August 2020 – Of all the series produced by the Hallmark network, I recently discovered one that has become a favorite of mine, and a big favorite of many others: Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
As always, I like to remind all readers that, even though I love the movies, I’m only a fan of the Hallmark network. I have no rights or access to any production or merchandise. None. But if you’re interested, you may visit their website https://www.hallmarkchannel.com. I check the Hallmark Channel page every day. I do. I like to check the schedule and what new movies are coming soon. All images/posters used for this post are from Hallmark Channel/Crown Media Holdings.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered was created by Martha Williamson, writer and executive producer of the very popular series Touched by an Angel that aired on CBS station for 9 seasons. She gave us the wonderful journey of four employees of the U.S. Postal Service, as they become a team of detectives investigating every lost letter that ends in their office, but also as they become a close group of friends and they have to sort out their feelings and relationships.
Every post I’ve written about this wonderful series, I try not to give away to much of what happens. I want you to be interested and intrigued enough to watch and discover the story of each of of our beloved main characters. The team is composed by handsome word-lover Oliver O’Toole (Eric Mabius), tech-savy Shane McInerney (Kristin Booth), unconventional smart but shy Norman Dorman (Geoff Gustafson), and sweet romantic Rita Haywith (Crystal Lowe).
I’ve written a post about the first movie, the pilot https://fullofcoffeeblog.com/lets-talk-hallmark-introduction-to-signed-sealed-delivered-the-postables-team/. I’ve also written about the 10 one-hour episodes that were part of Season One: https://fullofcoffeeblog.com/lets-talk-hallmark-the-signed-sealed-delivered-series-episodes-1-to-5/ and https://fullofcoffeeblog.com/lets-talk-hallmark-the-signed-sealed-delivered-series-episodes-6-to-10/.
The format of the series changed to two-hour movies. As of 2018, there are 11 additional movies, after the pilot and the series. Recently, in 2019, there was an announcement that a new movie was going to start production and filming, but the pandemic caused by COVID-19 put a halt to it. Hopefully, we’ll get news of the movie filming soon.
As I move on to tell you about the movies, I’d try my best not to give out spoilers, but be warned that one or two details might make it into the post. It’s very, very difficult to avoid spoilers. Many times I feel like citing the script because it’s the best way to capture the emotions that it produces.
For Christmas premiered on November 23, 2014. It was the first 2-hour movie after the 10-episodes season. It premiered as part of the “Countdown to Christmas” movies on Hallmark Channel that year. It was eventually moved to the sister station Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.
Here’s the description as it appears on the network’s website https://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/signed-sealed-delivered-for-christmas/about:
“With a duty to deliver every last letter before Christmas, the beloved quartet of post office detectives—Oliver (Eric Mabius), Shane (Kristin Booth), Rita (Crystal Lowe) and Norman (Geoff Gustafson)—are working around the clock to redirect Santa’s mail just as Oliver runs into his former Sunday school teacher (Marion Ross). When they receive an emotional last-minute plea not meant for Saint Nick, but instead written to God, they must delay their own travel plans to make sure one little girl doesn’t lose her Christmas joy—something Oliver and Shane are also struggling to find as they each face painful holiday memories. With a little guidance from a mysterious post office volunteer, Jordan (Rob Estes), the Postables are more surprised than anyone to discover they’ve been a part of more than one miracle on this Christmas Eve.”
Before getting into what happens, let me remind you where our team is at, where each of them stands in relation to each other. Oliver is married to a woman who left him and moved to Paris. He has been waiting for her to come back or to reach out to him, until he met Shane. Shane is a sassy, modern, no nonsense kind of gal, but we know she is intrigued and interested in knowing more about Oliver.
Rita is a dedicated employee with a fantastic photographic memory. She is also a sweet romantic gal with a crush. She is enamored with shy Norman, and we discovered that sweet Norman also has a crush on Rita. We know it, they don’t know it. They just have to realize it, which might take some time as they’re both shy characters. And if you didn’t know this, I apologize for spoiling the story.
The Dead Letter Office team is ready to get off work, and enjoy their holiday break to go celebrate Christmas. They worked hard, along all the employees of the post office, to redirect all of Santa’s mail. They delivered gifts for all those children whose letters made it into the post office.
Shane made the announcement to the team that they’ve managed to answer 20,000 letters with what they called “Dear Santa Project”. Oliver arrives in the office and reminds them that he has one last minute delivery to do before the office’s Christmas ball. He states that no letter to Santa Claus shall be unanswered, they have a rule that gift with responses must be delivered by Christmas Eve.
Before they leave the office, they meet Jordan Marley (Rob Estes) who was working as a coordinator for the “Dear Santa Project”. He seems to know all of them and is eager to talk to all of them. As they are ready to leave the office, they agree to meet at the ball.
When they all met at the dance, the guys are in awe with the ladies’ elegant appearance. Jordan invites Shane to dance, and Oliver shows signs of jealousy. He interrupts them to dance with Shane. He reminds her of the dance lesson they shared last summer, asking her how dare she showed Jordan “the dance”.
When they’re all sitting down, Jordan brings to their attention one letter that came into the system. This letter, instead of being addressed to Santa, is addressed to God. Oliver takes it and promises that he will deliver it.
Their investigation leads them to a girl from Wyoming that mailed the letter from a hospital in Denver. Shane is skeptical and doubtful that they can answer the girl’s petition, since it’s addressed to God.
They found the hospital, and to sneak into the inpatient’s area, they announced that they are carolers. That’s how they find the little girl Hannah (Ava Telek) and her family. Her mom Amy (Leanne Lapp) is pregnant and in delicate condition. Her dad Rob (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) tells them that all Hannah wanted for Christmas was to play the shepherd in the Christmas pageant. Oliver then offers to bring the pageant to Hannah.
