Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) is nearing his first year of sobriety in the "Elementary" episode "Dead Man's Switch." Watson (Lucy Liu) and Sherlock's former car-thief sponsor/helper/friend, Alfredo (Ato Essandoh), think this is a big moment for Sherlock, while Sherlock seems to think it's just like any other day. It's up to Watson to deduce what Sherlock's real problem is as they solve their next case.
Alfredo calls Sherlock for help with a new case. Alfredo's sponsor is being blackmailed. His daughter had been brutally raped, and the blackmailer sent the father a DVD of the crime, demanding $10,000 to prevent its release on the Internet. Once the father paid, the blackmailer demanded more. Now, he's on his third demand, and the father is about to lose his mind.
The death of a blackmailer
Sherlock tracks down the blackmailer, Charles Milverton (David Mogentale), through his bank account number. But that would be too easy. While Sherlock is in Milverton's cat-infested home, spotting a laptop filled with other victims, someone approaches the back door. Milverton comes in the front door at the same time, so Sherlock hides in a closet while the intruder kills Milverton and steals the laptop.
Unfortunately, Milverton had a fail-safe guy who was ordered to release all the videos to the Internet in the event of his death. Sherlock tells Gregson (Aidan Quinn) everything he witnessed but warns him to keep the murder a secret from the public until Sherlock can track down the fail-safe man.
Sherlock visits the rapist, Brent Garvey (Tom Guiry), in prison. He is happy to see that rapists are treated the way they are rumored to be treated in prison: Garvey has been beaten to a pulp. Sherlock learns that Garvey is not the fail-safe guy but has enough information about the fail-safe to provide a good lead. Sherlock looks like he may join in on the brutality against the rapist when he claims to be "just another victim" of the blackmail.
The fail-safe blackmailer
Sherlock and Watson finally track down the fail-safe, but the floor of his home has been covered in kitty litter to mask the stench of his dead bloated body in the tub. It turns out that one of the other blackmailed fathers, Anthony Pistone (Joseph Siravo), found Milverton but was offered part of the business in exchange for letting Milverton live. Milverton then murdered his fail-safe, since he didn't need him anymore. Pistone, in turn, murdered Milverton. Pistone then took over the business, using his brother as his fail-safe. Case solved.
Sherlock claims that he does not care about his one year of sobriety, and that measuring the time one is sober is ridiculous. His sponsor, Alfredo, is not happy to hear this. He informs Sherlock that receiving a sobriety chip is not about him. He says, "One of these days, you've got to get over yourself." Nicely put, Alfredo!
Sherlock finally confesses to Watson that they've got the wrong day: He relapsed the day after entering rehab before quitting for good. It seems trivial to everyone else that the anniversary is only one day off, but apparently this detail is extremely important to Sherlock because he had made a final decision and could not control himself. He finally tells Alfredo, as well, and the burden is lifted. The one-day-off sober-versary truth is out.
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