Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in Season 4 of ‘Elementary’ (CBS)
When last we saw it, Elementary was heading down its darkest path to date, with Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) relapsing on heroin. After three seasons of staying clean, it was a special — albeit hard to swallow — twist any fan of the show knew had to happen sometime. But now what?
With fear in our hearts, we got on the phone with executive producer Rob Doherty and begged him to assure us that the crime procedural wasn’t about to become a drug drama of despair. We were relieved to hear him laugh off our concerns, and, throughout our conversation, he offered us five promises:
1. It won’t stay dark.
“We would only want to go into such a dark place to show that there’s light to be found. I always felt pretty strongly that before all was said and done for the series, Sherlock would relapse.… As we were wrapping up the season, it felt more and more appropriate, and it had a lot to do with the episode that introduced Oscar [Michael Weston]. It was so hard to picture him spending any kind of meaningful time with Sherlock. He started to feel more and more like the force that pulls Sherlock down, probably because, in the grand scheme of things, he’s complicated but he’s not Moriarty. He doesn’t head up an assassin’s guild or run a billion dollar company; he comes from the gutter. That said, as we start the season, we’re going to see that after three years in a program and three years in a partnership with Joan [Lucy Liu], Sherlock is in a good place with respect to coming back from a relapse.… No doubt about it, relapses are bad, but it’s really about what you do after you’ve fallen. So, we’re going to see a Sherlock who has a good handle on what happened to him and how to keep it from happening again.
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in Season 4 of 'Elementary’ (CBS)
2. Nothing major happened in that three-day time jump in the finale.
“We’re basically picking up almost right where we left off. The premiere begins the morning after the last scene in the finale…. It was really a lot about Sherlock looking inward. What you saw of him on that roof is representative of what he did for three days. He wasn’t necessarily up there [on a bender], but instead reconstructing the events that lead to his relapse… going to meetings, not feeling particularly good about it, wrapping his head around everything, and forging a plan from that point.”
3. There are always consequences.
“As the season starts, Sherlock and Joan are waiting to hear if the district attorney is going to charge him with felonious assault. You saw the beating Oscar took in the finale. Oscar is alive. Oscar came through just barely, and yet, the assault was severe enough that it’s really the district attorney’s call.… While they are waiting and wondering how and when Joan will visit Sherlock in prison if it goes that way, they both have a sneaking suspicion that their time with the New York Police Department is through. Even if the D.A. decides against charging Sherlock, the department really can’t continue a relationship with them. Sherlock’s just made too big a mess. What you’ll see in the first couple of episodes is Sherlock and Joan exploring other opportunities.”
4. Sherlock’s dad is finally going to show up… and he’s going to be about as flawed as you’d expect.
“People who’ve been watching since Season 1 may recall that dad is a serial no-show, often says he’s coming, and then never does. That bad habit will complicate the first episode a little bit, but rest assured, we really do have John Noble and you will see him in the first episode. But there’s some question as to whether he will appear in the very beginning. Sherlock just doesn’t think he cares enough.… When Joan is finally in a room with the man, she worries a bit. Sherlock’s father is hardly the monster that Sherlock has described in the past and yet he’s someone with a great deal of money, very little oversight, and a habit of working from the shadows. In the first few episodes, Joan has some suspicions with respect to Morland and is keeping a very careful eye on him.”
John Noble as Morland Holmes on 'Elementary’ (CBS)
5. Joan won’t be getting another romance any time soon.
Anything is possible, but a new love interest for Joan is not a part of what’s done so far, and I’m not sure it’s on the horizon.
Elementary Season 4 premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. on CBS.