Six Months Ago
In a New York subway station, a young woman, Vivian Tully, is waiting for her train when she is approached by a bearded man in a hoodie and sunglasses, who gives her a bouquet of flowers.
Charmed, she calls a friend with her cell phone, saying that an anonymous man just gave her flowers, explaining that his girlfriend stood him up and he didn't want them to go to waste. She says she believes her day is finally turning around - moments before the same man comes up behind her and pushes her onto the track, under the wheels of the oncoming train.
Elsewhere in Manhattan, Watson is having drinks with her best friend, Emily Hankins, and their mutual friends, married couple Ken and Hope. As they admire the photos of Ken and Hope's latest baby, Joan receives a text message from the doctor at the Hemdale rehab facility, and sheepishly excuses herself to take it. Emily, Ken, and Hope tell her not to worry: they all approve of her career as a sober companion, a natural choice after she stopped being a surgeon. In a corner, Joan calls the rehab center's director, who says he has recommended her services to the father of his latest patient, and wants to know if she is willing to take the job. Joan says she is, but has only one question, "What kind of a name is Sherlock?"
Watson checks both ways down the street, then jimmies the door of a parked car, hops into the driver's seat and tries to disable the alarm. But she is stymied, and Alfredo Llamosa, sitting in the passenger seat, says she is getting better at the first stage of car theft, but needs to work on following through. Joan shakes her head, musing aloud at the strange pathways that her new role as Sherlock's apprentice is taking her. Then she gets a text from Sherlock himself, summoning her to The Brownstone.
At home, Holmes is pacing up and down, fuming because his father just called to hold him to their bargain, to wit, that Sherlock perform "certain favors" for the elder Holmes, in exchange for being loaned $2 million to ransom Rhys Kinlan's daughter. Sherlock rants that $2 million is a "pittance" to a man like Morland, and, moreover, the kidnapper was foiled and Sherlock returned every penny of the loan, yet his father has still commanded him to meet with one of his many attorneys "who no doubt needs help defending some client who is equal parts Adolf Hitler and Bernard Madoff."
However, the attorney, Philip Armistead, informs them that the favor is actually for his assistant, Rebecca Burrell. Rebecca's sister, Callie, disappeared six months ago, and Rebecca suspects foul play. She plays them a video that Callie emailed to her husband, Drew Gardner: on it, Callie says that she doesn't love Drew anymore, and is leaving him; hearing on the news about "the woman with flowers" killed on the subway has made her realize that life is too short. She apologizes to Drew, and asks him to forgive her. Since then, Rebecca says, Callie has not spoken to any of her friends or family, and Armistead's firm's top investigators have already tried to find her, without success. Rebecca believes that Drew had something to do with Callie's disappearance; their marriage was already in trouble, and Callie had left drew a year and a half ago, before reconciling with him. For added proof, Rebecca shows Holmes and Watson photos of an antique trunk that was a gift to the sisters from their grandmother, which disappeared at the same time as Callie. Drew claims not to know what happened to it, but Rebecca is certain that Callie would not have taken it without telling her.
After looking up details on the subway killing on his phone, Holmes excuses himself and Watson, and pulls her outside the office. He tells her that, regardless of what Rebecca thinks, Callie's face shows that she was not acting under duress, and was making the video of her own free will. However, he thinks this would make an excellent first case for Watson to tackle solo: after all, he explains, "every good investigator needs to be able to find people who do not wish to be found," but Callie Burrell is a bored housewife rather than a fugitive criminal: "it's a case with training wheels." Joan protests that there may very well be something to Rebecca's suspicions, and Holmes rejoins that if there is, it's her job to find out, since he will be occupied with his own case: finding the subway pusher who killed the woman Callie referred to. Holmes says he found another pusher, who killed one of his informants back in London, and is confident he can find this one as well.
At the Brownstone, Watson is going through the files on Callie Burrell compiled by Armistead's investigators, while Sherlock watches the surveillance video of the subway pushing over and over again. He remarks on the care the killer took to keep his face turned away from the camera, indicating he had studied the layout of the station in advance. Yet most subway pushers are psychopaths, not given to such careful planning. "Fortunately," he continues in a falsely hearty tone, "I know exactly what he looks like," holding up a composite sketch from a Wanted poster, showing Watson a nondescript man in a hoodie and sunglasses, before crumpling it into a ball and tossing it away.
