Murder, She Wrote: The Dead File

Hello! Today is the 29th anniversary of this episode. And I’m low-key obsessed with it. Why, you ask? Because our friend, Jessica Fletcher, has been turned into a controversial comic strip character. And she’s a fox (which of course we already knew) but a literal fox in this case. Oh and Harvey Fierstein is in this episode. What I’m trying to say is, it’s perfect.

The fox is accusing NYPD officers of doing corrupt shit — so actually this comic strip could be a public good — but unfortunately Jessica isn’t involved in the comic strip and can’t verify the information. Of course, everyone thinks she’s behind it — I guess because she’s a writer — but she’s genuinely not involved. She sincerely asks a lieutenant if he’s stealing drugs from evidence and he just straight up doesn’t answer — which feels like a YES to me — but it’s MSW so he’s probably falsely accused.

It looks like Jessica Fox is also exposing a Wall Street scandal. And Jessica Fletcher will now be sued for libel (which makes noooo sense) along with the artist and comic strip syndicator.

With actual money on the line now, Jessica tracks down the artist, Mr. Hatter. And that’s how we finally get to see Angela and Harvey on the screen together!

That’s when Mr. Hatter explains that he didn’t draw the comic strips that appeared in the newspaper. And his syndicator cannot figure out how the artwork got switched. He shows Jess his real comic strip which involves Jessica Fox solving innocent little barnyard animal mysteries. It’s all quite wholesome (aside from the murder).

Anyway, Mr. Hatter agrees to kill off the Jessica Fox character, which would seem like the end of all this. Except then the lieutenant comes back to see Jess and shows her a blackmail letter. Some of the letters in the note were cut out of the Cabot Cove Gazette.

Jess finds the letter perplexing, but she explains that she hasn’t been in Cabot Cove for three weeks. Even more importantly, she was in Italy on the date the newspaper shown in the letter cutout was published. So she goes back to Mr. Hatter and blames him for everything — saying he could have purchased the paper from a stand at Grand Central that carries one-week old issues of Cabot Cove Gazette — which like yeah, right I’m sure it does…

But Mr. Hatter shows her the strange comic strip in the day’s paper and points out explicit stylistic differences between the printed copy and the versions he showed her in his studio. His whole team backs him up, stating that the printed copy is most definitely a forgery.

The whole thing explodes into a very public argument between Mr. Hatter, Jess, and the people who want to sue them. So Jess decides they should all sit down and try to figure out who has motive to print all this stuff in this dirty laundry sort of way. And Mr. Hatter is kinda like well, I do have a lot of enemies.

The next morning, Mr. Hatter’s letterist (I’m not sure the correct term for someone who draws letters in comic strip so I am going with letterist) heads to work at 3:45 am (evidently, he likes to get an early start) and is hit over the head by an unknown assailant. Hopefully, he’s knocked out and not dead, but I’m not sure because we cut to Jess interviewing a potential suspect.

This guy, Mr. Whiting, says that Mr. Hatter used to be his assistant and stole the idea for the comic strip from him. And then all of his artwork disappeared in a mysterious fire. He says Mr. Hatter is just trying to get attention/money for his work and urges her to sue him. And she’s like no, I’m trying to avoid lawsuits, thanks. Plus she doesn’t think Mr. Hatter would make his characters look bad because they mean so much to him. Kind of a thin argument. But she says it’s exactly how she feels about the characters in her books.

Unfortunately, we do get confirmation that the letterist is dead. The detective on the scene doesn’t notice the damaged award (that was totally the murder weapon) until Jess points it out.

At this point, the detective openely accuses literally everyone around her of the crime — including Jess! (To be fair, I’ve frequently wondered about Jess’s proximity to all these murders myself…)

Meanwhile, it finally occurs to Jess that she should look for the source of the information in the comics. This leads her to a tabloid writer (who has been lurking around this whole time and for some reason she never checked up on him until now). She accuses him of being involved in blackmail and he claims that his files were stolen.

This leads Jess back to Mr. Whiting who says he was too busy having an affair to kill anyone. And then Jess is abruptly like okay, cool so if it’s not you then I know who it is. This leads us back to the studio in the middle of the night.

