|This page is a transcript for the Season Six episode Pushing Buttons.|
George Nix: Loose file! Open order! Load! Aim! Fire!
Brian: Come on, man. Really? This is supposed to be an immersive experience. No tech post-1776.
Kevin: Dude, you think I didn't see the Fitbit under your sleeve?
Brian: My wife's been keeping track of my cardio. At least it doesn't ring.
Kevin: Damn, George. How did you do that to your chest? That looks amazing. Seriously, man. Are those squibs? God, George is dead.
Brian: Yeah, we all are. Lie still.
Kevin: No, guys, George is dead for real.
Sherlock Holmes: Well, that definitely wasn't made with a musket. Someone brought a modern gun to a historical battle.
Captain Gregson: His name's George Nix, 55 years old, address Upper East Side. Owns a chain of gyms.
Holmes: And it would appear he was a lieutenant in the British infantry.
Gregson: Yeah, he was part of a Revolutionary War reenactment here this morning. Something called "The Battle of Harlem Heights."
Holmes: The scene of Washington's first real success. After months of defeats and retreats, he used a squad of rangers to draw the British out of position and then overrun them. The, uh, colonists then learned to press their native advantage, employ more guerrilla tactics. Some people see it as the beginning of the end.
Gregson: Well, we just see it as the beginning this side of the pond. Nix was acting out the British defeat. He and half a dozen others fell down, playing dead, and then somebody realized that, for him, it was no act.
Holmes: A number of his compatriots must have seen the shooting.
Gregson: Yeah, well, the problem is that they were all expecting to be in a gun battle. Nobody realized they were dealing with live fire.
Holmes: It would be hard to devise a less agreeable crime scene. Hundreds of men, all dressed the same, all carrying weapons, and all with gunpowder residue on their hands.
Gregson: Could be worse could have gone down while they were crossing the Delaware. Come on, let's go talk to the witnesses.
Brian: Because he was on my left.
Chris Holland: That's when everybody started shooting.
Kevin: By the time I looked to the tree line, he was already down.
Holmes: Gentlemen, we can only really understand six of you at a time. Would you repeat what you said about someone hiding in the foliage?
Kevin: Yeah, I was just saying there was this clump of maple trees behind the Yanks during that last skirmish. My guess is, whoever shot George was hiding there. I mean, the guy probably slipped out after he pulled the trigger.
Gregson: You guess or you saw?
Kevin: I guess. I mean, it just makes sense.
Holland: I saw, I think, uh, there was a guy, brown hair, medium build...
Brian: You mean the tall guy?
Holland: Yeah, uh, maybe. He was in an artillery uniform, right?
Brian: I think the guy I saw had a cavalry saber. I...you know, I'm not, I'm not sure. There was smoke everywhere.
Holland: Didn't you say you saw a car?
Brian: Yeah, a, a white van on the far side of the park.
Holland: Right. So I, I think maybe my guy jumped in and drove off.
Holmes: So, a man of average build, or possibly tall, who was infantry or cavalry, fled on foot or in a white van. Any of you hear anything out of the ordinary?
Kevin: Most of us put these in our ears. Gets pretty loud during our battles.
Brian: Actually, you know, I could have sworn I heard a .308 in that volley right before George got hit. Sounded like my brother-in-law's gun. It had that kind of pop to it.
Gregson: We're gonna have you, have you all, come down to the station to give us written statements. All right? Thank you very much, gentlemen.
Holmes: Even for a group of adults who play dress-up in the woods, they're confused. But the entry and exit wounds did look like they were made by a .308.
Gregson: I posted people at all the park exits to check the reenactors' rifles before they're released. I'm also gonna put out a Finest Message for the white van. We can only hope for the best. Let's hope that Marcus and Watson had more luck.
Fetu: I told George this would happen. I warned him a dozen times. You don't hire a bodyguard and then tell him not to guard your body.
Detective Bell: So you didn't go onto the battlefield with Mr. Nix during the reenactment?
Fetu: He said there weren't any guys who looked like me fighting for the British army in colonial times. So, come out here, and there's like, a thousand people running around with guns, and he's got me in the car for "historical accuracy."
Joan Watson: I'm curious, why did Mr. Nix have a bodyguard at all?
Fetu: You ever work out at a Centrix Gym?
Bell: No, but I've seen 'em around.
Fetu: Right. I mean, George didn't own them all, but he owned the brand and the marketing system. So people could pay him a fee and own their own franchise.
Bell: It must have been pretty profitable for your boss. Those gyms are all over the place.
Fetu: The money was pouring in, but so were the death threats.
