Nero Wolfe (2001)

Season 2 Episode 2

Death of a Doxy (2)

Aired Unknown Apr 14, 2002 on A&E

Episode Recap

In the second half of this two part episode we open with Archie discussing the other suspects and Archie's persistent doubts about Orrie's innocence. They are interrupted by Avery Ballou, who reveals that he has been being blackmailed. An offer of $50,000 is made to clean up the mess, and in particular to keep his name out of the murder of Isabel Kerr, who was found dead at the beginning of the first half of the story. This provides Wolf with the necessary information and inducement to come up with a working theory of the murder. Saul and Fred are called in to consult, and Wolf confirms the identity of the blackmailer: Barry Fleming. The theory is that he killed Isabel to keep her from revealing that Mr. Fleming was the blackmailer.

They decide to enlist the aide of Julie Jaquette, Isabel's fiend and night club singer. The plan is that she will write a letter to Barry Fleming accusing him of the blackmail and murder. This would let them trap him into admitting both, but it would put Julie at considerable danger until they did, which meant that she would be under continuous guard. Mr. Fleming, as expected, takes the bait, and it remains now to real him in. Fleming realizes he is on the hook, and will try to get off.

After Julie does here evening performance at the nightclub someone takes a shot at her and although the miss the shooter gets Fred in the leg. There is little question that Mr. Fleming was the sniper. As a safety measure Julie is installed in the brownstone. Kramer, as expected, arrives to question Julie, who is especially unhelpful.

Wolf calls in Ballou and sets up his endgame, which involves a further $50,000 to Julie. The trap is that they will use Mrs. Stella Fleming to force Barry Fleming to confess, and that Julie will be the prod to make Stella do it. She agrees and in the next scene they lay it all out for Stella: the blackmail, the murder, the attempted murder, everything. Stella, for her part, demonstrates her explosive temper again. The deal is this: she forces the confession, leaves everyone else's name out of it, and Isabel's reputation remains intact. She has two days to make up her mind.

Thus begins the waiting game, which unexpectedly lasts only eight hours. Kramer storms in and informs them that Barry Fleming has confessed in writing and then shot himself. Kramer is annoyed that he was denied the trial, and that once again Wolf has pulled a fast one, and that at least part of the story still remains out of his sight. The only thing that Archie is left wondering is if Stella Fleming killed her husband or if he did it himself. He flips a coin to decide.

As a post script, a year later it is reveled that Julie is in college, which she had said she would use the $50,000 for, and doing well.