Jess notices that a plant has been rotated and discovers that this was done to hide a bloody artist’s glove. So she calls every single person that the letterist worked for and found out that he wasn’t scheduled to be in the studio when he was — meaning the murder wasn’t premeditated. There’s also no evidence on the glove except for the letterist’s blood. So Jess replaces the glove and calls Mr. Hatter.

That night, she catches one of the artists going back to remove the evidence. He explains that the letterist caught him drawing the libelous comic strips, so he faked his suicide.

Jess then explains that she really had no evidence on him whatsoever, but luckily he took the “message for Mr. Hatter” as bait. And most importantly, I need to point out that the detective has been making the below face for like two solid minutes:

But you know what, maybe that is the correct reaction to whatever the hell just happened in this episode.

Fictional Book Covers: Mapleworth Murders

I now have a multi-part series on fictional book covers. I honestly didn’t see that coming. But I really like them! And actually this one is sort of like an off-shoot of my previous two. Mapleworth Murders is a parody of Murder, She Wrote (which you can watch for free on Roku) and features a lead character who imagines herself as the protagonist sleuth she writes about in her novellas — not unlike Tom Selleck’s character in Her Alibi.

Peppered throughout the series are book covers featuring the Mrs. Mapleworth mysteries.

Anytime our lead, Abigail (played by Paula Pell), finds herself in a jam, she imagines what Mrs. Mapleworth would do to get out of a bad situation. The fantasy never matches up with the reality and the results are hilarious.

There are also a lot of great guest stars from the greater NBC family, including multiple SNL alums, Terry Crewes, Jack McBrayer, and Paul Lieberstein.

Honestly, I think I need to figure out how to be a book cover designer. I think I’ve uncovered deep passion here.

In Defense of Her Alibi

Released in February of 1989, Her Alibi earned a whopping half-star rating from Roger Ebert and lead actress, Paulina Porizkova, was nominated for a Razzie.

This movie is desperately bankrupt of imagination and wit, and Tom Selleck looks adrift in it. He plays a detective novelist, named Blackwood, who has run out of inspiration. So he goes to criminal court for fresh ideas, and there he falls instantly in love with Nina (Paulina Porizkova), a Romanian immigrant who is accused of murdering a young man with a pair of scissors. Blackwood disguises himself as a priest, smuggles himself into jail to meet Nina, and offers to supply her with an alibi: She can claim they were having an affair at his country home in Connecticut at the time of the crime.” — Roger Ebert in his review of Her Alibi (1989)

As with many negative things in life, the bad reviews are a problem of perspective. Much like I hated Footloose when I rented it from the video store as a thirteen year-old who took all older teenagers very seriously, I loved the movie seven years later when I caught it on television and realized it was hilarious and metaphorical in all the best ways possible. It was also an early sign of a doomed relationship when the guy I was dating at the time negged me for loving it! Pro-tip, only date people who graciously give you the space to love campy things!

Okay, back to Her Alibi. We’re going to approach this from the perspective of literally everything is a joke whether or not the movie is in on it. This starts with the opening credits, which has some Clue-worthy theme music. It also features a lot of fake book titles. If you regularly read this blog, you know I’m already a sucker for that. More importantly, the book titles let you in on a very important aspect of this movie: it isn’t take itself that seriously.

Much of the narration in this film comes from Tom Selleck’s character writing his latest novel in a detective series. The titular detective is “Peter Swift,” reminiscent of Tom Swift from the same syndicate that brought you Nancy Drew and The Hard Boys. These are airport novels with corny titles. The cover that features a football helmet bears the title “The Dying Position.” The one with a theater setting is called “Looks Like Curtains.” My personal favorite features a stained glass window of a nun with a giant syringe in the foreground. It’s called “The Dying Habit.” You get the picture.

The film opens with a murder in a New York City apartment building. The only leads are that the victim was a student whose downstairs neighbor heard an argument in a “weird language.” Meanwhile, Phil (Tom Selleck) meets with his editor (William Daniels a.k.a. Mr. Feeny) to discuss his four-year long writing dry spell. Shortly thereafter, Phil heads to court where he sits with a group of other writers, eavesdropping on arraignments for inspiration.

