Synopsis for 05×12: A murdered clown leads to an attempt to poison the NYC water supply. As if that weren’t enough, Bell runs into trouble in his new relationship with an ADA after he punches her ex-husband in a bar.
At the bar, Bell got a call from his lady claiming she had to cancel because of a case she was working on. The defense had dropped a paperwork bomb on her that would keep her at the office all night, meaning they’d have to have a rain check. Bell understood and on his way out ran into a guy who, quite frankly, looked like he purposely stood up to bump into him. He offered to buy the guy a new beer but was shoved and ended up punching the guy in the gut.
He was not the only one having a bad day. In Mt. Pleasant, two citizen patrol officers were chasing a clown through the woods. They lost track of him and found another clown, this one dead for what appeared to be at least a couple of days. Confused as to how the clown they had just been chasing was dead, they called it in. Sherlock, intrigued by the involvement of clowns, showed up the next morning at the scene to investigate and decided they needed to find the second clown who had gotten away.
Bell got in trouble with Chantal (the ADA) who wanted to confirm that he had punched a guy at the bar. She revealed that the gentleman was her ex-husband and he showed up at her office to raise hell, causing her boss to second guess whether or not Chantal would be able to handle the high profile case she was head chair of.
The police brought in a young man who initially claimed he had nothing to do with the dead clown, but then revealed his connection. He knew Kip, the dead man, but only because they were coworkers. Apparently both of them had been hired by a company called AdRupt which used pranks and people in costume to promote an upcoming horror film. Sherlock looked into it and discovered that Kip’s real name was Dale Schmitt, a reporter who had written a critical article about AdRupt.
Naturally, he and Joan paid the head of AdRupt a visit. He admitted that Dale worked for the company, but not undercover. They worked out a deal for a redaction piece. Dale would work and see that the company was treating its employees well and help restore their public image. He had documentation saved on a cloud drive of Dale’s work which confirmed his story and exonerated him as a suspect.
While Sherlock looked through the files for clues, Joan caught him up on the Bell situation. She said she was trying to help Bell investigate and planned to go to the bar to try and dig up information on Chantal’s ex and his comings and goings. Sherlock had a break in the case right then and realized that Dale’s phone was set to automatically send pictures to the cloud. They found images of a man holding a crowbar, the suspected murder weapon, and Sherlock had an idea of where in the woods it occurred.
While in the woods, Sherlock brought up the drama that Bell was facing and Bell explained that he simply wished that what he did was not causing Chantal any grief and would not get her pulled off the case. As Sherlock multitasked (listening to Bell while looking for clues) he found indentations in the underbrush of a hose which led them to a manhole cover. He deduced that it was an aquaduct, part of the New York City water system, and realized quickly that someone had poured something into it that may have to do with a virus.
The Captain contacted the Department of Homeland Security and the EPA who were able to act fast and stop the water without any issue. Somehow the bug had made it past UV and chlorine safety nets, deeming itself to be a super bug. The gentleman from Homeland Security was hesitant to share more about the issue and told everyone not to tell the media about it, or let news of the contamination leak out.
Joan went to the bar where Bell got into his confrontation and found video that indicated Chantal’s ex was not there by accident. She also told Sherlock she had a friend look at the virus and provided a blown up image of it, though they still had no identification. They determined it had probably been engineered in a lab, and Sherlock found it suspicious that there had been no chatter according to his friends in the intelligence community before or after the attack. That was uncommon for an act of terror, indicating it was probably the act of a lone wolf.
Somehow they tied it to an heiress which led to a dead end, except that Sherlock found a picture of their killer in one of the scientific journals she was hoarding. She had also written a manifesto about thinning the herd but did not have the capability to follow through. Splitting off from the group, Joan went to ask Chantal questions about her ex and wanted to know why he was no longer a cop. She also told her that she believed Chantal’s ex had not ended up there by accident.
Sherlock tracked their suspect to a lab on the Upper East Side where they were informed that Thorpe, the suspect, had been gone for a week due to a “family emergency.” They explained the situation to a coworker and Sherlock found a copy of information on the virus on Thorpe’s computer. He asked the coworker what it was made to do and she said it was non-lethal. The only thing the virus was made to do was give people mild gastro-intestinal discomfort.
Homeland Security seemed pleased by the fact that it was a non-lethal bug, though the agent still did not understand why someone would have done it. The gentleman from the EPA, however, indicated it would have been a more serious issue. Undrinkable water in the face of dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea could have been a disasters for hospitals or the vulnerable. Regardless, the Homeland Security fellow was more disturbed by the fact that news of the bug had been leaked to the press. He warned everyone to keep quiet.
When Sherlock returned to the Brownstone he found a plumber and Joan explained she had a water filtration installed. Sherlock went on a bit of a rant about how wonderful municipal water was because it was not filtered, only purified through chlorine and UV rays. He liked NYC water because of the taste, which was part of the reason he chose NYC over any other city in the United States. He did concede that the virus may cause the city to be forced to build a water filtration system, which could have been motive.
Joan returned to see Bell, who let her know that Thorpe had gotten out of the country and gone to Montenegro where there was no extradition treaty. In exchange, she updated him about her work on the bar brawl and said she found that Booker, Chantal’s ex, was working as an investigator for the defense lawyer that Chantal was going up against. The lawyer orchestrated the whole incident in order to get her yanked off of the case and increase their odds of winning.
Meanwhile, Sherlock confronted the head of a large contracting company that won the bid to build a filtration system, were one ever needed. Sherlock accused him of orchestrating the water crisis in order to get the job, but the contractor told him it would not make financial sense. He had more money currently tied up in building UV disinfection plants which were easier and faster to build. He would not see profit from a filtration plant for years.
That tipped Sherlock off on who might have had motive to create the crisis in the first place. He went to the Brownstone and destroyed the filter Joan had purchased in order to get the patent number. Whoever made the filter stood to make a nice profit because New York City would buy them up in order to keep people safe. They connected the filter to the EPA investigator and he admitted to not disclosing a conflict of interest, but claimed he did not hire Thorpe and did not know who he was.
The team pounced at that point, pointing out a connection to Thorpe, and letting him know that Thorpe was on a plane back from Montenegro. Apparently they kicked him out of the country once they realized he had been exposed to a super bug. Since the EPA guy did not kill anyone they wanted to offer him the first deal and he took it.
Finally, Bell went to talk with Chantal’s ex and threatened him. He said he would produce evidence that would launch an investigation into Booker’s disability claim with the NYPD, jeopardizing his pension. He told Booker he needed to stop working for the defense lawyer and leave Chantal alone, lest he reign hell down on him. Even though Bell is small, he is mighty, though it will be interesting to see if it really is the end of it.