Sherlock asks Watson how the search for Callie Burrell is going. Watson says that Armistead's investigators were extremely thorough, and Callie Burrell has not appeared, in person or on record in any way for the last six months; "If she's hiding, then she's doing a bang-up job." Watson's next move is to interview Callie's husband, Drew, at the art gallery he owns. After Holmes heads upstairs to bed, Watson receives a phone call from Emily, and ruefully admits that she forgot about their meeting that night. Emily is tolerant, and agrees to reschedule, mentioning that Ken and Hope may be joining them next time.
At the precinct, Holmes shows Captain Gregson footage from the subway camera taken on several days before Vivian Tully was killed. In each of them, she is waiting for the same train, and Holmes has noticed the same man following her around, but taking care not to be seen. Unlike the hooded killer, this man can be identified.
The man, Anson Samuels, is brought in for questioning. At first he claims not to have known Vivian Tully, even though they worked in the same building. When confronted with the footage, he admits that he was obsessed with her, but he is not the man who killed her. To prove it, he shows them a recording from his cell phone - he was actually recording Vivian from afar when the pusher came up behind her.
At the gallery, Watson interviews Drew, who says he doesn't have much to add to what she already knows; he had no idea his marriage with Callie was in trouble, and was as shocked by her farewell video as anyone. Of course, she had left him before, and that was very painful, but he honestly believed they had worked things out. As to her current whereabouts, Drew says he has no idea, but admits that he is afraid something might have happened to her.
Leaving the gallery, Watson calls Holmes and says she got a bad vibe from her interview with Drew; it is nothing she can put her finger on, but she is beginning to suspect that Rebecca Burrell is right, and Drew killed Callie.
Watson replays her cell phone's recording of her interview for Holmes. She insists that Drew's statement sounds rehearsed, and he replies that perhaps that is simply because he was questioned before, and has had to repeat it several times. He adds that he is not saying she's wrong about Drew killing Callie, she could be right, but Holmes wants to be sure she is thinking the case through. Watson admits that she has no concrete proof, but something about Drew just feels wrong to her. Holmes says that if she is right, then Watson's case is now a murder investigation, not a search for a missing person, and would she like his help? Watson says no, she wants to solve it herself... but asks Holmes, if he were investigating, what his next step would be.
Holmes takes a box of cheap, disposable cell phones - "burners" - from his closet and texts an anonymous message to Drew's cell phone, "I know you killed her, I know what you did with her body." This technique, he explains, is called "gaslighting", psychologically destabilizing a suspect in the hopes of provoking a revealing mistake. If Drew is guilty, then he might be unnerved enough to retrieve Callie's body from wherever he dumped it. Watson's next job is to rent a car so she can follow Drew around without being noticed. Meanwhile, Holmes has an appointment at the precinct with Gregson.
At the precinct, Holmes says he has studied the videos from the surveillance camera and Samuels' cell phone as thoroughly as possible, and can see no evidence that the video was faked, or that Samuels could have been the man who pushed Vivian Tully. However, he has discovered another clue. In a corner of the subway station, a street performer is playing the violin, and Holmes can identify the piece from the man's finger movements. However, the man abruptly stopped playing and packed up his violin and left a few seconds before the pusher came up behind Tully, indicating that he might have recognized the man.
Leaving the conference room, Holmes takes a call on his cell from Watson, who is parked outside Drew's gallery. She is upset when he reminds her that she is supposed to meet Emily later that night, but Holmes tells her not to cancel, he has already called Alfredo and asked him to take over for her, and she can leave to meet Emily as soon as he arrives.
On a street corner, Holmes and Detective Bell track down the violin player, Thaddeus. At first, he claims not to know what they are talking about, but Holmes shrewdly guesses that Thaddeus is a pickpocket as well as a violin player, and he left the station because he was afraid that one of his victims - the pusher - had realized he was robbed and was coming back towards him. Holmes also guesses that Thaddeus' reflex is to "case" every coat he sees for possible openings, which means he could describe the jacket the pusher was wearing in perfect detail.
