Monday, March 3, 2014

Season 4: It Runs in the Family

I'm doing my taxes. WHAT could possibly make me feel better? Why, Angela Lansbury playing Jessica's English "cousin" in a MSW epi.


We open in jolly old England with Miss Emma McGill, famous stage persona and cousin of none other than Ms. Jessica Fletcher! "Em" is enjoying a pint when a mysterious solicitor comes calling. An old friend, Lord Constable, wishes to see her on a matter of urgent business. She shows up, only to have him die during a romantic picnic. Which one of his greedy relatives is to blame?

The Suspects?

Johnny Constable-  Son (or brother? I can't tell) of the deceased who favors fast women and deals with shady businessmen. Sounds like 99% of the men I work with in Washington, D.C. Johnny is next in line to inherit, did he get impatient and turn to murder? 

Pauline Constable- Uber spoiled and deliciously snobby daughter-in-law. Did Pauline's greed get the best of her?

Famous Actors

Christopher Hewett of Mr. Belvedere fame. We also have a pre-nose job Jane Leeves from Fraiser. 

80's Baby!

I'm awarding bonus points for this female tie/shoulder pads combo. Let's also add half a point for the "lets curl the bangs and ignore the rest" hairstyle. 

The End?

There is a whole lot of "Cherry-ho!" "I'd should like that car spotless!" and "Take my automobile," in this epi. Moving forward with our English stereotypes, our little working-class Emma McGill is suspect numero uno- as we like to say in North America. As such, she is eager to help the constable in finding the culprit behind Lord Constable's death. The cause? Poison of course! Emma admits she left the picnic basket out before departing for her rendezvous with Lord Constable. Did someone tamper with it?

Lord Constable admitted to Emma that his father recently died under suspicious circumstances. She speculates it's murder by design, someone is anxious to inherit the titles of the illustrious Constable family. But who could it be? She begins working her way through this incredibly tiny list of suspects. Emma turns her sights to Johnny Constable, next in line to inherit. After sharing a pint with his woman-of-the-moment, Emma dismisses him as a suspect based on no evidence that I can see.

Which leaves us to the woman with the most screen time! Pauline Constable. Similar to calling the end of Law and Order (more than 10 minutes left after final court scene = twist in the storyline), we know Pauline is the culprit. Coming from humble beginnings, Pauline is obsessed with being "someone" and that someone was to be Lady Viscount Constable Whos-a-whatsit. It's hastily staged by Emma and the constable offers her a position as a detective. Tally-ho!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Season 4: Steal me a Story

FACT: I cleaned my house today in 30 minutes. It is more the "appearance" of clean, but it counts nonetheless.


This is one of those epis that MSW "revitalizes" every season. Hang with me, you'll see what I mean. This one is about Sid Sharkey, a “cut throat” television producer who steals Jessica’s story for his own. Like everyone who crosses Jessica, he dies a sudden death—finding himself on the business end of a homemade bomb. Which I guess would mean any end, right? In any event, the bomb is hidden in a pink gift with a jaunty bow on top. That must mean it is personal. 

The Suspects?

Burt Puzo-  Camera man with a past who was on the outs with Sharkey. Did sour grapes lead him to murder?

Fried Schmidt- Sharkey’s long-suffering secretary. Reason enough, me thinks.

Gary Patterson- Lead actor in Sharkey’s TV show, who watched as his character received fewer and fewer lines. Was he mad enough to take it out on the boss?

Famous Actors

Fionnula Flanagan of the “Others” fame, And THE Yaphet Kotto Of my all-time fav cop drama, “Homicide.”

80's Baby!

I readily admit to secretly loving the 80’s makeup look. Liner, lips, shadow, blush, hair. REPEAT!

The End?

