Dr. Ernest Emerson was a suspect in the murder investigations of climate change activist Julia Lloyd in Ice Rage (Case #43 of World Edition) and landlord Joshua Gibson in Dead Men Tell No Tales (Case #28 of The Conspiracy). He then turned out to be the killer of his cousin, Mayor Martha Price, in Blood in the Water (Case #30 of The Conspiracy), as well as the killer of at least twenty others after unleashing a poisonous fish species into Grimsborough's floodwaters.
In his first appearance, Ernest is a 63-year-old archaeologist researching at Antarctica. He has gray hair and green eyes. He wears an iguana green winter cap lined with animal fur, and frostbite on his cheeks. He also dons a red and blue coat over a brown sweater, and is usually seen carrying around a pickaxe.
In his second appearance, now a 65-year-old scientist, Ernest is seen wearing a brown t-shirt underneath a peach checkered jacket. He also has a notepad and a red pen on the right side of the jacket. He is also seen carrying a backpack with a water bottle tied to it. Furthermore, he wears a binocular around his neck and a hat. It is discovered that he collects antique guns, eats lobster bisque and has traveled to the Caribbean.
In his third appearance, he wears a baby blue open-collared t-shirt with a beige striped waistcoat and a beige fisherman's hat with a black stripe. Additionally, the hat is adorned with a small hook. It is revealed that he eats olives, uses sunscreen and sweats excessively.
Events of Criminal Case
Ernest first came in, telling Jack, Grace, and the player that Julia had been attacked by a saber-toothed tiger outside the station. Initially disbelieving, Jack and the player investigated and found her dead.
Ernest was then interrogated, where Jack had trouble believing it was the work of a saber-toothed tiger, but Ernest was convinced it was an attack by an ancient creature. He believed due to global warming, ancient creatures beneath the ice are starting to surface. Ernest also pointed out the irony of a climate change activist being attacked by a prehistoric creature because of global warming, but Jack still did not believe him.
Ernest was spoken to again regarding his overdrawn bank accounts, which were due to the lack of results in his research. He confirmed their suspicions, and said his funding would be cut entirely if he could not produce results soon. When Jack suggested he deliberately made up the story about the saber tooth attack and killed Julia himself, he was outraged saying he was a man of science, not a killer.
Despite his ramblings, Ernest was found innocent after the team incarcerated Blair Carpenter for Julia's murder. He was spoken to by Michelle and the player about an information regarding a SOMBRA agent who was in Antarctica by the name of Eduardo Ruiz. He was relieved that Julia's murder was not caused by a saber-toothed tiger, and remembered that Eduardo came by in the 1950s from South America. Michelle was shocked, since the data they picked up on him dated back to the 1970s. Ernest explained that was the digital records, and suggested they look through the hard copy archives to find any South Pole activity prior to then. Michelle and the player decided to look through the research lab to find the info they needed.
Ernest became a suspect again after Jones and the player found his diving mask underneath the seaweed. Ernest then came and thanked them for recovering his mask, and immediately recognized the player after 2 years. After a short reunion, Ernest revealed that he returned to Grimsborough, his hometown, to investigate about the Demon Fish. The team then asked him if he had known the victim, Joshua Gibson. But he said he didn't know about him.
Ernest was spoken to again after the team (per Gabriel) found out that he and Joshua were classmates and they went to the same elementary school with each others, which meant Ernest had lied about not knowing the victim earlier. The team then asked Ernest why he denied knowing the victim. Answering about this, Ernest revealed that Joshua was a bully at school and he often teased him for many things. Even after Ernest was a renowned scientist due to a successful research expedition to the Caribbean island, the victim still mocked him, laughed at his antique firearms collection. Then, Ernest said that he had finally been vindicated with the discovery of the Demon Fish.
Ernest was found innocent after the team incarcerated Carl Rossa for Joshua's murder. Later, the team called him to the station to help Rupert find a cure to the fish's neurotoxin and save Martine as she was bitten by one of the Demon Fish. Rupert then suggested that he and Ernest combine the research so that they can come up with an antidote. After Rupert and the player found Ernest's serum vials in Doreo Drive and some Demon Fish eggs in the flooded street, Ernest helped Rupert finish the antidote.
Ernest became a suspect once again after Jones and the player found a photo of him and Mayor Price going fishing in their childhood days. The team then came and asked Ernest, who revealed that he and the Mayor were cousins. After Jones asked him if his relationship with the victim still remained close, Ernest answered that they were thick as thieves when they were kids, but when they grew up, they drifted apart. He said that he and the Mayor did not meet each other until he came back to Grimsborough to study the Demon Fish. In the end of the conversation, Ernest was sad and wished he and Martha had reunited earlier.
Ernest was spoken to again after the team found the Mayor's phone at the buffet tables and discovered that she was arguing with Ernest. After the team confronted Ernest about his argument with the victim, he explained that they had difference of opinions about what was to be done with the Demon Fish. While the victim wanted to give the public the chance to gawk at them, Ernest said that he needed more time to study as there was still so much he didn't know about the Demon Fish. After that, Ernest said that Mayor Price never listened to him and understood the importance of science, all she cared about was the public's opinion of her.
In the end, it was proven that Ernest was his cousin's killer. Upon admitting to the murder, Ernest also admitted that he released the Demon Fish into the floodwaters in the first place "for science". After he heard that Martha was planning to exterminate the fish, he snuck into the animal control facility to release them again. When Martha walked on him, he tried to fend her off with a screwdriver before pushing her into the fish tank. Judge Powell sentenced Ernest to life in prison for the murder and for indirectly killing multiple people through the Demon Fish.
- Ernest is one of the characters to physically appear in two different seasons.
- Ernest is one of the characters to appear as a suspect in three cases.
- As Ernest turns out to be the killer of his cousin at the climax of her murder investigation, he is one of the killers in The Conspiracy to commit domestic homicide.
- Ice Rage (Case #43 of World Edition)
- Bone of Contention (Case #26 of The Conspiracy; mentioned)
- Behind These Walls (Case #27 of The Conspiracy; mentioned)
- Dead Men Tell No Tales (Case #28 of The Conspiracy)
- Blood in the Water (Case #30 of The Conspiracy)
- Domesday (Case #31 of The Conspiracy; mentioned)
- Dearly Departured (Case #49 of The Conspiracy; mentioned)