Private detectives the Simon Brothers - Rick (Gerald McCraney) and A.J. (Jameson Parker) are hard up for work as usual and delivering court summonses to make ends meet. A very suspicious acting woman (Louise Sorel) hires them to deliver one to her ex husband. She offers cash and they don't refuse it. They need the money that badly.
No sooner have they delivered the summons than the man plunges to his death. Police and media figure out the brothers were duped when they identified him by an alias. The implication the headline seemingly makes is that their mistake caused him to take his own life. They've been played perfectly. Rick is furious and frustrated enough to think about quitting detective work altogether.
But they get a surprise new client when the dead man's real ex-wife Laura (Belinda Montgomery) shows up at their office after reading about the mistake they made. They have been put in a twist and part of the mystery is seeing how elaborate the ruse was. Then there is the real cause of the man's death and a mystery player (Alex Rocco). All that comes before another elaborate plot-twist. The mystery they crafted with this teleplay swerved in a lot of intriguing directions, all of them believable and thus was one of the best episodes of season one.
For much of the debut season of the show the Simon Brothers had found their way in to mysteries via shady or flighty clients who picked them at random not knowing better established agencies in town or deliberately targeted them as being too desperate to turn down dangerous work. To me that was, and is considerably more plausible as well as more interesting than them having a stellar reputation before the early episodes. The way they are brought in to this mystery makes sense.
Their work is more dangerous because of how good they are at it. This is reflected in the man's death which is comically foreshadowed by the opening scene where A.J. pretends to be a corpse. The danger of the type of detective work the lovable Simon Brothers were doing had to be grounded in something. What better way to ground tension than seeing a man very much alive, then dead moments later?
Belinda Montgomery always made up for a lot whenever she was cast in a role. It wasn't just acting. A certain look which she had counted for a lot on camera. She was a real leading lady and made everyone around her better. It is surprising to me that she never had a film career in big budget features.
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