Baker Street Wiki
Baker Street Wiki

"While You Were Sleeping" is the second episode of season one of Elementary. It first aired on CBS on 4 October, 2012


Sherlock is called in to consult a burglary that resulted in the death of the homeowner. True to form, Holmes quickly realises that the burglary was an unrelated crime of opportunity that happened after the murder – they should be chasing a killer, not a robber. Unfortunately, Sherlock's favoured suspect has an airtight alibi: she is confined to a hospital bed, trapped in a coma after a suicide attempt. When another murder occurs with the same M.O., Sherlock realises that he's running out of time to find a connection and solve the case.


Part One[]

Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson are attending his first addict group support meeting. She notices that he is staring straight ahead, almost as if asleep. When she taps him on the shoulder, he bolts to his feet, yelling "AMYGDALA!" Fortunately, the meeting was wrapping up anyway.

As they are walking home, Watson is upset to learn that Sherlock hypnotized himself to zone out of the meeting - the secret, he confides, is word repetition, hence his use of "amygdala". She tells him the point of attending those meetings is for him to hear the others' stories, and he replies that such would be counterproductive to his "Attic theory" - his brain is a storage unit, and it only makes sense to store things there that are useful to know, and too many extraneous facts will eventually crowd out the useful things. To demonstrate, he plucks a carafe from the table of a cafe they are passing, fills it two-thirds full with olive oil (to represent useful information) then pours water into it (representing useless information) - predictably, the carafe overflows, taking both water and oil with it. Watson begins to inform him that she is going out for dinner that evening with an old friend - reassuring him that it is healthy and normal for a sober companion and her client to spend brief stretches of time apart - when Holmes's phone rings: Captain Gregson, with a new case for Holmes.

On the top floor of an Apartment building, a man named Casey McManus is lying against the stairwell, dead from a single gunshot to his forehead. Gregson explains that McManus's cousin is a uniformed officer, which is why he is deploying his best assets to find the killer. This includes the lead investigator, Detective Marcus Bell, who says the crime looks like a fairly obvious robbery/homicide: McManus surprised a burglar in the act, the burglar shot McManus and then took his watch and wallet.

Holmes looks around and pokes several holes in this theory: the trajectory of the gunshot came from an easy chair facing the front door, meaning the shooter was sitting down, lying in wait for McManus. From a whiff of ladies' deodorant from the chair, Holmes guesses that the shooter was a woman. Then, after the killer departed, someone else came in, discovered McManus's body, and stole his belongings before calling the police. Bell asks why Holmes thinks they are looking for two different criminals, and Holmes responds that the thief must have been a man, to have been strong enough to have removed an antique armoire that was standing against the wall. Gregson and Bell are doubtful, until Watson shows them a photo taken inside the apartment, showing the armoire. Holmes further notes that the apartment building has no elevator, meaning the armoire was either dragged down six flights of stairs without anyone noticing, or is still on the floor. Following the skid marks on the floor to the door of the "concerned" neighbor who called 9-1-1, Holmes kicks open the door to reveal the armoire. Holmes informs Gregson that the thief has been caught, but McManus's killer is still at large.

Part Two[]

At the precinct house, the neighbor admits to stealing McManus's watch, wallet, and the armoire before calling the police, but swears that he did not kill him. Bell is disbelieving, but Holmes intercedes with Gregson, pointing out that there is no gun in the man's apartment, predicts that the police will find no gunshot residue on the man's hands, and, besides, why would a burglar "caught in the act" be sitting in a chair facing the door when McManus came home? Watson tactfully asks Holmes to get her a bag of chips from the vending machine. Once Holmes is out of the room, Watson asks Gregson about his past acquaintance with Holmes in London. Gregson says, "he was a pain in the ass - but he was also very, very good." Watson remarks that Gregson must have been happy when Holmes relocated to New York, but Gregson is confused, saying that Holmes only called him from Heathrow Airport a few weeks ago. Watson is surprised herself: from what she can see, Gregson is the closest thing Holmes has to a friend, yet Holmes never told Gregson he had been living in New York for the past six months?

Bell cuts short the interrogation and confers with Gregson in the hallway, with Holmes and Watson listening in. The neighbor refuses to budge from his story, and also claims to have passed a mysterious woman on the stairwell as he was coming up. Bell believes that the neighbor invented the mysterious female after overhearing Holmes theorising, but Holmes insists on pairing the neighbor with a sketch artist. Bell objects, but Gregson sides with Holmes: "if he's wrong, he's wrong, but I want to know he's wrong."

