Monday, August 21, 2023

Murder Monday returns! Episode 9-1: "Murder in Milan"

No more messing around, no trying to backfill the seasons I skipped over--Oh, all the Jessica we could have shared together--but I am just gonna do it: I'm gonna Bring Murder Monday back in real time (sorta) as Wife of the Show Laurie and I continue our journey through the series.

After a spotty seventh season with numerous non-Jessica Fletcher installments, the show has delivered a solid eighth season and transplanted our heroine to New York City, where she now lives part time (It's kind of sketchy) and teaches (THAT is even sketchier, but every now and then, we might actually get proof of that!).

Season 9 kicks off in beautiful Italy, with plenty of establishing shots to prove we are in Italy the whole time, no doubt about it. What a country (Apologies, Yakov)! What a setting! What a treat!
Well, actually, I was disappointed. I don't need Italy. The setting is not just Milan, but a Milan film fest hosting a movie adapted by one of Jessica's books and directed by a young hotshot director played by, you guessed it, Gary Kroeger.

You know what else says "Hollywood power and glitz"? A hotshot producer played by, you guessed it, Paul Gleason.

Paul and Gary want to work together on a new hot property, a best-selling novel, but Gary has a deal with a film producer (Susan Blakely), and she won't let him out of it. She seems to have a personal thing for him, too. Really, she has issues with everyone, and suddenly financial reports from the movie based on Jess' book come in and show millions in overages. Can her finance guy explain it? Can Gary? Why the devil does this big Hollywood producer apparently work full time out of Milan?

Another thing that doesn't ring true is the hot ingenue starring in the movie and dating Kroeger. Frankly she looks about 10 years too old to be an ingenue. OK, I just looked it up. Ouch, she is like 23 or 24. She just looks older, and Laurie said the same thing!

It's a disappointing episode. While it is funny to see George "Hey, I was in the original SNL cast" Coe as the ingenue's dad, the depiction of the film scene is shallow and unconvincing. And what a waste of  Cesar Romero, who is the lead actor in the movie and flirts with Jessica but has little involvement with the plot. I guess I should be thankful to see the kind of old-school star the show used to spotlight, but he is underutilized.

This season opener isn't as special as I think it is supposed to be. I hope we go back to Cabot Cove next week.

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