002 Flight Risk episode still of Sherlock Holmes and Tommy Gregson

"Flight Risk"
◀️ Lesser Evils Elementary intertitle One Way to Get Off ▶️  Transcript Script icon

Season: One — Episode: 6
Director: David Platt — Writer: Corinne Brinkerhoff — Aired: November 8, 2012 — Viewers (millions): 10.90
Summary: Holmes tries to prove that one of four people, whose bodies were found in the wreckage of a small plane, was actually killed before the plane went down. Meanwhile, Watson tries to convince Holmes to meet with his elusive father.


Elementary intertitle Episode Cast
Main Cast


You know what Sherlock, I don't trust you. Because thanks to you, we're still basically just strangers.
— Watson
At The Brownstone, Holmes wakes Watson with radio chatter from a police scanner. He complains that it has been a slow week for murder and mayhem. While he is listening, Watson mentions that his father emailed her, inviting them to dinner while he is in New York on business. Holmes is amused and warns Watson that he never keeps his appointments. They are interrupted by a report of an "unusual incident" at Far Rockaway Beach, which Holmes identifies as a plane crash. After hearing Captain Gregson's voice at the scene, they leave. Gregson is surprised by their appearance at the crash site of a small plane and tells Holmes to go home. Holmes ignores him and notices that one victim, Hank Gerrard, has a severe leg wound with little blood loss. He then points out to the NTSB lead, Mirani Molinari, a wound to Gerrard's head which she recognizes was made by a wrench indicating Gerrard was murdered. Molinari indicates a witness saw the plane crash shortly after take-off.

S01E06-Over Gerrards body
This man didn't die in a plane crash.
As Holmes notices strange sand at the beach, Watson points out that his behaviour is off, even for him. Since the police can handle the investigation, she muses that he's staying at the scene to avoid dinner with his father which he refutes. At the 11th Precinct, they question the owner of the air charter service, Charles Cooper. He speaks highly of the pilot, Joe Newell, and identifies the three passengers, Gerrard, Walter Devlin, and Ellie Wilson, as attorneys from the same law firm who flew frequently with his airline. He can't think of any reason for an attack but offers security camera footage from his company's parking lot. Watson receives a text regarding the dinner which Holmes says he won't attend but encourages Watson to. Detective Bell tells them the attorneys were working a class action suit and that Devlin and Gerrard fought over whether to accept an offer from the plantiff, Carmanto Foods. They learn the plane's black box has been found.

S01E06-Holmes rebukes Watson
A pathological maker and breaker of promises.
On the recording, Devlin shouts at Gerrard while Wilson and the pilot try to calm him. The pilot reports an emergency and the plane goes down. Molinari believes Holmes was right, that an attack on board caused the crash but Holmes doesn't believe so. Retrieving Gerrard's phone from the recovered debris, a voice mail is heard on it which is the same as Devlin's shouting. Holmes deduces that someone killed Gerrard before the flight took off and put his body in the cargo hold. This explains why the murder weapon hasn't been found and why Devlin left Gerrard a message, he thought Gerrard had missed the flight. The pilot didn't know Gerrard's body was in the hold and the extra weight caused the crash. Gerrard's killer wasn't on the plane.

S01E06-Listening to black box
I'm saying Hank Gerrard wasn't in the cabin.
At the precinct, Holmes puzzles over the board of evidence. Watson notices the conspicuous absence of photos from the crash site and asks if he is afraid of flying. Holmes scoffs and they are interrupted by Bell, indicating that Cooper has security footage. In Cooper's office, which reeks of glue, the footage shows Gerrard in the parking lot just before the fatal flight, arguing with a heavyset man whose back is to the camera. Later, Holmes notices a "Carmanto Foods" logo on the sleeve of his shirt and as Watson leaves for dinner, she points out a device on the man's belt is an insulin pump. At Carmanto Foods, Holmes and Bell interview the heavyset man, Ed Hairston. He initially denies knowing Gerrard but when Bell mentions the footage, he admits that he was helping Gerrard with his lawsuit but Gerrard was angry that Hairston wouldn't testify in court. Holmes abruptly ends the questioning and outside, explains to Bell that by examining Hairston's office and actions, he could tell that diabetes had made him so weak he couldn't have lifted the wrench that killed Gerrard. Holmes has another lead though, sand.

S01E06-In Coopers office
Obviously, he and Mr. Gerrard had words.
At a restaurant, Watson meets Mr. Holmes, a distinguished-looking Englishman in a suit who greets her warmly. She begins to apologize for Sherlock's absence, but he brushes this off, saying his son has always been stubborn. Even as a boy, he refused to heed his father's warnings about playing on a fence, which led to him falling and suffering a compound fracture of his wrist. Mr. Holmes laughs and says that Sherlock was so stubborn that he refused medical treatment and set the bone himself. Watson is beginning to enjoy her conversation with the elder Holmes, when he asks her if Sherlock is satisfied with the sexual services she is providing as his "companion." Shocked, Watson then realizes she's being pranked. "Mr. Holmes" confesses that he is an actor, hired by Sherlock to impersonate his father. The actor apologizes for tricking her but can't help laughing at her reaction.

