Elementary: Sherlock and… Winter?

Enough Nemesis To Go AroundEnough Nemesis To Go Aroundkitty-joan-sherlock

Elementary (CBS, Thursdays, 10/9C) returns for its third season this evening and it definitely upsets a few applecarts.

Holmes is back after trying to work with MI6 for eight months and he has new protégé. Since his absence, Watson has continued to consult with Captain Gregson and the NYPD with no small amount of success – and Gregson makes it clear that if Holmes wishes to return to his consulting gig, he needs Watson’s blessing. A classic locked room mystery adds the necessary spark to set things rolling and away we go!

When Karen Lloyd – the sole witness against Elana March (Gina Gershon), the new head of a drug cartel, is murdered in a moving elevator – and there’s no way anyone could have got into it. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is frustrated because she’d finally found the proof she needed to bring Elana down and the murder effectively ends the police’s case against her.

Cut to two months later, and Watson confronts a young woman (Ophelia Lovibond) who’s been following her – believing her to be in Elana’s employee. The confrontation is physical and leads to Watson realizing that her follower, Kitty Winter, is working for Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller). When a tip leading to a possible assassin piques Watson’s memory, she returns to the brownstone, where she encounters Holmes.

Before long, Holmes is attempting to return to his consulting gig with the NYPD, but Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) informs him that he will require Watson’s blessing in order for that to happen. Because of Holmes’ disappearance eight months before, that will not be easy.

Written by series creator Robert Doherty and Craig Sweeny, Enough Nemesis To Go Around introduces Holmes’ new protégé with a flourish and sets the pair and Watson on a case that is of particular interest to Holmes. As he says, he’s only ever had a handful of such cases, which earns a very Watson eye roll in response.

Enough Nemesis - Gregson & Watson

Unlike Watson, Kitty is more volatile and takes offense where none is offered, making Holmes the more stable one of his new team. As well, Kitty is resentful of Watson because Holmes is constantly comparing the two – and not favorably for Kitty.

There is, of course, a reason for Kitty’s behavior – and a reason she is pouring herself into becoming a detective under Holmes’ tutelage – but that is something that won’t be revealed until three episodes into the season. In the meantime, watching the three interact is a lot of fun – and when you add Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) and Gregson into the mix it bodes well for the new season.

It’s always fun to watch Holmes try to be apologetic, but the big revelation here is how Watson has flourished since his departure. She’s got her own place, a boyfriend and she’s been a success as a detective – both consulting with the NYPD and in private practice.

Lovibond plays the glowering, sulky, but capable Winter with enough panache that it’s easy to see why Holmes has taker under his wing – and also why she’s an enormous source of frustration for him at times.

Gershon plays March as an older, more elegant – but no less deadly – version of Corky from the Wachowskis’ first film, Bound. She is intelligent, confidant, and sexy – and completely aware of all three.

John Polson directs Enough Nemesis To Go Around with a bit more muscle than we usually see on Elementary. The premiere is deliberately paced, but just a hair faster than usual – and Polson’s shot selection is a bit more expansive. Not everything is as tightly focused – which makes the shifts to more pinpoint shots even more impactful.

Of note to fans of the Holmes canon, Winter is based on a character from The Adventure of The Illustrious Client. Obviously, Elementary takes liberties, but both characters have come through traumatic experiences. Her arc on the show isn’t a simple three and out, either. She will be around for a while.

Enough Nemesis To Go Around kicks of season three with style – offering a solidly thought out mystery to set up shifting relationships and characters for some very intriguing ongoing plot arcs.

Final Grade: A

Photos by Jeff Neira/Courtesy of CBS