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Elementary recap: A Burden of Blood

When the pregnant daughter of an infamous serial killer ends up dead, Sherlock and Joan investigate those closest to her

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TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller, Aidan Quinn

This week’s Elementary, “A Burden of Blood,” begins with a bit of misdirection. Sherlock comes home to the brownstone to find Marcus just leaving and Joan hopping in the shower. He immediately jumps to conclusions and believes that they’re having a sexual relationship. They insist they aren’t, but he can tell that they’re lying about something, and the evidence seems obvious.

That’s not the only bit of misdirection, though. When Sherlock and Joan are called to a murder investigation in Queens, the evidence seems to be pretty straightforward, even if it’s not exactly revealing. A woman was suffocated with a bag over her head while sitting in the front seat of her car, the assailant in the back. She was leaving a message on her home answering machine at the time, and that message consists of her screaming and pleading for her life.

It seems to be cut-and-dry evidence, but Sherlock notices something strange about the woman’s inflection. She almost seems calm at first before she starts screaming, suggesting that she may have known the killer who camped out in the backseat of her car, waiting for her come out of a plaza restaurant.

Things get complicated when the autopsy comes back. The victim, Ellen Jacobs, was eight weeks pregnant at the time of her murder. What’s more curious is that she had a tubal ligation many years ago, meaning the risk of her getting pregnant again was pretty low. As Sherlock and Joan posit, an unexpected pregnancy could be enough reason for a husband to kill his wife.

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Thus, Sherlock and Joan head over to Ellen’s house to question her husband, Ernie. He seems legitimately surprised to hear that his wife was pregnant, but there’s more to it than that. Sherlock determines, after noticing his slight build and lack of a sense of smell, that Ernie must have Kallmann syndrome, a genetic condition that prevents people from going through puberty. Therefore, Ernie couldn’t possibly be the father. Ellen must have been having an affair, but Ernie swears he doesn’t know about any other man.

A visit to Ellen’s OB-GYN doesn’t turn up much evidence either. The doctor refuses to give up any information about the possible paternity of Ellen’s baby. Still, that doesn’t stop Joan from searching the doctor’s computer when she’s not in her office. By doing so, she finds out that Ellen was using a burner email address to correspond with the doctor and the father of her baby; a man who goes by the username Keymaster2020.

Meanwhile, Sherlock uncovers the real reason why Marcus was visiting with Joan. She’s been helping him study for the sergeant’s exam. Sherlock is surprised because he thinks Marcus is an invaluable detective. Marcus says that’s exactly why he didn’t ask Sherlock for help; he didn’t want the lecture that came with it.

After looking into the burner email, Joan finds out that Ellen had planned a visit to a local prison and had planned to bring along a guest. While the prison has no record of who Ellen was hoping to bring with her, it does note who she was planning to visit: Harris Grear, also known as the Triborough Killer, a man who murdered sixteen women a number of years ago. It’s seems a rather strange visit until the warden discloses that, in fact, Ellen is Grear’s daughter and once went by the name Meaghan.

NEXT: Spare keys and bounties