Watson: For who?
Fetu: Well, a lot of people took on debt to buy into the business. And then they found out it was almost impossible to get out of the red. Some of 'em sell their cars, their homes just to keep from going under. George kept it out of the news, but there had been a lot of bankruptcies.
Bell: And these people blame your boss?
Fetu: Well, it was in their contract they had to buy used equipment at big markups from people who had joined the company before them.
Watson: Sounds like some sort of a pyramid scheme to me.
Fetu: Because it pretty much is one. People started sending e-mails saying they wanted to hurt George, talking about how they were gonna track him down and kill him. One guy said he wanted to cut George's head off and feed it to his poodle. That's when he called me.
Bell: You still have these e-mails?
Fetu: The security company I work for has access to all of George's accounts so that we can monitor threats. I'll send you a password.
Holmes: Three little maids from school are we, pert as a schoolgirl well may be, filled to the brim with girlish glee, three little maids from school.
Dr. Peter Hanson: Not a very enthusiastic performance, but thanks for the demonstration. At least we know your long-term memory is unaffected.
Holmes: Evidently my last concussion was not enough to erase my schoolboy years with Gilbert and Sullivan.
Hanson: There are elective procedures for that.
Holmes: Joking aside, Dr. Hanson, that light of yours is pure agony.
Hanson: The headaches are getting worse?
Holmes: And more frequent. They're interfering with my focus, my sleep, my existence.
Hanson: Are you taking the gabapentin I prescribed? It's not helping?
Holmes: Point of fact, I think my symptoms are getting worse. Blurred vision, short-term memory loss, the pain. It's just not the trajectory I'd hoped for when I put myself in your care.
Hanson: Haven't I been straight with you? Recovery from post-concussion syndrome doesn't happen overnight. Your brain needs time to heal itself. Recovery can be circuitous.
Holmes: So that's the sum total of your professional advice, just wait and hope for the best?
Hanson: I'm raising your dose of gabapentin from 200 milligrams to 400 milligrams. It might make you drowsy, but you shouldn't notice any other changes. And if that doesn't do the trick, we'll keep upping the dosage until it does. I know you don't like putting more pills in your body, but you haven't had a euphoric reaction. I don't believe you're at any risk of dependency.
Holmes: Gabapentin may not typically be habit-forming, but I am.
Hanson: Sherlock, this medication's the best option for someone with your history of addiction and the symptoms you've shown. Trust me.
Watson: What is that on your head?
Holmes: It's a welder's mask from the 1930s.
Watson: Okay. Why is it on your head?
Holmes: The Filterweld lenses offer better protection against glare than regular sunglasses.
Watson: Your headache's that bad?
Holmes: Calling it a headache is an understatement.
Watson: You know, staring at a computer monitor does not help, I got this.
Holmes: No, no. It's fine. I just finished going through the threats made against Mr. Nix.
Holmes: Well, he's not winning any popularity contests. Half of his franchisees truly loathe him, but I don't think any of them are the architects of his demise.
Watson: Why not?
Holmes: This crime was planned well in advance. Our killer was patient and exacting. These are not traits that spring to mind when you read e-mails like, "I am serious, bro, I'll beat your ass until you see stars in the daytime."
Watson: They're all like this?
Holmes: No, this one stands out for its proper spelling and punctuation. Even if any of these delightful epistolarians did harbor homicidal tendencies, it seems unlikely that any of them would know that Mr. Nix planned to travel back to 1776 yesterday and make himself such a ripe target.
Watson: So, the e-mails are a dead end.
Holmes: Not entirely. I found some turbulent correspondence between George and his daughter Marcy.
Watson: That's nasty stuff. Doesn't sound like Thanksgiving at the Nixes' house would be much fun. But then again, you know, a lot of people argue with their parents.
Holmes: Read the last bit. She dropped off the map after severing ties with her father and told him that she would kill him if he ever came looking for her.
Watson: I wonder if she's still in his will.
Holmes: That is a question worth asking her. I managed to track her to an address in Montebello, which is 35 miles northwest of the city. If you leave now, you could buy yourself a meal which doesn't smell like decomposing cassowary.
Watson: You don't feel like coming along?
Holmes: It's not that. I just, I have to meet with, um, Michael. I've mentioned him before.
Watson: Yeah, a couple of times. Wait, is he your new sponsor?
Holmes: No. But I do recognize that it's important to talk to people in times like this, and he made himself available. So, I appreciate that. Now more than usual.
Michael Rowan: Hey. Wow, you got here fast. Sorry about the mess.
Holmes: Don't be, you should see my place. "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?"
Rowan: Who said that?
Rowan: That guy. You know, when he wasn't busy figuring out the universe, he sure could crank out quotes for a fridge magnet. Do you want to grab a cup of coffee downstairs?
Rowan: Your doctor doubled your dose, just like that?
Holmes: Mmm, he says there's no reason not to be aggressive. I've shown no signs of physical dependency to gabapentin, and, uh, the symptoms of my PCS have been getting worse.
Rowan: I'm sorry to hear that.
Holmes: Yeah. Well, I'm not in any pain at the moment. So it's possible the medication's working.
Rowan: Right, but you're anxious about it. Worried it won't work?
Holmes: I'm actually more fearful that it will work.
Rowan: Right, I get it. You're an addict. The idea that you need more drugs can't be easy.
Holmes: When I was using, I, um, I used this tortured calculus to, uh, come up with all sorts of reasons that would justify stuffing my veins with chemicals. I want to get better, but I just don't, I just don't want to go back to thinking that way.
Rowan: Well, last time we spoke, you said you had a partner who was a doctor. Wh-What did she say about all this?
Holmes: I didn't discuss it with her.
Rowan: How come?
Holmes: Because I know what she'll say. She'll say that Dr. Hanson is the finest neurologist on the Eastern Seaboard, and he wouldn't prescribe this medication if he didn't think it was the best course of action. She'd also say that I'm very, very strong in my program of recovery and that I shouldn't worry.
Rowan: Maybe she's right. I mean, recovery's a team sport. That's why we sit in church basements and rec centers with people we don't know. Because we need other people's help. We need to allow ourselves to be helped.
Holmes: Do you think I should stay on medication?
Rowan: Honestly, who cares what I think? I mean, you're sober. You know, there's no way you could've done that without trusting the people around you. And right now, when you're in pain and can't think straight? It's probably not the best time to change the formula.
Marcy Nix: I always told Dad capitalism was gonna kill him.
Bell: I don't mean to be difficult, but we can't bring charges against capitalism. We're looking for the person who shot him, and we're here to find out if you know anything about it.
Nix: You think I killed my dad?
Bell: We talked to your father's accountant. It's his understanding you're about to inherit more than $5 million.
Watson: We know that you and your father were estranged. We have the e-mails that you sent to him six months ago.
Nix: Yeah, I said some things I regret, but like you said, that was six months ago. I'm a completely different person now. I've found my true self here at the commune.
Bell: Okay, but your previous self threatened to shoot him if he ever contacted you again. Did he?
Nix: No. And I've let all that anger go. I don't even step on ants anymore. There's no way I would kill my own father.
Watson: You wouldn't have to. You're about to be rich. There are people you can hire to do that for you.
Nix: People? What people? The only people I know are here at the commune, and all of us were on a vision hike at Harriman State Park. You can check with the rangers there if you want.
Bell: Plenty of potential guns for hire outside these walls.
Nix: Even if that were true, there's no way I could contact them. There's no technology allowed on grounds here. You had to check your phones at the door, right? If I were to hire some secret assassin, I'd have to do it with smoke signals. Look, I get it. A lot of people probably would kill for $5 million. But I won't touch a dime. Growing up, I saw what my Dad's money did to him, it turned him into this soulless machine. And I was afraid it was gonna do the same thing to me. That's why I sold all my stuff and moved up here. Whatever inheritance comes my way, it is a noose, not a blessing. I'll give it all away.
Bell: What do you think you do on a vision hike?
Watson: Look around, I guess. I mean, we can call the rangers at the park that she mentioned, but I'm guessing she's telling the truth. I didn't get a "killer" vibe in there, did you?
Bell: I'm not sure I'm buying that she wouldn't step on bugs, but no. Murdering her father? I don't see it.
Watson: I'll take another pass at the e-mail threats that George Nix received. Maybe Sherlock and I missed something.
Bell (phone): Hey, Captain.
Gregson (phone): Where are you? I've been calling.
Bell (phone): Sorry. We had to check our phones at the door when we got to Marcy Nix's commune. Something up?
Gregson (phone): Are you with her right now?
Bell (phone): No, but we were a minute ago. Neither of us likes her for what happened to her dad. Why?
Gregson (phone): Because if you were just with her, I guess we can also clear her for burning his house down.
Bell (phone): What are you talking about?
Gregson (phone): Fire started an hour ago. Fire department did the best they could, but the place is a total loss. Someone really didn't like George Nix. When they killed him, looks like they were just getting started.
Bell: Morning. Got your text. Fire marshal's report came in?
Gregson: Initial findings. Just the thing to start your day. Arson at the Nix home is confirmed. It was started with a blend of thermite and something called napalm B. Put the two together and you get a mixture that burns a lot hotter than your average house fire. Explains why the place went up so fast.
Bell: Thermite? Napalm B? Where does someone get that stuff?
Gregson: I had the same question. Didn't love the answer. There are recipes online. Everything you need, you can find at your local hardware store.
Watson: We can call the stores in the area, see if anyone recently bought all the ingredients at once.
Gregson: I already got people checking, but I'm not holding my breath. Whoever did this was careful.
Bell: Yeah. No prints or DNA recovered at the scene. This is interesting, though. They think that was left by the guy who set the fire.
Watson: Why is that?
Gregson: The soil composition is a match for the park where the reenactment was held. So it's not just the timing that makes it look like the same person that was behind the fire was behind the murder.
Watson: Well, whoever he is, I think he committed a third crime. Before he burned George Nix's house down, he looted it.
Gregson: What are we talking about?
Watson: Well, antique silver forged by Paul Revere, among other things. I've been reading up on the victim. He wasn't just a Revolutionary War reenactor. He had a collection of artifacts from that period. Early flags, old documents, that kind of thing.
Bell: Including a set of Paul Revere's silver?
Watson: Yeah. He posed next to it when this interior design magazine featured his house last year; you can see it in the photos.
Gregson: All this metal, there's none of it in those photos.
Watson: Yeah, and there's nothing in the report about the fire department recovering melted silver, either.
Bell: So this guy could've stolen a bunch of artifacts, then torched the place to cover his tracks.
Watson: Well, it would be a big score. I mean, the silver alone's got to be worth a quarter of a million dollars.
Bell: Okay. But if all our guy wanted was to rip off Nix, why kill him? Why draw that kind of attention?
Watson: Well, the community of people that deal with this kind of stuff has got to be pretty small. Maybe George Nix would've been able to guess who robbed him.
Holmes: We're in the middle of a murder investigation. Why didn't you wake me up?
Watson: I made a pretty big racket in the kitchen this morning. I don't think a marching band could've woken you up. You were out.
Holmes: It must be the gabapentin. And I've only just started taking a higher dose, and I'm already feeling the effects. The fact that I'm upright is a credit to our French press.
Watson: Well, you're not gonna recover from PCS unless you get some sleep, you need your rest.
Holmes: I need my work, too. What's this?
Watson: That is the initial arson report from George Nix's house. You can read it on the way.
Holmes: And where are we going?
Watson: To find Paul Revere's silver.
Holmes: Hello. Uh, we're looking for Detective Mason, was told he might be of some assistance.
Detective Mason: Sherlock Holmes. Are you seriously gonna pretend you don't remember me?
Holmes: No, I know you. You used to have more hair. You had a lot more hair. You're Detective Mason.
Mason: I helped you solve a case six years ago, back when you were just a guy with a funny name.
Holmes: Yes, of course. That poor man with a cleaver lodged in his...
Holmes: You were still working with me in "another capacity" at the time.
Watson: Oh, you were still in the habit of ditching me.
Holmes: Mm-hmm. I recall your presence but not your assistance.
Masn: You and me, we had something. I thought teaming with you was the start of something big. But once we closed the case, you dumped me. Paired up with Marcus Bell and helped make him a star.
Holmes: I made no one a star. Marcus Bell is a fine detective in his own right.
Mason: And I'm not?
Watson: You are the NYPD's foremost expert when it comes to stolen historical artifacts. At least that's what we've been told. Can you help us?
Mason: Follow me.
Mason: So this guy, George Nix, somebody burned his house down and killed him?
Watson: Not in that order, but yes. We think they were after his Revolutionary War memorabilia. The silver is missing and there's no way to know if the fabric and paper items really burned up or if they were taken.
Mason: There's only a few places you can really move stuff like that. So, uh I'll help you. But, uh you're gonna help me, too.
Holmes: How so?
Mason: Six months ago, an 1860 Old Tom Morris long-nose golf club was stolen from the home of a woman by the name of Gertrude Hardcastle. Worth a hundred grand. The thieves broke in through the first floor window. As you can see, they knocked over a bookcase when they went in. They disappeared with the club, nobody's seen 'em since. Now, if you can help me find it...
Holmes: It's here.
Holmes: It's right here. There was no burglary. It wasn't stolen. The golf club is in the umbrella stand in Mrs. Hardcastle's foyer. Note the gouge marks on the front leg of the bookcase. They were made by the Staffordshire Terrier which appears in several of these photographs. It's a breed known for chewing. The dog gnawed at the bookcase until it fell over, breaking the window. That tripped the alarm.
Mason: How did you...?
Holmes: I submit the golf club is in the umbrella stand because Mrs. Hardcastle put it there. She was confused. When she couldn't find it in the wake of the "break-in," she assumed it'd been stolen. Case closed.
Mason: I'll make some calls for you, see if anybody's trying to sell any items that have to do with the Revolutionary War.
Holmes: Great. We look forward to hearing from you.
Bell: Chief Cruz? Thanks for coming in. I'm Marcus Bell. This is Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson. The folks at Southside Pawn thought you might be able to shed some light on a few things for us. They said you called them about...
Fire Chief Adrian Cruz: The stuff I stole from that guy's house. I'm sorry, okay? All right? I, I don't know what I was thinking. But I'll give it all back.
Holmes: Very generous of you. But how are you gonna give back George Nix's life?
Cruz: What are you talking about? Nobody died in that fire.
Bell: George Nix was shot and killed during a Revolutionary War reenactment a few hours before it started. We're guessing it was to divert our attention. Get us looking one place while you set a fire at another.
Cruz: You think that I set that blaze?
Bell: Last night, you were on one of the trucks that put out the fire at Mr. Nix's mansion. When we started looking into you, we realized it was the second time you'd been on a call to his address.
Watson: Earlier last year, the electrical panel at the house shorted out and started smoking. Your crew got the call to check it out. We're guessing that's when you saw his collection.
Bell: We know whoever torched the place used a mixture of thermite and napalm B.
Cruz: Yeah? So?
Bell: So this wasn't a gas can and matches. The guy who did it had some expertise.
Holmes: You wouldn't be the first in your profession to moonlight as an arsonist.
Cruz: After we got the blaze under control last night, I went inside to search the place. Okay? I, I, I found a bunch of uh, antique silver in the living room, and a fire safe in one of the closets, and I figured there might be some money in the safe, and I could sell the silver, so I packed my gear with it, and I took it with me outside. It, it was, like, y-you know, spur of the moment. I saw it, I grabbed it, and that was it. I didn't start the fire. And I sure as hell didn't kill anyone. If you let me go to my car, I can prove it.
Cruz: See? The silver is ruined. There was no money in the safe, just some old documents, and they couldn't take the heat. Now, why would I plan a big heist, and then leave all the stuff that I wanted to steal inside the house while it burned?
Bell: And you said you can account for your whereabouts between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. yesterday?
Cruz: Yeah. I was at the station all day. All the guys will tell you. And we got cameras there, too. I mean, you believe me now?
Holmes: I do. But I wish I didn't.
Watson: Pretty sure we're back to square one with the murder.
Watson: What is that smell?
Watson: Ugh. I thought you went to bed.
Holmes: I did. I slept soundly. And then I didn't. The medication continues to wreak havoc with my circadian rhythms. I thought I'd put my wakefulness to good use.
Watson: Okay. By doing what, exactly?
Holmes: Rectifying an embarrassing oversight. We missed a glaringly obvious deduction yesterday. I'm going to blame the gabapentin. I'm not sure what your excuse is.
Watson: Okay, just tell me what we missed.
Holmes: You'll recall the accelerant used to torch George Nix's home was a mixture of thermite and napalm B, which would burn at about a thousand degrees hotter than necessary to burn down a house made mostly of wood and plaster.
Holmes: So what if the house wasn't the arsonist's true target? What if they wanted to destroy something far more resistant to great heat?
Watson: The safe the fire chief took from the wreckage. You took it from the property room?
Holmes: Along with the remains of the documents it contained. It's top-of-the-line. It's rated to survive a heated environment in excess of 1,830 degrees Fahrenheit. And yet, it was no match for the accelerant used. You'll recall the fire chief was quite disappointed the contents were ruined.
Watson: So it wasn't a robbery, it was a demolition.
Holmes: Well, an attempted one, anyway.
Watson: Well, it looks like it worked, to me.
Holmes: Only temporarily.
Watson: What do you mean?
Holmes: The smell. Hmm? During the Second World War, my countrymen developed a method to restore burnt documents recovered from bombed out enemy bases. It begins with a 25% solution of chloral hydrate.
Watson: Okay, well, I don't care what it is, I just I want it to stop. I mean, you really think reading a bunch of burnt documents is gonna help?
Holmes: Oh, it already has. I now have a very good idea who killed George Nix. And why.
