, a bit tuckered out if I’m honest, and suddenly realises the news is on. She catches the tail end of the report and then starts channel surfing and wouldn’t you know, Psycho is playing on another channel. She watches on with interest as Detective Arbogast (played by Martin Balsam who was in these episodes of Murder She Wrote) gets stabbed by Mrs Bates and go tumbling down the stairs, before a knock at the door brings her back to reality. It’s John Cavershaw, who decided JB was right and has written up some new treatments for the movie. JB asks him if Daryl had said anything to him about the script and John says no. He also reveals that Daryl never wanted Leonora in the role, and so had hired Kevin Maxwell to be in the movie in the hope she would quit.

Back at the studio Leonora denies the rumour that she wasn’t first choice, or that she had any issue with Kevin Maxwell, but then JB is called away to the phone. While Leonora waits, she gets a visitor from Roger the Shrubber, who turns out to be her number 1 fan.

Poor Roger isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

Obvious shrubber.

After some deft work from JB Roger is contained and taken to the police station. The gun turns out to be a prop from Leonora’s first movie that he wanted to give her, possibly in exchange for dinner. But he knew nothing about Daryl’s death – he left his Bates House hideout to go and get food and when he came back there was a body on the floor and the house was talking to him.

Poor Roger

Poor Roger

(For the record Roger’s real name is Oliver, but whatever he’s Roger the Shrubber).

JB has one last question – did Roger notice any papers on the body when he went back? Roger tells her yes, a whole heap of blue pages. Hanrahan says they weren’t there when the police arrived and Jess no. She knows what’s going on now.

Later that Ben Miller goes to see Willie to beg him to tell JB not to go back to the Bates House that night. Willy asks him why she’s going and Ben says she told him she was going to make the house talk to her.

JB arrives at the dark deserted house and heads inside. A quick test of the pipes in the kitchen and the bathroom upstairs reveal all JB needed to know, just as the killer walks in.

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there's been a willie of death it turns out.)

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there’s been a willie of death it turns out.)

Turns out Ben Miller wasn’t the only person who got the boot that day. Willie was being let go too, so he bumped off Daryl, slipped in some blood, went all over the Bates House looking for water to clean his shoes and THAT’S WHY HIS SHOES ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLOURS LIKE THAT TIME UP THERE WHEN I SAID I’D GET BACK TO THE SHOES JOB DONE.

Case closed kids. Time for me to have a coffee.

*cue the violins*

*cue the violins*

 

S02E14 – Keep the Home Fries Burning

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I don’t know about you Fletcherfans, but I could use a little ridiculousness after this week. Fortunately, Our Heroine is home in the Cove again, which means you know who.

You headin' my way?

You headin’ my way?

Amos is cheating on his regular diner (owned by Bo Dixon) with a new restaurant called the Joshua Peabody Inn, named after Cabot Cove’s answer to Jebediah Springfield.  In fact, most of the town is, including Doc Hazlitt, who is taking Jess to breakfast.

All is not well inside the Inn, however. The owner, Floyd is frazzled, the chef Alan Dupree is drunk and trying to get fired, and the patrons – including two feuding local politicians and some out-of-towners who have stopped in for a bite to eat – aren’t all that convinced that it’s the best place for them. I can’t imagine why though, with menu items like Eggs Benedict Arnold, or the Benjamin Frankenfurter (with beans), or the One if By Land, Two if By Sea Surf and Turf platter, or Life, Liberty and Prosciutto Happiness with Melon, how could you go wrong?

Amos plonks himself down with Seth and JB and promptly starts arguing with Seth about whether Joshua Peabody was a real person. Cornelia, the waitress, stops by their table with the jam and Seth says “At least you didn’t have to dress up like Betsy Ross at the old place!” to which Jessica says “Doctors who walk around in hip boots hardly qualify as fashion experts.”

(Can we just talk about the expression on JB's face right now?!)

Fletcher burn!

Meanwhile, Bo the spurned diner owner is also having breakfast, trying to see where all his customers (and his waitress) have gone. Amos spots jam on a neighbouring table, occupied by two ladies from out of town named Wilhelmina and Betty and snares it for his toast before Cornelia snaffles it up and places it briefly on the table of the two warring politicians before delivering it to a family table. One can only presume that this game of Musical Jam has some sort of nefarious point.

While Seth and Our Heroine argue over the bill, the father of the family that last had the jam comes rushing back into the restaurant. His son has fallen ill! Well colour me surprised, etc.

Seth goes running and finds the son rolling in agony on the ground. The two politicians come outside and one collapses. Then Amos hollers – Betty from the next table is on the ground, and not moving.

That’s it, I’m calling it now.

It was only a matter of time...

It was only a matter of time. That jam was a loose cannon.

Down at Cabot Cove General Hospital (which is what I assume the hospital is called), Seth is tending to his patients when Margo Perry from State Health (also known as Anne Francis from Forbidden Planet) arrives demanding information and bringing a whole lot of sass.

d2 e1

Margo The Feisty gets to work immediately, going through the Inn and making sure her minions collect a sample. It goes a little something like this:

Margo: Ham.