There’s lots of yelling in this episode. Something I’m not used to putting up with on my coma-like Sundays. I guess it will prepare me for the work week. After the murder, Jessica is banned from the set, but she’s too wily for that. While questioning Gary Patterson, he requests she  improve his scripts. Now on the set in an official capacity, Jess is free to investigate—and deftly determines Gary is your typical actor, and therefore not a reliable suspect.  

Next up is Sharkey’s secretary, Freda. Seventeen long years working for Sharkey made her plenty miserable. Especially as he promised her an assistant producer shot, only to keep her firmly behind the filing drawer. I kind of see myself in Freda. Wow, this post just got real. Moving on.

Jessica thinks she knows who is at the bottom of Sharkey’s death, and with the help of Freda does the old Fletcher set up. They have Freda “hold up” Burt (I know) who swiftly blows his cover.  Apparently, he had planted another bomb, but Jess was in on the threat. She gamely offers him up to the police before returning to the homey confines of Cabot Cove.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Season 4: Trouble in Eden

Ok I have like, 20 minutes before my barre class and I'm torn between eating before or starving through it. I choose to eat. And to MSW. I choose to live, dammit!

Mary Rose Welch is nervous her sister's recent "heart attack" is really cold blooded murder. When Mary Rose is clocked with a car, Jess is at her bedside, convinced something nefarious is afoot. Together, they hatch a plan to travel to the small town of Eden to investigate. But Jess has a twist up her sleeve, she travels to Eden AS Mary Rose, hoping the townsfolk will be none the wiser. And let's face it, these are salt of the earth, "country folk," so no problems there. 

The Suspects?
Rev. Manchester- Naughty pastor with a salacious secret. Did Charlotte find out and blackmail him?

Dr. Lynch- Charlotte's physician with an alkie problem. Did he drink too much and go after sweet, dear Char-Char?

C.J. Dobbs- Local fat cat who was pulling a con on Charlotte. Did she find out and get even?

Famous Actors
Actress Betty Garret who, fun fact, was investigated by a House committee for un-american activities in the commie-crazy 50s. This, I wish on no one.

80's Baby!
Hello perm, have we met? P.S. Yes. Yes, we have.

The End?
Jess arrives at the Hotel Eden, where Charlotte lived and "worked." By worked I mean the Garden of Eden is a brothel and Charlotte was a "cat house madam." This scene is worth putting down your bowl of Cap'in Crunch to watch immediately. Especially as MSW is back on Netflix. Please do NOT get me started.

So after Jess finds out what kind of "business" Charlotte is in, she get's a tip from a nosy maid. Apparently, Charlotte's will and estate holdings are mysteriously missing. After closing the brothel down for a few days (the girls are, admittedly, disappointed) Jess questions Lilia, who helps out around the place. Lila tells us that she saw two men at Charlotte's bedroom the night she died--Rev. Manchester and Doctor Lynch. 

Jess tries to question Rev. Manchester but get's the runaround from his cranky wife. If my pastor husband was visiting a brothel, I be pretty upset as well. Finally, Jessica catches a break. At a tense meeting with our three suspects, they reveal Charlotte was actually blackmailing them. All are perfectly ignorant of the secrets Charlotte held over them. Every suspect but one. That's right, C.J. Dobbs bragged to Jessica about Dr. Lynch's alcoholism, something that he couldn't have known about. Apparently, he tried to run a con on Charlotte, who called him out. He killed her, taking her blackmail evidence with him.

Now I'm off to squeeze, squeeze hold. Tight, tighter, squeeze!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Season 4: The Way to Dusty Death

When I got this:

 I was like this:

Duncan Barnett, douchey executive of Barnett Industries, invites his board of directors to his fancy-pants New York home. They all expect Barnett to name his successor, but he basically insults them and goes to bed. The next morning he is found dead, floating in his bathtub, outfitted in the smallest baby blue speedo you've ever seen in your life. 

The Suspects?
Kate Dutton- Wife of an ambitious board member who was treated poorly by Duncan. Did she decide enough was enough?

