Review: Elementary (S3 E20/24), Tuesday 5th May, Sky Living

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Elementary-A-Stitch-In-Time-Season-3-Episode-20-02The circle of people Sherlock Holmes might call friends is a small one, but he does seem willing to extend it to family members. In some cases, such as Joan Watson’s mother, it works out well; in others – well, let’s just say that the example of Sherlock’s own family ought to have taught him that you can’t always rely on a familial connection.

In this case the relative is Captain Gregson’s daughter Hannah. Thomas Gregson (‘Tobias’ Gregson in the Conan Doyle canon, and originally in the screenplays for Elementary) has a fairly typical cop background; divorced (or separated), troubled relationships with his children, works too hard, and probably drinks too much. He does, though, seem to have a fairly good relationship with his daughter Hannah, who is a beat cop with ambitions.

We’ve met Hannah before, when she had problems with a fellow cop, and Kitty Winter put the frighteners on him. But Hannah now seems to have cosied up to Joan, who she meets in a bar to discuss a case. Three local drug stores have been raided for pharmaceuticals, and Hannah reckons it would be a feather in her cap if she could make a bust.

Sherlock, meanwhile, is investigating the case of a corpse found in a car dumped on a railway line. The dead man was known to Sherlock as a professional debunker of hauntings, cults, mediums and ‘all the usual bollocks’, so Sherlock starts to investigate his targets; first a phony cult where he quickly ‘deprograms’ a member to get a lead, then a developer whose tried to buy a ‘haunted’ property.

This is where this episode rapidly falls apart, as the property developer, Eisely, is played by famous face Eric Bogosian, who is QED the villain.

Sherlock discovers that the cause of the ‘haunting’ is the sound of digging and Arabic swearing from the next door basement; the target, a cable carrying a crucial internet connection. Are terrorists behind the plan? No, as it turns out; it’s Eisely, an unreformed financial fraudster, and an accomplice, trying to tap into financial transactions.

With the technical help of nerd Mason, Sherlock tracks down the tunnel-digging accomplice, who killed the debunker when interrupted in his work, through his taste for fizzy yoghurt; and Eisely is exposed as the paymaster, through his collection of paintings (which surely would have been confiscated if he was under such strict financial investigation?)

It’s a complex and unrewarding plot which doesn’t make much sense; why did no-one notice the suspicious Arab going in and out of the empty house for two weeks, how was he disposing of the detritus from a 50-foot tunnel, and how could he hope to disguise the diggings when the owners returned from holiday? 

Rather more interesting is the resolution of Joan’s investigation. She finds the store robbers through an accomplice who services candy machines, and hands Hannah the evidence on a plate; but rather than kick the evidence upstairs so the ringleaders can be caught, Hannah busts the gang herself and takes the credit.

Sherlock’s reservations about Hannah, who he labeled as a good cop but no detective, are justified; Joan thanks him for not saying ‘told you so’, but he admits that he didn’t expect Hannah to be so cunning, and Gregson admits that Hannah will just have to do better.

So, don’t expect Hannah Gregson to be joining the Sherlock Gang any time soon; it turns out that after the recent discussion of whether Sherlock should be passing on his detective abilities, the talent doesn’t run in families after all. 

Chris Jenkins

For all our Elementary reviews, go here

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