Elementary kicked off season five a week ago, and the team behind the successful weekly drama stopped in at New York Comic Con to talk about the fifth season. During the panel, the team discussed new characters, themes, and possible surprises waiting for us as season five progresses. The biggest question on everyone’s mind appeared to regard the introduction of Shinwell, and what impact he may end up having on the team.

During interviews, both Lucy Liu (Joan Watson) and Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock Holmes) commented on the inherent tension embedded in Shinwell’s (Nelsan Ellis) character. Though he may appear to be asking for help to change, or as Lucy put it, “is activating change,” there is still the ultimate question about whether he really can. As we were reminded by creator Rob Doherty, the series always tries to focus on “broken people in repair,” and that process is not always a pretty one.

When asked specifically about the potential affect it may have on Joan’s relationship, Lucy Liu said that for now, it is mostly a mystery to her. They are only up to episode seven, and the writers are not dropping any hints as to which way Shinwell will be headed. There is, as Lucy Liu put it, “a dangling feeling of violence, or [that] something bad could possibly happen” in regard to her interactions with Shinwell.

And while Sherlock tries to be supportive, it seems that he and Shinwell don’t have a lot to say to each other and often end up being a bit awkward. Jonny Lee Miller pointed out that Sherlock remains, at this point, “deeply suspicious” of Shinwell and the potential influence he may have on their lives. After all, like Sherlock said in the opening episode, when it comes to danger he and Joan are a package deal. It makes sense that Sherlock may be a little apprehensive about a new wild card appearing.

While the news of Shinwell bounced around, the other question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind regarded the 100th episode and who we might see return. Would Moriarty make an appearance? Are we going to hear from Sherlock’s dad anytime soon? And when on earth will the Holmes men end up in the same room together?

Rob Doherty had the answer: sorry, folks, the 100th episode will not boast any surprise returns. While he remained coy about the general questions regarding various returning favorites, Rob Doherty did share that the 100th episode “is a lot of fun, a really great script, and we’ll meet someone from Sherlock’s boarding school. A frenemy, from a long time ago.”

However, in the interview room, Rob was a little more forthcoming and hopeful about the return of Morland Holmes (John Noble). After mentioning that they “have John Noble out there” another interviewer asked if we would have him back and Rob smiled and told us:

“All I can say is [that] we could not have had a better time with John Noble. We sent him off to take care of some dangerous business, so I think at a certain point it would be appropriate to check-in on his progress or lack thereof.”

Sorry Rob, that sounds like a confirmation to us! But I guess we will have to hold out and see what might be in store for Morland Holmes. On the Moriarty front, Rob was honest about Natalie Dormer’s busy schedule even in the face of her (SPOILER ALERT) termination from Game of Thrones. Regardless, he left the door open by saying that they would love to have her back and are constantly looking for ways to bring Moriarty back.

While we may not be seeing those old faces anytime soon, it was confirmed that Betty Gilpin will be reprising her role as Fiona “relatively soon” by Rob Doherty who praised her portrayal of Fiona. In the press room we asked what inspired him as a writer to focus on the portrayal of neuroatypical individuals at this depth and Doherty said that it ultimately came down to how impressed he was with the work Gilpin did for her character. She was initially going to be a one-off, but he could not bring himself to let her go after the beautiful job she did.

He also praised the writing team for the research they do in order to keep characters grounded, in light of the sometimes sensitive material they dive into. According to Doherty, their success at portraying the process of drug addiction and recovery, healing after sexual assault, dealing with dysfunctional family dynamics, and now the path of redemption away from a life of crime, has always hinged on the work the writers do and the willingness of the actors to commit to the writing.

Jonny Lee Miller was asked during the panel what kind of work went into playing a drug addict, and his answer boiled down to research. Talking with people who have gone through it, leaning on the writers, and doing whatever else it took to understand the process and do right by it. Perhaps one of the most admirable things about the show is its commitment to doing right in their portrayals of “broken people in repair.”

What else can we expect in season five? Outside of Fiona’s return, and the 100th episode featuring an individual from Sherlock’s boarding school past, Lucy Liu announced that she would be directing an episode, and Rob Doherty claimed there’s “an Elementary engagement on the horizon.” Our money is on Captain Gregson, since the panel confirmed that Virginia Madsen would be returning as Paige in season five.

Season five looks like it might be the biggest season yet, and we are looking forward to diving deeper into the world of Elementary. Episodes air on CBS, Sundays at 10PM and you can catch the season five opener on their website.

Thank you to CBS for the amazing New York Comic Con experience!

2 thoughts on “NYCC 2016: Talking ‘Elementary’ Season Five with Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, and Creator Rob Doherty”

Leave a Reply