Synopsis 05×22: Sherlock and Joan investigate the death of a New Jersey police chief after she is found dead playing a game for reality television. Joan also tries to go behind Sherlock’s back to talk with Shinwell who enlists her help in climbing the ranks of SPK. 

Starting with a solved case, the episode showed some discord between Joan and Sherlock as she received a text message from Shinwell and lied about it. She went to meet with Shinwell while we were introduced to the real case of the week: a New Jersey police chief killed while playing paintball with someone who, as detective Bell said, “brought a gun to a paintball fight”. 

On the scene Sherlock noticed that the pellets from the paintball gun were not the typical type. They were a special kind of unwashable red ink. Sherlock was able to identify the victim from her attire and discovered that she was a police chief named Annette who, according to a co-worker, had been on vacation for a couple of weeks. 

Joan and Shinwell had an icy meeting in a coffee shop where she turned down any misconception that they were still friends. She was there solely as a consultant with the NYPD, nothing more. It did not seem to phase Shinwell too much. He explained that he needed her help because he ran into a road block in his CI work. Due to a lieutenant he worked under he had no direct access to SPK’s real leadership. He needed Joan to figure out a way to take the lieutenant out and gave her a tip about a couple unsolved murders he was connected to.

Annette, our dead police chief, was linked back to a reality television show called Moving Targets. The show gave each participant a “target” to track down and once they eliminated said target, they acquired whoever their target’s target was. This would go on until there was only one player left standing. The producer and host suggested that Annette was doing very well, but perhaps a contestant she knocked out decided to take it to the next level. They were put on the trail of a doctor from Uganda, Dr. Arillo, who seemed like a generally good guy. 

Sherlock confronted Joan about her meeting with Shinwell and insisted that he had come to terms with the arrangement and she did not need to keep secrets from him. They went over details about the doctor who, Sherlock discovered, used to be a child soldier in and around Uganda. It explained why he was skilled in the art of taking out targets. 

Joan followed up on Shinwell’s tip and passed it on to the detective who caught the murder case. Sherlock and Marcus tracked down Dr. Arillo by using his latest target as bait and then interrogated him. From the interrogation it seemed that he did not have the right motive and was innocent, but he said he had stalked Annette before the game began and saw her go into a questionable strip club – The Glitter House – and come out with a bag full of money. 

The Glitter House was a known mob front, so Sherlock went to talk with the gentleman who owned it. He claimed that Annette was arranging protection for him in light of a recent shooting but had acted strangely the weeks leading up to her disappearance. She asked to meet with a friend of his, a money launderer, and he agreed to look into what they discussed to see if it would help the case. 

Joan got a bottle of wine for her help in solving a cold case murder and helped Shinwell by getting rid of the lieutenant. She and Sherlock went through some files the money launderer had pulled for the deceased and found that she had discovered Chiefs and Sheriffs all over the country were taking huge bribes from a company. Sherlock broke away from the case to share his concerns about Joan’s work with Shinwell, worried that she would get hurt trying to help “reform” Shinwell. 

Back on the case, the bribes were tied to a gun company called Alpha Hawk that Annette was looking into because her friend’s husband killed the friend and then himself, owning a firearm because Alpha Hawk lobbied to remove protections keeping mentally ill individuals from buying weapons.

However, when they brought the CEO in he was not bothered by the accusation because he was already cutting a deal with the US Attorney’s office to get away with the crime. There was no motive to kill Annette, she was late to the party anyway. 

Joan met Shinwell back at his place again, Sherlock giving her a look before she left. He said that their plan worked and he was moving into new territory. He also handed her a signed confession about killing Jameal and told Joan that she was welcome to turn it in whenever she wanted to, but he’d prefer it if she would let him take down SPK first. 

Sherlock and Marcus pulled a fast one on the show runners of Moving Target because they finally figured out who did it. They came up with a story to give motive back to Dr. Arillo and asked that they distract him so they could search his house and find the weapon. Really, they wanted to give the host of the show a chance to try and frame Dr. Arillo and caught him in the act of digging up the murder weapon. He had taken a bribe from Alpha Hawk in his previous career as a Texas Ranger and it would have come out if she kept digging. 

The episode ended with Joan answering one of Shinwell’s texts, arriving at his place only to find him dead on arrival. RIP Shinwell. 

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