July 22, 2014
SVU Thriller, Running for Her Life: Hollywood Homicide
Summary: Julia Reynolds is a big movie star with auburn hair, so I think we’re supposed to see her as a version of Julia Roberts. The biggest difference between them is that Julia Roberts is alive, and Julia Reynolds will soon be dead.
This Julia is starring in a movie called Deadly Impact, which is supposed to come out in a few months but still needs some work. The movie is being produced by New Vision Studios, though Julia previously had a contract with Mammoth Pictures. She broke the contract to work with New Vision, and a guy named Ronald Bishop, who works for Mammoth, is ticked. So ticked that he wants to kill Julia to send a message to any other actors who might want to leave Mammoth for New Vision. He hires a guy named Pierce to do his dirty work. (There’s also a whole conspiracy here involving the police and the governor, but it’s pretty underdeveloped, so I’ll just skip it. Just know that this is a Big Deal.)
Pierce gets himself on the movie set, and happens to be there the same day Julia’s doing a dangerous stunt that involves jumping out of a window. What are the odds?? Before they do the jump, movie star Matt Barron (who happens to be Julia’s fiancé) notices a problem with the air mattress Julia’s supposed to land on. While everyone’s waiting for the mattress to be fixed or replaced, Julia jumps. Clearly, Pierce signaled her that it was time, but everyone thinks she committed suicide.
Everyone except Elizabeth Wakefield, that is. One of her journalism-class assignments is to write about something currently in the news. Elizabeth picks the story of Julia’s death, since Jessica is a big Julia fan. Liz somehow puts together the entire conspiracy, which means either she’s super-smart or the conspirators are super-dumb. Matt is also suspicious, especially since he found a letter Julia wrote to her mother, talking about how happy she is to be getting married, which isn’t really an action a suicidal woman would perform.
Elizabeth’s professor loves her paper and passes it along to an old reporter friend. Somehow it winds up in Bishop’s hands, which means everyone who read the paper needs to die. He kills the professor with a mail bomb and sends Pierce to shoot the reporter. Liz smells another conspiracy, but since the police are in Bishop’s pocket, they’re not helpful. In fact, one of them tells Bishop where Elizabeth is going to be so he can kill her. Bishop tags in Pierce to assassinate Elizabeth, but Pierce mistakes Jessica for her and shoots at the wrong twin. Also, Pierce thinks Jessica is too pretty to die and misses on purpose. Awww, what a nice murderer.
The twins are smart enough to know that they should maybe lie low, so they hide out in a motel while they figure out their next step. They consider changing their appearances, but Jessica objects to the color of the hair dye Elizabeth buys, so that doesn’t go anywhere. I’d suggest that Liz dye her hair alone anyway; identical twins are going to be memorable, but if the girls look different, people might ignore them. Eh, whatever.
While this is going on, Matt is contacted by his very own Deep Throat, a guy named Gomez who tells him that Liz is on to the conspiracy. Matt hits the road while Pierce tries to track the girls down and kill both of them. They realize they’re being watched and go out the window of a diner, just like in Wanted for Murder. They then run into Matt and mistake him for the killer. Elizabeth contacts Tom so he can meet them in Santa Monica and give them some stuff to take on the run with them. Matt overhears the location of the meet-up and heads to Santa Monica as well.
Eventually the twins and Matt all figure out they’re on the same side and team up. Matt is, of course, drawn to Jessica, despite the fact that his fiancée was buried, like, two days ago. He tells the twins that another actress, Candice, may be Bishop’s next target, since she’s considering ditching Mammoth for New Vision. Matt and Elizabeth send Jessica to the set of Candice’s new movie to keep an eye on her, and there’s a sort of fun section where Jess is picked for a walk-on role in the movie and she has a big freak-out because she’s so nervous. But then Candice gets jealous of her youth and beauty, or something, and has her fired. There goes Jess’ big break.
Gomez arranges a meeting with Matt, but when he and the twins arrive, Gomez is dead. They find a gold Mammoth Pictures pen on him and decide that he must have been an executive. After some research, they get his real name, Gilbert Bradley, and go talk to his widow. Somewhere in here, Elizabeth calls Tom to give him an update, but Pierce has bugged Tom’s phone (of…course?) and tries to intercept her when she goes to a mall to meet Tom. Tom awesomely leaps at the guy and helps Elizabeth escape.
Bradley’s wife gives Jessica and Matt a key to her husband’s safe-deposit box, which contains a letter outlining Bishop’s conspiracy. The next actor on Bishop’s list is Philip Markham, and Pierce is supposed to kill him at the Oscars the next night. Matt gets Elizabeth a job escorting the winners off-stage, and invites Jessica to be his date. I’m sure the press won’t find it strange that a guy whose fiancée died less than a week ago is taking a hot 18-year-old to the Oscars. As Elizabeth and Tom make tapes outlining the conspiracy, which Tom will give to reporters (in case Elizabeth is killed), Pierce poses as a cameraman to get admission to the Oscars.
On the big night, Markham wins an Oscar, and as Elizabeth is taking him off-stage, Pierce starts shooting. Liz jumps on him, but there’s some confusion in the middle of the chaos, and she ends up with the gun, making the police think she’s the shooter. Yeah, because millions of people weren’t just watching her and would have noticed if she’d opened fire. Elizabeth is briefly arrested, but Tom saves the day with her tape, and the truth about the conspiracy comes out. Pierce confesses, so enjoy prison for killing a bunch of people. The ending is kind of anticlimactic, but at least Jessica gets to briefly make out with a grieving movie star we’ll probably never hear another word about.
Thoughts: Everyone thinks Julia killed herself – only Jessica thinks her death might have been accidental. But that seems a lot more likely, considering the circumstances and the fact that Julia hadn’t displayed any suicidal behavior. Wouldn’t an accident be more likely than murder, too?
Elizabeth researches and writes her paper in two days, and it’s 30 pages long. First of all, no. That’s impossible. Second, I bet her classmates hate her.
Since when does Jessica eat things like sprouts and fried zucchini? And who puts sprouts on a burger?
When you’re on the run and probably don’t have easy access to a lot of money, maybe you shouldn’t be spending what you do have on Skee Ball and cotton candy.
Elizabeth: “You can’t hide from an FBI agent.” There’s a whole list of most-wanted fugitives that says you’re wrong.
There is absolutely no way an actor was nominated for an Oscar for a movie called Carnivore II – Medium Rare. Shut up, ghostwriter.