Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9 Review: Sweet Justice

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You'd think that in an episode centered around a bar and its owner, Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9 would have some sort of death by the drink, but in this episode, the murderer went with an oldie but a classic.

In "Sweet Justice," audiences meet Joe, the owner of an exclusive high-end bar who decides to take justice into his own hands by murdering one of his patron's bullies.

It would almost be sweet if his form of justice didn't involve homicide, oh, and killing the wrong woman.

Elsbeth, Kaya, and Joe - Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9

Gracing the small screen this week for yet another familiar face is Arian Moayed.

Surprisingly, he did not already appear in The Good Wife or The Good Fight, but viewers might recognize him from Succession.

As for his character, anyone who frequents Netflix might notice some similarities between this Joe and another who also enjoys stalking women who have caught his eye in a little show called "YOU."

It's quite a coincidence since Elizabeth Lail starred in the previous episode of Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 8 and also in the Penn Badgley-led psychological thriller.

Elsbeth & Joe - Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9 - Sweet Justice

Like the Netflix series, this Joe is led by his internal monologue, albeit not as blatantly fed to audiences.

This Joe takes it upon himself to right the wrongs done to a woman with whom he has formed an unhealthy obsession, which has led to an imaginary relationship in his head.

Ivy: Yeah, she's got a cute boyfriend and hangs with rappers and influencers, Face it, Joe. Evil people win.
Joe: It didn't use to be that way. If you did something wrong, there were consequences.

Since Elsbeth is a show that leans toward the cheekier and campier side of things, viewers were served a watered-down version of YOU.

However, as the previous episode's spoilers said, " How crazy would it be to find Joe and Elsbeth in the same universe?"

Elsbeth: It's kind of eery, isn't it? She looks so peaceful.
Kaya: Yeah, dead people usually do.

While things didn't translate exactly, we did get a small glimpse into what that would be like, and it was not at all what was expected.

Instead of shrinking away to plan his next action to avoid suspicious strategically, this Joe basically confirms he's capable of taking matters too far.

Joe: Listen, I just want to make one thing clear. Ivy had nothing to do with anything, and you better leave her alone.
Elsbeth: You don't like it when people bother her, do you?
Joe: I don't like you bothering me.

However, the most shocking part of the episode was the means of murder. Strangulation. A first for the season.

I suppose it seemed like the quickest way to get the deed done, but clearly, no thought was put into it because he killed the wrong woman.

Elsbeth, Kaya, and Detective - Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9

How did he manage to get her address and info to enter her apartment without ever seeing a picture of the woman he was trying to kill?

Even Cliff in Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 5, "Ball Girl," had more sense than that, and his best idea was a nitroglycerin-soaked sports towel.

None of the victims of each episode have been great. In fact, they've been the worst of humanity, but Gemma had to be the worst of the worst.

Wait, you think Ivy Bensen is trying to kill me? No, I'm sorry. Losers like Ivy Bensen never actually do anything. That is what makes them losers.


Seriously. This woman is a monster. While what Joe had intended for her was a bit extreme, even sweet and lovable Officer Kaya weighed in.

You know, I think I could see someone wanting to kill that woman.


Ultimately, his own hubris to be seen as a savior led to his downfall and arrest.

The man's head had to be so far up his butt not to see the apparent ploy the police were pulling on him, staging that fake arrest at the end.

This is a fun show with many quirks and excitement, but it asks audiences to stretch their imagination a bit, especially with how Elsbeth can connect some of the dots out of thin air.

Detective Smullen: There still could be some evidence there.
Elsbeth: But a good attorney could have it disqualified five hundred different ways. Sorry.

Speaking of the floral faux pas, Elsbeth finally delivers the bad news to Wagner, stating that Celetano is fully ready to move forward with charges against Wagner. It wasn't that unexpected, considering this was the second-to-last episode of the season.

Elsbeth & Captain Wagner - Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9

The captain is working more than ever to clear his name and finally confesses the situation to his wife, Claudia.

This is the same woman who has been mentioned in every episode but hasn't been seen since Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 4.

While she may be as innocent as Captain Wagner, it still seems fishy to have her so included in the plot, only to serve as a device to further Wagner's arc.

And the way Elsbeth talks about her, you'd think the two women were having daily brunch bonding sessions.

Wait, captain. Claudia will kill me if anything happens to you.


In the end, though, Noonan was apprehended and brought in under the charges meant for the captain.

This episode did an excellent job of tying everything into a nice little knot of closure, but there's still one more installment in the series to go.

There's also the matter of the captain requesting that Elsbeth leave the department.

That was a curve ball that no one saw coming, but it's hard not to see where he's coming from.

The irony is that Elsbeth took this new job to stay as close to the truth as possible and, in doing so, became the person he ended up trusting the least—well, second, at least, since Noonan likely holds that title at the moment.

If I remember correctly from Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 1, Captain Wagner can request a different Consent Decree official to oversee his department.

So, the first season's finale might feel like a finale for Elsbeth in New York.

Elsbeth leaning over - Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9

It would be a shame because she just got a new apartment, and her son, Teddy, hasn't even had a chance to visit her or be seen on screen.

Quit stalking that dead woman and help me find a new apartment.


But it would make for an exciting take on the series if the writers had Elsbeth as "the police's police" in other cities. It's a gimmick.

The next and final episode of Elsbeth Season 1 will hopefully deliver a satisfactory end to hold viewers over until the following season.

I know I'll be front and center, waiting at the edge of my seat for whatever twists and turns the finale takes.

Check back when we review the Season 1 finale of Elsbeth!

Sweet Justice Review

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Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

Joshua Pleming is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow him on X.

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Elsbeth Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

Elsbeth: It's kind of eery, isn't it? She looks so peaceful.
Kaya: Yeah, dead people usually do.

Ivy: Yeah, she's got a cute boyfriend and hangs with rappers and influencers, Face it, Joe. Evil people win.
Joe: It didn't use to be that way. If you did something wrong, there were consequences.