Elementary “Down Where the Dead Delight” Review (Season 4 Episode 11)

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On the latest episode of “Elementary,” Watson had another brush with Detective Cortes (Monique Gabriela Curnen, “The Following”), but this time for decidedly different reasons, while the team as a whole investigated a tricky series of homicides that just barely crossed two different districts, in “Down Where the Dead Delight.”

Almost as if to prove some of the points I was making over the last few reviews, this was another case of an episode where I figured out the culprit fairly early on, but didn’t care because the overall case and surrounding goings-on were so entertaining. Actually, I liked this one even more than last week, as it proved once again that it’s not so much the destination as it is the journey with this show.

We began with a death that hit close to home- RIP, Nicole (Amy Rutberg, “Daredevil”), we literally hardly knew ye, though pity poor M.E. Hawes (Jordan Gelber, “Law & Order: SVU”), who certainly wanted to- as a bomb embedded inside an incoming corpse detonated in the morgue, taking out Nicole and nearly taking out Hawes himself, and just after he’d gotten up the nerve to ask her out, no less. Poor guy. And girl, obviously.

While the body in question was a homeless person seemingly of no significance beyond the fact that he’d been murdered in cold blood, those surrounding him certainly were, as they were members of a Honduras-based drug cartel, Sombra Roja. Was someone looking to cover up certain evidence and didn’t mind causing a mess to do it?

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Well, in a word, yes- but not in the way everyone initially thought. As Holmes and Bell teamed up to investigate the homeless man’s death, Watson and Gregson did the same to investigate the gang side of things. In short order upon visiting the scene of the crime, Holmes noticed an odd thing almost immediately- just across the pond from the murder site was the scene of another crime. Was it a coincidence, or were the two related?

Obviously, there are no coincidences in Holmes-land, so clearly a closer look was in order. Around the same time, Watson herself was taking a closer look at the aforementioned Detective Cortes, who had set up another meeting with Watson prior to the case. But why?

Upon meeting her, Watson was surprised to discover it wasn’t to mess with her, but to seek help with a current case Cortes had been working on and had hit a wall investigating. But were the two truly mutually exclusive? Watson certainly had her guard up, just like she’d learned in the boxing ring to, no doubt, and Holmes told she’d be wise to keep it up, given the history between them.

Watson and Captain Gregson bring in the cartel’s main lawyer, Mr. Rivera (Robert Montano, “The Yards”) to question him about whether the leader Barronco, would have reason to bomb a morgue to eliminate evidence. He says that there was a “rogue soldier” among the dead men in question, making it highly unlikely that Barronco would have cared enough to do any such thing, much less did he have a reason to cover anything up because of it.

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Holmes essentially confirms that the crime at hand is completely unrelated when he discovers that the crime scene across the pond involved a body that just so happened to be one of the other ones in the morgue at the time, and, as such, the likely target, rather than the cartel members, rogue or otherwise.

Interestingly, though, despite the close proximity, it just so happened that the death across the pond was in a different district, Nassau County, which was much smaller than the NYPD’s, and it really had been a coincidence that the body had been sent to Hawes’ neck of the woods. It seems that the Nassau County morgue was full, so the body had been sent to the NYPD side for that reason, along with the homeless man’s body.

However, it isn’t likely that the killer knew that. In other words, if the killer was seeking to cover up some sort of evidence, then by all accounts, the bomb shouldn’t have gone to the right place. It just happened to do so by chance, which makes the fact that Nicole died all the more tragic, as it could have completely been avoided if the killer knew their districts. (Not that, to be fair, most people likely do, period!)

There was a bigger problem, though- the body in question was an unidentified Jane Doe. According to the coroner’s report, she was beaten, then strangled. There was one identifying mark: a number 3 around her knee. Was she the third victim of a serial killer?

Nope, according to Joan, who’d treated her kind before, she was actually a roller derby girl, and the number was simply her team number. From there, it was relatively easy to discover her stage name, at least: “Janet of the Apes,” but a visit to the roller derby headquarters was in order, needless to say.

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A teammate tells them that Janet might have been into dealing drugs, as she’d offered to hook her up with some Oxy once upon a time, so Holmes and Watson headed over to her place once they’d obtained her real name to further investigate. Sure enough, drugs were found on location, but not enough to consider her as more than small-time at best. Watson determines from her email that she might have had a jealous boyfriend: Toby Dannon (Philip Ettinger,”Compliance”).

Bell pays him a visit at his parent’s house, where he still lives. His father (John Finn, “Cold Case”) is a bit on the overprotective side, but begrudgingly allows Bell to talk to him. Toby admits to have bought drugs from Janet, but says that her actual boyfriend was Dylan Hess (Alexander Cendese, “Best Man in the Dark”), and that they had a tempestuous relationship, as he objected to her selling drugs and was the extremely jealous type.

Meanwhile, Watson meets with Cortes, after having looked at her case. Heeding Holmes’ advice to tread with caution, she had noticed that the case at hand, which dealt with home invasions, had plenty of evidence on the suspect, Hector Mendoza, but next to nothing on the crimes itself, which made it hard to get much further.

