While going stir crazy with no new murderers to investigate, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) insinuates himself into an apparent accidental plane crash by deducing one of the lawyers aboard the plane was murdered before the crash. That’s only half the story as Holmes’ further investigation reveals the plane itself was sabotaged as well, meaning all three passengers and the pilot were killed.
Watson (Lucy Liu) wonders if Sherlock’s sudden interest in a killing where the murderer has anything to do with her suggestion that he should have dinner with his father. Unable to convince Watson that his father has no intention of attending, the consulting detective has a little fun at the expense of the doctor by hiring an actor (Roger Rees) to stand in for his absentee-father. Although displeased with the prank, Watson actually learns a little about Holmes from the actor who has known the detective for years, including during his downward spiral due to his relationship with a woman named “Irene.”
Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) discovers the three lawyers were working on a $100 million dollar class action lawsuit that alleged a company’s sugar substitute causes cancer when the plane went down. He also discovers the lawyers weren’t all on the same page about how to try the case. After hearing the black box recovered from the crash site Holmes is convinced the victim was killed before the plane took off and stored in the cargo hold which, along with a complicated and unfortunate series of events including improper distribution of weight and sand stuck in the fuselage, led to the plane crash.
Video surveillance at the airport discovers the victim was arguing heatedly with an executive (Adam LeFevre) from the food conglomerate the morning of the crash, but it turns out the exec was the lawyers whistle-blower and not his killer. When Holmes discovers the plane itself was sabotaged the list of suspects widens to include someone who might want all three lawyers and the pilot, and not just the initial victim, dead. This final piece of evidence leads Holmes to the murderer, but can’t protect him from Watson’s inquiry about the woman from his past.
The choice of introducing Irene Adler as a failure from Holmes’ past, rather than as a character in an upcoming episode, works well. It will be interesting to see how much Watson can pry out of Holmes about his relationship, and, in doing so, if any other prominent names from Sherlock’s past are introduced as well.