Episode still of Joan Watson and Sherlock Holmes
|Directed by||Michael Cuesta|
|Written by||Robert Doherty|
|Air date||September 27, 2012|
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Next||While You Were Sleeping|
The pilot is the first episode of season one, as well as the first episode of the series. It was written by Robert Doherty, and directed by Michael Cuesta. It premiered on September 27, 2012.
Detective Sherlock Holmes, along with his sober companion, Dr. Joan Watson, uses his uncanny ability to read people and analyze crimes to assist the NYPD on some of their more difficult cases. In the season premiere, Holmes consults on a home invasion that resulted in murder.
Part One Edit
In an apartment in New York City, two glasses fall to the floor and shatter. A red-headed woman struggles with an unseen man, suffering a cut to her wrist from the broken glass. She is chased into her bedroom and thrown onto her bed, groping towards the nightstand.
The next morning, professional sober companion Joan Watson wakes up and goes jogging near the reservoir. She takes a call from the Hendale rehab center, informing her that her latest client has escaped the center.
Going to the client's home address, she is surprised to see a prostitute getting dressed and leaving. In a room with an array of televisions lined up, she meets her newest client, Sherlock Holmes. She starts to explain her role as his sober companion, but he swiftly cuts through, saying his father has already explained. Sherlock clearly thinks he doesn't need an "addict sitter," but will tolerate her companionship for the time being, as he has no choice. The question is, can she tolerate his line of work? As he hurriedly dresses and drags her onto the subway, he explains that, prior to his drug addiction, he was a consultant for Scotland Yard in London, and he has decided to resume that line of work for the NYPD.
Part Two Edit
Before approaching Captain Gregson, Holmes asks Watson how her clients customarily introduce her, guessing that "helper monkey" is not an acceptable description. Watson says that "companion" will do, and Holmes announces their presence to Gregson, introducing Watson as his personal valet.
At first, Watson agrees to wait outside the apartment, but Holmes reminds her that, according to his father, her job requires her to stay by his side, including accompanying him to his place of work. If that place of work happens to be a crime scene, the only question is, does Watson have the stomach for it? She coolly replies, "I'm good," and follows him in.
Gregson lays out the facts: Dr. Richard Mantlo, a psychiatrist at Sanbridge Hospital, returned home late from work the previous evening and called 9-1-1 after finding his wife, Amy Dampier, missing, and signs of a struggle in the apartment. The signs include broken glass in the kitchen and a footprint on the door where someone kicked it in. Amy herself is nowhere to be found, and there have been no ransom demands.
Holmes swiftly observes that there is enough glass on the floor for two glasses, not one, meaning Amy Dampier knew her attacker and invited him inside. The attacker must have kicked the door open as he was leaving, to obscure this fact. There is blood on the floor, but none outside the apartment, indicating Amy never left. Holmes follows the trail of the struggle to the couple's bedroom, and deduces that there is a safe room built into the wall, even though Dr. Mantlo said nothing about any such room. To illustrate, Holmes plucks a marble out of a decorative flowerpot and places it on the floor, where it rolls toward the wall - the floor, Holmes explains, has been slightly depressed by the extra weight of the safe room's steel-reinforced walls. Before the marble reaches the wall, Holmes locates the hidden switch for the safe room behind the nightstand, and the door opens. The marble rolls into the safe room and comes to a halt in a pool of blood. The light, when switched on, reveals Amy Dampier, lying dead on the floor. "Sometimes I hate it when I'm right," Holmes admits.
Part Three Edit
Under interrogation, Dr. Mantlo swears that he loved his wife, had nothing to do with her death, and knew nothing about the safe room. Detective Abreu, the investigating officer, refuses to believe that Amy could have had the safe room installed without his knowledge.
While watching from outside, Watson asks Holmes how he knew so much about her at their first meeting: that she used to be a surgeon, for instance. Holmes explains that her hands are soft and delicate, and still redolent of the beeswax ointment used in hospitals before donning surgical gloves. From there, Holmes says, it is an easy guess that addiction claimed the life of someone close to her, which is why she chose her current profession.
