Having been shot and critically wounded in the line of duty last week
, Detective Bell is back to work this evening, but only just: he's stuck doing paperwork with his non-dominant hand, still unsure whether the damage will be permanent. Sherlock isn't doing so great with the situation either, as his role in Bell's injury continues to weigh on his attention.
That distraction and guilt hangs over the case of the week, which involves a wealthy white collar criminal named Howser who is found shot in his home, with the word "thief" Mansonesquely painted on his wall in blood. Ironically enough, the killer caught him just before Howser was able to turn a gun on himself: the killer shot out both of his kneecaps, apparently searching for answers of some sort.
Sherlock's first intuition is to investigate the millionaire's personal chef. While Sherlock is right to perceive that she's hiding something, he's pretty far off base on her motives; she had been a heroin addict, had worked with Watson, and wasn't sure how to react upon seeing her again. Holmes is disappointed that he failed to properly read the situation, but carries on with the investigation.
Their next lead is the head of a charity organization that Howser had bankrolled, though nothing particularly shady emerges there. While visiting the charity, Sherlock receives a call from the reporter who had exposed Howser; that reporter was shot dead in similar circumstances and being investigated by police, begging the question as to who would want to kill both the criminal and the woman who brought him to justice.
As Sherlock continues to struggle with maintaining his focus, Alfredo suggests a new method for coping: he could route his sense of responsibility into improving life for someone else by being a N.A. sponsor himself, specifically to a young man named Randy. Sherlock refuses, declaring himself to be far too busy.
Watson, meanwhile, recognizes a familiar face while going over camera phone footage from near the scene of the crime: a man named Nelson, who had dated the personal chef back when she was an addict. The chef is able to finger the man as a criminal associated with Howser, but she's unwilling to allow Watson to come forward with her information, as it might jeopardize her custody battle by revealing her past as an addict.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Though Watson and Holmes are unable to name Nelson, they are able to share his image without breaching confidentiality, leading to a confidential tip: Nelson had been seen supporting Watson's associating charity, donating several valuable works of art. This leads them to a gallery, where they find Nelson stuffed in a dumpster in the back, dead.
Sherlock deduces that the art gallery is a front for a high-end drug operation -- a fake list of customers matched a list of charity beneficiaries exactly, implicating the head of the charity in a money-laundering scam. As Howser was beginning to reveal his associates' evils, the killer was simply attempting to tie up loose ends.
As the case closes, both Detective Bell and Sherlock find ways to move on from their incident: Bell is recruited to an elite, secretive division of city security, while Sherlock agrees to sponsor Randy.
Kudos to Jonny Lee Miller for his work in this episode, as he spends much of the evening in a very subtle state of dispassionate weariness, emerging only as he rises to the challenge of sponsorship in the end. Taking on a protege is an interesting and sensible development in his character's ongoing journey toward empathy.
(Image courtesy of CBS)