|This page is a transcript for the Season Five episode Ill Tidings.|
Chef Joe Leshner: Table 12! Four top, one custard, one consomme, two filets, one mid, one mid well! Step on it! I got branzino dying on the counter here, Erin! Where the hell are my mushrooms?
Erin: Yes, Chef.
Leshner: Hey! Hey, do me a favor. Go back to your station, pull your head out of your ass, and make me a side of mushrooms that isn't undercooked.
Erin: I swear, one of these days, I'm gonna murder that guy.
Mateo Lima: Well, get in line.
Dishwasher: Chef Joe, you all right?
Leshner: I will be when I get my frickin' mushrooms.
Dishwasher: Chef Joe?
Detective Bell: I don't understand. You're asking about the motive behind an armed robbery?
Defense Attorney: In the State's version of events, Detective, my client shot the clerk after he was given the cash from the register. I'm merely asking, why would anyone do that?
Bell: You'd have to ask your client. My job is to find the guilty party. I did my job.
Attorney: Yes. Now let's talk about how you did your job, shall we? I'd like to turn your attention to a witness you referenced in your testimony, Samuel Cruz. You said Mr. Cruz was outside the store, and he saw my client flee the scene?
Bell: That's right.
Attorney: Mr. Cruz's statement was taken on the day of the robbery, March 28, 2016?
Attorney: I just want to be crystal clear here for the jury. It's your sworn testimony, Mr. Cruz told investigators he saw my client, Mr. Walker, flee the scene of the crime?
Bell: Yes, sir.
Attorney: No further questions, Your Honor.
Chantal Milner: Marcus. Hey. You looked a little seasick towards the end there. Is everything okay?
Bell: Not really.
Milner: What do you mean?
Bell: I think, I think I might have perjured myself.
Fiona Helbron: Okay. I can see you now.
Sherlock Holmes: Apologies. I've uh, taken to covering all the lenses in here.
Holmes: Well, let's just say the NSA doesn't like me as much as you do.
Fiona: You think a government agency is spying on you?
Holmes: Probably not this week. So uh, it's been a month. Are you ready to pass judgment on Philadelphia?
Fiona: The people here enjoy eating cheesesteak and talking about cheesesteak very much. I don't enjoy either activity as much as they do. But I like the river. It's quiet.
Holmes: So you've been spending time on the Delaware?
Fiona: For work. I thought I told you.
Holmes: Uh, in your e-mail, you mentioned a business trip in Philadelphia, but uh, nothing about the river.
Fiona: Oh. We're installing an experimental auto-navigation program on a barge. It maps the riverbed and sets its course accordingly.
Holmes: Sounds interesting.
Fiona: It isn't. Or at least it isn't for me. It's work. Can we talk about something else?
Fiona: Good, because I had an idea. I'd like to spend some time with you in person. It's been weeks.
Holmes: You want me to come to Philadelphia?
Fiona: I don't. I want you to come to Cranbury Township, New Jersey. It's exactly halfway between Philadelphia and New York. There's a bed-and-breakfast called The Nestle Inn.
Holmes: Right. Oh.
Fiona: Is something wrong?
Holmes: I'm being summoned to the scene of a crime.
Fiona: That's okay. We can talk later.
Holmes: We can talk in Cranbury Township.
Fiona: So you'll come?
Fiona: That's good. I wasn't sure you'd say yes.
Holmes: Well, you should have been.
Captain Gregson: Victim's name is Joe Leshner. He was the head chef here. He passed out at the end of lunch, collapsed on the floor over here. Witnesses say he was bleeding from the eyes before he went down.
Joan Watson: Coagulopathy that extreme could be the result of a toxin in the body. Maybe he was poisoned.
Gregson: Oh, yeah, we're gonna have to wait for the autopsy for sure, but yeah. And he might not been the only one. Line cook Mateo Lima started showing some low-grade symptoms, and he's getting tended to out front.
Watson: Well, Arrondissement 21 is one of the hottest restaurants in the city. Maybe one of its competitors tried to wipe out the staff?
Gregson: Well, at the moment, I'm inclined to think that, uh, the target was Leshner, and Lima was just collateral. The cooks here say Chef Joe wasn't winning any popularity contests.
Holmes: Maybe that's why someone dosed his cotton candy foie gras. Lumps of duck liver wrapped in spun sugar. Obscenely pretentious and, in this case, quite deadly. Someone's injected the meaty center with snake venom.
Gregson: Tell me you didn't just eat some.
Holmes: Oh, it's quite harmless if ingested orally. Stomach acid neutralizes the toxin. It's only dangerous if it enters the blood. Hence, the fiberglass.
Gregson: The what?
