As Good As Dead
Check out our episode here! As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson
It’s been four months since the events of Good Girl, Bad Blood where Pippa Fitz-Amobi helped identify a killer who escaped capture. Pip has been mentally scarred by the events and is constantly looking over her shoulder seeing the face of Charlie Green, the escaped killer, in everyone she sees. But not because she’s afraid. Charlie’s wife handed herself in eight weeks earlier while the rumor is Charlie has fled the country. Pip is on her way to the city (UK: London/US: New York) to meet with a colleague of her father’s at his law firm. Roger Turner is the best defamation lawyer/solicitor and Pip is going to need his help as Max Hastings is waiting in the conference room, a smug smile on his face.
Max has raised a libel lawsuit against Pip for the tweet and audio file she posted after his rape trial verdict was announced as not guilty. This is a mediation to avoid court, but Pip wants to go to trial, to drag all the evidence and witnesses out to prove he is what she says he is and the audio file confirms, a disgusting rapist. The exchange gets heated and ends with Max’s council cautioning Pip against spiraling as she will lose everything, but Pip is willing to do just that to destroy Max.
Back at home, Pip is with Ravi, her boyfriend, and Josh, her little brother. There is an awkward conversation about the meaning of ‘perv’ which Josh thinks should apply to the person watching their house, but Pip and Ravi dismiss his comment. The casual friendliness brings a smile to Pip’s face that soon disappears once she’s back in her bedroom. Pip sits at her desk, waiting for another night awake when she reaches into a secret compartment in a drawer, pulls out a burner phone and sends a text, promising to herself that this is the last one... “Can I come over now?” … “Yes.” So Pippa heads out to Luke Eaton’s house, the drug dealer who she met during the Child Brunswick case. He sells her Xanax to help her sleep since her doctor took her off medication prescribed after the end of her last case, but the PTSD is still overwhelming and she can still feel the blood on her hands.
We’re shown a copy of the webpage CoronerCorner.com which details how pathologists determine time of death: rigor mortis, livor mortis and algor mortis. Pip is looking at pictures of dead bodies for a Jane Doe case she has convinced herself is black and white, a case she can work on for the podcast and hopefully use to save her sanity, a case that will not make her question right and wrong and end with justice being dealt. A few days later on her way to meet Ravi, Pip finds strange chalk markings on the driveway, almost like headless stick people. Shrug. At a café where Cara works, Cara tells them about an altercation earlier that day between Max Hastings and Jason Bell, the father of one of his victims. Max had his coffee knocked down his shirt but nothing more happened other than Max threatening to talk to his lawyer. Jamie comes by then with Connor, and they're soon joined by Nat De Silva. The camaraderie reminds Pip not everything is bad.
Later, returning from a run, Pip finds more headless chalk stick figures on the drive and a headless dead pigeon in front of the door. This is the second dead pigeon she has found, the first was as she was leaving for the mediation a few days ago. Showing them to her mom, Mrs. Fitz-Amobi dismisses them as dust from a car tire and the natural instinct of a neighborhood cat. Pip tries to believe her, but then she gets a message on the podcast website with the usual threat of “Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?” It’s the postscript that gives Pip pause, “P.S. Remember to always kill two birds with one stone.” This kicks in Pip’s PTSD and her mind goes into overdrive. She starts to remember all the similar threats and looks them up across her email and social media. Pip then looks up information on stalking and creates a spreadsheet with every incident and assigns a severity scale.
Pip goes for a run later and spots Max Hastings. Though thoughts of violence flood her mind, she does nothing. A short distance after she passes him, Pip notices something on the ground disturbed by her feet. In chalk, someone has written DEAD GIRL WALKING. She knows this message is for her and takes a photo of it. As Pip reaches home, Ravi is pulling on to the drive and she shows him the picture. This changes things for Ravi and he convinces Pip to go to the police and speak to officer Hawkins.
The next day Pip does just that, presenting all the information, her spreadsheet and the picture but Hawkins doesn’t believe her. He insists it is the trauma of her recent experiences and infers that she basically asked for backlash by putting herself in the public eye and says the same thing her mom did about the pigeons. This makes Pip mad and she storms out of the interview room telling Hawkins that this is why people don’t come to the police, how the police offer no justice and that Charlie Green was right. At home Pip makes a list of all her potential enemies. There are a lot. After a particularly vivid nightmare, Pip realizes that her own stalker case may be just what she needs. To save herself she needs to save herself.
