|This page is a transcript for the Season Four episode All My Exes Live in Essex.|
Joan Watson: Here's a question we should have asked ten minutes ago. What if these cuffs really are un-pickable?
Sherlock Holmes: Claiming a new line of handcuffs to be un-pickable is the equivalent of proclaiming revamped laundry detergent new and improved, it's a marketing ploy, and not a very original one at that.
Watson: I'm just saying, maybe we should have figured out how to unlock them before we put them on.
Holmes: The purpose of this exercise is to simulate field conditions. If we were kidnapped, do you think our captors would allow us a dry run with our restraints?
Watson: Oh. Almost had it.
Holmes: Unlike hand grenades, handcuffs do not reward nearness.
Ringtone: Hello, hello! Bonjour, Bonjour! Bonjour, Bonjour! Hola, hola! Hola, hola!
Holmes: You're still using that ringtone?
Watson: You still haven't cracked my new passcode to change it?
Holmes: It's Stuyvesant Memorial Hospital, your former place of employ. If you'd like, I could play you the voice mail. I'll just put it on speaker phone, what's your passcode?
Watson: I got it thanks.
Tamara: This is her. Abby Campbell. She's a lab tech at our fertility clinic. The night before last, she told a colleague she was planning to work late. Her husband, he's a doctor here, he says she never came home. Her car's still in the parking garage, but no one's been able to locate her.
Watson: You called the police?
Tamara: They've already been here. They're looking into it. But then I thought of you, and I figured since we have a detective in the family...
Watson: Is it possible she left without telling anyone?
Tamara: She has a two-year-old daughter. I can't imagine her leaving her behind. She's a good person, stable, respectable.
Holmes: Respectable people have been known to uproot themselves without any warning.
Tamara: All I can tell you is it would be out of character, and that a lot of people care about her. So what do you think? Can you help?
Watson: This is her workstation.
Holmes: Where she spent her days looking at life through a microscope.
Watson: And nights. No one seems surprised that Abby was planning to work late.
Holmes: The rise in the breeding age of the average American female has led to a great increase in the demand for fertility specialists. You'd think given the sensitive nature of this facility, there would be security cameras, wouldn't you?
Watson: Surveillance in the hospital's lab wing has always been pretty light. She could have slipped out unnoticed.
Holmes: Or someone else could have slipped in. What is it?
Watson: It's Emily, she says she needs to talk, it's urgent.
Holmes: Did your entire social network choose today to have some sort of crisis, or is this somehow related to your former administrator's request for help.
Watson: No, Emily and Tamara didn't know each other. Emily wants to meet up. She says she needs to talk in person. Did you find something?
Holmes: Abby's workstation, and only Abby's, has been very recently and very thoroughly cleaned.
Watson: Maybe she tidied up before she left.
Holmes: Maybe there was a violent struggle here followed by a thorough scrubbing. Do you think Abby Campbell and her fellow techs would be in the habit of wheeling samples to and from this area on gurneys?
Watson: You almost never see gurneys in this part of the hospital, it's all labs and support facilities.
Holmes: Yet there's evidence that one was used here quite recently. Had a sticky wheel, left scuff marks every few feet.
Watson: That's one way someone could have gotten Abby out of here.
Holmes: They continue into the corridor. Let's track them.
Holmes: Trail ends here. You familiar with this room?
Watson: No, I've never been down here before.
Holmes: Not exactly a surgical suite, is it?
Watson: Actually, I think it is. Sort of. This is an ultrasonic aspirator. These are human organs. More human organs. This is a prep lab for medical specimens. They take donor corpses and turn them into teaching materials for med schools. This would have been a great place to dispose of a body.
Holmes: Abby Campbell's dead.
Watson: I'm just saying it's a possibility.
Holmes: No. It is a certainty. Note the chip in her left maxillary central incisor. Note the chip in her left maxillary central incisor. Hello, Abby Campbell.
Detective Bell: Dental records confirm it, this is Abby Campbell. Or at least what's left of her.
Holmes: Doubt we'll find much more. The culprit likely used the pressure oven Watson identified at the scene to burn away the other remains.
Bell: Why leave the skeleton?
Holmes: I'll wager from its careful reconstruction, they wanted it to end up in a lab somewhere.
