|This page is a transcript for the Season Four episode Evidence of Things Not Seen.|
Sherlock Holmes: Oh, what a shame. History repeats itself, I'm afraid. We're out of Tienchi Flower.
Morland Holmes: This happens to you often?
Sherlock: Well, it happened rather famously on your one and only visit to Baker Street. Or do you not recall excoriating me for not stocking your favorite tea?
Morland: It won't happen today. I gave up Tienchi in 2003.
Sherlock: Well, despite our infrequent correspondence, I've not forgotten the core tenets of our relationship, so I can spare you the speech.
Morland: I thought to be a great detective, one had to be a great listener.
Sherlock: I listened closely for years. You're too busy to have patience for weakness, real or imagined, and that hasn't changed. I don't need reminding that a relapse is grounds for eviction.
Morland: I told you I'm here to help.
Sherlock: 'Cause that's what you do, you help people?
Morland: I help you Sherlock.
Sherlock: We might have different definitions of that word.
Morland: Several years ago, who forced you into rehab? Who paired you with Miss Watson? Who set you on the path from which you have fallen?
Sherlock: So tell me, Father, how are you to help me this time?
Morland: Give your assent, and I will see you restored to the employ of the New York Police Department.
Sherlock: Why would you do that?
Morland: When you had your troubles in London, I lost faith in you. I provided for you in New York because I wanted you out of sight and mind. Little did I know that the untended corner of the garden would grow so strong and healthy.
Sherlock: Yes, I'm quite robust, seven whole days sober.
Morland: I'm not talking about the last few days. I'm talking about the last few years. I respect what you've built here, the work you've done. I'm proud of you. Didn't think I would be. In the early days, Miss Watson and I communicated by e-mail. She described the support system you were building. How your job at the department was an important part of it. You have structure there, friends. I fear that without it, you'd struggle.
Sherlock: I have Watson, I have a program, and the department does not have a monopoly on investigative work.
Morland: Perhaps I'm wrong to worry. You know how often I'm wrong. I don't know how long I'll be in New York, but the offer is a standing one. Quite simple for me to reverse your status with the police if that's what you and Miss Watson want.
Sherlock: Well, I can't speak for her.
Morland: Of course not. I am hoping you will introduce us, so I can extend the same offer myself. And I want to thank her. She saved my son's life.
Test Voice: Taxes should be raised on the rich. A: agree. B: disagree.
Ollie Tate: Hey, Dr. Sarkisian, I, I need a break.
Test Voice: The minimum wage should be raised. A: agree, B: disagree.
Ollie Tate: Seriously, I don't want to screw up your study, but I can't take it anymore. Give me a minute, all right?
Test Voice: Terrorists do not deserve due process. A: agree, B: disagree. Both legal and illegal immigration should be curbed.
Ollie Tate: Hello?
Test Voice: A: agree.
Ollie Tate: Are you guys in there?
Test Voice: B: disagree.
Ollie Tate: Oh, my God. Oh, my...
Joan Watson: Hey. Have you been sitting there since last night? Last night, I came home, you said you were thinking, I went to bed.
Sherlock: You're dressed for work.
Watson: You seem slow today. Not great timing. We're due at the scene of a triple homicide.
Watson: We have a job interview. Sort of. Audition might be a better way of putting it.
Sherlock: With whom?
Watson: Gary Burke. He's FBI. I met him while you were working for MI6. He's a little buttoned-up, but I think he's the kind of guy we can get along with.
Sherlock: Well, he is, if he's routinely in charge of triple homicide investigations.
Watson: I don't know how routine it is, but he caught one this morning. Three dead at a neuro-economics lab in Harlem. Some top-secret research was stolen. I convinced him that he could use our expertise in neuro-economics.
Sherlock: Are you an expert in neuro-economics?
Watson: I mean, compared to an FBI agent, apparently. We can bone up on the way. He's the only one who called me back. Do you want to work or not?
FBI Agent Gary Burke: Joan. It's nice to see you again.
Watson: You, too.
Burke: You must be Mr. Holmes. Special Agent Gary Burke.
Sherlock: Thank you for the invitation.
Burke: Yeah, about that. A few ground rules. I know you guys are used to having some latitude, but on this, you go where I go, and that's it. Got it? Okay. We got two dead scientists, one dead test subject, and seven hard drives stolen. Janitors found the bodies early this morning.
Watson: Would we be right in assuming that one of the stolen computers had the surveillance video on it?
Burke: You would.
