Season: Five — Episode: 4 Director: John Polson — Writer: Bob Goodman — Aired: October 30, 2016 — Viewers (millions): 4.80 Summary: When the city commends the work of Captain Gregson's unit, Gregson pushes for Holmes and Watson to be included. A financial analyst is murdered for writing a paper on asteroids.
I'm better at the work I do because of you. But over the years the relative importance of those two values has flipped. I now value the work that we do, first and foremost, because I do it with you.
— Holmes to Watson
At the 11th Precinct, as Holmes shows Detective Bell how a wanted wildlife trafficker was covering for a murderer, they notice Deputy Chief Prosky meeting with Captain Gregson. Holmes is concerned that Prosky may have an issue with their work. A couple who find their condo trashed by short-term renters work out the repair details with a rep from the rental company. Noticing a fireplace poker protruding through the wall, they don't see that it has been stabbed through a man in the next condo. At The Brownstone, Watson sees Holmes looking at an evidence wall comprised of many past solved cases. He tells Watson of Gregson's meeting and has discovered that the cases being reviewed were theirs. Receiving a call from Bell, they meet him at the crime scene of the man stabbed with the poker, Russell Cole. A quantitative investment analyst, Cole worked for Barrett White Capital.
So, why the trip down memory lane?
No forced entry indicates the killer knew Cole and when Holmes finds a gun behind a book shelf that failed to fire, he posits the poker was used as a weapon of convenience. Holmes also sees a laptop pouch missing from an overnight bag and believes that the laptop was the killer's target. Bell and Watson visit Cole's boss, Mitch Barrett, at his office where Mitch is shocked and relates that Cole was his "mad genius." Mitch would leave Cole to work independently on various projects which always paid off. As Mitch mentions that Cole was like family and that his wife Laurie will be devastated, Watson sees a photo of Laurie in Hawaii on Mitch's shelf. Mitch offers full cooperation and provides access to all Cole's work files. Holmes meets Gregson in his office where he's told that Major Cases is receiving a unit citation. Gregson wants Holmes and Watson to be included in the citation but is receiving some resistance.
Looks like there was a struggle.
Watson surprises Laurie on the street and tells her that from an irregularity in photos she saw at Cole's and the photo of Laurie in Hawaii, Watson's deduced that Cole was on vacation with her and they were having an affair. Laurie admits to the affair and she provides a secluded cabin near Bear Mountain that Russell would work on projects. Holmes meets Bell and Watson at the cabin where he notes copious amounts of poison ivy outside and no recent sign of visitors besides Cole. Inside, they find Cole was working on an astronomy project. At the precinct, Holmes and Watson explain to Gregson that Cole had submitted a paper showing that the method for determining what asteroids were potential hazards to the Earth, was flawed. No sure why an investment analyst was working on an asteroid project nor why he was killed over it, Holmes reluctantly mentions he knows an expert in astronomy who Gregson forces him to consult with.
They pose a threat of cataclysmic collision.
At the New York Science Museum, Holmes admits to Watson that he knows the Director, Julius Kent, from childhood and, that he has an acrimonious relationship with him. Holmes also tells her about the citation and that he's taken steps to stop them from being included. Beginning to protest, Watson is interrupted by Kent who is charming and pokes fun at Holmes, which he doesn't take well. He explains that an asteroid's location and size is determined by the heat it generates. Cole proposed that not taking into account what the asteroid is made of, such a shiny rare metals, results in the asteroid sizes, and their potential threat to the Earth, being measured wrong. Kent indicates that Cole's paper was poorly written and that it will take months to determine its validity. Because of the paper, NASA cancelled a $500M project for an infrared telescope, called Piazzi, and that companies who depended on such projects might be behind Cole's murder.
Every time I ask for his help, he gloats.