Watson arrives at the bar, apologizes for being late, and raises a glass with Emily, Ken and Hope, who are eager to hear what she's been doing. Joan starts to tell them, but is stunned and hurt by their reaction: Ken and Hope laugh incredulously, thinking Joan is playing some kind of joke on them - she can't seriously expect them to believe that she is giving up her career as a sober companion so a recovering drug addict can teach her to be a "gumshoe"? When Joan says this is no joke, and she is Sherlock's partner, Ken wonders aloud if Joan has gotten "involved" with her former client, but is giving them a story because she's too embarrassed to admit it. Icily, Joan puts down her drink and says it was a bad idea for her to meet with them while she has work to do. As she heads for the door, Emily catches up with her and says that Ken and Hope may be tactless, but she is Joan's friend, and is worried that Joan is going down the wrong path; "I know you, and whatever else you may be, you're no detective." Without a word, Joan turns and walks out.
She joins Alfredo in the rental car, which is now parked outside a storage unit that he followed Drew to. They watch Drew wheel out an antique trunk and load it into the back of his SUV - the same trunk that Rebecca said disappeared at the same time as Callie. Excitedly, Watson says the pieces fit: Drew used the trunk to stash Callie's body, and now he is moving it after being spooked by Sherlock's text. Alfredo says they need to call the police, but Watson says no, she needs to confirm her theory first. When Drew heads back inside the storage unit, Watson grabs a jimmy, runs to the SUV and opens the rear hatch. Before she can finish, however, Drew comes back and demands to know what she's doing. Watson says she will gladly explain, as long as Drew opens the trunk first.
But when uniformed officers arrive in response to Drew's 911 call, the trunk is opened, and found to be empty.
Watson spends the night in jail, and Holmes bails her out (ruefully acknowledging the reversal of an earlier scenario). Holmes explains that Drew has explained to the police that he did steal the trunk after Callie disappeared, since it is a valuable antique and his gallery is in financial trouble, but he kept it in storage because he was reluctant to admit the theft. Holmes tries to encourage Watson, telling her that, given all the facts, her theory was perfectly plausible, even if it turned out to be wrong. She replies dejectedly that she has never seen Holmes mess up that badly, and if he had been there, Callie's body would have been inside the trunk.
At the Brownstone, Holmes shows her a color photo of the patch from the pusher's jacket, reconstructed from Thaddeus' description. She has trouble believing that he could find a jacket from a patch, but he replies, "stranger things, Watson."
At the precinct, Holmes shows the picture to Gregson and Bell. Gregson says Drew is at the station, and has agreed not to press charges against Watson, as long as she apologizes for her behavior. Sherlock angrily says she was just following a lead, but Watson interjects that she should and will apologize - and, moreover, that she can no longer investigate Callie Burrell's disappearance and will have to make her apologies to Rebecca.
At Rebecca's apartment, Watson arrives and begins to apologize to her; because of her arrest, she can no longer follow Drew around, and she is afraid that she misled Rebecca about her level of expertise as a detective... but the apology stops when Watson catches sight of an electronic picture frame on Rebecca's mantle, showing a picture of Callie wearing a jacket with a very distinctive patch. Watson asks about it, and Rebecca says the jacket belonged to Drew, he used it for concert-going when he was younger, and Callie borrowed it on a picnic day when the weather was cold. Stunned, Watson asks if Drew has ever worn a beard. Confused, Rebecca says he did, though he shaved it off around the time Callie disappeared - why is it important? Watson is speechless.
Sherlock and Joan review the evidence board, with Vivian Tully's murder and Callie Burrell's disappearance lined up side by side. Sherlock reviews what they know: six months ago, Vivian Tully was killed by an unknown man, who they now have strong reason to believe was Drew Gardner. He had no connection with Vivian Tully and no discernible motive to kill her, but her death prompted Callie Burrell to leave Drew. They have reason to believe Callie is likewise dead, and Drew had a strong motive for killing her, but they have no evidence for either. There is no link between the two crimes, "yet it defies belief that the two are not connected somehow." Is it possible, Holmes wonders, that Drew killed Vivian in the expectation that it would cause his wife to leave him, and give him a pretext for making her disappear?
Watson says that doesn't make sense, and starts to wonder if she is wrong about Drew's identity as the subway pusher as well. Holmes irritably tells her that if she wants to "wallow in self-doubt", she should do it in private. Exasperated, Watson reminds Holmes that she made a mistake that got her arrested, and Holmes rejoins that she also discovered a clue that may solve both crimes. The only question is, does she want to solve the case, or continue to wallow? After only a moment, Watson's answer is clear: she wants to solve the case.
