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Elementary Wiki

See, everyone's got that one thing, don't they? Some weakness that could lead you to betray every principle you ever had. The thing we created had value. And I realized it was only a matter of time until someone put a price on it.

— Harold Dresden, "The Red Team"

Harold Dresden is a brilliant mathematician who was one of the civilians personally hired by national security in a training exercise to identify flaws in the system, the group under the collective name as "The Red Team". When he realized there was an actual, severe flaw in the American government's systems, he felt obligated to silence the revelation for the greater cause by all means and costs he deemed necessary.


Season 1[]

A murder between two conspiracy theorists, that of Len Pontecorvo by Gary Sullivan, over a mere dispute of details regarding believing the moon landing was faked, reveals the existence of the Red Team, once Sherlock finds him dead himself and investigates despite suspension. A bug is discovered, but before Holmes traces the wiretapper, he reads Pontecorvo's plausible conspiracy theory regarding the Red Team exercise, revealing one member, counterinsurgency agent Martin Nagowski, was killed in what seemed like a mugging. He soon finds another, hospitalized member, civil engineer Carlo Anillo, with what is diagnosed as Alzheimer's. But Watson sees him instead having micro-seizures, debunking Alzheimer's, to which Holmes concurs saying he was poisoned with domoic acid, a shellfish neurotoxin, to erase his memory. Still without Captain Gregson bringing Holmes back to accept the serialized case, he and Watson stake Pontecorvo's house and follow a fake cable truck to an office where a man going by the name of Bill works, who's later revealed to be first lieutenant Todd Clarke, the Red Team's exercise liaison. He denies he sent someone to remove the bug and insists for the two to keep it, but Holmes reads off a list of possible members and watches Clarke's reactive tics that gives him full confirmation on the names he got right. Once they leave, they round up the remaining members and try to warn them: they consisted of Harold Dresden, mathematician; Walter McClenahan, Lieutenant Colonel, retired; Veena Mehta, professor of anthropology, expert in Middle Eastern cultures; and Sheldon Frost, cartographer. McClenahan is terrified to stay, but Dresden insists it's better to hear them out beforehand to pacify him.

S01E13 Dresden Protective Custody
I know that I'm addressing the 2009 members of the Red Team. I'm hoping that you might be able to provide some insight as to who's trying to harm you.
When they're told they're all in danger and what happened to the other members, Frost and Mehta are insistent to tell the truth, but Dresden, appearing to be the voice of reason among them all, insist they swore a oath to keep the plan classified. With that, the professionals are overwhelmed and all leave, but not before Dresden slips Holmes a note to find "Yossarian". Holmes quickly finds out Todd Clarke, aka Bill, is said Yossarian, as that was his code name during the exercises. But two government agents unaffiliated with the exercises reveal Clarke was shot dead soon after they met him. When Holmes is taken in for interrogation, he counter-interrogates to see if they're connected and what they know. He realizes The Red Team is far from affiliated with Clarke's work and the agents don't suspect it as a motive in the slightest. Unamused and almost ready to take Holmes to maximum security in Virginia to continue interrogation, he immediately provides an alibi with tapes from security cameras in his home, which Watson hates he hasn't taken down yet. Fulling confident the Red Team is being killed off, Holmes insists to the police they all be put into custody. Frost and Mehta are easy to find, but McClenahan set up a rock salt gun booby trap that maims two dispatch cops despite not critically wounding them. He's missing from his apartment, and a cache of guns and knives are found in his home, thus making him a suspect. They go to Dresden, who's still packing and hasn't left because his wife has suffered progressive ALS for two years, being the primary carer for her he wanted to take his time to leave. They mention McClenahan as a suspect, and although he acts surprised, Dresden shows acceptance in the possibility. When they walk out of earshot of his wife, he tells a story of how he kept in touch with him and that Dresden's maybe his only friend. He then says the hypothetical plan that was so horrific, not only did the government classify it, but it changed everyone, Dresden one for better, McClenahan one for worse when he became increasingly unhinged. He says as a possible motive McClenahan would joke because other, seriously dangerous parties wanted their plans and would pay embarrassments of riches, McClenahan would do it easier than the rest from cracking, then adding the price goes up as the Red Team started dying.

S01E13 Dresden Questioned
It's a lot to live with, and it did different things to all of us.

Seeing this as a motive, they tell the police Dresden's information, he might be in his bunker in New Jersey. But Detective Bell says he's not the killer, because he was just found shot in the back of his head. Holmes arrives at the crime scene and realizes his face was covered, meaning the killer couldn't bear to see him in his eyes. The murder was personal. Holmes remarks "he only had one friend", and is thus horrified by the realization Dresden is the Red Team murderer, rushing with the police to catch him before he does more damage and kills the other two members. But they're too late to stop an attempt: Dresden's already knocked out Detective Harris, the officer assigned to him, tying him in flex cuffs and stealing his gun to take him hostage. He them walks out on the balcony of the motel they're all at and tries to shoot Mehta, but officers informed of the situation return fire, making Dresden retreat back and state his demands: either the remaining members die or Harris dies.

S01E13 Dresden Balcony
Are the others already here?
Holmes finally knows his plan, that he's not selling the plans, he's on a suicide mission to silence them. He takes the negotiator's phone and convinces Dresden to let him in despite Gregson's objections, with a promise to get Harris out. Sherlock arrives at the door and Dresden lets him in at gunpoint. Insisted by Dresden to sit and talk, Holmes reveals he never wanted to sell the plans, but he was terrified of their release. He killed the members of the Red Team and their liaison for the greater good of saving countless lives, fearing the plans would be sold soon. Holmes doesn't know why he cared to start after two years. Dresden admits that's when his wife first was afflicted with ALS. And when shadow parties first stalked and harassed him to sell the plan, one even vowing to save his wife, even though he knew it was a lie. That nagging temptation based off his own weakness he knew could snap him like the other members with theirs, knowing they were stalked as well, so he planned and he took opportunities to prevent the plans from being accessed, hastening his crimes when Holmes was on his trail. He made plans for his wife in preliminaries in the event he couldn't take care of her. He then holds Holmes at gunpoint saying he'll shoot him so the police knows he's serious about Harris.

S01E13 Dresden What Plan
If you're telling the truth that's checkmate. So...what's the plan?
Holmes then says he know what the plan is. Sent it in a memo, told a colleague, even wrote it down. Dresden is shocked and admits defeat if Holmes is telling the truth. Then he cocks Harris' gun and demands for Holes to say the plan to prove it. Although never revealed, Holmes relays it in full. Dresden finally concedes and walks out in surrender, immediately being arrested by SWAT. Holmes just then admits to Gregson he only knew the plan because he figured it out on the spot, his most likely guess based on what he knew, rushed by the gun aimed in his face to be efficient enough to stop the standoff.[1]

S01E13 Dresden Arrest
You mean you guessed?


  1. Season 1, episode 13: "The Red Team"