Outside the interrogation room, Abreu begins to thank Holmes for helping them find Amy's killer, but Holmes says they have not. Dr. Mantlo's feet are too small to have left the footprint on the apartment door. Abreu counters that he could have worn a larger shoe to throw off the police, but Holmes asks whether he magically enlarged his hands as well before strangling his wife to death: his hands are much too small for the bruise pattern on Amy's throat. Based on the size of the killer's hands, Holmes estimates his height at somewhere between 6'1 and 6'3. With Gregson's reluctant permission, Holmes re-enters the interrogation room, and asks Mantlo for a list of tall acquaintances.
At Sanbridge Hospital, Holmes and Watson interview one of the administrators, Mr. Polk, whom Dr. Mantlo claims made a pass at Amy during an event. Polk says he didn't make a pass; all he did was ask Amy why she had such extensive plastic surgery two years before, since she was a perfectly beautiful woman before then. For proof, he shows them a photo of Dr. Mantlo and Amy at a hospital fundraiser, before her surgery. Watson, noticing a size 11 shoe box in Polk's office, speaks up (to Holmes's surprise) and asks Polk where he was the night before. Polk says he was home, alone, which he concedes is a flimsy alibi, but he is confident they will find no evidence linking him to Amy's murder, because he is innocent.
That evening, Watson prepares for bed in her temporary new home, and is surprised to notice honey, of all things, dripping from a hole in the ceiling. On the roof of the building, she finds Holmes, silently admiring his bee hive. He informs her he is writing a book (in his head) on beekeeping. Watson asks if Holmes told the police about Polk, and Holmes says he did not; Polk may be a "prat," but Holmes reads his body language as "sub, not dom," not the sort of person to violently assault a woman.
Holmes observes that any person who needs two alarm clocks to wake up in the morning must hate her job. That being the case, he assures her that he doesn't need her assistance, and invites her to take a six-week vacation, at his father's expense.
The next morning, Watson wakes up at 10:30 in the morning to find both of her alarm clocks unplugged. A text message from Holmes, who rose with the dawn, invites her to join him at the police station. Holmes has been going over files from previous crimes, looking for common factors with Amy Dampier's murder. The killer took a keepsake (an antique ring box) from Amy's living room, and Holmes has found records of a similar crime: a woman named Eileen Renfro, who was assaulted and strangled by a tall male attacker, who stole something from her house. The only difference is, Eileen Renfro survived and is still living.
Interviewing Eileen Renfro, Holmes and Watson immediately note the physical similarities between her and Amy Dampier: the same red hair, the same slender but curvaceous figure and face. At first, Eileen asks to be left alone, claiming she doesn't know anything that might help them. Holmes becomes insistent, to the point where Watson speaks up and asks Holmes to leave the room. After he is gone, Eileen, grateful for Watson's sympathy, admits that she didn't tell the police she knew her attacker.
Outside, Holmes is stewing when Watson walks up and relates that Eileen was attacked by a man named Peter Saldua, who was her brother's best friend and a frequent guest at her parents' home, since he was abused as a child by his own parents. She did not want to get him in trouble with the law, in spite of what he'd done to her. After a moment, Holmes congratulates himself for the success of "his" approach: maneuvering events so that Watson would come off as sympathetic to Eileen, who would then confide in her. "You are so full of it," Watson replies.
Holmes telephones Captain Gregson, and is surprised to hear that the police have already identified Peter Saldua as Amy Dampier's killer. In fact, Gregson is speaking to Holmes from inside Saldua's house. When Holmes asks if Saldua is in police custody, Gregson wryly replies, "technically, yeah - he's all ours." He looks down at Saldua, lying dead on the floor with a gun in his hand and a bullet in his brain.
Part Four Edit
Holmes and Watson join Gregson and Detective Abreu at Saldua's home, where the police have already found the ring box from Amy Dampier's home and several photos of her on the wall. Abreu says Saldua worked for the florist who regularly delivered flowers to Dr. Mantlo and his wife, so she would have known him. Holmes notes a series of oddities: Saldua's washing machine has been overturned; Holmes sees a cell phone charger, but no phone. It seems indisputable that Saldua killed Amy Dampier, but Holmes is still not satisfied.