Sherlock: And the contents of the other six are the reason that this is a matter for the FBI and not the NYPD?
Burke: Yes, but uh, let our DARPA buddies explain the rest. They just arrived, too. Morning.
Samuel Meher: Good morning. Samuel Meher. Deputy Director. This is Alta Von See, our head of special projects.
Alta Von See: The director wanted to be here himself, but he had to brief Congressional Oversight.
Watson: About this?
Meher: We fund hundreds of projects, but these researchers are really onto something special here. This is more than a tragedy for the families. The work that was taken, it's big.
Sherlock: I assume you're at liberty to use more precise descriptives to explain what was stolen?
Meher: How much do you know about neuro-economics?
Sherlock: We're experts.
Burke: Well, I'm not, so go slow.
Meher: Dr. Sarkisian and Dr. Weller were mapping the loci in the brain that light up when emotional responses are triggered, when opinions change.
Von See: They were using the data to perfect an algorithm. It works a little like a personalized search. The program curates the news a user reads online...
Von See: The program learns what kind of stories you respond to and gives you more of what you want, as a delivery system for favorable narratives. It renders users' opinions more fluid.
Sherlock: In a nutshell, Agent Burke, they're perfecting the art of brainwashing.
Meher: Well, that's not how we'd put it. It's a weapon of soft power. Sarkisian and Weller hadn't presented the results. They weren't out of beta-testing. But we had high hopes.
Burke: Dr. Gail Sarkisian. Figure she was killed first. She's closest to the door. Shots fired from extremely close range. Dr. Frank Weller was next. Shooter double-tapped him, too. Smooth. Like a pro. The test subject in the next room was a grad student volunteer. Ollie Tate.
Watson: No signs of a struggle. Everything must have happened quickly.
Burke: Like I said, we're looking at a pro. Mr. Holmes?
Sherlock: This rat is quite recently dead. There are no visible signs of injury.
Burke: Well, there was a lot of commotion last night. Maybe he had a tiny rat heart attack.
Sherlock: You jest, but rats are quite prone to cardiovascular disease.
Watson: How do you think the killer got inside?
Sherlock: I think perhaps Dr. Sarkisian let him in. Perhaps she knew him. On the way in here, we passed through two doors which required a key card for access. Dr. Sarkisian's is not hanging on the lanyard around her neck, as is Dr. Weller's, so...she was shot after walking the killer inside.
Watson: Mmm. Doesn't look like she kept much personal stuff here. Want to get to know her better. We should talk to her family and friends. Maybe go to her home, poke around?
Burke: We've already got a team there.
Watson: Should we meet them there?
Burke: I've got to finish up here, stay in my lane, but if you two want to take off now, that's fine.
Sherlock: "Take off" as in go home?
Watson: We want to be as helpful as we can, Gary. Our schedule's pretty open right now.
Burke: If we think we need a hand with anything we find at Dr. Sarkisian's, we'll send it to you. Good enough?
Sherlock: Whilst it's certainly convenient to investigate from the comfort of one's home, I do find the FBI's team approach a little off-putting.
Watson: We're a team.
Sherlock: I'm confused as to how much help we can be attached to Agent Burke's hip. A murder investigation is not a three-legged race.
Watson: Well, we prove ourselves on this one, and maybe they give a little more leeway on the next one.
Sherlock: Or we could return to the NYPD where our colleagues already know our worth.
Watson: What are you talking about?
Sherlock: I met with Father yesterday. He's offered to resurrect our consultancy with the department.
Watson: Wait. You actually saw your father?
Sherlock: He came here while you were running errands.
Watson: Are you okay?
Sherlock: Do I seem otherwise?
Watson: Well, you haven't seen him in what five years, more? Look, I think it's nice that he wants to help, but you know we can't go back to the department, it's not possible.
Sherlock: Neither was war in the Falklands, but the old man tends to get what he wants.
Watson: I can't tell if you're being serious right now.
Sherlock: How much do you really know of my father? We've rarely broached the terms of your initial employment.
Watson: Mostly I dealt with people under him. I know he's some sort of international consultant.
Sherlock: It is true, I am not the first consultant in the family, but the title is where the similarities end. Father's business exists to grease the skids so that politicians and corporations can operate around the globe. Sometimes these are noble ventures. More often, they are not. But they happen because Father is an influence peddler par excellence. And if he says he can restore us, he means it.
Watson: What did you say?
Sherlock: I did not. I'm not sure it would be worth the cost.
Watson: What cost?