Holmes: Fiberglass. These granules, some of them are sea salt. Others are tiny shards of fiberglass meant to create microscopic abrasions in the mouth.
Watson: So the snake venom could be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Gregson: Pretty sure you'd know if you were eating fiberglass.
Holmes: Well, this has been ground down exceedingly fine, so adding it to a dish like this would yield little more than a chalky texture.
Gregson: That's a new one.
Holmes: Yeah. That sick line cook's gonna know who made this.
Lima: I ate snake venom? Am I am I gonna be okay?
Holmes: Well, it appears so. How much did you eat?
Lima: Uh, just a bite.
Lima: I mean, Chef Joe didn't usually share it with us. Didn't want anyone figuring out his special recipe.
Gregson: Right. You mean he made that food himself?
Lima: Last night. He'd usually make a batch after we'd close. Store it in the prep fridge.
Gregson: Hard to imagine he was our poisoner.
Watson: So only restaurant employees have access to the kitchen, is that correct?
Lima: Normally, yeah.
Lima: We had a break-in last night. Now, somebody broke the lock on the back door, tried the safe in the office. It looks like they gave up when it wouldn't open.
Watson: Maybe it was cover for the poisoner.
Lima: That batch in the kitchen was for a private lunch we had here today.
Gregson: You served it?
Lima: It was a seven top, our first seating of the day. They called ahead, they said they all wanted the chef's tasting menu. It, it's the only way you can get our famous foie gras.
Holmes: So seven people ate fiberglass and snake venom here earlier today. And anyone who looked in the reservation book would have known that they were going to eat that?
Watson: You think one of them was the target.
Holmes: One of them or all of them. We might not be looking at the death of one man. We might be investigating a mass murder.
Dr. Eugene Hawes: Heck of a welcome-home gift. Our first week back, and I'm look at neuropathy, coagulopathy, myelosis, internal hemorrhaging, renal failure.
Watson: Textbook envenomation symptoms.
Hawes: If it weren't for the chef uniform, I'd have pegged Mr. Leshner for a snake charmer, a bad one.
Gregson: No idea what type of snake the venom came from?
Hawes: That's gonna take some time. There's no one test to I.D. the source species. I have to run Mr. Leshner's blood against a bunch of known samples to find a match. But I can tell you, the stuff is neurotoxic and very potent. You said the restaurant couldn't identify the seven other people who ate it?
Gregson: All we got is the name of the guy who made the reservation. Daniel O. Lukic. And we ran him through the RTCC. No hits. There's not a single person in the country that's got that name. So we're thinking it's probably an alias.
Hawes: Well, if he and his lunch mates ate more than a nibble of that foie gras, we're gonna be seeing them down here soon enough. I got to get that.
Gregson: Another victim just turned up. Tate Orvis, Brooklyn software programmer. Showed up at Stuyvesant Memorial half hour ago. He didn't make it. Symptoms same as the chef.
Watson: Well, we have to find out who all these people were before we can figure out who wanted them dead and why. At least we have a lead.
Holmes: We have two. There's a name on the reservation.
Gregson: I just said there's nobody in the country named Daniel O. Lukic.
Holmes: There is however a Danilo Lukic. D-A-N-I-L-O. Whoever took the reservation mistook his first name for his first name and a middle initial. Mr. Lukic is a Serbian national. He designs onboard computers for a car company in Belgrade. And according to them, he's on vacation in New York this week, staying at the Vera Hotel in Queens.
Holmes: Marcus, nice of you to join.
Bell: They just let you in here, huh?
Holmes: Well, once I explained there might be a dead Serbian inside, they were very accommodating. Oh, there wasn't, as you can see. But uh, they invited me to stay and have a look around if it might help them locate their poisoned guest.
Bell: Any luck so far?
Holmes: I've learned that Danilo Lukic is a Sagittarius, he's allergic to corn, and he collects penguin-themed bric-a-brac. His whereabouts however remain a mystery.
Bell: Look, there's something we need to talk about. I was in court this morning. You remember Leon Walker? Killed that bodega owner, fled with cash from the register.
Holmes: Yeah, $207, if memory serves.
Bell: There was a witness, Samuel Cruz. You said he saw the shooter flee the store?
Holmes: Yeah, he did.
Bell: He told you he saw Leon Walker?
Holmes: He didn't have to. It was obvious.
Bell: What do you mean, it was obvious?
Holmes: Cruz was uh, peddling bootleg perfume outside the store that day. Couldn't afford to leave his elicit business unattended, so there's no question he was there. I mean, Walker ran out after the shooting.
Bell: Okay, but he could have been looking in the other direction, he could have...
