Synopsis of 05×06: Foie gras laced with snake venom kills a chef and reveals what appears to be a plot to compromise the internet’s security. You won’t believe what the killer was actually after. Really, though, you won’t. It is nuts.
But, first, we are going to check-in with our favorite characters. Bell, on the stand in court, was questioned on a robbery case where he was asked to confirm witness testimony that the defendant had been seen running out of the store. He looked a little nervous on the stand even as he assured the defense attorney that the eye witness testimony was solid, and later approached the ADA while looking through the case file to tell her that he may have perjured himself.
Sherlock, before getting calling into investigating the bleeding-eye-guy, skyped with Fiona, who we got to see for the first time this season. It was about time we caught up on their budding romance, and Fiona mentioned she was in Philly on a business trip and then turned around and asked Sherlock to meet her at a bed and breakfast in New Jersey. He agreed, much to her surprise, and was then whisked away to the crime scene.
After Sherlock was on the scene for a couple of minutes he quickly deduced that the chef had been killed by foie gras laced with snake venom. The only way the venom could have killed him was to enter the blood stream, so the spun glass wrapped around the poisoned duck had tiny pieces of fiberglass in it. The fiberglass cut into the chef’s mouth and let the venom in, killing him, and temporarily poisoning another one of the kitchen staff.
Of course, nothing was as it seemed and Sherlock decided that the chef had not been the target. After speaking with the poisoned kitchen staff, they realized that a break-in the previous night appeared to be a cover-up for the poisoning, and the foie gras was intended for a party that had reserved a table the previous day. If that were the case, they expected to find other victims in the coming days.
They tracked down the gentleman who made the reservation and found his hotel room, but he was nowhere to be found. Bell and Joan joined Sherlock at the scene, though Joan eventually left the two alone and Bell quizzed Sherlock about the situation in court. Sherlock had worked on the robbery case, and admitted that the witness had not explicitly told him who the suspect was. However, he insisted his work was sound and if Bell were to question the witness, everything would match up.
At the scene, Sherlock found what appeared to be key cards hidden in the bottom of a wine bottle. After another victim bit the dust, they questioned the victim’s mistress and she claimed she thought she had been two-timed because her lover had two key cards, too. It turned out the key cards were actually linked to the Internet Address Organization, a secret group that got together in order to keep the internet’s security protocols in place so people surfing the web end up at real websites and not fake ones.
They managed to find the leaders and determined they were probably the victims of the venom attack. There was only one living member of the group left, and they interrogated him only to find that he was a vegetarian and it was dumb luck he had not been killed. He insisted, though, that in spite of the attack the internet protocols were safe because someone would have to have all seven sets of key cards and be able to get through all the fail safes in the system which would be nearly impossible.
Bell yanked Sherlock off the case for a moment to take him to go explain to the ADA what had happened with the witness. Bell had questioned the witness who confirmed Sherlock’s conclusion, and informed the detective that he was being pressured by the defense to lie on the stand. Since they were in the clear, Sherlock did not see why he needed to come along but went anyway, only to see the situation resolved and to (correctly) deduct that Bell was interested in the ADA.
Soon after, some activist group sent out an anti-Wall Street video claiming they had plans to take down the stock exchange. Naturally, it triggered a series of security protocols and Sherlock and Joan went to the stock exchange to see if they had any leads on who could profit from the panic.
The stock exchange shut down and they were informed that an outside tech team would be coming in to ensure that everything was secure. Sherlock suggested that the whole thing had been a hoax, perhaps to activate the security protocols, or to tank stocks, for someone to pick them up quickly and turn around and sell them off once the effect of the scare wore off.
While they combed through files, Sherlock opened up to Joan about his worries regarding Fiona. Bell had told him that in a relationship, people generally talked about their work, and Sherlock realized quickly that he and Fiona rarely ever discussed their work together. He was having doubts about the security of their relationship, and Joan suggested that if he had doubts and wanted to end it, he should do so quickly and honestly, because beating around the bush would not amount to anything except broken hearts.
After he tossed crumpled up paper into a vase, Sherlock realized that whoever had caused the panic was not in it to mess with the stock exchange, as stocks were not the only valuable thing in the building. He quickly discovered that some original and expensive paintings had been stolen right out of the lobby, and everything – from the poisoning to the video – had been a lead-up to steal the paintings. In order to flush out the thief, the police arranged to have reproductions “found” in order to discredit whoever was selling them. Naturally, the seller took to the dark web and used multiple accounts to insist the paintings on the news were fakes and he knew someone with the real ones.
All of that led them to a member of the security audit team, found dead in his home having been bitten by the very snake used to poison the victims at the start of the episode. Sherlock took the snake back to the apartment and did some more work, believing that the dead man had a partner.
Through a simulation snake bite (using skeletal jaws, not the snake he had in Clyde’s tank) he quickly realized that a member of the kitchen staff had a scar on his hand that looked like the snake bite. They went to his home and even though he denied it, they found one of the paintings hidden in a snake tank.
The crime was solved! All of that just to nab 60 million dollars worth of paintings, too. At the end, Sherlock and Fiona were prepared to have another video conference and it was left to question what the content of it was.