Season: Four — Episode: 20 Director: Ron Fortunato — Writer: Arika Lisanne Mittman — Aired: April 10, 2016 — Viewers (millions): 6.04 Summary: Holmes and Watson investigate the murder of a young woman whose college selfie was turned into a piece of contemporary art. Watson tries to get closer to her half-sister.
The rise of social media has created a generation of narcissists eager to offer up their private images for public consumption. But like peacocks spreading their tails, such displays, whilst feeding self-esteem, also risk attracting the attention of predators.
After Watson confronts Lin Wen that they are half-sisters, Lin admits it and gives Watson details about their schizophrenic father. Having learned a few years before about Watson's family, Lin found out that Watson worked as a detective with Sherlock who had a brother named Mycroft. Desperate for help, she came to them and lied that she was Mycroft's lover to gain their cooperation. However, now that they've helped her, she has no desire to have a relationship with Watson, though Watson wants to know Lin. At night outside a NYC gym, Phoebe Elliot approaches a car she thinks is her ride-share. (♫ St. Lucia - Physical ♫) When she opens the rear passenger door, she's shot to death by the driver. (♫ The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup ♫) The killer drives to Connecticut, parks the car, smashes the window which sets off the alarm, and leaves.
Why do you build me up...?
Later at the scene, Holmes is able to tell from the blood splatter that Phoebe was shot from a stopped car. While Watson thinks she recognizes Phoebe, Detective Bell reports that her brother, Keith, just finished jail time for car theft. Keith is adamant that he didn't kill Phoebe and offers his full cooperation. He believes a stalker may have killed her as she was getting a lot of attention from a selfie she took in 2013. At the art gallery of Ephraim Hill, Bell, Holmes and Watson view selfies that have been enlarged and are being sold as art, including one from Phoebe. Watson indicates the pieces have received wide-spread media exposure and some of the subjects were angry their selfies were being used in this manner. Hill arrives and believes they're there in response to a robbery in which five of the pieces were stolen. Told of Phoebe's murder, he has an alibi, indicates Phoebe liked the attention and has a suspect.
Where's the missing blood?
The suspect is Skyden, a young woman who posted an angry video threatening Hill. However, she indicates that the video was an act for a play and that she took pictures of Hill's pieces, before the robbery, which she was going to sell. Looking at a picture Skyden took of Phoebe's piece, Holmes notices differences from the one in the gallery and says that it has been replaced with a forgery. Phoebe's piece arrives at The Brownstone which Hill has confirmed is a fake and that it could only have switched out during the robbery. Noticing Watson is distracted, she tells Holmes about Lin and wonders why her biological father was able to maintain a family with Lin and her mother Jing-Mei, but not with her mother and brother. She hopes to find out, having left a phone message for Jing-Mei. Holmes shows Watson that in the background of Phoebe's piece, a man has been erased and a car license plate altered.
Phoebe's selfie captures the man exiting this car.
Bell has found that the car belongs to Louis Bowman, who is serving life in prison for murder. Holmes believes the piece was switched out as the original proves that Bowman didn't commit murder. At the 11th Precinct, Bell, Holmes and Watson show Captain Gregson their findings and that the selfie shows Bowman leaving a college library when Marissa Kagan was killed. Gregson notes the case against Bowman showed his spit on Kagan and that Phoebe, a friend of hers, testified against Bowman. Believing Bowman was framed and that Phoebe only noticed him in the picture when it was blown up, they also note that Phoebe took down all her social media pictures after Hill's exhibit. When Kagan's true killer learned of the photo, the piece was swapped out and Phoebe killed to prevent her from pointing this out. Bell and Watson visit Bowman in prison who admits that he was obsessed with Kagan but has since received treatment for a disorder.
I was awkward.
