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Sherlock, Season 1, episode 2 transcript: The Blind Banker, part 2
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NEW SCOTLAND YARD. Inspector Dimmock sits at his desk and folds his arms in exasperation as Sherlock stands at the other side of the desk and types onto a laptop.
SHERLOCK: Brian Lukis, freelance journalist. Murdered in his flat ...
(He turns the laptop around to show Dimmock the web page which John was looking at earlier.)
SHERLOCK: ... doors locked from the inside.
JOHN: You’ve gotta admit, it’s similar.
(Dimmock scowls at the computer.)
JOHN: Both men killed by someone who can ... (he hesitates momentarily as if unable to believe what he’s about to say, but perseveres onwards) ... walk through solid walls.
SHERLOCK: Inspector, do you seriously believe that Eddie Van Coon was just another City suicide?
(Dimmock squirms, not meeting his eyes. Sherlock looks up, exasperated, and sighs pointedly.)
SHERLOCK: You have seen the ballistics report, I suppose?
DIMMOCK (nodding): Mmm.
SHERLOCK: And the shot that killed him: was it fired from his own gun?
DIMMOCK (reluctantly): No.
SHERLOCK: No. So this investigation might move a bit quicker if you were to take my word as gospel.
(Dimmock looks back at him silently. Sherlock leans forward over the desk and speaks quietly but intensely into his face.)
SHERLOCK: I’ve just handed you a murder enquiry. (Louder, nodding towards the picture of Lukis on the computer) Five minutes in his flat.
LUKIS’ FLAT. Sherlock ducks under the police tape at the bottom of the stairs inside the door of the flat. He goes upstairs, followed by Dimmock and John. Looking around at everything as he goes, he walks into the living room. There’s an open empty suitcase on the floor. Nearby on the carpet is a black origami flower, similar to the one that Sherlock pulled from Van Coon’s mouth. There are books everywhere on the desk and on bookshelves and scattered about on the floor. Several open newspapers are also lying on the floor. He walks over to the kitchen area and looks through the window at the nearby rooftops of lower buildings. Pushing back the net curtain for a better look, he smirks.
SHERLOCK: Four floors up. That’s why they think they’re safe. Put a chain across the door and bolt it shut; think they’re impregnable.
(He walks into the middle of the room again.)
SHERLOCK: They don’t reckon for one second that there’s another way in.
(He turns back towards the stairs and sees a skylight above the landing.)
DIMMOCK: I don’t understand.
SHERLOCK (going out onto the landing): You’re dealing with a killer who can climb.
(He hops up on something – maybe a step stool or a box – to get closer to the skylight which is high up on the angled roof.)
DIMMOCK: What are you doing?
SHERLOCK: He clings to the walls like an insect.
(He unhooks the latch and pushes the window upwards.)
SHERLOCK (softly): That’s how he got in.
SHERLOCK: Climbed up the side of the walls, ran along the roof, dropped in through this skylight.
DIMMOCK: You’re not serious! Like Spiderman?(!)
SHERLOCK: He scaled six floors of a Docklands apartment building, jumped the balcony to kill Van Coon.
DIMMOCK (laughing in disbelief): Oh, ho-hold on!
SHERLOCK: And of course that’s how he got into the bank. He ran along the window ledge and onto the terrace.
(He steps down onto the landing and looks around again.)
SHERLOCK: We have to find out what connects these two men.
(His eyes fall on the pile of books scattered up the side of the staircase. Jumping down a few stairs he picks up one particular book which has fallen open at its front page which shows that it has been borrowed from West Kensington Library. Slamming the book shut, he takes it with him as he heads off down the stairs.)
After a taxi journey during which they go right past the end of the road where your humble transcriber works [why didn’t they drop in for coffee??], Sherlock and John are once again on an escalator, this time inside West Kensington Library. Sherlock finds his way to the aisle where Lukis’ book came from.
SHERLOCK: Date stamped on the book is the same day that he died.
(Checking the reference number stuck to the bottom of the book’s spine, he goes to the correct place along the shelves and starts pulling out books and examining them. John, probably just for something to do, pulls out some books on a nearby shelf on the other side of the aisle and immediately gets lucky.)
(Sherlock turns and sees John staring into the gap left by the books he removed. Stepping over to him, he
221B. Photographs of the shelf have been added to the earlier photos stuck around the mirror in the living room. The boys are standing at the fireplace looking at the pictures.
SHERLOCK: So, the killer goes to the bank, leaves a threatening cipher for Van Coon; Van Coon panics, returns to his apartment, locks himself in.
(Flashback of a terrified Eddie Van Coon turning the key in the inside lock of his front door and fastening the safety chain before hurrying towards his bedroom.)
