Elementary (TV series)
|Created by||Robert Doherty|
|Based on||The works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||48 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||New York, United States|
Roy H. Wagner
|Running time||43–46 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original run||September 27, 2012– Present|
Elementary is an American crime drama series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. The series was created by Robert Doherty and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. The first season premiered on CBS in September 2012 and season two began airing in October 2013. The series is set and filmed primarily in New York City.
The show follows Holmes, a recovering drug addict and former consultant to Scotland Yard, as he assists the New York City Police Department in solving crimes. His indifference to police procedure often leads to conflict with Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn), although the two still remain mutually respectful of one another. He is accompanied by Watson who initially acts as his sober companion. She is a former surgeon and was hired by Sherlock's father to help him in his rehabilitation. They eventually begin to work together on his cases, and she becomes Holmes' apprentice. The series also features Holmes' ongoing conflict with his nemesis Jamie Moriarty (Natalie Dormer). Other supporting roles include Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell and Rhys Ifans as Mycroft Holmes, who wishes for Sherlock to return to England.
Before the series premiered, it was met with some criticism given it followed closely on the heels of the BBC's modern adaptation Sherlock. After the premiere it was picked up for a full season, and later an extra two episodes. The season two premiere was partly filmed on location in London. The series has been well received by critics, who have praised the performances, writing, and novel approach to the source material.
CBS renewed the show for a third season on March 13, 2014.
Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, an eccentric modern Sherlock Holmes relocates to Manhattan, where his wealthy father forces him to live with a sober companion, Dr. Joan Watson. Formerly a successful surgeon until she lost a patient, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people. However, Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and that he has devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs.
Over time, Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for investigation. Sherlock’s police contact, Captain Thomas Gregson, knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at solving cases, and welcomes him as part of the team. The investigative group also includes Detective Marcus Bell, an investigator with sharp intuition and formidable interrogation skills. Although initially skeptical of Holmes and his unorthodox methods, Bell begins to recognize Sherlock as an asset to their investigations.
Cast and characters
- Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes: A former Scotland Yard consultant who now lives in New York City after receiving drug rehabilitation there for his previous drug-related problems in England. Holmes is a deductive genius with a variety of unusual interests and enthusiasms that assist him in his investigations. Feeling that the more interesting criminal cases are in America, he stays in New York. He contacts an old associate, Captain Thomas Gregson of the NYPD to resume his previous job as a consulting detective. He is forced by his father to live with Dr. Joan Watson, his "sober companion" who provides him with aftercare. Miller's Holmes displays many canonical aspects of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character, while his familial relations, especially his resentment for his father, have been added into his narrative. It's hinted that his exodus to the United States was not simply drug rehab or an interest in American crime, but that it was due to a woman named Irene as well.
- Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson: Holmes' sober companion. Watson was a successful surgeon, which adds to her complement of skills. She comes to Holmes when she is hired by his father as his sober companion, to help him remain abstinent after his release from rehabilitation. After her contracted time is finished, she remains on after lying to Holmes, telling him that his father had retained her services. He comes to rely on her input and grows to trust her as she helps him come to terms with his life after addiction. After a while, Holmes reveals that he found out that she was no longer being paid to stay as a companion. He offers her a position as an apprentice, telling her how much she means to him and how she helps him to focus. Watson accepts and starts her training as a detective with Holmes.
- Aidan Quinn as Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson:[note 1] A captain in the New York City Police Department. He was assigned to Scotland Yard to observe their counter-terrorism bureau, during which time he crossed paths with Sherlock and was impressed with his work. He genuinely likes Holmes and the two have a mutual respect for each other, though he admits that Sherlock is a "pain in the ass".
- Jon Michael Hill as Detective First Grade Marcus Bell: A junior officer with whom Holmes and Watson often work. While initially against the idea of getting help from Sherlock, he comes to realize Sherlock's talent as a detective and readily takes advice from him.
