Who Killed Dean O'Dell?

Status: Ding dong O'Dell for whom tolls the bell

To be murdered for something you did or you are is bad enough, but to be murdered for something that has nothing to do with you sucks, as the dean could attest — if he wasn't six feet under.

With some latitude given to account for the writers' belief that dates, times, or the contents of phone calls aren't immutable, this is what went down:

The perp: Timothy Foyle

The motive: to frame his hero Professor Hank Landry following Landry's persistent, casual betrayal of Tim's devotion, the last straw being Landry shooting down his application to a teaching post at Pepperdine.

The opportunity: having bugged Landry's phone, Tim hears a frantic call between Landry and his lover, Mindy O'Dell. Their affair has been discovered by the dean, who had been left drunk in his office, zonked out on alcohol and Xanax, and in possession of a gun.

The means: Tim, with access to Landry's clothes and knowledge of Veronica's top-graded Perfect-Murder paper, kills O'Dell with O'Dell's own gun. He sets the scene to match Veronica's paper and plants Landry's bloody clothes in a place where they will eventually be found. When his plan is put at risk by Landry's claim of an alibi, he sets up a false alibi and leads Veronica to it, which is quickly exposed to cement the appearance of Landry's guilt.

The consequences: The dean is dead. The dean's wife is dead, having drowned after a confrontation with Landry during which they each believed the other to be guilty of murder. The sheriff is dead, having been bludgeoned by the dean's wife's ex-husband, who became a suspect and is himself dead, shot by Deputy Jerry Sacks. Landry's life and career is in ruins as he awaits his punishment for Mindy's manslaughter. Gram O'Dell and Jason O'Dell have lost the parents who cared for them. Veronica has lost her mentor.

Isn't noir grand?

Mystery Summary as of 3.15 "Papa's Cabin"

All summaries: 3.15 3.14 3.13 3.12 3.11 3.10 3.09

Clues for Who Killed Dean O'Dell?