Sherlock: The one we would incur by accepting his offer.
Watson: Did he ask us to do something?
Sherlock: No, but it's only a matter of time. With him, there is always a cost. The toll always comes due. Anyway it's not my decision to make, it's ours.
Watson: Well, he's your father.
Sherlock: But as you said, we are a team. You deserve a chance to meet the man, find out if Morland Holmes is someone you want to be indebted to.
Sherlock: I find the Chinese character suspicious, don't you? Not their national fiber the marking on this note.
Watson: It means "beautiful."
Sherlock: I am aware. The indentations on the card reveal that it was used in a bouquet.
Watson: "August 20 a day I will never forget. XO, DZ."
Sherlock: "D Zed" sent three more bouquets with similar notes. Dr. Sarkisian's little-used social media accounts are peppered with risqué communiqués from a "DiplomatDan." Now, as luck would have it, there is a Dan Zheng who works as a staffer at China's U.N. mission.
Watson: So DZ, Dan Zheng, DiplomatDan, they're one and the same?
Sherlock: I think "SpyDan" might be a more accurate moniker. Perhaps even "KillerDan."
Watson: He wouldn't be the first covert operative to travel with diplomatic immunity.
Sherlock: Zheng's functional immunity would not extend to murder, but he could make sense as a triggerman. He's been pitching woo at Dr. Sarkisian for months, so she may have let him into the building.
Watson: Okay, but what about a motive?
Sherlock: Spies don't have motives, they have orders.
Watson: I mean China's motive. PRC government already controls Internet access pretty tightly. What would they want with uh, Gail Sarkisian's research?
Sherlock: In my experience, those with a great deal of power are often the same people who want a great deal more. There's little doubt that the Communist Party has an extensive and illustrious track record with propaganda, and then Drs. Weller and Sarkisian come along and perfect the art. So the question then becomes, did China kill to acquire it?
Burke: Sorry to keep you waiting.
Sherlock: That's quite all right, while we awaited your arrival, we entertained ourselves by watching our betters as they processed Mr. Zheng's apartment.
Burke: It's like I told you, consultants need a chaperone, we are the FBI. Kind of big on the rules. What do we got?
Agent Marco Saveda: You've seen it all except the moldy peach in the fridge. Management says rent was paid six months in advance. Hard to say when this guy ghosted.
Watson: We saw some of your agents out there talking to his neighbors.
Saveda: Nobody's seen Mr. Zheng in at least a month. Sounds like everyone in the building kind of hated him.
Watson: You guys missed this. Looks like an old noise complaint.
Sherlock: Well, it would seem we're on the hunt for the least competent spy China's employed since the Ming Dynasty.
Burke: He's ahead of us so far.
Sherlock: This apartment's a stone's throw from Times Square, the noisiest part of the noisiest city in the world, and yet, Mr. Zheng still managed to rile his neighbors. If he's that bad at blending in, he'll leave a trail a mile wide.
Burke: Yeah. Well we don't need a trail. We just need a ping.
Saveda: Not a blip, not a bleep. The stolen computers have got to be at least a mile away.
Watson: So that would tell us if they were closer?
Saveda: It's a cell phone tower simulator. It sucks up every signal in a ten-block radius.
Burke: When DARPA funds classified research, the grant recipients have to use DARPA computers. So the laptops that were stolen, they all have a small, battery-powered 4G router, and it would ping if this unit was close enough. Listen guys, we got to talk. I'm impressed with how quickly you dug this guy up. His disappearing act is pretty suspicious. But this is probably gonna be the end of the line on this one, at least for you guys.
Watson: Gary, you know we can help.
Burke: I've seen cases less sensitive than this get whisked out of my hands by DC. My bosses will do everything in their power to keep a lid on this. They won't want to tip Zheng so he runs, and they sure as hell won't want to start a slap fight with China. This whole thing is gonna be sorted out very quietly and at a very high level.
Watson: No, you're wrong.
Burke: Excuse me?
Watson: This isn't gonna be handled by DC, and it's not gonna be quiet. It's gonna be loud.
TV Newscast: As calls intensify for accountability from DARPA, State Department officials won't say if the Chinese government will respond tonight or tomorrow. No additional information is available...
Watson: Good news. I'm not the leak, either.
Sherlock: Not the most bracing interrogation I've experienced, but I thought their technique was adequate. You?
Burke: Sorry about the third degree, but you get why it had to be done. New people, new leak.
