Elementary: Pick Your Poison – Crime by Proxy (Review)

Elementary logo

Elementary “Pick Your Poison” marks another stage in the burgeoning relationship between Shinwell and Sherlock.  After initially committing a most grievous faux pas, Johnson refinishes a chess table as a thank you gift for Holmes. Sherlock is less than pleased as the furniture was a 78 year old cold case piece of evidence.

The addition of Shinwell is evolving into something interesting.  Watson and Holmes disagree completely on the competency of the ex con to infiltrate his old gang and act as an informant for the police. Sherlock opines that with Shinwell’s track record, he was lucky not to have fallen into a bear trap.

At the start of the episode, Joan is called down to the precinct by Det. Bell. Someone has been using her old prescription pads to prescribe opiates illegally. The D.E.A suspect Watson of the crime and turn down an offer by Holmes to investigate and find the real culprit.

Watson and Holmes investigate anyway and find that an old colleague of Joan’s, a Dr. Krieg, has committed identity theft on a number of former colleagues; five in total.

When Sherlock and Joan go to visit Krieg they find the doctor dead along with another woman. Later identified as Marla, mother of eternally ill Ethan, the woman turns out to be a long time Munchausen by Proxy offender.

It is eventually revealed that Marla has been poisoning her son for years for the attention.  Now  that he has turned 18, when Dr. Krieg realizes what Marla has been doing, she forgets her criminal inclinations and contacts the now adult child of Marla and tells Ethan what his mother has been doing.

The outraged young man then steals his father’s gun and shoots down both his mother and the doctor who tried to help him.  Meanwhile, Sherlock tries to scupper Shinwell’s plans to become an informant for Detective Guzman.

He even tries to dissuade Shinwell from following this dangerous path. The ex con tells Holmes he will think about it but then goes on to become an informant for the police.

Later, Holmes realizes that the refinished games table and its evidence have not been destroyed by Shinwell after all. He talks to Shinwell and reveals Joan’s plan to make the former con a detective.

Sherlock offers to teach Johnson how to survive as an undercover agent for the police and in return will train him on being an “un-official” informant for he and Joan.

Shinwell agrees as the two sit down to play a game of chess.

This episode had a fair amount of comedic moments hidden in the moments of mystery. Holmes’ ticking off of all the things that had happened to Shinwell since being shot a number of times by his former gang members, SBK was funny.

So too were the night and day opinions of Watson and Holmes on how well equipped Shinwell was to be an informant.  Although to be fair, this was a continuance of a previous episode.

What is brilliant, in this new dynamic, is the give and take between Holmes and Shinwell. The two men are still, to a degree, awkward around each other but the very act of Sherlock wiping the prints from the .38 has changed things somewhat. The two characters now have a meeting point and it is making things interesting.

“Pick Your Poison” is the mid-winter finale for Elementary. The show will return in the new year on 8 January.

Cast:

Guest starring William Ragsdale as Patrick Moore,Emily Dorsch as Dr. Franny Krieg,  Jake Brinskele as Ethan and Jeremy Burnett as Duane.

Paranoid: Episode 2 – Something’s Not Right (Review)

Screenshot from Paranoid

The team of detectives are still trying to find out who really killed the GP Angela Benton. Nina, Alec and Bobbie are not only investigating the woman’s dead ex husband, who dies in the same week as his former wife, they are working to discover the “Ghost Detective’s” motives for helping them.

Michael, the “PC Plod” inspector who wants to hang Angela’s murder on their number one suspect, the late Jacob Appley. After finding the murder weapon with Appley’s prints on it, Niles is convinced that have their killer.

Unfortunately, as the detectives point out “something is not right” with this case. The German detective who finds the dead body of Angela’s ex, and his current love interest; American girlfriend and party pal, Sheri, also believes that something about the man’s death does not add up.

It is beginning to look like the Ghost Detective may be leading them in the right direction. Later, Alec and Bobbie hunt down the “GD” only for Wayfield to be thrown off the catwalk and Bobbie calling for backup.

(On a sidenote: This has to be the first series to utilize the new holiday (vacation) rental business “Airbnb” as part of its plot. The two cops, after canvassing all the known hotels then decide to focus on the Airbnb listings in the area. They strike paydirt when a landlord reveals that a German gentleman is renting his boathouse.)

Away from the search for Benton’s killer, the cops continue on their personal journeys. Nina and Alec indulge in a bit of slap and tickle at his mother’s birthday party and Bobbie is getting ever more involved with Lucy.

The Quaker follow invites the homicide cop to another meeting and asks if he would like to spend the night. Bobbie replies that he would. It is quite interesting that in each Quaker meeting no one says anything.

It is not clear whether this is a case of keeping the extra’s pay rates down or the fact that Quakers do not indulge in any verbal exchanges at their meetings. Either way, the moments where Bobbie indulges in the peaceful “sit-ins” are odd and a bit disconcerting.

In a way, Lucy is also a bit odd and disconcerting. It appears that she is almost able to read Bobbie’s mind.  The two are fairly perfect fit as both people are a bit esoteric.

Alec and Nina are messily getting involved after Dennis, Suresh’s partner gave her the old heave ho.  The age difference does not bother Wayfield but Nina cannot make up her mind about the younger man being the right fit.

Suresh is still a passive agressive mess who constantly vacillates between eager participant and awkward acceptance.  Alec’s mum, whom he says is a habitual liar, does not like the detective and she may attempt to scupper the budding romance.

Meanwhile the Ghost Detective continues to send clues and information to the team. He also tells the trio that any mention of him will be hazardous to his health. Michael Niles is dead set against any involvement with the outsider.

Alec shows a property he is renovating to Nina and suggests that they set up an incident room there away from the disapproving eyes of Niles. This way, he argues, they can continue collecting information that has been provided by the Ghost Detective.

Paranoid moves at a languid pace which may put some viewers off. There is, however, a lot going on. The personal interactions between the detectives, Bobbie’s attraction to Lucy and the investigation in Germany have, thus far, kept things interesting.

The death of the GP’s ex seems to indicate a conspiracy of sorts, even without the Ghost Detective’s messages. The team have not yet broadened their search to include Europe. Michael Niles has been too focussed upon pinning the crime on Jacob Appley.

This episode ends with Nina still trying to contact Alec who has been thrown into the water and Bobbie in a panicked state, calling for help. The attack by the German suspect may be what leads the team to Germany.

Paranoid is streaming on Netflix at the moment and all episodes are available to watch at once.  Slow and somewhat sporadocally eventful, this series will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Those who enjoy a bit of character work may find this lackadaisical mystery interesting.

Cast:

‘Two Days, One Night’ Marion Cotillard in Belgian Drama (Review/Trailer)

‘Two Days, One Night’ Marion Cotillard in Belgian Drama (Review/Trailer)

Written and directed by the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, Two Days, One Night is a Belgian drama that stars Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) as a worker in a solar panel factory in a French speaking town in Belgium. In the film, Cotillard’s character Sandra, is a young mother and wife who has missed a lot of work due to illness. While she is off recuperating the company she works for realises that they can meet their production quotas with one less worker.