JB is back to school Fletcherfans! It’s her first day teaching Criminology at Manhattan University, which seems entirely legitimate and the sort of thing that doesn’t sound farfetched at all.
Arriving early on her first day, Our Heroine gets a tour from the department head Dr Auerbach, and meets her fellow colleagues including this guy who you might remember from season 2:
Wings Wallace Evans offers most insincerely to be of all the assistance he can give to the new fascinating experiment. Turns out he used to teach the class that JB is going to be teaching and isn’t too thrilled with the new arrangement. As Auerbach escorts JB to her classroom he explains that Wallace was hoping to be made department head but that didn’t work out either. Also there’s been lots of muggings on campus so don’t stay late but I’m sure you’ll do great oh I’d better run.
Her first class begins and all seems to be going well. She even drops in a Hamlet quote to demonstrate a point (I love it. I had an anthropology lecturer who used to do the same thing with Monty Python clips it was awesome). This doesn’t sit well will all of the class though, NYPD Officer Morelli in particular who starts muttering away to his neighbour.
When JB asks if she can do anything for him, he says well that’s the point isn’t it? You’re a writer, I’m an NYPD detective, what can I hope to learn from you?
JB pauses, goes back to her lectern. “Well…perhaps as much as I’ve already learned from you. That for instance you had bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning. Then stopped by the precinct’s target range to get in some practice. You’ve recently given up smoking, you were born in the midwest and you’ve been married only a few months.”
After class, JB heads to the cafeteria where she is accosted by one of her students, Luke Phillips.
It turns out Luke is actually a mechanic who just wanted to meet his idol JB, and when JB points out he should consider dropping the class and taking another he loses his mind. He’s read all her books twice, she owes him. If it wasn’t for people like him she’d still be in Cabot Cove baking brownies.
Sitting down to lunch Jess is soon joined by another student, Kevin Bryce. He’s another NYPD cop, but he was happy to see JB take Morelli down a peg or two. As they chat, Kevin reveals that he’s studying for the sergeants test again, but that he’s already failed it three times. Because Our Heroine is benevolent and wise, she offers to coach him through the test and he’s delighted. Damn right he is.
That afternoon, JB is wandering around campus when she hears sirens. She (along with half the school) go running and finds one of her students, Roslyn, being loaded into an ambulance – the latest victim of the campus mugger. JB goes to see her in hospital but Roslyn doesn’t remember much. She just knows she’s too scared to go back to school. JB tells her there are counsellors who can help her get past this, and of course if there’s anything she can do…
There is, says Roslyn. Could she catch this guy?
JB tells her that she’s only new to the university, and that the police might not appreciate her involvement in the case but she’s sure the police will have it all sorted soon. She tells Roslyn to concentrate on getting well, and that the class will still be there when she gets back – but Roslyn says she doesn’t think she can come back, what with this monster still on campus and all.
Time passes (presumably). JB is back in class teaching away when
Wings Wallace pops in to listen to her class, bemoan the fact that JB won’t let him help, and suggest that the muggings on campus could be used as a workshop for the class to track down the guilty party. Wings Wallace tells JB that he too has read all of her books and finds them interesting – 5 people in a house, 2 get murdered, and then the killer is caught. Much like Cabot Cove – home to 3 suspects, 2 dogs and a duck.
Wallace thinks he can solve the case, what about JB? Jess is horrified at the suggestion of a wager but Wallace says its an academic exercise that will benefit the students. JB suggests they take it outside, where she informs Wallace (again) that the idea of a bet to see who can solve the case the fastest is inapprorbut Wallace figured JB would jump at the chance to prove herself.
“Well I’ve found that people who think they have something to prove never succeed in doing so. ” Says JB. (Life Lesson #63. Ooh that’s a good one).
Down at the precinct Wallace hits up Kevin for all the files on the muggings so that he can “build a profile of the suspect”. (I should point out that earlier in the episode Doctor Auerbach tells JB that Wallace was sacked off the NYPD after two years for being heavy-handed so this whole building a profile thing sounds like something he saw on an episode of LA Law or something). Kevin tells him he won’t help him take down JB, not even when Wallace threatens to fail him out of his forensics class. YOU GO KEVIN.