Bell: Well, any way you slice it, pun definitely not intended, whoever did this is a nasty piece of work. He didn't just kill her, he took her apart.
Holmes: Nasty and skilled. Stripping and then reassembling Mrs. Campbell overnight would have taken a certain amount of expertise.
Bell: We're looking at a doctor or a nurse or pretty much any one of a thousand other medical professionals who work at that hospital.
Holmes: Or someone who works for one of its many associated laboratories, private practices and specialty clinics.
Bell: You said on the phone you thought she was choked to death?
Holmes: There is exactly one bone missing from this macabre display, the hyoid. Should sit right here. Now, since the hyoid is known to break in one-third of all homicides by strangulation...
Bell: You think the killer got rid of it to cover his tracks.
Holmes: Perhaps he thought a broken hyoid was more suspicious than an absent one. Now, assuming Abby Campbell was strangled at her workstation, and since that workstation faced the only entrance to the laboratory...
Bell: Stands to reason he didn't sneak up on her. She knew him.
Holmes: Did I mention her husband is a doctor?
Emily Hankins: Hi.
Emily: Thanks for coming.
Watson: You said it was urgent.
Emily: It is. Or at least I think it is.
Watson: What, you don't know if it's urgent or not?
Emily: Honestly, I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to be talking about this.
Watson: About what?
Emily: A police detective came to my house this morning. She said she had some questions for me, so I figured, okay. Then I let her in, and all her questions were about you.
Watson: Did she tell you her name?
Emily: Yeah, she left her card. Gina Cortes. Here.
Watson: Burglary Division, Coney Island.
Emily: Do you know her?
Watson: No. What did she want to know?
Emily: It was weird. It was personal stuff, like how we met, how often we get together. She asked if I thought you were the kind of person who would break the law.
Emily: I know.
Watson: Well, did she say she was working a case?
Emily: No. When I asked why she was asking about you, she said she wasn't at liberty to discuss it. Joanie are you in some sort of trouble?
Watson: No, of course not.
Emily: 'Cause if you are, you know you can tell me, right?
Watson: Emily, obviously there's been some sort of misunderstanding. I'll look into it.
Holmes: Dr. Campbell, just for the record, you are an oncologist at Stuyvesant Memorial?
Dr. Nate Campbell: Yeah.
Bell; That where you and Abby met?
Nate: We didn't work together. Uh, not directly. My clinic is technically a private practice. We met at a party. Mutual friends.
Bell: How long have you been together?
Nate: Five years. Uh, married for three.
Holmes: Your calluses are quite distinctive. You a rock climber?
Nate: Uh, Abby got me into it. I mostly climb at the gym.
Holmes: I imagine you've got formidable grip strength.
Bell: You're strong enough to have overpowered Abby, you've got the medical knowledge to reduce her to a skeleton, we have to ask.
Nate: Did I kill my wife? No. I understand you guys have to ask, but...the night that Abby disappeared, I was going over the books with my clinic manager. Now, she can tell you when I left, but I remember it was late.
Bell: And why didn't you report Abby missing when you came home, realized she wasn't there?
Nate: Abby's clinic is understaffed, she works long hours. She told the nanny to look after her daughter until I got home. I got home. I just I went to bed.
Holmes: Would you describe your marriage as a happy one?
Nate: Lately? No. Quite the contrary.
Bell: You two weren't getting along?
Nate: Abby and I were more in love than we ever were. Our marriage wasn't happy because she was dying. She had pancreatic cancer, stage IV. She didn't want anyone to know. I was giving her chemo, but the truth is...there was no hope. She probably only had a year to live. You can ask my nursing staff. The people at my clinic, they'll tell you. I was doing everything I could to save Abby's life. I wouldn't have killed her. The cancer was doing that all by itself.
Watson: Sherlock?! What are you doing?
Holmes: Hospital's security cameras had no sound. So I was providing a musical score in order to make the tedious comings and goings of the employees more engaging. You chose a ringtone you knew I would dislike. So I thought I would fight fire with fire.
Watson: "Friday"? Seriously?
Holmes: There's also a song that appeals to me as a detective. It's a mystery about dogs and who may have let them out.
Watson: So did you find anything?
Holmes: There's precious little on Abby Campbell the night of her disappearance. A trip to the cafeteria. A return in the general direction of her workplace. And then nothing.