S01E06-Alistair head shot
I'm sorry, it's just if you'd seen your face...
At the crash investigation, Holmes leads Bell and Molinari to the remains of the plane's fuel tank. He explains he remembered seeing some unusual grains of sand on the beach near the crash site and realized that the plane was sabotaged. Sand was poured into the fuel tank which would have caused the plane to crash in the ocean and he believes Gerrard surprised the saboteur in the act and was killed. At the Brownstone, Holmes is looking at case files when Watson returns from the dinner, angry. Unable to get her to see the lighter side of his prank, he indicates there's a suspect he'd like to question. Watson refuses and indicates she's angry not due to the prank, but because Holmes won't share any personal details with her.

S01E06-Fuel tank
You think the flight was bound to crash.
Holmes and Bell interview Owen Barts, the air charter service's mechanic, at his home at night. Holmes says he hadn't realized Barts was also a pilot. Holmes has noticed the same mathematical error in the flight logs for one of Barts's regular flights which corresponds to the weight of cocaine. Holmes accuses Barts of sabotaging the plane to kill the pilot who uncovered his smuggling. However, Barts claims he was helping Cooper that morning and wasn't at the hangar. The next morning, Watson wakes to find Holmes sitting in her room. He confesses to a fear of flying but Watson finds this a useless personal detail as she'd already figured this out. Bell calls with news that Cooper has arrived at the precinct. Stinking of glue, Cooper says that Barts called him the previous night, confessed to killing Gerrard and sabotaging the plane and asked Cooper to alibi him which he refused. Barts then planned to leave the country.

S01E06-Owen Barts
It's just a mistake with my math.
Barts' home is deserted and a heavy wrench is found in his garage. Holmes finds the wrench was in brackish water indicating it was likely retrieved from its hiding place and then planted. Holmes believes Barts was killed and pries open the lids of synthetic motor oil cans which contains rolls of cash. He indicates it's very unlikely Barts would leave such evidence laying about especially cash he would need for his escape. At the precinct, Cooper is pale, sweating and drinking lots of water while being interrogated. He sticks to his previous story that Barts committed the sabotage, murder and then fled. While watching, Watson notices a scar on Holmes' wrist which supports the story the actor told her. She leaves while Bell and Gregson exit "the box" where Cooper won't change his story. Holmes sees Bell filling a third glass of water and suggests bringing Cooper a pitcher.

S01E06-Holmes finds money
Who else profited from smuggling?
At a Manhattan bookstore, Watson surprises the actor Alistair, who works there. At dinner, she picked up a receipt that fell out of his book with an employee discount on it. Watson has realized he knows Sherlock well, since the story he told about the wrist injury was true. At the bookstore's cafe, Alistair says he met Holmes when he was 10, after he'd received a letter complimenting his radio play work. They kept in touch when Alistair moved to NYC and became friends which surprises Watson. Alistair explains the nature of Holmes' friendship which Watson finds difficult to accept. She asks about Holmes' drug use and Alistair relates an incident where Holmes visited him while very high. He took care of Holmes who kept repeating a name. Watson has to ask Alistair several times before he tells her the name.

S01E06-Watson Alistair at bookstore
You knew him when he was using?
In the box at the precinct, Cooper finishes a pitcher of water and Holmes notes he hasn't used the bathroom once and stills smells of glue. Holmes tells Cooper he believes that he fought and killed Barts but was cut in the fight. He's used glue to seal the wound and has been drinking so much to compensate for the blood loss. Cooper claims that he cut his side open on a sharp piece of metal in the hangar and used glue to seal the wound when Barts called, preventing him from going to the hospital. They tell Cooper about the brackish wrench and that the NYPD is currently searching the two areas where this water exists. Cooper can either tell them where Gerrard's body is and accept life imprisonment or, if the police find the body, he's likely to receive the death penalty for causing a plane crash. That evening at the Brownstone, the case closed, Watson tells Holmes she wants to know about Irene. (♫ Brad - Screen ♫) Holmes glares at her, his expression a mixture of anger and sadness.

S01E06-Cooper in the box
Tell us everything you know.



  • Titled Footprints in the Sand in German.[1]
  • Titled The Risk of Flight in Russian.[2]


"You can't expect Sherlock Holmes to relate to you the way others might. The moment you do, he'll migrate out of your life, and you'll be the poorer for it."
"I know about Irene. I want you to tell me about her."



  1. Elementary (Fernsehserie) Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  2. Элементарно (телесериал). Retrieved May 23, 2013.
Elementary Season One Episodes
PilotWhile You Were SleepingChild PredatorThe Rat RaceLesser EvilsFlight RiskOne Way to Get OffThe Long FuseYou Do It to YourselfThe LeviathanDirty LaundryM.The Red TeamThe DeductionistA Giant Gun, Filled with DrugsDetailsPossibility TwoDéjà Vu All Over AgainSnow AngelsDead Man's SwitchA Landmark StoryRisk ManagementThe WomanHeroine

Elementary S1 DVD

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