By Lanford Beard
October 30, 2014 at 07:37 PM EDT
Jeff Neumann/CBS
Fall TV
  • TV Show

When we last saw Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) in Elementary‘s season 2 finale, they were heading their separate ways: Holmes to London to work for MI6, Watson toward a new life in New York without the partner she described as having a pull “like gravity” on her.

Creator/executive producer Rob Doherty promises a reunion on tonight’s season premiere, which takes place eight months after Holmes’ departure. Fans of the prickly detective won’t be shocked to learn that  “things did not exactly work out with MI6. Holmes [feels] a certain compulsion to come back to New York. The biggest surprise he has in store is that he has found himself a new protégé and partner.”

But Holmes isn’t the only half of the crime-solving duo with a surprise up his sleeve—Watson has continued sleuthing by day and started spending nights with a new man. Liu and Doherty gave EW a preview of three new faces to watch this season, as well as an update on how Holmes and Watson will move forward.

Elana March, the mystery woman

Played by: Gina Gershon (Showgirls, House of Versace)

Liu: “[Elana is] a woman who’s been a little bit elusive… in the beginning of the premiere, you see that [Watson’s] kind of got her in a corner, but then somehow she gets out.”

Doherty: “A lot of Watson’s time and energy has been focused on Elana, who is the widow of the head of a cartel. Joan is very confident that Elana has managed to take over the business… and has been hounding her.”

Liu: “There will be no Showgirls action.” (Ed. note: Not even an “It’s from Ver-sayce” reference? Missed opportunity.)

Kitty Winter, Sherlock‘s new protégé

Played by: Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Doherty: “[Sherlock’s notion] that it wasn’t his partnership with Joan that was special, it was just the fact that he had a partner [at all], is a little insulting. … When Sherlock says something like that, it’s one of the rare occasions that he’s not right.”

Liu: “Kitty comes on board, and it does create a little bit of tension.”

Doherty: “Joan was always a very calming presence for Sherlock. Kitty is not a calming presence. If anything, she’s a bit more like Sherlock. She can be a bit abrasive. She doesn’t care all that much for how people view her. She could use a Watson of her own in a lot of respects.”

Liu: “The protégé connection doesn’t just become something that is between Sherlock and Kitty. It starts to meld into Watson’s relationship as well. Those undertones are not so much procedural aspects but more emotional things that come into play.”

Doherty: “This new dynamic [evolves by] adding this third wheel in Kitty. What we’re trying to show in the the first batch of episodes is that Kitty is a very willing and able student, but she’s got very rough edges. Even though Sherlock is the one who took her on as a protégé, there’s a lot she can and will learn from Joan.”

Andrew, Watson’s boyfriend

Played by: Raza Jaffrey (Homeland, Smash)

Doherty: “Andrew is part of a larger plan to really ground Joan as we come into the season. She has, in Sherlock’s absence, come back down to earth and built up a pretty stable and sturdy and normal life.”

Liu: “He’s very warm and friendly and fuzzy and funny. He doesn’t have edges like Sherlock does.”

Doherty: “Andrew’s been briefed. He has a sense of Sherlock. It’s difficult to really wrap [his] head around the significance of the Holmes and Watson relationship, but he has a sense of Sherlock—who he is and how he operates and, most importantly, that at the end of the day Sherlock is a good person. … So far he’s been a very understanding boyfriend.”

Liu: “There are funny moments [when Andrew first meets Sherlock] that create that conflict and tension that the audience wants to see.”

Doherty: “We did not want to pair Joan with a stuffed-shirt, somebody that we would take the air out of as soon as Sherlock returned and started pulling her away. We wanted to see her in a real, grown-up, relatable relationship.”

Liu: “We’ll see what happens to [Andrew] in the end, but right now he’s very clearly somebody that brings her a great deal of joy. There’s not a lot of corruption there.”

Doherty: “I can guarantee he won’t end up being a lieutenant of Moriarty.”

Holmes & Watson

Liu: “The dynamic of them being separated and the tension of them having time pass between them is also going to elevate their relationship a little bit. Sometimes you don’t really get perspective on something until you step away from it.”

Doherty: “They each have a pull toward the other. That mutual gravitational pull is something we’ll certainly start to see again over the course of the season. It’s the lifeblood of the show. But things will be a little frosty at first.”

Elementary airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

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