Synopsis 05×18: Pirate treasure becomes the center of an investigation when a thief turns up dead. Shinwell’s history gets a little darker as Sherlock questions him about the alleged murder of a fellow gang member 12 years ago.
At a storage unit auction a young kid hit the jackpot only to find a dead person inside of a cabinet in the storage unit. The team came to investigate and figured out that the unit was full of stolen items. Travis Unger, the gentleman who died, worked for an office which protects the assets of people with no wills. Since no one was there to claim the items he was helping himself to valuable pieces while the rightful heirs were tracked down.
After speaking to Travis’ coworker, who confirmed that Travis was stealing, they were able to trace back to the last person he had stolen from. They pulled Milton Barker’s things from storage and went through them, the only thing missing appeared to be an old book that had been kept in an 18th century sea chest that had belonged to Captain Emerson Barker. Sherlock believed it was a Captain’s log.
Joan and Detective Gomez, Shinwell’s handler, interviewed the brother about the shooting he blames Shinwell for. He explained that, as a 10 year old, he heard the gunshots and waited for everything to calm down before coming out to see what had happened. He thought maybe Shinwell had run away or gone after the shooter but when he looked outside he watched Shinwell throw something in a garbage can and walk away. That something was the gun and the young man took it and kept it and used it to try and kill Shinwell. He then threw it into the East River.
Returning home, Joan filled Sherlock in on what they had found and apologized for letting a killer into their lives. Obviously she was less than pleased to learn about Shinwell’s even darker past. In return, Sherlock filled her in on where he was with the case and explained that he believed Captain Barker had been a pirate named Black Peter and the book which was stolen had been his fabricated pirate log.
When Sherlock shared this information with Gregson the Captain seemed skeptical, especially when Sherlock claimed there might be gold buried with the sunken ship Black Peter/Barker had captained back in the day. They went to a gentleman named Lars who was a treasure hunter and accursed him of having reason to kill Travis. Lars insisted he did not kill Travis over the location of the boat because he already knew the location, requested the salvage rights, and cultivated investors. He went out to the ship and found it had already been picked clean. He did not need Travis.
Sherlock made a sneaky pit stop at Shinwell’s place and told him his suspicions. He suggested that a deal could be made if Shinwell was willing to admit what he had done. It would also lend itself to his credibility for his new life. Shinwell was not having any of it and told Sherlock to leave.
They got another break in the case when they found images of a yacht that had been anchored above the sunken ship. A Saudi businessman was brought in for questioning and he admitted to having the log book and that he found the treasure in the boat and kept it. It was all rather damning until he insisted he did not know Travis Unger. He bought the book on the dark web and had no motive to kill Unger for it anyway. After all, he was not into treasure hunting for the money (he was already very wealthy) but for the adventure and novelty of it.
Turning to the dark web, Joan enlisted Mason the hacker’s help in locating Kashgar, who sold the log leading to the treasure. After buying something from Kashgar they managed to set him up and found the name of the guy behind the screen name. Their information led them to a former convict who insisted, after they burst into his house, that he had not done anything. It turned out his daughter was the one behind Kashgar.
They questioned her and she explained she used the business to raise money for college and she was just the middleman. She never actually touched the log. Instead, people reach out to her wanting to sell items and then she connects them to a buyer. For the log, she was specifically asked to contact the Saudi businessman and offer to sell him the book for 25k. She did it and that was the end of her involvement. She even got to keep all the money meaning whoever sold it did not make a penny.
Since there was no positive motive Sherlock and Joan came to the conclusion that the only person who would suffer from not finding the treasure was Lars. They turned to possible disgruntled investors and found one who had been in a previous altercation with Lars after a failed expedition. That investor put them on the trail of “pirates” who came onto Lars’ ship and destroyed his gear. This clue led the team to a marine archaeologist who admitted she had enlisted students to destroy Lars’ gear but she did not kill anyone.
She also claimed that according to any public records available there was no treasure on the ship. Therefore there was no way that Lars could have known that there was treasure to be found unless he had the log. That is when everything clicked into place – Lars was pulling an idea from The Producers, making more money with a flop than a hit.
They pulled him in and explained what they had found. Lars over sold shares in the expedition expecting nothing to come out of it so that, minus costs, he would make 14 million dollars. A few weeks before the expedition Unger showed up and tried to get him to help find the treasure in exchange for 50%. Lars was in trouble because he realized if there was actually gold on the ship then he would have to pay his investors back and his gig would be up. He killed Travis, sold the book, made sure the treasure was gone, and then purposely completed a failed expedition to get his money. Hook, line, sinker.
On his way home in the evening Sherlock called Joan to see if she wanted him to pick up food and was jumped by Shinwell. Shinwell kicked the crap out of him, said he knew Sherlock had tried to record him earlier to get him to confess, and explained what happened. He had killed his fellow gang member 12 years ago because it was part of an agreement struck between SPK and another gang who were in conflict. Shinwell then told Sherlock that he was going to take SPK down and “anyone who gets in his way is gonna get hurt.”