Sherlock: Your superiors have reason to be panicked. I'm not sure whether the media is more exercised about the existence of a propaganda program or the fact that it was insufficiently guarded.
Burke: I think DC's more concerned with how this affects the manhunt. If Zheng wasn't on the run before, he is now. I want to thank you both for all your help.
Watson: We just got cleared. You're gonna cut us loose now?
Burke: I'm sorry. We're in crisis mode here. We're circling the wagons.
Sherlock: Perhaps you'd reconsider if I could tell you where you'll likely find Dan Zheng.
Burke: What do you mean?
Sherlock: Well, my theory is admittedly in its larval stage. Its development is being hampered by a lack of access. There's only so much to be gleaned by glimpsing through a crack in a door. You give us just a moment inside that room, and then tell us whether we belong in your wagon.
Sherlock: Well, as you can see, there's a silver lining to the leak. Eleven million New Yorkers have become de facto deputies in your search. And at least one of their tips was legitimate, Zheng was seen at the World Trade Center.
Burke: We have a mobile team rolling at the World Trade Center?
Saveda: No pings yet, but we got 25 people canvassing.
Sherlock: I might suggest a more promising place to trawl for your quarry. I'm reasonably sure that that satchel Mr. Zheng is carrying is a drummer's bag, it's meant for skins and sticks. There were some strange indentations in the carpet at Mr. Zheng's apartment. In light of the noise complaint that Watson found, and now that bag...um, well, they were made by a drum kit.
Saveda: So what?
Watson: So that noise complaint was over a year old. Kit's gone, but he obviously still has some of his gear. He's been playing somewhere else.
Burke: There are seven different state and federal law enforcement agencies hunting this guy, and you think he was on his way to practice his drumming?
Sherlock: There's a subway station beneath that building with access to the one train and Columbus Circle, home to the Bernstein Music Conservatory, being the densest concentration of music rehearsal spaces in the city, I could think of worse places to lie low.
Burke: Let's pull a team together. It's worth a shot.
Sherlock: Did we earn our place?
Burke: For now.
Watson: Hey, we should tell your father we're not gonna make it to his office. Last time I missed a meeting with him, it took years to get back on the calendar, so you should go.
Watson: On my own?
Sherlock: Well, my absence might be a good thing. I tend to be a distraction when I'm around Father. I look forward to your thoughts.
Assistant: Mr. Holmes? Miss Watson is here.
Morland: Miss Watson. At long last. I assume Sherlock won't be joining us.
Watson: Yes, work intrudes. I'm sure you, of all people, understand.
Morland: Just as well. I wanted a chance to get to know you myself. Please. I wish my business brought me to New York more often.
Watson: Yes, this is a nice office to never use.
Morland: I gather my son told you a bit about me. His opinions, his colorful renderings of our past.
Watson: I know you two don't get along.
Morland: If you think that Sherlock is the only one who considers me an enemy, you'd be wrong.
Watson: He doesn't consider you an enemy.
Morland: An antagonist, then.
Watson: No. I think he just thinks you're a terrible father.
Morland: I assume he explained my offer.
Watson: He said that you could get the NYPD to take us back. He made it sound like you could just wave a wand, or something.
Morland: I wouldn't wave a wand, I would pick up a phone.
Watson: And what do you want in return?
Morland: Nothing. You find that hard to believe?
Watson: I find it hard to believe that charity brought you to a place like this.
Morland: Charity didn't. Solving problems did.
Watson: Mmm. Is that what Sherlock and I are? Problems?
Morland: Heroin is a problem, Joan. You know that better than most. When I hired you to tend to my son, I had no idea I was teeing up a partnership. Nor did I foresee the benefits of working with the American police. But it happened, it worked. I want it to work again.
Burke: We got a bounce in the computers here on the southwest corner of this block. I want Marshall and Barrios to take the even floors. O'Neill, Singer, you take the odds. Now, you get any pushback, anybody wants to see a warrant, you hit me on the radio, we'll line it up. No shortcuts. Okay? Let's go.
Sherlock: I'm feeling a bit vestigial at the moment. I'll um, just be in the coffee shop.
Burke (phone): Yeah, it's Burke. Yeah, they're on their way in. Yeah, I'll let you know. I will. Yeah.
Sherlock: You forgot to assign...
Burke (phone): If he has a summons, just make it clear he's not here about...
Burke: Where'd you get that?
Sherlock: One day you're going to have to explain to your agents whether B is odd or even. B as in "basement." The other things were too far down in the dumpster to reach without getting absolutely filthy. But I'm sure you've got people for that.
