An interesting episode this week on Elementary. “Over a Barrel” starts with a bit of backstory. A father; Jack Brunelle, is convinced that his son was murdered. Initially he approaches Joan Watson and we learn that Connor Brunelle was mugged.
Later, we find that the young man became hooked on pain medication which then segued into heroin addiction. This killed the man’s son and he wants Holmes to look into why he was mugged.
Each time, several of which are shown on the show but according to the storyline much more via written correspondence, etc. Holmes has a more pressing case that he cannot abandon to help the upset father.
Finally, with less than 12 hours till the statute of limitations runs out on his son’s murder, Brunelle takes an entire diner hostage. He demands that Holmes find his son’s murderer or he will start killing patrons.
The irate and now desperate father keeps Watson in the diner with him. Sherlock works with Detective Bell to track events that occurred back in 2012, when Connor Brunelle was attacked. As time runs out, Holmes finds out a number of interesting things.
Connor was gay, and having an affair, but this was not a factor in his death. It is revealed that smuggling in thousands of barrels of Canadian Maple Syrup was behind the mugging and the young Brunelle’s subsequent death. The gang responsible is said to have been disbanded.
On sidenote: This appears to be dig at the outrageous cost of real maple syrup. In the episode, both Bell and Holmes feel that the barrels may well be full of cocaine. Later, when they track down the missing barrels, and the men who orchestrated the smuggling operation, they learn that syrup never “goes off.” The implication being that one gang is price fixing the cost of what we put on our pancakes and waffles.
The murderer turns out to be a guy who left the country right after Connor Brunelle was attacked. Ironically he goes to Canada. Holmes, who has missed the 12 hour deadline, realizes that Frank Trimble (the man responsible for the lad’s death) can still be charged due to a loophole in the statute of limitations law.
Rather interestingly, after the series plot thread where Shinwell Johnson is “hired” to aid Holmes and Watson in their capacity as consultants to the NYPD, the ex con has disappeared. He is AWOL and provides no help in this case.
This was an interesting storyline. The best private detective in New York was presented as not being too sympathetic to a more mundane case. Although to be fair Holmes’ condition would prevent him from reacting enthusiastically to any case.
It was annoying that Brunelle waited till the last possible moment to play his hole card. Forcing Holmes to look into his son’s death with a 12 hour window was fine for “suspense” but unrealistic even for the brilliant Holmes.
Added to this short turn around time was the action of “tying one hand behind Sherlock’s back” with the removal of Joan as assistant. Still, like most episodes in this series, the episode was quirky and interesting.
Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.
- 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
Guest starring Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Jack Brunelle, Robert Capron as Mason and Shuler Hensley as Frank Trimble.
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