Elementary’s Lucy Liu on What Shakes Joan ‘to Her Core’

Jeff Neumann/CBS

With Kitty’s (Ophelia Lovibond) departure, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is leaning once more on his partner in crime solving, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). But when Joan takes time off to deal with last week’s shocking events, Sherlock must work with Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill)–all of which gave Liu some breathing room to direct tonight’s episode.

This is your second time directing Elementary. Was there pressure to really get things right?

Directing for the first time last March was so exciting. And it was equally exciting this time, but more challenging because of all the props in the episode, and the snow!

Why so many props?

Sherlock and Bell investigate a case involving missing zebras and ­exotic animals. We shot at the Bronx Zoo outside and in the reptile house, where there was a huge alligator and boa constrictors. We had to bring the zebras up from the South because they don’t like cold weather.

Gina Gershon, who plays murderous drug dealer Elana March, is also in this episode. Can we assume Joan will deal with her return in some major way?

I will only say I did get to direct Gina–she is so much fun!

How will Kitty’s exit–another shocker!–affect the bond between Holmes and Watson?

Now that Kitty’s gone, Joan looks after Sherlock a bit more; she wants to make sure he doesn’t feel like he’s on his own.

Will last week’s violence affect Joan? And Sherlock?

It really shakes her to her core and takes away a little bit of her optimism. So he’s going to try to be more sensitive around her. You’ll see another side of Sherlock.

And is a romance between them still off the table?

Yes, but they will become closer.

In addition to your acting, directing, and voice-over work, you also rock climb and play the accordion! Not the sexiest of instruments.

When I was young, my father would drop us off at music school when he worked weekends; my brother took guitar lessons, and I had to choose between the violin and the accordion. I was really bad at the violin!

Elementary, Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS