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Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013)

December 14, 2013 3 comments

Elementary poster

This review discusses the plot so, if you have not already watched this episode, you may wish to delay reading this.

Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11. Internal Audit (2013) demonstrates the pleasing quality of twin track narratives in enabling us to see immediate differences in responses to the developing situation. Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is doing her people-skills act on Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) and, even though he’s not in the best of moods, you can tell it’s working. He’s back at work, albeit restricted to desk duties for now. He’s even teaching himself to write with the “wrong” hand which is no mean feat if you can do it (desperate effort at pun intended). Meanwhile Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Alfredo Llamosa (Ato Essandoh) his fellow recovering addict, sponsor and Irregular confederate in crime are demonstrating Holmes is not properly focusing on the job in hand. Whereas the expert can beat the new supercar’s security system, Holmes is reduced to kicking the car petulantly when he fails (cf. hitting the safe in Season 1, Episode 10). Worse, he then gets all self-righteous and claims not to have put a step wrong in the investigation resulting in the injury to Bell.

Meanwhile the news media are abuzz with the revelation that Donald Hauser (Thomas Ryan) has been running a Ponzi scheme. Sadly, before the old man can kill himself, he’s kneecapped and tied to a chair. In the morning, he’s found dead with the word “THIEF” written on the wall in blood. Chloe Butler (Heather Burns), the woman who found the dead body is an ex-client of Watson. Naturally, Holmes picks up on her nervousness and thinks of her as a suspect. Without telling Holmes, Watson goes round to see her and admires the new baby (her people skills are working overtime tonight). She digs out the news that the last person to see the victim (other than the killer, of course) was Jacob Weiss (Richard Masur). He seems to have no motive because, apparently the fraudster did not steal from his account. News then comes that the journalist who broke the story has also been tortured and killed in the same way. Someone shot the messenger (pleasing joke from the scriptwriters).

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) discuss the murder with Gregson (Aidan Quinn)

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) discuss the murder with Gregson (Aidan Quinn)

Putting all this murder stuff on the back-burner where it should be, we now get down to the substance of the episode which is what must be called a bridge. Understandably, Holmes and Bell are experiencing turbulence in their professional relationship. It’s going to take action from both sides with Watson and Captain Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn) mediating. Except, in a way, Watson and Gregson are too close to the problem. Not that he’s paranoid, but Holmes would hate to think the three were ganging up on him. It must therefore fall to the other trusted person, Alfredo, to talk sense to him. Coming at the problem from an oblique angle, Alfredo tries to persuade Holmes into becoming a sponsor for Randy (Stephen Tyrone Williams), an addict three-months dry. Alfredo diagnoses the Holmes recovery trajectory. Before he began attending AA meetings, he was completely self-absorbed. Now he’s been in the recovery program for eighteen months, he’s got a little bit of empathy back into his mind. That’s why he’s upset Bell won’t let him do anything to help. When Holmes unthinkingly rejects the role, Alfredo calmly reassures him that being a sponsor is not about the sponsor. It’s nothing more than a chance for the sponsor who has benefitted from the program to give something back. The point being, of course, that if Holmes can accept the notion of helping a fellow addict stay sober, he might be able to work out how to talk to Bell. After all, Holmes has benefitted from working with the NTPD and needs to give something back.

Meanwhile, Watson is quietly working the case on her own. Chloe Butler is able to identify Nelson Maddox, a criminal who knew Donald. But because Chloe is in a custody battle, she can’t afford to have anyone know about her drug problem. She refuses to confirm the identification formally and relies on the confidentiality agreement Watson signed to reinforce her refusal. This leads to disagreement with Holmes. He wants to tell Gregson anyway. Watson points out it’s exactly the same type of situation that got Bell shot. People who get dragged into investigations can be injured in unpredictable ways. In practical terms, compassion has to be in the Holmes tool box of the investigative art. If Holmes cannot understand people, he cannot see motives. That’s why, in the end, Holmes does the right thing. We’re not to mind that Watson’s work-around directly leads to a third murder. He deserved to die.

Holmes’ interview with Randy is hilarious. He’s been sober for a long time so he inadvertently adopts the right tone and doesn’t put Randy off. Bell is also facing a decision as an “Intelligence” unit wants to recruit him. He may not be able to go back on to the front line, but he can still help to keep the city safe from terrorist and comparable attacks. The metanarrative is therefore developing nicely. Holmes is slowly accepting the need for some change just as Bell may be removed from the scene. Incidentally, the murders were solved. I suppose it was a reasonable piece of misdirection after the fact. Since we could not read any of the names and check the court records, there was no way we viewers could ever have solved this case. It was just gift-wrapped in time for the Christmas break when the Holmes/Bell saga can continue.

For the reviews of other episodes, see:
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 1. Pilot (2012)

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 2. While You Were Sleeping (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3. Child Predator (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 4. The Rat Race (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 5. Lesser Evils (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 6. Flight Risk (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 7. One Way to Get Off (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 8. The Long Fuse (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 9. You Do It To Yourself (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10. The Leviathan (2012)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 11. Dirty Laundry (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 12. M (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 13. The Red Team (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 14. The Deductionist (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 15. A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 16. Details (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 17. Possibility Two. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 18. Déjà Vu All Over Again. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 19. Snow Angel. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 20. Dead Man’s Switch. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 21. A Landmark Story. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 22. Risk Management. (2013)
Elementary: Season 1, Episodes 23 & 24. The Woman and Heroine (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 1. Step Nine (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 2. Solve For X (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 3. We Are Everyone (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 4. Poison Pen (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 5. Ancient History (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 6. An Unnatural Arrangement (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 7. The Marchioness (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8. Blood Is Thicker (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 9. On the Line (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 10. Tremors (2013)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 12. The Diabolical Kind (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13. All in the Family (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 14. Dead Clade Walking (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 15. Corps de Ballet (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 16. One Percent Solution (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 17. Ears to You (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18. The Hound of the Cancer Cells (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19. The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 20. No Lack of Void (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 21. The Man With the Twisted Lip (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 22. Paint It Black (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 23. Art in the Blood (2014)
Elementary: Season 2, Episode 24. The Great Experiment (2014).

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