Episode Title: “Child Predator”
Writer: Peter Blake
Director: Rod Holcomb
Previously on “Elementary”:
Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) tells Watson (Lucy Liu) about a police call he heard on his scanner involving the kidnapping of a child. He believes the culprit may be the same man responsible for the kidnapping of a boy named Adam Kemper. The kidnapper always left balloons as his calling card, as is the case with this latest crime.
When he gets the call from Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn), Sherlock and Watson head to the missing girl's home. Inside, Sherlock finds the parents about to make a televised plea to the kidnapper and he promptly stops them. He explains that the "Balloon Man" has a history of killing his victims shortly after their parents go on TV.
When Sherlock learns that the girl's father met with his mistress outside the apartment, he has the women brought in for questioning. She tells the detectives that she saw a brown van race past her the night the girl was taken. Sherlock and Watson find a car on the street that appears to have been sideswiped by such a van, except that it left blue and white paint marks as well. This leads Sherlock to believe the van was an old NYPD police vehicle.
The police spot the van and a chase ensues. But when they finally pull it over, the driver turns out to be a teenage boy. Sherlock identifies him as Adam Kemper (Johnny Simmons). Back at the station, Adam refuses to speak to anyone but Sherlock manages to get through to him. He tells Sherlock that his kidnapper treated him well, but their conversation is interrupted when Gregson learns that the boy's parents have hired a lawyer, fearing that their son may be held as an accomplice in the "Balloon Man's" most recent crime.
Based on his talk with Adam, Sherlock deduces that the kidnapper works nights. According to an old FBI file on the "Balloon Man," he may have worked as an exterminator at one time. Sherlock puts this together with the fact that several of the victim's parents subscribe to the same newspaper to create a profile of the kidnapper. After calling the newspaper, he identifies the "Balloon Man" as Samuel Levitt.
Detectives find Levitt's apartment empty except for a bunch of balloons with a video message attached. Levitt appears on the video, demanding Adam be returned or the girl dies. Though his lawyer won't let Adam speak to the police, he can speak to Sherlock who gets him to give up Levitt's location in order to save the girl. In exchange, Adam gets immunity from prosecution.
When the police find Levitt, he shoots himself in the head. Inside the apartment, Sherlock notes that Adam's room is fully furnished with a bed while Levitt slept on a bare mattress. Based on this and a broken window in the room which Adam mentioned to him during their talk, Sherlock theorizes that Adam is the real "Balloon Man."
That night, Sherlock sneaks into Adam's bedroom at his parents house and accuses him of kidnapping all the other children the "Balloon Man" took over the years. At first he denies it, but when he realizes Sherlock has him, Adam admits to taking joy in watching the parents of his victims suffer on TV. Despite his confession, Adam tells Sherlock he can't be touched due to his immunity deal.
At home, Sherlock tells Watson how upset he is over Adam getting off so easy. But when Watson brings up exercise and back pain, Sherlock recalls the back brace Levitt was wearing and he realizes Adam acted alone when he kidnapped his victims.
However, Adam’s immunity deal only covers crimes he committed with Levitt, who was in the hospital when the girl was taken. Sherlock finds Adam in a park and gives him the news, just as police arrive on the scene.
“Elementary” continues to be way more watchable than I thought it would be when CBS first announced their modern day take on Sherlock Holmes with a female Watson. In “Child Predator,” Sherlock and Watson kept up their cute, thankfully non-flirtatious bickering while solving another case with an crafty eleventh-hour twist.
On the personal side of their relationship, Watson continues to try to push positive post-rehab behavior like exercising and drinking tea on Sherlock, who'd rather stay up all night listening to the scanner and digging through old files on serial killers. It seems Sherlock has replaced one addiction with another.
Professionally, even though Watson's observations have proven essential to solving his previous two cases, Sherlock is still tentative about taking her on as a bonafide partner. Which is why when he tells Watson "(he) may even listen to (her) again" it seems overly-arrogant for even someone with Sherlock's ego, considering how invaluable Watson's already proven herself to be.
Then again, “Elementary” is in a tough spot in that it doesn't have a nagging underlying romantic storyline to play with. I'm grateful for that, but I hope the relationship between the two leads will evolve in some interesting new, non-sexual directions. Though we've been given plenty of scenes featuring a shirtless Jonny Lee Miller if that does it for you.
Relationships aside, what really makes 'Elementary' enjoyable is watching Sherlock's investigative tricks, which are cleverly thought out and incorporated into the plot. Three episodes in, it's still enough to hold my interest but with November sweeps coming up, I hope we'll see Sherlock run up against tougher adversaries that perhaps tell us more about both his and Watson still somewhat mysterious pasts.