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"I have a particular disdain for blackmailers. They are in some respects more despicable to me than even murderers."
— Holmes
While touching up his tattoos, Watson reminds Holmes that the one-year anniversary of his sobriety is soon, and he will be receiving a commemoration chip from Alfredo. Holmes has no intention of accepting it though, finding it meaningless. They are interrupted by a call from Alfredo. Holmes and Watson meet him at New York home where they meet cello player Eva Whitman, and Alfredo's sponsor, Ken Whitman. (♫ Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude ♫) Ken tells them two years ago at a nightclub, Eva was drugged and raped by a man named Brent Garvey. Eva identified Garvey, as did other victims and he was imprisoned. Eva struggled afterwards but with therapy, recovered. Several months ago, Ken received a blackmail DVD of the rape. He paid in order to not have the video released on the internet and the blackmailer warned him that he had a partner, a fail-safe, who would act in his stead if anything happened to him. He paid a second demand but had enough when a third one arrived days before. Holmes vows to find the blackmailer and destroy all copies of the DVD.

S01E20-At Whitmans
I didn't want to see her get hurt again.
The account used to pay the blackmailer is traced to Charles Augustus Milverton, whose home Watson and Holmes stake out. When Milverton leaves, Holmes picks the lock, steps around Milverton's cat and finds numerous videos, pics and recordings being used for blackmail on his laptop. Watson calls Holmes that Milverton is returning to the front door, but when Holmes heads for the back door, he sees someone else approaching it. Trapped, Holmes hides in a room with the door ajar. Milverton sits at his laptop, hears a gun being cocked and is killed. The shooter takes Milverton's body, laptop and leaves. At the 11th Precinct, Holmes has Captain Gregson watch the DVD. He then explains his dilemma, if he reports Milverton's murder, his fail-safe will release all materials. Gregson agrees to keep the killing secret so the fail-safe can be found.

S01E20-Holmes at Milvertons
Milverton is a professional blackmailer.
At the Brownstone, Watson indicates there have been no reports of Milverton's death. She's also examined materials Holmes removed from Milverton's home including a ledger of payoffs from his victims. Holmes can only identify the killer's physical dimensions as he wore a mask and, the smell of cat litter masked any odors. He believes the killer was one of Milverton's victims who may have eliminated his fail-safe. Holmes intends to question Garvey, who may be Milverton's accomplice. Garvey is in the prison hospital, having been beaten up for child molestation crimes. Happy to see this prison justice, Holmes accuses him of giving the DVDs to Milverton who visited Garvey in prison. Garvey claims he's not a supplier of materials, nor the fail-safe. Milverton bought the storage unit Garvey kept the DVD in and was blackmailing him that he'd release it before his next parole hearing.

S01E20-With Garvey
The contents went into auction.
At the Brownstone, Holmes finds regular payments in Milverton's ledger to a codename "HENRY8". Alfredo, who's been staking out Milverston's house, texts them that he had a visitor. Meeting Alfredo, he describes the man, including him wearing cowboy boots. He seems familiar to Alfredo but can't identify him until Watson plays a TV commercial advertising the services of attorney Duke "The Sheriff" Landers on her phone. Confronting Landers at his office, he denies knowing Milverton. Once Holmes demonstrates that several of Landers' diplomas are fake, he confesses that Milverton offered money if he came across sensitive information. Landers swears he's not the fail-safe and Holmes demands everything on Milverton in Landers' files.

S01E20-At Landers
You're a liar who lies.
At the Brownstone, Watson finds Holmes has bought many sobriety chips but, he doesn't want to discuss his situation. He found that Milverton referred one client to Duke Landers, a morbidly obese man named Abraham Zelner. He believes Zelner may the the HENRY8 referred to in Milverton's ledger. They are interrupted by a call from Gregson who reports an arrest of a man trying to dump Milverton's corpse at a construction site. The man, Anthony Pistone, admitted to the killing because his daughter was one of those filmed and raped by Garvey and, he was being blackmailed. Pistone's lawyer has spoken to the media meaning the fail-safe will find out. In "the box" at the precinct, Pistone's story is similiar to Ken Whitman's except, he made his last blackmail payment in cash and was able to follow Milverton home when he picked up the money. He later killed Milverton, which Holmes witnessed, smashed Milverton's laptop, threw it away and, smashed Milverton's head.