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Suspecting Cortes was just wasting her time, and really just wanted Watson to track down Mendoza for some reason, she intended to quit while she was ahead. Later, Watson discovers that someone already had found Mendoza and had beaten him down viciously- and that someone just so happened to be a woman. Holmes suspected that Cortes was looking to frame her for the crime, but luckily she had an alibi for the time period in which Mendoza was assaulted.

Meanwhile, Hess himself also alibis out, having pictures to prove that he and Janet were, in fact, together again before her death, and were getting along fine. Watson notices that, in one of the pictures, there’s a cable wire and a jack, despite the fact that Janet didn’t have a TV. A closer look reveals that she was being spied on, as the jack was a front for a hidden camera.

Holmes realizes the person who did it would have had to break in repeatedly not only to install the camera, but to get the footage they had obtained from it. They find the footage, and one of the video files shows none other than Toby installing said camera. Obviously, another visit is in order, this time with a search warrant.

With his father even more disgruntled than before, the team looks through the house, with Bell stumbling upon a fake book front, only with nothing behind it. Surmising that Toby hid it after their previous visit, he goes to check the trash while Holmes investigates Toby’s bedroom.

Holmes strikes gold first, finding a hidden stash of photos and a journal, with lots of defaced pictures of Janet, as well as disturbingly detailed and violent depictions of what he would do to her. Clearly, they have got their man- or do they?

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Watson confronts Cortes again, with her suspicions that Cortes tried to frame her, but Cortes admits that she attacked Mendoza. According to her, he’d beaten down a girl that used to play basketball at a local court, putting her in the hospital for showing him up. Cortes says that Mendoza caused irreparable brain damage to the poor girl after pistol-whipping her within an inch of her life.

Cortes says she knows Holmes has done the same thing in the past, and that he “gets it.” Maybe Watson does, too, and they can team up, like vigilantes and take down some criminals for who justice was not served, neo-“Batman” style. Watson does not look amused, but doesn’t say anything- yet.

Back at the station, the team talks to Toby, but he says that, while he was certainly enamored of Janet, he only bought drugs from her to spend time with her and didn’t actually do them. He claims that the journal and pictures were a “creative exercise” suggested by his therapist in order to work out some of his issues that the feeling was not mutual. Even worse, he actually has an alibi for both of the murders, so couldn’t have done it. So who in the world did?

Regardless, Toby goes down for the camera thing and breaking and entering, but one thing troubles Holmes: why was the stash of evidence moved in the first place, if not because of Bell’s visit? Holmes suspects it was really because the dad saw it and freaked out, and that’s why Toby hid it in his bedroom. A test for fingerprints confirms this, but why would Toby’s dad kill Janet?

Holmes decides to bring the father in and lie to him, suggesting that his son’s alibi didn’t hold up and he is going to go down for the murders, among other things, including the bombing of the morgue and Nicole’s death. The father works construction, and has access to bombs, and he almost immediately caves and admits it was him who did it. He had intended to talk to Janet and pay her off to leave town, lest his son actually end up killing Janet for real, but she hadn’t gone along with it and an altercation had ensued, resulting in his killing her in self-defense, so he claims. But the rest wasn’t, regardless, so dear old dad is going down for it all.

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Finally, Watson meets with Cortes one last time, this time armed to the teeth with evidence. It turns out that the girl, Nyoka, that Cortes alluded to, was non-violent, and never would have wanted revenge, despite Cortes’ claims. Further, Watson says she can prove that Cortes was the one who had assaulted Mendoza- and that there was more evidence where that came from of her doing this sort of thing before.

Watson tells Cortes that she’ll keep quiet about it for now, but if Cortes ever tries this sort of thing again, she’d going down for real- and not just in the ring this time. Cortes says Holmes and Watson aren’t as different from her as they think and that she’ll be watching them as well- and won’t hesitate to bust them on her end if they do anything similar. So, who will cave first? We shall see.

As I mentioned, this wasn’t that hard of a case to solve, as I suspected the dad right away, and not just because of his “Cold Case” background. He was just a little too aggressively in Bell and everyone else’s face to not be guilty, despite all evidence to the contrary that his son had done it. But I really didn’t care because the devil was in the details here.

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From Nicole and Hawes’ sweet-if-ultimately-tragic call-and-response singing duet to Holmes’ hilarious roller derby names for Joan, should she decided to take up the sport, which included “Cyclone Joan,” “Joan of Bark,” “Joan Cold Killer” and, best of all, “Swatson,” this one was just loaded with great moments. Best of all, it was perfectly divided amongst the team, with everyone getting equal moments to shine, which is just how I like it.

Yes, the show ultimately centers around Holmes and Watson, as it should, but I do like it when everyone contributes, and such was the case here. Indeed, even Hawes had a moment to show his tender side, and who would have expected that? Culprit be damned, there was little not to like about this particular episode, IMHO.

Like I said, sometimes it’s not about the who, it’s about the why, and the why here was fascinating enough to make up for the fact that I knew the who pretty early on, and I can live with that. See, I can be fair! Or I try to be, anyway.

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What did you think about the latest episode of “Elementary”? Did you enjoy the case, too? How about the roller derby shenanigans with Watson? Would you also like to see her don some skates and go after Cortes that way, as per Holmes’ suggestion? Do you think Cortes will try something again, or will Holmes or Watson cross the line on their own and she won’t even have to? Or will Cortes crack first and do something stupid again? Make your predictions below and see you next week!