How Elementary's Moriarty Will Be Used In Season 6 Without The Actress Actually Appearing

Natalie Dormer will not appear as Moriarty in Elementary Season 6
(Image credit: CBS)

For fans of the CBS series Elementary, there is some good and bad news about the upcoming Season 6. The good news is that it's finally almost here, but the bad news is that due to scheduling conflicts, actress Natalie Dormer was not able to return as Moriarty. While fans will undoubtedly be disappointed by the news, there is a silver lining of sorts. While Moriarty may be physically absent, she will still maintain a presence in Season 6. Elementary executive producer Rob Doherty explained, saying:

We will address their relationship over the course of the season. We will talk about where Sherlock and Moriarty are these days. We'll see how Sherlock feels about her as a nemesis and a potential romantic partner. His health is going to give him cause to look at what he has in his life that's good and working, and what he is missing.

The premiere of Season 6 is almost here, so you will not have to wait much longer to see how the story will play out, both with and without Moriarty around. Fans were left with a huge cliffhanger when Season 5 capped things off way back in May of last year, as Sherlock faced the potentially fatal diagnosis that something is wrong with his brain. Fans have had to wait almost a year to learn the answer to Sherlock's health mystery, and because there are chances that Season 6 could be the final year for CBS' mystery drama, fans were hoping more than ever that Natalie Dormer would finally return after having been absent for the past few seasons.

As fans are well aware, Sherlock and Moriarty shared more than just antagonistic feelings for one another, and the two have presumably kept up communication while she's been in prison, where she presumably still is. She last appeared via voiceover in Season 3, and hasn't been seen in physical form since Season 2. Getting her back for at least one episode would have been enough, but alas, Natalie Dormer was too busy to fit an appearance in her schedule. She's currently got the upcoming Amazon series adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock, as well as the features The Professor and the Madman, Patient Zero, and In Darkness. Perhaps if there's a Season 7, that reconnection can happen in full.

The title of the Season 6 premiere does not bode well for Sherlock's health, though, so he may not even survive to a seventh season. Episode 1 is ominously entitled "An Infinite Capacity for Taking Pains," and the way Elementary's executive producer put it to TV Line, Sherlock's pains may be both of the physical and emotional variety. Struggling with an illness is already no fun, and he'll be keeping his condition a secret from Lucy Liu's Joan, which will impact his relationship with her. So to now have him reflecting back on his times with Moriarty is to keep him in the mental pits. The pair's relationship is complicated. He once referred to her as the love of his life despite the realization she is a criminal, which might very well be less curable than his physical woes, which still remain a mystery to viewers, too.

We do know that Dexter's Desmond Harrington will star in the sixth season, even if Moriarty doesn't, and thankfully for Sherlock and Joan, Harrington will not be playing a villain. Or at least, it does not seem like he will. Harrington will play Michael on Elementary. Back in the day, Sherlock inspired Michael, who is also a recovering drug addict. In Season 6, Michael will meet Sherlock and attempt to support him through his difficulties. The sleuth will need all the support he can get, given his relationship with Joan sounds like it may be hitting a rough patch.

Find out how it all shakes it out. Season 6 premieres on CBS on Monday, April 30, at 10 p.m. ET, which is a new night for the drama. The sixth season will be comprised of 21 episodes, which is way up from the 13-episode season that CBS had originally ordered. As for what else is coming up on CBS, check out our guides to TV's midseason and summer premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.