Burke: It was in the trash?
Sherlock: I assume Mr. Zheng put it there after he copied the research and wiped the surveillance footage of the three murders he committed.
Burke (phone): Yeah, it's Burke. You're kidding me. On my way.
Burke: Dan Zheng just turned himself in. Says he's innocent.
Mr. Xiaoping: It is beyond dispute that my client could not have authored the tragic events in Harlem. He was at the symphony here in Manhattan when they occurred. And yet your news media has turned him into an international pariah.
Sherlock: No one has made the claim that Mr. Zheng pulled the trigger himself. The relevant fact remains his relationship to one of the decedents. Mr. Zheng could've called Dr. Sarkisian and induced her to welcome an accomplice.
US Attorney: Please, forgive the interruption. We can't control what the press has been writing.
Xiaoping: No, of course. It is a free country, as you are all so fond of saying. And yet my client falls under suspicion for having once dated an unmarried woman.
Sherlock: Are you at least going to ask him how the computers came to be found on the same block as a rehearsal space rented in his name?
Xiaoping: Every person in this hemisphere knew Mr. Zheng was your suspect. The culprit clearly dumped the CPUs in your path to frame him and, by extension, our country. You have nothing.
Watson: Hey. What are you doing?
Watson: In my office?
Sherlock: Technically, it's my father's office. Or did he sweeten the offer today and throw in the Brownstone? What did you think of him?
Watson: I don't know. I mean, in some ways he was exactly what I was picturing. In some ways, he wasn't.
Watson: No horns, for one thing. No pitchfork. And he seemed pretty sincere about what he wanted for you.
Sherlock: The most confounding part.
Watson: I mean, I'm still thinking it over, but I didn't get the impression we need to rush into any decisions.
Sherlock: Nor should we. Not at such a critical moment in our case.
Watson: I thought we got benched. What is all this?
Sherlock: Well, that depends.
Sherlock: On how you feel about being made an accessory after the fact. When I found the stolen computers today, I had a moment alone, so I sent myself copies of Dr. Sarkisian's data, correspondence, notes, etcetera.
Watson: That is extremely illegal.
Sherlock: But entirely prudent. Who knows how long it's gonna take the FBI to draw all the proper inferences and realize that China is owed an apology?
Watson: What are you talking about?
Sherlock: Are you able to detect a difference between these two?
Watson: No. I mean, it's been a while since my neurology rotation. Should I?
Sherlock: Another test of your ability to compare and contrast. Are they the same or different?
Watson: They're identical.
Sherlock: Yes. Except in one key respect, the dates at which they were administered. They are before-and-after surveys from Sarkisian and Weller's experiments. They were beta-testing their algorithm. Volunteer subjects were put through a battery of brainwashing protocols, and none of them worked, at all.
Watson: So this guy was especially resistant to propaganda?
Sherlock: They all were. Hundreds of grad students signed up to be guinea pigs. DARPA's proprietary algorithm, meant to change hearts and minds, couldn't nudge anyone from "mildly supporting" to "mildly opposing" even the most milquetoast of policies. Retiring the penny, for example.
Watson: That's some pretty bad propaganda.
Sherlock: Dr. Sarkisian admitted as much herself. She wrote an e-mail to her partner stating her intent to withdraw a grant proposal for further funding. And Weller concurred. "Our current understanding of neurological processes is simply not sufficient to design a system by which those processes can be effectively manipulated." If Dan Zheng is to be believed, and I think at this point he is, his last assignation with Gail Sarkisian was the same day this e-mail was sent.
Watson: So you think she told him that her program was a dud, and he lost interest.
Sherlock: He learned what he had been sent to learn and then reported back to the PRC government that they had nothing to gain, and nothing to fear, from an American propaganda program.
Watson: So the Chinese didn't do it.
Sherlock: Worse than that, Watson. I think three people died for nothing.
Watson: I think we have to tell the FBI.
Sherlock: Tell them what? That I stole some top secret research? Or that we have eliminated one billion Chinese suspects in favor of one neo-reactionary monarchist?
Watson: I wouldn't phrase it exactly like that, no. But Maurice Antonov has two really good motives.
Sherlock: Only one of which we're adequately prepared to present.
Watson: So why not just go with that? The guy divorced Gail Sarkisian six months ago. Ex-husband hates ex-wife, kills her, kills the witnesses. Stealing the computers may have just been a way to throw everyone off the scent.