Watson: These are all from different days?
Holmes: I tracked down all available video of her in the weeks leading up to her murder. I was hoping to isolate any contentious encounters she may have had with her coworkers.
Holmes: It appears she was very, very well-liked. No unpleasantness whatsoever. There was, however, some suspicious pleasantness.
Watson: They look intimate.
Holmes: Using hospital employee records, I was able to identify that man as Dr. Branford Fisher, a surgical resident. Dr. Fisher and Abby have no professional reason to interact. Their areas of expertise have no overlap. I have, however, observed no less than 12 meetings between them. And all in out-of-the-way corners of the hospital. That is a disused patient room. They spend approximately and then they emerged looking rumpled and happy.
Watson: Abby was having an affair.
Holmes: Dr. Fisher called in sick the morning she was reported missing. I've attempted to contact him, but he's not answering his phone. And the only listed address for him is a P.O. box. All rather suspicious. How went your meeting with Emily?
Watson: Not great, actually. Can you think of any reason why the police would be investigating me?
Holmes: You said Emily was not your only friend contacted by Detective Cortes.
Watson: Yeah, I got calls from two other people today. The detective asked them the same kinds of questions. What kind of person am I, would I ever break the law.
Holmes: But she never outright accused you of anything.
Holmes: Have you, Watson, ever committed any burglaries in Coney Island? Have to ask.
Holmes: No, I have not committed any burglaries in Coney Island. I can't even remember the last time I was in that part of the city.
Holmes: You have to talk to this woman.
Watson: You think?
Holmes: The timing of her investigation is unfortunate, to say the least. We've only just returned to the NYPD, so the last thing we need are rumors that we've engaged in some kind of thievery.
Watson: I will handle it. Okay?
Holmes (phone): Hello?
Nate (phone): Mr. Holmes? This is Nate Campbell.
Holmes (phone): How'd you get this number, Dr. Campbell?
Nate (phone): I understand you're looking for a doctor from Stuyvesant Memorial. Branford Fisher.
Holmes (phone): I am.
Nate (phone): I can tell you where he is. But only in person. And you can't bring the police.
Holmes: We came alone, as per your request. But the police are aware we're here, on the off chance you intend to do us harm.
Nate: No. Nothing like that. Please, come in.
Holmes: So, you told us you could help us find Dr. Fisher.
Watson: Someone needs to tell us what's going on right now.
Dr. Branford Fisher: When you left your message, I got nervous. I called Nate.
Fisher: It's complicated.
Nate: Branford never would have hurt Abby.
Watson: Did you know they were having an affair?
Holmes: No, it wasn't an affair, was it? Dr. Fisher's a size 12. Dr. Campbell's a size nine. There's a pair of size 12 running shoes here by the door. There's also a photograph of Dr. Fisher receiving a commendation on the wall. He lives here.
Watson: On the phone, you said this was your house.
Holmes: It's their house. They were both married to Abby. Or is there another explanation for your matching wedding bands? I think the current slang for such an arrangement is a "thruple." Three people, one marriage.
Watson: You were both married to Abby at the same time.
Nate: We were. But I swear to you, neither of us killed our wife.
Nate: We had to keep our marriage secret. We have a two-year-old daughter, Chloe. If we got reported to Family Services, we could lose her.
Fisher: Not to mention our careers. Hospitals don't like scandals.
Holmes: You all look very happy together.
Nate: We are. We were. We're just a family. We're no different than anyone else.
Watson: Can you account for your whereabouts the night Abby disappeared?
Fisher: I was in Boston. My Dad's been sick. I went up to see him. But I also caught up with some friends. They'll all tell you I was there.
Watson: If you don't mind me asking, how did this arrangement come about?
Nate: Branford and I were, uh, together first. But we had an understanding. Uh, and as I said, I met Abby at a party. It grew from there.
Watson: She was okay joining you?
Nate: It was her idea, actually. She'd done it before.
Holmes: She was in another group marriage?
Fisher: Arrangements like ours happen more often than people think. For some people, it just works. It worked for Abby.
Watson: Her last marriage was a bad one?
Fisher: It ended badly. She had a falling-out with one of her fellow wives. She hinted it got violent once.
Nate: There was a dispute. Over money, community assets. And she was still fighting it, years after.
