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"I'm sure you're aware scary clowns are quite in at the moment. They've been observed lurking around towns and cities all across the country. It's a phenomenon as strange as it is stupid."
— Holmes
At the 11th Precinct, Watson shows Detective Bell two fictional books that her father Henry wrote about her and Holmes and asks if he'll help Henry write a more realistic novel. Watson also learns that Bell has been dating ADA Chantal Milner and asks for details about their relationship. Waiting at a bar for Chantal, Bell receives a call from her that she can't make their date. (♫ Natural Child - No Trip ♫) Getting up to leave, a hostile man purposely runs into Bell and drops his glass. Refusing to accept an apology, the man shoves Bell and then comes at him, forcing Bell to defend himself. At night in the woods, two fathers from the Mount Pleasant citizens patrol chase a clown. Losing the clown, they come upon a half buried body, also dressed as a clown. The next day, Holmes arrives at the clown murder scene unannounced and examines the body with Sheriff Malick.

S05E12-Booker and Bell at bar
You got something for me, cop?
Malick reports that Mount Pleasant has been dealing for weeks with a clown who would lurk around town late a night. Realizing there was two clowns, Holmes comments it's a phenomenon in many towns of late and that the clown was killed by a crowbar blow to the head. The body is unidentified and Holmes asks what's in the direction the clown who escaped was running to. Chantal arrives at the precinct and tells Bell that the man he was in an altercation with is her ex-husband, Roy Booker. Booker came to the DA's office and made a scene, complaining about the fight with Bell. Having discovered the clown who escaped was running to a train station, he's found and brought into the precinct. Named River, he denies killing the other clown and when shown pictures of the dead body, confesses he knew him as Kip Tully. They both worked for a marketing company, AdRupt, who use pranks to drum up interest, in this case, for a clown horror movie.

S05E12-Holmes dead clown
This is, in fact, my third murdered clown.
Holmes shows Captain Gregson that Kip Tully is an alias for Dale Schmitt. Schmitt wrote an article critical of AdRupt and Holmes speculates he was killed over it. At AdRupt, Bell, Holmes and Watson tell CEO Jerry Bice their suspicions but he indicates that Schmitt was writing a follow-up piece lauding AdRupt and provides them with access to his work. At the Brownstone, Holmes verifies that Bice was being truthful. Seeing a file on Booker, Watson relates that she's going to look into him as he could push for disciplinary action against Bell. Looking at the last two photos Schmitt's phone posted to the cloud, a man in the woods with a crowbar is seen. While treking through the forest to locate where the photos were taken, Bell tells Holmes that the scene Booker made could cause the DA to pull Chantal off a career-making case.

S05E12-Watson circus organ
It's help putting me in the mindset.
Finding impressions made in the earth made by a large hose, they discover a manhole. Seeing why the killer needed a crowbar and noticing the lock has been blow torched off, Bell opens the cover, revealing an aquaduct for NYC's drinking water. Holmes smells some green residue inside the manhole and recognizing it as liquid nutrient growth medium for virus, tells Bell that the water has been poisoned. In Gregson's office, Holmes and Watson are introduced to Agent David Breslin from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Wendell Hecht, VP of Water Integrity at NYC's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Hecht indicates that the virus survived the city's purification treatments and that emergency water reserves are being used. To Gregson's astonishment, Breslin refuses to specify what the virus is and insists that the contamination remain a secret.

S05E12-Bell Holmes manhole
NYC's drinking water needs to be shut off. Now.
Returning to the Brownstone, Watson tells Holmes she received security footage of Booker and Bell's bar fight. She also gave a sample of the growth medium, which Holmes kept secret from Breslin, to a lab contact who didn't recognize it and verified it was engineered. Noting how expensive it would be to create the virus, Holmes believes that Gracie Van Bylandt, from one of oldest and wealthiest families in NYC, is a suspect. At the precinct, after Bell visits Gracie's home, Gregson is shown that she published manifestos lamenting the city's overcrowding and had been researching methods of mass murder with like-minded people. From materials collected from Gracie's home, Holmes recognizes the man in Schmitt's photos as Raymond Thorpe, chief virologist of a lab. Watson meets Chantal outside a courthouse and learns that Booker used to be a cop and why he retired. She doesn't know if the bar is a regular hangout for Booker as he claimed.