SHERLOCK: Hours later, he dies.
JOHN: The killer finds Lukis at the library; he writes the cipher on the shelf where he knows it’ll be seen; Lukis goes home.
SHERLOCK: Late that night, he dies too.
JOHN (softly): Why did they die, Sherlock?
(Sherlock runs his fingers over the line painted across Sir William’s face.)
SHERLOCK: Only the cipher can tell us.
(He thoughtfully taps his finger against the photo as his expression sharpens. Apparently he has had an idea.)
TRAFALGAR SQUARE. The boys are walking through the centre of the square, heading towards the National Gallery.
SHERLOCK: The world’s run on codes and ciphers, John. From the million-pound security system at the bank, to the PIN machine you took exception to, cryptography inhabits our every waking moment.
JOHN: Yes, okay, but ...
SHERLOCK: ... but it’s all computer-generated: electronic codes, electronic ciphering methods. This is different. It’s an ancient device. Modern code-breaking methods won’t unravel it.
JOHN: Where are we headed?
SHERLOCK: I need to ask some advice.
JOHN: What?! Sorry?!
(Sherlock throws him a black look as John smiles in disbelief.)
SHERLOCK: You heard me perfectly. I’m not saying it again.
JOHN: You need advice?
SHERLOCK: On painting, yes. I need to talk to an expert.
(He leads John towards the entrance to the National Gallery ...
... and straight around it to the rear of the building where a young man has spray-stencilled onto a solid grey metal door the image of a policeman holding a rifle in his hands. The image has a pig’s snout in place of a human nose. A large canvas bag is at the man’s feet and he is holding spray cans in both hands. With one of the cans he has sprayed his tag, “RAZ”, below the image and he is now adding the finishing touches to his ‘artwork.’ He continues spraying, unperturbed, as Sherlock and John approach.)
RAZ: Part of a new exhibition.
SHERLOCK (disinterestedly): Interesting.
RAZ: I call it Urban Bloodlust Frenzy.
RAZ (still spraying): I’ve got two minutes before a Community Support Officer comes round that corner.
(He looks round to Sherlock.)
RAZ: Can we do this while I’m workin’?
(Sherlock has taken his phone from his coat pocket and now holds it out towards Raz, who turns around and tosses one of the spray cans at John. John instinctively catches it, and looks at Sherlock and Raz in bewilderment. Raz takes Sherlock’s phone and scrolls through the photographs of the yellow ciphers from Sir William’s office and the library.)
SHERLOCK: Know the author?
RAZ: Recognise the paint. It’s like Michigan; hardcore propellant. I’d say zinc.
SHERLOCK: What about the symbols: d’you recognise them?
RAZ (squinting at the pictures): Not even sure it’s a proper language.
SHERLOCK: Two men have been murdered, Raz. Deciphering this is the key to finding out who killed them.
RAZ: What, and this is all you’ve got to go on? It’s hardly much, now, is it?
SHERLOCK: Are you gonna help us or not?
RAZ: I’ll ask around.
SHERLOCK: Somebody must know something about it.
VOICE (offscreen): Oi!
(The three of them look round and see two Community Support Officers hurrying towards them. Sherlock instantly grabs his phone from Raz and runs off in the opposite direction while Raz drops his spray can, kicks his bag towards John and also scarpers. John, the blithering idiot, meekly turns towards the officers.)
COMMUNITY OFFICER: What the hell do you think you’re doing? This gallery is a listed public building.
JOHN: No, no, wait, wait. It’s not me who painted that.
(He holds up the spray can.)
JOHN: I was just holding this for ...
(He turns and seems to realise for the first time that he has been abandoned. He sighs quietly. The officer kicks open the bag to reveal more spray cans inside, then looks at John pointedly.)
COMMUNITY OFFICER: Bit of an enthusiast, are we?
(John looks blankly at him and then stares at the graffiti on the door, apparently wondering how he’s going to explain his way out of this.)
NATIONAL ANTIQUITIES MUSEUM. Andy is pestering the museum’s Director about Soo Lin’s abrupt departure.
ANDY: She was right in the middle of an important piece of restoration. Why would she suddenly resign?
DIRECTOR: Family problems. She said so in her letter.
ANDY: But she doesn’t have a family. She came to this country on her own.
DIRECTOR: Andy ...
ANDY: Look, those teapots, those ceramics: they’ve become her obsession. She’s been working on restoring them for weeks. I-I can’t believe that she would just abandon them.
(The Director looks at him pointedly.)
DIRECTOR: Perhaps she was getting a bit of unwanted attention.
(She walks away. Andy looks round awkwardly at other colleagues in the room who have been listening in but who now abruptly turn away.)