Holmes and Watson start to exit the police station, and Watson says she has to start getting ready for dinner. Holmes cuts in and says he's already deduced that her "friend" is a man, and an ex-boyfriend, and, moreover, deduces from Watson's posture that she hasn't had sex for quite some time. "My advice? Sleep with him," Holmes confides, "it'll do wonders for your mood." Watson refuses to acknowledge the advice.

Watson dines with her ex, Ty Morstan, who asks about her current job. She replies that she doesn't talk about her clients, but he admits that, even though they're not together anymore, he still worries about her. He also admits that her own parents contacted him after she stopped returning their phone calls. Ty tells Joan that he knows she took the loss of her patient hard, but if her current job is some sort of penance... Joan interrupts and says that she took her current job because she is good at it. The atmosphere over dinner has become tense.

The next morning, Sherlock is reviewing photos from the coroner's report on Casey McManus. In addition to the gunshot wound, Casey also had a rare genetic deficiency: endo-cornelial dystrophy, a clouding of the cornea of his eye. Watson takes the opportunity to ask about Gregson; Holmes ducks the question, reminding her that it would be damaging for Gregson to find out, or admit, that he was using a recovering drug addict as a consultant. Watson refuses to be diverted, pointing out that, even if they can't reveal the truth publicly, there is no reason Holmes can't be honest with his old friend. They are interrupted by a call from Detective Bell, who says that, much to his own surprise, he has found the mysterious woman who supposedly killed Casey McManus.

Holmes and Watson meet Bell outside a hospital, and he explains that he was about to circulate the sketch portrait provided by the neighbor, but a uniformed cop recognized it first, and provided a name: Yvette Ellison. Yvette's photograph matches the portrait exactly, and the neighbor has already identified it from a collection of similar-looking people. There is just one problem, Bell says...

For his denouement, Bell shows them into Yvette Ellison's hospital room, where she has been lying in a coma for three days, after a failed suicide attempt. Bell concludes that the neighbor must have lied, and Holmes is wrong, since the person he identified is one person who couldn't possibly have killed Casey McManus the previous night.

Part Three[]

Holmes sniffs Yvette's armpit and recognizes the same brand of deodorant. He rifles through the drawers in the hospital room, looking for a syringe to stab Yvette in the thigh, convinced she must be faking her coma. Watson performs a much simpler test: lifting Yvette's hand and letting it drop, her hand smacks her in the face. Watson concludes that the coma is quite real. When a doctor enters and asks what they are doing, Holmes reports, in a deadly serious voice, [your patient]'s coma is quite real."

Exiting the hospital, Holmes says the lead is not a dead end: Holmes noticed a book (The Wizard of Oz) on Yvette's bedside, indicating someone has been reading to her. A dedication inside the book shows it was a childhood gift to two sisters who share the same birthday (i.e., twins). Holmes is further intrigued to learn that Yvette Ellison and her sister, Rebecca, are the surviving children of recently-deceased shipping magnate Charles Ellison. Rebecca administers the family's charitable foundation, and both sisters are only days away from receiving their father's vast fortune.

But when Holmes and Watson visit the Ellison Foundation, Holmes is taken aback to meet Rebecca, who is Yvette's fraternal, not identical, twin. The two women do not resemble each other closely enough that the neighbor could plausibly have mistaken one for the other.

That evening, Holmes is practicing his lock-picking skills, while puzzling over the case. Clearly Rebecca was not the woman whom Casey McManus' neighbor saw, so clearly the killer bears a striking resemblance to Yvette, the only question is who is she?

As they talk, Watson shows Holmes a violin that she found in his closet. At first he claims that it is a relic from an old case, but she points out his name engraved on the side. He admits that he used to play, but has not done so since his rehab. She tries to suggest that it might be healthy for him to resume, but she is interrupted by a call from Ty. While she is trying to tactfully put him off, Holmes places the violin in a bucket and sets it on fire. She quickly hangs up on Ty and smothers the flames, saving the violin. Holmes tells her to "stop mucking with my things!" and she retorts that she wouldn't need to if he would just open up to her a little. They are interrupted by another call from Captain Gregson, who says there has been a second murder, with the same M.O. as the first.

