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This week on Elementary, Joan and Sherlock investigate a man’s death and his connection to a teenage correspondent of Sherlock’s.
“Poison Pen” begins with Sherlock boxing at a gym and talking to Watson about self defense. He receives a call from a woman he calls Mistress. He tells her to call 911 and then he and Joan leave. They arrive at the crime scene with Captain Gregson and Detective Bell to see Titus Delancey in a latex bodysuit, dead on the floor. Mistress Felicia tells them he was a new client and wanted her to punish him. He was on the floor when she arrived with the mask on, so she spoke to him and whipped him. He was unresponsive, so she took off the mask and called Sherlock. Sherlock and Felicia became acquainted when they both went to a convention about torture devices.
Gregson and Joan think Titus had a heart attack, but Sherlock says he isn’t wearing any talcum powder and that means he didn’t put on the suit himself. He notices blue around Titus’s lips and they discover someone poisoned him by putting nitroglycerin in his bourbon.
Sherlock deduces that the killer purchased the suit, as there were no signs Titus engaged in that lifestyle. Only one store carries Titus’s size, so Bell, Sherlock and Joan go to the store to see who bought the suit. The shop owner doesn’t want to give them names without a subpoena, but Joan mentions the murderer probably touched all the suits, so she and Sherlock gather them to get fingerprints. The owner is upset, and Bell tells him he will just stand there, with his badge on, until the subpoena arrives. The man gives in and says the man paid cash and they get his image off a security camera.
The man who purchased the suit, Mr. Jeffries, claims he didn’t kill Titus, but he does admit to buying the suit. He says he put him in the suit and called Felicia. He didn’t want Titus’s family to get the money from his work contract, and it had a morals clause. Bell discovers no additional prints on the bourbon glass, so that means Jeffries is telling the truth as he has an alibi for the time of death.
Titus’s wife Peri, and her two stepsons, Graham and Zack, return home and she speaks to the group. They had been at their vacation home. The nanny, Anne Barker arrives to check on the kids. Sherlock asks Joan to come talk to him and he tells her the story of Abigail Spencer, a 15-year-old who was accused of killing her father with nitroglycerin, but who was acquitted. Sherlock says Anne is really Abigail.
They bring her in for questioning and she says she didn’t kill Titus. She talks about how the media messed her up her life and she had plastic surgery. They have to let her go because there isn’t enough evidence. Sherlock tells them he doesn’t believe she is the murderer, but is being framed.
Joan confronts Sherlock about how he recognized Abigail. He had said it was because of her voice, but Joan noticed him fixating on her tattoo and Abigail didn’t have the tattoo during the trial. Sherlock admits it’s because he knows Abigail. He was obsessed with investigating when he was a teen and he wrote her a letter and the two became correspondents. She didn’t recognize him because when he was that age he went by Shawn Holmes. Sherlock says he discovered she was guilty through the letters. He believes she’s innocent in this murder and says they need to find out who knew about her true identity.
Sherlock goes to Abigail’s apartment and tells her she knows him as Shawn Holmes. The two talk and he tells her he believes someone is framing her for the murder. She tells him someone was following her one night and shows him pictures of the license plate. She tells him she needs him to be her friend again. Bell finds out the license plate is from a private investigator and he was hired by Peri, Titus’s wife. She wanted to see if he was cheating because then she could get money if she divorced him. The PI discovered Abigail's identity and told Peri two weeks before the murder. Bell says the kids said they both were watching TV alone, so Peri could have committed the murder. Peri admits she was meeting a Dr. Malone to talk about getting nitroglycerin in order to kill her husband. She says she was planning on framing Abigail if she did, but she had not made up her mind. She was busy planning the murder during the time of the actual murder.
Sherlock is going to question Graham at Titus’s memorial service because he will receive money when he turns 18. Joan is upset because she believes he shouldn’t question him when he’s mourning. She also believes Sherlock isn’t thinking clearly about Abigail. Sherlock tells her about his younger years at boarding school and how he was physically bullied. He connected with Abigail because they had both been abused. Abigail’s letters helped him realize his calling to be an investigator.
They speak with Graham and he says he didn’t kill Titus. He says Abigail and Titus had an argument, which he has on his cell. Sherlock shows it to Abigail and she says he was angry because he thought she had used his tablet. She says he asked for forgiveness and so she forgot about the argument. Sherlock admits to her he knows she murdered her father. She tells him to leave.
At Titus’s office, Joan and Bell search for the tablet. Joan notices there are five air vents and the room isn’t that big, so she searches for a hidden compartment. She finds one and in it is the tablet. She tells Sherlock on the phone Graham may be the killer as she and Bell found videos on Titus’s tablet of him sexually abusing Graham.
They bring Graham in for questioning and when they bring out the tablet, he makes his aunt and lawyer leave the room. They found his fingerprints on the PI’s papers about Abigail and after that he stays silent. Abigail shows up and Graham’s aunt questions how she didn’t know about Titus abusing Graham. Sherlock and Joan ask him to tell the truth, but his aunt and the lawyer bust in asking for a moment. Abigail admits to committing the murder in order to save Graham.
When Sherlock confronts her, she talks about how Graham shouldn’t be in jail and keeps admitting to killing Titus. Sherlock says Graham would only serve over a year probably, but she says that’s too long. She is overcome by the fact that she didn’t see what was happening to Graham.
Sherlock speaks with Graham and says he will watch him now. He also tells him to talk to someone about the sexual abuse. He gives Graham his card and tells him to come talk to him sometime if he feels the need. The episode ends with Sherlock back in the gym, taking his pain and anger out on a punching bag.
Quote and Comments:
"So, your client's statement is: she couldn't kill her husband because she was too busy planning to kill her husband." Captain Gregson about Peri.
I think the episode was solid, if a bit different from what is normally on Elementary. I enjoyed the insight into Sherlock’s background and his friendship with Abigail. I thought Laura Benanti, who played Abigail, did a fantastic job. I liked that Sherlock told Graham to contact him if he needed to talk. Overall, I thought the theme of abuse throughout made it a difficult episode to watch at times, but the acting was great.
Tune in next Thursday at 10 p.m. for season 2, episode 5, “Ancient History,” on CBS.
Photo Courtesy of CBS