221B. Sherlock is standing at the fireplace again. The mirror is now almost completely covered because he has added several sheets of paper with various ciphers and pictograms on them. He has his head lowered and is consulting a book. A slamming door announces John’s return to the flat but since John immediately walks into the living room, I can only assume that he slammed the kitchen door shut as he walked past it – presumably the only way he can think of to signify that not only is he home but he is Mad As Hell.
SHERLOCK (without turning round or looking up): You’ve been a while.
(John walks a few more paces into the room, his shoulders rigid and his fists clenched. He stops, blinking as he fights to hold onto his anger, then turns to Sherlock.)
JOHN (tightly): Yeah, well, you know how it is. Custody sergeants don’t really like to be hurried, do they?
(He starts pacing, an angry half-smile half-grimace on his face.)
JOHN: Just formalities: fingerprints, charge sheet; and I’ve gotta be in Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
SHERLOCK (absently, having clearly not heard a word): What?
JOHN (angrily): Me, Sherlock, in court on Tuesday. (He puts on a rough London accent.) They’re givin’ me an ASBO!
SHERLOCK (still not paying any attention): Good. Fine.
JOHN (tightly): You wanna tell your little pal he’s welcome to go and own up any time.
SHERLOCK (slamming his book shut): This symbol: I still can’t place it.
(Turning and putting down the book, he walks over to John who has just started to take off his jacket, and pulls the jacket back onto his shoulders.)
SHERLOCK: No, I need you to go to the police station ...
JOHN (indignantly as Sherlock turns him around and steers him towards the door): Oi, oi, oi!
SHERLOCK: ... ask about the journalist.
JOHN (exasperated): Oh, Jesus!
SHERLOCK (grabbing his own coat from the back of the door): His personal effects will have been impounded. Get hold of his diary, or something that will tell us his movements.
(They go downstairs and out onto the street.)
SHERLOCK: Gonna go and see Van Coon’s P.A. If we retrace their steps, somewhere they’ll coincide.
(He walks off down the street. John sees a taxi coming around the corner and hails it. As it pulls over to the kerb he sees an Oriental-looking woman with dark hair and wearing dark sunglasses standing on the other side of the road and taking a photograph. Her camera is aimed in his direction. He bends to the taxi driver’s window.)
JOHN: Scotland Yard.
TAXI DRIVER: Right.
(John gets into the back of the taxi and glances round to the other side of the road as he sits down. There is no sign of the woman.)
SHAD SANDERSON BANK. Sherlock is in Van Coon’s office standing beside his personal assistant, Amanda, who is looking at an online calendar.
AMANDA: Flew back from Dalian Friday. Looks like he had back-to-back meetings with the sales team.
SHERLOCK: Can you print me up a copy?
SHERLOCK: What about the day he died? Can you tell me where he was?
AMANDA (looking at the screen): Sorry. Bit of a gap.
(The calendar shows no entries for Monday the 22nd. Sherlock looks away, frustrated. [Or maybe, like me, he has just realised that Eddie flew home on Friday and left all his dirty undies in his suitcase until Monday. Eww.] Amanda also realises something.)
AMANDA: I have all his receipts.
NEW SCOTLAND YARD. Dimmock is standing at a desk and rummaging through a box of Brian Lukis’ possessions. John stands at the other side.
DIMMOCK: Your friend ...
JOHN: Listen: whatever you say, I’m behind you one hundred percent.
DIMMOCK: ... he’s an arrogant sod.
JOHN: Well, that was mild! People say a lot worse than that.
(Dimmock hands him a diary.)
DIMMOCK: This is what you wanted, isn’t it? The journalist’s diary?
(John takes the diary and flicks through it, opening it at a page which has been bookmarked with a boarding pass to Dalian DLC [Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport] to London LHR [London Heathrow Airport] on Zhuang Airlines.)
SHAD SANDERSON BANK. Amanda has spread out Van Coon’s receipts on her desk.
SHERLOCK: What kind of a boss was he, Amanda? Appreciative?
AMANDA: Um, no. That’s not a word I’d use. The only things Eddie appreciated had a big price tag.
(Sherlock kneels on the floor to give himself easier access to the receipts. While he is taking off his gloves he sees a pump-action bottle of luxury hand lotion at the back of the desk.)
SHERLOCK: Like that hand cream. He bought that for you, didn’t he?
(Fiddling nervously with a pin in her hair, Amanda looks at him in surprise. Sherlock shuffles through the paperwork and picks up a receipt from a licensed taxi. Dated 22 March 2010 and timed at 10:35, the receipt is for £18.50. He hands it up to Amanda.)
SHERLOCK: Look at this one. Got a taxi from home on the day he died. Eighteen pounds fifty.
