Baker Street Wiki
Baker Street Wiki

Donna Kaplan is a serial killer who appeared in CBS's Elementary in the episode "The Rat Race".



Donna worked at the investment firm Canon-Ebersole as the secretary of Jim Fowkes. In 2003, they worked together in Denver. Donna learned that the company was downsizing and were possibly gonna cut Jim Fowkes' job. To save the careers of her boss and herself, she killed Miles Durham, who also worked in the Denver office, while he was on a vacation.


After Durham was never seen again, Jim Fowkes, who might have been unaware of his secretary's scheme, was promoted and sent to Dallas with Donna. In 2005, Donna caused a gas line in the home of another employye, Maria Filipello, to rupture, causing her to suffocate to death and ensuring Fowkes' progression up the company ladder.

New York[]

By 2009, Fowkes was again promoted, this time to CIO (Chief Investments Officer), and he and Donna were sent to New York. She caused Jason Palmer, another employee of the New York office, to drown.

In late 2012, Donna slipped peanut oil into the takeout order of Gary Norris, the company's COO (Chief Operating Officer), who was terribly allergic. This, like all the other deaths, was considered an accident. Norris was replaced by a new COO, Peter Talbott.

Meeting Sherlock Holmes[]

Sometime later, Donna snuck into Peter Talbott's apartment and dosed his salad dressing with heroin. After he ate it and passed out, she dragged his body into a chair and injected him with even more heroin, causing him to overdose and die. She was also careful to make sure it looked like Talbott accidentally overdosed.

The next day, the company called the NYPD and spoke to Captain Gregson to report Peter missing, unaware that he was actually dead. Gregson informed them that there was nothing they could do until Peter had been missing for two days, but also told them of the finest investigator he has ever known: Sherlock Holmes.

Jim Fowkes held a board meeting with Donna, the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Daniel Cho, and the rest of the board of directors, and asked Sherlock and Joan Watson to attend, asking for his help with finding Peter Talbott. Though he harbors a hatred for bankers, he accepted and asked that he be shown Peter's office. Jim Fowkes had Donna do so.

Peter was later found in his apartment, dead and holding the syringe Donna used to inject him. While Captain Gregson and Detective Bell thought of this as an accidental overdose, Sherlock knew that Peter was in fact murdered, which was later proved when Peter's salad, which was sitting on the table, was found to have trace amounts of heroin.

After learning that the previous COO, Gary Norris, also died, Sherlock researched the dead members of Canon Ebersole and found that some of them, which were the other victims of Donna, all shared one similarity: They all died in a way people thought of as an accident.

At another meeting at Canon Ebersole, Sherlock showed his theory that someone is "killing their way up the ladder" and wished to see the company records to see if he could find the killer, who he knows worked in Denver in 2003, Dallas in 2005, and New York since 2009. Jim Fowkes denied this and that there was a killer in the company because the only person with the mentioned career path was him.

Fowkes later visited Sherlock's home and showed that during the murder of the first victim, Miles Durham, he was in the hospital undergoing surgery, proving that he was innocent. He also gave Sherlock Daniel Cho's file, saying that he worked as a Summer internship in their Denver office in 2003 and they hired him and sent him to Dallas in 2005.

After looking over the files, Sherlock eliminated Daniel Cho as a suspect, since he did not benefit from the murders as much as Jim Fowkes. He also saw that during Fowkes' surgery, Donna was listed as his emergency contact. He later realised that Donna also benefitted from the murders and that she was behind it all.

He went to Canon Ebersole and confronted Donna about the murders, even following her around and into the parking garage. Donna mocked him, saying that he thinks he is so smart, but he is just like her bosses. She commented that he is so proud of himself that he could not wait to tell her about his discovery, even following her into an empty parking garage. She then proceeded to take out a taser and knock him out.

Donna handcuffed Sherlock's hands and zip tied his feet while he was unconscious and put him in the back seat of her car and drove off. When he woke up, she told him that they would be at Jim Fowkes' house soon and in a few weeks the police would find his body buried in the backyard after someone called an "anonymous tip."

Sherlock realised her full plan: She was gonna frame her boss for his murder. Daniel Cho would be promoted to COO and need an experienced executive secretary to "watch his back as he rises to the top." Donna confessed she was wrong and he is smart, which Sherlock responded to with indifference.

Once they arrived, Sherlock received a text on his phone from Joan, the fifth one in the last twenty minutes. Donna sent her a text back as Sherlock saying that everything was fine and he would be home soon. Unfortunately for Donna, she wrote it normally, as opposed to the usual text-speak Sherlock uses, which Joan noticed and deduced was not from him. After following the signal of the last text, Donna was caught off-guard by the police arriving, giving Sherlock, who had been picking the lock on his handcuffs, enough time to knock her out with her own taser, leading to her arrest.

Some time later[]

In the episode "The Leviathan", Sherlock had dinner with Joan, her mother, her brother Oren, and his girlfriend. When Joan arrived and found Sherlock was already there and talking to them about his work, Oren asked her if it was true that she helped that the CIO of Canon Ebersole had a secretary that killed five people, talking about Donna. Joan claimed to only have helped a little, but Sherlock denied this, claiming that she was instrumental in the case and she even saved his life.

Modus Operandi[]

Donna targeted members of Canon-Ebersole who stood in the way of the careers of whoever she was working under at the time. Although how she killed her victims varied, from suffocation to heroin overdose, one thing that always remained the same was that she killed them in a way that the world thinks is an accident.

Known Victims[]

  • August 7-8, 2003: Miles Durham (disappeared while on a vacation)
  • 2005: Maria Filipello (suffocated when her gas line ruptured)
  • 2009: Jason Palmer (drowned)
  • October 2012: Gary Norris (planted peanut oil in his food, leading to an allergic reaction)
  • 2013: Peter Talbott (killed by a heroin overdose)
  • 2013: Sherlock Holmes (attempted to bury alive, but was rescued)