Bell: You think George Nix was killed and his house got burned down because the killer wanted to destroy some autographs?
Watson: That's all that was in the safe, and the safe seems to have been the real target.
Gregson: What's so special about these autographs?
Holmes: They're Button Gwinnetts.
Gregson: But who the hell is Button Gwinnett? It sounds like something out of a kid's book?
Watson: Button Gwinnett was the provisional president of colonial Georgia, and he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Holmes: He also happens to have the most valuable signature on Earth.
Bell: Some guy I've never even heard of has the most valuable signature on Earth?
Watson: The last Gwinnett sold at auction went for $800,000.
Holmes: 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. The complete set of their signatures is the holy grail for autograph hounds. Gwinnett's is the rarest of the bunch. He was fairly obscure, died shortly after the war.
Watson: There are only 51 authenticated Gwinnett signatures. That's why they're worth so much.
Holmes: More valuable than Churchill, Beethoven. Even Shakespeare.
Gregson: The fire loss investigator from George Nix's insurance company sent us a list of all the insured artifacts that were inside the house when it burned down. There wasn't anything about Button Gwinnett.
Watson: We think that George is making a run on cornering the market for these autographs. If we're right, he would not have wanted anyone to know. Sellers would jack up the prices on any he'd want to buy.
Holmes: Given the rarity of a genuine Gwinnett, it's quite possible that some of the signatures in his trove were ill-gotten and thus, uninsurable.
Bell: Well, let's say you're right. That this was all about these signatures. Why burn them up? If they're so valuable, it doesn't make any sense to destroy them.
Holmes: You're right, it does not. Unless of course, you've already got a few of your own.
David (Lawyer): I want to make it clear right up front, my client, Mr. Chambers, has no legal obligation to be here. If, at any point, I deem it appropriate to cut this interview short, that is exactly what will happen.
Paul Chambers: Okay. I apologize for David. I made my money dealing in art. It's dog-eat-dog, so I've always chosen my attorneys for their pugnaciousness. Truth is, it's, oh, it's a treat, being inside the famous 11th Precinct. You know, this structure dates back to 1907.
Holmes: Perhaps you'd enjoy the holding cell downstairs. It's original to the building.
David: Why are we here, Detective?
Bell: A man named George Nix was gunned down during a battle reenactment two days ago.
Chambers: Well, my day just got a lot more interesting. You're accusing me of murder?
Watson: And arson. George's house was torched a few hours after he was killed.
David: And you imagine Mr. Chambers was involved, why?
Bell: We have reason to believe he was on the battlefield when Mr. Nix was shot.
David: Based on what?
Chambers: Well, I was. I never miss a battle. Oh, the pageantry, the devotion to detail. Oh, it's just always a thrill. Of course, I'm not the only one that feels that way. There were hundreds of gun-toting reenactors there.
Watson: Yes, but none of them own the second-largest collection of Button Gwinnett signatures in the world. You do.
Holmes: Your collection tripled in value when George's Gwinnetts went up in flames.
Chambers: Oh. Oh, that is the last thing I wanted.
Bell: Explain that.
Chambers: I was negotiating to buy the trove you say I destroyed. I'd been trying to acquire George's Gwinnetts for years. He always turned me down. But that was before his uh, gym franchisees started suing him. He called me last month and asked if I was still interested in taking his collection off his hands.
Holmes: Well, even if that's true, you obviously never came to terms, or they wouldn't have been in his safe when his house burned down. So far, you've convinced me of two things. One, you knew about his secret collection of Button Gwinnetts, and secondly, you value your own very highly. Both of those things are entirely consistent with the motive they're ascribing to you.
Chambers: Let me explain something. Even if George told me that he wouldn't sell, I would never wipe out historical documents. I don't care how much money we're talking about. Never. Now, the documents in George's collection help tell the story of America. Helped shape the land and its people. They're sacred relics as far as I'm concerned. Now, you, you can have my fingerprints, my DNA, whatever you want. You'll see. I'm quite innocent.
Dr. Peter Hanson: Sally didn't tell me you were in here.
Holmes: Sally didn't hear me come in. When I called on the phone, she said you didn't have an opening till Monday. Doesn't work for me.
Hanson: What can I do for you, Sherlock?
Holmes: Since you put me on the higher dose of gabapentin, my sleep patterns have been troublesome and my waking hours have been more and more lethargic.
Hanson: I told you, it'll make you drowsy.
Holmes: Unacceptable. There's got to be something else. There's got to be another way to treat my condition.
Hanson: There is.
Hanson: I know it's a four-letter word to you.