When Nina (Paulina Porizkova) enters the courtroom, Phil develops a crush (and a sudden rush of writing inspiration). There’s just one catch — remember that dead body from just a few minutes ago? They think Nina and a pair of nine-inch scissors are responsible.

Dressed as a priest, Phil visits Nina in jail and offers her an alibi. He will pretend to be her lover and she can come home with him to Connecticut. (They work out this deal while Phil shouts at her across the room with a correctional officer just on the other side of the door. Very stealth.) Understandably, Nina plans to ditch Phil as soon as she is released. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of thugs waiting for her as she leaves the jail, so she goes to Phil with Connecticut anyway.

Phil’s Connecticut home is a lovely old farmhouse with lots of vaulted ceilings and stone-facing. True to the promise he made in the jail, he gives Nina the guest room and doesn’t attempt to do anything creepy. He mostly just cooks poorly and writes his novel in his head.

The recurring joke of the movie is that Phil is fairly paranoid, who were it not for the power of lust would probably never take a risk at all. We see this paranoia frequently juxtaposed with Phil’s narration of Peter Swift’s daring exploits. As the night wears on, Phil becomes increasingly terrified of Nina, which is understandable given that she’s an accused murderer who throws a giant knife at his head — to kill a bug.

Isolated in Connecticut, Phil interprets almost everything Nina does as an attempt on his life. He’s so jumpy he falls into the pool while taking out the trash because he catches a glimpse of her through the window. She’s painting her face entirely white. Clearly murderous stuff. But who can’t relate to a(n) (un)healthy dose of paranoia these days?

One day, Nina rides her bike to a local shopping center. While there, she narrowly escapes the thugs from earlier and rushes home to Phil, who is just about to leave for the barber shop. She’s afraid to be alone, so she insists on cutting his hair herself. Phil reluctantly agrees to let her use the presumed murder weapon so close to his major arteries. And we get this sexy haircut scene in return:

Shortly thereafter, Phil teaches Nina how to use a bow and arrow — you can see his new level of trust after having survived the haircut. Unfortunately, shoots him in the ass. One harrowing drive to the hospital later and Phil is paranoid again.

Eventually, Phil works up the courage to ask Nina point blank if she committed the murder. She refuses to answer. He follows her downstairs and sees her brandishing a pair of scissors through a crack in the door. As Phil attempts to barricade himself in his room, Nina appears behind him with a rose. She was only using the scissors to remove the thorns.

We then learn that Phil’s been in a bit of a rut since his wife left him. And taking an attractive accused murderer home might be some kind of subconscious attempt at DIY exposure-response therapy. So does Phil finally trust Nina? He does until a bomb explodes behind him in the kitchen while Nina is a safe distance away in the pool.

Phil asks a writer friend to use her connections to research Nina’s past. He also begins listening in on her conversations. Unfortunately, the only thing Phil’s able to glean from his pocket Romanian dictionary is that Nina has mentioned something about a funeral.

In the next scene, Nina makes dinner for Phil’s entire family. She says it’s a Romanian custom where the youngest woman makes dinner for everyone and then takes a walk while they eat it. When Nina leaves for her walk, Phil gives a little portion of the food to the cat before the rest of the family sits down for dinner.

As it turns out, Nina’s walk consists of fleeing with a friend in a car. Meanwhile over dinner, Phil laughs with his family about all the times he thought Nina had tried to murder him. He then goes to the kitchen and finds the cat, dead. He returns to the table and announces that Nina poisoned them all, but the family thinks it’s another joke. The cat’s dead body quickly proves otherwise.

As the family heads to the hospital, Nina returns to the house so that she can tell Phil the truth about everything — which you may have guessed does not include poison. Alone with Phil’s laptop, Nina reads the novel he’s been writing.

Just as the family arrives home after having their stomachs pumped, a neighbor approaches and explains that his wife saw the cat get electrocuted outside and left its body by the door so as not to interrupt their dinner. Nina then confronts Phil for depicting her as a murderer in his new novel and leaves him for good.

Phil later learns from his contact that Nina’s family of famous acrobats has disappeared in the United States after trying to defect from Romania. It turns out the “funeral” from Nina’s phone call is The Funeral of Grimaldi.

