Elementary: Be My Guest – Shinwell’s Training (Review)

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Elementary “Be My Guest” left much of its comedy alone in this episode. Holmes helps to pull in a murderer who killed an employee for a valuable baseball card and a woman is found to be the victim of a sexual predator.

Holmes notices another employee reacting badly to the police being at his place off work. Sherlock can read the man’s lips and realizes that the murderers work colleague is holding a woman captive.

He steals the man’s phone and it contains a video of an Asian woman shackled to the ceiling.  This starts a search for the captive woman by a sort of reverse engineering. Captain Gregson, Holmes and Watson begin to look for the woman in earnest.

Meanwhile both Holmes and Watson are less than pleased with Shinwell’s progress in terms of training. He fails to pick any of the locks that Watson has presented him with and Shinwell appears to be more interested in setting up a drug sting operation than his training.

The main storyline of Elementary this week was quite possibly one of the weaker in the entirety of the series. Decker, the man who kidnapped the Asian woman, Preeda Boonark, may have led the police and their investigators on a short merry chase but his accomplice was clearly the ex-wife.

From the moment they learned that Decker did not leave himself a “backdoor” entrance into the immigration  database, the only person it could be was the ex-wife.

The case this week felt almost “tacked on.” It started well, with Holmes acting on his hunch and looking where the police could not. However, the questioning of the ex took any mystery out of the investigation.

Holmes’ interaction with Det. Bell had one amusing moment, the only real comedic bit in the episode, where Sherlock brings in two coffees. Bell reaches for one and Holmes pulls the cups back away from Marcus. “These are both for me,”  he says, “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

“Be My Guest” did focus a little on Shinwell and both Joan and Sherlock’s displeasure that he was not taking the training seriously.  Toward the end of the episode though, Johnson proves that he has been paying attention.

He unlocks all the padlocks, except for the rusted one, and picked the lock to get into the apartment. More importantly, he recognized that the man he was using to set up his old gang was hiding something.

Clearly Shinwell is paying attention to the lessons given him but at his own pace and in his own time. Johnson  is still very keen to take his old organization down and he wants to do it quickly. He has learned that patience is a virtue though and he may start doing more for Joan and Sherlock and less towards his own goal.

Shinwell is the underlying storyline this season. He is slowly becoming a member of the team and it seems fairly certain that he will be part of a huge season finale. This penultimate episode seems to be setting that up nicely with Shinwell’s impatience to take down his old gang.

The main mystery, the kidnapping of Boonark and the murder of Decker was just so much window dressing. It was far too easy to solve and with the end of the episode revealing that Shinwell is paying attention to Joan’s lesson plan, clearly the gang is going to be the finale focus.

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in next week for the season five finale.


Guest starring Luna Tieu as Preeda Boonark

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

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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.


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

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.


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.


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

Elementary: To Catch a Predator Predator – Vigilante (Review)

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The latest episode of Elementary “To Catch a Predator Predator” uses the concept of the old NBC program hosted by Chris Hansen and the relatively new term “catfish” to describe a predator who preys on sexual predators.  This vigilante defender of underage sexual targets is murdered, shot to death outside a motel.

This episode of Elementary fully embraces the old “dial up” paranoia exhibited back when internet chatrooms were the hunting grounds of pedophiles across the globe.  Later the concern shifted after  the 2010 documentary Catfish stunned the world with its tale of a woman who pretended to be a gifted child artist.

The concept of internet fraud, aka pretending to be someone you are not for reasons other than sex, spawned a new term in modern English and a television spinoff of the film.

Catfish, the film, did have its fair share of detractors who claimed the whole thing was made up. However “To Catch a Predator” was accused of something else; entrapment.  The show and its host, Chris Hansen got the   axe.

“To Catch a Predator Predator” takes a page from Hansen’s book, so to speak. The man murdered outside Mr. Utz’s room, the victim actually crashes through the window after being shot twice, was a vigilante targeting pedophiles.

It is revealed that Utz was actually in the hotel room waiting for a 15 year old girl to turn up. He planned to tape the two of them having sex.

(The casting of Whaley in this part had to be some sort of industry “in-joke.” Whaley played a man who tapes couples being murdered in his motel in the 2007 thriller Vacancy.)

While Holmes and Watson search out leads and work to solve who murdered the vigilante, Shinwell Johnson is still struggling to find a job. He goes to five interviews and is not hired for any of them. Joan suggests to Sherlock that Shinwell would make a good detective.

Holmes disagrees and later, when Watson asks him, so too does Shinwell. It is, perhaps, just as well. Later in the episode, the ex con is visited by a friend who is making nefarious, and illegal, plans that include Johnson.

Meanwhile the trail of evidence leads Holmes to a dating agency and an employee; Ms. Ingram, helps the detective out. Later, after all the tips lead to a dead end, Holmes realizes that Ingram is the murderer.

They learn that Yvette was an underage victim of one of the few suspects that Holmes and Watson have for the vigilante’s murder. Apparently she went to the police, back when he was molesting her, and he was due to be arrested.

Novak, the vigilante predator, struck before the police could act and forced a confession from the man. The film clip was aired on the internet and the sexual predator fled the country.

Yvette was furious and confronted Novak. She then shot him dead. Ingram confesses and is arrested.

The main message about this “reality” based case (To Catch a Predator was a reality program.) is that vigilantes are not a good alternative to the real deal.  A lesson learned by the real To Catch a Predator series back in 2007.

There were a few cute bits in the episode, one being that deerstalker hat that Holmes “never wears.”

Elementary airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in and watch Holmes and Watson catch the criminals.


Guest starring Frank Whaley as Winston Utz, Kia Goodwin as Yvette Ingram.