November 2020 – Here I am again, ready to tell you more about this amazing series Signed, Sealed, Delivered, brought to us by wonderful writer/producer Martha Williamson and the Hallmark Channel Network. No matter how many years go by, this series keep gaining fans as they discover the magic and greatness it entails, and its profound messages of faith and hope.
Every time I do this, I ask myself how am I supposed to summarize this movie? There is so much I want to tell and share with all the readers and fans. Be warned, as much as I try, there might be a few spoilers to the story.
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.
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. Since I wrote this in November, movie might be delayed until 2021. We keep hoping to hear news soon.
Truth Be Told is the third movie after the series. It premiered on September 13, 2015. It’s been five years and it’s still one of the favorites and one full of drama.
The movie starts with soldiers on the move, in an operation on the Afghan-Pakistan border. A soldier hands a letter to another one, telling him to please mail it for him. Before handing it over, he picks up sand and pours it into the envelope.
Two years later, the letter came into the Dead Letter office pretty burned up. So burned, that Norman says “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this seems impossible”, to what Oliver replies “to God and the U.S. Postal Service nothing is impossible”. Well, I want to see the team in action sorting out this one.
The team is waiting for Shane to show up, since it’s her birthday, but she’s still at her house. Hazel (Jill Morrison), the mail carrier, brought her some birthday cards, and she was very curious with a card from a “Steve”. When Shane gets to the office, one of her cards fell on the floor. (She’s also carrying the box of her belongings she took home on last episode, since she intended to quit).
Norman starts working on the letter with Rita. They realized that sand fell from the envelope. Norman reveals he has a cousin that is a geologist, and he can identify where the sand is from. He did write a best seller book titled “Sands From Many Lands”.
Shane is ready to join the investigation, when she realizes one of her cards is missing. She walks out of the office, and finds a guy with her card in his hands. He asks for the DLO office, and if Oliver O’Toole still works there. Turns out that guy is Oliver’s estranged father Joe (Gregory Harrison), but Oliver is not happy to see him. He leaves his phone number with Shane.
When Shane tries to give the message to Oliver, he shuts her down, saying he doesn’t want to hear it, that “nothing he has to say could possibly interest” him. He goes on to ask Rita what do they have on the letter, which is not much. They have only a few words: Phoebe, Randy, Liberty the puppy, and a partial phone number.
Well, Oliver and Norman go to see Norman’s cousin to check on the sand. Oliver is curious about the many cousins Norman has, and he clarifies that when he was in foster car, he had a lot of cousins. Many of the kids he knew then, he calls them cousins and has kept in touch with. The sand turned out to be from the middle east, so they assume the letter writer might’ve been a soldier on location.
Back at the office, Shane is trying to locate the registration for a puppy named Liberty online, but she’s having a hard time. So she decides to take Rita with her to the office of the Animal Protection Society to look for it in person. While there, Rita tells Shane what happened between Norman and her (well, if you didn’t know… she told Norman she loved him and they kissed!!!)
At the same time, Norman takes Oliver to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, and he is telling Oliver what happened between him and Rita. It seems that both of them don’t know what to do next. Norman says he has a plan for what he wants in his life, and Oliver tells him that love can’t be scheduled, it finds its own time. It seems that Oliver and Shane are looking into their own possible relationship, both trying to figure out what’s going on between them (where are they at this point?)
The team had invited Shane to dinner, being her birthday, and Oliver’s father showed up. Oliver confronts him, telling him to leave. He says that it’s important that they talk, but Oliver is adamant reminding him that he was very clear when he told him he was not welcome in his life.
Meanwhile, Rita and Norman realized they might have found a clue to who the soldier mentioned in the letter is. All of them go back to the office. Norman thinks that the letters on the envelope of the person receiving the letter might be of the daughter of a soldier that disappeared while in combat, Lieutenant Randilynn Amidon (Tammy Gillis). So they’re able to identify that her daughter is Phoebe Amidon (Megan Charpentier). Oliver asks Norman to get the letter ready to be delivered.
