Using a surrogate, Wiggins, with a telepresence device displaying Holmes' face strapped to his head, Holmes wakes Watson from a hotel room he's in with Athena. Athena's motivated Holmes to solve a cold case and he's calling Watson that Harlan Emple has hired them. At Emple's, they learn that one of his doctoral students, Lily Zavala, is missing. Emple has had a crush on her for years and fears that he may be a suspect in her disappearance. Holmes is exasperated that Emple hasn't made his feelings known to Lily, having listened to Emple's excuses for not acting for years. FBI agents arrive at Emple's with news she's been kidnapped. In private, FBI Agent Polk informs Holmes and Watson of the kidnapping details and that Emple is a suspect. In the area Lily was kidnapped, Watson finds a witness who saw Lily being forced into a blue Toyota with a white door.
What do you mean, who am I?
At The Brownstone, as Holmes builds an evidence wall, he again gripes about Emple's lack of action with Lily, with Emple's excuse being university rules against professor-student relationships. Having provided the tip about the Toyota to the police, Detective Bell calls them to an abandoned school where the car was spotted. In the school, evidence that Lily was there is found as is the body of James Cantrell, whose description matches that of the man who took Lily. Believing Cantrell had an accomplice, Holmes deduces that Lily wasn't kidnapped for ransom, but they had her doing mathematics and that once she's completed the task, she'll be killed. At the Brownstone, Holmes fills Emple in and confirms that Cantrell's phone was used to call in the ransom, which wasn't part of the plan, and his was killed over. Given that Emple's math skills exceed Lily's, Holmes has pointed out to the FBI that he's a poor suspect.
This packet's for a scientific calculator.
At the 11th Precinct, Bell and Watson learn from Cantrell's parole officer that he wasn't very smart and that the accomplice probably planned the kidnapping. He points them to Cantrell's landlord, Marvin Hathaway, and recommends they examine his apartment. Hathaway lets them into Cantrell's apartment and is more concerned with the back rent that he's owed than Cantrell's death. Finding evidence that Cantrell was a better, Holmes deduces that he frequented a bingo hall and Bell identifies which one. Confronting bookie Sylvia Kozar at her bingo hall, she claims to not know Cantrell. Holmes notices several numbers missing in the bingo ball blower and threatening to shut her hall down, she admits to knowing Cantrell but wasn't involved in the kidnapping. Cantrell paid his debt to her in full which she says may have been advance payment for the kidnapping.
Jimmy's dead. Someone bashed his skull in last night.
At the Brownstone, while ruing the lack of suspects, Watson points out that Emple loving an unattainable woman is no different than Holmes' feelings for Moriarty. She also thinks he broke up with Fiona because she didn't compare to Moriarty. Emple calls that Lily managed to escape her captor and is with him. At the precinct, Lily tells Captain Gregson, Holmes and Watson how she escaped and there were two kidnappers who wore masks. The older accomplice was in charge and she heard an altercation between the two, after which the older accomplice alone took her to a different location. She went to Emple after escaping because the math she was forced to work on was his. After printing out two maps of NYC, Zavala explains that she went to the Floodplain Coordinator's Office to explore some math Emple had worked on three years previously.
I realized that he was gonna kill me.
Emple was part of a team helping FEMA draw up new flood maps of NYC that were just coming under public review. Zavala shows them the changes that her captor wanted made to the map and which properties would benefit from the changes. Based on this, Bell and Watson question Adam Braun, the largest insurance agent for the affected properties. In his office, Braun admits that the changes to the map would benefit him greatly but as an alibi, shows them he was selling his sailboat when Zavala was kidnapped. Emple shows up at the Brownstone unexpectedly and hugs Holmes. He's made his feelings known to Zavala and she reciprocated. Overjoyed, he thanks an uncomfortable Holmes for pushing him to act. Returning to the Brownstone, Watson reports the lack of success with Braun while Holmes, realizing that the flood maps would affect property development, is waiting for a list of the property owners in the affected area.
Never been this happy. It's because of you.
Holmes asks Watson why she thinks he's lonely and says that he was jealous when he heard Emple's good news. Watson encourages him to explore a new relationship without expectations that it will replicate the one he had with Moriarty. The property owner list arrives and Watson recognizes that they've already met someone on the list. Bell lures Marvin Hathaway to the precinct with news that Cantrell had assets that could cover the back rent he's owed. Once in "the box", he's told that a search warrant is being executed on his properties for evidence that he kept Lily at one. Having discovered he owns a property that is being considered for a lucrative development, the new flood plans would prevent the deal. Overhearing Lily at the Floodplain Office, he kidnapped her and later, killed Cantrell.
You caved in his skull.
Gregson and Watson recount Hathaway's plan while Bell indicates that hairs that match Lily's have been found in the basement of one of his properties. Hathaway denies being involved in the kidnapping and claims that Cantrell was responsible. Bell says that a fresh stain from an energy drink that was Lily's favorite was also discovered at the site. Spilled after Cantrell was murdered, Gregson asks Hathaway if he'd like to take his chances with a jury. Holmes arrives unexpectedly at Athena's and after much stammering explains that he'd like to explore a relationship with her as an "experiment." (♫ Tim Hart - All In All ♫) Take aback but happy, Athena accepts his invitation to dinner.