Wallace pops by JB’s classroom with an advanced copy of the student newspaper proclaiming the race between Wallace and JB to solve the campus muggings. JB is horrified, but Wallace thinks she should be happy – it’s publicity and that’s why she was hired – enrolments were down, money was drying up so Doctor Auerbach had a crazy idea to boost enrollments by bringing in a celebrity.
Devastated, JB goes to see Auerbach who, like every middle aged white dude, begs her to see it from his perspective. The school was desperate. He asks her if she would have taken the job if he was upfront with her and she says absolutely not. She informs Auerbach that she will stay until a suitable replacement can be found and then she’s out. Auerbach asks her if they could just discuss it and JB says “I believe we just did.”
Later that night, JB is leaving the university when sirens start blaring and people start running towards the sound. JB follows and runs into Kevin, in work mode. He says the mugger has struck again, but this time it went too far and the victim died. JB asks him for everything he’s got on the case. She’s in.
Cut to JB’s New York bunker, where Jess is taking a break from helping Kevin study for his test by going over the murder. He tells her that the knife was found but also two blood types so they’re thinking the victim managed to defend himself and cause some damage to his attacker. JB wonders if the attacker ended up in hospital and Kevin says they’re checking, but that the only weird thing is that another student was hospitalised across town for a gunshot would but he can’t see how the two events might be connected.
Down at the precinct Kevin gets pulled up by his boss for providing information to JB (which frankly is a valid point as much as I love Our Heroine) and orders him to back off. Meanwhile over on campus JB has stumbled onto a message left by the killer – I am the sword of justice, death sings to me, alpha and omega.
JB recognises the reference and goes hunting in the library for the source material but before she can find the book, Luke the crazy fan pops up to tell her he’s no longer her #1 fan.
Down at the precinct, Wallace and the captain are contemplating how to proceed.
The captain is worried, but Wallace is all over it. It’s definitely either disgruntled former student or employee, or it’s a crazed psychopath drifter. Wallace is convinced it’s the latter, and thinks if no murder occurs in the next 72 hours then he will be proven right. The captain hopes so, but Kevin overhears and approaches Wallace. He thinks it’s too early to have a definite idea on who it is, but Wallace is unstoppable. Plus he got a letter from the killer so he’s totes a threat.
Wallace isn’t the only penpal of the mugger, JB’s got a letter too. She goes to show it to Kevin after class but he tells her he’s under strict orders to stay out of it and stop helping JB. Undeterred, JB heads to the library to try and track down the book she thinks the mugger is quoting from. The librarian conveniently wanders away from her desk so JB can see the screen – the book was borrowed by Wallace Evans. As JB leaves the campus for the night, someone takes a potshot at her and drives away. As the hordes come running, JB spots the Greek characters for alpha and omega on the ground.
The next day JB takes a cab out to Kevin’s place. Kevin’s not home but his mum is – they get to chatting and it’s revealed that Kevin’s father (who was a cop) got done for corruption just because everyone else in his squad was. Mrs Kevin’s Mum doesn’t want him to be a cop. Kevin arrives home and asks Jessica to a) leave and b) drop the investigation. JB says she’ll leave but she won’t drop it – someone took a potshot at her, this time it’s personal.
Kevin goes to work and tells his boss he can’t stand by any more, he’s going to help JB. The captain tells him he’s on his own, and department policy means he can’t take any documents out of the precinct. Fortunately Kevin has a way around that, as he explains to JB later. He just ordered copies from the coroner’s office and picked them up before they entered the precinct. YOU GO KEVIN.
As they go through the reports, JB notices that no skin tissue was found on the serrated knife belonging to the mugger, only blood. Furthermore, there were no fingerprints on the knife, which makes no sense if the murdered guy used it to fight his attacker. JB sees it all now. They go to find the student who was shot across town, and after some grilling get him to admit he was the mugger.
Which basically leaves only one suspect. Which I thought was obvious about 10 minutes ago, but what do I know.
Determined to restore his fragile ego, Wallace sets out to catch the mugger. Except when he does he decides the easiest option is to shoot him, except when he shoots the bullet goes straight through the mugger and kills the mugging victim. You stuffed that up Wallace old man. And so, to cover up his boo-boo, Wallace created the idea of a crazy hobo transient as the killer. Except JB knew better.
JB ALWAYS KNOWS BETTER.