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"M."

Season 1, Episode 12

Moran captured
Air Date 10 January, 2013
Writer Robert Doherty
Director John Polson
Viewers 11.48 million (U.S.)[1]
Previous "Dirty Laundry"
Next "The Red Team"
"M." is the twelfth episode of season one of Elementary. It first aired on CBS on 10 January, 2013.

Summary

After examining a blood-filled crime scene devoid of clues, Sherlock is immediately able to identify their suspect as the London-based serial killer known as 'M.' Sherlock is intimately familiar with M's MO – in fact, he worked tirelessly to help the British authorities try and capture him when he lived in England. Joan is worried that M might trigger Sherlock into relapsing, but the detective assures her that M's return is a good thing – he now has a second chance to catch a criminal he was unable to stop last time due to his addiction. As Joan begins to realise that she will deeply miss working with Holmes once their time is up in a couple of days, Sherlock works in secret to find M without helping the police. When Joan realises what's going on, she gets Sherlock to admit the truth – M killed his love, Irene Adler, and he intends to avenge her death.

Plot

Part One

In New York City, a |tall, burly man is watching a British soccer game on television as he sips from a beer bottle and assembles a tripod device. Once he is finished, he turns to a man bound and gagged on the floor behind him. Ignoring the man's pleas, the first man suspends him upside down from the tripod device and cuts his throat.

The next morning, at The Brownstone, Watson comes downstairs to see Holmes regarding his beehive, which has been brought down from the roof. She asks why, and he says he is considering converting her bedroom to an apiary after her time as his companion is up, so that the room can finally "serve a useful purpose." She starts to explain her standard "exit protocols" for terminating their companionship, but are interrupted by a call from Captain Gregson.

Gregson conducts Watson and Holmes through the scene of the murder, identifying the apartment's occupant as an accountant named Ian Vickers. Vickers himself is nowhere to be found, but Gregson says it is a safe bet that he is dead, considering the large pool of congealed blood on the floor. Holmes looks and sees the scuff marks of a tripod device. He says he knows exactly how Vickers was killed, but not via deduction. Rather, he recognizes the handiwork of "M.", a serial killer Holmes tracked in London, who has now come to New York.

Part Two

Holmes briefs a task force of the NYPD, explaining that M. has killed thirty-six other victims, of varying ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. As far as Holmes or Scotland Yard was able to determine, M. has no pattern, and there is no common link between any of his victims, making it virtually impossible to predict who the next one will be. What can be predicted, Holmes says, is that M. will kill again in New York, since he tends to kill in "clumps." Each victim was killed in exactly the same fashion: suspended upside down, drained of his or her blood, and then dumped into a local body of water to wash out to sea. Some of his victims' bodies were recovered, and Detective Bell volunteers to alert the Coast Guard to watch out for bodies in the next few days.

Holmes informs the task force that he has brought his own files on M. to the precinct for them to study. Among the files are a series of letters to the police, made from clipped-out print letters. The letters seem to be the ravings of a madman, but Holmes has long suspected that they are a deliberate misdirection. M., whoever he is, is efficient, methodical, and has never left behind forensic evidence or had his image captured, suggesting he isn't nearly as crazy as the letters make him seem.

As Gregson takes over the briefing of the task force, Watson follows Holmes into a conference room, and asks him why he is oddly chipper at the news of M.'s reappearance. Holmes says frankly that he was integral to the early investigation into M.'s crimes, but his worsening drug addiction eventually made him "useless". Now, he says, M.'s reappearance in New York has given Holmes a second chance at catching him.

Gregson enters the conference room, asking if M. is aware of Holmes and his role in the earlier investigation. Holmes says he may well be, but does not appear concerned. Gregson decrees that he will post a couple of uniformed cops outside the Brownstone until further notice. Holmes tries to refuse, but Watson gratefully accepts.

Watson begs off to meet with her therapist, Dr. Reed, who is concerned that Watson seems to have trouble letting go of her time with Holmes. Watson admits that she finds Holmes's work fascinating, and will miss their time together. Dr. Reed reminds her that, short of Holmes relapsing, there is nothing that will stop that time together from ending.

In an upscale New York hotel suite, a young woman showers and dresses, seemingly unaware that M. is coming up behind her. Then the man places a cash tip on the nightstand and thanks the woman for her "efforts." Teasingly, she offers him a freebie, but he asks her to move aside, since Arsenal F.C. is playing on the television. After the woman is gone, M. receives a coded message on his cell phone, then pulls a case from under the sofa, extracts a set of cut-out letters and begins to compose a new message.

