Sherlock’s running a 101* fever when he gets a text from Bell about a homicide scene.
Watson says that the NYPD doesn’t pay Sherlock to consult, but Sherlock quips that “boredom is more dangerous to my health than any fever.”
Victim is a middle-aged white man with his eyes shot out at point-blank range, murdered elsewhere and dumped in a warehouse. According to Holmes, he’s Trent Annunzio, a professor at Garrison University.
Annunzio’s wife says she was a former student and they married two years ago. She hadn’t seen him since the morning before.
Watson gets a call from “Liam”, who calls her “Joanie”. Liam’s an ex-boyfriend who’s using drugs (again) and being held by the police for a hit-and-run. He wants her to help him, but she refuses. Later she tells Sherlock that Liam “abused my good faith on multiple occasions. If this is how he bottoms out, I can’t help him.”
Holmes deduces Annunzio was at a Chinese gambling parlor on the night of the murder. Security videos at the gambling parlor show Annunzio being shot, AND the shooter. Bell seems to enjoy his time babysitting Holmes while Watson’s away, although he feigns annoyance.
Watson gives Holmes herbal tea while he looks at mug shots. In return, he gives her Liam’s arrest record so she can have all the facts before deciding not to help Liam. “It’s rather difficult to give up on someone completely.”
Holmes and Bell interview the shooter, who claims he was hired by an anonymous man to shoot Annunzio in both eyes. Evidence leads them to Annunzio’s TA, Brendan O’Brien, who confesses, but Holmes doesn’t believe it. Why would he? We’re only 20 minutes in.
Holmes and Watson find evidence that Liam was telling the truth and didn’t commit the hit-and-run. Watson refuses to divulge information about her personal attachment to Liam despite her requests to Holmes to make their partnership more personal.
Holmes thinks Annunzio’s TA and wife were having an affair. His evidence: music O’Brien downloaded matched music burned onto mix CDs in Annunzio’s home. He assumes that the wife hired the assassin and O’Brien took the fall.
The wife tells them Annunzio physically and sexually abused her, but neither she nor O’Brien murdered Annunzio. She also tells them that she is only his common-law wife, and the threat of deportation forced her to put up with abuse. She planned to marry O’Brien.
Liam tries to apologize to Watson, but she tells him she’s heard it before. “What I don’t understand is why you don’t put yourself in a position where you don’t have to apologize.” She finds the true criminal and Liam is set free. She recommends a rehab clinic and leaves. “I’m not gonna be there waiting for you.”
Watson tells Holmes about Liam, his descent into drug abuse and its effect on her. Dealing with him gave her the experience she needed to be a sober companion after leaving medicine.
Holmes theorizes that Annunzio discovered the affair soon after being diagnosed with a fatal disease and hired the hitman to avoid a slow death and frame the adulterers. Gregson, frustrated, tells him to find evidence.
Holmes joins Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man as one of the few people (fictional or otherwise) to use Bing! He and Watson search and find another potential hitman, who Annunzio contacted first. Security video from the man’s apartment shows Annunzio. Case closed.
The ending is heartwarming, as once again, Elementary proves that it’s about the main characters, not just about detective work. O’Brien and the widow are both released, and Gregson arranges for a City Hall wedding to avoid deportation. Holmes meets Watson at the rehab clinic to wait for Liam with her, as evidence of their growing friendship.
Watson:“You didn’t have to come. If there’s somewhere else you have to be…”
Holmes: “Not tonight, Watson. Not tonight.”