AMANDA: That would get him to the office.
SHERLOCK: Not rush hour; check the time. Mid-morning. Eighteen would get him as far as ...
AMANDA: The West End. I remember him saying.
(Sherlock has now found a London Underground ticket with the same date on it and issued at “Picadilly” [which is mis-spelled]. He hands that up to Amanda.)
SHERLOCK: Underground. Printed at one in Piccadilly.
AMANDA: So he got a Tube back to the office. Why would he get a taxi into town and then the Tube back?
SHERLOCK (still going through the receipts): Because he was delivering something heavy. Didn’t want to lug a package up the escalator.
SHERLOCK: To somewhere near Piccadilly Station. Dropped the package, delivered it and then ...
(He finds another receipt and stands up as he looks at it. It’s from the Piazza Espresso Bar Italiano.)
SHERLOCK: ... stopped on his way. He got peckish.
LONDON STREETS. Some time later Sherlock has found the espresso bar and is talking to himself out loud as he walks past it.
SHERLOCK: So you bought your lunch from here en route to the station, but where were you headed from? Where did the taxi drop you ...?
(He has been spinning around as he walks and now bumps into someone approaching from behind who is also distracted and not looking where he’s going. It’s John, who is engrossed in looking down at Lukis’ diary. Sherlock grunts as they collide. John looks surprised to see him there.)
SHERLOCK (quick fire): Eddie Van Coon brought a package here the day he died – whatever was hidden inside that case. I’ve managed to piece together a picture using scraps of information ...
JOHN: Sherlock ...
SHERLOCK: ... credit card bills, receipts. He flew back from China, then he came here.
JOHN: Sherlock ...
SHERLOCK: Somewhere in this street; somewhere near. I don’t know where, but ...
JOHN (pointing to the other side of the road): That shop over there.
(Sherlock looks at the shop, then looks back to John, frowning.)
SHERLOCK: How can you tell?
JOHN: Lukis’ diary. (He shows Sherlock the entry.) He was here too. He wrote down the address.
(He turns and heads towards the shop.)
(He follows after his friend.)
CHINATOWN. The boys walk into a touristy shop which consists largely of decorative cats which are sitting up on their hind legs with one front paw raised. The paws on some of the cats are waving back and forth. John greets the female Chinese shop keeper politely.
(They look around at all the items on display. The shop keeper lifts one of the cats from the desk.)
SHOP KEEPER: You want lucky cat?
JOHN: No, thanks. No.
(Sherlock looks round at him and smirks.)
SHOP KEEPER: Ten pound. Ten pound!
(He smiles awkwardly.)
SHOP KEEPER: I think your wife, she will like!
JOHN: No, thank you.
(He walks over to one of the tables which has small ceramic painted handle-less cups on it. Sherlock is examining a rack displaying clay statues. John picks up one of the cups and turns it over to look at the price tag. His hand begins to tremble when he sees the Chinese symbol stuck on the underside. It’s the same sort-of upside down eight with a line above it which was painted beside Sir William’s portrait and on the library shelf.)
(Sherlock, who has picked up one of the statues, puts it back on the shelf and comes over to him.)
JOHN: The label there.
SHERLOCK: Yes, I see it.
JOHN: Exactly the same as the cipher.
(Clearing his throat awkwardly, he puts the cup back. Sherlock lifts his head as it all starts to make sense to him.)
Shortly afterwards they have left the shop and are walking down the street.
SHERLOCK: It’s an ancient number system! Hangzhou.
(The symbols from that system are flashing in his mind’s eye as he walks.)
SHERLOCK: These days, only street traders use it. Those were numbers written on the wall at the bank and at the library.
(He walks over to a greengrocer’s which has some of its wares on display outside the shop. The various boxes have handwritten signs on them giving the names of the vegetables in both Chinese and English, and underneath is the cost of that particular item in both Hangzhou and English. He picks up various signs, checking the symbols.)
SHERLOCK: Numbers written in an ancient Chinese dialect.
(John has spotted a sign with the upside down eight and slash above it and its English equivalent beneath.)
JOHN: It’s a fifteen! What we thought was the artist’s tag – it’s a number fifteen.
SHERLOCK: And the blindfold – the horizontal line? That was a number as well.
(He shows John a price tag which has the almost-horizontal line at the top, and “£1” written underneath.)
SHERLOCK (grinning triumphantly): The Chinese number one, John.
JOHN: We’ve found it!
(Sherlock turns and walks away. As John smiles and turns to follow him, he sees the same woman who was taking a photograph outside 221 standing nearby. Still wearing her dark sunglasses, she again has her camera raised and pointed towards him as she takes a picture. Someone walks across her, obscuring his view of her for a moment, and by the time the person has passed, she has vanished. John frowns, then follows after his friend.)
