S01E05-Holmes and Gura

"Lesser Evils"
◀️ The Rat Race Elementary intertitle Flight Risk ▶️  Transcript Script icon

Season: One — Episode: 5
Director: Colin Bucksey — Writer: Liz Friedman — Aired: November 1, 2012 — Viewers (millions): 10.49
Summary: Holmes tries to determine who has been killing weak and terminal patients at a hospital, making it look like they died of natural causes. Meanwhile, Holmes learns more about Watson's decision to walk away from her surgical career.


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Main Cast


I must say Watson, I enjoyed catching a glimpse of you in your former element. Seems to me your friend was right. You were quite a doctor.
— Holmes to Watson
In a hospital morgue, Holmes chokes a corpse to study bruising while Watson looks on. As they leave, Holmes notices a different corpse and asks the attendant, Bruce, how the man died. Bruce indicates recent heart failure and the man was suffering from terminal brain cancer. Holmes believes the man was murdered by ephenephrine poisoning. After Bruce gives them the man's room number, Holmes bursts in and discovers a janitor inside. He throws water into the hallway so the janitor will exit to clean it up and then bars himself and Watson in the room. After Holmes shows Watson a photo of a wound on the man's body that proves he was poisoned, he examines the room. With security guards pounding on the door, Watson confirms that the IV machine's rate was lowered to prolong the poison's effect and Holmes finds several coffee cups in the trash with lipstick on one and a receipt. Security forces the door and Holmes politely asks to be directed to the hospital administrator's office.

S01E05-Holmes choking body
This is important work Watson.
A short time later, Captain Gregson is talking to the administrator, Richard Sanchez, and while Holmes and Watson are waiting outside, they meet Dr. Carrie Dwyer, an old colleague of Watson's. Dwyer asks if Watson is applying for a position at the hospital and Holmes discovers her suspension was only for a few months. Gregson calls them in to meet Sanchez and Dr. Mason Baldwin, the head of surgery. Holmes demands the hospital files but his rudeness results only in the body being released to the police, after he apologizes. Walking out of the hospital without knowing the dead man's name, Holmes fumes at the perceived injustice and tells Watson that they'll be seeing a barista named Dave who wrote his name and number on the back of the lipstick smudged coffee receipt.

S01E05-Meeting w hospital staff
He's dead, do you think he's worried about his privacy?
While they are waiting in line at the coffee shop, Holmes points out that Watson deceived him in that she could practice medicine again if she wanted to. From Dave the barista, they are given a description of the woman he served but, no name. However, they deduce from her wearing a white lab coat and heavy perfume that she works at a beauty shop in the area. They quickly find the woman, Jacqueline, and learn that she and the dead man, Trent Kelty, were neighbors. A good Samaritan, Jacqueline looked in on Kelty after he lost his eyesight as he had no friends or family that cared for him. From her subway ticket, they see she left the hospital well before Kelty died. Jacqueline also tells them that Kelty had terminal cancer and only a few months to live. She also says that his only other visitor was a man she presumes was a doctor, who conversed with him at night. Leaving the shop, Holmes theorizes Kelty was killed by an "angel of death."

S01E05-With Jacqueline
Seemed like the right thing to do.
Holmes and Watson reveal to Dr. Baldwin that Trent Kelty's autopsy revealed he was killed with ephenephrine and that a murderer is at work in the hospital. Holmes asks him for the hospital's records which Baldwin says he will get from Sanchez even if he has to threaten holding a press conference. At the 11th Precinct, Holmes pores over the records without success. He cannot find any instances where ephenephrine went missing from the pharmacy when patients died of cardiac arrest. Watson shows Holmes another drug source, hospital crash carts. Working together, they find nine patients who died when ephenephrine went missing from the carts. At the hospital, Holmes plans to meet Detective Bell to question the staff who were on duty when the nine patients died while Watson is going to meet Dwyer for coffee and question her.

