Synopsis of 05×05: A man who appears to be a predator of young girls turns up dead at a motel, only to have Sherlock and the team discover he was the one trying to catch the real predators. With this in mind, they shift their sights on trying to figure out who wanted him dead and why. 

Most episodes of Elementary are hits, but this one was a convoluted miss as the team began to investigate the shooting of a man outside of a shady motel. After Joan met with Shinwell at the Brownstone to help him prepare for an interview, she was called in to investigate the shooting and the team assumed the gentleman had been at the motel to meet an underaged girl. As Sherlock put it, they were after a “predator predator” – someone who was looking to prey on predators of young women. 

The MO similarly matched a string of assaults out of New Jersey that Sherlock had been following. However, none of those attacks had led to a death. All of them had led only to shaming videos posted online, with the predators in question being beaten to a pulp, but left alive to confess their sins. They decided it was either a copycat, or the “to catch a predator” wannabe had escalated. 

Joan and Bell split off to go talk to the victim, Damian Novak’s wife. The wife’s brother was there as well, and while she insisted there was no possible way her husband had been involved in such shady business, her brother was not convinced. He told the detectives he had found pictures of girls on Novak’s computer and confronted him about it, but Novak claimed it was nothing and had an excuse. 

While Joan and Bell struck out on any helpful information, Sherlock went straight to the headquarters of a site called True Romantix, which was the site used to find the predators. Whoever had been hunting them had created fake profiles, and Sherlock wanted to get access to the information. The supervisor denied him access, but Sherlock got help from an eavesdropping employee who told him she hated her job and would send him whatever he needed. 

Joan took a break from the case to talk with Shinwell, who returned the interview clothes. He said he was going to take a break from interviewing and focus on working at the gym, much to Joan’s disappointment. After she took the clothes inside and Sherlock updated her on what he had discovered at True Romantix (that Novak had made fake accounts), she suggested to him that she teach Shinwell how to be a detective. 

Sherlock was not particularly thrilled about the revelation and honestly expressed his hesitance. Shinwell did not seem like a detective, but Joan insisted he could be. They returned to the case and realized the pictures that had been found on Novak’s computer by his brother were ones used to create fake accounts on True Romantix. They quickly realized that Novak was the “predator predator” – and someone had gone and killed him. 

They returned to an earlier witness who had been at the motel and was the real predator, one that Novak had planned to shame. He was reluctant at first to give up information, even though they knew it was impossible that he killed Novak, but eventually he gave up the tape of the shooting (since he was planning on filming his escapades – gross!). They reviewed the tape and found a car leaving right after the shooting took place. 

Sherlock took the information and ran with it, focusing on the men that Novak had publicly shamed. From them, only one remained in the City, an ad executive named Jack McGill. He had been accused by a woman at his company of sexual harassment, and soon after had his life ruined by Novak’s beat down. McGill insisted he was wrongly accused and if anything, they should be looking at Yvette – the woman who aimed to sue him. They pulled her into interrogation but she claimed she had nothing to do with it.

Joan went to Shinwell’s place and watched him fix a stove, which seemed like an obvious skill to capitalize on and look to see if his ability to be a handyman could stretch outside of the housing arrangement. Instead, she popped the suggestion to him that he allow her to train him to be a detective. He turned her down and let her know that while he appreciated everything she had done, he was not in a place where he felt comfortable doing that. 

When she returned to the Brownstone she filled Sherlock in on Shinwell’s answer, and found Sherlock pretending to be the character of a fake profile he created on True Romantix to get information on the lawsuit Yvette was involved in. He was trying to figure out who would have profited from the lawsuit going through, and found that Novak’s brother-in-law had invested money in the lawsuit and stood to profit. 

Sherlock quickly put it all together and they questioned Novak, accusing him of investing in the lawsuit, creating a fake profile for McGill, then setting up McGill for a beat down which would probably lead to a quick cash settlement. However, given he had created another dummy profile to set someone else up, he claimed he had no reason to kill his “cash cow” when he could keep using Damian to make the big bucks. They verified his story. 

Back to square one, Sherlock looked into the other two men who Novak had targeted. Both had fled the country. Here’s where this case gets convoluted, if it weren’t already: it turned out that the girl that helped Sherlock at True Romantix was a girl by the name of Nadia Swain who had been assaulted by one of the pervs Novak beat down. The New Jersey police had a solid case and were set to prosecute, but Novak’s actions led the perp to flee the country to somewhere without extradition. 

Angry at Novak for ruining her only chance at justice, Nadia tracked him down and killed him. Everything else was just a cover for her crime. The majority of this episode was a red herring, folks. 

In the end, Sherlock called a friend in Indonesia in order to ensure the man who fled there would see justice (by setting him up to have cocaine planted in his home). Back at Shinwell’s place, we finished the episode with a peek into the darkness that still seems to follow him around as a gentleman threatened him and reminded him of the mysterious “big plans” they have. More to be revealed, I’m sure. 

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