Next morning, Oliver shows up at Shane’s house to fix her porch swing. Hazel comes in to deliver the mail, sees Oliver and asks if this is “Steve”. Shane tells Oliver that Steve is someone she worked with while in Washington, D.C. He goes on to tell Shane the story about his parents and their divorce: how he ended up living with his dad, and never saw his mom again. When he was 17, his father told him she had died. He believed his father didn’t want his mother to contact him. Oliver revealed they haven’t spoken ever since. He left the U.S. Post Office to join the overnight delivery service. Yes, Oliver’s dad works for Fed Ex, as Oliver said “It’s unspeakable”.
Shane tells Oliver that since she lost her father, she couldn’t get his side of the story about their divorce. He should make an effort to meet his father and hear what he has to say. She makes the call, coercing Oliver to leave a message that he agrees to meet with him.
When Shane goes into the office, she answers the phone. It’s for Oliver. She rushes out to go find him at the park where he’s waiting, to tell him that his father has passed away. He’s obviously shocked, since he had agreed to finally meet with him, realizing that it’s too late to patch things up between them.
Meanwhile, Norman and Rita go to Phoebe’s house to deliver what they could put together of the letter, and met her grandfather (William B. Davis). He takes them to pick her up from school. Norman notices a group of kids calling out comments directed at Phoebe, and he calls them out to “cool it”. They give her the letter, and she immediately thought it was from her mom, but they assure her it’s not. They say goodbye, but she goes after them asking if they could help her figure out who wrote the letter.
Oliver is reminiscing about memories of his father… when HIS FATHER SHOWS UP! Joe goes on to tell him that he had lost a father he never knew he had. His biological father’s name is Schmidt, Harvey Schmidt. Oliver recognized the name as the guy who was married to his mother. Joe tells him how his mom had an affair and got pregnant, but he forgave her because he loved the baby (Oliver). Over time, he realized she was still seeing the guy. She left and Oliver stayed with him. Confused and still upset, Oliver tells him that he has to go see the lawyer of his late real father.
Oliver calls Shane to accompany him to the lawyer’s appointment, a sign of how important Shane has become for him. Apparently, his father was a successful inventor and he left the patent to one of his inventions, and a large sum of money, to Oliver as his only living relative. He closed the will with the saying “You never have enough money, if all you have is money”.
Oliver goes back to the park, and finds Joe is still there. So Oliver asks him if he came back because he knew money was involved. Joe tells him that he had not returned or spoken before because Oliver refused to see him. Joe then pulls a stack of letters he wrote over the years, all marked return to sender. Oliver is blaming Joe for not letting his mom communicate with him. But Joe tells him she stopped writing, she wasn’t cut out to be a mother. But being his father meant everything to him. Oliver walks away and throws the stack of letters in a trash can.
The team manages to identify the friend of Phoebe’s mom, and follow a clue that leads them to the helicopter pilot. They believe that he’s the one who wrote the letter. Norman gives Phoebe the sand that came in the envelope. She keeps it in a plastic bottle, since her mother told her that when the bottle was full, she would return home.
When Oliver meets with the team, Phoebe is still with them. Shane tells him that they might have found the letter writer, and Oliver replies asking why are they looking for the writer, when the letter was already delivered.
They all go with Phoebe to the Veteran’s clinic to meet Captain Clay Markham, the helicopter pilot (Robert Moloney), the person who actually wrote the letter. He tells them that he just wanted her to know about her mom’s job and to think of her as a hero, as he does. He believes she might be dead, but can’t say for certain what happened to her.
When they brought Phoebe back to her house, there were a group of kids pulling out the yellow ribbon Phoebe had tied to a tree, in remembrance of her mother’s disappearance. Norman called their attention, so they left. Phoebe thanks all of them, and she gives a hug to Norman, telling him to “stay cool”. They all agree that she has changed since that morning when they met her. Oliver says “Grief has changed me since you last saw me”, a Shakespeare quote. He says “when an O’Toole has nothing to say, let Shakespeare speak for him”. But then he adds “I’m not an O’Toole after all”, as all that has happened is really making him question his identity.
