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January 16, 2014 12:56 pm  #1

Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

I have a suspicion that this is really obvious, but I can't get it straight in my head..  Magnussen is supposed to have the goods on most major players in the western world "and probably beyond".  So the assumption would be that he has angered just about everyone with any power at some point.  So why hasn't someone, a despot in eastern europe, a crimelord, a secret service head, not killed him already?

If we assume that no-one (unlikely imho) knew he didn't have a vault under his house (after all, his house wasn't that secure, he had a couple of security guards but it was hardly baskerville, are we to assume that no agency in the US or UK had someone who could break in?)  Why not at least try?  Or threaten him if he didn't back off?

My theory is that Magnussen is a human version of Irene Adler's mobile phone i.e. no-one wanted to risk that if they killed him something important he knew would be lost.  Mycroft also says he is "too small" and "useful sometimes".  Does this mean there was not only no action, but a conscious effort to protect him and keep him alive?
A more obvious answer is that everyone would be worried that his death would automatically release some damaging information, but as I say above, I find it incredible that no-one figured out that the info was all in his head.

Thoughts/discussion welcome.... can't sleep until i get this....


January 16, 2014 1:12 pm  #2

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Maybe people thought he would have a kind of insurance in case somebody killed him. Some kind of testament which would bring all the secrets to broad daylight.
Sherlock and John were the first who knew about the mind palace.
I think most people he blackmailed were too scared.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
Terry Pratchett - A Hat Full of Sky

January 16, 2014 1:14 pm  #3

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Exactly.  Sherlock and John were the first to find out that there wasn't actually any proof, it was all in CAM's head.  I guarantee you if anyone else known that, he would have had a bullet in his head much sooner.

__________________________________________________________________Bigby: Will you shut up?
Colin: Well, maybe if my throat wasn’t so parched, I wouldn’t have to keep talking.
Bigby: Wait, that doesn’t make se-
Coline: Just give me a drink, please.

January 16, 2014 1:22 pm  #4

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

I think @hiatus (what a perfect username!) is right about Mycroft "using" Magnussen's information sometimes for his (the goverment's) own purposes.


January 16, 2014 1:36 pm  #5

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Thanks for the (frighteningly quick) replies!

I am still a bit perplexed that no-one would have found out about the lack of a vault before.  But if we put that aside, it makes sense to assume that a) no-one dared to kill him in case of what would come out and b) Mycroft and his US counterparts would protect him (for the same reasons that Mycroft couldn't just destroy Irene Adler's phone).

     Thread Starter

January 16, 2014 1:40 pm  #6

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Another interesting thought... we know from the fall episode that Sherlock was faking some of the perplexity he was exhibiting in that scene (i.e. he knew the code was a fake etc...) so perhaps that is the case here?  He knew the vault was fake, he was playing up to it... another "boring Sherlock" ploy to lull the enemy?  What he had to do was prove to others that it was fake.  When Mycroft and the cavalry arrived Sherlock knew it would never be over, Mycroft would spirit him away and he could still get Mary killed.  So he had to kill him.

BTW, Hiatus is of course a homage to the great hiatus of Mr C-D himself...

     Thread Starter

January 16, 2014 1:41 pm  #7

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Excellent point swanpride... hadn't thought of that!

     Thread Starter

January 16, 2014 2:18 pm  #8

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Mycroft doesn't easily kill people unless they're a real threat. He thought Magnussen was pretty harmless and probably didn't realise how close he was getting. Maybe his arrogance blinded him. 


January 16, 2014 2:40 pm  #9

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Well, they don't seem to be the types that tell each other their deepest feelings, do they? I do think that's how Mycroft sees it, he even asked Sherlock why he hates him.

Though he might suspect something with his continuous warnings to not get involved. I think he said that because he was afraid that Sherlock would endanger them both and make them vulnerable for people like CAM. But I don't think he knows the specifics. 


January 16, 2014 2:55 pm  #10

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

So, overall, am I right that the concensus is that no-one else knew CAM (like, that acronym!) didn't have a vault, so left him alone assuming he did, or protected him (does this echo the way the hitmen protect sherlock in the fall, thinking he has a code?)  For all we know there is a free-for-all outside appledore on a regular basis with CIA taking our russian mafia assassins and all sorts.

So therefore sherlock is the first to discover the ruse, but why wait for mycroft before killing CAM?  Are we to assume that all that time he is stood there trying to figure out what to do?  He knew Mycroft was coming, so why kill him in front of Mycroft?  Why not straight away?

That's one of the many great things about this show.  I like that everything isn't sewn up all neat.  For example, I don't believe we have the real story on how S cheated death at Barts...

     Thread Starter

January 16, 2014 3:04 pm  #11

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

The obvious answer to the question of why Sherlock waited for witnesses is that John would have been suspected of doing the killing; it's John's gun.

And Sherlock does not kill easily; he has scruples about it...


January 16, 2014 3:06 pm  #12

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

I don't think he planned to kill him. CAM just got him really riled up and he realised that they were all in his power. I think he waited for Mycroft because he wanted CAM to tell him that the vaults were in his own head so that Mycroft would understand why he killed him. 


January 16, 2014 3:09 pm  #13

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Oh, that's a good point Willow.... But he could have just told Mycroft... and agreed he has scruples, but he looked almost giddy as he fired, and why give it the "merry christmas!" if he wasn't enjoying it?  All a bit bruce willis if you ask me.

He hated CAM, wanted him dead, the series has been all about Sherlock changing... maybe his scruples were altered a bit too in the face of that annoying little wotsit.

     Thread Starter

January 16, 2014 8:03 pm  #14

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Mycroft knows that Sherlock may take matters not his own hands with regard to CAM (hence the break my heart scene). The breaking point with Sherlock is not John't humiliation, if that were so he would not have hesitated in killing CAM there and then, stead he waits. In fact, he allows the humiliation to continue. Letting him flick not only John's face but his eye as well. He insists that John allows CAM to do this. Why? Sherlock never does anything without a reason.

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

January 16, 2014 8:47 pm  #15

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Maybe he only decided to do it after Mycroft arrived. It was the only way he had left to protect them. That's why he says merry christmas, it's his gift to them. 


January 16, 2014 8:58 pm  #16

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

The obvious answer is that Sherlock is waiting for Mycroft to arrive; he doesn't want CAM summoning his own security people and the best way of avoiding that is to allow CAM to torture John.

CAM certainly loves doing it...


January 16, 2014 9:16 pm  #17

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Maybe he waits because he wants Mycroft there as a witness that it is he and he alone who have shot Magnussen, so that no blame will fall on John. Basically the same motive Mary has for only knocking out Magnussen when she broke into the penthouse, if she had shot him then and there it would all have been over, but John would have become a prime suspect. Or Sherlock worries that John might try and take the wrap.

Is it nice not being me? It must be so relaxing.

An apostrophe makes the difference between a business that knows its shit, and a business that knows it's shit.

January 16, 2014 9:46 pm  #18

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Has Magnussen been killed? For real? How far away was the  camera when we saw Sherl "kill" Magnussen? I don't take anything at face value anymore with this show.
I don't believe what I see. I just enjoy the game. How long will Mary last? Will she be killed next?
Or will she just die somehow?
It seems that so much of what is shown is an illusion.


January 17, 2014 3:00 am  #19

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

Why would Magnussen fake his death? The gun was loaded anyway, John brought it, and I'm sure Mycroft and his men would have actually made sure the guy was dead before shoving Sherlock on the plane.


April 15, 2014 10:53 pm  #20

Re: Why didn't someone kill Magnussen before?

If, God forbid, CAM comes back in series four, I will personally climb through the TV screen and kill him myself. And it will final, finished. Full stop. I have never been so creeped out and frightened of a character before. CAM makes Hannibal Lecter look like a barmy uncle who can't totally be trusted around the kids, but is relatively harmless.

This show is so well written, acted and produced that I am afraid of what will happen to me in Season 4.


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