Shortly afterwards, they’re staking out the tourist shop, which we now see is The Lucky Cat, the shop outside which Andy Galbraith was standing when he tried Soo Lin’s doorbell. Sitting at a table in the window of the restaurant opposite the shop, Sherlock is writing the two Hangzhou numbers and their English equivalents onto a paper napkin. John sits opposite him, also writing notes.
JOHN: Two men travel back from China. Both head straight for the Lucky Cat emporium. What did they see?
SHERLOCK: It’s not what they saw; it’s what they both brought back in those suitcases.
JOHN: And you don’t mean duty free.
(A waitress brings over a plate of food and puts it down in front of John.)
JOHN: Thank you.
SHERLOCK: Think about what Sebastian told us; about Van Coon – about how he stayed afloat in the market.
JOHN: Lost five million ...
SHERLOCK: ... made it back in a week.
SHERLOCK: That’s how he made such easy money.
JOHN: He was a smuggler. Mmm.
(He takes a mouthful of food.)
SHERLOCK: A guy like him – it would have been perfect.
(Cutaway flashback of Van Coon paying a taxi driver just outside the Lucky Cat and then carrying his suitcase towards the shop.)
SHERLOCK: Business man ...
SHERLOCK: ... making frequent trips to Asia. And Lukis was the same ...
(Cutaway flashback of Lukis carrying his suitcase into the Lucky Cat and lifting it onto the counter.)
SHERLOCK: ... a journalist writing about China.
SHERLOCK: Both of them smuggled stuff out, and the Lucky Cat was their drop-off.
JOHN: But why did they die? I mean, it doesn’t make sense. If they both turn up at the shop and deliver the goods, why would someone threaten them and kill them after the event, after they’d finished the job?
(Sherlock sits back thoughtfully for a few seconds, then smiles as he realises the answer.)
SHERLOCK: What if one of them was light-fingered?
JOHN: How d’you mean?
SHERLOCK: Stole something; something from the hoard.
JOHN: And the killer doesn’t know which of them took it, so he threatens them both. Right.
(Sherlock looks out of the window towards the shop, then raises his eyes to the windows above it. Looking down to the ground floor level again, his gaze sharpens.)
SHERLOCK: Remind me ...
(He focuses on a Yellow Pages phone directory sealed in a plastic wrapper which has been left outside the door to the flat beside the Lucky Cat.)
SHERLOCK: ... when was the last time that it rained?
(Without waiting for a reply, he stands up and leaves the restaurant. John, who has probably managed only two mouthfuls of his meal, sits back in exasperation but then dutifully gets up and follows.)
Over the road, Sherlock bends down to the Yellow Pages. The plastic wrapper still has drops of water on it, and the top of it has broken open a little. Sherlock runs his fingers over the top of the wet exposed pages of the directory.
SHERLOCK: It’s been here since Monday.
(He straightens up and presses Soo Lin’s doorbell. He only waits a couple of seconds, then looks to his right and heads off in that direction. There’s an alleyway beside the flat and the boys walk down the alley.)
SHERLOCK: No-one’s been in that flat for at least three days.
JOHN: Could’ve gone on holiday.
SHERLOCK: D’you leave your windows open when you go on holiday?
(He has reached the rear of the building and looks up to see a cantilevered metal fire escape above his head. Taking a short run at it, he jumps up and grabs the end, pulling it down towards him until it touches the ground, then runs up the steps towards the open window of the flat. As he reaches the top, the ladder swings back to the horizontal position behind him.)
(Realising that he’s far too much of a short-arse to be able to pull the ladder down again, he turns and runs back along the alley to the front of the building.
Sherlock climbs in through the window into the kitchen, then cries out in muffled alarm as he almost knocks a vase of flowers off the table beside the window. Catching it before it hits the floor, he looks down and sees a wet patch on the rug in the precise place where the vase would have hit if it had reached the floor. Straightening up, he calls out of the open window, unaware that John is no longer there.)
SHERLOCK: Someone else has been here.
(Putting the vase back onto the table, he looks around, talking too quietly for John to hear even if he was still nearby.)
SHERLOCK: Somebody else broke into the flat and knocked over the vase just like I did.
(He looks round the kitchen, then bends down to the washing machine and opens it. Taking out an item of Soo Lin’s unmentionables, he sniffs it and grimaces. Downstairs, John rings on the doorbell. Sherlock puts the item back into the washing machine and pushes the door closed, then reaches for a tea towel hanging up nearby.)
JOHN (from outside): D’you think maybe you could let me in this time?