Holmes: Walker knocked over a rack of Cruz's fragrances. They shattered all over the sidewalk. There was still glass on the ground when I arrived at the scene. And given the fact that the uh, murder weapon reeked of Eu De Toilette when it was recovered a day later, stood to reason.
Bell: It can't stand to reason. Mr. Cruz being a witness, that's part of the State's case.
Holmes: I'm confused as to why they would introduce him. Leon Walker's DNA and fingerprints were found at the scene, there was a ballistics match on his weapon, and the money was recovered in his apartment. So what Cruz saw or didn't see doesn't bloody matter.
Bell: It does now. I just told a jury that Cruz said he saw Walker. I thought it was rock-solid, and your notes were shorthanded...
Holmes: My notes were misinterpreted.
Bell: Either way, we got a problem. The way the defense attorney was harping on it, my guess is he's gonna put Cruz on the stand and Cruz is gonna have a different story to tell. They'll use the discrepancy to make it look like we bungled the investigation.
Holmes: Did you tell the A.D.A?
Bell: Yeah, she's not happy. She wants to put us both in front of a judge to walk all this back when court resumes next week.
Holmes: That's not going to happen. There is no question that Cruz saw Walker flee the scene. If the court wants us to prove it, then we'll just prove it. But not at the moment.
Bell: Something wrong?
Holmes: All the beverages in this room are made by the same conglomerate, apart from this wine.
Bell: So Mr. Lukic brought his own wine.
Holmes: Not wine. Just the bottle.
Bell: Any idea what those are?
Sydney Shea: I can't believe Tate's dead. I was just in a meeting with him this morning.
Gregson: He was poisoned at lunch, Mrs. Shea. And it looks like several other people were dosed. So far, we've been unable to identify them. Any chance you know who he was dining with?
Shea: Sorry, no. I'm not plugged into Tate's calendar. He was the CEO. I'm just the HR lady.
Watson: Well, you're more than that.
Shea: What do you mean?
Watson: We went through your social media accounts. Three Saturdays ago, you posted a photo of a sunset. The caption read "Beautiful night with friends."
Watson: So, the photo was taken from the porch of Tate's summer home in Vermont. We matched the photos to his accounts. You weren't with friends, you were with Tate. You were having an affair.
Gregson: We spoke to Mr. Orvis's housekeeper. She said last week you two had a fight. He called you a psycho. Why would he say something like that?
Shea: You're right. We were sleeping together. He called me crazy because he didn't want to tell the truth.
Gregson: Which was?
Shea: He was two-timing me. I was at his place when I overheard him talking to an Italian woman on the phone. I didn't recognize her voice.
Watson: You listened in on the call.
Shea: I heard him say "I miss you," so I picked up the other line. They were saying how excited they were to see each other. After they hung up, I started poking around. I found these weird key cards in his wallet. I thought they were to get into places where he was meeting her. When I couldn't connect them to any hotels, I confronted him. He got angry. He wouldn't tell me anything about the cards or the woman. Our thing was over. But I didn't kill him. You have to believe me.
Watson: We might, if you can tell us where you were last night.
Shea: Home. With my husband. I know you could tell him about the affair. Could ruin my life. But I swear, he's just gonna tell you the same thing.
Gregson: Sorry. He's gonna have to.
Watson: Do I smell Thai food?
Holmes: Yes, there's tom yum goong in here.
Watson: Oh. Finally, some good news. I am starving. So, it turns out that Tate Orvis is a real Lothario, but a pretty unlikely murder target. The Captain and I spent the last few hours calling every hospital in the city, trying to find a new lead. Didn't find a single one. Day was a total bust.
Holmes: Well, I wouldn't go that far. The photographs you sent of the key cards that Sydney Shea found proved quite useful. These were hidden in Danilo Lukic's hotel room.
Watson: They're identical. Sydney thought that these were proof that Tate was having an affair with some Italian mistress.
Holmes: She's not his mistress. She's a telecom executive. Her name is Serafina DiTomasso. I was struggling to grasp the connection between a software guru from Brooklyn and an auto worker from Belgrade. These key cards tell the tale.
Watson: Do you know what they're for?
Holmes: No idea. But I know where they came from. Each one is marked with an alphanumeric code which begins with "IAO."
Holmes: The Internet Address Organization. It is a nonprofit organization comprised of eminent computer science professionals. The group is very secretive. But online rumors suggest that these seven individuals are its leaders.
Watson: So you think Serafina DiTomasso and the others are the five missing poison victims.
Holmes: I've managed to confirm that each one of these people has business in New York this week. The NYPD is sending patrol cars to their hotels as we speak.
Holmes: You seem a little disappointed.
