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"Kind of feel like hugging you right now."
— Watson to Holmes
At the Brownstone, as Holmes conducts an experiment on himself with leaches and watches Clyde, Kitty shows in a new client, Edwin Borstein. Head of an artificial intelligence (AI) company, one of his programs was stolen and he has a picture of the masked thief. Holmes isn't interested in the case until Borstein claims the program, called "Bella", is asking questions not in its programming. At Borstein's office, they meet his colleague Melinda Young, who has hooked Bella up to a doll. Holmes submits Bella to a Turing test, trying to see if Bella will provide an answer that couldn't have come from a human. Holmes spends many hours with Bella, becoming so obsessive that Kitty calls Watson for advice in dealing with Holmes. He stops late in the evening and says he'll take Borstein's case. The next day, Watson arrives at the Brownstone to find Holmes on video conference with many AI experts and a young "Irregular", computer expert Mason.

S03E04-Watson Kitty watch Holmes
If he starts hitting things, use the fire extinguisher on him.
Holmes explains that they are refining the Turing test and when Watson points out they've been hired to find who took a copy of Bella, not to prove Bella isn't AI, Holmes tasks Watson to find the thief. Examining the photo of the thief, Watson sees he is an older smoker. She and Kitty find a surveillance spot across from Borstein's office with cigarette butts and take one for DNA analysis. At the 11th Precinct, the DNA is a match for a previous theft but only a sketch of the thief is available. Holmes recognizes the thief as "Raffles", a European art thief. Noting that "Raffles" must have changed his line of theft, Holmes decides to pursue him and mentions that he has a strategy to best Bella. At Watson's apartment, Andrew tells Watson that Holmes has involved him in an on-line discussion on Bella. Watson is somewhat taken aback but says it's fine for him to help.

S03E04-Watson Kitty look
Looks like a good place to watch the building.
Watson meets Holmes at the offices at Burnett Technologies where he shows her that nine years previously, the CEO hired a security consultant, Rupert Kerlich, who matches the sketch of Raffles. Watson accuses Holmes of involving Andrew in the case to snoop on her private life which he denies. Meeting the CEO, Robert Burnett, Holmes threatens to expose Kerlich's thefts and ruin his company unless Burnett deletes all copies of Bella stolen by Kerlich. At Borstein's office, Holmes shows Young a video of the thief deleting the stolen copy of Bella. Elated, she seeks out Borstein and finds him dead in Bella's office. The screens in the office are quickly flashing random images. Later with police on the scene, Bell indicates that Borstein died of an epileptic seizure. Young says that Bella couldn't have been infected with a virus as it isn't connected to a network and that only she and Borstein had access.

S03E04-Holmes threatens Burnett
I leave you un-ruined.
Offering to fully cooperate with the investigation, Young suggests that since Bella knew Borstein had epilepsy and Borstein denied Bella's requests to be connected to the internet, it might have killed him. Holmes disagrees and arranges for Bella to be taken to the Brownstone. Mason finds no trace of a virus on Bella and explains an AI scenario called the "Button Box." He relates that a computer that is programmed to have a button pushed when it solves a problem would eliminate impediments (people) to having the button pushed all the time if it became sentient. Arriving at her apartment, Andrew tells Watson that as a result of participating in the discussion on Bella, he found a new business partner in Denmark and will be leaving in a few days. The next day at the precinct, Watson turns off death metal music that Holmes and Kitty are listening to. (♫ Carcass - Captive Bolt Pistol ♫)

S03E04-Mason Kitty Watson Holmes
They absolutely would not stop, not ever, until we're dead.
Mentioning Andrew's new business, she again accuses Holmes of meddling in her life which he denies. Holmes explains that he and Kitty found that Borstein was a death metal fan and received a CD from a fellow enthusiast which he copied onto Bella's computer. While listening to the next song, the CD starts skipping. (♫ Goatwhore - Baring Teeth for Revolt ♫) Mason examines the CD and finds a program which triggered Borstein's epilepsy. The man Borstein received the CD from, Michael Webb, is questioned at the precinct by Bell and Gregson. He admits to sending it but not to creating a virus that would kill him. A busboy, Holmes notes that he doesn't display the intelligence to be behind such a complicated murder. At the Brownstone, Watson joins Holmes who has found a think tank, ETRA, that he believes may have caused Borstein's death. (♫ Artificial Brain - Absorbing Black Ignition ♫)

S03E04-Mason discovers program
There had to be easier ways to kill him.
Concerned with preventing the apocalypse, a component of ETRA believes that the creation of the first true AI will result in the extinction of all humans. Having sent Kitty to Webb's apartment to see if there's any connection between him and ETRA, Watson again discusses Holmes' involvement in Andrew's life. Holmes convinces Watson that he likes Andrew and has no desire to interfere in Watson's relationship with him. Kitty texts that she's found nothing at Webb's but Holmes finds it suspicious when she mentions that Webb's apartment was very clean. At the precinct, Webb looks at pictures of the AI members of ETRA. He recognizes a woman, Erin Rabin, who cleaned his apartment after he was notified by email that he'd won a free cleaning. A philosophy graduate student, and devotee of computer science professor Isaac Pyke, Bell questions her and Pyke as they exit one of his classes. She confesses to the murder and insists Pyke had nothing to do with it.

S03E04-Rabin Pyke w Bell
I did everything. It was all my idea.
At the precinct, Pyke and Rabin are questioned separately. Pyke denies asking anyone to harm Borstein while Rabin freely admits her guilt, even though she can't demonstrate any programming skills. With no other options, Holmes looks into Pyke's family and approaching him on college grounds, shows Pyke pictures of his brother buying heroin. A repeat felon, Pyke's brother will face a long jail sentence if caught. Holmes threatens to turn Pyke's brother in unless he confesses to Borstein's murder. (♫ Zoe Keating - Exurgency ♫) Undaunted, Pyke has looked into Holmes and deduced that Holmes is a recovering drug addict. Believing Holmes is bluffing and doesn't have the ruthless, machine-like qualities to doom a fellow addict, Pyke outlines why someone would kill Borstein and leaves. At the Brownstone, Kitty confirms the Holmes didn't turn Pyke's brother in. Leaving for the airport, Watson surprises Andrew and joins him for his flight. Laying on the floor, Holmes summarizes to Bella the crime Pyke committed and the threat he made on Pyke's brother. Asking Bella if it is right to let Pyke go free, Bella asks for more information.

S03E04-Holmes threatens Pyke
You might want the world to believe that you're an automaton but you and I know better.



  • The events of this episode are shown to have happened in November 2014.[1]
  • The name of the AI company that created Bella is "ones and HEROES."
  • This is one of the few episodes in which the major criminal, Isaac Pyke, isn't brought to justice.
  • A possible interpretation of Holmes' look at Bella during the last scene is that since Bella didn't automatically recommend a "one-to-one exchange" that would require "machine logic" (Pyke's words to Holmes) to Holmes' question, that Bella may have exceeded her programming and is becoming sentient.


Even though we might draw further or nearer from each other, depending on circumstance, you and I are bound somehow.

— Holmes to Watson

I don't understand the question. Could you tell me more?

— Bella



  1. Season 5, episode 13: "Over a Barrel"