Pip is watching her front garden when Ravi comes by, she’s set a trap with ham and bread to prove Hawkins wrong about neighborhood cats. Ravi can sense the building anxiety so he takes Pip for a walk. Other than an unfortunate incident in the woods with Ant-and-Lauren, former friends turned assholes, the walk seems normal. When they return to the Fitz-Amobi residence, they find three fresh headless stick figures on the drive and two others climbing the wall toward Pip’s room. Pip realizes this is a warning that something is coming for her.
In her room Ravi tries to persuade Pip to tell her 6’6” dad what is going on, but she’s reluctant as there is nothing he can do. Pip tells Ravi that from her research on stalking the stalker usually has familiarity with the victim and the warnings in this case are very specific, so they decide to utilize the almighty power of Google and find a news article from 2012 about the Duct Tape or DT Killer, so called because of a distinctive MO: he would bind the wrists, ankles and faces of his victims with the adhesive. The DT Killer, Billy Karras, was found and sentenced after pleading guilty; however, it is the recollections of Harriet Hunter, the sister of Julia, one of the victims, which raises red flags for Ravi. Harriet recalls headless stick people in chalk near the house and dead birds shortly before Julia went missing.
Pip dismisses this as coincidence, the DT Killer is in jail, another quick Google confirms this, but Ravi is freaking out. It’s a serial killer Pip! Something does catch Pip’s eye though, the date of the last victim, Tara Yates, was killed the same night Andie Bell died, the 12th of April 2012. Ravi points out that Pip doesn’t believe in coincidences, but she’s still insisting the DT Killer is unrelated. Ravi does his own Google search, Billy Karras innocent? and finds a Facebook group run by Billy’s mum and the group description states that a false confession was obtained by the police and serious systemic failings in the criminal justice system account for it. Ravi insists she get in touch with Billy’s mom and investigate, so Pip doesn’t sit back, she investigates.
It takes a few attempts before Pip is able to reach Billy’s mom, Maria Karras. When Pip gets through, Maria mistakenly thinks Pip is getting in touch following the emails she sent the podcast about Billy’s conviction, and Pip does not tell her the truth. Maria tells Pip that the confession was taken under duress and Billy tried to recant it but his lawyer wouldn’t. Billy had a drinking problem at the time of the murders and often couldn’t account for his whereabouts, but there were other ties between Billy and the murders that the police twisted in order to get a conviction. Billy worked for a grounds keeping company, Green Scene Ltd, and two of the victims were found on estates of Green Scene contracts, and one of the victims was Billy’s supervisor. Billy even found the last victim and tried to rescue her thinking she may still be alive and in the process got fingerprints and DNA on her. To top off all this information, Jason Bell is the owner and CEO of Green Scene Ltd and Daniel De Silva worked for them around the time of the murders. With promises to send scans of the 9 hour police interview, Maria hangs up. Pip has been drawn in and everything is telling her to worry that she’s going to be the next victim. Then Pip gets a prank call on her phone. It’s an unknown number and the person on the other end doesn’t speak.
The interview transcript shows that Billy Karras was fed information and coerced into his confession. Billy didn’t provide any facts, but officer Nolan, who conducted the interview, guided him and talked circles around him. Billy was tired, thirsty and confused by the questioning. During this time, Pip receives further threats on her website and Twitter. She tries to speak to Jason Bell to find out about the break in at Green Scene Ltd the night of the last DT murder and Andie’s death, but he won’t talk to her because she’s done enough damage. After she leaves, Pip receives another prank call from her stalker and is then nearly run over by a white sports car.