Watson: No, I just thought, with the secret key cards and the snake venom and the foreign affairs, we'd be dealing with spies or assassins. Not you know, tech support. I mean, why would anyone want to wipe out this group? They seem so mundane. I mean, what would killing them even achieve?
Holmes: Airport shutdowns, power grid failures, financial meltdowns, nuclear war, take your pick.
Watson: What are you talking about?
Holmes: The IAO controls core security for the entire Internet. These people are many things, Watson, but mundane they are not.
Bell: I'm sorry if you don't like my questions, Mr. Dalal, but you still have to answer them.
Ajit Dalal: Yesterday, my friend Tate was killed. This morning, I wake up to hear Danilo died on a subway platform. Now you tell me everyone else in the group was found dead in their hotel rooms and you think I'm to blame.
Bell: We don't know what to think right now, but we're trying to solve these murders and you're not helping. What conclusions are we supposed to draw from that?
Dalal: That these people were dear friends of mine? That it's taking me some time to process this nightmare?
Watson: We completely understand, but we have urgent questions we need to ask. So you admit you and your friends were leaders of the IAO. You were at the same lunch, but you were the only one who survived it.
Dalal: I didn't eat the poisoned foie gras because I'm a vegetarian. My entire life. Ask anyone.
Holmes: The restaurant manager said that 13 menu items were served. Two of them contained meat. Two out of the 13.
Bell: Pretty lucky the snake venom just happened to be in one of the two dishes you couldn't eat instead of one of the 11 you could.
Dalal: That is exactly what it was, lucky! You said the food was poisoned during a break-in the night before, right? I was at my hotel, the Belmont in Queens. Look at their security footage. I was there all night. You also ought to be asking yourselves why on earth would anyone have wanted us dead.
Bell: We don't know how your group works. You guys don't exactly advertise your methods. Based on what we do know, it looks like the first step to taking over the Internet.
Dalal: If that's what you think, then you understand very little.
Holmes: By all means, enlighten us.
Dalal: The Internet is built on the premise that when people type in the address of a Web site, they are sent to the legitimate version of that site. When the seven of us would meet up, we would verify that every entry in the online phone book was legitimate. If we didn't, a bunch of fake sites would pop up to steal users' personal data, plant uh, spyware on-on phones and computers...
Bell: So, seven people verify every Web site on the Internet?
Dalal: We use an algorithm to do it.
Bell: What happens if someone gets their hands on that algorithm?
Dalal: Well, they couldn't. Not without these.
Watson: Danilo Lukic and Tate Orvis had those cards. What are they?
Dalal: When the algorithm isn't in use, it's divided into seven parts and stored on hard drives. The drives are kept in safes, locked with these. But even if someone snatched all of our cards, and whoever poisoned our lunch obviously didn't, they'd still need to clear a dozen hurdles before they could do any real harm.
Bell: What do you mean?
Dalal: We're just the first line of defense. There are backup algorithms and fail-safe alarms, replacement key-holders. There isn't a scheme I could imagine that would actually benefit from my friends dying.
Bell: Thought talking to that guy would clear things up. It didn't.
Holmes: So if the deaths of his friends didn't further any Internet coup d'etat, we might want to consider a more personal motive. One member of the group had an enemy, the other deaths were collateral damage.
Watson: Well, before we look into these people's lives, we should check out his story, see if there's video at the hotel at the time of the break-in.
Bell: Any chance you could do that without us? We have a quick errand to run. Old case that's on trial.
Watson: Yeah. I'll be in touch.
Holmes: So you were supposed to meet with Samuel Cruz this morning. Were you not able to confirm my suspicions?
Bell: Actually, I was able. I laid out your broken perfume bottle story and said we know he saw Leon Walker's face as Walker fled the scene of the shooting. He admitted it, told me everything. He says he was being pressured by the defendant to lie on the stand. He was gonna say the person he saw running from the store was a woman.
Holmes: I'm sure the defense attorney would have had a field day with that discrepancy.
Bell: You and I get to tell the A.D.A. the good news.
Holmes: There are seven murders by snake venom waiting to be solved. Six IAO key-holders, one chef. Could you not regurgitate that happy report on your own?
Bell: The A.D.A. wants to be sure our wires aren't crossed anymore. This is about putting a murderer away. It'll take 30 minutes.
Milner: You got Mr. Cruz's signature under an affidavit?
Bell: Figure that way, he can't get squirrelly again. He swore out the real story, picked our guy out of a photo array.
Milner: That's a relief. I'm gonna take this to Judge Williams right now.
Bell: You know, we can go with you if you think it'll help.
Milner: No. The old man loves me. Let me lay it out for him; he'll forgive your mistake on the stand, probably call defense counsel to chambers and read them the riot act. It'll be fine, I promise.
Bell: Thanks. I uh, I'll breathe easier when it's over.