- Ato Essandoh as Alfredo Llamosa: Sherlock's AA sponsor who's a recovering addict himself. Alfredo is also reformed from a life of crime stealing cars. He is now paid by various car companies to test their cars' security systems, and he occasionally lets Sherlock try out his own skills on them. Alfredo is one of Sherlock's few real friends but is not hesitant to criticize him and pushes him to continue his rehab regimen, including becoming a sponsor himself. He also teaches Joan how to bypass automotive security.
- Rhys Ifans as Mycroft Holmes: Sherlock's older brother who still lives in London. He and Sherlock had a very bitter relationship in the past, but Mycroft is taking steps to reconcile with his brother, and becomes good friends with Joan. He owns a chain of restaurants and is an excellent cook.
- Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler/Jamie Moriarty: As Irene, she is Sherlock's former lover, while in her true identity as Moriarty she is a criminal mastermind who romanced Sherlock—and then faked Irene's death—to draw his investigations away from her criminal activities. It was her supposed death as Irene that caused Sherlock's already established drug use to escalate. Despite Sherlock discovering her true identity, and her subsequent imprisonment, the two continue to have conflicting feelings for each other and great mutual respect for each other's intellectual powers.
- Sean Pertwee as Gareth Lestrade: Sherlock's British colleague and rival. While Sherlock was based in London, he worked with Lestrade, who was then a member of the Metropolitan Police. Lestrade took credit for solving cases that were actually solved by Sherlock. Lestrade is clearly not in Sherlock's league, but he is a skilled – if overzealous and impulsive – detective.
- Candis Cayne as Ms Hudson: An expert in Ancient Greek who essentially makes a living as a kept woman and muse for various wealthy men; Sherlock allows her to stay at the brownstone after a breakup, and she subsequently agrees to clean for them once a week as a source of income. Sherlock initially attempts to make Joan pay for the work as she complained about his messiness but she refuses and they settle on sharing the expense.
Writer and producer Robert Doherty created the show. Doherty has commented that it was Carl Beverly[clarification needed] who "initially was the one who brought up the possibility of developing a Sherlock show." Beverly spoke about the relationship between Sherlock and Watson in the show in July 2012:
Rob [Doherty] often calls it a bromance, but one of the bros just happens to be a woman. He said that from the very beginning and I think it's really an apt description. There's this idea that a man and a woman can't be together on a show especially without needing to be together sexually or in love or whatever, and this is really about the evolution of a friendship and how that happens. Watching that should be as much the story of this show as the mysteries that you see week in and week out about who killed who.
Liu was cast by February 2012. That July, she said that Watson is not "someone who's on the sideline; she's his sober companion, she's engaged in him, not the mystery, [...] From that point on you get to see how that blossoms out. The foot-in-the-bucket and that kind of Watson happens because in entertainment, there's got to be a sidekick. In this case, that's not the direction we're going in. Ask me in six episodes and if I have a foot in a bucket then we'll have a discussion."
Relationship to BBC's Sherlock
Sherlock, a contemporary reworking of the Sherlock Holmes story, premiered in the UK in July 2010 and the U.S. in October 2010. The British show has since sold to more than 200 territories. In January 2012, shortly after CBS's announcement they had ordered the pilot for Elementary, Sherlock producer Sue Vertue told newspaper The Independent "we understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes. It's interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn't resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying." The following month Vertue said that "We have been in touch with CBS and informed them that we will be looking at their finished pilot very closely for any infringement of our rights."
CBS made a statement on the issue: "Our project is a contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes that will be based on Holmes, Watson and other characters in the public domain, as well as original characters. We are, of course, respectful of all copyright laws and will not infringe on any stories or works that may still be protected."
Creator Robert Doherty discussed comparisons between Sherlock and Elementary the following July, pointing out that a tradition of updated Holmes stories dates back to the Basil Rathbone films of the 1940s, and that he didn't think it was the case that Elementary took anything from Sherlock, which he described as a "brilliant show" having watched its first series. Several months later, Lucy Liu confirmed the producers of the UK Sherlock were shown the pilot, "saw how different it was from theirs," and were "okay with it now."