S05E12-Chantal and Watson
I asked Marcus to leave it alone.
With a search warrant, Bell and Holmes visit the lab where Thorpe works. The lab director is shocked that he'd create the virus and notes that Thorpe took time off for a family emergency. Holmes finds evidence of the virus on Thorpe's computer and when the director examines it, she notes that although the virus is chlorine and UV resistant, it would only invoke mild diarrhea. While Bell issues an alert to the TSA for Thorpe, he and Holmes are puzzled why Thorpe would kill over a virus that wasn't lethal. At the precinct, Bell, Gregson and Holmes make Breslin and Hecht aware of Thorpe's acts and Hecht comments that if successful, it would have created a huge demand for bottled water. Breslin says that the press were informed of the contamination from an unknown information leak and the DHS will be handling any questions.

S05E12-With lab director
No, Raymond didn't kill anybody.
Returning to the Brownstone, Holmes is perturbed to find that Watson has had a water filtration system installed in the basement. Commenting that she's fallen victim to the hysteria sweeping the city, he indicates that NYC's water isn't filtered. As she defends the filtration, mentioning it is recommended by the DEP, Holmes notes that the contamination may result in the EPA mandating that a filtration plant be built that would cost billions. Watson arrives at the precinct where Bell tells her that Thorpe left for Montenegro, a non-extradition country, three days before. She shows Bell that Booker is working for the opposing attorney in Chantal's case and intentionally caused the altercation in order to have Chantal pulled from leading the prosecution. At the home of Gio Bianchi, owner of a large construction company, Holmes accuses him of the contamination.

S05E12-Holmes Watson basement pipes
I thought we should take extra precautions.
Denying it, Gio admits that his company has a standing contract to build a filtration plant but that his profits are made from UV disinfection. He also says that UV is much simpler than filtration and, that it would take many years to profit from a filtration plant. Discovering that Gio has filled his garage with water jugs, Holmes comes to a realization. Returning to the Brownstone, Holmes heads for the basement and takes one of the filters out. While looking up who owns the patent on the filter, he tells Watson that given the hysteria and that everyone in NYC buying bottled water until a filtration plant is operational isn't practical, he's realized that home filtration is the only option. The model Watson's had installed is the only one recommended by the DEP for the virus and Holmes notes that they've met the owner of the patent for the filter.

S05E12-Holmes Watson filter
You're getting water everywhere.
Breslin is called to the precinct where he tells Gregson that the US government has reached out to Montenegro in the hopes they'll return Thorpe. Heading to a room where Hecht, Holmes and Watson are waiting, Watson tells Hecht that he owns the patent on the water filter the DEP is recommending for treating the virus which will make him rich. Confessing to a conflict of interest, he denies knowing Thorpe. Told that he met Thorpe many times for work, they show him a video of an ill Thorpe waiting for his flight to depart. After telling the Montenegro government of Thorpe's illness and involvement in creating the virus, he's being flown back to the US. Hecht is offered first crack at a deal for a full confession. Bell surprises Booker outside his apartment building and tells Booker that he knows he retired from the NYPD due to a shoulder injury. (♫ Mark Lanegan - Bloodline ♫) However, footage of the bar fight shows that his pension claim is fraudulent. Bell tells Booker to quit working for the attorney opposing Chantal and to leave her alone or he'll reveal the fraud.

S05E12-Wendell Hecht
Are you looking for a scapegoat because he got away?


  • Natural Child - No Trip plays as Marcus waits at a bar for Chantal and then is accosted by Roy Booker.
  • Mark Lanegan - Bloodline plays as Marcus confronts Booker about being at the bar and blackmails him to leave Chantal and him alone.


  • The fictional books Watson's step father Henry wrote about Holmes and Watson are shown.[1]
  • Holmes recalls that he once chastised Bell for allowing himself to be lonely.[2]


  • It's stated in this episode that Montenegro doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States, but this is incorrect: Montenegro and the U.S. signed an extradition treaty in October 1901, which entered into force in June the following year. The treaty remained in force while Montenegro spent most of the 20th Century as part the Kingdom of Serbia and Yugoslavia. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the status of the treaty was left uncertain until 2006, when Montenegro declared it's independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The treaty still remains in force today.


One of the reasons I chose to live in New York, as opposed to other American cities, was the quality of its water. The taste and odor, unmatched.

— Holmes



  1. Season 4, episode 7: "Miss Taken"
  2. Season 3, episode 22: "The Best Way Out Is Always Through"