Jun 242020

“Poison Pen”, aired October 17, 2013

Elementary is a detective TV series of a modern-day retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories and novels by Arthur Conan Doyle. 

The case begins with a pro domme (“Mistress Felicity”, played by Keesha Sharp) on an outcall who came across a dead client already in a latex suit, and called Holmes before she called the police. 

Dominatrix: (in full outfit, toying with crop) “Call came in around 10:30. New client looking for a light CP and a little OTK.”

Detective: “Excuse me?”

Holmes: “CP. Corporal punishment. OTK. Over The Knee. Spanking.”

Holmes and Watson are looking around. 

Dominatrix: “He said the door would be unlocked. I walked in and there he was.” 

Detective: “He was like this when you got here?”

Dominatrix: “He had on the mask. I gave him a few commands. He didn’t respond. At first I thought he was stubborn. Some slaves are like that. Then I whacked him with this.” [hits chair with crop, making Watson turn around] “Still nothing. I took off the mask and saw that he was dead.”

Detective: “And that’s when you called Holmes?”

Watson: “And you two know each other how?”

Holmes: “Mistress Felicia and I got chatting over an exhibition of torture devices throughout history. We realized we had a few friends in common. We stayed in touch.”

Holmes works out that the victim was actually poisoned, and the absence of talcum powder inside the latex suit suggests someone else put it on him. 

Holmes: “Putting on a latex garment like this is a bit like putting on a swimsuit that is two sizes too small and already wet. Talcum powder is generally de rigeur. Well, a man of Mister Delancey’s girth would not have been able to put on this suit without an assist.”

This is enough to clear the pro domme of suspicion. [If only it were that easy.]

Holmes notes to Watson that there is no other BDSM paraphernalia in the victim’s home, and traces the XXL latex outfit to one fetishwear store in Manhattan. 

The store’s owner, an older man in a black t-shirt, refuses to hand over the requested records without a subpoena. 

Owner: “Your job is to solve crimes. Mine is to protect my customers’ privacy from a police force eager to demonize the sexually adventurous.”

Holmes, Watson and a detective pressure the owner to provide a lead to the ATM in the store.

The surveillance camera in the ATM links to one of the victim’s employees buying the latex suit. However, he says he only found the body, already dead, and put it in the suit and called the pro domme. 

The motivation behind this improbable scheme is money. DeLancey, the victim, has a morals clause in his employment contract. Breaking that would mean his employers wouldn’t have to pay him, or his family in this case, millions of dollars. In other words, the best way to assassinate his character is to frame him as a pervert. 

There’s also the implausibility of the guy formulating this plan, purchasing the XXL latex suit, undressing the corpse and putting it into the suit (difficult enough with a live, cooperating person) without talcum powder. Then he called the pro domme, assuming that she would discover the body and call the police, instead of avoiding any possible legal entanglements. Simpler just to wait for a housekeeper or some other person to discover it.

None of this ties into the actual murder, which involved the victim sexually abusing his own son and the nanny whom Holmes knew years ago. 

This is a case of throwing in kink as a way of adding sex appeal and transgression, without any further development. It hints that Holmes may have been involved in BDSM, but backs off from any clear statement. (Most depictions of Holmes characterize him as asexual.)

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