Season 1 Episode 20

Dead Man's Switch

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Apr 25, 2013 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
123 votes

By TV.com Users

TV.com Episode Review


    Elementary "Dead Man's Switch" Review: Risky Business (Blackmail, That Is)

    All considered, this was a solid episode with some nice emotional speeches for the featured extras, a great moment for JLM, and another nice little vignette where he tried to get his sponsor to climb into the back of the…

  • Episode Summary


    Holmes and Watson look for a murdered blackmailer's accomplice. The blackmailer was targeting families of rape victims. Sherlock opposes celebrating his one year of sobriety.

    Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    • Dire plotting that self contradicts and a new season low for the show and TV in general.

      Again we have a decent plot that utterly fails to be clever or showcase Sherlock's detective skills.

      How does the great man track the suspect? He gets the police to trace them for him. Now that's some impressive detective skills. So his first clever act is some B&E and then witnesses a murder while in phone contact with Watson now here's the problem: the murderer breaks in about 3 minutes after Holmes but somehow didn't know he was there, they just broke in as the walked by? without looking in a window?

      Holmes and Watson also somehow fail to see, stop or follow the killer, the writers just ignore that plot-hole and jump a few hours a head and hope we forget too. The worst part is they leave an unsecured laptop and DVDs of sexabuse (and god knows what else) in the house for anyone to walk in and steal. They even convince the cops to leave the house alone so that the materials are free for anyone who happens by.

      So next Holmes uncovers a fraudulent and immoral businessman who admits to being complicit in blackmail and Holmes just lets him go altogether and is his character is totally forgotten. A scene or two before Holmes himself described blackmailers as in many ways as bad as murderers.. and he just lets this one go? This was an all-time low for a show that calls itself a detective drama.

      Halfway through we arrive at the false confession stage that been the staple of cop dramas for the last decade so. When you get a confession accepted anything outside the last 10 minutes of a show you know what to expect. The two usual outcomes are protecting a family member or using it to hide a worse crime.

      I was somewhat confused about the cat-litter house. If you had vast amounts of cat litter wouldn't you have just covered the body in the bath with it? I wouldn't think it would be effective spread out in every other room, maybe the poor actor in the bath wasn't paid enough to do it. It's half formed ideas like this that mark the slackness of Elementary's writing.

      So apparently the laptop was taken, I don't know if that came up before now and I just missed it, but the fact remains a vile blackmailer who makes copies of his materials has his house left unsearched for the material and/or clues while Holmes sods about ignoring his clients privacy concerns.

      So in the final analysis they partly riff on a Columbo episode where a distinctive ring damns the guilty man but this being Elementary they again bugger it all up by telling the man that they already have a confession from his brother so it's all academic anyways. The sad part is that they have email evidence that everyone ignores and could have ended the investigation days earlier.

      Best Moment: every second that the writers ignored their own broken internal logic that was the basis for the episode.moreless
    • Quite interesting ccase.

      Although I felt this one was a slight step back from the quality of recent episodes, it was nonetheless a very good episode with an interesting and somewhat unexpected acase. While it started out as blackmail, it evolved into murder and more and the investigation took many interesting turns for sure.

      The other storyline with Sherlock and the anniversary was interesting enough without being spectacular, while the case could have the same said for it. Overall, good episode, but not quite spectacular.moreless
    • An Honest Rapist

      Well, it's taken most of the season, but Elementary's made a name for itself. It's distinguished itself from the other Holmes offerings available quite nicely. It's made me care about Sherlock. This episode was a great case, a great number of references to the world that's been built and a great example of the Watson/Holmes dynamic that's been developed. The clues were available in this episode, which has been a huge sticking point previously. It's not quite enough to pull me back from watching Hannibal first, but it's good enough to keep me enjoying the show immensely. Super props.moreless
    • Dead Man's Switch

      Dead Man's Switch was another excellent episode of Elementary. I really enjoyed watching because the case Holmes and Watson investigate was intriguing and Holmes deals with the truth of his one year sobriety date. There was a good balance of character growth and case of the week events. I liked how complex and twisted the case became. It was awesome to see it solved and even more enjoyable to see the gift Watson gave Holmes! I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!

    • 364...

      A very interesting case, but the most important part of this episode, for me, was Holmes reaction about his first year of sobriety. We can see him in a vulnerable state, and feel that this isnt been as easy as he had made we thought. Spolier*** The poem Watson gave to him is perfect for this moment.

      One more thing: I think that a man tattoing himself is one of the most sexiest things Ive ever seen!moreless
    Jonny Lee Miller

    Jonny Lee Miller

    Sherlock Holmes

    Lucy Liu

    Lucy Liu

    Dr. Joan Watson

    Aidan Quinn

    Aidan Quinn

    Captain Tobias Gregson

    Jon Michael Hill

    Jon Michael Hill

    Detective Marcus Bell

    Joseph Siravo

    Joseph Siravo

    Anthony Pistone

    Guest Star

    David Mogentale

    David Mogentale

    Charles Augustus Milverton

    Guest Star

    Thomas Jay Ryan

    Thomas Jay Ryan

    Ken Whitman

    Guest Star

    Ato Essandoh

    Ato Essandoh

    Alfredo Llamosa

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (1)

      • Holmes: (about his one year of sobriety) Look, Alfredo, it's not the case, it's the chip. I can't accept it. I know that to most addicts it's a treasured token. It's a very tangible representation of their hard work and determination, but I'm not most addicts. To me it does not commemorate a period of success, but rather, the end of a period of great failure. I failed when I abused drugs and I would really rather not be reminded of that fact.
        Alfredo: I'm sorry if that's how you see it. You know what I wish you got? Milestones like this one they're yours, but they're not about you. They're about all the people who haven't got there yet. They see you do it, and they think why can't I? You know, I know it's hard, but one of these days, you gotta get over yourself.

    • NOTES (2)

    • ALLUSIONS (0)