Elsbeth – Episode 9 “Sweet Justice” Recap & Review

Sweet Justice

Episode 9 of Elsbeth Season 1 starts at Joe’s bar with the owner, Joe, teaching the barkeep trainee, Dion, how to make a martini.

A regular customer, Ivy, arrives and is stressed because she failed an interview. Joe gets her to talk about what happened during the interview, and she says that she was good until a Facebook notification from a former college roommate, Gemma, got her second-guessing.

Ivy had an awful experience in college instigated by her roommate, a rich kid, Gemma, who used her influence to bully and humiliate her to the extent that Ivy chose to drop out of college. When she saw Facebook suggesting she befriended Gemma, she was triggered and froze during the interview.

Gemma is doing well for herself, even after the awful things she did to Ivy, too, and she is now a successful business entrepreneur. Joe decides to get justice for Ivy, so she visits Gemma’s apartment two nights later, and Ivy travels home to see her sister’s new baby. He breaks into Gemma’s apartment and strangles the woman she finds inside to death. The only problem is that the woman is not Gemma but someone from out of town temporarily residing in Gemma’s house. 

The detective in charge of the case is Smullen. As usual, he is hostile towards Elsbeth during the scene investigation. Smullen thinks that the case is clear-cut since an intruder broke in and strangled Gemma in her sleep. Gemma suddenly comes in accompanied by her boyfriend, Brad.

The dead woman’s name is Jane Dunhill, and she was staying at Gemma’s house because Brad talked Gemma into a house swap. Brad says that Jane wants to experience the big city and get away from her husband, so Smullen thinks that the suspect is Jane’s husband.

In contrast, Elsbeth believes that the intended victim is Gemma, and the killer mistook Jane for her since she was wearing her clothes and sleeping on Gemma’s bed. Gemma’s attitude during their first encounter convinces Kaya and Elsbeth that it would not be so far-fetched that someone would want to kill her. 

Celetano calls Elsbeth and informs her that they are going ahead with Captain Wagner’s indictment because they have the signed documents that are proof of his role in the Flair-all’s scandal.

Although regalities bind Elsbeth and cannot tell the Captain the DOJ’s plans, she uses metaphors to make him understand that the DOJ thinks they already have enough evidence and will move forward. Smullen interrupts their conversation when he brings the captain the forensic report from the scene. They did not find enough evidence to identify the suspect and only had a size 11 shoe print with sticky residue in some industrial floor cleaners. Elsbeth notices a peculiar mark on the victim’s neck. 

Smullen brings in the husband for questioning since he is in New York and close to the location of Gemma’s apartment. Meanwhile, Ivy’s call brings a daydreaming Joe back to reality, and he realizes he killed the wrong person. He tries to console Ivy by saying that the woman is probably not a good person since he associates with Gemma.

At the same time, the husband insists that his wife was the best person and that he did not kill her. He follows Jane because he fears that she is leaving him but gets lost and only makes it to New York to find out that his wife is dead. 

Smullen, Elsbeth, and Kaya visit Gemma’s store to follow up on a comment on a Facebook post, making Ivy their next suspect. They see Ivy’s apartment and question her, but Joe finds them knocking on the door. He tells them that Ivy is not around because she travelled to meet family and offers to give her a call at the bar on their behalf.

Smullen gives Joe his card and asks him to call when Ivy returns, but Elsbeth and Kaya take up the offer to have Joe call her while they wait at the bar. Ivy does not pick up, but Kaya and Elsbeth notice Joe’s increased interest in Ivy. He says they quarantined together during the pandemic and became quite close, so he looks out for her.

Elsbeth also notices the ring cum bottle opener that Joe is wearing. Dion is cleaning the floor, reminding Elsbeth of the sticky shoe print, so she secretly takes a sample to send to forensics. 

Elsewhere, Captain Wagner opens up to his wife about the investigation. She is shocked to hear what Dave has done behind their backs and more so because it could destroy everything she has worked so hard to build. Wagner promises to take care of it and ensure the Wagner Foundation is not implicated. 

Ivy returns to town, so Elsbeth and Smullen head back to Joe’s bar to question. When they arrive, Ivy is upstairs talking to Joe about the police investigation, and he assures her that he will not let anything happen.

While Elsbeth and Smullen wait, they hear the customer tales about Joe’s heroics and how he has taken care of each of them in their times of need. Elsbeth deduces that Joe has a hero complex. Next, Ivy tells them what happened between her and Gemma in college but lies about the fact that he has never told that story to anyone else.

Afterwards, Ivy confronts Gemma, demanding an apology for what happened during college, which motivates Gemma to start dragging the Police online, saying they are not doing their jobs. 

While Smullen thinks that Ivy had something to do with the murder, Elsbeth thinks that Ivy told Joe about the bullying incident, and he decided to help her deal with Gemma without Ivy’s knowledge. However, they do not have any evidence to support the claim, and Elsbeth thinks they should find a way to use Joe’s crush on Ivy against him.

Therefore, Elsbeth returns to Joe’s bar alone and feeds him a fake story about his son being bullied and how frustrating it was because she could not do anything about it. From their conversation, Joe implies that he might have been involved in the homicide but says that the Police have no evidence against him. 

Therefore, Elsbeth talks Dion and Ivy into helping the police arrest Joe. Ivy agrees to help since the Police know she lied about not telling anyone else about the bullying incident. The Police show up at Joe’s bar and fake arrest Dion, saying that he overheard the conversation between Joe and Ivy, so he decided to act on it because he has a crush on Ivy.

Ivy then comes forward and kisses Dion as a thank you, saying nobody has ever stood up for her as he did. The kiss triggers Joe, and he confesses to Ivy that he is the one who was there for Ivy and that he killed the woman for her since he had promised to give her justice. The Police have enough to make an arrest and take Joe into custody. 

Meanwhile, Wagner had given Dave a false report that the Department of Labor was going after Flair-All’s manufacturing companies. Dave calls Declan, the CEO, to warn him. Wagner and Elsbeth follow Dave and listen in on their conversation using a bug that Wagner had put in the can opener ring he had given to Dave earlier.

During their confrontation, Dave spills that he has been taking money from Declan and lied to him about Wagner’s involvement. Dave threatens to kill Declan, which forces Wagner to step in and bring the Police. Dave is arrested, the evidence that Wagner had collected helps him, and he is cleared of the charges.

However, he is angry that Elsbeth is investigating him behind his back, so he says he cannot trust her and wants Elsbeth to be gone from the precinct and back to Chicago. 

The Episode Review

The episode brings the backstory of the DOJ’s investigation into Captain Wagner to a conclusion. The captain can clear his name and protect his job and the Wagner Foundation. However, it also leaves the viewers uncertain of Elsbeth’s fate in the NYPD since Captain Wagner wants her gone.

Did she do anything wrong? Even though she secretly investigated Wagner, she did so because she could be held liable for obstructing justice if she brought him into the loop. In addition, she eventually helps him clear his name, so it seems extreme that he would want her gone.

However, it makes sense because her role at the NYPD is to act as the Police’s Police, so with Wagner’s case closed, she has no reason to stick around. Elsbeth has grown fond of working at the NYPD, New York, and Kaya. Will she leave everything behind and head back to Chicago? If not, what will she do to keep working at the NYPD?

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