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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 3 E 6 Deadline For Murder

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Veteran newsman Haskell Drake suffers a heart attack while vigorously protesting the skeevy and spurious slant given to his interview with J.B. Fletcher. The news brings Jessica rushing to her friend's bedside, but Drake has lost his spirit and only wishes for the death of the offending editor, Levarr Bennett — a request which is unexpectedly granted when Bennett drops dead at a celebration mid-toast. Suddenly roused, Drake asks Jessica to act as his proxy in investigating the particulars that he can't inquire into from his hospital bed. Wanting to bring her friend back from the brink, Jessica plays newshound while sniffing out the truth about Bennett's demise.

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Avenging the Villain: Clyde Thorson, an employee who was very loyal to Bennett, follows Jessica, knowing that sooner or later she'll discover who murdered him. He almost shoots Simms after he confesses, but Jessica manages to talk him into letting the legal system mete out the punishment instead.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Jessica is able to get a staff member to show her the list of blood donors from the Sentinel by posing as a worker and saying her job will be on the line if she can't get it.
  • Close to Home: Kay Garrett has a passion for writing stories on children in bad living conditions, which is implied to result from her spending the first four years of her life in an orphanage.
  • Death by Despair: Haskell Drake starts the episode by nearly dying from a heart attack, but the greater danger once the doctors stabilize him becomes his lack of motivation to recover after being fired. Jessica agrees to do the legwork on the story partially because the investigation gives him a reason to live.
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  • Eureka Moment: Seeing Haskell fool the nurse into thinking he had taken his medicine by hiding it in his hand lets Jessica figure out the murderer's identity and how Bennett was poisoned.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Levarr Bennett consistently mocks the individuals who cling to the more ethical and less sensational model that the Sentinel used to follow before he bought it out. In the opening scene, he calls Haskell a has-been. Later, during his "toast" when he decides to fire the former owner Mr. Revere for protesting and hitting him, he continues at length about how the Sentinel as it was will disappear with him.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Inverted; Mr. Billy Simms describes Kay's mother as the only person who dared to withstand Bennett. She rejected his offer of marriage, and Mr. Simms suspects he hated her for it and that's why he ordered Simms to ruin Kay after finding out who she was.
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  • Implied Death Threat: When Jessica probes for information, Clyde tells her that the police had better locate Bennett's murderer before him. Later, it turns out he meant it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jessica confronts Mr. Simms with the fact that his article said that Bennett died of a cerebral hemorrhage. However, that wasn't confirmed until hours after the paper had gone to press.
  • Parental Substitute: Clyde Thorson claims Levarr Bennett was the closest thing to a father he ever had.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Simms didn't have as positive an experience working for Bennett as he implied. However, he put up with everything until Bennett told him to fire and smear Kay Garrett after Simms told him she was his daughter. Outraged, Simms slipped him a chemical that reacts badly with alcohol the afternoon of the party.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Downplayed; Bennett recruited two of his staff from lower positions, Clyde Thorson from the oil fields and Billy Simms from ad writing. Clyde maintains his loyalty to Bennett even after hearing why he was murdered, but Billy's allegiance could only take so much before it snapped.
  • Reverse Psychology: Haskell Drake manipulates Jessica into doing the footwork on the story by saying that he doesn't need her and she didn't do a good job back when they worked together briefly in younger days. Jessica realizes partway through what he's trying to do, but she ends up agreeing to the job anyway.
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