S01E20-Gregson w Pistone
I snapped. Lifted my boot up and just...
Holmes confirms that Pistone matches the dimensions of the killer he saw, but calls Pistone a fool as his actions could result in videos of all Milverton's victims being released. Gregson believes sympathy for Pistone's situation could result in a light prison sentence. Detective Bell gives Holmes more bad news, all information on Zelner is a dead end and he can't be found. Watson calls and tells Holmes that Alfredo has reported that Ken Whitman just received a new blackmail demand from Milverton. At the Brownstone, Holmes examines the blackmail email and happily concludes that HENRY8 is the fail-safe but has decided to take over Milverton's affairs. Since the video hasn't been released, this gives them time to find him by poring over Landers' files again. Before Alfredo leaves, he tells Holmes he'll see him the next day at a support group meeting to give him his one-year chip. Holmes declines, citing the anniversary as a reminder of his failure. Exasperated, Alfredo says the chip is an accomplishment to give others hope and that Holmes needs to stop being self-centered.

001 Dead Man's Switch episode still of Joan Watson, Sherlock Holmes and Alfredo Llamosa
Milverton's plan has backfired.
The next morning, Holmes wakes Watson by announcing that he knows the identity of HENRY8. According to Landers' files, Zelner's lawsuit was a nuisance suit claiming obesity discrimination. He accepted the first offer as his false identity would not stand up to scrutiny. Holmes looked into similar lawsuits, found a photo of the plaintiff and discovered the first one was from a Stuart Bloom. Zelner was a pseudonym and Holmes produces Bloom's DMV record with an address. After picking the lock at Bloom's home, they enter a dingy room and step on cat litter covering the floor. A foul smell makes them cough and reaching the bathroom, they find Bloom's putrefying corpse lying in the bathtub. Later, Gregson surveys the scene where Holmes points out a boot print on Bloom's chest which matches Milverton's shoe size. He also identifies the cat litter as the same brand as at Milverton's and doesn't believe Pistone to be Bloom's killer. What he doesn't know is who is now operating as the blackmailer.

S01E20-Bloom green
Any idea why Milverton would kill his partner in crime?
At the Brownstone, with no new data, Holmes stares at a fire. He confesses to Watson that the reason he doesn't want to accept his 1-year sobriety chip is that the day he was admitted to Hemdale, he used. He's one day short of one year and the detail is important to him. He's ashamed but plans to share with Alfredo eventually. By email, Holmes receives Milverton's autopsy but doesn't look at it, having witnessed the killing. Watson looks and finds it odd that Pistone smashed in one side of Milverton's head. Holmes looks and remarks that the scars that were on Milverton's head are gone, almost like Pistone was targeting them. In Gregson's office, Holmes greets Pistone who has made bail. He and Watson tell him they discovered that Milverton was beaten four months ago. He told the hospital staff it was by a mugger but they believe Pistone beat him and show him photos of Milverton's head scars which match a cross-shaped ring Pistone wears.

He said he was mugged...
They believe that in order to save his life, Milverton offered to make Pistone his new partner in blackmailing. Since Milverton was unwilling to pay two partners, he killed Stuart Bloom. Pistone wasn't satisfied with half the business, so he killed Milverton. He stomped on Milverton's face to obscure the scars made from his ring. As proof, they produce Milverton's laptop which Pistone claimed he smashed and threw away. Found at the office of Pistone's contracting firm, his brother has confessed to being Pistone's accomplice who sent the latest blackmails. Holmes tells Pistone he'll be in prison longer than he thought. At a support group meeting, Holmes tells Alfredo he won't be accepting his chip but takes him aside for a talk. Later that evening, Holmes tells Watson he's glad to have told Alfredo the truth and he's lucky to have him as his sponsor. (♫ Yo La Tengo - Two Trains ♫) He still doesn't want the chip but, it being past midnight, Watson gives him a gift. He opens it to find a framed poem passage.

S01E20-Watsons gift
Happy real anniversary.



  • Alfredo references his sponsor, though not by name, in "The Long Fuse".
  • There are several direct parallels with the Arthur Conan Doyle story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton:[1]
    • The blackmailing villain of that story is likewise named Charles Augustus Milverton.
    • Holmes attempts to solve the problem of Milverton's latest victim by breaking into Milverton's home, only to watch as the man is murdered by one of his past victims.
    • The murderer likewise grinds her heel into Milverton's face, as a vindictive gesture.
  • Titled Replacement of the Dead in Russian.[2]
  • Watson's gift plaque to Holmes features the last lines of Robert Frost's poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.



  1. Michael Ausiello (April 16, 2013). "Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Grey's, True Blood, NCIS, Big Bang, Chicago Fire, TVD and More". TVLine. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  2. Элементарно (телесериал). ru.wikipedia.org. Retrieved May 23, 2013.