Holmes: It's a four-letter word to everyone.
Hanson: You know what I mean. The first time we met, I told you you should get out of town. Go somewhere quiet for a few weeks, a few months. Vermont, New Hampshire. Sit in a chair. Stare at the mountains or something.
Holmes: My work is important to me.
Mason: I know it is, but you have to ask yourself, do you want to get by or do you want to get better? If you want to get by, we can try some different medications, maybe put you on a course of acupuncture. But if you want to get better, the best option is a very long vacation. No work. Just rest.
Watson: Hey. How'd it go with Dr. Hanson?
Holmes: What are you doing?
Watson: You got my text about Paul Chambers, right?
Holmes: You and Marcus don't think he's our killer/arsonist.
Watson: No, we don't, but something he said got me thinking. What if it's not the signatures on the documents that are important, but the documents themselves? I've been reading through them the last few hours. So, there's a couple of personal letters, there's a bill of sale for a wagon wheel, and then there's two proclamations about wheat tariffs, but then there is this.
Holmes: "Land office warrant number 3743. This grant hereby issued March 28, 1777." Yada, yada, yada, "Signed Button Gwinnett, Provisional President."
Watson: It's a bounty land grant. They're contracts that promise land to any man who agreed to fight in the American Revolution. They're basically recruiting tools for the Continental Army.
Holmes: You fight for our new country, we'll let you keep a piece of it.
Watson: So, this grant promised a large tract in Georgia to a man named Abner Fulham. But the land was stolen during something called the Yazoo land scandal.
Holmes: That was 1789, correct?
Watson: I had to look it up, but yeah. So, Abner Fulham and a bunch of other people had their land sold right out from under them by Georgia's governor. Fast-forward to today. Abner's descendants are suing to reclaim what they say is rightfully theirs.
Holmes: So, who owns the land now?
Watson: A developer in Queens named Chris Holland.
Holmes: I know that name.
Watson: Yeah, you and the captain spoke to him at the park the other day. He was one of the reenactors. A witness.
Holmes: If my memory serves, he had several vague leads, none of which panned out.
Watson: I'm sure he was willing to say anything to seem helpful. He didn't want you to figure out he had just killed George Nix.
Chris Holland: What the hell is going on?
Mrs. Holland: Chris, I tried calling you. They showed up an hour ago and they just started searching everything.
Watson: We're looking for the gun you used to murder George Nix.
Bell: You want to see the warrant? It's right here.
Chris: You think I killed that guy in the park? Are you crazy? I told you what I saw.
Holmes: You told me a story. You neglected to mention your connection to the victim.
Watson: You own the deed to a tract of land near Augusta, Georgia, that sits on top of a lot of natural gas. You might be able to drill for it if the people who actually own the land lose their suit against you.
Holmes: Normally a claim so old would be tossed out of court as specious, but there's plenty of evidence in this case, as I'm sure your real estate attorneys discovered.
Watson: After they told you about the bounty land grant that George Nix acquired at auction, you tried to buy it from him. I bet he would've sold it to you if he knew the counteroffer was going to be a bullet to his chest.
Mrs. Holland: Chris, say something.
Chris: Look, I already did. This is crazy.
Bell: No. Your phone records show you made multiple calls to Nix two weeks ago. And according to your most recent credit card statement, you bought a rifle ten days ago.
Watson: You had it custom-fitted with a wooden stock so it would look like the other colonial muskets that were gonna be at the park.
Mrs. Holland: Honey...
Chris: Don't. So, if I'm hearing you right, I am guilty of using my phone and buying a gun. Last time I checked, both those things are legal. You don't have any proof and you're not gonna find any.
Bell: We'll see about that.
Holmes: No fun when the murderer is right, is it?
Watson: This is infuriating. There's no doubt in my mind that Chris Holland killed George Nix and then burned down his house.
Holmes: I keep going back to the gun. The .308 that he must have retrofitted to look like a colonial musket.
Watson: Me, too. Didn't turn up at his house or his office. It wasn't left on the battlefield. I mean, half the NYPD combed over that park. It would've been found. He must've taken it somewhere and then chucked it, but how did he get it away from the scene in the first place? When you and the captain spoke to him, he had a different gun. A fake one, right?
Holmes: He had a very small window to make the swap. Perhaps the when will tell us the where. The first 911 call regarding the shooting was at 8:52 a.m. Officers arrived on the scene 9:04. The responding officers took names of all the men who were near George Nix when he died. Chris Holland was on that list. That gives him very little time to dispose of the murder weapon and replace it with a fake musket.