Morgan McCormack- Weaselly board member who has been licking his chops to get at Barnett industries. Did he get impatient and off the boss?

Lydia Barnett- Daughter of the victim who would inherent a nice slice of the pie with Barnett Industries. Did daddy dearest have to go?

Famous Actors
Ray Watson, aka Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. My spell check wants to change "Ridgemont " to "Idempotent." You decide.

80's Baby!
My mom had the exact same pair of tribal-inspired necklace and earring set. I might have coveted it.

The End?
Being on "the board" Jessica is there to help determine the true cause of Barnett's death. But the other board members are focused instead on electing a new president, enabling them to get their hands on the lucrative company. They elect Morgan McCormack as interim chairman, which seems to satiate him for the time being.

Jess presses the po-po for a cause of death, and they determine that Duncan Barnett died due to electric shock. She investigates the crime scene, searching far and wide for Duncan's nightly brandy, which has seemingly grown legs. Noting Morgan's erratic behavior, she confronts Morgan about the brandy. Apparently, Morgan spiked it with enough poison to kill a horse. But someone got there before him . . .

The night of Duncan's death, Kate Dutton went into his bathroom to appeal to him about her husband's career aspirations. Apparently, Duncan (still in his baby blue speedo) asked her to change the channel on his TV. She changed that channel alright, throwing the TV into the tub and killing him via electric shock. Duncan's daughter takes over the company, and Jess is happy because I feel like she believes in affirmative action.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas MSW Fans!

Thanks for being amazing.

K & E

Monday, December 2, 2013

Season 4: South by Southwest

Thanks to devoted reader Jorja, we have a new epi for you today. How will I do the others? I have no idea. But that's like, never stopped me ever in life. Moving on.

Jess learns from her "Murder Takes the Bus" experience and Amtraks it to Texas. I mean, really. If there was ever a reason to fly, 82 hours on a train is it. She meets "Judy Taylor" in the dining car. After becoming fast friends, Judy vanishes, leaving her unfashionable bag behind. Jess goes to investigate Judy's compartment, and while searching it is greeted by a man wielding a gun, asking where "it" is and calling her Sarah McLeesh. Luckily, reporter Richard Loomis is around to disarm her attacker and toss him off the train. Jess learns Judy Taylor's real name is Sarah McLeesh and she lately witnessed a murder. Soon after, Loomis is shot dead. WHO is responsible?

The Suspects?
Millie & Jack Ogden- Friendly train couple who seem to be hanging around at just the right time and place. Are they undercover spies?

Ron Guzman- FBI agent who is assigned the Sarah McLeesh case. How did a man in charge of her protection seemingly let her slip through his fingers? Unless he was the inside man. BTW how genius was that movie?

Radley- Held Jess up at gunpoint to retrieve information stolen from the NSA. A fairly easy suspect, no?

Famous Actors
If you stretch your definition of famous we have Richard Riehle of "I have people skills" Office Space fame and copious reverse mortgage commercials. We also have Keith David of Clockers and Platoon.

80's Baby!
You have got to check out the slow motion fall at the start of this epi. Some stunt double made his salary that day. Also a "credit card" machine features prominently. Te-hee!

The End?
Because this is Amtrak the train is TOTALLY delayed. Jess slips off in the middle of the night and the next day does something horribly moronic. She TAKES THE BUS. Has the world gone crazy? A cross-country bus? Goodnight Irene. Anyway, she goes to Sarah McLeesh's hometown in Arizona, which, I kid you not, is filled with people riding horses down the street. I lived in Arizona for three years and have never witnessed this. Perhaps I needed to get out more.

Jess is convinced Sarah McLeesh is in hiding somewhere. She finds a badge to the National Security Agency (NSA)  and basically waltzes into the NSA and tries to hack into a computer. Can you imagine the litany of charges you'd be faced with in real life if you did this? But in MSW land, the NSA needs Jessica's help (I believe the present day NSA might need some of it as well). Apparently, some codes have been taken from the NSA by a murdered analyst, Sarah's friend Peter. The codes access U.S. satellites, so the NSA is anxious to have them back.