I remember well the Christmas pageants of my childhood, both at school and at church. At school I got to play an angel. I think I was in first grade. At church I got to play Virgin Mary, such a happy day for me! I was in fifth grade. No, I don’t have pictures. I wish I did. I also remember, as an adult, praying with all of my heart for my mom to recuperate from her illness. She passed away in 2014. I miss her dearly.
Jordan tells Oliver he wants to have a word with him, and they headed back to the office. Jordan asked about Oliver’s marriage, because he still wears his ring. It’s difficult, as a fan, to see Oliver so vulnerable. Jordan brings out another letter he’s been carrying around. It’s another letter addressed to God.
Norman takes charge of organizing the pageant and checks with Rita as helper for all they need. Who makes it into the pageant? Well, remember the big bear they keep in the office? He is now known as “Bear-thazar”, as he was chosen by Norman to play one of the Wise Men.
Oliver then goes off to deliver the last letter. He ends up helping a lady in the street, who turns out is his Sunday school teacher, Mrs “Gatzsinger” -and this is what I could get her name was- (Marion Ross), who also makes it into the pageant. As he goes back to the hospital, he gets into the chapel, and Jordan goes after him. Oliver then reveals that he’s feeling upset because he couldn’t work on the letter, having to help others he encountered on his way.
Jordan asks him if he knows the story of the fourth wise man. I love this story because I grew up in Puerto Rico, where celebrating the Three Wise Men is a big tradition and I do remember this story well. On the 24th of December, the fourth wise man got a late start, helping others along the way. He was always one step behind. He finally met Jesus, in Jerusalem at the cross. He realized that he had already met Him in the faces of all the people he helped along the way.
Now, here I have to reveal word for word what Jordan tells Oliver, because it’s one of those moments where the script is so powerful, that it made me cry. “You might feel alone again this year, Oliver, but you know you are not, you never are. No matter what you’ve lost, Christmas is an opportunity to remember that love came down to find you right here where you are, with or without a perfect delivery record or a perfect marriage. And it happens year after year, in a hospital lobby, or post office, in the woods, or on a mountain top, or on a rock by a tree at the beach. Christmas is a gift. It’s your choice to accept it.”
Since the team is already working hard on putting the pageant together, Shane goes out of her way to please Hannah. Being the Shepherd, Hannah asked where is the sheep and Shane manages to adquire a sheep fur for her. She does that giving up on something very dear and special to her. She gave up her necklace and pendant, that were the last gift she recieved from her parents.
As Shane went back in the hospital, she met Oliver, who informed her that he couldn’t deliver the last letter. She tells him she was once a girl who cried for her unanswered letter to bring her dad back. Her dad had abandoned the family when she was little.
Again, I’m not revealing what happens between them in this scene. By now, I know or I want to believe that there is something growing strong between them. I have to cite the script once again, to be able to show you the wonderful words that Oliver shared with Shane:
“We have all lost something or someone that we loved in this world, and someone else’s happy Christmas can make it hurt all over again if we don’t let Christmas do what it was meant to do. You asked God for a happy family, you have one. Embrace it. You have a sweet friend for a sister who loves owls and bakes the worst cookies this side of heaven. And you have a dear shy little guy for a brother who thinks this world is amazing and would walk across hot coals to find something new and beautiful in it if you ask him to do it. And then… there’s me. This odd fellow who loves words and books and things from the past, that have spent his life trying to find a future with someone in it to share it with. I haven’t been very successful at that. I’m not perfect but through it all, I have learned how to hold firm in a storm. Not by holding on to whatever I can find for as long as I can, but by trusting that the one thing that matters in this world would never let go of me. Shane, that’s what perfect love is. Perfect love casts out all that pain, all that fear and replaces it with hope. And hope is what you were asking for in that letter, and every Christmas since, hope is what you have been given.”
The team meets again for the pageant. Then they realize that they had forgotten to bring a baby. At that moment, Hannah received the news that her mother had given birth to a baby and her wish was granted, as she could see Hannah play the little shepherd.
At the end of the night, the team is saying their goodbyes, as they are all headed in different directions for the holiday break. Oliver goes back to the office, and found a Christmas tree there. He started decorating it, remembering where he knew Jordan from.
Then the rest of the team came in, because they missed Oliver and decided to be together for Christmas. Oliver asked Rita to dance with him, and Shane asked Norman for a dance. When they were all dancing, they switched partners, surprising Norman and Rita. They end up in the arms of each other.
Many other things happen through the movie that are significant for their relationship. They both remember the night they met. We see how Norman looks at Rita adoringly, but being so shy he can’t yet find a way to express his love for her. What he doesn’t notices is that Rita adores him too, just as much and she doesn’t know either how to let him know her feelings for him.
Christmas time brings hope to the heart. It makes one think that everything is possible, if we believe. That feeling from childhood, that magic happens at Christmas fills us once more, and gives us hope that the future will be somehow better as the new year approaches. My mom always said “hope is the last thing you lose”.
There’s one blog I do recommend you watch, if you haven’t. Watch? Yes! The Hallmarkies Podcast added the Deliver me a Podcast to discuss everything about the POstables! Watch the episode about For Christmas here https://youtu.be/HgFm2WEWe2I.
There is still so much more to tell you about this amazing series. As we wait for the next premiere, I’ll be writing some more. I will tell you more about the movies that followed this one. I love writing, and I love Hallmark movies. It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en español, vea https://fullofcoffeeblog.com/hablemos-hallmark-para-navidad-el-misterio-de-las-cartas-perdidas/