  • 3.09 "Spit & Eggs"
  • The Hearst Board of Trustees has voted to remove the Greek system from Hearst's campus, but a wealthy patron, who fondly remembers his frat days, forces the dean to reinstate it.
  • Weevil and O'Dell chat about boxing.
  • The Dean asks Keith to investigate Mindy, concerned that she is cheating on him with Wally Wernkey.
  • Veronica informs Keith that Mindy is having an affair with Landry, and that Landry uses the pseudonym "Rory Finch" to book their hotel room.
  • After Keith tells him about his wife's affair, O'Dell gets drunk while Keith keeps him company. The dean reveals that he is looking forward to one day drinking his 40-year-old Scotch, a Glencracken.
  • After Keith leaves, O'Dell takes a revolver from his desk, loads it, and seemingly goes to confront Mindy and Landry.
  • The dean wakes up on his office couch as eggs are thrown against his window.
  • An unknown person enters the dean's office, visible only as a shadow. He or she seems to be wearing a cap.
  • The dean recognizes his visitor and asks him or her what he or she wants.
  • When Weevil arrives the next morning to bring a high-definition receiver for O'Dell, he discovers the dean dead in his desk chair. He seems to have been shot in his right temple. The clock on the desk shows the time as being shortly after 8 o'clock.
  • 3.10 "Show Me the Monkey"
  • Lamb ruled O'Dell's death a suicide.
  • Mindy O'Dell alleges that O'Dell would not kill himself over her, although her motive for engaging Keith to investigate the death is to reinstate her entitlement to O'Dell's insurance money, which she insists she needs. There is no information as to why she hasn't inherited O'Dell's assets or, if she has, as to why these are insufficient for the needs of a widow and two children.
  • Mindy O'Dell claims that she was with Hank Landry all night the night O'Dell died. This seemingly contradicts the fact the Mindy was about to depart the Neptune Grand hotel room that they were sharing prior to O'Dell's death.
  • Mindy does not tell Keith that O'Dell visited her and Landry in the Neptune Grand hotel room that night, or what was said when he confronted them.
  • Weevil, who found O'Dell's body, is to be found in the Physical Plant after 6pm.
  • Weevil entered O'Dell's office at around 7:00 and knew O'Dell was dead by the blood and the suicide note he left on his computer.
  • The note read: "Goodbye, cruel worldzzzzzz."
  • Veronica's paper on how to plan a perfect murder featured a staged suicide where a note was left on a computer: "Goodbye, cruel world." The intent was leave the note on the computer so the handwriting couldn't be checked and to write something clichéd so the message couldn't be studied.
  • On the drinks tray in O'Dell's office, Keith sees the bottle of Glencracken. Keith recalled O'Dell told him: "One of the chief joys of my existence is the anticipation of tasting the contents of that bottle. But for tonight, I'm just getting drunk. Pour me the swill."
  • Chip Diller has decided to keep the very short, "low-maintenance" haircut given to him when he was assaulted.
  • Landry recognizes Keith on sight and has read Keith's book. He is not fooled by Keith's attempt to draw him into a casual confession of complicity in O'Dell's death.
  • 3.11 "Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves"
  • The police report into O'Dell's death is a public record and is on the thin (read: slipshod) side.
  • The police report did not note that the window of the dean's office had been egged, and this was not a matter of general knowledge. Weevil, who had to clean it up, mentioned it to Veronica.
  • The night the dean died, his office window was one of four locations to be egged. The others were the Pi Sigma Sigma fraternity house, the offices of the Hearst Lampoon, and the statue of founder Randolph Hearst. It was implied that the Lilith House girls were responsible for those actions.
  • Claire and Fern egged the dean's office window. Nish was not with them. She claims she went around to the parking lot and egged the dean's Volvo.
  • According to the police report, the dean was driving the minivan, and that is the vehicle that was in the parking lot.
  • Keith concludes that Mindy was driving the Volvo that night. Mindy did not tell him that she had visited the dean's office.
  • Weevil is greatly amused at something that somebody tried to flush down the toilet of the faculty lounge, but is interrupted before he can say more.
  • 3.12 "There's Got To Be A Morning After Pill"
  • On the night the dean died, Bonnie left the Pi Sig party and went to see Tim. They reconciled after she begged. How long she was with him is unknown, but she may be able to provide Tim with an alibi.
  • Tim is investigating the dean's death. He has a file marked "O'Dell - suicide?" Within the file are sections marked "Forensics," "Suspects," and "Witnesses." Within the "Witnesses" file are two further files marked "Anthony Martin" and "Eli Navarro."
  • Anthony Martin is not a witness in the report from the Sheriff's Department.
  • Tim has an account on his computer, in the "O'Dell - suicide?/Witnesses/Anthony Martin" file as follows: "Anthony Martin. Earwitness. Heard shot while walking home from Pi Sig Party. Witness was drunk. Couldn't determine time of death."
  • Tim's browsing history shows an interest in, amongst other things, bank accounts and airline schedules.
  • In the course of being interviewed by Veronica, Anthony, the student who poured whiskey into Mac's drink at the party, recalled that when he got to his room, he watched a certain television show. From that information, Veronica is able to determine that Anthony heard the shot from the administration building at 2:20am.
  • Anthony states that he does not know how Tim Foyle came to know that he heard the shot. He guesses that he told a bunch of people about it and it must have got back to Tim. Veronica did not hear about it.
  • Mindy calls Keith, claiming that someone has broken into the house. When Keith asks if she's called the cops, she states that he's closer (ten blocks away) and competent.
  • Steve Batando is the man Keith finds leaving the house.
  • Steve Batando claims to be at the house to take what he was owed. Mindy had ceased the payments to him agreed in the settlement with him over the kidnapping in 3.05 "President Evil." Furthermore, the Porsche has been repossessed as she has also stopped those payments. Mindy states that she can no longer afford the payments.
  • From Steve's appearance, Keith concludes that he is a meth head.
  • Jason recognizes his father and is pleased to see him. Steve states that he will take his son out soon. This is odd in the light of events in 3.05 "President Evil." when the O'Dells hired Keith to find him.
  • Gram, the dean's son, is petulant and sour. Mindy states that the dean was considering sending him to a teen-discipline school.
  • Mindy is keen for Keith to stay and have a drink.
  • Keith takes the opportunity to inspect the Volvo. He finds what looks like eggshell under one of the wiper blades.
  • 3.13 "Postgame Mortem"
  • Mel Stoltz's influence with the dean was limited. He fought to have the basketball coach replaced without success. His goal was, however, achieved in the death of Tom Barry.
  • Keith pulls Mindy's cell phone records and finds that she called Landry at 1:32 a.m. when they were supposedly together in their room at the Neptune Grand.
  • Mindy gives an explanation that Landry needed toothpaste and didn't want to go down to get it himself as he might be recognized by one of his students who worked there. Mindy states she went down instead and called him to check his preferred brand.
  • Keith calls Landry while Mindy is still there and before she can speak to him. Landry independently supports Mindy's story.
  • Landry expresses his disapproval of Keith investigating the dean's death, holding that it was suicide.
  • Keith ascertains that hotel video footage of December 10th is no longer available but that footage from the hotel's valet parking service is. Valet records show the Volvo leaving at 1:51 a.m. and returning at 2:59 a.m.
  • Landry hasn't checked in to the Grand under the name Rory Finch since December 10th.
  • There is a charge on the room's bill for December 10th for a showing on pay-per-view of the film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, starting at 2:02 a.m.
  • When questioned by Veronica, Landry has knowledge of the movie's plot.
  • When questioned by Keith, Mindy does not have knowledge of the movie's plot.
  • An order for crème brûlée was also on the room's bill. It was delivered by Jeff Ratner at approximately midnight. He postponed serving it when he heard two men arguing behind the room's door. When he returned later, a woman opened the door.
  • 3.14 "Mars, Bars"
  • Cora tells Keith that O'Dell was out of Xanax and that she had to call in the prescription which he was unable to collect before the pharmacy closed at 7:00 p.m.
  • The toxicology report on O'Dell showed traces of Xanax and alcohol.
  • Mindy O'Dell collected the Xanax that night.
  • When questioned by Lamb, Mindy admits to collecting the Xanax but denies seeing O'Dell thereafter or passing them to him. She accounts for any missing pills from the prescription she collected as being ones she used herself for anxiety following her husband's death.
  • Hank Landry accuses Keith or Veronica of bugging his cell phone. They both deny this.
  • Hank Landry gives an account of the night at the Grand: He checked into the Grand at 7:30. He watched the Clipper game in my room until Mindy showed up, about 8:15. The rest of the evening was occupied by the usual business of an affair, followed by a pay-per-view movie, then sleep.
  • Veronica realizes that the broadcast of the Clipper game would have pushed the programming back an hour on the station which Anthony Martin watched Space Ghost. This means that the shot he heard was at around 3:20 and not 2:20 as she'd previously thought.
  • At the time of the shot, the Volvo was parked at the Neptune Grand.
  • Steve Batando's prints were on O'Dell's keyboard.
  • Batando's reaction to the allegation that he faked the suicide note and killed the dean is "That bitch is setting me up."
  • Batando is later found smashing things in the deserted O'Dell house, screaming " You better hide, you crazy bitch!"
  • After fatally clubbing Lamb, Batando is shot by Deputy Jerry Sacks.
  • Weevil pulls a bag out of a flue on campus. It contains a bloody shirt and bloody gloves.
  • Keith, now acting sheriff, has identified the bloody shirt as Hank Landry's.