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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 2 E 17 One Good Bid Deserves A Murder

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Jessica receives an unusual request from actor Richard Bennett: buy and destroy the diary of late star Evangeline. However, this will prove more easily said than done as multiple people are desperate to get their hands on the diary and the secrets therein. When Bennett turns up dead during the auction, Jessica finds herself involved in the investigation and even suspected of murder. Teamed up with private eye Harry McGraw, she attempts to smoke out the real killer to lay the ghosts of the past to rest.

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Body in a Breadbox: Bennett's body falls out of an armoire as potential buyers are inspecting it. The killer says he stashed it there because the item wasn't supposed to go to auction soon.
  • Burn Baby Burn: At the end, Jessica throws the diary in the fireplace, destroying it as Bennett requested. She even manages to talk the reluctant Harry into destroying the photocopy he made for bait.
  • The Bus Came Back: Harry McGraw, last seen in "Tough Guys Don't Die", returns when he sees Jessica in the police station. He becomes outraged when he finds out why she's there and insists on acting as a Character Witness.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Jessica buys an antique chess set for a friend in Cabot Cove. The chess set turns out to have a secret compartment, which someone used to have Jessica smuggle the diary out of Radford's without her knowledge.
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  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Dr. Dunn, a psychologist, goes on a paranoid rant about how "they" are out to destroy her when she meets Jessica to ask for the photocopy of the diary (which Jessica knew nothing about till then).
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Harry catches up with Jessica as Mr. Rhine attempts to force her into a car at gunpoint and knocks him to the sidewalk with a punch to the face.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The person who murdered Bennett, Radford, and Evangeline was the security guard.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Lt. Casey reveals that Harry's real first name is Harlan when he tries to have his license revoked. While Harry tries to play it off casually, it doesn't seem happy about the disclosure.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Harry punches out a man threatening her with a gun, Jessica insists on looking at his hand. Harry brushes her off, claiming he knows how to throw a punch without hurting himself, and then the scene cuts to a hospital, where a doctor is putting a cast on Harry's hand and remarking that this time he injured himself less than the last.
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  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Harry, being a cynical private eye, tends to favor a more direct, blunt approach as opposed to Jessica's friendliness and polite requests, which especially stands out when they're investigating an auction guard.
  • He Knows Too Much: "Al" kills Bennett because he saw him while he was trying to steal the diary, and Radford because "Al" had unsuccessfully interrogated him regarding its whereabouts.
  • Mercy Kill: "Al" explains Evangeline's murder as an act of mercy; she was messed up by all the problems of her life in show biz but didn't have the strength to free herself. So he killed her to stop her suffering.
  • Mystery Magnet: Lampshaded when police lieutenant Casey threatens to arrest Jessica if he finds her near another body. (At this point, there have been two murders, including one where he found Jessica standing over the body.) "If murder were a disease," he tells her, "you'd be contagious."
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: In an early scene, director Sheila Saxon speaks to Sal Domino, trying to get his help in high bidding for the diary. She declares she loved Evangeline, saying the dead star was like a little sister to her, and tearfully claims she just wants to make a movie about the real Evangeline so the world can see her the way she did. Sal snarks that he'll recommend her if the awards ever open a category for best performance by a wheeler-dealer.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Harry smuggled some kind of sleeping drug into Jessica's tea so he could sneak the diary and make a photocopy for purposes of smoking out the killer. She is distinctly displeased when she realizes it.
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