Dressed as a clown, Phil finds Nina at the funeral. This must be sort of a Sandy/Danny at the carnival moment because they both instantaneously overcome their trust issues. They’re chased by the Romanian thugs but fight them off just in time for the lead detective to show up. And good news: Nina’s family’s asylum has been approved! Oh and that dead guy from earlier? He was trying to help them to defect and wasn’t as lucky as Nina and Phil when it came to escaping the thugs.

And what good 80’s movie doesn’t roll credits with a Randy Newman song?

This movie is not quite suspense, not quite romantic comedy (though it’s probably trying to be both). Think of it as a TV movie version of Romancing the Stone. Whether or not you like this movie really comes down to whether or not you’ll get a laugh out of Phil’s corny narration because his novel truly is terrible. Personally, I find tight shots of Tom Selleck mixing a chocolate milk while his voice over says “Swift poured himself a bourbon” to be nothing short of hilarious.

This post is part of the Third Annual So Bad It’s Good Blogathon. For the full roster of posts please click here.

Murder, She Wrote: Who Killed J.B. Fletcher?

I participated in the December installment of #MurderSheDrank and it was a JOY. The 2021 series will feature episodes from Season 7, so little old me thought I would take a look ahead and see what’s in store. First of all, this season brings us into the 90’s, which I am quite excited about. Secondly, I think it may contain one of the most gloriously ridiculous plot descriptions I have ever seen with my own two eyes.

The official description on Peacock in innocuous enough: “A fan, posing as Jessica, is arrested and later murdered.” But if you’re wondering for what purpose this fan impersonated Jessica — it was to investigate a local dog show. After reading that, I immediately said to myself: “Oh I have to watch this as soon as humanly possible!”

Let me tell you, this episode did not disappoint. It features a Jess Fletcher fan club that meets around a giant framed photo of her and they all carry around little fake Jessica Fletcher ID Cards. Okay, I’m hearing how stalkery that sounds out of context. But they’re all old ladies! And they all live in a small town in Texas! And it’s 1990! Sadly, one of the fan club members does die in the process of investigating a crime as JB Fletcher. It’s one of the few times the show acknowledges that amateur sleuthing can be deadly.

IDK maybe I need this for my living room? Same setup with candles?

But mostly it’s just super, super cute. Jess pretends to be a dog owner with a very bad fake Southern accent, which she then abruptly drops when she realizes she’s in-character with someone who has already met her as the real Jess Fletcher. It’s one of the few times I’ve ever seen her off her game. She’s also only able to solve the mystery with the help of her wannabe sleuth fan club. To be fair, the stress of having someone steal her identity and then die must have been a lot.

Back when big glasses weren’t ironic ❤

Jess also has to deal with the logistical nightmare of people thinking she’s dead. This involves a tense phone call with Seth back in Cabot Cove and a lot of canceled credit cards. And she has to use the author’s photo on the back of one of her mass-market paperback (purchased at a local drugstore) in order to prove her identity to the local authorities. And as an added bonus, Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies and Edna from Laverne & Shirley are in the guest cast!

Here’s the whole club with Jess, y’all.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see any ridiculous dog show antics. I super wanted to see that. But that’s my only complaint! Another high point of this episode was that a dog was at one time the prime suspect in this murder-by-gunshot case. So. Classic.

Once JB solves the case…for some reason I feel like not spoiling this one for you…the super sleuth crowd hangs a giant photo of the dead former club member right next to the giant photo of JB. Enshrined in sleuth memoriam. God bless.

For those of you who want to join: This month’s Murder She Drank is tomorrow (Friday, January 15th) and features the first two episodes of Season 7. This includes season 7 episode 2, “Deadly Misunderstanding,” which I covered back in 2015 when I attempted to take on the arduous task of proving how Jessica Fletcher serial killed hundreds of people. Needless to say, JB Fletcher outsmarted me and my “Murder She Did” series didn’t last very long.

Murder, She Wrote: Snow White, Blood Red

I’m going to ask you to engage in a little activity before you read this post. Hold an image of Murder, She Wrote in your mind and think of all the words you associate with the show. Here are some of the ones that come up for me: Cozy, gently-paced, feels like the inside of a leather bound book, less violent than an Agatha Christie novel, usually involves a murder but I still somehow feel like I’m drink a warm cup of tea — okay you get the picture. This, my friends, is none of those things. (If you want to watch along, Murder She Wrote is free on Peacock.) Are you ready? Let’s go.