Watson: You said one of her fellow wives. How many people were involved in her previous marriage?
Nate: Not counting Abby? Five.
Captain Gregson: Abby Campbell's exes. All five of them. They're still married. They live in some big house out in West Essex County. I had to send five different cars to get them.
Holmes: All the suspects we could hope for.
Gregson: I don't know how they do it. I couldn't make a marriage to one person work.
Holmes: But Americans have experimented with every possible variation of matrimony. From the adelphic polygyny of the Omaha tribe to the patriarchal polygamy of the early Mormons to the free love hippy communes of the 1970s. And while some of those experiments were abject failures, many were remarkably long-lived.
Gregson: Yeah, well, this experiment ended badly, at least for Abby Campbell. Maybe bad enough to get her killed.
Bell: They're here, but they're not happy.
Holmes: I assume you've kept them separate so they can't coordinate their stories?
Gregson: Yeah. Like five married people could ever agree on anything.
Blonde Group Wife: Abby was special. We all loved her.
Ben: Everything was great. The first year or two.
Group Husband with Plaid Shirt: I got nothing to say to you.
Blonde Group Wife: But you have to understand, Abby was stubborn.
Trish: I'm supposed to be coaching my daughter's soccer team this afternoon. Do I really need to be here?
Ben: It was really all about money. Abby worked hard. She wanted to keep what she earned. But Denise insisted we all pool our money.
Group Husband with Plaid Shirt: We're registered as two married couples. We share a house to save money. Trish is our nanny.
Trish: The nanny? Yeah. Sure. I'm the nanny.
Ben: It got a little ugly. Especially when it came time to buy the house.
Blonde Group Wife: The house thing. That was when it all went bad. Abby had this inheritance, and Denise pressured her to use it as a down payment. Abby agreed, but she was never really happy about it.
Trish: We have six kids. Everybody's got to pitch in. It doesn't matter if they have a job or not.
Group Husband with Plaid Shirt: I don't got to talk to you about any of this. Unless you're charging me with something.
Blonde Group Wife: The arguments just got worse and worse. And it didn't help that Abby was so much younger than Denise and maybe got a little more attention when it came to, you know, sleeping arrangements.
Ben: There was a little pushing and shoving between her and Denise toward the end.
Blonde Group Wife: I think that was the last straw. The next day, she just left.
Ben: She'd been trying to get that down payment back ever since. But giving it to her would've meant selling the house. Denise said that was out of the question.
Group Husband with Plaid Shirt: You want to know what happened, talk to Denise.
Trish: I don't know. That was between her and Denise.
Denise Davis: This is harassment, plain and simple. And if the NYPD causes me or my family any embarrassment, I will sue this department in general and you three in particular.
Holmes: It says here your specialty is contract law. Didn't know you were also a litigator.
Denise: A lawyer is a lawyer. You want to test me, I'll see you in court.
Bell: Look, no one's going to court, Denise. Not if you want your private life to stay private. Now, if you cooperate, you and your family can go back home to Essex, no problem. You make a stink, you're gonna end up in the press.
Gregson: Seven years after Abby left the marriage, you and her were still fighting over her share of the house. She fronted $100,000 for your down. You never paid her back.
Denise: Like she needed the money. She married an oncologist. He's rolling in it. Okay, things were bad between Abby and me, but then we had lunch a few weeks ago. We buried the hatchet. It was her idea. She was diagnosed with cancer and wanted closure. No loose ends. Here. She e-mailed me this after she signed it. I have the original at home. It's a quitclaim giving up her interest in the house. So you see, I had no reason to hurt Abby. Not that I ever would have. I loved her. Once. Now, are we done?
Holmes: Uh, I'm sorry. Did, did she want anything in return for this peace offering?
Denise: Yes, she asked for something, but I couldn't give it to her. She wanted me to draw up a confidentiality agreement. She was trying to sell something and she wanted a guarantee that the buyer wouldn't reveal the nature of the transaction.
Gregson: What was she selling?
Denise: I don't know. But I got the sense it was something that she'd stolen. When I explained to her that any contract that pertains to illegal activity is null and void she dropped it. But I don't know. Whatever she took, maybe it was worth killing over.
Watson: Detective Cortes. Joan Watson. But I'm guessing you knew that already.
