Synopsis for 4×17: A caped crusader was brutally murdered and Sherlock and Joan have to not only uncover his secret identity, but figure out who did it. Things with Morland Holmes heat up as well when he asks Joan to help him discover a mole in his team.
Watson, collecting clothes from the homeless, walked in on Sherlock who had devised a plan to help. Some of his hacktivist friends had asked for his assistance in getting them out of some trouble with the NSA, and in return he decided to “humiliate” them as they’ve always done for him. He had them strip and donate their clothes to Joan’s clothes drive right then and there. When she went to the station the next day to help sort clothes, her friend (who runs the charity she’s donating to) mentioned they’d just received a two-hundred and fifty thousand dollar donation from none other than Morland Holmes.
Elsewhere, outside of a bakery the owner and an employee were trying to chase away some homeless individuals. There was one remaining on the ground that wouldn’t be roused, and it turned out he was dead. It also turned out that he wasn’t homeless. He was a superhero, cape and all.
It turned out the dead man in question had taken on the persona of the Midnight Ranger, a comic book character owned by a company called Superlative Comics. He’d been having issues with Superlative over copyright of the character, and so Sherlock and Joan decided to go check it out and see if it led to anything. Detective Bell, on the other hand, went to track down tailors in the area who may have helped create the costume.
Superlative Comics was unhelpful. After meeting with the head of the company, and Al Baxter who was the editor of the comic, they found out that there was nothing found about the identity of the masked man. They had tried to come up with information on him but had failed thus far. Bell similarly struck out at the tailor who had only received the comic book character’s name, and not the name of the man behind the persona.
Joan approached Morland about the donation and his true intentions were revealed. He wanted to solicit her assistance with an issue within his own team. He believed there was a mole who had leaked information to a competitor and wanted her to investigate it. She insisted she needed to talk to Sherlock first.
She returned home to find Sherlock investigating the case through comics. He’d managed to come up with all of the issues for the entire run of the comic. Why trades weren’t available, we may never know. In the midst of eliminating a number of theories, Sherlock received a call that turned out to be from another civilian superhero who claimed to be on his roof. When they went to investigate, he introduced himself as the “Standard Bearer.” After inviting him in, they got him to reveal his identity and the identity of the Midnight Ranger.
They went to investigate Mike, the Midnight Ranger’s home and found a check from the very company that had been trying to track him down. Apparently Al Baxter had been approached by Mike and had given his blessing, since the Midnight Ranger had been Baxter’s grandfather’s creation. He knew about Mike’s vigilante life and had been trying to support his safety by sending him money. He hadn’t wanted to tell them about it because it would have gotten him fired, but he did his best to prove that they were friends.
News hit and it turned out there was another Midnight Ranger who had foiled a purse snatching. The video led them straight to the other superhero that had visited Joan and Sherlock. Turned out he was a fellow named Ben who worked at a print shop, and he was quickly eliminated as a suspect when he told the team that the only reason he was still alive was because of the Midnight Ranger. Mike had reached out to him and helped him to become a hero; he wouldn’t have killed him. He just wanted the Midnight Ranger to live on.
Sherlock turned to a local drug dealer that may have had something to do with the situation, as Mike had been getting in the way of his drug deals. He tricked the dealer into giving up information about Mike, and found out the dealer had stolen Mike’s phone after punching him in an altercation. Sherlock took the phone and thanked the dealer for the information.
Joan went to Morland under the guise of returning documents he’d sent her. She and Sherlock had talked about it and it was determined that Morland was dangerous, and potentially still had someone after him. It turned out that the triggerman in the murder of Morland’s lady friend had been a mercenary that Morland himself had gotten out of prison not but a few years before. Sherlock believed his father was still at risk, and therefore anyone who was connected to him was in danger.
Joan called Morland out on his behavior surrounding the situation, wanting to know if he was trying to start a war. While Morland refused to give a clear answer, he asked her about the case. Had she found a mole? Joan insisted she hadn’t, and that perhaps Morland had just lost fair and square.
With Mike’s phone in hand, Sherlock and Bell tracked down the only incoming call which just so happened to be from a sergeant’s desk phone. They brought him in and asked him if he knew anything about it, and he made jokes about the situation. Clearly he hadn’t been the one to contact the superhero. Instead, he clearly recounted a situation that could have led to an outgoing call. He’d brought in Al Baxter on a DUI and Baxter had used the phone to call a friend to come pick him up.
They went back to Superlative Comics and the head of the company admitted that he didn’t like Al, and that Al was one of the angriest guys he knew. He’d also stayed in to work from home that day. The company head said that Al wasn’t really liked by anyone in the company, to the point that he’d even been excluded from a company dinner that happened not far from the scene of Mike’s death. Sherlock immediately evacuated the building as the situation became clear to him.
They brought in Al Baxter and Sherlock pieced it all together. He’d been planning on going to the dinner he’d been excluded from in order to shoot up the company. Mike had figured it out and tried to stop him, only to receive a few bullets for his trouble. The NYPD had found an arsenal in Baxter’s home, and the man admitted to it all. He said, though, that before Mike he’d never shot anyone and once he shot him and saw him dead on the ground, he knew he could never shoot anyone else.
With the case closed, Sherlock worked to help the new Midnight Ranger hone some of his skills while Joan went out with a friend for dinner. Except really she was going after a man named Neil Curtis, who worked for Morland. She had actually found the mole, but she didn’t want to turn him in. Instead, she wanted him to do for her exactly what he’d done for the competing company: be a mole in Morland’s organization.