Understandably Ravi is freaking out over these latest incidents but Pip tries to reassure him that she has downloaded an app that will unmask the withheld number and once she has concrete evidence, she will speak to Hawkins. Peachy. Meanwhile, Pip is trying to reach out to family members of the DT Killer and officer Nolan who made the arrest. As Pip is talking, Harriet Hunter replies to the DM. Pip arranges to talk to Harriet in the café in town with her podcast equipment. Pip specifically asks about the pigeons and the chalk figures. Harriet says that they really bothered Julia which is why they stood out in her mind but they didn’t scare her. She also says only three prank calls were made. Pip has had two. Interestingly, Harriet reveals she was friends with Andie Bell. Andie had actually reached out via email after Julia’s murder and they became friends. The email address is a different one than Pip has on her records from investigating Andie’s murder.
Pip tries to access this new email address of Andie’s, obviously she doesn’t know the password so tries to access from the “forgotten password” option. Unfortunately she doesn’t know the name of Andie’s hamster, the password hint, either. She’ll have to ask Becca Bell during their weekly phone call. Meanwhile officer Hawkins calls to let Pip know that Charlie Green has been arrested which makes Pip spiral. Charlie can’t be caught, he was never a threat to her, he helped her open her eyes. Hawkins refuses her request to talk to him then Pip lies about the stalker situation being resolved.
During their weekly phone call, Pip is able to find out from Becca that the hamster’s name was Roadie. Pip also notes that though she is in prison, Becca sounds happy, happier than if she were out. After the call, Pip accesses Andie’s secret email account and finds a still active subscription to a self-defense newsletter and an unsent email in the drafts. In the email Andie tells ‘To whom this may concern’ that she knows who the DT Killer is and she is scared. Everything she did was to escape and protect Becca.
In an interview transcript with retired police officer Nolan, Pip finds out that he believes Billy is the DT Killer and the confession he got was gained properly. Nolan also confirms that no other family members mentioned anything about dead pigeons prior to the murder, they never recovered the serial killers trophies, and though he doesn’t confirm he also doesn’t not confirm that newly graduated officer Daniel De Silva showed a lot of interest in the case.
That night, Pippa's printer wakes her up. On the sheet is a message, “Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? P.S. I learned this trick from you, season 1 episode 5. Ready for my next trick?” Her printer is wireless, so the person who printed this must be close to connect. Then a metallic scream fills her room as the person sends loud death metal music through her Bluetooth speakers. It wakes the entire house and Pip is sure she spots someone outside.
Ravi insists the next night that Pip stay at his house, and on her way there, she decides to speak to Nat De Silva about her brother. It’s going to be difficult as they’re friends now. As she is walking along, Pip’s phone starts to ring with a call from an unknown number. Redirecting it to the trace app, Pip answers the call and goads the DT Killer, ”Who will visit you when you’re in a cage?” Pip then calls the number back. The ringing is loud. The ringing is right behind her. Pip drops her phone as a hand wraps around her mouth and an arm wraps around her neck. Struggling, she can’t breathe and passes out.
Pip wakes in the trunk of a car, her wrists bound with duct tape. She tries to evaluate her situation, she tries not to panic, she tries to remember she is Pippa Fricking Fitz-Amobi, Sarge, Pippus Maximus. Then the car stops, the boot opens and she sees the face of the DT Killer… Jason Bell.
Jason has taken Pip to Green Scene Ltd, a complex in the middle of nowhere. Inside a storage unit, Jason takes great joy in telling Pip she got something wrong. The alarm that went off all those years ago that she was so interested in talking to him about was the escape attempt of his last victim, Tara Yates. Not to worry though, he’s learned from his mistake. As Jason starts unrolling more tape to fully secure her, Pip realizes that all the trophies he took from his victims he gave to his daughters and wife and he probably got thrills seeing them use them. Sick fuck. Before he covers her mouth, Pip tells Jason that Andie knew he was the DT Killer and it’s why she died. She was trying to get her and Becca away, she hated him that much. Jason doesn’t seem saddened by this, just disappointed. Then he tells her something truly devastating, he saw Becca with a dog, a dog he didn’t give her permission to have. He followed her and the dog, saw her release it into the woods and walk off. He grabbed the dog and drowned it. He didn’t realize until after that the dog was Pip’s. Oh well. Then Jason finishes wrapping the duct tape around her head before leaving.