Pin on The Awesome Jessica Fletcher

1988’s “Snow White, Blood Red” feels like an aspiring writer went to the video store, rented The Lost Boys, decided Murder, She Wrote needed the same treatment, did a line of coke, wrote something on spec, and somehow that script ended up in the production pile for season 5, purely by accident.

In this episode, Jess is enjoying a ski vacation at the Sable Mountain Lodge courtesy of her nephew. While she waits for his arrival, she witnesses a lovers spat involving the owner of the lodge, a phone call with her “boyfriend”(Gunnar), and a very aggressive other man who snatches the phone from her hands.

Cut to the lodge bar where we meet Pamela. Let me pause here and mention how much I love her whole aesthetic. Pam is pissed because she signed a ski pro (omg you guys this is Gunnar from the telephone) on to endorse her company’s ski gear. However, she has just heard that he’s planning on not competing in the World Cup. Also she’s also heard he’s some kind of playboy. Wait, wait? Gunnar is the playboy??? The earlier scene made me think that the lodge owner was the player. To use an 80’s term: who’s zoomin’ who?

If you are on Etsy and you take custom orders, pop a link in the comments because I am willing to pay money for Pamela’s sweater situation.

So the big drama continues to be Gunnar’s potential retirement. His coach confronts him in the gym and they get into it. Things even get a little physical, but everyone emerges unscathed (thus far). Meanwhile, Pamela continues to shop around for a better pro to rep her brand. She has dinner with another pro, Larry, and tries to convince him to sign with her even though Gunnar is still under contract.

This is another sweater that I would be willing to pay money for if you can link me to an online thrift store with a good reputation. Thanks in advance.

While Pam tries to negotiate a new deal, Jessica arrives for dinner and cannot find a table because it is so crowded. This is 100% my experience of every single restaurant on a mountain during ski season. Jess ends up sharing a table with Ed, who is a detective from New York, and his wife, Sylvia. Dinner goes well. Everyone has a good time.

Cut to some night skiing where Gunnar is murdered by a crossbow. Yes, you read that correctly. Murdered by a crossbow ON MURDER SHE WROTE.

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Honestly, my chief complaint about this show is that it can be a little too dull, so I’m really enjoying this change of pace and I truly want to see what happens. OH and also. There is a blizzard. And everyone at the lodge is now snowed in. So if you were the murderer and your plan was to kill Gunnar with a crossbow and then get the heck out of Dodge, you would be in some seriously deep shit right now.

Meanwhile, no one from the outside can reach the mountain to attend to Gunnar’s corpse! (This seems a little odd to me…I don’t know enough about inclement weather travel logistics to dispute it but…there was a murder…and you’re telling me they all just have to hang out with the body for a while????)

That is, in fact, exactly what they do. The lodge owner (I promise to learn her name before the end of this post) and her husband — not boyfriend — (whose name I also need to learn, sorry, sorry) enlist Jessica to help them with the dead man and obvious crime scene. At first, she resists…and that’s saying a lot for a woman who loves to get involved with murder whenever possible. But she’s like, no seriously you guys I’m a book writer who sometimes does some Nancy Drew stuff on the side, but I’m definitely not someone who could examine a body.

Cut to Jessica examining the body:

That’s a private security officer, presumably, in the back of this photo doing absolutely jack shit because he’s really just there to make sure people don’t get too high and fly off the mountain.

She is conducting this post-mortem examination with a gynecologist by the way. Being the only doctor on the entire mountain, he has been roped into helping. Meanwhile, Ed from dinner (who everyone thought had gone home) returns because they “ran into a snow bank the size of the Chrysler building,” which is the first of many annoying at best and offensive at worst statements in reference to Ed’s life in New York City.

Upon seeing the dead body, this dude promptly says, “Oh, beautiful. Well, in the South Bronx we learn to live with stuff like this. But here? How does it figure?” which is a genuinely awful thing to say. It’s especially shitty coming from someone who was presumably on the force during a number of high profile murders that happened right in the heart of midtown Manhattan around the time this episode was filmed. Did we learn to live with those too, Ed? Or do the rules only apply to the South Bronx?

