'Miss Scarlet and the Duke' Recap: Season 3 Episode 5

Daniel Hautzinger
Eliza and William in season 3 of Miss Scarlet and the Duke
Eliza is upset with William for not telling her he's seeing Arabella. Photo: Element 8 Entertainment and Masterpiece/Sergej Radovic

Miss Scarlet and the Duke airs Sundays at 7:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.
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Eliza needs money, given her struggle to find enough work as a woman detective. So an unclaimed inheritance of twenty thousand pounds is a call to go into heir hunting. If she hunts down a descendant of Sir Reginald Denning, she can claim a five percent fee of one thousand pounds—as long as the heir claims the money before a deadline that’s two days away, after which the money will go to the government.

Breaking into Denning’s home, Eliza finds some papers hidden behind a plaque: a notice from an orphanage that they had accepted Martin Crabtree, and a letter Denning never sent admitting Crabtree was his son. Eliza goes to Crabtree and his pregnant wife and reveals the news. Ecstatic, they agree to go to the solicitor’s the following day to make their claim on the inheritance.

Denning was murdered in his home years ago, and no one was ever charged. Now William is investigating another case of a man murdered in his home. George Saracen was found by his maid, who saw an older woman leaving the house when she returned home. The only appointment in Saracen’s book for that morning was with an “M. Skelton.” Saracen’s book also shows a pen imprint of Crabtree’s name and address.

Unfortunately, Crabtree has disappeared. He went out to celebrate after Eliza’s news and didn’t return. His wife received a ransom note warning her not to contact the police, so she goes to Eliza instead. She also tells Eliza that another heir hunter, named Elderberry, approached them soon after Eliza did, offering his services for no fee. They didn’t trust him and so refused.

At the pub where Crabtree went to celebrate, Eliza runs into Elderberry, who tells her he will pay the ransom if she can’t. She can’t, but won’t give up. Moses, whom she has had to hire away from her rival Nash, can’t find any information about the kidnapping. But she first heard about Denning’s inheritance from an ad searching for his heir; Ivy suggests she find out who placed it.

It was George Saracen.

William and Eliza are now working on the same case, and she tells him about the kidnapping. They clash, however, as Eliza is bitter towards him for seeing Arabella. William admits that he should have told Eliza about the relationship; she begrudgingly tells him she’s happy for him.

William gives Eliza a ransom of counterfeit bills to save Crabtree, but Elderberry appears with his own apparent ransom and distracts her. Her bag of money is snatched, and the thief gets away.

William tracks down Elderberry using his business card and learns from his landlady that his name is actually Blunt, and he’s a gambler who’s behind on rent, not an heir hunter. Blunt admits that Denning, another gambler, owed him a large sum of money from a game but never paid, and then died. Blunt recently tracked Crabtree down in order to claim the part of the inheritance he was owed. He doesn’t know Saracen, and has an alibi for the murder: he was in a jail cell for being drunk and disorderly.

Crabtree suddenly reappears at his house. He explains that he was grabbed after he left the pub, then just as quickly returned. He doesn’t know anything about the kidnappers as he was hooded. William puts him under house arrest with police protection—preventing him from going to claim his inheritance as the deadline bears down.

Eliza is upset, and determines to solve the kidnapping before the deadline so that Crabtree can be allowed to leave. Ivy provides another clue while reading through Denning’s letters: he had a housekeeper named Maud Skelton. Eliza realizes Skelton is the woman who visited Saracen before his murder.

 Skelton explains to Eliza that Denning’s wife died giving birth to Crabtree; Denning couldn’t stand to see her likeness in his son, so he had Skelton bring him to the orphanage. Skelton kept track of Crabtree but lost sight of him a few years ago. But her daughter is sick and needs money for medical care, so she went to Saracen when she saw his ad and gave him Crabtree’s name and last known address. When she returned to retrieve her money from him, however, she found him dead. She did see Blunt arriving at Saracen’s when she left her first meeting.

Blunt denies it, until William shows him a letter found in his home from Saracen about Skelton’s visit. Blunt says Denning also owed Saracen a huge sum of money; Blunt and Saracen had a deal to split the inheritance if they found an heir. But Saracen tried to kill him and take all the money for himself, so Blunt defended himself and Saracen ended up dead.

Except that’s a lie, too, for Blunt was supposed to be in jail, drunk, when Saracen was killed. He paid a friend to pretend to be him and get arrested, planning an alibi in advance while he killed Saracen with intent.

Satisfied that Blunt was involved with the kidnapping and probably Denning’s murder, too, William releases Crabtree from house arrest to go claim his inheritance. In thanks, Crabtree gives Eliza the first part of her fee from his savings—he doesn’t want her to have to wait.

She immediately spends it—she has already bought a sign for her practice with her own name instead of her father’s. But the police tell her she has used counterfeit bills. The ransom money is found hidden in Crabtree’s outhouse.

He faked the kidnapping because he knew the inheritance would all be claimed by gambling debts, but he still wanted a better life for his coming child. Maud visited him around the time Denning died and explained his parentage, and that Denning had numerous creditors.

Since Eliza is the only free and living person targeted by Crabtree’s fraud, she decides not to press charges, and he goes free. At his home, however, she notices a picture frame with the Denning crest’s fox on it. It matches the description of a frame taken from Denning’s house when he was murdered.

Crabtree tells her he visited Denning after learning he was his father. Denning told him he killed his mother, and Crabtree snapped and murdered him. Maud broke contact with him because she feared he was the murderer. He sobs and begs Eliza to keep silent—she can keep her fee from the inheritance then. But she has him arrested, and loses her big payday.

She suffers further torment when, in an effort to prevent William’s relationship with Arabella from ruining her own friendship with William, she visits Arabella for tea. Arabella has invited William as well—accidentally, she says—to Eliza’s great discomfort.

At least there’s one success: Moses finally reveals his last name to her. It’s Valentine.