Watson meets Holmes at the city morgue, where Ian Vickers' body has been brought after being recovered from the sea. Both Watson and Holmes note the presence of machine oil in his hair, indicating he was dumped from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As Holmes bends down for a closer look, Watson admits that she will miss working with him, as she finds his abilities "amazing."

When they return home, it is after midnight. Watson begins to wonder aloud where they can order a takeout dinner from, and Holmes brusquely tells her to be quiet. He says he needs to concentrate fully, because their home has just become a crime scene. Watson looks past him and sees a new message from M. prominently displayed on Holmes's desk.

Part Three

Gregson examines the note and asks how M. got past the two uniformed officers posted at the front. Holmes says, simple, he picked the lock to the back door. Gregson says he wants to move Holmes and Watson to a safe house until they find M., but Holmes says that's not necessary. Gregson offers to let Watson go by herself, but she says she's staying by Holmes's side.

That evening, after Watson heads upstairs to bed, Holmes removes a book from a shelf and opens it to reveal a digital camera hidden inside. The footage from the camera clearly shows M. entering the dark living room and leaving the message.

The next day, M. is staking out an apartment building when a street hustler, Teddy, comes up to him and offers to sell him some stolen goods. M. rudely shoves him away, but is frustrated when he loses sight of the woman he was watching.

Later that afternoon, Teddy appears at the Brownstone. Holmes is out, but Watson lets him in. Teddy explains that Holmes caught him committing a minor crime several months ago, but instead of turning him in to the police, recruited Teddy and his friends as informal runners for him. The night before, Holmes showed them M.'s picture and told them to stake out a series of hotels. Teddy spotted M. first, which is why he wants his reward. Watson gives him a few bucks and sends him away.

That evening, when Holmes returns home, Watson angrily confronts him. After seeing the photo, she went through the house and found the hidden cameras. That is infuriating enough, but what truly baffles her is that Holmes shared the photo of M. with a group of teenagers but not with the police.

Holmes explains that, examining the note, he noticed the distinctive scents of an expensive hand soap, and an equally expensive mint-based shampoo, the combination of which is used by only one chain of New York Hotels. Watson says that doesn't explain why he hasn't shared any of this with the police. Holmes cheerfully explains that he has no intention of letting M. be captured. Because M. is the man responsible for killing Irene Adler, Holmes's only love, Holmes is greatly looking forward to taking revenge, by torturing and murdering M.

Part Four

Aghast, Watson trails Holmes through the Brownstone as he gathers up various tools and instruments of torture. He warns her not to follow him, but she warns him that as soon as he is out the door, she will go straight to Gregson. He shrugs and says they will both do what they must.

On a Manhattan street, Holmes corners Teddy outside his home's dumpster and offers a large cash tip, in exchange for everything Teddy knows.

In her apartment, a woman named Melanie Cullen is watching TV when her pet dog growls at something outside the door. She goes out to look, sees nothing... and is seized by M. as soon as she steps back inside.

At the precinct, Gregson is furious at Watson's news. He says he has lost friends in the line of duty, and, more than once, has felt the temptation to take matters into his own hands, but he has never crossed the line. Holmes might not be a police officer, but he should know better than to do the same, and know that Gregson would never stand for it. Watson shares what Holmes has deduced about where M. is likely staying. Gregson plans to have M. picked up immediately, but Watson says, uncomfortably, that if M. is not at his hotel, he might already have been abducted.

In Melanie Cullen's apartment, M. is preparing his tripod device and watching another Arsenal game on the TV, ignoring the cries and screams of Cullen, bound and gagged on the floor. Holmes appears, sneering at M.'s choice of football loyalties. "You!" M. exclaims. "Me!" Holmes replies, producing a telescopic baton and knocking M. senseless.

Part Five

M. regains consciousness in handcuffs, strung up by his wrists against a scaffolding in an empty loft. He sees Holmes preparing his tools and politely asks what Holmes has against him. Holmes coldly replies that M. knows very well - the murder of the only woman Holmes ever loved.

For a moment, M. appears to have difficulty recalling the name, then says Holmes is wrong: he didn't kill Irene. In fact, he was incarcerated for aggravated assault in Brixton Prison for six months, after getting into a barroom argument with another football fan. Imagine his surprise, he says, when he saw on the news that the notorious "M." had struck again while he was in prison. Holmes refuses to believe this.

