Friday, February 1, 2013

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 13 - "The Red Team"

Jonny Lee Miller Sherlock Holmes CBS Elementary Episode 13 The Red Team
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes
Holmes’ abduction and torture of Sebastian Moran has not gone down well with Captain Gregson and he has suspended Holmes. Watson continues to stay with Holmes, even though her contract was not extended by her employer.

Holmes likes conspiracy theorists and is particularly close to Len Pontecorvo, a conspiracy theorist of some repute. When Len does not respond to Holmes’ text messages, Holmes decides to check on his whereabouts.

Holmes breaks into the house of his fellow conspiracy theorist and finds his corpse.

The title of the episode refers to Army War Games. Len has discovered the identity of one of the members of the Red Team of 2009. This member was killed a few months back in a case of mugging that according to Len was staged.

Holmes determines the names of the remaining teammates. One of them, Carlo Anillo has been diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer’s. Holmes deduces that Carlo is actually a victim of domoic acid poisoning.

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Holmes tries to help the official force in the case but is thrown out of the building by Captain Gregson. 

Sherlock and Watson continue to work on the case independently. They encounter “Bill”, who later turns out to be one Colonel Todd Clarke.

Shortly after Sherlock’s visit, Todd gets murdered and Sherlock finds himself as the suspect. To keep the review spoiler-free, I encourage the readers to check out the episode for themselves.

Canonical References:

  1. Holmes and Watson discussing about Napolean Bonaparte – Reference to Professor Moriarty, the “Napolean” of crime.
  2. Holmes forgetting about food when he is totally absorbed in his work – The Canonical Holmes does this in many of the cases.
  3. Miller’s Holmes breaks into Len Pontecorvo’s house – The Canonical Holmes broke into the house of Charles Augustus Milverton to retrieve some documents.
  4. Holmes’ deduction about domoic acid poisoning – Reference to Watson’s listing of Holmes’ skills and limits in A Study in Scarlet: “Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally.”
  5. Sherlock introduces himself as a temporarily suspended consultant for the NYPD and Joan as someone who prevents him from doing heroin to “Bill” – Reference to the dry sense of humor possessed by the Canonical Holmes.
  6. Holmes makes some deductions based on Len Pontecorvo’s finger nails  - Holmes states in A Study in Scarlet: “By a man's finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt cuffs—by each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed.”
  7. Miller’s Holmes smashing the listening device to smithereens – In The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, Holmes breaks the bust of Napolean to retrieve the missing black pearl.
  8. “…why keep me from my work. My work is the greater good” – Reference to the French proverb stated by Holmes in The Adventure of the Red-Headed League: “‘L’homme c’est rien–l’oeuvre c’est tout,”. The French proverb translates to: “The man is nothing, the work is all”
  9. Sherlock informing “Bill” that the surviving members of the Red Team are under his protection – Holmes makes a similar statement to Steve Dixie in The Adventure of the Three Gables: “Well, just bear in mind, Steve that the lady in that house, and everything under that roof, is under my protection. Don’t forget it.” 
  10. Detective Bell remarks to Captain Gregson that it would probably be easier to fire Holmes if they ever actually paid him – The Canonical Holmes often took cases without consideration for compensation or recognition of any kind. 
  11. Miller’s Holmes states to another character: “I judge people by their behavior” – Holmes states in The Sign of the Four: “It is of the first importance not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities… I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellant man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.”
  12. Miller’s Holmes blows a whistle to call a cab – In The Adventure of the Empty House, Holmes uses a whistle to summon the official force, after he captures Colonel Sebastian Moran.
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson CBS Elementary Episode 13 The Red Team
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson
This was a good episode. The mystery component was OK.

Miller’s performance was definitely the highlight. The Holmes-Watson chemistry is great and results in some nice exchanges. I especially enjoyed their conversation in the car, while waiting to follow a character.

Miller does some of his best work as Holmes. He has some great dialogues:
“I am smarter than everyone I meet, Watson”
“So far, none of the conventional ways of getting oneself killed apply”
“Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, Watson”

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes CBS Elementary Episode 13 The Red Team
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes

I look forward to the post-Super Bowl episode “The Deductionist”.

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Image Source: CBS

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  1. Great review, I agree Miller was particularly good in this episode. I find both Lui's and Miller's performances in the series very entertaining to watch and one of my favorite aspect of the series. Looking forward to see what happens after the Super Bowl.


  2. I do have to admit, Miller did have some of the better lines this episode...

    1. Lucy Liu had her moments too - the conversation in the car was a good scene.