ELEMENTARY 1.11 ‘Dirty Laundry’

Sherlock and Watson find the Cold War still raging when a dead body leads them to a Russian spy ring.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "Dirty Laundry"

Writers: Liz Friedman and Christopher Silber

Director: John David Coles

Previously on "Elementary:"

Episode 1.10 "The Leviathan"


While Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) were able to solve a murder case involving an international spy ring, the future of their relationship remains a frustrating mystery.

The pair have had a great professional symbiosis thus far, but "Dirty Laundry" was their best collaborative effort yet. Even the braggadocios Sherlock admitted he couldn’t have solved this one without Watson. Which is why her insistence on leaving makes little sense.

With their time together coming to an end, Sherlock made a strong case for Watson to stay, in his own insultingly charming way. Maybe inviting her to attend "weekly salons in exchange for light housework" wasn’t the best approach, but by now Watson is capable of seeing through Sherlock’s ridiculous egotistical antics. The truth is he needs her and she’d be a fool not to know it. And we know the insightful former surgeon is anything but.

Aside from the ongoing"will she/won’t she drama," this episode offered up a really cool case, as those involving Russian spies, steganography, invisible ink and general espionage intrigue tend to be. When hotel manager, Terry Purcell turned up dead inside a washing machine, Sherlock immediately pegged her husband, Oliver and associate, Geofrrey for the deed. When both suspects offered up reasonable alibis, Sherlock is discouraged. But as usual, he was (mostly) right along.

Over reliance on slick forensic technology is a procedural plague, but it was all about old school spy tech in "Dirty Laundry." At first, it appeared the late hotel manager was running a "non-profit brothel" out of the bar. But when Sherlock found a number of family photos with surveillance videos of foreign hotel guests embedded inside the files, he stumbled upon a Russian spy ring.

While Sherlock unraveled the Purcell family secret, Watson got close to Terry and Oliver’s daughter, Carly who just found out her parents are the modern day version of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Aside from Russian spy spawn. Carly is also a recovering addict, making her instant connection with Watson a natural one. Aside from helping her deal with the trauma of her family situation, Watson also used her medical expertise to help clear the teen of murder. No wonder Sherlock doesn’t want her to leave.

But unfortunately, that’s just what Watson is planning to do. Sherlock tried to remain unfazed by the news, but it’s clearly not what he wanted to hear. Watson likes being a detective, as Sherlock reminded her throughout the episode, One thing we’ve learned about Joan Watson over the course of these first eleven episodes is that she's into helping people; be it as a surgeon or a sober companion. Not only is she is helping Sherlock stay clean (in more ways than one, judging by the state of his apartment), she's also solving murder cases. So why doesn’t she want to stay? Not sure even Sherlock has the answer to that one.

In the meantime, "Elementary" continued to bring the comedy as Sherlock explained the fine art of "whorefishing" to a dumbfounded Watson. The plain spoken English gentlemen also came up with countless synonyms for "sex" in this episode, much to Watson’s chagrin. And then there was Sherlock eating spaghetti out of a mug.

"Dirty Laundry" was one of the best episodes of "Elementary" to date, despite my gripes about Watson’s contrived insistence on leaving Sherlock. In fact, her philosophical question to Sherlock about accepting outcomes in cases that don’t seem justified only shows that she’s taking the long view. But unfortunately, we’ll have to play along with this charade until further notice.