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"The Plagiarism Schism" is the twenty-first episode of the twelfth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, May 2, 2019.


Barry Kripke has proof that Greg Pemberton plagiarized his thesis in college, and Sheldon and Amy aren't sure if they should turn him in or not. Also, Wolowitz is happily surprised to learn that Bernadette wasn't the only waitress at the Cheesecake Factory who had a crush on him back in the day.[1]

Extended Plot[]

President Siebert is hosting a luncheon for the two feuding parties in the Super-Asymmetry Nobel Prize competition. Amy apologizes for her outburst calling the others frauds, but Greg Pemberton and Kevin Campbell still think that the Coopers are mean and insecure. They also claim that Sheldon and Amy think that they are going to win the Nobel Prize. Not true! President Siebert tells all of them that if they don't stop the in-fighting the Nobel committee will chose some other discovery. Pemberton claims that they are all linked on this subject just like super-asymmetry links every atom in the universe. Amy jumps in that that is not how the theory works when they again show that the two of them don't know a thing about it.

As Pemberton and Campbell leave, they run into Barry Kripke who went to school with Pemberton. Kripke gives him a friendly greeting, but tells the Coopers that he hates him after he sits down at their table. Kripke calls Pemberton a grade “A” weasel who turns other people's ideas into his own. He plagiarized his thesis. Amy calls that a serious charge; however, Barry is willing to make some calls to get some proof. He doesn't want Pemberton to win, though he is not happy with Sheldon winning either.

Sheldon and Amy join the dinner gang in Apartment 4A and they propose their ethical question whether to expose Pemberton or not. First Howard wonders if he is the target. Howard and Penny think they should keep it to themselves. Leonard and Bernadette feels that Amy should expose him even if it ruins his career. Raj explains that they feel that they want to win, but they don't feel it's the honorable thing to do and that is why they haven't done it yet.


Kripke has dirt on their rival.

Sheldon and Amy head to bed discussing the subject and convince themselves that they are really good people and they don't want to do it.

Howard and Bernadette head to bed with Bernadette still saying that their friends should do what they have to do to win. Howard asked if she had ever done that. She admits that there was another waitress at The Cheesecake Factory who thought that he was cute and Bernie told her that Howard had every form of hepatitises. Howard wonders who it was; however, he admits he got the best waitress.

As the Hofstadters get in bed, Penny is proud that the Coopers are taking the high road, but Leonard doesn't want them to lose to the frauds. Leonard is willing to do it just so Sheldon and Amy can win. He is willing to get his hands dirty which is something Penny has never seen him do. Neither of them plan to tell Sheldon or Amy.

Leonard gets the incriminating information from Kripke, but then Kripke warns Leonard that once he takes the envelope there is no turning back. Leonard then asks what happens when he looks at it and decides not to use it, which is something Kripke had not really considered. Kripke gives leonard the envelope and tells Leonard he has a real talent for making things boring, then runs into Amy looking very guilty.

Howard brags to Raj that two women at The Cheesecake Factory had a thing for him. Raj does not believe it. Howard goes through all the waitresses having remembered their names, eye colors, cars and whether they were attached.


Once you take this their no going back.

Amy is having wine with Penny telling her that Leonard was acting funny or even guilty. Then Penny starts acting in a similar manner. Penny confesses which bothers Amy because now she is implicated in the action.

At dinner Sheldon is complimenting Amy on how round her meatballs in the spaghetti are while Amy has very little to say. She asks him whether he would want to know about something that is ethically shady that is being done on his behalf. He has to know. They go to confront Leonard who claims that he (Sheldon) is not doing anything wrong. They still don't want Leonard doing it. Amy doesn't want Leonard to compromise himself ethically, while Sheldon doesn't want him to make them look bad.

Howard goes to apologize to Bernadette that he went down to the restaurant to try and find out, but he decided that he doesn't need to know since he has the best woman. Bernie already knew since the manager called and that Howard was creeping everyone out. Then he admits that Bernadette is the only woman he wants to creep out to which Bernie replies that he is.


Scientist fight!

The Coopers invite their rivals to lunch with them expecting another apology. Instead Sheldon hands over the evidence on Pemberton's plagiarism. Pemberton first accuses them of blackmail. Amy says that it's the opposite. Pemberton cluelessly wonders if they are blackmailing the Coopers. Amy again yells at him asking him how he is up for a Nobel Prize? Sheldon tells him they're giving the evidence so no one can use it against him. Campbell asks if the plagiarism is true. Yes, because Pemberton had to write a thesis and wasn't smart enough to pull it off. Then Campbell realizes that this could also ruin his career, as his name is attached to Pemberton's work, and he admits that he has been sleeping with Pemberton's wife, Linda. Pemberton throws a drink into Campbell's face which causes a brawl on the floor. AND he used Sheldon's ice tea!

While Sheldon and Amy are having lunch together in his office the next day, Dr. Campbell stumbles into their office drunk. Campbell published the plagiarism evidence getting both him and Pemberton fired from Fermilab (and also ending Pemberton's scientific career and getting him disqualified from Nobel Prize consideration), though Campbell was no longer seeing Linda. He tries to weasel his way onto their team, but Amy pushes him out of the office, while Sheldon couldn't see what Linda saw in either of them.



  • Title Reference: The title refers to the split of Pemberton and Campbell over Pemberton's plagiarism.
  • Taping date: April 2, 2019
  • This episode was watched by 12.48 million people with a rating of 1.9 (adults 18–49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on May 2, 2019.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]


  • To be entered -
  • IMDb user review [2]


  • Seventh episode of the last ten episodes.
  • Bernadette played a joke on Howard that a waitress had a crush on him who worked at The Cheesecake Factory.
  • Amy again yells at Penny that she was a princess (at the Renaissance Fair) like she did when she got her tiara from Sheldon in "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver".
  • Penny claims that she plagiarized her work on "The Scarlet Letter" in high school because it was so boring.
  • Leonard loved the story "The Scarlet Letter" because it gave him a taste for bad girls - like Penny.
  • Howard visited The Cheesecake Factory with Raj, but the scene didn't make the final episode edit.
  • Mimi Gianopulos never appeared in the episode, though she played a Cheesecake Factory waitress in the unaired scene.
  • This episode marks the 200th appearance of Amy.


Pemberton: The point is we should take it as a compliment that even you guys think we’ll win the Nobel Prize.
Amy: Uh, no. We certainly do not think that.
Sheldon: The Nobel Committee will realize that we came up with this theory.
Campbell: But we proved it.
Amy: By accident.
Pemberton: All breakthroughs happen by accident.
Amy: No, they don’t!

Campbell: You know when you think about it, we’re linked together the same way super-asymmetry links together every atom in the universe.
Pemberton: Hmm.
Amy: That’s not what it does at all!

Kripke: Pembewton is a gwade “A” weasel.
Sheldon: How do I know you’re not just being polite when you say it’s nice to see me?
Kripke: I have witewawwy nevew said that to you.
Amy: Why do you say he’s a weasel?
Kripke: Pembewton’s whowe M.O. was to take othew peopwe’s ideas and tuwn them in as his own.
Sheldon: That’s exactly what he’s doing to us.
Kripke: I’m not suwpwised. I heawd that the only wowk he did on his thesis was Googwing, “Whewe can I buy a thesis?”

Sheldon: Why is this decision so hard?
Raj: Maybe because you want to win, but deep down you know it’s not the honorable way to do it. Otherwise, you’d done it all ready.
Amy: That’s really wise.
Sheldon: Yes, but it may just be the Indian accent.

Sheldon: I love talking to you. It’s like talking to me, but with a girl voice.

Leonard: Can’t believe it. Sheldon loves telling on people when they break the rules.
Penny: Yeah, well, maybe, he’s changed.
Leonard: He hasn’t changed. Last week when the vending machine gave me two bags of chips he called my mom.
Penny: Well, that didn’t ruin your life.
Leonard: Well, it ruined my day. And I had to talk to my mom, who by the way is polyamorous now. So that’s fun to think about.
Penny: Look, I’m proud of Sheldon and Amy. You know, they want to win on their own merits, not by knocking out the competition.
Leonard: Yeah, but what if they don’t win. Pemberton and Campbell have done an amazing job associating their names with super-asymmetry. They have all the momentum right now.
Penny: I don’t like the idea of them losing either, but this is their decision to make, not ours.
Leonard: Maybe it is ours.
Penny: What do you mean?
Leonard: Well, if Sheldon and Amy don’t want to expose Pemberton, that doesn’t meant that someone else can’t do it for them. They never have to know.
Penny: Really? You’d do that?
Leonard: They deserve the Nobel. I’m not goon let two frauds steal it from them. And if it means getting my hands dirty, then so be it. [Penny laughs.] What’s so funny?
Penny: Just realized I’ve never actually seen your hands dirty.

Pemberton: Hold on, are you blackmailing us?
Amy: No, the opposite.
Pemberton: We’re blackmailing you?
Amy: How are you up for a Nobel?

Kripke: Gweat to meet you. Weww, you have my numbew. We shouwd hit the buffet at the stwip cwub whiwe you'we in town. Nothing beats a wap dance and a baked potato baw. Huh?

(Dr. Campbell bursts into Sheldon's office, quite drunk)
Campbell: Dr. Cooper. Dr. Fowler. Just the guy I wanna see.
Amy: Are you drunk?
Campbell: I was, and then, I still was, and now, I still was.
Sheldon: Can we help you?
Campbell: Pemberton is out. Someone published all the information about his plagiarism. (whispers) It was me. (normal voice) Someone else told Fermilab and he lost his job. (whispers) Also me. (normal voice) And someone is sleeping with his ex-wife and it's not me.
Amy: (confused) I thought it was.
Campbell: Not anymore. Apparently, just because I'm better than her husband doesn't mean I'm as good as her contractor. (leans drunkenly towards Amy) Women, huh?
Amy: I-I think you need to go. (starts ushering him to the door)
Campbell: No, wait, hear me out! Look, the three of us could team up. There's one small catch. Greg Pemberton has been saying a lot of bad stuff about me, but don't worry, I couldn't possibly have done any of it because I was with you guys the whole time. (whispers) I did it.
(Amy shuts the door in Campbell's face and sighs in frustration)
Sheldon: Okay, frankly, I don't know what Linda ever saw in either of them.