Elementary: It Serves You Right to Suffer Recap
Synopsis of 05×09: Shinwell’s earlier actions against Joan become clear when he is framed for the murder of a rival gang member. It turned out he had been recruited by an FBI agent to try and take down his old gang from the inside, but unfortunately for him it was not exactly above board.
Only screams from downstairs were able to stir her and, as she made her way through the Brownstone, she came to realize that the scream was a ringtone on another phone that Sherlock used to contact her. Slightly annoyed, she answered and Sherlock indicated that she should get down to a crime scene as soon as possible.
When she arrived she found that they were at the scene of what appeared to be a gang killing, a case they had not been specifically assigned. Sherlock explained he heard the call over the radio and suspected that Shinwell may have had something to do with it due to a necklace that had been left at the scene. The description of one of the suspects also matched Shinwell.
At the scene, the investigating detective did not quite understand why they were there, given they had a weapon and would be able to pull prints off of it and get their guy. She did say that it would take three days, since the lab was backed up due to asbestos, and Joan saw their window to investigate and prove Shinwell did not do it.
They went to Shinwell’s place and found it empty, his toolbox gone. Joan went to look at local pawn shops to see if he had pawned off his belongings while Sherlock went to probe fellow members of Shinwell’s old gang to see what they knew about the killing.
Using ridiculous scenarios to get information on where the gang members were, Tall Boy (one of Shinwell’s contacts) approached and told them he was done asking questions. Sherlock had the information he needed, however, and decided that the gang had not been involved in the shooting.
The question remained, who would have killed the opposing gang member and dumped him in their territory? What would the person’s motive have been?
Joan, having gotten information about Shinwell pawning things, was on her way to the Brownstone where she found Shinwell sitting on the steps. He immediately claimed he had nothing to do with the man who died and she brought him inside to hear his side of things.
According to Shinwell, the only reason he was back in the gang was because he was an informant looking to help the FBI bring down the gang. He admitted to moving the body, but he did not kill the guy, and only tossed the gun because he was worried he would get picked up. Sherlock and Joan investigated his story, Joan heading to an FBI office to speak with Whitlock, the agent who had brought Shinwell on as an informant.
Shinwell was not happy with the news and offered to help Sherlock investigate. Sherlock somewhat reluctantly agreed and they broke into a car to sit and wait for the murdered gangster’s girlfriend to leave the apartment so they could investigate.
While they did, the pair had a bit of a personal moment, where Shinwell shared what changed him in prison. The gang had been his family and he helped recruit people to it. When he was offered a deal in exchange for giving up gang leadership he refused and stayed silence.
Throughout his ten years in prison he saw young men he had recruited end up there with him, as well as the men they had recruited, and on and on. He realized there was a cycle, and when he got out he wanted to help break it. That was the motivation behind taking Whitlock up on his offer.
They ended up in the victim’s apartment and found that he may have been seeing a therapist. While they investigated that, Joan went through the gang killing cases to try and figure out if there were any patterns. The investigating detective from earlier in the episode came to thank her and her partner. When Joan asked why, she said that she had talked to their Captain about their assistance and the Captain had made a call to fast track the fingerprints.
They now had less than twenty-four hours to prove that Shinwell did not do it. Shinwell and Sherlock went to the victim’s therapist who explained that Ricky, the gang member, had also been working as an informant. He had come to therapy over the guilt he felt for informing on his fellow gang members and was worried about what might happen.
Given the Whitlock connection, Sherlock believed that he was Ricky’s killer. Joan’s investigation revealed that the gang Ricky was a part of was already taking a lot of hits and was in no place to start a gang war, which would be the only reason they would have killed Ricky and left him in SPK territory.
Again, Sherlock proposed Whitlock as a suspect, and Shinwell was called away by Tall Boy. When he was confronted about going he said he could not take the risk that they would go after his daughter. Joan, naturally, believed that Whitlock could have given Shinwell up and that he was in danger. Thankfully, it turned out Shinwell just had another job which tipped him off as to why Whitlock keeps his informants off the books.
Whitlock was using information he got from his informants to rob SPK. Joan went to Whitlock’s office and accused him of it, claiming he left Ricky’s body next to a secure location that SPK uses for money transfers in order to get them to move to a less secure location. There, he and a few former coworkers, would be able to rob them and take the money.
Whitlock at first refused to confess to the crime but called Joan shortly after she left the office. He admitted to everything, claiming it started as something small and he had been a good agent at one point. He said she could have the gun, but she would have to come pick it up from his office. She wanted him to tell the police about Shinwell but he refused, claiming that he was a gangster through and through and would be better off in prison.
He then shot himself while on the phone with Watson. The only person who could clear Shinwell’s name was dead and he decided to make the most of his final day of freedom. Sherlock, torn, went to talk to Bell and asked him about his brother. Andre had been doing well, had a job, and was staying on the up and up.
Sherlock wanted to know if Andre would return to his old ways if he was sent to prison again and Bell said yes, without a doubt. All the good that had been done would be undone. So Sherlock found Shinwell on a roof, repairing a leak with his toolkit that he bought back, claiming he had promised an elderly woman he’d patch it up for her.
Sherlock told him that his fingerprints were on the weapon, which Shinwell already knew. However, Sherlock told him he wiped the prints and that Shinwell would be given a second chance to live his life, free.