(Sherlock feels the tea towel, apparently finds that it’s dry, and moves onwards. Downstairs, John bends down to the letterbox, pushes it open and calls through the gap.)
JOHN: Can you not keep doing this, please?
(Sherlock has taken a pint of milk from the fridge and has taken off the lid and now sniffs the contents. Putting the bottle back into the fridge, he calls out.)
SHERLOCK: I’m not the first.
(With the everyday noise of the street all around him, John can’t hear what he’s saying. He bends down and puts his ear to the letterbox which he’s still holding open.)
SHERLOCK (louder): Somebody’s been in here before me!
JOHN: What are you saying?
(Sherlock has taken his pocket magnifier from his coat and looks down to where a foot has rucked up the rug, leaving an impression of the intruder’s shoe.)
SHERLOCK (not as loudly): Size eight feet.
(He pushes through the beaded curtain between the kitchen and the bedroom/living room, bent forward while he examines the rug.)
SHERLOCK (now talking more to himself than to John): Small, but ... athletic.
(He straightens up, looking thoughtful. Outside, John lets go of the letterbox and straightens up, sighing in exasperation.)
JOHN: I’m wasting my breath.
(He walks a couple of paces away from the door, glaring around in annoyance, then turns back and rings the doorbell again. Inside, Sherlock has picked up a framed photograph of two young Chinese children – a boy and a girl. A fresh handprint is on the glass where someone has pressed their fingers against the image of the girl. Sherlock is holding his magnifier over the fingerprints as he gently runs his gloved fingers along them to gauge the size.)
SHERLOCK (softly): Small, strong hands.
(Closing the magnifier, he puts down the photograph.)
SHERLOCK: Our acrobat.
(He frowns, looking round.)
SHERLOCK: But why didn’t he close the window when he left ...?
(He stops as he realises the truth and rolls his eyes at himself.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, stupid. Stupid. Obvious. He’s still here.
(He looks around the room and sees an ornately decorated free-standing folding screen shielding the bed. Putting his magnifier into his pocket, he walks carefully towards it and then grabs the edge of the screen and pulls it back. Two stuffed toys stare back at him in startled terror from the bedside table. Before he has a chance to apologise to them, someone quickly wraps a long white silk scarf around his neck from behind and bundles him to the floor on his back, strangling him. Sherlock grabs at the scarf, trying to relieve the pressure on his throat but the assailant – dressed all in black – continues to throttle him. Downstairs, John bends to the letterbox and flips it open again.)
JOHN: Any time you want to include me.
SHERLOCK (faintly, as he struggles against his attacker): John! John!
(Downstairs, John has straightened up again and shakes his head in frustration.)
JOHN (pacing in irritation): “No, I’m Sherlock Holmes and I always work alone because no-one else can compete with ...”
(He storms back to the letterbox, flips it open and angrily shouts through it.)
JOHN: “... my MASSIVE INTELLECT!”
(He drops the letterbox again. Upstairs, Sherlock is starting to lose consciousness. As his struggles become weaker and his hands fall clear of the scarf, the attacker releases his grip. Downstairs, John angrily rings on the doorbell again. Upstairs, while Sherlock lies still on the floor, his eyes half closed, the assailant shoves something into Sherlock’s coat pocket, then gets up and runs off. Sherlock chokes and coughs, tugging the scarf from around his neck and rolling onto his front before getting up onto his hands and knees. As the attacker disappears through the beaded curtain into the kitchen, Sherlock groans and pulls his own scarf loose, gasping as he gets his breath back. Downstairs, John looks at his watch in irritation and shakes his head, apparently considering just leaving. Upstairs, breathing a little better, Sherlock sits up on his heels, rummages in his coat pocket and pulls out a black origami paper flower. He looks at it for a moment, then stumbles to his feet, wobbling for a moment before pulling himself together and heading for the stairs.
A few moments later he opens the front door downstairs. John makes an exasperated sound and glares at him. When Sherlock speaks, his voice is croaky.)
SHERLOCK: The, uh, milk’s gone off and the washing’s starting to smell. Somebody left here in a hurry three days ago.
SHERLOCK (nodding, his voice still rough): Soo Lin Yao. We have to find her.
(He looks down and bends to pick something off the floor.)
JOHN: But how, exactly?
(Sherlock picks up a folded envelope. On the back of it is written:
Please ring me
tell me you’re
(He unfolds the envelope and looks at the front of it. Printed in the bottom right hand corner is:
SHERLOCK (croakily): Maybe we could start with this.
(He walks out, closing the door behind him, and heads off down the road, John following him.)
JOHN: You’ve gone all croaky. Are you getting a cold?
SHERLOCK (coughing): I’m fine.
