Elementary (2012–2019)

TVSeries


Elementary (TV Series 2012–2019)

A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
USA
IMDb   7.9 /10
TheMovieDb    7.4 /10
RottenTomatoes  95 %
TV.com  8.4 /10
FilmAffinity   6.2 /10
Creators
Creator Robert Doherty
Information
Release Date2012-09-26
Runtime
GenreCrime, Drama, Mystery
Content RatingTV-14 (TV-14)
AwardsNominated for 2 Primetime Emmys6 wins & 19 nominations total
CompanyHill of Beans Productions, Timberman-Beverly Productions, CBS Television Studios
CountryUSA
LanguageChinese, Russian, Pashtu, French, Czech, German, Filipino, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, English, Spanish
Sherlock Holmesas Sherlock Holmes
Dr. Joan Watsonas Dr. Joan Watson…
Captain Thomas Gregsonas Captain Thomas Gregson
Detective Marcus Bellas Detective Marcus Bell
Dr. Eugene Hawesas Dr. Eugene Hawes
Mr. Morland Holmesas Mr. Morland Holmes…
Kitty Winteras Kitty Winter
Shinwell Johnsonas Shinwell Johnson
Alfredo Llamosaas Alfredo Llamosa
NSA Agent McNallyas NSA Agent McNally…
Masonas Mason
Michaelas Michael
Odin Reichenbachas Odin Reichenbach
Mycroft Holmesas Mycroft Holmes
Jamie Moriartyas Jamie Moriarty…
Lin Wenas Lin Wen
Hannah Gregsonas Hannah Gregson
Chantal Milneras Chantal Milner

Elementary (TV series)

Elementary is an American procedural drama television series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. It was created by Robert Doherty and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. The series premiered on CBS on September 27, 2012. It is set and filmed primarily in New York City. With 24 episodes per season, by the end of season two Jonny Lee Miller became the actor who had portrayed Sherlock Holmes the most in television or film.

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 respectful of one another. Holmes is accompanied by Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), 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; in time she becomes Holmes' apprentice and later his professional partner. 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, Rhys Ifans as Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes, and John Noble as Sherlock's father Morland Holmes.

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 since been well received by critics, who have praised the performances, writing, novel approach to the source material, and fresh modern twist detailed throughout the show's New York–based adaptation down to the size of the brownstone first seen in the series premiere.

On March 25, 2016, CBS renewed the series for a fifth season, which premiered on October 2, 2016. On May 13, 2017, CBS renewed the series for a sixth season. On November 29, 2017, CBS ordered an additional eight episodes bringing the sixth season total up to 21. It premiered on April 30, 2018. On May 12, 2018, CBS renewed the series for a 13 episode seventh season. On December 17, 2018, it was announced that the series would end after the seventh season.

The seventh and final season premiered on May 23, 2019 and concluded on August 15, 2019.


Plot

Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, a modern-day version of 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 mercurial new charge on his jobs.

Over time, Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a talent 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 intimidating interrogation skills. Although initially skeptical of Holmes and his unorthodox methods, Bell begins to recognize Sherlock as an asset to their investigations.


Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
124September 27, 2012May 16, 2013
224September 26, 2013May 15, 2014
324October 30, 2014May 14, 2015
424November 5, 2015May 8, 2016
524October 2, 2016May 21, 2017
621April 30, 2018September 17, 2018
713May 23, 2019August 15, 2019

