In “Sherlock” Season 1 Episode 2 “The Blind Banker,” Sherlock Holmes and John Watson deal with several locked room problems, a secret code, a Chinese smuggling tong disguised as circus performers, and someone stupid enough to steal from them.
Spoilers may follow.
John Watson, late of the British Army, has more mundane problems involving money. He has decided that it is time to get a day job. This involves going to work at an NHS surgery for which he is a bit overqualified. It also means meeting a fellow doctor named Sarah. More about her anon.
The case involves a banker named Van Coon, a journalist named Lukis, and a museum employee named Soo Lin Yao. Each of them is killed in turn, with mysterious spray-painted symbols left behind.
The symbols turn out to be a book code based on an ancient Chinese script, with a word being represented by the page and the number of the word on the page. The only thing standing between Holmes and what the message contains is the identity of the book.
Eventually Holmes concludes that both Van Coon and Lukis were smuggling items from China on behalf of the Black Lotus Tong. Clearly one of them had the gall to steal something from one of the shipments, never a good idea in dealing with a criminal organization whose accounting methods are exact.
In the meantime, Watson’s dealings with Holmes are starting to take their toll. His afterhours rushing about after criminals is causing him to sleep in his consulting room. But he gets a date with Sarah, which turns into something else entirely.
Holmes persuades them not to go to the cinema, but rather to a Chinese circus which features an acrobat and a game involving a trussed up man and a crossbow on a hair trigger. Of course the acrobat is the assassin of Van Coon, Lukis, and Soo Lin. Soo Lin had been involved with the Black Lotus back in China and was on the brink of breaking the book code when she too is killed.
The end of the Chinese circus involves a little mayhem, but everyone gets out ok. Sarah finds John Watson’s idea of showing a girl a good time fascinating, what with the mystery, solving codes, and combat. She finds it less so when she finds herself trussed up with the business end of a crossbow pointed at her and the head of the Black Lotus Tong, General Shan, demanding of Watson, who she thinks is Holmes, all sorts of information he does not have.
But, of course, Holmes shows up to save the day. Watson and Sarah are rescued, with the assurance to the latter that the second date will be nothing like this (Watson has some big cajones), and the item being discovered to be a nine million pound jade pin which once belonged to an Empress whom Van Coon gave to his secretary, unknowing of the true value, for-er-services rendered. Sometimes sin-as well as stupidity–does lead to punishment.
General Shan, meanwhile, pays the ultimate price of failure at the hands of someone we presume is Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime, who seems to be this story’s Ernst Stavero Blofeld. We’ll be seeing more of him, one suspects.
Source: Sherlock, The Blind Banker, TV.Rage