NATIONAL ANTIQUITIES MUSEUM. Sherlock is pacing around a display area while he interviews Andy.
SHERLOCK: When was the last time that you saw her?
ANDY: Three days ago, um, here at the museum.
(Sherlock focuses briefly on a glass case showing some of the clay teapots. Most of them are dull but one is shiny.)
ANDY: This morning they told me she’d resigned just like that.
(Sherlock looks at another case containing some jade figurines, and then at a piece of artwork.)
ANDY: Just left her work unfinished.
SHERLOCK (turning to him): What was the last thing that she did on her final afternoon?
Andy has brought the boys to the basement archive, and now turns on the lights as he leads them in.
ANDY: She does this demonstration for the tourists – a-a tea ceremony. So she would have packed up her things and just put them in here.
(He leads them to the open stack and starts turning a handle at the end to widen the gap. John goes to stand behind him and looks into the stack but Sherlock has noticed something more interesting in the shadows further along the room. He walks closer to it. On a stand is a life-sized sculpture of a nude woman ... and yellow paint has been spray painted across the front of it. An almost horizontal straight line goes across the eyes, and over the body has been sprayed the open upside down eight with the almost horizontal line above it. Andy and John turn and see what he has found.)
Outside the museum, night has fallen as Sherlock and John come out.
SHERLOCK: We have to get to Soo Lin Yao.
JOHN: If she’s still alive.
(The boys turn as Raz runs over to join them.)
JOHN: Oh, look who it is.
RAZ (to Sherlock): Found something you’ll like.
(He trots off and Sherlock immediately follows. John heads off after them a little more slowly.)
Shortly afterwards the three of them are walking across Hungerford Bridge, heading towards the south side of the river.
JOHN: Tuesday morning, all you’ve gotta do is turn up and say the bag was yours.
SHERLOCK: Forget about your court date.
(They continue onwards, unaware that the Chinese woman with the dark sunglasses is watching them.)
SOUTH BANK SKATE PARK. Raz leads the other two across the under-croft. A boy has just done some kind of clever jump on his pushbike.
GIRL: Dude, that was rad!
SHERLOCK: If you want to hide a tree, then a forest is the best place to do it, wouldn’t you say? People would just walk straight past, not knowing, unable to decipher the message.
(Raz points to a particular area on the heavily-graffitied walls.)
RAZ: There. I spotted it earlier.
(Amongst all the other paint there are slashes of the yellow paint forming Chinese symbols. Some of them are already partially painted over by other artists’ tags and pictures.)
SHERLOCK: They have been in here. (To Raz) And that’s the exact same paint?
SHERLOCK: John, if we’re going to decipher this code, we’re gonna need to look for more evidence.
The two of them split up and begin searching. Sherlock walks along the end of a railway line and finds an abandoned spray can on the tracks. Squatting down to pick it up, he puts the end of his flashlight into his mouth and runs a thumb over the yellow paint on the nozzle, then sniffs the nozzle [anything for a quick fix, eh, Sherlock?!].
John walks through an underpass, looking closely at the graffiti and posters on the walls as he goes.
Sherlock is now walking past a wall which has many posters glued to it. One of the posters attracts his attention and he tears off the bottom corner of it and takes it with him as he continues onwards.
John is now out on the railway lines. His flashlight picks out splashes of yellow paint on the sleepers and on the rails, then he raises his light to a brick wall, possibly the wall of a maintenance shed, which is about fifteen feet wide. He steps back, his mouth open in surprise as he begins to realise that the entire wall is covered with large yellow Chinese symbols.
Later he has finally tracked down Sherlock who is currently looking at the side of a parked rail freight container.
JOHN (trotting towards him): Answer your phone! I’ve been calling you! I’ve found it.
(He turns around again and the two of them run off into the night side by side, Sherlock’s coat billowing behind him. Your transcriber struggles to resist the urge to sing the Batman theme tune.)
Back at the wall, John leads Sherlock towards it, but his mouth drops open in surprise again, this time for a different reason. The entire wall is now blank.
JOHN: It’s been painted over!
(Sherlock shines his flashlight around the area as John continues to stare at the wall in disbelief.)
JOHN: I don’t understand. It-it was here ... (he stumbles backwards) ... ten minutes ago. I saw it. A whole load of graffiti!
SHERLOCK: Somebody doesn’t want me to see it.
(He turns and grabs the sides of John’s head in both hands.)
JOHN: Hey, Sherlock, what are you doing ...?
SHERLOCK: Shh, John, concentrate. I need you to concentrate. Close your eyes.
JOHN: No, what? Why? Why?
(Sherlock lowers his hands to hold John by the upper arms.)
JOHN: What are you doing?!