Sherlock: I'd rather not present a theory of the crime I do not believe.
Watson: Simple stories sell.
Sherlock: You've been reading too much propaganda theory. I do not wish to bamboozle the FBI into pursuing Mr. Antonov, I want to question him myself. And if he fits, present a complete thesis of his true motive. This is a man who blogs as Henry IX, who advocates for the restoration of a Tudor-style monarchy in the 21st century.
Watson: Yeah, but being a kook doesn't make him less likely to be a killer.
Sherlock: My point is that if Antonov did do it, it might not be because he grew to hate his ex-wife, but because he was still in love with her work. Sarkisian's earliest experiments were designed to push her subjects towards neo-fascist beliefs about the failings of democracy, a protocol Antonov suggested. I submit that he hoped his wife's software could sell his ideas to the masses.
Watson: Yeah, but we don't know if he still thought that was possible, or if he knew the propaganda algorithm was a failure.
Sherlock: Precisely. It should be a simple enough question to ask the man.
Maurice Antonov: Congratulations. I, I didn't realize I had dropped enough clues for anybody to find me. But you are the first of my followers to uncover my identity.
Sherlock: Why are you anonymous, Mr. Antonov? Won't it be more difficult to hasten the demise of the American imperium from behind a pseudonym?
Antonov: Ah, ah, let's be clear. I never suggested that I become king, only that someone should. It's an opinion that is not very socially acceptable at the moment. One day.
Sherlock: Well, how are you in such high spirits with modernity and progressivism eroding the natural order? Do you have some fresh reason for optimism?
Antonov: Of course. The two of you. The truth draws talented people like moths to a flame, more every day. Acolytes.
Watson: Is that what you'd call us?
Antonov: You're kindred spirits. I mean, I'm sure you know your Plato. "There will be no end to the troubles of humanity until philosophers become kings."
Sherlock: Actually, we're not acolytes, we're detectives. And I'm with Churchill, I'm afraid. "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."
Watson: We were wondering where you were three nights ago, around 9:00 p.m.
Antonov: This is about what happened in Gail's lab.
Watson: There's evidence that suggests that you wanted to use her algorithm to push your ideas online.
Antonov: I was here. I was hosting a seminar on Thomas Carlyle. It started at 7:00 and ended at 10:00. There are over a dozen witnesses who will vouch for me.
Sherlock: You know something, Mr. Antonov.
Antonov: And why would I help a tool of a bloated and dying empire?
Sherlock: Because you don't wish to be doxxed as a public servant? I mean, what would your followers think if they realized you suckled at government's teat?
Antonov: Look, you have the wrong idea. No one would have killed Gail for that algorithm. It didn't work.
Sherlock: And you know that how?
Antonov: Well, she never changed her password. I would check on her sometimes. We had 11 good years, and I missed her. Gail was disappointed with the program, obviously, but well, she was nervous, too. She wasn't sure at all how her patron would take it.
Watson: What patron?
Antonov: A man named Samuel Meher. He works at DARPA. He put his neck on the line to fund the whole project. He was very intense. I didn't like the way he talked to her in e-mails. I would have said something...
Watson: If it hadn't meant admitting to cyber-stalking your ex.
Antonov: I never would have hurt her.
Sherlock: Yeah. Good luck overthrowing the government. Don't put us against the wall when you get those firing squads going, will you?
Watson: You buy Meher as a suspect?
Sherlock: Well, he's ex-military, he's capable. It's worth checking Sarkisian's e-mails for his intimidating comments. Would you mind running his name at the FBI?
Watson: And if they ask why I'm looking?
Sherlock: Oh, tell them it was ordained by the architect of a techno-feudal monarchy.
Burke: Are you looking into Samuel Meher?
Watson: Oh, you get copied on my searches?
Burke: All guest log-ins are monitored. Got to be able to account for your activity. I didn't I didn't even know you were coming into the office today. So, what's up?
Watson: Well, Sarkisian and Weller reported to Meher. He was their champion. I just wanted to make sure their relationship was a good one.
Burke: And what about this stuff? Sonic-pressure shields. Robotic dogs. Nanotechnology.
Watson: Yeah, these are other projects that Weller was administering funding for, for the same lab that got hit. I was just wondering who else had access.
Burke: Just keep me in the loop next time, okay?
Burke: What's a mansion got to do with Meher?
Watson: Oh, this is something else for another case.
Burke: Well, I know what consultants make, Joan, so if you're looking for a new place, might want to lower your aim.