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||24||September 27, 2012||May 16, 2013||August 27, 2013||December 23, 2013||February 5, 2014|
|2||24||September 26, 2013||May 15, 2014||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The first season was met with positive reviews from critics, who highlighted the show's novel approach to the source material, the writing quality, and the performances and chemistry found between its two leads and supporting cast. Season one holds an 83% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 43 collected reviews, with an average score of 7.3 out of 10. The site's consensus reads: "It may not appeal to purists, but Elementary provides a fresh new spin on Sherlock Holmes, and Jonny Lee Miller shines in the title role." It also holds a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100 based on 29 sampled reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The Guardian's Phelim O'Neill felt that "Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu make it a double act to rival Sherlock" and noted that "the pacing feels perfect and the details are light: viewers can keep up with the investigation and feel involved, not something every investigative show achieves". Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the pilot episode 3 stars out of 4, and said "While the latest interpretation doesn't live up to the British import, it's still more entertaining than your typical CBS procedural." Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave it a B+ and felt that the show "exhibits enough stylish wit in its mood and look to quickly distinguish itself from the latest British Sherlock series (seen on PBS)".
Season two was met with equally positive reviews. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on seven reviews, with an average score of 8.5 out of 10. Several critics praised Rhys Ifans for his portrayal of Mycroft Holmes, with Myles McNutt of the A.V. Club calling his casting choice "inspired" and praising him for being able to match with Miller's "bitterness" and praising the premiere episode overall  - he later went on to offer positive words on Ifans' performance in the finale episodes pertaining to Mycroft's story, despite finding flaws in the overall arc. Noel Kirkpatrick of TV.com also praised Ifans, saying he "very finely" played the role. The episode "The Diabolical Kind" also attracted wide acclaim, with many singling out the emotional depth and Natalie Dormer's performance as Moriarty. McNutt called Moriarty's presence in both the episode and the series as a whole "refreshingly dominant" and also praised the storytelling and dialogue, singling out several bits of witty humor in the episode. The episode has a 9.0 rating on TV.com with Kirkpatrick claiming Dormer was "having a ball" playing the role of Moriarty and saying there was "good stuff" to be had in her. Kirkpatrick also appreciated the season as a whole for its development of Holmes' character, as well as the performance of the cast.
Awards and nominations
The series has been nominated and won several high profile television & entertainment awards:
|2012||New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award||Actress||Lucy Liu||Won|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Drama||Elementary||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Actor in a Television Series Drama||Jonny Lee Miller||Nominated|
|2013||ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards||Top Television Series||Sean Callery & Mark Snow||Won|
|Edgar Allan Poe Awards||TV Episode Teleplay||"Child Predator"||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Main Title Theme Music||Sean Callery||Nominated|
|Outstanding Main Title Design||Elementary||Nominated|
|Prism Awards||Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance Use||Elementary||Nominated|
|Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode||Lucy Liu||Nominated|
|EIC President’s Award||Elementary||Won|
|Saturn Award||Best Network Television Series||Elementary||Nominated|
|Seoul International Drama Awards||Best Actress||Lucy Liu||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Actress: Action||Lucy Liu||Won|
|Television Critics Association Awards||Outstanding New Program||Elementary||Nominated|
|2014||GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)||"Snow Angels"||Won|
|United States||CBS||September 27, 2012|
|Australia||Network Ten||February 3, 2013|
|Canada||Global Television Network ||September 27, 2012|
|New Zealand||Prime (New Zealand) ||February 27, 2013|
|United Kingdom||Sky Living ||October 23, 2012|
On February 3, 2013, Elementary was broadcast after Super Bowl XLVII. The episode drew 20.8 million viewers despite running out of prime time in the Eastern time zone as a result of a game delay.
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes – a 1987 television movie featuring Holmes in a contemporary setting and a Jane Watson, also produced by CBS
- 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns – a 1993 television movie featuring Holmes in a contemporary setting, also produced by CBS
- Gregson was originally identified as Tobias Gregson in the media, the name used in the original stories. The name Tobias was used briefly in early reviews of the show. Holmes identifies him as Capt. Thomas Gregson in episode 201 and he is repeatedly referred to as Thomas in episode 206. The show's writers and CBS media site have subsequently confirmed the character's correct name is Thomas.