Detective Gina Cortes: How can I help you, Ms. Watson?
Watson: Actually, I was wondering if I could help you. You've been asking questions about me. I thought we could sit down, talk face-to-face, clear up any misunderstanding.
Cortes: That's very thoughtful of you, but now's not a good time.
Watson: When would be a good time?
Cortes: I don't know. But when I'm ready to talk to you, I'll find you. Trust me.
Watson: Can you at least tell me what you think I did?
Cortes: I never said you did anything.
Watson: Are you planning to talk to more people I know?
Cortes: Does that make you uncomfortable? Having someone poke around in your life, ask questions? It's not like you have anything to hide, right?
Holmes: Just gonna text you. Still a free woman, I see. May I assume you've cleared up any confusion with Detective Cortes?
Watson: No, you may not. I caught her as she was leaving her precinct. I told her I would be happy to answer any questions she might have. She said she didn't have any. So I asked her, "Can you at least tell me what crime I'm supposed to have committed?" She said no.
Holmes: Well, it's not unusual for a police detective to be cagey with a suspect.
Watson: Well that's the thing, I don't think I'm a suspect. I think it's personal. She's messing with me.
Holmes: You said before yesterday you'd never even heard of Detective Cortes.
Watson: Mmm, I hadn't.
Holmes: Perhaps at some point you slept with one of her lovers.
Watson: Well, considering she's gay and I'm not, I think that's highly unlikely.
Holmes: Ah, so you've been looking into her.
Watson: What choice do I have? She won't tell me what her problem is, so I have to find out myself. What is all this?
Holmes: Inventory forms, personnel records and security reports from Stuyvesant Memorial. One of Abby Campbell's ex-spouses seems to think she was trying to sell something that she had stolen.
Watson: Whatever it was, you're thinking it came from the hospital.
Holmes: She would have had access to any number of valuable items. Drugs. They are, of course, the most common target for medical larceny. But all of the hospital's inventories add up. Nothing is missing from any of the pharmacies. All of the equipment in Abby's lab is also accounted for, except for some inexpensive items like test tubes and beakers.
Watson: Glassware goes missing all the time. Interns and nurses use them as tumblers and shot glasses.
Holmes: I noticed the suture scissors in your sewing kit. Anyway, it occurred to me there was something else she could have taken. Something she would have had ready access to as an employee of the fertility clinic. Something that is in extremely high demand.
Watson: Viable human embryos.
Holmes: Would've been a simple matter to pilfer excess blastocysts intended for disposal.
Watson: A single fertilized egg can go for up to $10,000 on the open market.
Holmes: I don't think Abby's eggs would have made it to the open market. If she was looking for a motivated buyer, she needn't have looked any further than her own social circle.
Holmes: Dr. Amrit. Sherlock Holmes. This is Joan Watson. We work with the New York police department. You went to college with Abby Campbell, did you not?
Dr. Amrit: Uh, excuse me?
Holmes: The two of you remained friends until her her recent demise. Posted your condolences just this morning on social media.
Watson: You use embryonic stem cells in your research, right? Abby reposted an article you wrote a few months ago. In it, you argue that researchers should have unfettered access to embryos that are destroyed by IVF clinics in the course of their work.
Amrit: Embryonic stem cell research is the most promising path to finding a cure for diabetes and other metabolic diseases. But why that would be of interest to the police...
Holmes: Must be frustrating when politicians pander to their base by making it difficult to obtain suitable cells. Enough to purchase excess embryos from Abby.
Amrit: I have papers to grade.
Holmes: It is, of course, illegal to obtain embryos without the consent of the potential parent that provided that genetic material.
Watson: We can get a warrant. If the DNA of the cells from your lab match the patients from Abby's clinic, then that's a federal crime.
Amrit: I'm trying to save lives. Diabetes is a plague. It kills over four million people a year.
Watson: How many embryos did you agree to buy from Abby? A few dozen? That would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. As far as we know, you never paid her a dime.
Holmes: Did you kill your old friend so that you wouldn't have to compensate her?
Amrit: I didn't hurt Abby. And she didn't want money. It was a trade.
Watson: A trade for what?
Amrit: She came to me asking for access to my lab. She wanted to run some blood tests after hours and off the record. I asked for the embryos in return. They would have just been thrown away. Wasted.