Sherlock: How did you fare at the FBI?
Watson: Not well. I did not find anything in Samuel Meher's background that would suggest he would kill three people to cover up a botched project.
Sherlock: Mmm. Well, I'm hardly surprised. I'm beginning to sour on him as a suspect myself.
Watson: Why is that?
Sherlock: Well, aside from the victims no one suffered a worse result from the crime. I'm sure Mr. Meher would reject the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity, hmm?
Watson: So, a secret brainwashing program that everyone thinks has fallen into the hands of the Chinese. I'd say this qualifies as a PR nightmare. Is that Tienchi Flower tea?
Sherlock: Mmm. It was on my mind today. Amongst other things. I've decided to take Father up on his offer. I don't think he's entirely correct that the department is essential to my "support system." Our work certainly hasn't been a boon to my well-being of late. But there are other considerations. I believe it would make me happy.
Watson: That matters. You're not worried about the cost?
Sherlock: One could argue it was paid long ago.
Watson: What does that mean?
Sherlock: If I've learned one thing over the last couple of years, it's the importance of making amends. Sometimes they should also be accepted.
Watson: Well, if it's all right with you, I think I need a little more time.
Sherlock: Of course.
Watson: Two op-eds calling for Samuel Meher's dismissal.
Sherlock: If he was behind the murders it was the ultimate act of self-sabotage.
Watson: You know, just because an algorithm can't sway public opinion, doesn't mean a good, old-fashioned scandal can't. Maybe we should look for someone who did benefit from all this.
Von See: When we get back, let's send those specs over to Gilchrist. I've uh, just...hi. You're the consultants, right? The ones working with Agent Burke?
Watson: Samuel Meher said that you were back in town to meet with Senator Shapiro.
Von See: That's right.
Sherlock: I imagine you'll be meeting with every member of the Armed Services Committee that approves presidential appointees. Now the head of your agency is retiring. Now that Mr. Meher's career is in the tank, you're the heir apparent.
Von See: It's a possibility.
Sherlock: It's, it's also, uh, motive. Three murders, theft of some top secret research I mean, it's a big move, but you would need one to leapfrog Meher on the org chart. In a few months you're going to be controlling the strings to DARPA's $2.8 billion budget.
Von See: I don't have a clue what you're talking about.
Watson: Dan Zheng, a suspect first identified by the New Jersey Dispatch. Now, they don't break a lot of national news in Trenton, but this was the paper you trusted your scoop with because you went to college with their managing editor.
Sherlock: Given the First and Fifth Amendments, it's unlikely that you would ever be outed as the source of the leak, but who else makes sense?
Watson: You didn't know anything about Dan Zheng when you committed the murders. But when he became a suspect, you took advantage. You heard the FBI was gonna be looking for him around Columbus Circle, so you dumped the stolen computers right in their path.
Von See: So I'm not just the leak, then. I drove up from DC in the dead of night and killed three people, like some kind of super spy?
Sherlock: No. You had an accomplice. Was it her?
Von See: I'll tell you what. Uh, you can look anywhere you want for my accomplice. I'll turn over my phone records, my e-mail, my bank statements anything you want. It's all gonna be picked through when I get confirmed to run the agency, anyway. You can be the first to vet me.
Sherlock: Well, that's it. That's the last of it. Every piece of personal correspondence and financial data. Every last phone record and e-mail that Alta Von See surrendered to the FBI. I have examined all of it and I have not been able to discover her accomplice or even the slightest whiff of impropriety.
Watson: Ugh. So that rancid smell isn't impropriety?
Sherlock: It's hÃ¡karl. Fermented Icelandic shark meat. Brain food. It's a shock to the senses. I thawed some out after you fell asleep. I needed something to dredge us out of this funk.
Watson: That stuff is contributing to the funk, trust me. Oh, come on. Burke was clear about returning the evidence in the same condition we got it in.
Sherlock: Yes, heaven forfend that the law enforcement unit designated Burke, Agent Gary would get his papers back stained. His operating system might shut down.
Watson: The FBI aren't robots. You're just upset because we got a lecture for talking to Alta Von See without him.
Sherlock: You sure he's not a machine programmed to follow Bureau protocol? I'm sure DARPA has one in the works, along with a panoply of mechanical dogs, sonic pressure shields, cargo transport blimp...
Watson: What is it?
Sherlock: I think I may have discovered Alta Von See's accomplice. There's only way to know for sure. When is the last time you dissected a rat?
