R2R Flashback: Example from Elementary (CBS) Blue Blood

Since the TV show Elementary (CBS) aired its final episode last week, I wanted to write about one of the recent episodes and the fascinating way the writers wove current science research into their storylines.

In a recent episode of Elementary (CBS) titled, “Unfriended,” during season 7 episode 11 written by Bob Goodman, the storyline featured the murder of a female scientific researcher who was harvesting the blue blood of the horseshoes crab.

I did some more research to learn more. The Atlantic horseshoe crab’s blood is valuable because it doesn’t use iron-rich hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout their body the way human do. Instead, the crab blood contains copper-rich hemocyanin, a chemical that gives the blood its distinctive blue color. The most important thing about the crab’s blue blood is that is contains amebocytes which attack disease-causing pathogens, bacteria, and endotoxins ( a chemical poison that bacteria makes).

The show also touched on the idea that animal-rights groups are against the harvesting of a portion of the horseshoe crab’s blood and releasing them. So, other companies are trying to create synthetic “blue blood” that would have all the benefits of the crab’s blood without having to use the crabs.

This idea could be used in many different ways:

What if an animal-rights activist gets a job at laboratory where they harvest horseshoe blood in order to find a way to shut down the operation ?


What if an animal-rights activist gets sick with a disease that can only be cured by a horseshoe crab’s blood?


What if a scientist creates the best synthetic horseshoe crab blue blood but finds out that the company that she/he works for has just sold all the rights of it to the largest horseshoe crab blood harvester in the world?

Who wants to talk more about how you can use this idea in your current or next story?

[Credit: flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region]

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