The latest episode of Elementary “To Catch a Predator Predator” uses the concept of the old NBC program hosted by Chris Hansen and the relatively new term “catfish” to describe a predator who preys on sexual predators. This vigilante defender of underage sexual targets is murdered, shot to death outside a motel.
This episode of Elementary fully embraces the old “dial up” paranoia exhibited back when internet chatrooms were the hunting grounds of pedophiles across the globe. Later the concern shifted after the 2010 documentary Catfish stunned the world with its tale of a woman who pretended to be a gifted child artist.
The concept of internet fraud, aka pretending to be someone you are not for reasons other than sex, spawned a new term in modern English and a television spinoff of the film.
Catfish, the film, did have its fair share of detractors who claimed the whole thing was made up. However “To Catch a Predator” was accused of something else; entrapment. The show and its host, Chris Hansen got the axe.
“To Catch a Predator Predator” takes a page from Hansen’s book, so to speak. The man murdered outside Mr. Utz’s room, the victim actually crashes through the window after being shot twice, was a vigilante targeting pedophiles.
It is revealed that Utz was actually in the hotel room waiting for a 15 year old girl to turn up. He planned to tape the two of them having sex.
(The casting of Whaley in this part had to be some sort of industry “in-joke.” Whaley played a man who tapes couples being murdered in his motel in the 2007 thriller Vacancy.)
While Holmes and Watson search out leads and work to solve who murdered the vigilante, Shinwell Johnson is still struggling to find a job. He goes to five interviews and is not hired for any of them. Joan suggests to Sherlock that Shinwell would make a good detective.
Holmes disagrees and later, when Watson asks him, so too does Shinwell. It is, perhaps, just as well. Later in the episode, the ex con is visited by a friend who is making nefarious, and illegal, plans that include Johnson.
Meanwhile the trail of evidence leads Holmes to a dating agency and an employee; Ms. Ingram, helps the detective out. Later, after all the tips lead to a dead end, Holmes realizes that Ingram is the murderer.
They learn that Yvette was an underage victim of one of the few suspects that Holmes and Watson have for the vigilante’s murder. Apparently she went to the police, back when he was molesting her, and he was due to be arrested.
Novak, the vigilante predator, struck before the police could act and forced a confession from the man. The film clip was aired on the internet and the sexual predator fled the country.
Yvette was furious and confronted Novak. She then shot him dead. Ingram confesses and is arrested.
The main message about this “reality” based case (To Catch a Predator was a reality program.) is that vigilantes are not a good alternative to the real deal. A lesson learned by the real To Catch a Predator series back in 2007.
There were a few cute bits in the episode, one being that deerstalker hat that Holmes “never wears.”
Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in and watch Holmes and Watson catch the criminals.
- Jonny Lee Miller – Sherlock Holmes
- Lucy Liu – Dr. Joan Watson
- Jon Michael Hill – Detective Marcus Bell
- Aidan Quinn – Captain Thomas Gregson
- Nelson Ellis – Shinwell Johnson