Milner: You think I'd let my favorite cop get tripped up over some nonsense like this? As for you, Mr. Holmes, try to be a little more careful writing your reports. You kind of put your friend in a spot.
Bell: Actually, it was my...
Holmes: No, no, she's right, the error was entirely mine. My apologies to both of you.
Milner: All right. Oh, I'm due in court. Thank you, gentlemen.
Holmes: I am now retracting my apologies. You know, if you'd have told me you had a crush on Ms. Milner before we came here, I could've told you to wear a different color shirt. There's ample literature on which colors women are most attracted to, and purple isn't one of them.
Bell: That was a business meeting, not a speed date.
Holmes: It was both. You dragged me here to save face with that A.D.A. I would've been happy to be your wingman/scapegoat.
Bell: I wasn't trying to put the blame on you, I just wanted to make sure everything was squared up for her.
Holmes: Yeah, 'cause you're attracted to her.
Bell: All right, fine. I like her.
Holmes: Despite her wedding ring?
Bell: It's to keep guys away. She's in the middle of a divorce. Look, when that's all done and I ask her out, it's important she knows I'm good at my job.
Holmes: Why? You want to romance her, not go into business with her.
Bell: Maybe you haven't noticed, but my work is kind of a big part of who I am.
Holmes: It's important to you, and you want to be important to her. The transitive property doesn't apply.
Bell: You think I'd be into Chantal if she wasn't great at what she does? It's what attracted me to her in the first place. Tell me it's not the same for you and that woman you've been seeing. Felicia?
Bell: People in relationships, they talk about their jobs, how things are going, the ups and downs. Pretty sure I'm not crazy here.
Holmes (phone): Watson. Did Mr. Dalal's story check out?
Watson (phone): It did. But that's not why I'm calling. I found the motive for the attack on the key-holder group. Or rather, it found me. Somebody sent a video to every news station in New York. Listen to this.
News video: God declared that the meek shall inherit the Earth. That was 2,000 years ago. We've waited long enough. The IAO key-holders just got a taste of our justice in their foie gras. Wall Street is next. Corporate America hasn't shared the wealth. Today, they lose it all. We're already inside the market. We can't be stopped. There's only one thing left to do. Panic.
Watson: They must've heard about the threat. This place is a zoo.
Lillian Dunbar: Mr. Holmes? Ms. Watson. Captain Gregson told me you were coming. Lillian Dunbar, head of operations. I understand you're consultants. Is no one else joining us?
Watson: Most of the Major Case Squad is working on a lead our tech people found. They think they know where the threat was sent from.
Holmes: We've been sent to learn more about what its author would need to do to make good on his warnings.
Dunbar: The U.S. Stock Exchange receives a dozen threats a week, they're usually bogus.
Holmes: Six dead IAO key-holders lend a certain weight to this one.
Dunbar: Of course. That's why we're taking it seriously. When we get a threat that looks like it might be legitimate, the exchange enacts a set of protocols to ensure the security of our system. Passwords are reset, mandatory client I.D. numbers are replaced, and we conduct a system-wide audit of our online networks, from the high frequency trading servers all the way down to the power grid. And, of course, we freeze all trading.
Watson: That's why all these people are going home?
Dunbar: Everyone but the techies. Most of the protocols are completed by in-house staff, but the system audit is done by a team of outside cybersecurity consultants.
Watson: So you don't think this guy can make good on his promise to burn it all down.
Dunbar: Ask anyone who works in the stock market how to eliminate all risk. They'll tell you it can't be done. But I'm telling you we've done it.
Watson: It's weird seeing it quiet like this. I'm used to the pandemonium when they show the trading floor on TV.
Dunbar: It's pretty rare for us to suspend trading. But when it happens, people clear out quick.
Holmes: Well, everyone likes a snow day, even when it doesn't snow. I think your traders have been sent home over a hoax.
Dunbar: I share your optimism, but I have to ask, what's yours based on?
Holmes: When we spoke to the last remaining IAO key-holder, he was utterly convinced that global Internet security was not in jeopardy. If anything, the security measures here are even more daunting. It's likely this is a bizarre ruse, designed to provoke precisely the actions that you've taken.
Dunbar: I guess it's possible, but we don't really have a choice about how to respond. It doesn't matter whether the attack is real or fake. What matters is the public believes it's real. We have to run our protocols so we can restore public confidence and trading can resume.
Holmes: When it does, I wouldn't be surprised if the killer was set to profit.
Watson: Probably only a handful of ways to do that. He would have to make certain investments, buy or short stocks known for sharp gains or losses in a panic.
Holmes: We might be able to identify the culprit if we see your recent trading data.
