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Elementary Joan's Sister

Elementary Boss Talks 'Alluring' Family Twist, Whether [Spoiler] Is Coming

Warning: The following contains spoilers from Sunday’s Elementary.

Joan Watson got quite a shock during Sunday’s Elementary when she found out the woman in need of her and Sherlock’s help is actually her half-sister.

The P.I. and her newly discovered sibling Lin (played by CSI: Miami‘s Samantha Quan) got off to a rocky start when the latter implied she was in a relationship with Mycroft… at the same time as Joan! But like a true sis, Lin was just trying to get under Joan’s skin. Her actual secret is more familial: Before Joan was adopted and became a Watson, the two women shared the same last name, courtesy of their father.

The twist certainly adds a new layer to Joan’s already complicated history with her dad, who was mentally-ill and left his first family.

Below, executive producer Rob Doherty reveals how Lin came to be and how much she’ll be around in Joan’s life. Plus: Will Papa Watson make an appearance?

TVLINE | How did the idea come about to add a half-sister for Joan?
The kernel of the idea came from Carl Beverly, who is an executive producer of the show. Carl doesn’t write the scripts, but he’ll lob in story ideas every once in a while. It had never really occurred to me that we had the opportunity to tell this kind of story. I was drawn to Joan’s story, this idea that she never really knew her dad and that he was a damaged and troubled guy who fell out of her life a long time ago. Carl helped me remember that that man had a history of his own [and] that it was certainly possible that he regained himself for a short time and had a different family. It was just an alluring area code for us. We also felt that we have spent a lot of time getting to know more of Sherlock’s extended family this season. It struck me as a good opportunity to delve a little deeper into Joan and her family.Elementary Joan's Sister

TVLINE | Lin is so spunky. Was there a desire to add a different kind of voice to the show?
No, it wasn’t born out of that. Before the story was developed, we spent a lot of time talking about the character’s bio — what was her upbringing like? What was her relationship with dad? What we settled on was this idea that she got to know dad a bit more than Joan [and] was probably more stunned when he left. Unlike Joan, she has some awareness of his other family. And I liked the idea that she resented Joan. If you look at Joan Watson on paper, she is a success. … Specifically how she talks to Joan has a lot to do with assumptions she’s made about who Joan is. As far as her living a little more on the edge, I think that just comes from her having a more hardscrabble life.

TVLINE | Joan leaves the door open with regards to them having a relationship. So how much of a presence will Lin have going forward?
We won’t see Lin again this season. That mostly has to do with where we were in the season when we finally developed the two Lin episodes. Once we get past those, we’re really into our end run that wraps up the season, and that’s Morland-centric. So it’s not that we don’t want to see Lin; she didn’t quite fit in the story. But we’d love to see her again next year. We like the actress very much. We had fun seeing the sisters together. I know Lucy [Liu] had a good time. It’s a matter of finding the right kind of story to pull Lin back in.

TVLINE | The characters did leave off on a good note.
[But] we tend to set the table that way and then yank the tableclothes off. [Laughs] And we’ve certainly established Lin as someone who makes the occasional very poor decision. I could see her needing some help from Sherlock and Joan again. Truth is I’d love to find a situation where she can be helpful to them. I don’t want her to just be the sister who gets into trouble. There may be a time to pull Lin together with other members of Joan’s family. We’ll just have to see.

TVLINE | Does this twist open up an opportunity to spend some time with Joan’s biological father?
It’s nothing we talked about for this season, but it came up. It’s such a natural progression. One of us on the staff has to have the right pitch for who he is and where he is now. It’s tricky. We’ve explained in several episodes now that he’s diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. It’s a challenging thing to write, too. Usually, we seize opportunities like that to dig a little deeper into things like the neuro-atypical nature of [Sherlock’s girlfriend] Fiona. But it’s tough. To have Joan’s biological father on the show, we need someone that she can dialogue with. The nature of his disease can make that difficult depending on where he is these days and how he’s treating himself. We just want to make sure if and when we meet dad, we’re doing it the right way.