Jess finally locates Sarah McLeesh, who readily ID's Guzman as the man who killed Peter. Thinking Sarah is in danger, Jess takes her on a wild goose chase with FBI agents and blah blah blah. But when Sarah talks about her "nephew" Jessica realizes something. Her nephew was part of her cover story as Judy Taylor, there wasn't a nephew in real life. Why would Sarah lie? Because SHE was the one that killed Peter. She acted as a terrified witness and planned to sell the codes herself, to whom you ask? Our friendly train couple, the Ogdens, who shot Loomis dead when he got too close to the truth. Guess where the codes are? In a Gameboy Jessica found in Sarah's purse. So basically a little blockbuster called "Enemy of the State" is entirely based on a MSW epi. Mind, blown.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Season 4: When Thieves Fall Out (Or When I Cancel Netflix)

Before we start, I have some beef:

Netflix, let me ask you a reasonable question. If you don't stream MSW, what DO you do? Exactly. Also, there was this. Sound off in the comments loyal readers!

Parolee Andrew Durbin appears on Jessica's doorstep to rent a house in Cabot Cove. Andrew was convicted of a roadside murder not 20 years before. Jess finds it odd he is hanging around town, and just days later car salesman Bill Hampton is found killed. I would be more descriptive but Netflix IS NO LONGER STREAMING  AND I CAN’T REWIND TO REFRESH MY MEMORY.  

The Suspects?
Andrew Durbin—Threatened Bill at his car dealership days before his death, insinuating Bill had something to do with the murder Andrew went to jail for. Not a bad motive, eh?
Coach Kevin Cauldwell—Seen at the prom with Bill Hampton the night of the roadside murder. If both were involved, did one threaten to expose the other? Things get heated when that happens. 
Arnie WakemanUber rich man about town whose wealth is as fake as his paraplegia.  Did Bill make a bad deal with Arnie and pay the price?

Famous Actors
 I’m just so upset about this Netflix thing I can’t bring myself to research it.
80’s Baby!
 That no-hair-gel shaggy, center part thing.  

Looking Smokin'
The End?
 Bill’s widow begs Jessica to investigate and because she is a loyal friend, she agrees (e.g. not dissimilar to a loyal customer). Jess begins with the 20-year old roadside murder. Apparently, Andrew Durbin was hitchhiking, and got a ride from a man with lucrative bonds in his car (I currently have an old curling iron in mine). Andrew claims they were driven off the road, and the driver swerved and hit his head. Andrew went for help, and when he returned, the driver’s head was bashed in, the bonds stolen.

Jessica thinks there is some connection to Bill’s death, but Andrew maintains his innocence. Jess accuses him of returning to Cabot Cove to seek revenge, which he readily admits. He tells her the prom was occurring on that fateful night, and is certain it had some connection to the car that ran them off the road. 

Jessica interviews her next suspect, the wealthy Arnie Wakeman. Arnie is seemingly wealthy, and Jess wonders whether the stolen bonds had anything to do with that. Wheelchair bound Arnie turns out to be nothing more than a fraud, an awesome clip you could watch for yourself if Netflix was streaming.

Now certain there is a connection to the old murder, Jessica questions Coach Cauldwell about that night. He tells her he had the flu and left the prom early. But Jessica finds evidence to the contrary, locating a picture that clearly puts Coach Cauldwell at the prom later that night. Apparently, this is enough to get him to confess. Coach Cauldwell took a drunk Bill Hampton home the night of the prom. When driving, he swerved in front of the car Andrew Durbin was in—making the driver run off the road. Coach Cauldwell returned to the scene, saw the bonds, and decided he deserved them.  


Netflix, I hate you.