Holmes: What was she testing the blood for?
Amrit: She wouldn't tell me.
Wataon: She would have used computerized equipment. There might be records of her tests on their hard drives. Do you mind if we have a look?
Amrit: No. I do not. I just don't think you're going to find much.
Amrit: I thought it was some religious fanatic opposed to my research. I get threatening letters and e-mails, very nasty. But then I heard about Abby, and now I'm not so sure.
Watson: A blood chemistry analyzer. The flow cytometer. Everything she might have used to test blood.
Holmes: Whatever she was doing here, someone wanted to keep it a secret.
Gregson: So Abby Campbell runs some hush-hush blood tests. Someone isn't happy about that. He or she kills her, takes her apart, and then the next night goes to the lab she used and destroys all of her data.
Watson: Whoever set the fires didn't just burn those machines. The hard drives were pulled out and destroyed.
Gregson: Any idea what the blood tests were for?
Holmes: One theory is that Abby suspected a colleague of shenanigans and was seeking confirmation.
Watson: You remember the fertility doctor in California who used his own sperm to fertilize hundreds of eggs without informing the mothers?
Holmes: It's possible someone in Abby's lab was doing the same. It would explain why she wanted access to Dr. Amrit's lab. She may have been running paternity tests.
Gregson: So that's one theory. There any more?
Holmes: Not at present. But another may be just a warrant away.
Watson: It's possible that there's a trace of Abby's research that her killer missed. The biological waste produced by university labs is set aside in locked bins for special processing. The waste is collected three times a week. There was a pickup the night before the lab was destroyed. So if Abby dumped her test materials in one of those locked bins...
Gregson: The disposal company might still have some. I'll get an ADA to get you a warrant.
Watson: Sort of a cliche, huh? Cop who actually hangs out in a doughnut shop?
Cortes: Who told you I was here?
Watson: I am not at liberty to say, but I know why you've been harassing me. Before you moved to Burglary, you were in the Bronx under Ann Vescey. Rumor has it she promised to transfer you to Major Crimes when she was tapped to take over for Captain Gregson. That would have been a big step up for you.
Cortes: Only she didn't take over for Gregson, because he didn't leave.
Watson: You blame me for that. Obviously, you found out that I was looking into Vescey. You think I torpedoed her.
Cortes: What is that?
Watson: Everything I gave Captain Gregson. Read it. You'll see that I found Vescey was clean. The Captain decided not to step aside because he was not ready. Not because of anything I said.
Cortes: It's heavy. You put a lot of work into this. I don't care what you did or didn't find out about Ann. What I care about is that you looked at all. You're not a cop. You're a citizen with delusions of grandeur. Cops, real cops, we have enough people looking over our shoulders. Politicians, the press, the brass, IAB. They second-guess us all day long. But, hey, that's what they're there for. Who are you to look into us?
Watson: I take it you've never used a consultant before?
Cortes: No, I've never used a consultant. Real cops do the job themselves. That's how it works. You don't belong.
Watson: I don't know what to tell you, Detective. I'm not going anywhere.
Cortes: But you were. You and your partner. And now you're both back. That's weird, right? I just caught a new case last night. It's gonna keep me busy for a while, but after that, I don't know. Maybe I'll circle back around. See what else I can find.
Watson: All that came from Dr. Amrit's lab?
Holmes: It seems the medical waste for the entire university was labeled identically. A team is being assembled to sort through it, but I thought you and I could get the ball rolling.
Watson: Okay, but...
Holmes: Gloves, goggles, mask, right behind you there. You can apprise me of your meeting with your stalker as we sort. Mmm.
Watson: I think she may be insane.
Holmes: Because she doesn't like you?
Watson: Because she's fixating on me.
Holmes: In her defense, you were investigating her friend and you are a mere citizen.
Watson: So are you.
Holmes: But I'm quite accustomed to people not liking me.
Watson: Okay, so what if she continues to look into me, into us, and figures out that your father pulled some strings to get us back into the 11th?
Holmes: As I see it, the crux of the matter is that Detective Cortes sees you as an outsider and not a peer. If you were a cop, you would have what is called a "beef." And a beef can be settled and what you have cannot be.
Watson: Because I'm a consultant.
