Elementary Season 4 Episode 4 Review: All My Exes Live in Essex

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I know there's something to be said for leaving certain things to the imagination, but was anyone else seriously disappointed that we didn't actually get to see that boxing match between Detective Cortes and Joan?

After all, Cortes had just spent all of Elementary Season 4 Episode 4 harassing Joan, so a little satisfaction for us would have gone a long way. 

Doesn't Cortes have enough to do with her actual cases? Maybe Coney Island's Burglary Division isn't enormously busy, but I can't imagine that the NYPD would be thrilled if it learned that Cortes was wasting Department resources on her little personal vendetta.

Frankly, Joan would have been well within her rights to file a formal complaint about Cortes's behavior, which clearly amounted to harassment under color of authority.

[about Detective Cortes] I think she may be insane.


Oddly enough, this isn't the first time Monique Gabriela Curnen has played a less-than-reputable cop; she previously starred as Detective Sharon Wallowski on Lie to Me, a show I quite enjoyed. Ironically, the main character on that show was also a consultant for law enforcement.

I wasn't altogether impressed with the A-plot, which featured a murdered lab technician who was turned into a display skeleton. Things were rocky from the start when they introduced the victim's husband, who was played by Gabriel Olds, one of Those Faces who pops up everywhere.

Then again, Denise (a.k.a. the ex that everyone pointed their fingers at) was played by Carolyn McCormick, widely known for her role as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet in the Law & Order franchise.

I'm not sure what gave it away for me, but I had a suspicion early on that there was something hinky with the cancer. Did anyone else suspect something was up with that? Let me know in the comments section. I could swear I've seen this plot before somewhere, but I'm not sure where.

The two group marriages turned out to be incidental to the storyline, besides serving as an initial false lead (along with a minor amusing detour when all the participants in the initial group marriage pointed fingers at Denise).

Though Dr. Campbell asked to be given the chance to apologize to his other spouse at the end – an act that smacks of some serious hypocrisy. Think about it: he strangled Abby, chopped her up, roasted her, and set her skeletal remains up like a lab specimen. That's cold.

And what he did to those patients, with the false cancer diagnoses, was utterly unconscionable for anyone, especially a doctor. The physician's most important aphorism is Primum non nocere: first, do no harm. That Campbell put dozens of innocent people through painful, debilitating treatments they didn't need is horrific.

I personally know someone currently undergoing treatment for cancer, and I can tell you that radiation and chemotherapy are miserable, wretched, uncomfortable, and difficult. They are draining, both physically and emotionally. You DO NOT inflict these things on someone who doesn't need them. EVER.

It was deeply disappointing to me that Joan didn't make a bigger point about this during the final interview with Dr. Campbell.

A few odds and ends before I turn the discussion over to you:

  • Morland Holmes did not appear in this episode, and he was only mentioned briefly in regards to how Joan and Sherlock came to return to the employ of the NYPD.
  • Susan Pourfar returned for the fifth time as Joan's friend Emily Hankins. She first appeared way back in Elementary Season 1 Episode 4, "The Rat Race."
  • Group marriage is not legally recognized anywhere in the United States, to the best of my knowledge (and I believe polygamy is actually a crime in this country), which is why Abby's first group marriage was organized the way it was.
  • Embryonic stem cell research is incredibly controversial for many reasons, particularly the ethics of destroying fertilized embryos for the sake of research when there are other ways of obtaining stem cells (such as through the umbilical cord).

So, what did you think of "All My Exes Live in Essex"? Did you predict that the husband was the murderer after all? Were you surprised that he was misdiagnosing his patients? Do you wish we had seen the face-off between Joan and Detective Cortes? Let us know in the comments below!

Remember that you can watch Elementary online right here at TV Fanatic while you wait for Elementary to return from its hiatus in two weeks; Elementary Season 4 Episode 5, "The Games Underfoot," is set to air on December 10, 2015 at 10/9c on CBS.

All My Exes Live in Essex Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (35 Votes)
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Elementary Season 4 Episode 4 Quotes

Joan: Here's a question we should have asked ten minutes ago: what if these cuffs really are unpickable?

Like five married people could ever agree on anything...