The team goes back to the office, and they all say goodbye to Oliver, offering encouraging words for his loss. He realized that Shane was still in the office. She tells him (yes, I’m going to quote Shane here): “I guess that your faith has been shaken a little bit today, but I know you, and your faith is something far greater than being an O’Toole. And you know where you need to go to find that again. And whatever you think about your father, just remember how it felt when you thought that he had died. Oliver, in this moment, I want to walk over to you and put my arms around you and hold you and tell you that everything is gonna be okay. But I know that’s not what you want right now”.
Oliver answer’s stole my heart (and I know it stole many hearts): “Since when did what I want ever stopped you, Miss McInerney?” Shane then walked to him, dropped her things and gave him a tight hug. When she let him go, he picked up her things, she caressed his face, and then walked away.
Norman and Rita went for ice cream together. They were talking about her romance novel, since Norman had asked to read it and Phoebe had read some of it. She had mentioned if it had a happy ending, and Rita said she would make sure it did. So she tells Norman that she want to do a rewrite of her romance novel. He asked her why, and she responds just to make sure she got it right. Norman then tells her he has an idea for their first date.
Oliver went to church, then goes to the inn where his father was staying, but he had left already. He then goes back to the park, looking for the letters in every trash can, but he couldn’t find them. Next morning, he’s back at Shane’s porch, taking his frustration on the porch swing. She realizes what is happening. This is another one of Shane’s brilliant moments with Oliver (it’s the wonderful writing of Martha Williamson): “Love is hard work, Oliver. It’s always trying to find that balance between too much and too little, too high and too low. we never get it perfect. That doesn’t mean we stop trying. Seems to me that your father never stopped trying”.
Oliver then tells her that his dad finally left, and admits that he doesn’t blame him, considering all the things he said to him. Shane then says “I have no plans to leave, if it matters”, to what he responds “it matters”. They are interrupted by a phone call. It’s Rita to tell Oliver his dad called, and he left a forwarding address for him.
Rita and Norman go back to visit Phoebe and brought her a glass vase that she had liked when she was in the office. She poured in all the sand she had collected from every letter her mom had sent her. Rita says “I think that every one of those grains of sand was a promise to do whatever she could to come home”. Norman adds “I think your mother was a very brave lady, and I think you’re gonna grow up to be just like her”. She gives them both a hug. They leave holding hands.
Oliver goes to visit his father at the address he left for him. He walks around and finds him playing guitar in the back of the house. Turns out he is retiring and has decided to stay in Colorado. He tells Oliver that he missed the mountains, and he missed him. Oliver tells him that he did remember when he was a little boy, playing in the park, and he was afraid to go down the slide. His mom told him they were going to leave, but he had said to him “take your time, Oli, I’m not going anywhere”.
Oliver confesses he’s afraid that he won’t know who he is, if he’s not an O’Toole. Joe then tells Oliver “You are an O’Toole.” He then adds “Who you are is the sum of all the choices that you make in this life. It’s about being honest and fair, excellent and kind and deciding you want to be those things. Remember this? To thyre own self be true and it must follow, as the night and day, thou cans not then be false to any man” (quote from Hamlet, Shakespeare).
Joe notices that Oliver is not wearing a ring and asks him about his marriage. Oliver responds he was married, but his wife left him. Joe makes a comment, meant as joke, that they do have something in common (if both were left by their wives). He mentions that Shane seems nice. (We know, Joe!)
They are reunited once again to share a birthday cake and gifts with Shane. Joe hands Oliver the stack of letters. He confessed that he went back and got them, and Oliver replies that he also went back. Joe says that an O’Toole never likes to see a letter stay lost for long. Joe does notices the looks that Oliver and Shane share.
In this movie, we see Oliver struggle with his identity. Even with the apparent disagreement he had with his dad, he is extremely proud to be an O’Toole. When confronted with the truth that Joe was not his biological father, it made him question everything about himself. The fact that Shane has shown him so much support and has been there for him, brings them closer together. And let me not forget our Norman and Rita, who finally are communicating as they become a couple. They are made one for the other.
Read my blogger friend Ruth Hill’s review (from 2015, still a good one!) Signed, Sealed, Delivered Truth Be Told movie review; and watch the Deliver Me A Podcast episode about Truth Be Told Deliver Me A Podcast: Truth Be Told.
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-la-verdad-sea-dicha-el-misterio-de-las-cartas-perdidas/.