Pip blindly tries to explore her surroundings with an imaginary Ravi with her all the way. She’s able to loosen a screw on the shelving unit she's taped to which brings the shelves down causing something to crash into her and drop her prize. Figuring out she can use the broken end of the shelving unit to cut her bonds, Pip is finally able to free her hands and tear off the duct tape death mask. Obviously Jason locked her in but there is a small window Pip is able to smash and escape through. As she plans her next steps, the DT Killer returns and, rather than run for help, Pip bashes his brains in with a hammer.
Finding a burner phone in Jason’s car, Pip calls Ravi on his house landline and tells him to come to Green Scene but don’t look it up directly on Google Maps, or bring his phone, and only use back roads. When Ravi eventually arrives, he finds his girlfriend with a dead body. Somehow Pip is able to persuade Ravi to help her disguise the time of Jason's death by cooling and heating and rotating the body and also frame Max Hastings for the murder.
It only takes twelve minutes to plan how to get away with murder. Pip and Ravi decide to use Jason’s car for the cooling and heating process, and then they quickly pickup all the DNA covered duct tape and other murder paraphernalia and leave, the DNA soaked trunk will be Future Pip's problem. As Ravi drops Pip off at home, he goes over his alibi where he will have a very visible and easily tracked time out with his cousin. Pip goes home to clean up, bleach all the paraphernalia and pick up some supplies before starting to frame Max for the murder.
Firstly, Pip grabs duct tape to cover the security cameras at Max's house, then she heads to Luke’s house to buy the rohypnol he tried to sell her previously. Pip then heads to Nat De Silva’s house where she asks Nat, Jaime and Connor to help her and they unconditionally say yes. Lastly Pip needs to sneak into Max’s house after covering the cameras and pour some of the rohypnol into the water bottle he always has with him. With Nat distracting Max at the door, Pip is able to drug Max's water and then slip into a closet to keep watch until the drugs start to work. Slipping from her hiding spot, Pip is able to grab Max’s phone and take it outside to Jaime and Connor who will drop it on the grounds of Green Scene. Then Pip heads back in to collect three things: a used hoodie, a pair of shoes and hairs from Max's head before heading out to secure her own alibi.
Pip heads to Cara’s house and she’s not alone, Naomi is there, too, but they are both like sisters and will do anything to help. Pip uses their landline, because she’s lost her phone, to call Mr. Epps, Max Hastings’ lawyer, to tell him she’ll take his deal: a public apology to Max and a settlement. Pip then tells Naomi and Cara that they need to hang out for a couple of hours in public, so they head to a fast food restaurant. Pip makes sure to be seen by security cameras, uses her card for an electronic footprint twice and they take silly pictures and videos together. Cara and Naomi desperately want to know what’s going on but they trust Pip since she’s helped them so much in the past. Just before midnight Pip drops them off at home before heading home herself, making sure her parents know she’s there and going to her room. A few minutes later, Pip sneaks out to meet Ravi who is in Max’s car.
Together, Pip and Ravi head back to Green Scene to turn the body and start heating it back up. They clean any traces of Pip having been there and stage the scene for Max to take the fall. Max’s phone is where Jaime and Connor left it complete with three missed calls, one from each of his parents and the last from Mr. Epps to give him the good news about the libel case. It’s hard work and takes hours, but they manage it. Pip dumps Jason’s body a short distance away while wearing Max’s shoes and staging the hairs she took in Jason's hands and on his clothing. At last they set fire to the place.
Before they can go home, they need to return Max’s car via all the traffic cameras with Pip disguised as Max. She also needs to replace Max’s hat, hoodie and shoes as well as remove the duct tape from the security cameras. Max is still knocked out from the rohypnol so it’s an easy job. Ravi makes sure Pip gets home where she spends hours cutting up all the incriminating evidence and flushing the tiny pieces down the toilet. In the morning, she claims illness so her family goes on a previously planned day trip without her which gives her time to dispose of the burner phones and her shoes in other people's trash bins. Once done, Pip finally sleeps.
It’s not until Wednesday morning that the news announces Jason Bell’s death and that it is being treated as a homicide. The police are appealing for witnesses from Saturday evening to come forward. Pip’s mom tells her not to investigate, but that’s exactly what Pip would do, so she begins A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Season 3: Who Killed Jason Bell? Pip releases the promo to season three with clips from the news announcement, the police press conference and an interview with Jackie from the café mentioning a violent altercation that took place only two weeks ago between Jason Bell and BEEP.