In Queens, Holmes and Co. examine the body of Anna Webster, who was likewise shot in the head while entering her apartment, by someone sitting in a chair facing the door. Since Casey McManus's neighbor has been in custody for the last two nights, Bell concedes, that rules him out as the shooter in both cases. Right away, Holmes sniffs the chair and recognizes the same brand of deodorant. Watson notices a bottle of medicine that is prescribed for the same corneal dystrophy that Casey McManus had. Sherlock looks closer and posits that, apart from their skin colour (McManus was white, Webster was African-American) the two resembled each other closely enough to be brother and sister.

Part Four[]

The next day, at the precinct house, Gregson reports that DNA tests have confirmed that Casey McManus and Anna Webster were half-siblings. Both were born out of wedlock, to an unknown father, and neither ever knew the other existed. Unfortunately, both victims' mothers are deceased, so they can't identify the mystery father that way.

Bell comes in, saying Anna Webster filed a police report, claiming that someone was following her. She also snapped a photograph of the man, who Bell thinks may be the mystery father. Gregson says no, he knows who the man is.

They go to meet Michael McGee, a former police officer who is now a chief investigator for the prestigious law firm of Whitehorse & Whitehorse. McGee greets Gregson fondly, but pretends ignorance when he is shown Anna Webster's photograph. Sherlock pulls him aside and quietly points out several clues which shows that McGee has been abusing drugs to cope with the stress of his job. Sherlock politely suggests that McGee tell them what they want to know, before Holmes starts yanking open drawers to reveal McGee's stash in front of still-serving cops. McGee diplomatically excuses himself to use the men's room, while "leaving" a file from his office safe on the desk.

A short time later, Gregson and Holmes confront Rebecca Ellison at her office, saying they know she hired her attorneys to investigate Casey McManus and Anna Webster, who, they now know, were Charles Ellison's illegitimate children. Under New York law, McManus and Webster, as pretermitted heirs to Ellison's estate, could have sued for as much as two-thirds of the family fortune, but now they are both dead. Rebecca admits to starting the investigation, but says they have mistaken her motives: Rebecca and Yvette did not learn, until their father was on his deathbed, that they had two half-siblings. Rebecca and Yvette argued over the best course of action to take, and Rebecca wanted to know what kind of people they were, before "giving tens of millions of dollars away to two virtual strangers." Before they could reach any kind of decision, however, Yvette became depressed and self-destructive, and eventually attempted suicide, resulting in her coma.

Holmes refuses to accept this explanation, theorising that Rebecca used her attorneys' investigators to learn where the two heirs lived, and then killed them, disguised as her sister. In fact, Holmes says he wouldn't be surprised if she had something to do with Yvette's "suicide attempt." Rebecca slaps him, swearing she would never hurt her sister, before she is taken in for further questioning.

As they are returning home, Watson is surprised to see Ty standing outside their door, with a bottle of wine. He says she emailed him an invitation to dinner, and he has happily accepted. Watson rounds on Holmes, who rather smarmily introduces himself as Joan's "companion," which is enough to send Ty away in a jealous snit, convinced that Joan lied to him about her latest client. Watson is furious, and Holmes says it is only fair, after she started rooting through his closet. He proposes that they bin the idea of them getting to know each other, and instead base their "companionship" on mutually respecting each other's privacy: she can keep her secrets, and he can keep his. Before the argument can escalate, Gregson calls, telling Holmes that Rebecca Ellison is being released. There is no evidence in her apartment or her office linking her to either crime scene; moreover, although her alibi that she was home, alone, when the murders were committed would be feeble, there is security camera footage confirming this. Rebecca did not kill either victim, meaning they are back to square one.

Part Five[]

Holmes and Watson are attending another group support meeting, where Watson politely warns Holmes against self-hypnotising again, or else she'll jab him in the fleshy part of his thigh with a thumbtack. Holmes sourly pretends to listen to the addicts go on while ruminating over the case; he is sure that Rebecca Ellison somehow tricked the security cameras in her building, since no one else could have killed McManus and Webster.

Then one of the addicts gets up and describes how she seduced her married physician in order to gain access to more pills - one of the many sorry avenues to which drug addiction led her. Holmes shoots to his feet and tells Watson he has a breakthrough. Watson demands to know what it is before she lets him walk out of the meeting. Holmes says there isn't time, but Watson lays down the law: their relationship may not require them to be friends, but it does require them to trust each other. Trust her, Watson says, and she will try to help; don't, and she "will be the opposite of help." Holmes sighs.

