Memory of the 6 best villains from ‘Elementary’, a decade later

Many actors have played Sherlock Holmes on screen — including Benedict Cumberbatch and Henry Cavill in recent years — but none have done so more often than Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary. By the end of the second season of that CBS series, Miller had portrayed the consulting detective more times than anyone else, according to the Mattias Boström book From Holmes to Sherlock, where Lucy Liu played his devoted partner, Joan Watson.

Of course, for every hero there is a villain – or dozens of villains, in the case of TV proceedings. And as we celebrate Elementary’s 10th anniversary on September 27, we’re re-introducing you to our picks for the most devious, despicable antagonists Sherlock and Joan faced.

Oscar Rankin (Michael Weston)

Sherlock’s longtime drug supplier, Oscar Isaac – who our protagonist called a “disease to a sickening target” – kidnapped Sherlock’s sponsor friend Alfredo (Ato Essandoh), then lied about his own sister’s death in “A Controlled.” from Season 2 Origin.” Why? It was all a ruse to get Sherlock to return to his heroin use. “I’d be there to watch, watch when it hits you, when you realize this is where you belong , in a place like this, Sherlock, with people like me,” Oscar told Sherlock when the mold was ready. “I’d be there to watch you fall.”

Wilson Trager (Tate Donovan)

Federal student loan outstanding has crossed $1.6 trillion, and we have here a (fictional) profitable college profiteer exploiting young debtors for his murderous motives?! Wilson Trager, the CEO of Fairbridge University from Season 4’s “Alma Matters,” hired desperate college students to do his dirty work — including arson and murder — promising to pay off their student loans. Good thing Sherlock exposed Trager’s crimes at a board meeting, through a particularly damning PowerPoint presentation.

Isaac Pyke (Michael Cristofer)

Interestingly, it’s not the creepy talking doll that is the villain from Season 3’s “Bella”, nor is it the artificial intelligence she’s hooked up to. It’s Isaac Pyke, a computer science professor who programmed a virus to kill the businessman behind the Bella AI, all in an effort to avoid an alleged techno-apocalypse. And when Sherlock tried to blackmail Pyke into confessing, the wily professor bluffed, correctly suspecting that Sherlock wouldn’t call the police for Pyke’s brother, another recovering addict.

Michael Rowan (Desmond Harrington)

In his sobriety support group, Sherlock told his cohorts that he threw himself into work to keep himself on track. Fellow group member Michael Rowan took that advice to heart. The only problem? Michael’s job was to kill people – and Joan was unlucky enough to end up in his crosshairs. But it’s Hannah Gregson (Liza J. Bennett), daughter of Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn), who finally got the upper hand over this Season 6 villain.

Odin Reichenbach (James Frain)


Odin Reichenbach developed an algorithm to track down would-be killers before they had a chance to act on their murderous impulses and then have those people killed. The problem – apart, of course, from one man who serves as judge, jury and executioner – is that the algorithm was imperfect and innocent people died. Reichenbach also berated Sherlock’s father Morland Holmes (John Noble), but the good detective got his due by making the tech CEO pay for the fake Sherlock murder.

See alsoA Guide to 6 Decades of Sherlock Holmes on TelevisionBinging Netflix’s ‘The Irregulars’? Learn about the TV evolution of the famous fictional sleuth.

Jamie Moriarty (Natalie Dormer)

James Moriarty was the biggest opponent of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and Elementary’s Jamie Moriarty was the biggest opponent of Jonny Lee Miller. Sherlock fell for her during his life in London, when she pretended to be one Irene Adler (in another elemental nod to Conan Doyle canon). Only later did he realize that she was the head of a worldwide criminal investigation. “The love of my life is a ruthless murderous maniac,” Sherlock remarked at one point.

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