Cast and characters

Main

  • Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes: A former Scotland Yard consultant who now lives in New York City after completing drug rehabilitation for addiction-related problems. Sherlock 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 work 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, most notably his resentment for his father, have been added into his narrative. In between seasons 2 and 3, Sherlock spends eight months in Britain working for MI-6 and returns to New York in "Enough Nemesis to Go Around" with a new protégé, Kitty Winter. At the conclusion of season 3, Sherlock suffers a relapse, but his father's connections allow him to resume working for the NYPD. In Season 4, it is revealed mid-season that his mother, May Holmes, was also an opiate addict like him. In the last few episodes of season 5, he is shown suffering from severe unexplained headaches that affect his concentration, as well as hallucinating a woman who is based on his mother; the season 6 premiere reveals that he is suffering from post-concussion syndrome, requiring him to be put on a carefully balanced system of medication as well as taking on assorted mental activities to try and help his brain heal, albeit hampered by Sherlock's 'need' to use his work to escape his past addictions. By the beginning of season 7, Sherlock is officially recovered, although he notes that one more hit to his head could have serious consequences for his health. In the penultimate episode of the series, following his father's murder at the hands by Odin Reichenbach, Sherlock has a showdown with Reichenbach in which he fakes his death, allowing Reichenbach to be arrested and finally convicted of his numerous crimes some time later. In the series finale, after three years in hiding, he returns after his nemesis / former lover Jamie Moriarty lures him out by making a false threat against Joan's life. He later opts to stay with Joan as she undergoes cancer treatment, and the two partner up again a year later when she recovers. With 24 episodes per season, by the end of season 2, Jonny Lee Miller became the actor who had portrayed Sherlock Holmes the most times in television and/or film, beating Jeremy Brett (with 41 television episodes) and Eille Norwood (with 47 silent films).
  • Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson (née Yun): Holmes' sober companion. Watson was previously a successful surgeon, which adds to her complement of skills; however, she stopped practicing medicine after one of her patients died during surgery. 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 Sherlock that his father had continued to retain her services. He gradually comes to value her input and grows to trust her as she helps him come to terms with his life after addiction. Eventually, Sherlock reveals that he found out that Joan is 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. Joan accepts and starts her training as a detective with Sherlock. After Sherlock leaves for London, Joan becomes the go-to consulting detective for the 11th Precinct, while also taking on more traditional private investigator-type cases that Sherlock eschews. Despite this, the two resume working together after Sherlock returns to New York, albeit with Joan taking on the occasional independent case away from Sherlock. Joan has a brother, Oren, and a half-sister, Lin Wen (née Yun). Joan and her half-sister Lin have the same father, but different mothers. In the final two seasons, Joan starts to take steps to becoming a mother, and in the series finale, taking place three years after Sherlock fakes his death to ensure the arrest of Odin Reichenbach, she is revealed to have adopted a son named Arthur. During this time, she has also written and published a book recounting her partnership with Sherlock, and continued to consult for the NYPD. Near the end of the episode, she reveals that she has cancer and is starting chemotherapy, prompting Sherlock to stay with her through her recovery, and she recovers within a year's time.
  • Aidan Quinn as Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson: The Captain of the New York City Police Department's 11th Precinct. He was previously assigned to Scotland Yard to observe their Counter-Terrorism Bureau, where 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, with Sherlock describing Gregson as an investigator he both respects and admires, though Gregson admits that Sherlock is a "pain in the ass". In season 2, Gregson separates from his wife of over 20 years, Cheryl, and they are divorced by season 3. In "Rip Off" (season 3, episode 5), it is revealed that his daughter, Hannah (Liza J. Bennett), is an ambitious patrol officer with the 15th Precinct; by season 6, Hannah has been promoted to Sergeant. In "Absconded" (season 3, episode 23), Gregson is offered a promotion to Deputy Chief due to the good work of his unit, but despite hints that some higher-ups wanted him to accept the offer, he decided to remain, as he valued his current role and ability to interact with people more than the possibilities offered by the promotion. It is also mentioned in that episode that he served at the 14th Precinct as a newly promoted Detective and was made head of the Major Case Squad at age 40. In season 4, it is revealed mid-season that Gregson is now dating Paige Cowan, a former detective who quit the NYPD after her unit was accused of taking bribes; they briefly break up after Joan runs into them at a restaurant, as Paige claims she does not want people to think ill of Gregson, even if she was not involved in her unit's actions, but Joan soon learns that Paige actually has multiple sclerosis and convinces Gregson to give the relationship another chance; the two later marry. During season 6, when Bell contemplates a transfer to the United States Marshals Service, Gregson observes that Holmes, Watson and Bell make a good partnership because Bell stops them from bending the rules too far when they are conducting investigations. In the beginning of season 7, Gregson is shot and wounded while investigating a cold case, which leads to the revelation of a conspiracy helmed by social media mogul Odin Reichenbach. In the series finale, which takes place three years after Reichenbach's arrest, he is revealed to have retired from the NYPD a year earlier, to spend as much time as possible with Paige, who is revealed to have succumbed to her MS some time prior. He is a recipient of the U.S. Flag Bar, World Trade Center Bar, NYPD Medal of Honor, NYPD Medal for Valor, and the NYPD 170th Commemorative Breast Bar.
