Sherlock Holmes becomes part of a crime in “Dead Man’s Switch.” On this week’s Elementary, the consulting detective races against the clock to find a killer, who has a thing for blackmailers. He also faces a personal milestone with his sober-versary.

The Players:

  • Director: Larry Teng
  • Writers: Liz Friedman and Christopher Silber
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hill

Episode Title: “Dead Man’s Switch”

The father of a girl who was sexually assaulted is being blackmailed. If he doesn’t pay up, footage of her attack will be released. Sherlock and Joan find the culprit but before they can bring him to justice, he’s killed — in front of Sherlock! The blackmailer has failsafes in place so if anything happens to him, his partners release the tapes. Sherlock must find the killer before the backup plan’s put in motion.

The Good:

  • Alfredo: We like Alfredo being brought into the fold. It’s great that the writers keep finding ways to make him relevant to the show. It’s actually his sponsor that’s being blackmailed. Alfredo’s not just a throwaway character, who appears once never to be seen again.
  • Sober-versary: Sherlock’s supposed to celebrate his one year anniversary of being sober. But he’s extremely reluctant to do so. After lots of prodding, he reveals to Joan that he lied about his start date. The day after he checked in to rehab he got high one last time. Therefore, he hasn’t been as clean as long as everyone thinks. To us, it seemed trivial, because it’s only a 24 hour difference. But as he said, he’s a man of details.
  • Joan’s Getting Better: They’re continuing with the through-line of Joan and her detective studies. While in the lawyer’s office, Sherlock hit her with a quick test. He needed her to decipher the handwriting on a phony degree. She rose to the occasion and realized that the signatures were by the same person, not two. The force is strong with this one.

The So-So:

  • Who’s the Blackmailer Again?: There were three blackmailers in this case. The initial one, who was killed. Then we there was his partner, who took him out. Plus, the “fat man” who was the failsafe. There were lots of layers to the story. But at some point we felt a little lost. It was a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.


“Dead Man’s Switch” tackled a case from a different angle. Sherlock had a personal investment in the murder due to Alfredo. There was a nice balance of internal and external drama going on.

Rating: 8/10

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS

What did you think of this week’s episode?