Elementary recap: Murder Ex Machina
When a Russian oligarch is killed, and his assassins murdered, too, Sherlock and Joan must find the person who put out the hit
This week’s Elementary begins with Clyde in a fridge. Thankfully, he’s not dead or anything. He just needs to hibernate, and as Sherlock says to Joan, these wacky New York winters can’t be trusted to provide Clyde with the proper conditions for rest. So perceptive, that Sherlock.
So no, Clyde isn’t dead, but there are a number of human bodies piling up this week. Outside of a nightclub named OBSESS NYC, a man and his bodyguard are gunned down in a drive-by shooting. As the killers flee, something happens to their car. Suddenly the driver can’t control it, and the car flies off the side of a bridge and lands on the pavement below, killing the murderers inside.
The man killed outside the nightclub turns out to be Maxim Zolotov, a Russian oligarch who was perhaps in town on business. The question is who would have wanted him dead. And as Sherlock notes, the bigger question is how do they find the “true” killer when he’s all but covered his tracks by murdering the assassins he hired.
Those questions lead Sherlock to bring in Mason, his handy tech guru. When Sherlock determines that the car must have been hacked, Mason takes a look at the code inside the car’s computer. He finds a signature buried in the code that connects to a hacker nicknamed Mittens. By day, she’s Fiona, a coder for tech company Pentillion.
When Sherlock and Joan show up at Pentillion to question Fiona about her potential involvement in the murders, her boss, Phil, assures the detectives that Fiona couldn’t possibly have done it. That’s because she’s autistic, and it makes it nearly impossible for her to lie. She can’t even tell Sherlock that the sky is green when he asks her to.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
But with Fiona cleared, who had access to her software? Phil informs them that a number of people could have been in possession of it, not only because it passed through so many hands at the office, but also because Pentillion was hacked a couple weeks back. For Phil’s money, though, he thinks the CEO of rival tech company Tetrabit could be the culprit. He says he remembers seeing some of her emails in a hack written in Russian, clearly connecting her to the murders.
During questioning, Carol, the CEO of Tetrabit, insists that she had nothing to do with the murders and that in fact she suffered a major loss when Maxim was killed. She was working with him to fund a port in New Haven, meaning she was set to make millions of dollars over the next several years if Maxim hadn’t been killed. So who would have benefited from his death, they ask. Carol’s answer: the State of New York, which would potentially lose a number of jobs because of the deal.
That leads the detective to Harry, the leader of the union whose members would stand to lose their jobs over the deal and who was at the scene when Maxim was gunned down. Just like Carol, he insists he was actually going to benefit from the deal. He was at the club to finalize a deal with Maxim that would see his union workers get new jobs in New Haven when the deal finally went through. He does give them a bit of a tip, though: He says when Maxim left, it was because his bodyguard got spooked by a stripper.
NEXT: Dinner’s getting cold
Meanwhile, Morland Holmes has invited Joan out to dinner. It’s strange and uncomfortable, and that’s even before he asks her to look into blood banks that could possibly store his blood for use in emergencies. As is the case with Morland, there’s usually more to the story, though. It’s just up to Joan to figure out what that is.
Based on the tip from Harry, Sherlock and Marcus visit the strip club where Maxim was shot. Sherlock, after delivering a treatise on how stripping encompasses the art of seduction and quite a bit of psychological analysis, manages to pick out the Russian stripper who spooked Maxim’s bodyguard. He’s seen her files in London; she’s a Russian spy.
Just like everyone else, she says she had nothing to do with Maxim’s murder. In fact, she says Maxim was in the United States to negotiate his own kind of deal, as well, something with a diplomat, but she can’t be sure what exactly he was up to.
That mystery is quickly solved, when back at the station a woman named Cindy Park shows up and explains almost everything. She’s a diplomat with the U.S. government, representing Ukraine, and was working with Maxim to negotiate a peace in the war between the Russians and Ukrainians. Also, she identifies the drive-by assassins as ex-Ukrainian military. Considering the nature of that deal and the sensitivity of the issue, she informs the NYPD that federal agents will be taking over the case.
Still, the case bothers Sherlock. Would the Ukrainian government really want Maxim dead? Probably not. So who stood to benefit from the Russian-Ukrainian war continuing? The best answer he can come up with is an arms dealer, and there’s someone in particular that knows a bit about arms dealers.
Joan pays another visit to Morland and asks him to look through a list of arms dealers and tell her who was making the most money off of the war. That leads to Joan and Sherlock questioning an ex-CIA arms dealer, but he also insists that he stood to benefit from the war ending and would therefore have no reason to kill Maxim. He says that if the detective are looking for who would benefit from the war continuing, it’d be best to look at the sanctions put on what Russia is allowed to export during the conflict.
NEXT: Caught with a paw in the jar
Sherlock has an idea of who committed the crime once he gets a look at the list of sanctions imposed on Russia. He sees that certain rocket engines are banned from being exported by Russia, even though they supply most of the Western world, including NASA, with those parts. And guess who else is building rocket engines? Pentillion.
Thus, Sherlock enlists Fiona for a little sleuthing. He gets her to hack her boss’ car, driving Phil straight to Sherlock. Sherlock then tells him how Phil hired the assassins to take out Maxim so that the war could continue, giving Pentillion more time to get their rocket engine, which Phil had a significant financial stake in, to market.
Phil says Sherlock can’t prove it, but he assures him that he can because of the car-controlling app on his phone. When they get back to Fiona, she’ll be able to trace its use and see that he used it to cover his tracks with the assassins. That doesn’t even need to happen, though, as Phil begins to scramble and admits to the killing, not knowing that Fiona, the FBI, and the NYPD are recording the whole conversation in the car. Phil just handed them a nice, tidy confession.
While that case is solved, Joan stumbles upon another one. After meeting with Morland a few times, she’s noticed his strange eating patterns and the number of vitamins he’s taking. She begins to think he might have cancer, so she sorts through old photos to see if there’s any sign of him going through chemo.
She doesn’t find any sign of that but does see numerous photos of him in France with a woman who was later murdered in a drive-by shooting. When she tells Sherlock about her discovery, she says that there’s a good chance Morland was there, too, that he took two bullets to the stomach — two bullets were never found at the crime scene — which would explain his eating habits and pills.
That leads Sherlock to the obvious question: Does Joan believe that his father had this woman killed? Joan says no. In fact, she believes that Morland was the target, and that the woman was caught in the crossfire. Thus, Morland may be in New York under the pretense of reconnecting with his son, but as Joan posits, maybe he’s hiding from the people who tried to kill him.