Dunbar: It can't leave the premises. But, I can have my assistant get you anything you need. Make yourselves at home. What's two more outside consultants, right?
Watson: I have to say, if the killer's hiding in these spreadsheets, I, I'm just not seeing him.
Holmes: So, I've been thinking about something that Marcus said when he confessed his feelings for the A.D.A. in the Leon Walker case.
Watson: Marcus is in love? Tell me more.
Holmes: She's immaterial to my quandary, but, he feels it's imperative to share one's professional life with one's romantic partner and to have that partner reciprocate. Do you agree?
Watson: I guess. But either way, why would that bother you?
Holmes: I don't discuss my work with Fiona. She doesn't discuss hers with me.
Holmes: She's been in Philadelphia on a business trip for the last month. I only discovered the nature of that business yesterday.
Watson: Every relationship is different. My mother has not read one of my stepfather's novels since the first one, and they're coming up on their 35th anniversary. I mean, there's not always one right way to do things.
Holmes: Yet being a detective is not what I do, it's who I am. So how can I have no instinct to share something so essential with someone I'm professed to care for?
Watson: Well, you're talking about one thing. I mean, it's an important thing, but still.
Holmes: It's not just one thing. In my life, I'd say I'd had exactly one relationship that I would classify as a romance. Irene. Fiona's a remarkable woman. What we have is also a romance. And yet, the two do not compare. It's just disappointing.
Watson: What you had with Moriarty, that's never gonna happen again. It shouldn't. You're either in love with Fiona or you're not.
Watson: That is not a trash can.
Holmes: No. It's a 19th century Empire flower vase from the Russian Romanovich Porcelain Factory.
Watson: Well, then you should watch what you're throwing at it.
Holmes: I assure you, it would take more than a piece of paper to damage that vase. Romanovich porcelain is famous for its exceptional quality. That's part of what makes it so valuable.
Holmes: I just realized, money's not the only thing of value in this building.
Watson: What are we not looking at here?
Holmes: Excuse me. Where are the LeGrands? There was a trio of post-Impressionist artwork here. The paintings, where have they gone?
Security Guard: Oh, yeah. They pulled them down to pull some cable. They got 'em leaning up against the wall right over Guys, could I get a 20 on the paintings that hang out here in the lobby?
Holmes: We've been looking for the killer on the wrong floor. This isn't some byzantine stock plot, it's an art heist. And it's happened right under our noses.
Holmes: The piece on your left is Torqued Rift #4, in the center is The Sadness, and on the right, of course, Nurse Debriefing a Staircase.
Bell: Nurse Debriefing a Staircase?
Holmes: Baptiste LeGrand was pretentious, even for a post-Impressionist painter. His work is off-putting and overrated, in my opinion, but there's no accounting for taste, is there? Together, these paintings are worth roughly $60 million.
Gregson: That building was full of people all afternoon. How the hell does somebody steal three paintings and nobody notices?
Holmes: Our killer is a flimper. He flimped. It's a pickpocket's trick. You use the distraction of a bustling crowd to plunder your mark.
Watson: The poisoning of the IAO key-holders, the video threat to the financial sector, it was all just a ploy to get the stock exchange chasing its tail while the thief pulled $60 million worth of artwork off the wall without anyone noticing.
Bell: Yeah, but I've been to the stock exchange, that place is packed to the gills with security cameras and alarms. Distraction or no distraction, you can't just walk out with three canvases under your arm.
Watson: You can if the entire system is off-line while it's being checked for signs of hacking.
Gregson: I doubt John Q. Citizen knows the ins and outs of the exchange's security protocols. You got to think somebody on the inside helped them out, huh?
Watson: We talked to Lillian Dunbar, she's the chief of operations over there. She's offered us access to HR files, phone records, even internal e-mails, anything that might help recover the paintings.
Bell: So we comb through all the files. Any luck, we spot a suspect.
Holmes: Unfortunately, there isn't enough time for luck. The exchange has a thousand employees. It would take days to consider each one of them in turn, and by the time we've identified a suspect, assuming we do at all, our paintings will have disappeared into the murky depths of the black market, along with our thief. So I think there's a more efficient way to find the needle in this haystack.
Gregson: What's that?
Holmes: Well, with your permission, Captain, I'd like to burn the haystack down.
TV Newscaster: Three stolen masterpieces are on their way back home tonight, after the NYPD recovered the modern art stashed in a Hunts Point warehouse.
Watson: I don't know what your friend is so upset about. Those paintings look just like the real thing.
Holmes: Jericho is an art forger par excellence. He usually spends weeks preparing a single counterfeit. And I asked him to do three in ten hours. So needless to say, he doesn't think it's his best work.