Watson: So I, I just take it, I just let her keep bullying me?
Holmes: As I said before, she does not see you as a peer, so force her to. You remember the disagreement that Detectives Grell and Luntz had last year?
Holmes: It festered for months, then it was resolved. Do you recall how it was resolved?
Watson: You're not serious.
Holmes: I have reason to believe Detective Cortes would be amenable to the idea. Six plastic vials, each containing blood residue, and each one with Abby Campbell's handwriting on the labels.
Watson: Looks like she was thorough. Test subjects are identified by initials, plus dates and times of collection.
Holmes: These samples were gathered on three consecutive Thursdays between the hours of 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
Watson: Does that mean something to you?
Holmes: Memorizing a murder victim's calendar is a matter of course. I know where she was at these times, so I know who to talk to about the work she was doing.
Russof: Support groups can be very helpful for cancer patients. They're going through so many things that only their peers can understand.
Bell: And Abby Campbell had been attending your group for three months?
Russof: Ever since her diagnosis.
Holmes: We have reason to believe that she was collecting blood during these meetings. May we assume it was from her fellow group members?
Bell: Ms. Russof, this is a murder investigation.
Russof: A few weeks ago, Abby made a pitch to the group. She said she had a friend who was doing advanced cancer research. It was supposed to be promising. Maybe even a cure. She said she could get people into the study. She just needed blood samples to test for suitability.
Bell: Sounds like you had your doubts.
Russof: People are always touting miracle cures for cancer. You can probably guess how many pan out. I wasn't the only one who was skeptical. The husband of one of the group members came to a meeting, and he accused Abby of being a con artist. He said that if she didn't leave his wife alone, she would be sorry.
Watson: Can you give us this person's name?
Russof: Kirk. Kirk Abramovitch.
Kirk Abramovitch: Yeah, I threatened Abby Campbell. No, I didn't turn her into a skeleton.
Holmes: You make it sound absurd, Mr. Abramovitch. But on your social media page, I've seen pictures of you pitching in at your father's butcher shop.
Kirk: I got to think knowing how to work a deli slicer and deboning a person are two very different things.
Sadie Abramovitch: That night at therapy, Kirk only yelled at Abby because he thought she was trying to scam me. He just wanted her to back off.
Kirk: I've seen her type before.
Sadie: Kirk's mother died of colon cancer in the late '90s.
Kirk: She got suckered by every snake oil salesman that crossed her path. She tried light therapy, magnets, special diets, shark cartilage. She ended up taking out a second mortgage on her house to pay for some fancy clinic down in Mexico. All for nothing.
Sadie: I didn't think there was any harm in looking into the study Abby told us about, but, the truth is, I didn't need it. My chemo's working. Dr. Campbell says I'm doing really well.
Watson: Dr. Campbell, as in Nate Campbell? So, Abby's husband is your oncologist?
Sadie: That's why I agreed to give Abby my blood, because she was his wife. I thought she must know what she's talking about. Oh, that's our son. Can I go get him?
Sadie: Oh, hey.
Watson: Hi. Oh, he's beautiful.
Sadie: A hundred percentile in height and weight. He's gonna be a big guy.
Watson: Oh, just like his daddy.
Sadie: Yeah, right?
Watson: Hmm. Do you mind me asking what kind of cancer you have?
Sadie: Spinal plasmacytoma. I had some back pain, there was a lump. Dr. Campbell prescribed chemo.
Watson: And where is the tumor located?
Sadie: On my L4.
Watson: I used to be a surgeon. Do you mind if a take a look?
Sadie: I'm gonna put you down for a second, sweetie. Right here. Right here.
Watson: Okay, if you could just stand straight for me. Okay, so, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, um, how does this feel?
Sadie: A little uncomfortable. Maybe a two.
Watson: Mmm. And are you taking anything for the pain?
Sadie: Uh, just naproxen. Yeah.
Watson: Is the discomfort worse at night?
Sadie: A little bit, but the medicine helps.
Watson: Well, for what it's worth, I think Dr. Campbell's right. You should make a full recovery.
Holmes: In case you were wondering, Watson, Mr. Abramovitch does not have an alibi for the night of Abby Campbell's murder.
Watson: I don't think he did it.
Holmes: Neither do I. But that's because I stayed for the duration of his interview, and I saw no indication that he was lying. Why do you think he's innocent?
