John Noble & ELEMENTARY Boss Talk Holmes Senior
Elementary fans were left mulling over the events of a rather dark finale last season which saw Sherlock falling back into his heroin habit after a violent assault on an a fellow addict.
Now as season 4 opens, Sherlock finds he stands not only to lose his coveted consulting position with the NYPD but that Joan Watson, by association, does too. Not only that, but his near fatal attack on the man who mentally tortured him may earn him serious prison time.
Thrown into the mix this season is Sherlock’s mysterious father Morland (made flesh by John Noble, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow) who after years of declaring his intention to visit his son, finally turns up on his doorstep. Has Morland arrived to evict Sherlock and Joan from the Brownstone as Sherlock expects, or does his arrival in New York serve another purpose?
This week, Elementary Executive Producer Robert Doherty and new recurring guest star John Noble answered questions from Press on the show’s dramatic new turn, and how the arrival of a mysterious and powerful character alluded to from the very first episode will impact the lives of both Holmes and Watson.
Catch full highlights from our call below.
What can the audience expect from Morland Holmes’ arrival?
Robert Doherty: Gosh, in the beginning I think they can expect a lot of tension. We have in the past alluded to a less than excellent relationship between Sherlock and his father. So, coming into this season Sherlock is really trying to climb from the wreckage of last year’s season finale. And while dad is coming to New York to help he’s not necessarily the best thing for Sherlock at such a delicate time. So the two of them are going to have to take some time to work out their various issues.
I may be stating the obvious but we want to explore family this year, Morland Holmes arrival is obviously going to have an impact on Sherlock but there’s going to be a ripple affect there for Joan as well. It’s going to be an interesting triangle for us to explore over the course of the season. But we also are looking to take the opportunity to explore Joan’s family a little bit as well.
We met her mom in the first season. We’ve alluded to her father and step-father and a few episodes in the season we’re going to meet her step-father and discover they have a pretty complicated relationship too. You know, it’s a theme we will hit pretty hard over the first half of the season, but we have hopefully a few surprises in store for the back half.
John Noble, you’re taking on another complicated father/son role. What can you tell us about Morland’s relationship with Sherlock?
John Noble: It seems to be a recurring thing doesn’t it, over the last 15 years? You know, it suits me perfectly because I’m totally fascinated about the complexity of families and for example how much fathers will impact on the development and growth of their sons and daughters. And so all of these roles that you’re talking about really deal with that complex issue. This one in particular? Everyone knows Sherlock has referred to this mysterious fellow that he has an awful relationship with … according to him.
And so when this man comes in we’re expecting him to be this horror of a man and then that it appears that he’s there, yet again, to help his son which is what he did right in the beginning of the show. So you think “Well is he all that bad really?” But in answer to that, it’s going to be a slow burn. It’s going to be a little bit revealed with a step forward and a step back. We’ve been working on that and it’s really quite delicious the way it’s developing.
And also, you know, Morland has this relationship with Joan which Rob referred to. And Joan is like a guard dog for Sherlock. I mean she thinks that this man is responsible for his decline and she is fantastic in that role. And so there’s another relationship coming in. But really it’s this father son stuff which I think is universal — or mother daughter — that all of us understand and it resonates with all of us.
And I think that’s probably why they appeal so much to me and why I guess I’ve chosen those roles because of that complexity. Everyone has a father or a mother somewhere along the line and affecting their lives somehow.
Will Sherlock be drawn into Morland’s affairs?
Robert Doherty: You know, as we get rolling I think Sherlock is just trying to keep his distance and if anything is looking forward to his father’s departure from New York. We may get to that point. We may see Sherlock lend him a hand at some point. But in the early goings dad is actually going to be the one helping Sherlock and Joan. He has certain resources and certain contacts that he can bring to bear in situations when Sherlock and Joan need more help than they might be able to get from Gregson or Bell.
And I think part of that is given how sensitive things are at the beginning of this season Morland is present but he’s not trying to inject himself into Sherlock’s life so I think he’s keeping a respectful distance while Sherlock works on himself. And again he’s ready to offer resources but he’s not ready to pull Sherlock into his work just yet.
John Noble: No and indeed just to follow-up on that what Morland said in the very first episode he said “You made a mess I’m here to fix it.” And that doesn’t indicate anything that they may work together. As he’s done before he wants to get his son out of the grips of this position and I’m here to fix it. Final scene of the first episode I believe. And that’s what we explore, oh probably the first third of the season. For the present he looks like a fixer.
What can you tease about how Watson will view Morland’s arrival?
Robert Doherty: Morland connected Joan and Sherlock several years ago. He couldn’t have foreseen a partnership forming but he did put Joan into Sherlock’s life and he did help Sherlock clean up after a long dark stretch. You know, what we said over the course of the first season is that Joan and Morland never met, they never talked face to face. I believe they were limited to occasional email exchanges and I think if Joan ever got anyone on the phone it was a matter of dealing with Morland’s lieutenants so to speak, so she doesn’t really have a sense of the man. She’s certainly heard Sherlock complain about him for three years. She knows what Sherlock’s take is but she also knows Sherlock as brilliant as he is, is prone to exaggeration when he’s complaining about family and/or would be friends. So, you know, she’s ready to meet dad and form her own opinion of the man.
And yet as the season starts up even she has to admit Morland’s timing doesn’t seem to be great. He’s arriving at a very difficult time. And again even though he may want to help Sherlock that may not be possible.
She’s open minded about everything but what we will see as we begin the season is some trepidation on her part — some suspicion. I think she’s going to begin to at least consider the possibility that if Morland isn’t exactly what Sherlock’s been saying he is, he could at least be close to that.
Elementary returns to CBS on Thursday Nov. 5 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), on CBS.