Meanwhile, Gregson and Watson are interviewing Melanie Cullen at the hospital. She says that a second man entered her apartment, knocked out the first man, then released her and politely instructed her to call 9-1-1. She never saw the second man's face, only the soles of his shoes, which had chalk dust on them. Watson remembers that, on the night M. broke into the Brownstone, Holmes was browsing the addresses for for other Manhattan properties owned by his father, one of which is being renovated - Holmes must have been there earlier that day, hence the chalk dust.

At the abandoned loft, Holmes says M. is a poor liar, and M. tells him to check for himself: his real name is Sebastian Moran, and his incarceration is easy to look up. He is also not a serial killer, he is an assassin. All of his thirty-six victims were killed on the orders of his employer, Moriarty, for reasons unknown to Moran. The cryptic notes were all Moriarty's idea. Moran angrily realizes that Moriarty sold him out: he never told Moran that Holmes was in New York, and Moran had no idea that it was Holmes's apartment Moran broke into.

Holmes looks at Moran's cell phone, seeing the coded messages from his employer, and also looks up a news item with the date of Moran's incarceration. Holmes struggles with himself, while Moran insists that Moriarty is the one who killed Irene, not him. In fury, Holmes seizes an auger spike from his table and poises it at Moran's eyes. Moran says that Holmes cannot kill him: if he does, he will be killing the wrong man, and, more importantly, will be killing his best lead to finding the right one.

Holmes seethes for a few moments, then lowers the auger. Moran says that he knew Holmes would do the right thing, because he is, in the end, that rarest of animals: a man of honor. In an abstracted voice, Holmes says that, according to a famous statistician, one can never predict what any particular man would do, but one can always predict what the "average" man, representative of a whole aggregate of men, will do. "I... am not an average man." And with that, Holmes stabs the auger spike into Moran's torso...

Gregson and a SWAT team storm into the loft, telling Holmes to lay down his weapon and surrender. But the building is empty, and Gregson is stunned to get a phone call from Bell, telling him that Holmes just brought "M." to the precinct twenty minutes ago.

Under interrogation, Moran stubbornly insists that Holmes did not abduct him; he followed Moran to Melanie Cullen's apartment, and then to the loft, where Moran attacked him. Holmes stabbed Moran purely in self-defense - though by some miracle, he missed every major organ. Watson is watching the interrogation, but excuses herself.

A shaken Holmes is sitting in Gregson's office, staring straight ahead, when Watson enters. She remarks that she is impressed - she used to be a surgeon, and even she couldn't think of a way to deliberately stab a man without permanently injuring him. She wonders if Holmes was trying to make some kind of point. "He presumed to know me," Holmes whispers, "he needed to be shown that he did not."

Watson says that Moran has agreed to confess to all of his past murders, but for some reason he refuses to inform on Holmes. Holmes explains that Moran believes that Holmes is the best chance of bringing Moran's employer to account for selling him out. Watson wonders aloud why Holmes would help the man who killed Irene. Ruefully, Holmes says that Moran is innocent of that at least - Holmes confirmed that Moran was incarcerated when Irene died.

In the same haunted voice, Holmes says he is sorry for lying to Watson, and for his actions in general. He remarks that the beauty of deductive reasoning is that it makes all of his decisions seem logical and straightforward - but in this case, he is by no means certain that he has done the right thing. Watson extends a hand to him, and he repeats back her earlier words: that he is going to miss working with her, because he thinks that what she does is amazing. He gets up and shuffles out of the office. After he is gone, Watson makes a call on her cell phone, leaving a message for Holmes's father that she is concerned about Holmes's recovery, and wants to extend her time as his sober companion.

The next morning, Watson wakes up to see a text message from Mr. Holmes, refusing to extend her contract. Hearing Sherlock behind her, she turns as he asks her what is going on. She says that she has asked Mr. Holmes to extend her time as Sherlock's sober companion, and the elder Holmes has agreed. Holmes appears grateful that she is staying, but only says, "I suppose the apiary will have to wait."

In the living room, Holmes takes down his "evidence board" on M.'s crimes, leaving the wall bare except for an index card bearing a single name: "MORIARTY".

Cast

Regular

Guest stars

Trivia

Season One navigation

Season One
#01 Pilot#09 You Do It To Yourself#17 Possibility Two
#02 While You Were Sleeping#10 The Leviathan#18 Déjà Vu All Over Again
#03 Child Predator#11 Dirty Laundry#19 Snow Angels
#04 The Rat Race#12 M.#20 Dead Man's Switch
#05 Lesser Evils#13 The Red Team#21 A Landmark Story
#06 Flight Risk#14 The Deductionist#22 Risk Management
#07 One Way to Get Off#15 A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs#23 The Woman
#08 The Long Fuse#16 Details#24 Heroine

References

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