S01E05-Watson Holmes crash carts
We're in my wheelhouse.
Holmes finds himself in an elevator with the janitor he met in Kelty's room the previous day. He apologizes for his behaviour which the janitor accepts. As the janitor leaves, he presses all the floor buttons. Holmes stops at Baldwin's office and lets him know that he's discovered Baldwin is on probation for two surgical deaths. Baldwin denies any wrongdoing and shows he was on a train when Kelty died. He also says he's indifferent to patient suffering which isn't what would drive the angel. Walking outside, Dwyer tells Watson she can't think of any suspects and invites her to a patient consultation. They examine a teenage girl and Watson notices a hemorrhage under the girl's toenail. Bell and Holmes interview Dr. Cahill, who is visibly nervous until he learns their questions concern an angel of death. Holmes dismisses Cahill who he believes is hiding something but isn't the killer. Watson tells Dwyer that the toenail splinter may be endocarditis and convinces her to run a test to check for this.

S01E05-Watson and Dr. Dwyer
I'll keep trying to think of weirdos.
Leaving the hospital, Watson explains to Holmes that she didn't keep in contact with Dwyer as she wanted to make a clean break from her past profession. She also tells Holmes about the endocarditis case and that the test for it was negative. Holmes convinces her to ask for a conclusive test as first instincts are usually correct. In the parking lot, Holmes see Cahill's car even though he was supposed to be off duty hours ago. With security guards in tow, Holmes comes upon Cahill in a patient's room, about to siphon off morphine. At the Brownstone, Holmes is angry with himself for not noticing Cahill's morphine addiction and having no suspects. Watson reviews the cases and notices one of the patients killed, Samantha Cropsey, didn't have a terminal illness. Gregson calls Holmes to the precinct where Cahill is being questioned. Cahill says that one night after he'd taken morphine, he went into the patient's bathroom to shoot up. While there, a doctor he didn't see or know came in and talked to the patient at length.

S01E05-Cahill in box
He was definitely a doctor.
Elated that he was right about an angel, Holmes works all night at the precinct. Watson argues with Dwyer about ordering a conclusive endocarditis test for her patient. The next morning, Holmes shows Watson that the second victim was Ukrainian and spoke little English, however, someone helped her fill out consent forms. No hospital medical staff speak Ukrainian but Holmes says that as Watson knows, not all doctors stay doctors. Later, Holmes and Gregson interrogate Danilo Gura, the janitor Holmes encountered several times. Holmes deduced Gura's background and his personnel file confirmed he was a doctor in the Ukraine. A search of Gura's residence revealed a detailed log on the nine murdered patients. Gura admits to being the angel and that he carefully studied patients who had no hope of recovery. When Holmes accuses him of killing Cropsey, who was recovering, Gura becomes angry and accuses them of lying.

S01E05-Gura in box
She was begging me to make it stop.
As Gura is arrested, Gregson congratulates Holmes who is puzzled why Gura refuted the one patient's terminal illness. While looking through the evidence at the Brownstone, Dwyer visits and tells Watson that she was right, her patient did have endocarditis but that an unknown person ordered the test in the patient's chart. Dwyer thanks Watson and hopes she comes back to medicine. This gives Holmes an idea why Gura killed the patient who didn't have a terminal illness. Questioning Dr. Baldwin at the precinct, Holmes says that Baldwin realized there was an angel at the hospital which he could use to frame if he made any more surgical mistakes. After leaving a surgical clamp in Cropsey, he altered her charts to read she had terminal cardiac cancer and lowered her pain medication. This made her a target for Gura.

S01E05-Baldwin green
Baldwin changing Cropsey's chart.
Baldwin's confidence there is no proof evaporates when the surgical clamp from Cropsey's exhumed body and an original copy of Cropsey's charts, provided by Gura from a photo he took, are produced. At the Brownstone, Holmes watches the news coverage of Baldwin's arrest, remarking that the most satisfying moment is when the killer crumples under the realization that he has been caught. Holmes also remarks that catching a glimpse of Watson in her former element was quite enlightening, and perhaps she will return to it one day. In her room, Watson browses through photos on her tablet of herself and her friends from when she was a doctor. (♫ Norah Jones - Travelin' On ♫) She selects them all for deletion, hesitates at the confirmation prompt and then presses "Yes."

S01E05-Watson as a doctor
Watson as a doctor.



  • This episode was loosely based on a real Angel of Death named Kristen Gilbert.[1] She was a nurse who was convicted for murder of patients admitted for care at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Northampton, Massachusetts. She killed her patients by injecting them with epinephrine, causing them to have heart attacks.[2]
  • The opening scene where Holmes is choking a corpse, was inspired by a reference in Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet where Holmes hit corpses with riding crops to study post-mortem bruising.[3]
  • Titled "Todesengel" (Angel of Death) in German.[4]



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

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