Leaving the museum, Bell calls to report a tip from a waitress that Cole frequented the coffee shop she worked at. While Holmes stays in NYC to review companies that were affected by the Piazzi cancellation, Bell and Watson question the waitress at the coffee shop. (♫ The Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein ♫) She mentions that she would always see Cole using his laptop in the parking lot before he left. In the lot, Watson finds a thumb drive buried in a wall, which she believes was used as an information "dead drop", which Bell digs out the wall. Holmes sees Prosky and tells him that he and Watson don't want to be included in the citation. Confused, Prosky tells Holmes that Watson met with him earlier and wanted to be included. In Gregson's office, Bell and Watson show Gregson that the thumb drive showed that Cole had a unidentified partner who helped him deliberately put mistakes in the paper in order to have Piazzi cancelled.
You really thought the Sun revolved around the Earth?
However, when Cole asked for more money, it appears the partner killed him. Mitch is called to the precinct and after showing him that he invested in one of the companies whose value plummeted after Piazzi was cancelled, he's accused of Cole's murder. Mitch admits to investing in the company but has an alibi when Cole died. He indicates that given how much money Cole had made for his company and was projected to make in the future, he would have paid many times more than what Cole was asking for in the messages on the thumb drive. Releasing Mitch, Holmes indicates that with Kent's help, he's arranged a meeting with Congresswoman Salazar, who sits on the Federal government committee that decides funding for space projects. Meeting her at the office of her science advisor, Grant Huber, they ask who stood to benefit from Cole's actions. Both are astonished to learn that Cole's paper was a manipulation and say that all companies were hurt equally by Piazzi's cancellation.
You've got the wrong guy.
Huber calls Cole's actions catastrophic but since the paper raised legitimate questions, its review will go forward. Salazar indicates that funding for asteroid research may have been set back a decade. At the Brownstone, Watson finds Holmes looking at a star projection in the media room and notices he has a paste on his wrist for a poison ivy rash. Insisting he did not touch any ivy at Cole's cabin, he shows Watson that Cole's actions benefited companies who are planning to mine asteroids for rare metals. He then confronts her on meeting with Prosky without his knowledge and asking for their names to be included on the citation. He's adamant that if they start to receive recognition that is commiserate with the value they provide, resentment from police officers will destroy the relationships they need to do their work. In disagreement and exasperated, Watson goes to bed.
There's gold in them there rocks, Watson.
The next morning, Holmes wakes Watson with a pot of the paste for poison ivy. His rash having spread, he checked that Watson has no rash and says he stayed up to review the asteroid mining companies. He's discovered they've already met Cole's killer which will also explain where he received his rash. Later, Watson tells Holmes that Bell is going ahead with Holmes' plan to catch the killer and that their names will be included on the citation. Holmes explains that although their work is important, doing it with her is even more so. Watson asks Holmes to remember that accepting awards isn't just about celebrating their own accomplishments but that it also inspires others to achieve. Having received a call from Kent, Grant Huber arrives at the museum only to be confronted by Holmes and Watson. Told that his office is being searched by police, they accuse him of being Cole's partner in writing the paper.
Why would I sabotage the funding I helped get?
Asking what motive he'd have to be behind ending funding he helped to get, it's revealed that Huber was a lobbyist for the asteroid mining companies and is receiving secret payments to ensure that government decisions benefit them. Told of Holmes' poison ivy rash and Cole's missing laptop case, Holmes indicates that the case was covered in poison ivy oil when it brushed ivy at Cole's cabin. The couch in Huber's office is being checked for the oil, which contains DNA, that will show if it matches the ivy at the cabin. This will prove that Huber took Cole's case at the murder scene and the couch is also where Holmes received his rash. Told that his photo is being shown at the diner where the thumb drive was found, he's asked to confess and cooperate. In uniform at the precinct, Captain Gregson gives an impassioned speech to his unit, citing them as the reason he's motivated to keep working. (♫ The Draxculas - Side by Side ♫) Saying it was important they were all recognized, he congratulates them and shows them the citation.
Julius Kent making fun of an 8 year old Holmes believing the Sun revolves around the Earth is a reference to Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet in which Holmes tells Watson that such knowledge makes no difference in the work he does.
"Because apparently the world needs science explained to it with jazz hands."
―Holmes about Julius Kent
"This squad is the finest group of men and women I've ever had the honor to serve with."