That evening, he is obsessively poring over the photos and other records from the case, in spite of Watson's assurances that the case is solved, and her announcement that she has gotten them a celebratory pair of tickets for the opera. Holmes insists that there are still too many things that don't fit: the fact that Amy Dampier had plastic surgery for no apparent reason; the fact that Peter Saldua's phone records showed that he used his cell phone constantly until three days before his death; and the fact that Saldua was regularly seeing a therapist until two years ago, but no current therapist is listed in his records.
Watson worries aloud that Holmes is complicating things and endangering his own stability, but Holmes retorts that he has been right about everything so far. Watson counters that he was wrong about her: she didn't stop being a surgeon because she lost someone close to her, she did so because she lost a patient accidentally. Impatiently, Holmes says he already deduced that - her family is well-to-do, so it's extremely unlikely she had a friend or family who used drugs, and a parking ticket that fell out of her purse was for a street corner outside a pauper's cemetary, where Watson was visiting the grave of her unintended victim - but decided not to say so, to spare her feelings. Watson snidely "congratulates" Holmes for his ability to see through everyone so clearly, and guesses that that accounts for the lack of mirrors anywhere in the apartment - since Holmes knows better than to look at himself, "know[ing] a lost cause when you see one." With that, Watson leaves, planning to use the opera ticket herself.
Holmes meets Gregson in a bar, to examine the patient file on Saldua from his deceased psychiatrist. Right away, Holmes notes that Saldua was obsessed with a particular type of woman, and that he was so dependent on his therapist that he used his cell phone to record and replay their sessions.
Holmes rushes to the opera to confer with Watson in the audience and explain his new theory: despite his tendency towards violence, Peter Saldua had some measure of control when he attacked Eileen Renfro, but not Amy Dampier - why? Then Holmes asks Watson to describe the physical appearance of a Xanax tablet, and calls Detective Abreu at the precinct house. Peter Saldua had a pill bottle labeled Xanax in his house, but the pills inside do not match Watson's description. Holmes hangs up on Abreu and asks Watson for a ride. When she refuses, he admits, sheepishly, that he lied about Eileen Renfro; he didn't think of the solution to getting her to open up on his own, Watson did that first. Holmes admits he is embarrassed to find out that he doesn't always have the answers - and asks if that apology is enough to get Watson to drive him to Sanbridge Hospital.
Outside the Hospital, Holmes confronts Dr. Mantlo as he is heading into the building, saying he has figured out that Dr. Mantlo wanted to kill his wife, and how he did it. Peter Saldua was referred to Dr. Mantlo after the death of his previous therapist; after learning about his obsession with a certain type of woman, and his tendency towards violence, Mantlo convinced his wife, against her own better judgment, to have plastic surgery - supposedly to make her more attractive to her husband, but in fact making her a perfect target for Saldua's obsession. Having made his wife the target, Mantlo made Saldua into a weapon by secretly prescribing him steroids, disguised as Xanax, which would inflame his rage and remove his ability to control himself. All that remained was to arrange contact between the weapon and the target, by calling for regular floral deliveries from Saldua's employer. The only loose end to tie up was Saldua himself, whom Mantlo killed and then arranged to look like a suicide.
After absorbing all this, Dr. Mantlo leans forward and asks Holmes if, hypothetically, a man such as himself was married to the beneficiary of an enormous trust fund with very strict terms - terms that would leave him nothing if he divorced Amy, but everything if she happened to die while still married to him - wouldn't he take care to ensure that she died in a way that couldn't be traced back to him?
With that, Mantlo walks into the hospital. Holmes seethes, knowing that Mantlo has effectively admitted to murdering his wife, but knows full well that there is no proof. Holmes says he needs to borrow Watson's car, and she hands over the keys - to her regret, when Holmes peels rubber out of her parking space then throws the car forward, ramming it into Mantlo's Porsche.