Sherlock: Alta, you are not a swift woman, you are not fleet of foot. I'll admit I did not think you capable of this crime. I should not have discriminated. You are very clever.
Lawyer: We did you a favor coming all the way out here for whatever the hell this is. You're not gonna let this man insult my client.
Burke: Clever is a compliment, counselor. You want insults, just wait. You'll be hearing "triple murderer" in a minute.
Sherlock: That is what I'm implying, Ms. Von See. That without any particular skill or training with firearms, you were able to create a bloodbath here that would look like the work of a professional. You did this yourself.
Von See: I know you said there'd be no reason for me to talk, but do you mind if I say that's insane?
Watson: You seemed awfully bold, volunteering all of your bank and phone records. We assumed we'd find the person who helped you execute your plan.
Sherlock: Not to mention three innocent people.
Watson: The problem was we were looking for a person, not a device.
Lawyer: What is that?
Sherlock: Do you want to explain or shall I? This is a sonic pressure shield. It is a truly ingenious, albeit fascist, piece of technology. The DARPA-funded scientists across the hall have been developing it as a crowd-control device. It emits a direct blast of low-range sonic waves which vibrate at the same frequency as lung tissue. Would you like a demonstration?
Watson: The idea is for police to use it on unruly protesters. To disrupt their breathing and incapacitate them. You used it to turn Gail Sarkisian, Frank Weller and Ollie Tate into sitting ducks.
Sherlock: By the time you entered the room, your targets were essentially out on their feet, suffocating. You could approach them at your own speed and then shoot them, point blank, without risk of being overpowered.
Von See: This is crazy. You don't have any proof.
Watson: Actually, that's not true. The shield's power may be invisible, but its effects are not. You shot your three victims before their lungs could be damaged badly enough to show up in an autopsy. But there was a fourth victim. Frank Weller's pet lab rat.
Sherlock: As you can see, the otherwise healthy rodent has perished from asphyxiation.
Lawyer: I personally don't know what I'm looking at but even if I did, who's to say Ms. Von See did this?
Burke: I'll say it. We found traces of blood at the bottom of the shield, so we know it was used. And there was an odd streak on the baseboard in the closet across the hall, where the shield is stored. Black rubber. This compels you to hand over your crutch, so we can test the rubber tip for a match. If it does...
Watson: Good luck explaining why you were locked in a closet with a bloody murder weapon.
Sherlock: You know, it could be worse. Imagine how embarrassing this would all be if it had come out during your confirmation hearing.
Assistant: Sorry to interrupt. Ms. Watson is here to see you. She wasn't on the schedule.
Morland: It's all right, Jessica. Please take a seat.
Watson: I'm fine, thank you.
Morland: Did you misplace my number?
Watson: Some things are better to discuss in person. Like violating campaign finance laws, bribing elected officials, that sort of thing. Sherlock didn't say much about you over the years, but he said enough. I didn't think I should trust you. So I didn't. I think you'll recognize this.
Morland: It's a small estate in Southampton I used to own.
Watson: Up until very recently. You sold it a few days after Sherlock relapsed.
Morland: That's right. The price jumped out a me. Three million below market value. It's not a great deal for you.
Morland: I don't know that it's as bad as you think.
Watson: No. Probably not. Not when you consider that same lucky home buyer did you a big favor. He funded a super PAC that supports the district attorney. And just like that, Sherlock is no longer facing criminal charges against Oscar Rankin.
Morland: Would you like a drink, Joan?
Watson: No, thanks.
Morland: I don't know what to tell you. There are things that money can't buy, but fewer, perhaps, than you'd like to believe. I'm curious. Why kick over rocks if you really don't want to know what's beneath them? I take it you're here alone because you haven't told Sherlock.
Watson: No, I haven't.
Morland: I hope you have the good sense to keep it that way. My son was born with a malignant sense of self-righteousness. I have little doubt that he would expose the arrangement, probably land himself in prison just to spite me. He'd be back where he was a few days ago. Adrift, uncertain, at risk.
Watson: You took quite a risk yourself.
Morland: I've always been willing to go to lengths to protect Sherlock.
Watson: So have I. You should keep that in mind, because Sherlock is gonna call you tonight and he's gonna accept your help. He wants to go back to the NYPD. I'm gonna go with him.
Morland: That's good news. I can't imagine why you would deliver it as a threat.
Watson: Doesn't have to be. But if you're gonna be a part of Sherlock's life again, I want to make one thing clear. I'm not gonna let you hurt him.