  • Jon Michael Hill as Detective First Grade/Captain Marcus Bell: A junior officer with the 11th Precinct with whom Sherlock and Joan often work. While initially against the idea of getting help from Sherlock, he comes to recognize Sherlock's abilities and readily takes advice from him. Gregson explicitly observes that Bell is a good partner for Sherlock and Joan as he recognizes when circumstances require them to bend the rules (such as by entering properties of suspects without legal warrants) without letting them break anything that would compromise later court cases. He is briefly reassigned to an observational role in season 2 after sustaining a potentially serious shoulder injury at the hands of a hostile witness Sherlock had questioned earlier; this strains his relationship with Sherlock, but a confrontation with Holmes helps Bell overcome the psychological issues that were hindering his recovery and he soon returns to his old role. In season 4, Bell considers taking the Sergeant's exam for the increase in paycheck to help support his ailing mother. In season 6, Bell is offered a position with the United States Marshals Service and decides to put in an application for transfer upon completing his Master's degree in six months. However, he later passes up the job after Sherlock takes the blame for the murder of serial killer Michael Rowan to protect both Joan and Gregson's daughter Hannah from prosecution at the end of the season, and then again when Gregson is shot and critically wounded at the start of season 7 to help investigate the conspiracy. In the series finale, taking place three years after the events of the previous episode, Bell is revealed to have married and become a father, and has been promoted to Captain of the 11th following Gregson's retirement a year earlier. He is a recipient of the U.S. Flag Bar, NYPD Excellent Police Duty, and the NYPD 170th Commemorative Breast Bar.
  • Nelsan Ellis as Shinwell Johnson (season 5): A previous patient of Joan and an ex-convict and gang member for the SBK (South Bronx Killas). He and Joan become acquainted once more when he is released from prison and placed on probation. During his time on probation, Joan helps him settle back into his life outside of prison while also assisting him in his attempt to build a relationship with his daughter. He was briefly an unofficial informant for an FBI agent and is now an official informant for the Bronx Gang Squad. His relationship with Sherlock and Joan falters when Sherlock discovers that Shinwell was responsible for the death of a friend of his during his original time in the SBK, but Shinwell wrote a confession for this crime as he was preparing to bring down the gang, only to be killed by another member of the SBK. (Eight weeks after his death episode aired, actor Nelsan Ellis died in Brooklyn, at age 39.)
  • Desmond Harrington as Michael Rowan (season 6): A recovering addict who becomes impressed with Sherlock's methods of dealing with his addiction and becomes his friend and leaning post as he tackles his post-concussion syndrome. He is later revealed to be a murderer after burying a woman's body in an unknown location; eventually, he is revealed to be a serial killer, who has killed an estimate of more than a dozen women in multiple states, and has credited Sherlock with convincing him to focus on his "work" (i.e., killing) in order to kick his heroin addiction. When Sherlock's health problems diminish his investigative abilities, Michael leaves New York for a time to allow him to recover. He returns near the end of the season where, after he is revealed to have murdered the addict husband of one of his friends years earlier, he attacks Joan, only to flee after being seriously wounded, and is later found dead; the murder is later revealed to have been committed by Gregson's daughter Hannah as retaliation for Michael's earlier killing of her roommate.
  • James Frain as Odin Reichenbach (season 7): A well-renowned tech mogul that Sherlock and Joan meet after he hires them to find who made a kidnapping threat against his niece. It is soon learned that he made up the claim as a way to test the two, believing that he had found kindred spirits within them due to their willingness to go the distance to protect the innocent. It is also revealed that he was indirectly responsible for triggering the events that led to Gregson's shooting at the beginning of the season. Odin later reveals to Sherlock his intention to use his infinite resources, both online and offline, to create a system that prevents future crimes by flushing out the would-be-perpetrators and having them killed before they can carry out any offenses. However, despite Reichenbach clearly wanting to do good, Sherlock feels that his system does not work, citing how he killed a bus driver who was ranting on social media about her plans to kill her passengers; a brief study of the woman's media history confirmed that she had made similar rants in the past at the same time of year and never followed through with any of them. While presenting himself as willing to listen to Sherlock's input, Reichenbach soon proves himself extremely ruthless in proving that his system works, to the point of having a target and the target's parents killed in a staged murder-suicide (after Sherlock had averted the threat by convincing the target to take a non-violent approach to his problems), and then later having Sherlock's father Morland murdered after the latter assists his son in crippling Reichenbach's company and nearly getting him ousted. The latter action later results in a showdown between the two, where Sherlock fakes his murder at Reichenbach's hands in order to finally see him arrested for his crimes. In the series finale, taking place three years later, after a lengthy trial, Reichenbach is finally convicted of numerous murders (sans Sherlock's) and other crimes related to his conspiracy, and is sentenced to 148 years in prison.