Holmes re-phrases the question: there is no discernible link between the two women in their two cases, yet there must be some connection, so "how in this case does A lead to B?" Watson looks at the board for a few moments, then has an epiphany: what if, instead, "B lead to A?"
In the interrogation room at the precinct, Drew Gardner repeats to Gregson and Bell that he did not kill Callie and the last he heard from her was six months ago, when he received her farewell message. As for Vivian Tully, he never met her, and of course the jacket which they say ties him to the crime was given away months ago.
Holmes admits that he was stumped, but that was when he thought the only explanation for the evidence was that Drew killed Vivian Tully in the hopes of driving his wife to leave him. Then Watson remembered that Callie had left him once before.
The farewell message was not recorded six months ago, it was recorded and sent eighteen months ago, when Callie first left Drew. Bell lays down a copy of a news article about a woman named Anna Peters, who was accidentally pushed under a subway train eighteen months ago, by a scuffle among some teenagers. Several of the news stories that covered the accident mentioned that Peters was carrying a bouquet of flowers, on her way to the hospital to visit a sick friend. She was "the woman with the flowers" Callie was referring to, not Vivian Tully.
Drew realized he had been handed a means to kill his wife and disguise her disappearance. All he had to do was "recreate" the events referred to in the video, by staging the death of a second woman, also with flowers, in a public setting that would be covered by the news. Then he could kill Callie, dispose of her body, and produce the video as proof that she had left him a second time.
For a moment - a moment so brief that it might be imaginary - Drew looks frightened. Then he manufactures an incredulous laugh, calling Watson "a woman with a crazy story," that she's cooked up because she "wants him to be guilty" to cover her own embarrassing mistake.
Gregson asks if Drew is sticking to his story that he received Callie's farewell message six months ago, and Drew insists that he is. Then Gregson informs him that they found the original email archived on the server; Drew deleted it when he first received it, then re-sent it to himself six months ago, but, Watson informs him, the archive proves when it was actually sent. "But don't take my word for it," she smiles, "I'm just a woman with a crazy story."
A few nights later, Joan is sitting up in bed, gazing at her tablet and reviewing her profile on a professionals website. Her phone rings with a call from Emily, and after a few seconds' hesitation, Joan picks up. Emily says she can't, and won't, apologize for being concerned about her friend's well-being, but she is profoundly sorry for doubting her abilities. It turns out that her editor has just assigned her "the craziest story": a man who committed a subway murder to cover up the murder of his own wife, and the private investigator who cracked the case six months later. Joan smiles.
Their conversation is interrupted by Sherlock, who says a colleague in London just sent him some cold case files; Sherlock just cracked the case, but wants to time how long it takes Joan to do the same - she may celebrate her success, but should not let herself become complacent. Joan apologizes to Emily and rings off. Before following Sherlock downstairs, Joan makes one edit to her professional profile, changing her job description from "Sober Companion" to "Consulting Detective."
- Niccolò Paganini - 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1: Caprice in C Major, Op. 1, No. 11 plays at the episode beginning.
- Junip - Line of Fire plays at episode end.
- "There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps" is a quote from Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet.
- Holmes refers to the bargain struck with his father in "A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs".
- Holmes references the stage play Gas Light (known in the United States as Angel Street), which also inspired a film adaptation named Gaslight, in which a man attempts to drive his wife insane in order to protect a secret. As Holmes says, the play gave rise to the use of the term "gaslighting" to mean "a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making him/her doubt his/her own memory and perception".
- Holmes jokingly refers to when Watson bailed him out of jail in the pilot episode.
- Holmes's practice dummy "Bob" still has the two bullet holes in the chest that he shot in it in "Details".
- A similar premise was used in the episode "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion" of the USA television series Monk: in that episode, a husband discovers an old suicide note written by his wife, and spends the week of her college reunion "re-creating" the events referred to in the note, planning to murder her and then produce the note as proof that she committed suicide.
|Elementary Season One Episodes|
|Pilot • While You Were Sleeping • Child Predator • The Rat Race • Lesser Evils • Flight Risk • One Way to Get Off • The Long Fuse • You Do It to Yourself • The Leviathan • Dirty Laundry • M. • The Red Team • The Deductionist • A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs • Details • Possibility Two • Déjà Vu All Over Again • Snow Angels • Dead Man's Switch • A Landmark Story • Risk Management • The Woman • Heroine|
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