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- Handlen, Zack (January 20, 2014). "How the CBS procedural surpassed the BBC drama". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (October 23, 2012). "Vegas & Elementary Get Full Season Orders From CBS". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
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- Kondolojy, Amanda (March 13, 2014). "CBS Renews 'The Good Wife', 'The Millers', 'Two and a Half Men', 'Hawaii Five-0', 'Mom', 'Blue Bloods', 'Elementary' and 11 More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
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- "About Elementary". CBS. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
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- "About the Show: Elementary". CBS Press Express. July 2013. Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "Bios: Aidan Quinn". CBS Press Express. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "Tremors". Elementary. Season 2. Episode 10. December 5, 2013. CBS.
- Roberts, Sheila (July 17, 2012). "Comic-Con: Executive Producers Robert Doherty and Carl Beverly Talk New CBS Series ELEMENTARY, Comparisons to SHERLOCK, and More". Collider. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- Goldberg, Lesley (February 27, 2012). "Lucy Liu to Play Watson in CBS's Sherlock Holmes Drama Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- Goldberg, Lesley (July 29, 2012). "TCA 2012: 'Elementary' Showrunner Says Most Shows Have a Sherlock". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- Sherwin, Adam (January 21, 2012). "Legal thriller looms as Sherlock takes his caseload to New York". The Independent (London). Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- Chuck Taylor. "New CBS Drama ‘'Elementary’' Set In Brooklyn Heights and filmed In Harlem". Brooklyn Heights. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Lambert, David (May 28, 2013). "Elementary - The CBS Take on Sherlock Holmes is Scheduled to Ship this Summer". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- "Elementary - Season 1 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hall: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- "Elementary - Season 1 : DVD Movies & TV Shows, Genres, TV : JB HI-FI". JB HI-FI. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- "Shows A-Z - elementary on cbs". TheFutonCritic.com. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- "HOLMES AND WATSON HEAD TO LONDON TO HELP A FORMER COLLEAGUE WITH AN UNSOLVED CASE, ON THE SECOND SEASON PREMIERE OF "ELEMENTARY," THURSDAY, SEPT. 26". Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- "Elementary Season Finale". CBS. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- "Elementary - Season 1 Reviews". Flixster. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Elementary - Season 1 Reviews". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Phelim O'Neill. "Elementary – box set review". The Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Fall TV preview: Female doctors lead promising new shows". Suntimes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Farhi, Paul (16 September 2013). "CBS's Elementary: Sherlock, Rehabbed". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "Elementary - Season 2 Reviews". Flixster. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- McNutt, Myles. "Elementary - "Step Nine"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- McNutt, Myles. "Elementary: "The Grand Experiment"". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- Kirkpatrick, Noel. "Elementary Season 2 Premiere Review: Home Again, Home Again". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- McNutt, Myles. "Elementary: "The Diabolical Kind"". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- Kirkpatrick, Noel. "Elementary "The Diabolical Kind" Review: Affection Was Never Wasted". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- Townsend, Megan (May 3, 2014). "George Takei, "Orange is the New Black," "Concussion" among #GLAADAwards recipients in New York City". GLAAD. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
- "GLOBAL TELEVISION UNVEILS 2012/13 PRIMETIME LINEUP". May 30, 2012.
- "From 'Survivor' to 'Elementary', CBS sets Fall 2012 premiere dates".
- "Prime TV and CBS Studios International Conclude New Deal". May 30, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Munn, Patrick (July 3, 2012). "BSkyB Acquires UK Rights To ‘Arrow’, ‘Elementary’, ‘The Following’ & ‘Vegas’". TVWise. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Seidman, Robert (February 3, 2013). "Updated: Bad News for 'Elementary' As Super Bowl Power Outage Delays Game ~34 Minutes". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (February 5, 2013). "TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: 'Super Bowl' Tops Week 19 Viewing Among Adults 18-49 & With Total Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
|Super Bowl lead-out program