He recalls his lawyer didn't believe in his innocence and wouldn't let him testify even when he said he saw Kagan's killer. Admitting he was parked outside Kagan's, he saw her arguing with someone in a white and green sweater with the hood up so he couldn't see the person's face. Insisting he was framed by a woman he dated before meeting Kagan, Amanda Neal, he says Neal went on to become a police officer and must have planted his DNA on Kagan's body. ADA Christina Pullman and Bowman's public defender, Shawn, show Holmes the case file on Kagan's murder. Indicating that a large amount of Bowman's spit was found on Kagan, which could not have been planted, and that Phoebe's selfie doesn't conclusively show it is Bowman in the photo, she's confident Bowman's conviction was justified. Bell and Watson question Amanda Neal, a Connecticut state trooper, who says she went on two dates with Bowman who then became obsessed with her. She sarcastically denies planting evidence and states she has no access to murder investigations.
The case against Louis Bowman was hardly circumstantial.
Leaving the Neal questioning, Watson sees Lin in the precinct, who is angry that Watson called her mother. She says that their father hated Watson's new family and she tells Watson to leave her and her mother alone. Bell calls Holmes at the Brownstone and asks him to come to the precinct. The car used in Phoebe's shooting was found in Connecticut and Keith's DNA was found inside. In "the box" at the precinct, Bell and Gregson are unsuccessful at getting Keith to confess to shooting his sister and he insists that the DNA was planted. Looking at Bowman's case file, Holmes notes that Kagan was killed in Connecticut. He finds it odd that a car from that state was driven to NYC to shoot Phoebe and then driven back. Looking at the lab report that placed Keith's DNA in the car, he tells Watson that he knows someone who can create any evidence they desire.
I love Phoebe. She was my sister.
At the Connecticut forensics lab, supervisor Zoe Mercado is accused by Bell, Holmes and Watson of "dry-labbing", writing false reports to conform with evidence in cases. Insisting that her work is above board, Bell tells her they'll be re-testing the DNA found in the car used to kill Phoebe. Later, Mercado is brought to the precinct, after it's found that she falsified the Keith DNA report. Insisting that she's on the side of law enforcement and that DNA evidence can be subjective, she's accused of killing Phoebe. She says the DNA in the car isn't hers, that she didn't know Phoebe and challenges them to retest if it's a match for her. Outside the conference room, Gregson notes that all cases Mercado ever worked on will have to be retested. Holmes and Watson realize that someone in law enforcement knew Mercado was dry-labbing and they'll have to examine all her cases to find a suspect.
I want to make sure they're done right.
As Watson reviews the cases at the Brownstone, Lin arrives and apologizes, as her father didn't say the hateful things about Watson's family. Watson apologizes for calling Jing-Mei which Lin says is OK. Trooper Neal is called back to the precinct where Bell, Gregson and Holmes indicate that she called Mercado many times during the Kagan investigation and accuse her of killing Kagan. She laughs when told that her motive for killing Kagan was jealously that Bowman was interested in her and explains that Kagan was gay, which few people knew. She also relates that Kagan was seeing a married woman and pushing her to get a divorce. Meeting Watson at the Brownstone, Holmes tells her that Neal isn't the killer but he knows who is. Watson pulls a file and tells Holmes she's also discovered who the killer is. At the home of ADA Pullman, her wife Teri answers the door.
I have a lot of unresolved anger over my father.
Teri is familiar with the Kagan case, admits that Pullman has a green and white sweater like that described by Bowman and, that she discovered Kagan and her were having an affair. She allows Pullman's DNA to be taken from the bathroom but says there's something they should know. At the precinct, Pullman is told that Teri confessed. Ensuring Bowman was the prime suspect in Kagan's murder, Pullman arranged for Mercado to dry-lab that the spit was his. However, when Phoebe contacted her with the selfie exonerating Bowman, she swapped out the pictures, killed Phoebe and again arranged for dry-labbing to implicate Keith in Phoebe's death. DNA retests revealed that the spit on Kagan was Teri's and that in the car was Pullman's. Teri tried to confess to killing Pheobe in order that one parent would remain free to raise their children. Watson meets Lin and tells her that Jing-Mei invited her for tea but she's decided to wait until Lin is ready to join them. (♫ The Lumineers - In the Light ♫)