In Yvette Ellison's hospital room, Rebecca is reading The Wizard of Oz to her sister again, when Holmes storms in and says he knows that she lied, and that she killed McManus and Webster. He is about to reveal how, when Yvette's doctor bursts in, along with Gregson and Bell. Holmes shouts that Rebecca may have fooled everyone else, but she didn't fool him, and, moreover, the two murders she committed were for nothing, because there was a third pretermitted heir, and Holmes knows exactly who she is and where she lives, and will be guarding her place personally. Before he can say more, he is placed under arrest and hustled out of the room.

That night, a mysterious female follows the third heir into her apartment, carrying a gun - when the lights come up and a whole host of police officers, led by Gregson and Bell, point their guns at... Yvette Ellison.

At the precinct, Rebecca stares in confusion at her sister, who is being held in custody. Watson explains that Yvette's coma was drug-induced by her doctor, who put her under and brought her out of it, as needed.

Holmes explains that, during the group meeting, he heard the story of a woman who seduced her doctor for the sake of his medical expertise, and realized that Yvette had done the same thing to her doctor, who helped her stage her suicide attempt and place her in a coma, to give her an airtight alibi for killing the two unwanted claimants to their father's fortune. It was not a perfect plan: being in a drug-induced coma left Yvette quite weak, which is why she had to sit down while lying in wait for McManus and Webster.

Holmes realized that, while Rebecca, who had a big heart, wanted to welcome their previously-unknown siblings into their lives and share the family fortune with them, Yvette wanted the exact opposite.

Rebecca asks about the third heir, the one Yvette just tried to kill, and Holmes confesses that he made her up. He staged the scene at the hospital, with Watson, Gregson and Bell's help, to set a trap for Yvette and her doctor lover. Not only did Holmes blurt out the name and address of the fictional third heir in front of the doctor, but he made it appear as if he - the only person intent on guarding the third heir's apartment - would be in jail for the evening, giving Yvette and her doctor a very small, very crucial window of opportunity.

Rebecca begins to say that she needs to contact her family's attorneys and get Yvette some professional help, because, whatever crimes she has committed, they are still sisters. Holmes gingerly poses the question: why didn't Yvette "miraculously" wake up from her coma after eliminating the two pretermitted heirs? What else did she need an alibi for? Who else might she have been planning to kill? Could it be, Holmes wonders aloud, her own sister, the only other person standing between Yvette and the entirety of the family fortune?

Shocked, Rebecca looks through the glass at her sister, and gets a look of chilling indifference in reply. "You mind that big heart, Miss Ellison," Holmes advises, "it'll beat longer."

As Holmes and Watson are heading out, Gregson and Bell meet them, and Gregson invites them out for drinks at a local pub. Holmes is surprised by the offer, but refuses.

That evening, Holmes and Watson sit down to a takeout dinner. With prodding, Holmes admits that listening at the support meeting helped him to solve the case. Watson asks Holmes if the reason he closes himself off to feelings and pleasurable experiences is not because it makes him a better detective, but as some form of penance? Holmes asks, penance for what? Watson says, for whatever happened in London that led to his drug addiction, not to mention the addiction itself. Watson supposes that someone may punish or deny himself (or herself) as a form of penance, maybe without even realising it. Sadly, Holmes replies, "You always know it, Watson. If you didn't, it wouldn't be penance."

That evening, Watson is reading in bed, while Holmes sits in an easy chair, staring at his violin in its case, on his lap. In her room, Watson hears the violin being tuned and then tentatively played, and smiles.



Guest stars[]

  • Bill HeckTy Morstan
  • Jennifer FerrinRebecca Ellison
  • Casey SiemaszkoMichael McGee
  • Rosa ArredondoElaine
  • Chris Bresky – Recovering Addict
  • Amy LandonYvette Ellison
  • Rey Lucas – Martin
  • Ken Marks – Moderator
  • ASA Somers – Doctor
  • Paul Michael Valley – Burly Man
  • Ava Paloma – Mary Margaret Phelps

Season One navigation[]

Season One
#01 Pilot#09 You Do It To Yourself#17 Possibility Two
#02 While You Were Sleeping#10 The Leviathan#18 Déjà Vu All Over Again
#03 Child Predator#11 Dirty Laundry#19 Snow Angels
#04 The Rat Race#12 M.#20 Dead Man's Switch
#05 Lesser Evils#13 The Red Team#21 A Landmark Story
#06 Flight Risk#14 The Deductionist#22 Risk Management
#07 One Way to Get Off#15 A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs#23 The Woman
#08 The Long Fuse#16 Details#24 Heroine