Murder, She Wrote" Snow White, Blood Red (TV Episode 1988) - IMDb

But I guess it was better for tourism if the writers established the New Yorkiness of a character by denigrating a low income neighborhood where — this episode would have you believe — people get used to murder.

Nevertheless, Jessica tries to get Ed to take over the investigation…which like fine…he has a badge or whatever…ughhhhhhhh. But he refuses. And just in case you didn’t hate Ed before, wait until you hear his reason for not wanting to help: “If this was some punk pusher getting knifed under the the Deegan expressway, fine. But bows and arrows? I mean this is a little out of my league.”

In other words, Ed is a piece of shit.

Once Ed has made it abundantly clear that he is not capable of investigating rich, white people at a ski lodge, he finally agrees to help out as long as Jessica runs point. And you know what, she really should be in charge. She’s got a square head on her shoulders and she isn’t an insane piece of shit who thinks one murder victim is less worthy than another.

The cop and the gynecologist leave Jess alone with the body while she goes through his personal effects. In his pocket she finds a key to room 301. Shortly thereafter, the lodge owner gives her an urgent message that had been left for Gunnar that morning. It’s from a woman named Vicki and she has a Nevada area code. Jess calls the number and the man who answers the phone identifies the number as that of the “Tartaglia residence.” Jess asks for Vicki, but the man says she isn’t there and he doesn’t now when she will be back. By the way, he’s super irritated.

The establishing shots are great in this episode.

Jess takes the key to room 301 and starts poking around the room. The lodge owner’s boyfriend shows up and starts snooping while Jess is lying in wait. She confronts him with a lighter that belongs to his girlfriend, Anne. (The lodge owner’s name is Anne!) It’s obviously that’s what he’s there to retrieve. When Jess doesn’t hand it over immediately, he gets a little threatening. Dude seems unhinged, frankly. So she puts the lighter down on the end table where he can take it back without getting closer to her. She then moves closer to the hall door.

The husband softens up a bit after this, allowing Jess to get some key information out of him. Anne and he were engaged when he had an accident. Even though they did get married, he never felt that he was enough for her. But he swears that she was in the room for an hour after Gunnar left because he was staring down the hall watching the door like a creepy, stalker. I get that they’re married and she’s stepping out on him and so I’m judging a little less on the door staring…but it also doesn’t feel like that can go anywhere good.

Watch Murder, She Wrote Season 5, Episode 4: Snow White, Blood Red | Peacock

Now we jump to a scene with a little light acoustic guitar concert at a table with a pitcher of beer. This appears to be some sort of memorial service for Gunnar. During the memorial, Larry gets upset that everyone is having a little too much fun and leaves mid-celebration of life. In the meantime, Jess starts up a conversation in the cafe with Pam. She complains to Jess about the contract situation. She even says she “could have killed him,” but she’s just being metaphorical. Or so she says.

Cut to a spooky gloved hand with a crossbow. I mean we’re getting zoomed in shots of the arrow tip with spooky-ass horror music. What is happening on Murder, She Wrote right now???

I am honestly terrified right now.

We cut from the crossbow to Larry and Pam working out in the gym. Larry is still complaining about the memorial service not being somber enough. He then leaves Pam alone in the gym where Gunnar’s drunk coach accuses her of trying to force Gunnar out of his endorsement contract. He says she was embarrassed by Gunnar’s womanizing and set out to sabotage him. He also accuses her of having something to do with the murder. He wrenches her wrist and says that he’d kill her if she wasn’t a woman. GEEZE. So many terrible people in this episode!

This is maybe not the right time to bring up how much I like her headband but I think we could use another photo here anyway.

Pam heads into the locker room and finds some bloody workout clothes that look suspiciously like Larry’s. She enters the showers to look for a presumably injured Larry and holy crap honestly I have never seen something so graphic on this show as what she finds in that shower. There is a lot of blood and he’s been strung up over the shower head. Watch at your own risk:

This does not look like a scene from Murder, She Wrote. When was anything else on this show ever filmed in such a manner? The title of this episode feels extremely accurate because I am quite certain I have never ever ever seen so much blood on this show.