Elementary fans, what did you think of Joan’s surprise sis?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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17 Comments
  1. Ken From the South says:

    I was definitely not expecting that twist.

  2. Ken From the South says:

    I’d love at some point for her to consult as an “irregular” for Joan.

  3. Watson DB says:

    Doherty, you’ve promised this stuff before. Four seasons is a hella long time to wait for a decent payoff. Watson shoulda used her detective skills to find dad long before now.

    Please, we need way fewer arcane crime plots and way more emotional character beats/stakes. Cases have got to have personal resonance for these characters. No one cares about techs falsifying DNA unless it affects them — why not have a prior case of theirs involved?

    Liu and Miller should be taking home Emmys, but you’ve got to give them better material.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve always assumed that Joan hasn’t wanted to find her father. She probably has an idea of where he is but just isn’t interested in seeing him.

      • beanarie says:

        when she talked about her dad in season 2, she said she started volunteering at homeless shelters just for the chance of seeing him. according to her, she’s been in contact multiple times over the years. (“sometimes he recognizes me.”) she said at one point she tried to get him into a program/halfway house and then had to accept that he didn’t want to. i got the impression that she’d lose track for a couple of years at a time, but always found him eventually.

  4. Anne says:

    I LOVE the new sister. It was a bit of a rough introduction because her resentment of Joan was frustrating, but by the end of the two episodes I was a fan.
    .
    They really need to bring her back, she adds such an interesting element to Joan’s story. The show has such a wealth of secondary characters that I would just love to see more of.
    .
    Speaking of….can we have more of Ms Hudson pleeeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeee. Pretty please.

  5. Carol C says:

    Great two-parter. And I ditto bringing Ms Hudson back, even if just briefly.

  6. Reagan says:

    Nope, didn’t like the sister at all. Especially in the 2nd episode when she rush to down to the police station to embarrass Joan after she found out Joan call her Mom. Talk about being ungrateful. I like Kitty from season 3 way better. If they were going to bring somebody back, I’ll would pick her. However I would like Joan’s Dad to show up. I wonder when they mention him last time why didn’t she or Sherlock use there skills to find him

  7. pidar says:

    Not going to lie, I expected much more from this double episode. I liked Watson’s sister a lot and was hoping to see her again this season but this article just ruined my expectations.
    I wanted Watson to show more of emotions about the revelation, I wanted her to talk with Holmes without being interrupted by stupid phone call or chatting about that uninteresting case. I can’t even convey how much dissappointed I am in this show lately. Actors of this show are too good for this writing, the show desperately needs new writers ASAP.

    • Peri says:

      Amen. Could not agree more. These actors deserve way better material. New showrunner (female preferably) and new writers desperately needed.

  8. Denise White says:

    Excuse me, did they really just introduce Watson’s sister and she’s not even going to show up this season again? That’s BS. I certainly liked the sister, but that was kind of random? Why would they introduce her if they obviously have no interest in developing her character in further future? I would take her over Morland any time.

  9. Cyn Mackley says:

    The twist might have been a bit more of a surprise had a promo for the second hour of Elementary not spoiled it with 10 minutes left to go in the show.

  10. Linnster says:

    I kind of lost interest about halfway through the second episode. One of the reasons is that Holmes had been mumbling his lines for the past season and while I have no difficult with my hearing, there are many times when I can’t understand a thing he’s saying. It’s becoming annoying enough to stop watching if it continues.

  11. maregolden says:

    I love this new plot twist. We know so little about Joan and I would like to get to know her better.

  12. DAM says:

    “Elementary is fantastic; but would love to know more about Joan’s family as well as Sherlock’s relationship with his deceased mother. And don’t make us wait another season. You opened the door so give, give, NOW!!” And stop maling father son’s relationship so difficult!

  13. Joan’s sister, bad acting, terrible idea. With this, Elementary is getting into ‘soap’ zone. Why couldn’t they have developed her family that we already know a bit about? Or even the biological father? This new sister is a disaster! Awful! She’s not even a good actor. A lot of the peop,e around me feel the same.