Holmes: Because I'm pretty sure I know who did kill Abby.
Bell: You do?
Watson: It all made sense once I realized Sadie Abramovitch doesn't have cancer.
Watson: This is Sadie Abramovitch before chemo. Do you recognize her?
Dr. Nate Campbell: Of course.
Watson: It says here that you're treating her for spinal plasmacytoma. The tumor is located on her L4 vertebra.
Nate: That sounds right. She's doing quite well. We're hoping for a complete remission.
Holmes: You should know that when we visited Mrs. Abramovitch, my colleague noted several inconsistencies with her diagnosis.
Watson: Spinal plasmacytoma causes microfractures in the affected vertebrae. Most patients can barely walk. Sadie can move around just fine, sit, stand, walk. Lift her baby. No issues.
Nate: We diagnosed Sadie very early on, so, the microfractures didn't have time to fully develop.
Holmes: And you never removed the tumor?
Nate: No. Too much nerve involvement.
Watson: That makes sense. Except when I pressed directly on her L4, instead of a sharp pain, she only felt a dull ache. And her discomfort gets worse at night, which is a classic symptom of a benign osteoid osteoma.
Nate: I stand by my diagnosis.
Lawyer: Excuse me, but my client agreed to this interview in order to help you find his wife's killer. Now, I fail to see how a possible misdiagnosis of one his patients has any relevance.
Holmes: One misdiagnosis would not. Several dozen, however, tell an entirely different story.
Bell: After we got a warrant for your files the other day, we asked all your patients to get follow-up exams. Of those who agreed to be tested, almost a third didn't have cancer at all.
Holmes: You've been misdiagnosing patients, and you've been subjecting them to unnecessary chemotherapy, probably for years, to, I don't know, bolster your profits, inflate your remission rates? And no one suspected you.
Gregson: Until your own wife got cancer.
Bell: We figure Abby noticed something fishy when she was getting chemo at your clinic. Patients like Sadie, whose symptoms didn't match their diagnoses. But she wanted proof, so she ran tests.
Holmes: Her mistake was confronting you with the evidence of your misdeeds before going to the authorities. Perhaps she thought you'd be able to explain yourself. But instead, you strangled her.
Lawyer: Do I need to point out, this is all supposition?
Bell: Nah, it's more than that. We had a talk with your clinic manager. She rolled, confirmed the false diagnoses, the fraud, the whole thing.
Watson: She also recanted your alibi. In fact, the last time she saw you the night that Abby disappeared, you were headed to the research wing right after a heated phone call with Abby.
Nate: I told her that everything I did was for the good of the family.
Nate: No, no, no. I'll, I'll tell you everything, but you need to let me talk to Branford. I need to tell him I'm sorry.
Gregson: I'll see what I can do.
Watson: Good combination.
Cortes: Third time you've approached me. If you're smart, there won't be a fourth.
Watson: Actually, a fourth time is what I wanted to talk to you about. The NYPD Boxing Club is having a match in a few weeks. I thought maybe we could raise some money for charity.
Cortes: You want to fight me?
Watson: That's how it's done, right? When two cops have a problem with each other and they can't resolve it?
Cortes: Yeah, the only problem is, you're not a cop.
Watson: And that would be bad for you, right? Getting your ass kicked by a consultant?
Cortes: If you want to fight me so bad, why wait? There's a ring right there.
Watson: Yeah, I thought that's what you might say. All right.
Holmes: Keep them submerged as long as you can.
Watson: I know how to treat sore knuckles.
Holmes: This needs more flour.
Watson: You just like the parallel. Primitive aftercare for a primitive sport.
Holmes: While this might look primitive, I assure you, this is the result of years of painstaking research. It's a poultice of comfrey leaves and flour with a dash of mountain arnica and a sprinkling of marigold. I highly recommend it. Unless, of course, you want your eye to blacken as a badge of honor.
Watson: I just want to put this whole thing behind me.
Holmes: And does Detective Cortes feel the same way?
Watson: Oh, I guess we'll see.
Holmes: At the very least, this has proven the wisdom of continuously training in the combat arts. You do, of course, need to work on your defense. You allowed Cortes to land far too many punches.
Watson: I did. But all that matters is that I landed the last one.