Part Five Edit
Holmes spends the night in jail, where Watson visits him. He apologizes for the damage to her car, and even more for his rough treatment of her feelings. He assumes that, as soon as his father learns about his arrest, he will be going back to rehab and Watson will need to find another client. She says, on the contrary, she convinced his father to give his son another chance, since what happened outside the hospital had nothing to do with drugs. Holmes is surprised, and admits to being pleased that she is staying on as his companion - for her sake, not his own, he hastens to add, since he is not the sort of person with connections to anyone. Watson says she has caught him in a lie - he is capable of connecting to people, he is just frightened to.
Watson returns home, alone, to spend the night before Holmes' bail hearing the next day. Looking through the case file on her own, she notices something odd...
The next morning, as Holmes is released from jail, Watson shares her discovery with him.
Later that day, Dr. Mantlo is waiting in Gregson's office, expecting an official apology from the Department for Holmes's actions, that (they hope) will prevent Mantlo from suing them. Instead, Gregson asks one simple question: did Mantlo ever treat Peter Saldua as a patient? Mantlo's response is an emphatic no.
Then he is confronted by Holmes, and Watson, who share Watson's intriguing anomaly with him: according to his medical records, Peter Saldua was allergic to rice, yet Watson noticed a large bag of it in his house. Moreover, a credit card receipt shows that he bought the rice three days before he died. Rice, as many people know, naturally absorbs moisture, and can be used to dry out electronic devices that have been accidentally immersed in water.
Three days before he died, Peter Saldua accidentally left his cell phone in the pocket of his trousers before putting them in the wash. On realizing his mistake, Saldua - inflamed by the steroids he was unknowingly taking - destroyed the washer in a fit of rage, then bought a large bag of rice to dry out his phone. Holmes produces the phone, which they found in the bag that morning, and plays the last conversation recorded on it: Saldua, confessing to his obsession with a woman named Amy to his therapist, Dr. Mantlo, and Mantlo responding in a soothing voice that they can try increasing Saldua's medicine dosage.
Mantlo is lost for a response.
That evening, an enthusiastic Watson and a reluctant Holmes are watching a Mets baseball game on the television. Holmes is restless, and Watson reminds him that he promised to sit through the game as apology for his past treatment of her. "That was before I got hungry," he grouses. She tells him to wait for the ending, and he rises from his chair, scrutinizing the players on the screen and predicting the outcome of the game, before walking out and telling Watson he will wait for her at the foot of the stairs. Less than a minute later, Holmes's prediction comes true, and Watson ruefully throws on her coat and heads downstairs to join her companion for a night out in the Big Apple.
Manny Perez as Detective Javier Abreu
Jonathan Walker as Harrison Polk
Kristen Bush as Eileen Renfro
Craig Walker as Peter Saldua
Michael Nathanson as Infomercial Narrator
Randal Turner as Male Opera Singer
Melissa Zapin as Female Opera Singer
Sherry H. Arell as Shushing Lady
Annika Boras as Amy Dampier (uncredited)
- Young Blood by The Naked and Famous is playing when Joan wakes up and goes running.
- Watching the Detectives by Elvis Costello is playing at the end of the episode.
- Sherlock's beekeeping hobby is a reference to original Holmes stories, in which Dr. Watson reports that Holmes took up beekeeping after retiring from detective work. Sherlock also tells Joan the title of his planned book, "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen," the same as the original Holmes's title.
- The opera Sherlock and Joan attend is Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
- At the end of the episode, Watching the Detectives by Elvis Costello is playing while Joan watches the baseball game. Lucy Liu starred in the 2007 film Watching the Detectives which title is taken from the Elvis Costello song. It was Jonny Lee Miller's idea to use it.
Also known asEdit
- Titled "Ein aussichtsloser Fall" (A Hopeless Case) in German.
Every photo of the pilot on this wiki can be seen here.
Behind the scenesEdit
Pilot • While You Were Sleeping • Child Predator • 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