Watson: What about the portable toilets? There are a bunch on the edge of the park. I mean, I know the police checked them, but how closely do you think they really looked? Especially after Holland floated that story about the killer fleeing in a white van.
Holmes: So, he puts the real gun in the latrine and then returns with a fake one to play the part of innocent bystander. Certainly repellent, but no more than murder.
Watson: I'll call the toilet rental company, find out where they empty their tanks. Maybe we'll get lucky and wrap this thing up.
Holmes: This might be my last case for several months.
Holmes: Dr. Hanson has reiterated his recommendation that I take more time off. Total peace and quiet might be my best chance at a quick recovery. In fact, it might be the only way I overcome PCS.
Watson: How do you feel about that?
Holmes: Conflicted. I've always found what we do quite curative. I feel I am at my best when I'm working, so it seems counter-intuitive to think that that might be what's doing me harm. I can't imagine taking the amount of time off that he suggested.
Watson: Well, maybe you should talk to him. See if you can start smaller. We've gone a week or two between cases. It happens. I mean, you've always seemed to manage your downtime.
Holmes: By boxing, sparring with my singlestick, reading, my pastimes are many. Those that aren't strictly prohibited by my condition are made more difficult.
Watson: Maybe take a week off? If it goes well, then you can push it longer.
Watson: Okay, well, maybe it's not such a great idea.
Holmes: Not your idea. You were quite close. The answer we're looking for might lie in excrement, just not the kind you were imagining.
Holmes: Take it in, Chris. It's the center of your undoing.
Chris Holland: Is this a joke? What, you guys didn't find anything at my house yesterday. Now what? You're gonna use my cat's litter box to prove I killed George Nix?
Watson: No, but we are going to use it to prove that you burned down his house.
Holmes: Cat litter is mostly sodium bentonite. It's an extremely absorbent clay made from volcanic ash. It's so absorbent, in fact, that arson investigators use it to trap moisture which might be left at crime scenes.
Bell: It can be tested to identify the exact chemical fingerprint of whatever accelerant was used to start a fire. Gasoline, for example.
Watson: Or in your case, a mixture of napalm B and thermite.
Holmes: Yesterday when we spent time in your lovely home, it became obvious where you would've brewed that particular cocktail. The garage. Has a workbench, two sinks, plenty of privacy. It's the perfect spot for uh, illicit home chemistry.
Bell: Problem is, it's also the perfect place for a litter box.
Gregson: We stopped by your house this morning after you left for work. All above board. We got an amended warrant for a second search.
Bell: Residue in your kitty litter is an identical match for the accelerant that was used at George Nix's home.
Watson: We can prove you started the fire.
Chris: So, you're gonna charge me with arson? Nobody was hurt in that fire. A guy like me does what? A year?
Gregson: No. You'll be in a lot longer than that. We're gonna find the gun you used to shoot George.
Watson: We're pretty sure you stashed it in one of the portable toilets on the edge of the park.
Gregson: I've got guys headed over to the company that provided those toilets right this minute. But I'll tell you what. If I were you, I'd confess now. 'Cause if you don't and you make a few dozen cops dig through a mountain of literal crap to find your gun, I guarantee you, you'll be facing the least friendly prosecution in the history of the New York judicial system.
Rowan: That's an industrial size cup of coffee.
Holmes: Caffeine and gabapentin are fighting a war in my neural cortex. You wanted to talk?
Rowan: Yeah. I was thinking about the things you said the other day, the problems you've been having, and, uh, I thought I might have a way to help.
Holmes: Well, if you're about to suggest an extended holiday, someone's beaten you to it.
Rowan: What do you mean?
Holmes: My doctor says I need to take time off. And that I should continue to medicate myself.
Rowan: Can you do that? Just take time off? I mean, it's not like the bad guys take a break.
Holmes: Not my favorite solution. You have another?
Rowan: Um, I don't know if it's a solution, but yeah. You know how much my work means to me and how I use it to distract myself.
Holmes: I do. I also know that you shouldn't pin your sobriety on anything. You could get fired. Your company could go under.
Rowan: Yeah. Yeah, point is, uh, there's this girl I know from the program. She always goes to the same meetings like clockwork, for years. Last Tuesday, she doesn't show up to the 7:00 p.m. at St. Olaf's. Then she doesn't show up to the Thursday meeting. So, I reach out to her sponsor, and it turns out she hasn't even been showing up to work. I don't know. I'm just worried about her.
Holmes: You want me to look for her?
Rowan: Yeah, I would feel better knowing she's okay. I mean, I just, I thought it might help you, too.