Minion: Check.

Amos: I had some of that.

Margo: Syrup.

Minion: Check.

Amos: (worried) I had some of that.

Margo: Marmalade.

Minion: Check.

Amos: (really worried) I had some of that too!

Our Heroine: (dryly) You had some of everything, Amos.

Paying scant disregard for Amos’s rising terror, JB discovers a preserves rack with the raspberry jam missing. She asks Floyd who was sitting at that table but he’s too busy trying to keep up with Hurricane Margo.  Jess gets Amos to drive her back to the hospital, where Seth insists on giving them a checkup. Before he can do so, Eric from The Bold and the Beautiful comes in looking for his wife Wilhelmina – the friend of the woman who died.  Seth tells him that his wife is going to be fine, but her friend Betty Fiddler didn’t make it. Eric promptly collapses in shock.

In the corridor, Jess tells Seth her theory – the food was poisoned by someone who removed it before the state health people arrived. They don’t notice Hurricane Margo come up behind them until she tells Seth to stop formulating pointless theories with the local “crisishound”, and start testing samples.

Oh Margo. You're going to regret that one.

Oh Margo. You’re going to regret that one.

Back at the Peabody, Jess resumes the hunt for Jam of Death, but it’s nowhere to be found. As she searches, she asks Floyd if he has any enemies, and he tells her about the Chef Who Can’t Cook, Dupree. Floyd imported him from France, assuming that a) he was French (he isn’t) and that he could cook like his family (he can’t).  The only way Dupree can get out of his contract is if Floyd fires him, which he won’t.

Seth calls and tells Jess he needs to tell her. He has a theory about what the problem is – atropine poisoning. He has an antidote for it, and if it works it will confirm Our Heroine’s theory that it wasn’t food poisoning, it was poisoned food. Theory confirmed, JB goes to see Cornelia the waitress, who was the last person to see the suspect jam. She tells JB that she left it on Bo Dixon’s table when the hubbub began.

Upon hearing this, Amos runs with it. But of course Bo is guilty! Not even JB pointing out that he had no chance to put the poison in the jam and collect the jar afterwards can convince him otherwise. Surely that just means Cornelia the waitress must have helped him! Why, some of that poison might have been meant for Amos! He did (unintentionally) take Bo’s customers to the Joshua Peabody Inn, because you know what they say “Where goes Amos Tupper, so goes Cabot Cove.”

“I must be moving in the wrong circles,” JB mutters to Seth. “I haven’t heard anyone say that.”

Another Fletcher-burn!

Another Fletcher-burn!

JB tells Amos about how Dupree is trying to get out of his contract at the Inn, but is interrupted by Mercer Hawthorne, the local politician who has now recovered from his bout of poisoning. He tells them that his dinner date and fellow politician Eb(enezer) McHenry is the poisoner, since Mercer has proof of Eb’s shady dealings.

That’s enough for Amos, who inexplicably throws both Bo and Eb in the cells, releases them and then picks up Dupree. He tells Amos and JB that he wasn’t the only person who had access to the kitchens. Bo turned up in there, and so did some random dude who wanted to take a look at the diner. Amos scoffs at this, but fortunately said mysterious stranger comes in to complain about the parking ticket he just got while he was in the hospital visiting his wife.

It’s Eric from Bold and the Beautiful again!

I feel a little bad that I knew who Eric Forrester was. But I was an English major, so I'm acquainted with most of the major soap opera stars from the early 00's

I feel a little bad that I knew who Eric Forrester was. But I was an English major, so I’m acquainted with most of the major soap opera stars from the early 00’s. Like Passions! Remember Passions?

Amos demands to know how Harrison Fraser III Eric Forrester could have been in the kitchen at the Joshua Peabody Inn that morning when he said he was in Portland when he heard the news about the food poisoning. JB ponders why he was so devastated about Betty’s death, but barely concerned about his wife’s illness, which leads her to wonder who he was looking at from the kitchen at the Inn that morning, and who he was trying to avoid. Eric flounces out without replying.

Later that night JB is hard at work on her next best-seller when she gets an unexpected visitor. Eric Forrester appears. He confesses to JB that he was having an affair with Betty, and that he followed them to stop Betty from telling his wife about their affair. He swears he didn’t poison anyone.

JB is stumped. She believes Eric, but she’s rapidly running out of suspects. She goes to see Bo Dixon, who is disinclined to provide any information to JB. Fortunately, a throwaway comment about leaving a tip on a credit card from Hurricane Margo, who is sweeping off home, sets Jess off. She knows who went on a poisonous rampage.

You may have guessed, too. It’s kind of obvious. Though at this point, I’d like to highlight how restrained I’ve been so far. Okay?

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Thank you, Murder She Wrote writers, for allowing me the opportunity to utter the phrase Willie Of Death.

And on that highbrow note…

Later, gang!

Later, gang!