With the current seasons of “Limitless” and “Elementary” winding down, the showrunners of the two CBS dramas took a break from their regular duties to meet with journalists at WonderCon in Los Angeles.
Now in its fourth season, “Elementary” tells the story of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson, played by Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. Showrunner Rob Doherty kept most of the details about the season’s final few episodes under wraps, but teased the evolving drama between Sherlock and his father Morland (John Noble).
“We’re going to build to a pretty big conclusion to the Sherlock-Morland-Joan story,” he said. “It’s been this kind of interesting triangle for us, not a romantic triangle, throwing Morland into the mix and seeing how he affects Sherlock and Joan. That’s been a lot of fun. Specifically over the last four episodes we’re going to build a lot of momentum. Morland is going to make a lot of, I don’t want to say mistakes, but he’s being foolhardy.”
“Elementary” has already been renewed for a fifth season, adding to Doherty’s challenge of creating new problems for the world’s greatest detective. “At this point, four seasons in, tipping over into a fifth, it has so much to do with having great partners on your staff,” he said. “You can count on them to come up with these things and develop them with you and get to a place that where they’re appropriate for our franchise. I depend on the kindness of other writers.'”
Details of Season 5 haven’t been worked out, but Doherty has at least one idea he shared about the story’s direction. “I’d love to bring Ophelia [Lovibond] back as Kitty Winter,” he said, referring to Sherlock’s apprentice in Season 3. “She’s someone I’ve stayed in touch with. She’s an actress that I absolutely loved working with , and Kitty is a character that was a very important character in the show. I’d like to think that would work out, especially in the first half of the season.”
Freshman drama “Limitless” is also trying to ramp up the intrigue and interpersonal tension in its final few episodes. Based on the 2011 Bradley Cooper thriller of the same name, the series follows Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), an average guy who accelerates his intelligence through an illicit drug called “NZT.” He joins forces with Special Agent Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter), and finds himself tied up with the shady individuals who sell his drug of choice.
In the film, Eddie Mora (Cooper) uses NZT to gain wealth and power, but the producers of the show had some different ideas about how a person with those abilities might behave. “Brian Finch was going to be very different from Eddie Morra in significant ways,” said showrunner Craig Sweeny, “ways that you’ve seen and ways that they’ve actually talked about explicitly on screen. Brian is very concerned about holding on to who he was before he started taking the pill for whatever reason, whereas Eddie couldn’t wait to leave his writing career behind and become somebody completely and entirely different.”
Finch’s complicated relationship with Rebecca and with NZT becomes an issue at the end of the season. “Well, it is done now, I can tell you that much,” Sweeny said. “We have a two-part finale that deals with the aftermath of Rebecca learning the truth about Brian and who he has been affiliated with all year. It also tells the story, for the first time, of Brian going up against not just one person who has the same advantage as he has, which is NZT, but a group of people who are taking it.”
Brian meets his match in the form of a familiar face. “Jared Sands [Collin Salmon], who has been his dark-side handler all year, whereas Rebecca is his light side handler, broke off from Eddie Morra and has formed this sort of splinter group of people who are taking NZT,” Sweeny explained. “And, so the two-part season finale is about Brian and Rebecca – the fracturing of their relationship and how they come back together.”
The structure of the final few episodes came as a something a surprise to Sweeny and the other writers. “We initially thought that the season would end with Rebecca confronting Brian about the things that he’s done with Eddie Mora,” he said. “We decided ultimately to pull it up because we felt that there was more story to tell afterwards.”
“Elementary” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, while “Limitless” can be seen Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT