Elementary: Over a Barrel – Statute of Limitations (Review)

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An interesting episode this week on Elementary. “Over a Barrel” starts with a bit of backstory. A father; Jack Brunelle, is convinced that his son was murdered. Initially he approaches Joan Watson and we learn that Connor Brunelle was mugged.

Later, we find that the young man became hooked on pain medication which then segued into heroin addiction. This killed the man’s son and he wants Holmes to look into why he was mugged.

Each time, several of which are shown on the show but according to the storyline much more via written correspondence, etc. Holmes has a more pressing case that he cannot abandon to help the upset father.

Finally, with less than 12 hours till the statute of limitations runs out on his son’s murder, Brunelle takes an entire diner hostage. He demands that Holmes find his son’s murderer or he will start killing patrons.

The irate and now desperate father keeps Watson in the diner with him.  Sherlock works with Detective Bell to track events that occurred back in 2012, when Connor Brunelle was attacked. As time runs out, Holmes finds out a number of interesting things.

Connor was gay, and having an affair, but this was not a factor in his death. It is revealed that smuggling in thousands of barrels of Canadian Maple Syrup was behind the mugging and the young Brunelle’s subsequent death. The gang responsible is said to have been disbanded.

On sidenote: This appears to be dig at the outrageous cost of real maple syrup.  In the episode, both Bell and Holmes feel that the barrels may well be full of cocaine. Later, when they track down the missing barrels, and the men who orchestrated the smuggling operation, they learn that syrup never “goes off.” The implication being that one gang is price fixing the cost of what we put on our pancakes and waffles.

The murderer turns out to be a guy who left the country right after Connor Brunelle was attacked. Ironically he goes to Canada. Holmes, who has missed the 12 hour deadline, realizes that Frank Trimble (the man responsible for the lad’s death) can still be charged due to a loophole in the statute of limitations law.

Rather interestingly, after the series plot thread where Shinwell Johnson is “hired” to aid Holmes and Watson in their capacity as consultants to the NYPD, the ex con has disappeared. He is AWOL and provides no help in this case.

This was an interesting storyline. The  best private detective in New York was presented as not being too sympathetic to a more mundane case.  Although to be fair Holmes’ condition would prevent him from reacting enthusiastically to any case.

It was annoying that Brunelle waited till the last possible moment to play his hole card. Forcing Holmes to look into his son’s death with a 12 hour window was fine for “suspense” but unrealistic even for the brilliant Holmes.

Added to this short turn around time was the action of “tying one hand behind Sherlock’s back” with the removal of Joan as assistant. Still, like most episodes in this series, the episode was quirky and interesting.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Jack Brunelle, Robert Capron as Mason and  Shuler Hensley as Frank Trimble.

Elementary: It Serves You Right to Suffer – Shinwell (Review)

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Elementary apparently puts a finish on the Shinwell storyline with “It Serves You Right to Suffer.” This penultimate episode before the mid-winter finale sees a deeper focus on the Dr. Watson/Shinwell relationship and a new level of trust between Holmes and the ex con.

The episode begins with Sherlock waking Joan from a “lie-in” with a screaming woman call. He directs his colleague to a crime scene which implicates Shinwell Johnson as a suspect.  The murder, of rival gang member Ricky Morales, takes place in SBK turf and Shinwell was seen fleeing the area and dumping a .38 pistol.

Joan believes Johnson is innocent of any wrongdoing and is being framed. Sherlock is doubtful but plays along by helping Watson and Johnson to gather information about the murdered gangbanger and pressing Shinwell’s old gang-members for alibis.

Younger star Debi Mazar plays Detective Cosa. A female homicide cop with a laissez faire attitude and a definite dislike for both Holmes and Watson. The detective goes out of her way to ensure that Shinwell is implicated in the Morales murder.

Shinwell reveals that FBI Agent Whitlock talked him into being an informant. Whitlock sent the ex con to turn over his old gang, SBK. When Joan questions the agent about Shinwell’s allegation, he refuses to cooperate.

Holmes, while visiting the murder scene, finds that the rival gang member was killed with a Nambu pistol loaded with 8mm slugs. Holmes and Shinwell search the dead man’s apartment and find a prescription for Clonazepam.

After questioning the dead man’s doctor they learn that he was also an informant.  His handler was Agent Whitlock.  The FBI agent denies any involvement and then goes to throw Shinwell under the bus by killing himself with the Morales murder weapon.

Holmes saves the day by wiping Shinwell’s .38 clean so his prints cannot be taken off the weapon.

Once again, Holmes and Watson follow their hearts as well as their heads. Sherlock generally supports Joan and while he and Shinwell have never been close, he recognizes that the man is being railroaded.

The reveal that Whitlock was dirty, the agent was robbing gangs of their takings by force, played well against the story of a former gangbanger trying to stay straight.

Shinwell has been a presence from episode one this season. This may well clear up his current storyline but we may not have seen the end of Johnson since he is, after all, a friend of Joan’s.

He is now closer to Sherlock than before. This was bound to happen after Holmes’ attempt to connect earlier in the season.

“So you’re a former drug dealer, correct? Former drug user.” (chuckles)

This awkward start to the two men trying to bond, signposted pretty clearly that Holmes would eventually accept Shinwell based upon Joan’s assertion that Johnson was worthy.  The fact that Holmes was willing to remove evidence from a police lab cements the trust he has not only in Shinwell but Joan as well.

“It Serves You Right to Suffer” gives us a brilliant scene in a baker’s vehicle that Holmes has procured for a stakeout. Shinwell is uncomfortable sitting in a vehicle “illegally.” Holmes’ retort to his companion’s unease is typical Sherlock.

“Yesterday you outran two police officers. You really can’t escape one sleepy baker?”

 

This episode seems to be setting the trio up for another less personal investigation in the near future. It will be interesting to see just the rest of the season holds for Shinwell, Joan and Sherlock.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest Starring Debi Mazar as Detective Cosa,  Susan Blommaert as Dr. Xanthopoulos,  Ruffin Prentiss as “Tall Boy” Eversley and Dorian Missick as Agent Calvin Whitlock.

Elementary: Ill Tidings – Don’t Get Bitten (Recap/Review)

 

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Elementary “Ill Tidings” could well be a variation on one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes short story The Speckled Band. In the original tale a young woman was in danger of being killed by her stepfather, via a very poisonous snake, in order to gain control of her inheritance.

In this episode a table of seven people and a disagreeable chef are all killed by snake venom.  The target in this instance is artwork hanging in the  New York stack exchange.  A live snake does make an entrance and Holmes suggests to Watson it might be best if she does not get bitten.

Fiona Helbron makes an appearance, albeit via a laptop screen as she and Holmes talk “long distance.” They make plans to meet at a place halfway between their locations.

The investigation takes Holmes and Watson quite some time to track down the reason that seven people were targeted.  The group, who ate lunch at the eatery where they contacted the snake venom and fiberglass, were part of the IAO. The victims ensured that internet web addresses were real.

Marcus confronts Holmes about a court case that the two men worked on. Bell was afraid he committed perjury because of the way Sherlock wrote his report.   Holmes helps Marcus save face in front of the A.D.A. Chantal Milner.

Watson calls Holmes and tells him the target is the stock exchange. The exchange is vacated because of the threat and while the place is empty someone steals $60 million worth of art from the walls.

As Holmes and Watson investigate leads, they talk about Fiona. Holmes is concerned that they have never talked about his work.  They talk fleetingly of Moriarty and Joan tells Sherlock that he may never love anyone that way again.

Holmes realizes that it is not the money but the artworks that were the target. They head to the lobby and find the three LeGrande’s are missing.  Sherlock has an old mate replicate the missing paintings and the police “find” them in an abandoned warehouse.

The “Dark Web” makes an appearance. Holmes and Watson surf the dark entity to find clues as to who is behind the art theft.  Sherlock finds three people talking about the art. All the players can be tracked back to the same man.

They track down the thief and find the man dead from a venomous snakebite.  The pattern of the bite looks familiar to Sherlock and they find the dead man’s partner; Mateo Lima the kitchen worker who ate the poisonous foie gras.

Lima is arrested after Holmes and Watson explain how he accomplished the crime and Sherlock finds one of the LeGrande’s in the man’s room.

At the end of the episode Fiona calls Holmes via the laptop and he quotes Joan’s “Antony and Cleopatra” line,”Give to a gracious message a host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell themselves when they be felt,” before answering. The line, is something a doctor friend of Watson’s used to say before passing on bad news to patients.

Holmes is obviously about to break up with Fiona.

Elementary this week was a splendid chase where the clues led the two investigators all over the place.  The chemistry between Holmes and Watson is still spot on and it is hard not to love an episode that references “The Princess Bride.”

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.  Tune in and catch this special double act.

Cast:

Guest starring Betty Gilpin as Fiona Helbron, Julian Acosta as Mateo Lima,  Chasten Harmon as Chantal Milner and Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mr. Dalal.

Elementary: Worth Several Cities – Made in China (Review)

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Elementary visits historical antiquities theft in “Worth Several Cities” and harks back to the “old” Sherlock Holmes in that Miller’s character actually takes on a job commissioned by a villain, aka a drug lord, El Halcon.  Holmes refuses payment and asks instead for a Quid Pro Quo deal; the seller of the tainted heroin from last week’s episode in return for whoever killed the  Halcon’s smuggler.

(It hurt a little to see the fine actor Jon Huertas, face all covered up with fake tattoos that practically hid his features, playing what amounted to a cameo in this episode. The death of ABC’s Castle did not leave “Javi” in a good place apparently. The tattoos worked for a short while, it was only when the camera caught El Halcon’s face from a certain angle that suddenly Javier Esposito’s visage peered out of all that camouflage.)

Shinwell is definitely a regular feature on this season’s Elementary.  In this episode, Watson gets the ex con a job that comes with accommodation  and tries to help him find his daughter.

The crime this week involved a North Korean ship captain, only briefly, China, Taiwan, a broke millionaire businessman, a local drug lord and the Jade Seal of China.

Holmes is kidnapped by El Halcon who wants him to find out who killed his “favorite smuggler.” The best exchange of the episode takes place between Halcon and Sherlock after he is brought out of the car trunk.

El Halcon: “Holmes.”

Holmes: “Are you calling me by name or is that short for something…”

As in the previous seasons Holmes and Watson have a brilliant give and take in their dealings with one another.  Although there were none of the side-glance admonishments or queries from Holmes this week.

Viewers learned Joan’s Chinese name in this episode; Yun Jing Yi, something that the Taiwanese officials who offered up $50 million knew already. We also learned what Watson’s price is, not able to be bought for a measly $50 million, Joan will settle for a cool billion.

Shinwell has a lot going on as was evidenced last week when he answered that door, gun in hand. The parolee finds his daughter through other means and he tells Joan that he has no plans to approach her.

The girls auntie warns Watson not to trust Shinwell. One wonders if her act of kindness to the man whose life she saved will not cost her dearly later in the season.

Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu make a marvelous Holmes and Watson as usual. Their chemistry is spot on and they play off one another perfectly. There is not one false note from either performer and it is their interaction that makes the show work.

Both Ron Rifkin and Jon Huertas gave good bad guy. Rifkin as the “under-the-table” crook and Huertas as the overt drug lord each delivered. Nelson Ellis still commands any scene he is in.  His eyes show a depth that suggests an inner peace and a little something else.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in and check more of the cases of Holmes and Watson.

Cast:

Guest starring  Jon Huertas as El Halcon and Ron Rifkin as Wayne Vachs. 

Elementary: Folie a Deux – Explosive Start to Season 5 (Review)

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Season five of Elementary got off to an explosive start on Sunday.  “Folie a Deux” (which roughly translates to the madness of two) could apply to the two suspects eventually arrested for being the Bensonhurst Bomber or Holmes and Watson.

Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu continue to  knock it out of the park as the quirky crime fighting duo with brain power to spare. Miller’s Holmes, a prior drug user, as he tells Shinwell, the former drug dealer, and Liu’s Watson, former sober companion and surgeon, are both a bit outside the box although it has taken Watson some time to really get there.

The episode this week was all about the resurgence of a bomber who last stuck in 2010. The Bensonhurst Bomber quit for six years and just started up again but this time in Flushing.

At the crime scene, where a man picks up a loose soccer ball and it explodes killing him,  Holmes spots a man acting suspiciously. He gives chase but is hit by a car.

During the chase, the suspect puts his hand on a cab windscreen and his prints show up on the system.  The man is Nathan Resor and he just got out of prison. So too has Shinwell Johnson.

Watson has a word with Shinwell. They have a connection as she saved his life when he was shot five times. He gives her some information about Resor and his cellmate.

Holmes searches Nathan’s rubbish bins and finds bottles of bleach, a major ingredient of the bomber’s explosives.

The investigation centers on Resor and his good friend from prison. Shinwell meets Holmes and the two enter into awkward small talk. Holmes reveals that he too was shot five times, just not all at once.

Johnson passes on information about Cray Fielder, Nathan Resor’s pal in prison. The police talk to the recently paroled prisoner but come up empty.  Although, Resor is still connected to Cray as he gave him a job with his company.

Throughout the investigation, Holmes is fixated with Joan’s many career changes. He is concerned that she may make another change and stop being a detective.

Holmes never deviates from his belief that Resor is behind the bombings and is proven right.  The ex con is not the bomber but instead has hired Cray to do it for him.

It all boils down to money, as Resor was selling his land for an entertainment build; mall, movie theater and so on.  Nathan hired Fielder to blow up bombs in Flushing, the other area in the running for the new facility.

The subplot of this episode dealt with change. Shinwell, a former drug dealer who fired into a crowd of innocent bystanders when he was shot, wants to change. He asks Watson her secret to changing from doctor to detective. “You look,” he says, “happy.”

Clearly the ex con still has issues. When Joan comes to visit him, he answers the door with a gun in his hand. Watson cannot see it and Shinwell hides it before they go out for a walk.

There is something definitely going on with Johnson.  Elementary, as one critic remarked over at TV.com, always has a “special interest” character that lasts one season. Shinwell is obviously that character in this season.

Episode one of Elementary exhibited a good bit of humor.  The jumper at the start, Watson’s “Village People” joke, that  Holmes says he understands, Shinwell Johnson’s payback to the big mouthed boxer and the chewing gum were all amusing.

The chemistry between Miller and Liu is still spot on. Miller, after four seasons and the beginning of a fifth, still rocks it as Holmes and Lucy Liu fills the high heels of Joan Watson with aplomb.

Nelsan Ellis, who rocked as Lafayette Reynolds in True Blood, was excellent as Shinwell.

As “Folie a Deux”  shows, the series still has a lot of mileage left in it.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS.

Cast:

Guest starring  Matthew Del Negro as Nathan Resor, Nelsan Ellis as Shinwell Johnson and Lee Tergesen as Cray Fielder