Credit: Jeff Neumann/CBS

In its three seasons on the air, Elementary has yet to fall into the trap of having its two leads fall for each other romantically—something the producers promised they’d never do on the CBS drama. But how do you keep their dynamic fresh and exciting without falling back on easy tropes?

“We weren’t really worried about it as we reunited them at the top of the season, but we did think a lot about turning them into a parental unit, which always kills romance,” executive producer Rob Doherty tells EW with a hearty laugh. “Nothing steals romance like parenthood.”

All joking aside, the introduction of Kitty (Ophelia Lovibond) has afforded the show an opportunity to shake up the dynamic between Joan (Lucy Liu) and Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) without turning off viewers. “The energy they share in this current version of this relationship is hard to beat and not something I want to mess with,” Doherty says. “Kitty is certainly someone who has some problems and needs some guidance. We enjoyed this idea of Sherlock and Joan as co-parents, that they would work together on Kitty and try to get her to where she needs to be.”

That’s not to say they won’t have issues this season. In Thursday’s episode, Joan will learn that Sherlock has been in contact with her boyfriend, Andrew (Raza Jaffrey), much to her chagrin. “She has some suspicions with respect to Sherlock, an agenda he may have with Andrew,” Doherty says. “We didn’t want to go the obvious route and make Andrew someone who couldn’t tolerate Sherlock or wrap his head around the weirdness of the partnership. Their first meeting is fun and interesting, but sparks do not fly.”

Bigger problems will arise, however, when Sherlock uncovers that Joan had been writing about their time together. Suffice it to say, he won’t be too thrilled. “He keeps his secrets to himself, and so even though Joan’s intentions were good when she started to write about the work the two of them have done, it’s still very troubling to him,” Doherty says. “‘If Joan wrote about this and managed to keep it from me, what else might she be keeping from me?'”

“Ultimately, it’s probably one of our more obvious nods to the original Watson and the role that he played in the short stories as the chronicler of Sherlock Holmes,” he continues. “That Sherlock was, I dare say, a less private fellow and rather enjoyed Watson’s writing. Our Sherlock is not that Sherlock, so it’s something that’s going to stick in his craw for a bit.”

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

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