Television: Elementary, "Dead Man's Switch"

Let me just say: JLM has really hairy arms.

Holmes's AA sponsor Alfredo calls Holmes to help a friend who is being blackmailed. Or rather, his daughter Eva is being blackmailed with the threat of online release of a compromising video, a filming of her rape by a man named Garvey. Charles Augustus Milverton of the Doyle stories turns up as Suspect #1. (Eva was Holmes's client in the story.) Holmes breaks into Milverton's house only to have to hide when Milverton returns—and then witnesses someone shooting Milverton, though of course he cannot see the murderer. Because we're not even to the first commercial break yet.

Holmes goes to see Gregson and explains what has happened, adding that Milverton probably has an accomplice that will release the blackmail materials if he discovers Milverton is dead. He persuades Gregson to keep the information regarding the homicide quiet. Then he and Watson visit Garvey in prison; he's been beat up in the yard by fellow inmates and is laid up in the hospital, and he tells our dauntless duo that he has also been blackmailed by Milverton.

Watson has Milverton's ledger, so she and Holmes comb it for clues. And Alfredo (I like him the more they use him) spots a third-rate lawyer at Milverton's, and the lawyer tells Holmes and Watson the same thing Garvey did—not that he was being blackmailed, but that Milverton spoke of a "failsafe," an accomplice who would disperse info if anything happened to Milverton.

At this point, Gregson is no longer able to sit on the news of Milverton's death because Anthony Pistone is caught trying to dump Milverton's corpse in wet cement. Pistone claims he killed Milverton because Milverton was blackmailing him. Red flag alert: Pistone went the extra mile by damaging Milverton's head/face postmortem. The only reason to do this as a plot point? Pistone of course pleads utter rage, but . . . It's a waste of screen time and dialogue if it doesn't lead somewhere.

And then Eva's dad gets another blackmail demand. So Holmes concludes the accomplice has decided to take over Milverton's business rather than send out the videos.

Holmes identifies Stuart Bloom as a potential associate of Milverton's but he and Watson find Bloom dead in a bathtub so . . .

They figure out from cat litter and boot size that Milverton likely killed Bloom a week before. In any case, Bloom isn't the one to have taken over Milverton's business.

In the midst of all this sleuthing there is much discussion of Holmes's upcoming one-year anniversary of sobriety. Problem: the day everyone thinks is Holmes's anniversary is actually a day earlier than his actual anniversary. He had a tiny relapse in those first 24 hours. And this weighs heavily on Holmes's precise mind. So he tells Watson and then finally tells Alfredo and feels better afterward.

But back to the A Plot. Yes, it was Pistone all along. We knew this from that throw-away bit about smashing the head, right? Pistone had gone after Milverton months before but Milverton had talked him into a cut of the blackmailing money. Bloom had also been an associate of Milverton's, but Pistone had talked Milverton into eliminating his competition. Then Pistone killed Milverton and took over the business. Still, this episode was slightly more engaging than some past ones have been.

And coming up in following weeks: more pursuit of Moriarty. And I've heard that Irene Adler will appear, in flashback, in the form of Natalie Dormer. I'm not especially fond of her as an actress—everything I've seen her do has been very one-note (that is to say I find her Anne Boleyn and that chick on Game of Thrones to be more or less interchangeable)—but maybe she'll surprise me here.

I like surprises.

At least some of the time.

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