Elsbeth – Episode 8 “Artificial Genius” Recap & Review

Artificial Genius

Episode 8 of Elsbeth Season starts at a shareholders’ meeting with Quiin Powers, who gives a speech to convince some rich people to invest in her company, Cerberus, ahead of the upcoming IPO announcement. She tells a story about how she was attacked by a serial killer when she was younger, which is the reason behind her limp and use of a walking cane.

Apparently, she created Cerberus to help victims of crime by making sure that any crimes are reported to the public by the public without waiting for the police. After the meeting, a reporter, Josh, approaches Quiin, asking for her statement on an article she is writing about her. He says that he knows everything about Cerberus that could stop the upcoming IPO, and it seems that Quiin has something to hide since Josh’s words spook him.

One of the people from the meeting joins them outside and mentions something about Josh’s dog, appreciating that it is a pure breed. Josh says the dog cost him a fortune, hands Quinn a card, and leaves.

Quinn puts up posters for lost dogs all over Josh’s neighbourhood, including Josh’s dog on the list. She then takes the posters to the team manager in charge of posting crime sightings on the Cerberus app and makes her keep the news about the dog kidnapper at the top of the list.

Later that night, Quinn schedules a meeting with the team that will run for 90 minutes. She starts the meeting and then shares her screen, saying no one should interrupt in the next 90 minutes. She has a pre-recorded speech, which she leaves her team listening to, and then heads out to Josh’s house, kills him, kidnaps his dog, letting it roam free in the bushes on her way back to her house just as the ninety-minute recording comes to an end. 

The detective in charge of the case is Edwards, and she holds Quinn in high regard due to her work in Cerberus. Edwards has depended on digital footprints and data to solve her cases. Elsbeth notices Edwards talking to Quiin outside the apartment window and notes that she is the same woman whose photos are pinned on the board above Josh’s homework desk.

Therefore, Elsbeth and Kaya go down to talk to her, and she insists that she only came to check the crime scene after seeing news about the case on Cerberus. Quiin insists that she has never been into Josh’s apartment.

While conversing, the neighbourhood dog walker, Mimi, rushes over holding a cattle prod, which she found dumped in a trash can. Elsbeth finds it intriguing that the suspect dumped the weapon they used to subdue owners and steal the dogs since it is as if they do not plan to steal any more dogs. In addition, Mimi sheds some light on the missing dogs, saying that only the one belonging to Josh is from the neighbourhood and all the others are fake.

Elsbeth notices that Quinn’s walking cane is the same size as the murder weapon, which makes her act triggered so she can leave the crime scene, but Elsbeth makes a note to talk to her some more once she has recovered.

At the police station, Captain Wagner walks into Elsbeth’s office with documents that prove that Lieutenant Dave has been signing his name to do illegal things behind his back, and the documents only have his signature. He worries that the DOJ’s investigations will ruin his career and his wife’s who has worked so hard on Wagner’s Foundation.

Captain Wagner adds that people like him and Claudia need to be perfect so that people can trust them, and talking to Celetano will not help. Elsbeth suggests talking to Dave since they have known each other for so long, but he does not trust him anymore, so he has to figure out a way out for Claudia’s sake.

Edwards updates them on the case using data from Cerberus Blue, and the Captain, Kaya, and Elsbeth make a joke about it, triggering Edwards. She shows them the image of the thief that the app has created, and his face is a different colour from the rest of his face.

Edwards defends the app, saying it is a work in progress, and challenges Elsbeth to use her outdated investigation methods to look for the killer while focusing on data to see who finds the killer first.

After Edwards and the Captain leave the room, Kaya points out what she has noticed about Cerberus. Even though there was a garage collapse in the neighbourhood and two manhole fires leaving multiple people injured, Cerberus has kept the news about the dog kidnapper at the top of their alert lists as if Cerberus is pushing the dog kidnapping story.

Elsbeth arrives at Cerberus posing as a potential investor and notes that Quinn always wears a headband. She says that it is a branding thing because she was wearing a similar headband when the serial killer attacked her. Elsbeth says she is here to talk about investing in Cerberus because of all the good things that Edwards told her they were doing. Quinn seemingly turns her down at first, saying they are interested in group investors. Still, she shows significant interest when Elsbeth tells her that she knows a lot of influential people from Chicago and directs her to talk to Toby, the finance director. 

