What’s Worth Watching: Sherlock Revisits His Dark Past

Jeff Neumann/CBS

Elementary, “A Controlled Descent” (Thursday, May 14, 10/9c, CBS)

Jonny Lee Miller’s prickly, multilayered performance as Elementary‘s moody modern-day Sherlock Holmes never lets you forget how deeply this recovering addict has peered into the abyss. Even when relaxing on his rooftop, screening Abbott & Costello’s classic “Who’s on First” routine to entertain his former sponsor Alfredo (Ato Essandoh), his appreciation of “the most perfect joke ever told” carries a melancholy undertone. In the affecting third-season finale, Alfredo’s mysterious disappearance sends Sherlock down a disturbing rabbit hole into dark corners of New York’s drug-infested underworld, a discomfiting reminder of his bleakest days.

This mystery dovetails with another missing-person case, involving the shifty Oscar Rankin (Michael Weston), who as one of his drug suppliers back in the day remembers Sherlock at his worst. “Triggers abound here,” Sherlock acknowledges as he and Oscar explore a sordid world of drug-den “shooting galleries,” conjuring unsavory memories and temptations that are definitely not what the doctor—or Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu)—would have ordered.