Recurring

  • John Noble as Morland Holmes (season 4; guest, seasons 6–7): Sherlock's estranged father, who arrives in New York after Sherlock relapses at the end of season 3. He works as an eminent business consultant, making arrangements for various companies to achieve their goals regardless of what they might be, with Sherlock describing him as a 'neutral' party in that he has no concern about the consequences of his clients' goals so long as they are achieved. He decides to stay in New York for unknown long-term reasons involving Sherlock, with Joan speculating from independent research that he suffered serious stomach damage after becoming the victim of a failed murder attempt two years before, and may believe that he is being targeted again. With a view to resolving the threat, at the end of season 4, he takes over the leadership of Moriarty's organization, intending to dismantle the group from within and thereby shield his son and Joan from any further harm. Morland later returns on two separate occasions: once during season 6, following his older son Mycroft's death where he and Sherlock mend any remaining fences between them, and then again during season 7, where Sherlock recruits his help to bring down Odin Reichenbach. However, after Morland's machinations cripple Reichenbach's company and nearly result in him being ousted, Reichenbach retaliates by having Morland murdered by one of his own associates, setting the stage for a final showdown between Sherlock and Reichenbach.
  • Ophelia Lovibond as Kitty Winter: Sherlock's newest protégée, whom he brought with him from London after leaving MI6. She was initially tasked with spying on Watson until being discovered. Sherlock tends to be strict with her, but admires her detective skills. Kitty's real name is unknown as she was kidnapped and raped in London prior to meeting Sherlock, and had changed her name in an effort to forget her ordeal. Her character is based on Kitty Winter in Doyle's "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client". After confronting and disfiguring her rapist, she decides to leave the United States to avoid arrest, and to go somewhere where she could use the skills that Sherlock and Watson had taught her.
  • Ato Essandoh as Alfredo Llamosa: Sherlock's NA sponsor who is 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 does not hesitate to criticize Sherlock when he makes a poor decision and pushes him to continue his rehab regimen, including becoming a sponsor himself. He also teaches Joan how to bypass automotive security. Sherlock later 'fires' Alfredo as his sponsor so that he could help Alfredo as a friend.
  • 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 begins taking steps to reconcile with his brother, and becomes good friends with Joan. He owns a chain of restaurants called Diogenes and is an excellent cook. It is later revealed that Mycroft is in the employ of MI6, and it becomes necessary for Mycroft to fake his death in "The Grand Experiment", an act that his brother felt represented a lack of faith in Sherlock to find another solution to the current dilemma. It is revealed in season 6 that Mycroft has died due to a brain aneurysm. His last known location was New Zealand and Sherlock briefly grieves for him when he learns of this, regretting not being able to make up with his brother before his death.
  • 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 out of control. Despite Sherlock discovering her true identity, and her subsequent imprisonment, the two continue to have conflicting feelings for each other — Sherlock noting during a conversation with Bell that "the love of life is an unrepentant homicidal maniac" — and great mutual respect for each other's intellectual powers. She has also gained a certain amount of respect for Joan, as the latter's ability to fool her is what got her arrested; when Joan's life is threatened by drug kingpin Elana March, she arranges the criminal's death in her cell. At the end of Season 4, Morland Holmes takes over her organization with the goal of dismantling it from within to prevent its resources being used against his son and Joan. She plays a major unseen role in the series finale, supposedly plotting against Sherlock, only for it to turn out to be a false alarm. Three years later, Sherlock attends her funeral, although he expresses doubt to Watson that Moriarty is actually dead. Series creator Robert Doherty confirmed in an interview that Moriarty is still alive.
  • 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. Due to Sherlock's preference to work in anonymity, Lestrade took credit for solving the cases that they worked on together. Lestrade is clearly not in Sherlock's league, and his overzealousness and impulsiveness tend to impair his judgement; however, he is a skilled detective in his own right.
  • 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. Ms. Hudson is seen in single episodes in each of the first three seasons (episodes 19, 45, 55), but mentioned in numerous others through season 4.
  • Betty Gilpin as Fiona "Mittens" Helbron: a brilliant software engineer for a technology company called Pentillion, who also is known as 'Mittens' in the hacker community. She is on the autism spectrum, and is a cat lover (hence her hacker moniker). She is briefly considered a suspect in one case (episode 81), but later assists Sherlock and Joan in their investigation. She later contacts Joan for assistance in another matter, and begins a romantic relationship with Sherlock (episodes 84 and 90).
  • Jordan Gelber as Dr. Eugene Hawes, M.E.: A New York City medical examiner that provides Sherlock and Joan with details relating to murders that cross paths with their investigations. He and Sherlock are regular chess partners ("the first Thursday of the month" is mentioned in the episode "Hounded"). After he is almost killed when a bomb is detonated in the city morgue ("Down Where the Dead Delight"), he develops a drug addiction. After noticing the indicators, Sherlock implores him to get help ("Hounded"). He takes a leave of absence to recover, but returns to active duty as the M.E. in the season 5 episode "Ill Tidings".

Characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories

Elementary often has characters who are loosely based on characters from the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  • Vinnie Jones as Sebastian Moran: also known as "M", Moran was originally thought to be a serial killer who Sherlock believed had murdered Irene Adler. In actuality, he was a former Royal Marine turned hired assassin, and was employed by Jamie Moriarty. In the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Moran was an ex-army colonel and the right-hand man of Professor James Moriarty. He was an excellent marksman and carried out assassinations for Moriarty with a specially built silent air rifle that fired revolver bullets, whereas the Moran in Elementary is a brutally psychotic murderer, killing his targets by first hanging them upside down with a homemade tripod device before then slitting their throats. ("M.", "A Landmark Story")
  • Freda Foh Shen as Mary Watson: in Elementary, Mary is the mother of Joan Watson, whereas in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Mary is the wife of Dr. John Watson. ("The Leviathan", "T-Bone And The Iceman")
  • David Mogentale as Charles Augustus Milverton: Milverton extorted money from the families of rape victims, which is similar to the character in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, who is described to Watson by Holmes as "the king of the blackmailers". Both versions of the character are killed in front of both versions of Holmes, who had broken into his house in order to destroy his blackmail materials. ("Dead Man's Switch")
  • Tim McMullan as DCI Hopkins: Hopkins is a Detective Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard who brings Sherlock to London to find Gareth Lestrade. In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, his full name is Stanley Hopkins and he is also a Scotland Yard detective who works with Holmes. ("Step Nine")
  • Langdale Pike: is a CCTV observer at Trafalgar Square. In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Pike is a celebrated gossipmonger whose columns are published in numerous magazines and newspapers. Both versions of the character are unseen and help Holmes learn the names of people involved in the case. ("Step Nine")
  • Stuart Townsend as Del Gruner - Adelbert Gruner ("The Illustrious Client", "The One that Got Away")
  • Simon Templeman as Ronald Adair ("Their Last Bow")

Development

Writer and producer Robert Doherty created the show. Doherty has commented that it was Carl Beverly 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 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.

Casting

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 in 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 did not 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."


Production

Some interior scenes are shot at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City. Some exterior shots of Sherlock's brownstone are filmed in Harlem, which is a stand-in for Brooklyn Heights. Several episodes have been filmed in Whitestone, Queens, most recently on August 11, 2017.


Reception

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 85% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 62 reviews, with an average score of 7.69/10. 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 2 was met with equally positive reviews. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 17 reviews, with an average score of 8.29/10. The site's consensus reads, "With the introduction of Mycroft and Lestrade, Elementary successfully extends into the Sherlock Holmes canon in season two." 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.

Season 3 continues Elementary's trend of a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 14 reviews, with an average score of 8.32/10. The site's consensus reads, "Elementary's third season leverages the estrangement between Sherlock and Joan to further explore both characters, proving that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creations still have room to grow". IGN praised the evolution of Watson as a character in the show, saying "While other Holmes/Watson incarnations focus on Watson being a friend, medic, and put-upon backup, Elementary has elevated the character into someone with loftier aspirations." Particular praise was given to Ophelia Lovibond for her performance as Sherlock's protege Kitty Winter, with critics feeling she was a welcome addition to the cast. The episode "The One That Got Away" garnered critical acclaim for its resolution of Kitty's story, as well as the performances of Miller and Lovibond. The Season 3 finale was met with positive reviews. IGN's Matt Fowler gave the Season finale: "A Controlled Descent" an 8.3/10 saying that "The one-two punch of Sherlock both giving into his anger and his heroin lust was a scorching way to send us out of Season 3".

Season 4, like previous seasons, was met with a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 15 reviews, with an average score of 7.45/10. IGN's Matt Fowler gave the season 4 premiere episode "The Past is Parent" a 7.3/10. He praised Joan and Sherlock's deepening friendship and John Noble's performance as Sherlock's father, but criticized the fact that the episode did not capitalize off the crisis from the Season 3 finale, saying that "while there wasn't anything necessarily bad about "The Past is Parent," it just failed to capitalize off the momentum from last season".

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per season of Elementary
SeasonTimeslot (ET)EpisodesFirst airedLast airedTV seasonViewership
rank
Avg. viewers
(millions)
DateViewers
(millions)
DateViewers
(millions)
1Thursday 10:00 pm24September 27, 201213.41May 16, 20138.982012–131412.65
224September 26, 201310.18May 15, 20147.372013–142011.74
324October 30, 20147.57May 14, 20156.962014–153511.12
4Thursday 10:00 pm (1–16)
Sunday 10:00 pm (17–24)
24November 5, 20155.58May 8, 20165.462015–16439.14
5Sunday 10:00 pm24October 2, 20166.03May 21, 20174.112016–17467.42
6Monday 10:00 pm21April 30, 20184.74September 17, 20183.102017–18885.42
7Thursday 10:00 pm13May 23, 20194.08August 15, 20192.822018–19N/AN/A

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNomineeResultRef.
2012New York Women in Film & TV Muse AwardActressLucy LiuWon
People's Choice AwardsFavorite New TV DramaElementaryNominated
Satellite AwardsActor in a Television Series DramaJonny Lee MillerNominated
2013ASCAP Film & Television Music AwardsTop Television SeriesSean Callery and Mark SnowWon
Edgar Allan Poe AwardsTV Episode TeleplayPeter Blake ("Child Predator")Nominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Main Title Theme MusicSean CalleryNominated
Outstanding Main Title DesignSimon Clowes, Benji Bakshi, Kyle Cooper, Nate Park and Ryan RobertsonNominated
Prism AwardsDrama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance UseCraig Sweeny, Robert Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Robert Doherty, Peter Blake, Craig Sweeny, Liz Friedman, Corinne Brinkerhoff, Christopher Silber, Jeffrey Paul King, Michael Cuesta, John David Coles, Rod Holcomb, Rosemary Rodriguez, Colin Bucksey, David Platt, Seith Mann, Andrew Bernstein and Phil AbrahamNominated
Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-EpisodeLucy LiuNominated
EIC President's AwardElementaryWon
Saturn AwardBest Network Television SeriesElementaryNominated
Seoul International Drama AwardsBest ActressLucy LiuWon
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV Actress: ActionLucy LiuWon
Television Critics Association AwardsOutstanding New ProgramElementaryNominated
TV Guide AwardsFavorite New SeriesElementaryNominated
2014GLAAD Media AwardsOutstanding Individual Episode (in a Series without a Regular LGBT Character)Andrew Bernstein and Jason Tracey ("Snow Angels")Won
2015People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime Drama ActressLucy LiuNominated
Prism AwardsDrama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance Use"No Lack of Void" / "End of Watch"Won
Drama Episode – Mental HealthJean de Segonzac and Liz Friedman
("Corpse de Ballet")
Nominated
Voice AwardsTelevisionElementaryWon
2016People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime Drama ActressLucy LiuNominated
World Soundtrack AcademyTelevision Composer of the YearSean CalleryNominated
2017People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime Drama ActressLucy LiuNominated

Broadcast

In Australia, Elementary premiered on Network Ten on February 3, 2013. The second season started airing on March 23, 2014. The third season started airing on March 2, 2015.

In Canada, it airs simultaneously on Global. In New Zealand, it premiered on Prime on February 27, 2013.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the series was acquired by Sky Witness (previously Sky Living), a subscription channel. It debuted on October 23, 2012. The second season premiered on October 22, 2013. The third season began airing on November 11, 2014. Season 1 premiered on free-to-air TV in the UK on Sky-owned channel Pick on February 6, 2017.

On February 3, 2013, Elementary was broadcast after Super Bowl XLVII as the official lead-out program. 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.


Tie-in media

In February 2015, Titan Books published the first official tie-in novel, The Ghost Line (ISBN 9781781169841), written by Adam Christopher. A second novel, also written by Adam Christopher and titled Blood and Ink, was published on April 26, 2016 (ISBN 9781785650277).