Watson: I think they're convincing. Local news thinks they're convincing.
Holmes: Because local television reporters are the gold standard for investigative journalism.
Watson: So now what? We just wait?
Holmes: The publicity surrounding the staged recovery should temporarily kill the market for stolen art. Our thief will have to spend time convincing any potential buyers that he still possesses the real LeGrands.
Watson: And how's he gonna do that?
Holmes: The same way that anyone convinces anyone of anything these days, by ranting about it online. I created accounts for us on several Dark Web sites known to host conversations about black market goods. We'll monitor them for posts of the stolen artwork, and hopefully the thief should reveal himself soon enough.
Watson: "Give to a gracious message a host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell themselves when they be felt."
Holmes: Why are you quoting Antony and Cleopatra?
Watson: There was an oncologist I knew. He used to recite that to himself whenever he had to deliver a bad prognosis. It's just a reminder to speak simply and honestly to a patient and not sugarcoat the bad news.
Holmes: Are you going to tell me I have a tumor?
Watson: No. I was just thinking about what you said about Fiona last night. I mean, she's smart, compassionate, beautiful.
Holmes: Yet you still think she might not be right for me. Is that what you think?
Watson: I don't know. I just know that you've never been through a breakup before. Fake deaths don't count. And besides, Moriarty did that to you, you did not do that to her. Listen, breakups are never easy, but they don't have to be that bad. So just try and remember, "Give to a gracious message a host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell themselves when they be felt."
Holmes: Lights up on three devious travelers of the Silk Road. Silent Wolf, Hungrybox and Doctor Bumrush. They are buyers and purveyors of stolen goods all, and they are commiserating about a great fraud perpetrated by their much loathed nemesis Tha PoPo. "Tha PoPo's lying, man. The art on the news is fugazi." "I'm with you. Cops are trying to cover their asses. The real LeGrands are still out there. I got a guy who knows how to get them. Message me." "I may just do that. No chance those paintings are genuine. Just a transparent attempt to thwart the sale of the real LeGrands."
Watson: Okay. So, if these guys are talking about the art online, then I guess we have three good suspects.
Holmes: Except they're not three suspects. They're three screen names owned by one man.
Watson: Why don't you just tell me what's going on here.
Holmes: There was a great deal of chatter on the Dark Web about the heist yesterday. Most notably these three posts. I compared them to internal stock exchange employee e-mails. Distinct lexical patterns and phrases from all three recur in correspondence written by the same man, Brian Beale.
Watson: Hmm. He looks familiar.
Holmes: He should do. We passed him in the lobby yesterday. Mr. Beale is a cyber security expert, and he works for the firm which ran the stock exchange's systems audit yesterday.
Watson: So he had access to the building during the robbery, and he would understand the chaos that would be created by an attack on the IAO key-holders, and he's out there trying to discredit our art recovery story.
Holmes: Marcus is going to meet us at his home in half an hour. If you wish to change your clothes, I would ask that you hurry.
Bell: Landlord says he hasn't seen Mr. Beale in a couple days.
Holmes: You recall that the back door of Arrondissement 21 was a grotesque shade of burgundy? Tip of this crowbar is covered in flecks of burgundy paint. Perhaps it's the tool used to break into the restaurant so that Mr. Beale could envenomate the foie gras.
Bell: Could be enough for a conviction right there.
Holmes: Well, it might be enough to sate your future girlfriend, but professional pride requires recovered paintings, real ones.
Watson: Wherever those paintings are, we're gonna have to find them ourselves. He's gone. Still warm. 30 minutes, maybe.
Bell: I'll call for a bus and CSU.
Watson: Coagulopathy in the tear ducts, discoloration of the armpits, swollen glands.
Holmes: Venom, no doubt. This time delivered straight from the fangs of a deadly coastal taipan.
Watson: How can you tell?
Holmes: There's one right behind your foot.
Watson: What do I do?
Holmes: I'm gonna look that up. I'd start with "don't get bitten."
Watson: Hey, this just came for you. Oh. What's Clyde doing out?
Holmes: He's having a walk while we sublet his terrarium.
Watson: Is that...
Holmes: Oxyuranuss cutellatus. Yes, the very same coastal taipan from Brian Beale's apartment.
Watson: The venom from that snake killed eight people, including the last person who kept it as a pet. I thought that Animal Control was impounding it.
Holmes: An animal shelter is no place for an exotic reptile. It would be destroyed. We're just looking after it until I can deliver it to a friend at the zoo. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying its company. It's quite beautiful, don't you think?
Watson: And dangerous.
Holmes: In my experience, those two traits are often a package deal.
Watson: Oh, you're still obsessing about your theory, huh?
