Television: Elementary, "The Many Mouths of Andrew Colville"

I'm confused. Cuz they called him "Aaron Colville" in the episode but the title says "Andrew." (Well, it did on my DVR anyway. And it does on IMDb. But maybe that's wrong?)

This one was a somewhat bizarre case that hinged on the fact that a 2005 murder suspect (Colville, deceased) had bitten his victims . . . And now new murder victims were turning up with the same bite marks.

The immediate assumption is, of course, that—because no two people have identical dentistry—Colville had not committed the 2005 murders, and now that murderer was striking again.

Things are complicated by the fact that Watson was in the operating room the night Colville was brought in with multiple stab wounds, and she feels Dr. Fleming, under whom she was working, did not do all he could to save Colville. She witnessed Colville whisper something to Fleming before Fleming began working on him, but Fleming refused to say what it was Colville told him.

Anyway, I'm pleased to note the writers didn't take the easy route here but added a bit of interest by making it possible that more than one person might, in fact, have the exact same dental pattern. The episode then becomes a tangle of discerning which of several suspects might be the murderer.

How, you ask? How do they all have the same bite marks? Dentures. A prison dentist had modeled the dentures he would make for inmates on Colville's teeth. Hence the many mouths.

I won't bother with the process of elimination; you can watch the episode yourself for that. It's sufficient to say that, after going through many medical records at the prison, Holmes and Watson come to realize one of the new prison dentists named Stan (the one who'd made the dentures has since died) used to be an inmate and also has Colville's teeth. Stan has a history of violence against women, and he'd been chemically castrating himself but had recently quit taking the medications. Could that have led him to begin being violent again?

When Stan disappears, it seems he's become a fugitive. But it takes very little time for Holmes and Watson to track him down through a friend to whom Stan has given his dog Max to care for. Stan is hauled in, but his fractured metacarpal tells Watson that Stan can't have been the man to kill the recent murder victims—the chemicals he'd been taking have made his bones brittle, and he would have literally been shattered by the violence.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fleming finds out Watson has requested records of his old cases, and he calls her to his house. In order to lay things to rest, he finally tells Watson that Colville's final words were a confession to having killed two women.

This turns the case on its head, of course, because now they are dealing with a copycat. But who? Well, the answer lies in why. Why would anyone copy Colville's murders? Who would benefit if it came out that Colville had never been a killer after all?

His mother.

Now, I had a feeling while watching that the mother might become important later because they showed Watson watching a newscast in which Colville's mother was featured. And they usually don't do that unless it means something. But this was cleverly done because there was the chance they only did it to play up Watson's inner turmoil at having been there when Colville died, her feeling guilty that she didn't try to do more to make Fleming save the man. That feeling has been made worse for her by the idea that Colville might actually have been innocent.

Too, on the television Colville's mother is talking about suing the police. There was a lot of chatter in the episode about how the precinct was going to be fending off lawsuits over all this. So I knew that was going to be important at some point as well.

It was brought all together in the fact that Colville's mother hoped to gain financially from her son's name being cleared. Holmes, Watson, and Gregson pay her a visit under the auspices of offering a deal to drop the lawsuit, and Holmes pops off to the lavatory and finds the dentures.

Turns out Mrs. Colville knew about her son having been used as a model for prison dentures because the dead prison dentist had sent her a letter telling her to "take heart" because her son might not have been the murderer after all. But he had been. Now Watson can feel somewhat more relieved that she let Colville die, I guess.

And Mrs. Colville is a murderer too. She had dentures made from her son's dental records and she killed two women in order to make it look like the original murderer had returned, and her son was never guilty at all. Gotta love those Colvilles.

There were a lot of nice touches in this episode. The way Holmes talked Watson through her feelings was nice. The fact he was willing to drop a possible treasure hunt in order to stay and work with her on the case, too: "It's only fun in the right company." The way they went back to the Everyone group for information (though I desperately wanted to see Holmes in the dress and performing Frozen). Mentions of Ms. Hudson, with a bonus for the turtle cozies because that was brilliant. And Watson almost effortlessly picking up on things like the dog, which is such a subtle but lovely way of showing her growing abilities. This one was well written. It had an interesting main plot and all those little things besides, making it overall one of the better episodes.

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