(Sherlock starts to spin them slowly around on the spot, staring intensely into John’s eyes.)
SHERLOCK: I need you to maximise your visual memory. Try to picture what you saw. Can you picture it?
SHERLOCK: Can you remember it?
JOHN: Yes, definitely.
SHERLOCK: Can you remember the pattern?
SHERLOCK: How much can you remember it?
JOHN: Well, don’t worry ...
SHERLOCK (still spinning them): Because the average human memory on visual matters is only sixty-two percent accurate.
JOHN: Yeah, well, don’t worry – I remember all of it.
SHERLOCK (disbelievingly): Really?
JOHN: Yeah, well at least I would ... (he pulls himself free) ... if I can get to my pockets!
(He rummages in his jacket pocket.)
JOHN: I took a photograph.
(He takes out his phone and pulls up a flash photo he has taken of the wall which shows all the symbols clearly. He gives the phone to Sherlock, who takes it and looks embarrassed as John sighs and turns away.)
[And would someone like to explain to me why the baddies bothered painting the wall? If they saw John find the wall, they must have seen him take the photo, so why paint over the symbols? Anyway, onwards ...]
221B. The photograph has been blown up into small sections and then printed out and all the pictures are stuck on the mirror. The numerical value of each symbol has been written against it. Sherlock is standing at the fireplace looking at the pictures closely and has spotted a pattern.
SHERLOCK: Always in pairs, John.
(John is sitting at the dining table with his back to the fireplace and his head propped in his hands. Sherlock’s voice wakes him up. He blinks and turns his head, squinting round at his friend.)
SHERLOCK: Numbers come with partners.
JOHN (gazing around the flat blankly): God, I need to sleep.
SHERLOCK: Why did he paint it so near the tracks?
JOHN (tiredly): No idea.
SHERLOCK: Thousands of people pass by there every day.
JOHN (propping his head in his hand again): Just twenty minutes.
SHERLOCK (realising something): Of course.
(He’s looking at a photo of the full wall, and now smiles triumphantly.)
SHERLOCK: Of course! He wants information. He’s trying to communicate with his people in the underworld. Whatever was stolen, he wants it back.
(He runs his finger over the symbols.)
SHERLOCK: Somewhere here in the code.
(He pulls three photographs off the wall and turns towards the door.)
SHERLOCK: We can’t crack this without Soo Lin Yao.
JOHN: Oh, good(!)
(Tiredly, he gets up to follow.)
NATIONAL ANTIQUITIES MUSEUM. The boys are back with Andy in the same display room they met him in earlier.
SHERLOCK: Two men who travelled back from China were murdered, and their killer left them messages in the Hangzhou numerals.
JOHN: Soo Lin Yao’s in danger. Now, that cipher – it was just the same pattern as the others. He means to kill her as well.
ANDY: Look, I’ve tried everywhere: um, friends, colleagues. I-I don’t know where she’s gone. I mean, she could be a thousand miles away.
(Sherlock has turned his head away in exasperation, but now his gaze focuses on the nearby glass case displaying the teapots.)
JOHN: What are you looking at?
SHERLOCK (pointing at the case as he walks towards it): Tell me more about those teapots.
ANDY: Th-the pots were her obsession. Um, they need urgent work. If-if they dry out, then the clay can start to crumble. Apparently you have to just keep making tea in them.
(Sherlock bends down to look more closely at the shelf.)
SHERLOCK: Yesterday, only one of those pots was shining. Now there are two.
Later, elsewhere in the museum, fingers reach through the gaps in a large grating at the bottom of a wall and carefully push the grating outwards. Moments after that, a shadow moves across the dimly lit display room, and a hand reaches into the glass case to take out one of the not-shiny teapots. The shadow moves away again. Not long afterwards, Soo Lin is in an almost-dark restoration room, pouring tea into the teapot on the desk in front of her. She picks up the lid and carefully strokes it around the rim as, behind her, a very recognisable curly-headed silhouette appears on the other side of a window in the door. Unaware of this, she picks up the teapot and pours some of the liquid into a pair of cups. Pouring more of the tea into the tray on which the cups are standing, she swills the teapot around to cover the outside with the drips. A figure steps up beside her.
SHERLOCK: Fancy a biscuit with that?
(Before he finishes the sentence she gasps in fright and turns towards him, the teapot dropping from her terrified fingers. Sherlock reacts instantly and bends his knees to reach down and catch the teapot before it hits the floor. He looks up at her.)
SHERLOCK: Centuries old. Don’t wanna break that.
(He slowly straightens up and hands the teapot back to her. As she takes it, he reaches out and flicks a switch on the desk, turning on the lights underneath the surface. He smiles slightly at her.)
Continue to Part 3