Holmes: It's more than a theory, it's a likelihood. Brian Beale had a partner.
Watson: We found the blueprints to the U.S. Stock Exchange on Beale's desk, we found the crowbar that he used to break into the restaurant to poison the IAO key-holders, we found the source of the poison.
Holmes: I'm not disputing that Brian Beale was involved. I'm disputing that he acted alone. I don't think that snake belonged to him. I think it belongs to his partner.
Watson: There was a terrarium in Beale's bedroom. He had snake food. He even had snake medication.
Holmes: All easy enough to plant. Have a whiff of that snake. You'll notice a very distinctive musk. And I only mention it because Mr. Beale's apartment did not smell of musk in the slightest.
Watson: Yeah, I'm gonna have to take your word on that.
Holmes: Yes, the optimal temperature for a coastal taipan is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Mr. Beale's thermostat kept his home at a crisp 67 degrees. It's much too chilly for a tropical snake.
Watson: That only proves he's an inconsiderate roommate to reptiles. It does not prove that he had a partner who framed and killed him.
Holmes: You must admit the timing of his death is highly suspicious, we're meant to believe that he successfully milked a deadly snake for months, only to be bitten one day after he fenced the stolen paintings?
Watson: Okay, so who's the missing thief? Who's trying to frame Brian Beale?
Holmes: When this argument began, I wasn't sure. But that was before a friend of mine at Columbia's herpetology department lent me the skeleton of a coastal taipan. I wasn't about to try my experiment on the fangs of a live one. But now I know. I've seen these exact same markings before.
Lima: This is ridiculous. How did you even get a warrant?
Bell: We looked through the trash you put out on the curb last night, Mr. Lima. We found pet store receipts that show you purchased the supplies needed to house and feed a coastal taipan.
Watson: The venom from that species poisoned seven people at Arrondissement 21 and killed your friend Brian Beale.
Lima: I don't even know who that is.
Watson: Sure you do. You went to Gracely High together. You signed his yearbook. We found it at his apartment.
Holmes: Go Tigers.
Bell: You also got a parking ticket down the block from the restaurant at 3:15 a.m. on the night the place was broken into.
Holmes: We're certain that you were the burglar that evening. You staged a robbery at your own kitchen to throw suspicion off other members of staff such as yourself.
Lima: I ate some of that foie gras, remember? I was sick for two days. Now, why in the hell would I dose myself with snake venom?
Watson: Because you're immune.
Holmes: As you well know, there's a process called mithridatism. It's named after King Mithridates VI, ruler of ancient Pontus. He was so afraid of being poisoned that he would regularly ingest very small doses of various toxins in order to build up an immunity.
Lima: I, I think you may have seen The Princess Bride one too many times.
Watson: Except that iocane powder is fictional. Immunizing yourself against snake venom is a scientific reality.
Holmes: Last night, I had the opportunity to examine the jaws of a coastal taipan. I realized that the scars on your hands, scars I initially attributed to your work as a line cook, were in fact a perfect match for the taipan's symmetrical bite pattern. And it makes sense that you've been bitten. You'd been handling that snake for months, milking it to draw out its venom.
Bell: Hard work pays off. You managed to poison the key-holder lunch without anybody looking in your direction. And it set up your next play, robbing those paintings from the stock exchange. You got too greedy when you decided not to share with Brian, though. Up until that point, pretty tight plan.
Lima: All your uh, evidence is circumstantial. I mean I went to high school with Brian Beale. So did 900 other people. And yeah, I got a parking ticket that night. That happened a half a dozen other nights, too. I leave my car at work and take the subway home if I have too much to drink after hours. You may have had enough for a, a warrant, but if you had enough to arrest me, you already would have. I'm right, aren't I?
Holmes: We're not quite ready to answer that question just yet, Mr. Lima.
Watson: Uh, what are you doing?
Holmes: Something's preventing the water from soaking into the soil here. Don't worry. Tree pythons are nocturnal, right? I think. I have to give you credit for devising such a clever hiding place, Mr. Lima. He will be arresting you now.
Watson: Oh, there you are. I just heard from Marcus. The curator at the Whitney took a look at the painting you found in the python terrarium. It's the real McCoy.
Holmes: Or LeGrand, as it were. That's one down.
Watson: Actually, the other two should be recovered soon. Mateo Lima's case went federal. He took a deal and gave up the name of the guy who bought them.
Holmes: Wise move. The U.S. government could inject him with poisons he's not inoculated against.
Watson: I'm going out for coffee. You want to join?
Holmes: I can't. I have a video chat with Fiona.
Watson: You know, I bet she'd love to hear about this case.
Holmes: Enjoy your coffee, Watson. "Give to the gracious message a host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell themselves when they be felt."