Officer Hawkins contacts Pip and asks her to come to the station. On the one hand, this is expected given her season 3 promo, and while there, she may be able to find out if their cooling and heating the corpse trick worked. On the other hand, fuck, fuck, fuck! Hawkins asks general questions about the last time Pip saw Jason, the interview with Jackie, and Pip's alibi between 9:30pm and midnight Saturday night. So far so good. Pip starts to realize their plan has worked. Then Hawkins asks why her headphones with the distinctive GGGtM sticker on were found in Jason Bell’s house, in his bedside drawer. Shit. Pip is now convinced Hawkins sees her as a suspect. At home, before the panic overwhelms her, Pip makes the decision to protect the people who tried to help her, and plans to confess.
Ravi is pissed Pip is basically giving up and begs her not to go to Hawkins but she won’t listen. Having one last dinner with her family, Pip leaves to say goodbye to Ravi in person before heading to the station but Ravi isn’t home. On the drive, headlights flash her and Pip realizes it’s Ravi. Pulling over, he tells her he has fixed the headphones thing. Pip isn’t listening to Ravi as he explains that he told Hawkins he borrows her headphones all the time and that he’s been to see Jason about setting up a scholarship in Andie and Sal’s name and must have left them at Jason’s house then. Hawkins seemed happy with this explanation, especially as Ravi had a solid alibi for the murder window.
Jason’s murder is the talk of the town and speculation is rampant. Nat tells Pip that Hawkins contacted her about visiting Max the night of Jason’s murder which she denied and said she was at her police officer brother’s house (who was drunk so couldn’t verify times). Cara also confirms that Hawkins talked to her and Naomi. They know what she is hiding but don’t say anything. The conversation Pip has with her parents doesn’t go well when she tells them she’s delaying going to college/university by a week to work on the podcast. Pip needs to release an episode specifically for Hawkins, to set him directly on Max’s path.
After uploading the episode, Pip goes for a mindless run and turns on to Max’s street where she sees police and forensic units searching the property and bringing out evidence bags. This is a good sign. Later, the GGGtM website gets an email from Maria Karras. Her son’s case is being looked into in light of new evidence and the Innocence Project has also contacted her, which is another very positive sign. Pip realizes that she was willing to leave Billy behind but now she may be able to help him. Ravi wouldn’t like it, but she needs to do this, so she heads to the police station.
Just as she gets out of her car, police cars roll up and Max Hastings gets out of one and is surrounded by officers. Max spots Pip and in a blind rage runs at her and knocks her hard to the ground screaming that she did this. Pip, in the smallest of whispers, tells Max “You’re lucky I didn’t put you in the ground too.” Max is dragged off leaving Pip alone with Daniel De Silva who is obviously upset over Jason’s death. Pip knows the truth though, that Daniel was being used by Jason and this truth will come out eventually. Hawkins comes back outside and agrees to talk to Pip. Pip gives him the research she gathered about Jason’s connection to the DT Killer and Hawkins tells her they already have some evidence but this is helpful. Pip can’t get over how Hawkins said what he said about the evidence and now she’s convinced he knows and will come for her.
The night before Pip leaves for college/university, she and Ravi are out for a walk. Ravi is trying to organize the best time to visit her, however Pip essentially breaks up with him unless or until Max is found guilty. If he is found innocent again, Pip is convinced Hawkins will come for her and she needs Ravi to be safe. But, if he is found guilty, they can be together again.
In early December, there is no trial date for Max yet but at least Billy Karras has been freed. The evidence that Jason was the DT Killer set him free a month after it came to light. Evidence also showed that Jason was a serial rapist between 1992 and 1996, stopping the year Andie was born. For the three months Pip has been at college/university she kept to herself, not making friends and keeping minimum contact with her family and friends back home, desperate to keep distance. The sirens that pass her as she walks aren’t for her, yet.
One year, 7 months, and 28 days later, three minutes after the verdict is read in the trial against Max Hastings, Pip receives a text, “Hey Sarge, remember me?”