Episode Title: “On the Line”
Writer: Jason Tracey
Director: Guy Ferland
Previously on “Elementary:”
Sherlock (Johny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) may solve plenty of cases for the NYPD, but that doesn’t mean the cops have to like the clever consultants Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) has come to rely upon. And despite Watson’s plea for a different approach from Sherlock, he remains unapologetically himself, unwilling to extend his “tiny zone of courtesy” beyond Watson.
A cold case resurfaces when Samantha Wabash commits suicide in attempt to frame record producer, Lucas Bunch for her murder, the same man she believes killed her sister, Allie years ago. The case hits a sore spot with veteran detective, Gerry Coventry (Hey, it’s “Frank Sobotka” from “The Wire,” Chris Bauer), who cleared Bunch at the time with a polygraph test.
Bunch (Troy Garity) is tested again, at his own request, after Samantha is found dead. He passes the test but Sherlock realizes Bunch used counter measures to beat it. Coventry doesn’t take well to having his work questioned by a brash consultant and he and Sherlock get into a heated exchange, forcing Gregson to step in.
Sherlock and Watson have clashed with their NYPD colleagues before but having worked the same case years ago, Coventry is a bit more invested in Bunch’s innocence. At home, Watson urges Sherlock to take a gentler approach with their NYPD counterparts but playing nice is low on his list of priorities.
Though it’s in their best interest to get along with the police, Watson seems almost offended by Sherlock’s treatment of Coventry, considering his status as one of the department’s more senior detectives. Later on, Sherlock makes a point of letting Watson know he won’t change and that the only reason he treats her as well as he does is because she is “exceptional” in his eyes. He warns her there will be the occasional fallout from his behavior and she in turn tells him it’s not something she can put up with long term. “To thine own self, Watson,” Sherlock responds. Is it an ultimatum or will Sherlock get in touch with that part of himself he claims doesn’t exist if the alternative is losing his partner?
Sherlock’s revelation that he is “not a nice man” is a little surprising, considering how far he’s come, as Watson points out, and how vulnerable he’s allowed himself to be throughout his recovery. Assuming Sherlock isn’t aware of his brother’s mysterious activities (which are frustratingly, not touched upon in this episode), the potential “fallout” from Mycroft’s betrayal could be devastating to both him and Watson.
In the meantime, the duo close another case, despite push back from the NYPD, who have taken to drawing crude cartoons of the consultants and posting them on a bulletin board at the station for Watson to find. Knowing he’s been found out, Bunch toys with Sherlock and Watson, sending them on a wild goose chase to upstate New York and then antagonizing Sherlock when he shows up at Bunch’s recording studio. Troy Garity (you may recognize him as hard-nosed newspaper reporter Sam Miller on “Boss.”) is great as the arrogant serial killer who makes Sherlock so mad he punches him.
But in the end, it turns out Bunch wasn’t lying about everything on the polygraph test. Sherlock realizes he was indeed telling the truth about being at his recording studio the night Samantha Wabash killed herself. The detectives find Bunch’s latest victim held captive in a secret storage locker in his studio. With another case solved, Gregson gives warning to his detectives; he plans to continue working with Sherlock and Watson and if anyone has a problem with it, they can take a hike. That’s all well and good but this episode leaves us wondering how long Watson will work with Sherlock.