I know you’re all upset and I’m here to comfort you with another photo of Pamela’s excellent fashion sense:

Even in a tragedy, she is impeccably dressed.

As if the shower horror wasn’t enough, this episode raises the stakes yet again. The phones don’t work! They can still call within the lodge because of a generator, but Anne says they are “totally isolated from the civilized world.” Ed orders the entire lodge searched from top to bottom for the crossbow. And Jess is like Ed, you idiot we’re not just going to find it lying around somewhere.

Ed says there’s something a little off about the Coach in his opinion. This is is the first thing Ed and I have agreed upon all night. While he investigates this theory, Jess and Anne’s husband borrow a CB radio in a guest’s car. They manage to make contact with the sheriff just long enough to report the two murders, but then the radio loses the signal.

Back at the lodge, Jess asks Mike (that’s Anne’s husband’s name!) why he and Anne invited all of their friends to the lodge that week…you know…cause now they’re all dying…He tells her they were hoping to drum up some business and nothing more. She notes two out of the four previous World Cup team members are now dead. Just then, Johnny (the only remaining living team member aside from Mike) stumbles into the room. He’s been shot by an arrow, but he cannot identify the culprit.

Jessica theorizes the killer is left handed based on the way Johnny was injured. However, she also posits that his wound might have been self-inflicted. She thinks he could be picking off other team member in order to secure his spot on the next World Cup team.

I don’t like Ed, but I do like his sweaters.

That night Jess is awakened by a phone call from Ed’s wife. She says that Ed received a mysterious phone call and left their room with his gun! So now Jess has to trudge down this giant staircase in the blizzard to look for him.

As she tries the doors of the ski shop, Ed almost shoots her. He’s there waiting to meet a man who called him and said he had information. While Ed and Jessica discuss that this situation could very easily be a trap, the killer set them in the sites of his crossbow. Luckily, he misses.

Come on, Jess! You know better than that.

They see a man on a skimobile headed towards them. Ed shoots the person one the skimobile and he falls to the ground. With the unidentified assailant now down, Ed and Jess rush over to find out who the killer is. It turns out it’s…drum roll please…the coach!

But Jess isn’t so sure. She’s enlisted the gyno to extract the bullets from the coach’s body. She then meets Sylvia in the restaurant and inquires as to why Ed is in such a hurry to leave when he was part of the investigation. What hot shot cop wouldn’t want to brag to other cops? Ed’s wife said he just doesn’t want to fill out the paperwork…uh…okay.

When Ed walks in and says they have to wait for their fuel line to be repaired– I assume that’s Jess’s doing — she confronts him with the coach’s winter coat. Jess shows him that the coat only shows a bloodstain from one shot — meaning that the coach was already dead when the second bullet hit him. Jess thinks that Vicki’s husband sent Ed to kill Gunnar. Then Ed killed again to cover up his original crime by making it look like Gunnar was targeted for being on the World Cup team. She also thinks he’s pretending to be a cop…which would make sense with all the really on the nose stereotypes and the fact that he didn’t want to help investigate at all.

Jess then accuses Sylvia of helping Ed. After all, she was the one who lured Jess out of her room. And someone had to shoot the crossbow and start the skimobile. Also they were the only two people who even tried to leave the lodge before the roads were closed. Plus, when Jessica was double checking the crime scene, she noticed an internal phone next to sleigh bells in the car barn where the skimobiles are. And come to think of it, she is sure she heard sleigh bells in the background while speaking to Sylvia.

Very Special Bizzaro Lesson: If you’re an arrogant jackass, who tries to flee a crime scene, a lovely mystery author will ensnare you in a trap you never see coming. Is this my favorite episode of Murder, She Wrote ever??? I’m really liking the Murder, She Wrote bizzaro world. I liked the thriller/suspense vibe in terms of holding my attention. I also very much love that this dude who was so flagrantly a jackass right from the beginning gets knocked down a peg by Jessica when he thought he was pulling one over on her. Annnnnd in a bizzaro world, it’s not even bizarre that murder follows Jessica literally everywhere she goes.