Elsbeth asks about the virtual meeting, and Quinn explains that it was because someone on the team had COVID-19. When Elsbeth talks to Toby, she learns that no one on the team had COVID-19 that night, but they still took precautions since it could have been the janitor. Elsbeth asks for a recording of the meeting from Toby, who says that he secretly made a recording since he is making a documentary about Cerberus’s rise and is planning to quit the company after making a huge profit after the IPO approval.

At the police station, while Elsbeth is taking notes about the meeting, Kaya comes up with an exciting take on Josh’s article about Quinn that he found on his laptop. She says the article sounds like something Josh would write but does not feel like him. Therefore, she ran it through an AI detector, which shows that an intelligent cheat was used to write it.

Kaya says that she trusts Josh and that he did not plagiarise the article, but she does not trust Quinn. Elsbeth adds to Kaya’s intuition, saying that Quinn had said she would stop the meeting if someone interrupted her, but Toby tried to three times, but she went on as if she did not hear him. Kaya says that Quinn feels fake, like a girl from a commercial or a brand. She also notes that Quinn had a headband at the start of the meeting but did not have it at the end. 

Therefore, Elsbeth heads back to Quinn for her take on the new findings. She points out that he was addicted to drugs and insists that she had never been to his apartment, so she does not know about the research materials pinned on the board about her. Elsbeth and Kaya head back to Josh’s apartment to look for more evidence since they think that Quinn came to the apartment the day after the murder to check if her headband has been collected as evidence.

Elsbeth notes that Elsbeth needed access to Josh’s laptop to plant the AI-generated article. The computer is protected via facial recognition; Quinn would have to bend down after killing Josh to unlock it, and that is how her headband fell.

Although they do not find the headband, they find a yearbook from Quinn’s school with a page torn, and their investigation heads out of town to talk to a librarian at Quinn’s university. The torn page is a picture of Quinn and her friend, Ellen Davis, with whom the librarian notes they currently hate each other. 

Elsbeth recognises the photo since it resembles one found at Cerberus, but Ellen is photoshopped out. They wonder why Quinn would go to that extent and why the dog kidnapper took the picture from Josh’s board, so they bring her in for questioning. They learn that Ellen is the one who developed Cerberus, and Quinn was involved in marketing it, but before it could be launched, she noticed that it had a significant flaw.

It was impossible to verify the crimes reported, and even though it could help report real crimes, it could be used by people with ulterior motives to cause hysteria by increasing the number of fake crime reports. Therefore, Ellen wanted to scrap it for ethical reasons, but Quinn wanted to remain in the limelight that the app had created for her. 

To test whether Quinn verifies the crimes reported using the app, Elsbeth feeds her a fake crime profile, and five minutes after she leaves the office, the criminal profile is added to the app, including an AI image of the criminal.

Five minutes later, the clown killer is on top of the list in the app, giving the NYPD a reason to arrest her. Elsbth and the police show up at Cerberus during a meeting and arrest Quinn. She still thinks she is a star when being led out of the Cerberus offices and says she can convince the jury that she is innocent. 

At the end of the episode, Captain Wagney meets with Wally to understand what Dave has been doing behind his back. He tells Wally that he does not know that Dave is covering up crimes in his name, but he intends to stop him. Wally tells the captain that the Wagner Foundation’s number one supporter, who donates many clothes for the children under their sponsorship, uses sweatshops and illegal labour to manufacture the clothes. 

The Episode Review

Nothing was interesting about the case in this episode since the script is as predictable as all the rest, but it fits Elsbeth’s narrative. It is a feel-good police procedural series with a simple outline. However, it was refreshing to see Kaya lead the investigations and make thoughtful deductions.

Her character develops massively through the episode and her friendship with Elsbeth. The background story about why she was posted at the NYPD as the police observer is taking shape, and it keeps us waiting for the next episode to see Captain Wagner’s response to Lieutenant Dave’s betrayal of his trust and their friendship. 

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