Synopsis of 3×08: An NYPD officer is killed, but it turns out there is more to the story than it seems. Meanwhile, someone is writing down what Sherlock says at meetings and quoting him on a blog.
To be honest, as someone who works in mental health, the most interesting part about this week’s episode was the storyline about Narcotics Anonymous and not so much about the actual case of the week. I found Jonny Lee Miller’s performance regarding the storyline to be absolutely fabulous. I also appreciated the fact it highlighted one of the most successful drug “treatment” programs in the country. Very rarely do we get to see an in-depth view of a twelve step program on television. Most of the time NA or AA are used as cheap plot devices, or a way to shake up the show’s setting.
Anyway, all that aside, the case of the week was pretty interesting too. It began with an NYPD officer getting shot while on duty. Early on they realized the sidearm he was carrying at the time of his death was fake, and from there it revealed a lot about the officer. He’d been taken down by a drug addiction after a car accident on duty. He’d become hooked on opiates and sold everything in order to feed his habit.
Unfortunately for him, that was what led to his death. He ended up selling his sidearm for drugs and got connected up with an arms dealer who wanted more. They came up with an arrangement: Flynn would use his position at the armory to swap out real sidearms with fake ones and the arms dealer would pay him so he could buy his drugs. With the whole ordeal revealed, the case quickly turned to a search for the infamous arms dealer with a glass eye.
While all of that was happening, Sherlock was dealing with a breach of privacy. All Narcotics Anonymous meetings are supposed to be completely anonymous. That meant what was said in the group stayed in the group, as that is the basic rule for every twelve-step program. However, during one of the meetings someone pointed out that Sherlock’s manner of speaking seemed very similar to a blog he’d been reading. It turned out that someone had been taking quotes of things Sherlock said at meetings and posting them online alongside calming pictures of birds.
Needless to say, Sherlock felt violated. It was hard enough for him to open up during NA in the first place. Now someone had posted some of what he’d said in the name of inspiring other people in their recovery and he could no longer feel safe. Trust was broken. It was really unfortunate and broke my heart. After all, meetings are ultimately about trust. A lot of the time you’re sharing some really hard and personal things. The belief that someone could easily take those things and share them with the entire world on a blog is a frightening prospect.
Kitty wanted to help him track down whoever had done it and it was honestly cute. There was a little bit of role reversal there, as Kitty became the protector. At the end of the day, this is a show about broken people making their lives work. Everyone needs someone watching their back from time to time.
With Kitty’s help, Sherlock managed to track down the blogger. Yet, in a show of the true spirit of NA, he refused to tell Kitty who it was. Even if the other person wasn’t going to maintain Sherlock’s anonymity, Sherlock certainly was. So he tracked the guy down at a meeting and requested he shut down the blog. It was a sign of character growth that Sherlock confronted the man. He appreciated and understood the importance of NA, even though he was, at one time, reluctant. It was now something he wanted to protect.
I truly believe first season Sherlock would have said good riddance and ceased to attend meetings. At this point in his development, though, he’s come to a point where he realized that it is something worth fighting for. So he didn’t back down even when the other man insisted that the blog was helping other people, refusing to take it down. Finally, he got in the blogger’s face and made the point that he cared about their sobriety and trusted them to care about his, too.
The blog was going to threaten one of the ways he had maintained his sobriety and he was willing to take to a stand to protect it. He wanted to feel safe again.
As all of this was happening, another cop was shot by the arms dealer. The team was forced to scramble to try and figure out a connection between the two officers, but there wasn’t one. All the while, they were attempting to track down the infamous “Six,” a drug dealer of some sort who had been Flynn’s connection to the drug world and the arms dealer. Watson was the one who finally figured it out. Six wasn’t the dealer’s street name as much as it was a nickname due to the fact he’d been number six on the football team with Flynn.
He was brought in, and quite helpful for someone who was probably going to get into a great deal of trouble himself. He explained the deal and how everything worked to them. Then he mentioned that the arms dealer was waiting on a big score, which triggered Sherlock and helped him to realize exactly what the plan was.
After Flynn was shot there was supposed to be a funeral, which the majority of the police force would attend. However, due to his questionable conduct and the sketchy circumstances of his death, his full police funeral was cancelled. With the distraction foiled, the arms dealer had no choice but to turn around and murder another cop to provoke another funeral. This time it worked, as the officer he killed didn’t have even a smudge on his record. While everyone was at the funeral, the arms dealer and his men infiltrated the NYPD armory and stole over a million dollars worth of guns.
The rest became a race to try and figure out where they’d taken the guns, though Sherlock took a bit of time to stew in his own frustration. He should have deduced it all faster, according to him. Yet he was distracted by the damn Narcotics Anonymous issue. He explained to Kitty that he enjoyed normalcy at meetings. For once in his life he liked being just another member of the crowd. Yet he couldn’t do that even at meetings and it had thrown him off. A safe place had become something distinctly not safe.
Nonetheless, they managed as a team to figure out where he’d been keeping the guns. It was relatively simple: they just had to find a cargo ship going to the location of the cartel the dealer was sending the guns to. The icing on the cake was the fact they busted the dude with a knock knock joke.
The episode ended with Sherlock sitting in a meeting refusing to share, which was a morose way to enter into the mid season hiatus. We can only hope the damage done isn’t permanent.