If you’re still reading this (probably my longest post ever) thanks for sticking around! And also please check out Murder She Drank as they live tweet this episode on Friday, December 18th!

Finally, quick shout out to Joanna at Murder, She Watched. That photo of Ed & Jess talking about motive came from her post on the episode. She also has a beautiful cast of characters for your reference! (Way better than me forgetting everyone’s names.)

Here’s a little teaser for you Murder, She Wrote Fans…

I’ve been cooking up a fun little end of the year celebration for this blog. In the midst of drafting one of my posts, I found this really great website called Murder, She Drank. They have printable bingo cards (fun whether or not you drink) and live tweet episodes twice a month. And it just so happened that I found them while drafting a post on one of their upcoming episodes “Snow White, Blood Red.” So if you want to have a little fun on Twitter this Friday, December 18th, here are the details:

Click here for info on the episodes

Click here to download the bingo cards

I haven’t seen the other episode they’re covering on Friday, but I can tell you that “Snow White, Blood Red” is quiteeee a doozy.

Saved by the Bell vs. The Golden Girls

There’s really no way to prepare yourselves for the awesomeness of this, Very Special Readers. Saved by the Bell and The Golden Girls both have EPIC Murder Mystery Weekend episodes and we will now place them in direct competition with each other.

But first thing’s first. The Very Special Winner of last week’s Friday Face-Off is: Salute Your Shorts. By a landslide. Congratulations, Camp Anawanna!

First up, for this week’s matchup is Saved By The Bell: Mystery Weekend. As you know, all the kids from the cool clique in high school liked to spend their free time at bed & breakfasts solving mysteries with middle-aged retirees. So things start off with the teens chilling with a lot of creepy adults in a “haunted mansion.”

So basically someone is “poisoned” and it’s a game of musical chairs to figure out who the drink was originally meant for and who delivered it. Everyone thinks it’s the butler, but when the butler dies too then a cop shows up and also dies. And somehow this helps us figure out the mystery.

When the elderly lady guest’s necklace goes missing (off script) and the party host is almost killed by a falling ax, things get spooky. The host decides to end the game since now it’s a massive liability to have anyone there. He offers Zack some vouchers for another stay in the future, but he vanishes while Zack is in his office. Now Zack is the prime suspect! It turns out that the voucher envelope really contains the prize money, so everyone accuses Zack of being a murderer.

Meanwhile, Lisa, who was packing while Zack retrieved the vouchers, has disappeared from a locked room. This leads Zack, Screech, and Slater to discover a secret passage leading from the bedroom to the host’s office (sketch). This causes Zack to somehow figure out that Lisa was in on the whole thing, the game never stopped, and the host is actually dressed as a woman and the murderer/thief/it doesn’t entirely make sense to me.

The Golden Girls: The Case of the Libertine Bell
Immediately upon arriving at the Mystery Weekend opening dinner, Dorothy instructs the girls to start determining which guests are actors and which are actually guests. She already has a much better game plan than the SBTB kids.

Todd Susman plays the private detective who was supposed to protect an 88 year-old man from being shot. He failed and the 88 year old guy’s twenty-something wife is also “dead.” Todd Susman finds an exotic dagger near the woman’s body and a gun in the old man’s spinster daughter’s purse (you follow?). He then tells the group of guests that they should be able to solve the murders just from this information.

Dorothy solves it all lickety-split with a brief summation of the psychological and physical evidence. Then they can all just hang out hand have a great weekend, right? Wrong! Blanche’s man friend is murdered (for real!) in a locked room (with Blanche!). The police are about to cart Blanche off to jail when Dorothy rushes to her aide.

Basically, there’s a rival with Blanche named “Posey McGlenn” They’re both trying to sleep with their boss and get a promotion. Dorothy determines that Ms. McGlenn must have killed Blanche’s male friend because she was jealous (and new exactly where Blanche had left her dress whilst showering pre-romantic rendezvous). Then Posey almost shoots Dorothy, but the cops intervene in time. And surprise, surprise, the dead guy walks down the stairs because it was all part of the game.

Everyone but Blanche and the girls knew…well Rose knew too. She was pissed at Blanche for stealing her earrings, so helping Blanche’s coworkers think she was accused of murder felt like an even trade.