Elementary – Dead Man’s Switch

by Alan Rapp on April 28, 2013

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Elementary – Dead Man’s Switch
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Elementary - Dead Man's Switch

As Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) nears a full year of sobriety, he and Watson (Lucy Liu) search for the accomplice of a murdered blackmailer (David Mogentale) who specialized in targeting the families of rape victims including a friend (Thomas Jay Ryan) of Alfredo (Ato Essandoh). Holmes gets Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) to agree to keep the murder under wraps giving the consulting detective a small window of time before the man’s accomplice learns of the murder and does something rash like publishing the video of the rape of Eva (Portia Reiners), along with those of other girls, online as a form of reprisal.

Holmes and Watson pay a visit to the serial rapist (Tom Guiry) in the prison infirmary hoping he might be, or lead them to, the blackmailer’s accomplice but the convict is merely another victim of the blackmailer. A cowboy (Wayne Duvall) with a fake law degree who supplied the blackmailer with dirt turns out to be equally useless.  And when one of the other parents (Joseph Siravo) is caught trying to dispose of the blackmailer’s body, and admitting to the murder, any chance of keeping the sordid details away from the press go up in smoke. However, instead of exposing the blackmailer’s secrets to the world, the “fail safe” decides to assume control of the operation and continue to blackmail the families at $10,000 a pop.

Tracing the accomplice through the pseudonyms used in the blackmailers’ book as well as the con man’s aliases used in various nuisance lawsuits Holmes gets his man, only to discover he’s been dead for several days (well before the new blackmail requests were made). Back to square one in the case, it’s Watson who finds the key piece of evidence to explain both murders and the identity of the killer but not before Holmes opens up to Watson about the reasons for not wanting to accept his one-year sobriety chip and the one relapse he had after deciding to give up his drug use that still haunts him to this day.

“Dead Man’s Switch” adds a twist to the regular mystery as the murder is superfluous to Holmes whose main goal is to find the blackmailer’s accomplice and prevent him from doing any future harm to his victims. Holmes’ difficult admission perfectly fits this version of the character (who, in a good way, has far more human moments than the BBC version of the character), although I do think the show missed an opportunity as I expected Watson’s anniversary present to Holmes to be either a deerstalker cap or perhaps a Calabash pipe.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

CoosCoos April 29, 2013 at 9:03 am

I enjoyed this episode. And I agree with your point about how this version of Holmes has some very real flaws, something the Cumberbatch version could probably use.

And it looks like more Moriarty next time.

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