Elementary Preview: A Look At CBS' Sherlock Holmes Drama

Thanks to a combination of Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Benedict Cumberbatch (and of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) Sherlock Holmes is as relevant and captivating as ever, as evidenced by the popularity of BBC's Sherlock. CBS' new drama series seems to be aiming to bank on that without calling itself a remake/adaptation. Headed to Thursday nights this fall is Elementary, a series that takes Sherlock Holmes out of London and to New York where he teams with Dr. Joan Watson to solve crimes.

It's set in New York and Watson is a woman so… not a remake, right? Putting aside Sherlock for the moment, Elementary could work as a solid procedural. This series seems to focus on a different point in Holmes' life. Based on CBS' series description below, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) has had some kind of fall from grace in London, possibly due to substance abuse, has since done a stint in rehab and is now in New York, living with a sober companion under his father's orders. And it sounds like Watson (Lucy Liu) has a past of her own.

ELEMENTARY stars Jonny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day drama about a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD’s most impossible cases. Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare – a sober companion, Dr. Watson. A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance. However, the restless Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and he’s 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. But Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for playing investigator. Sherlock’s police contact, Capt. Tobias “Toby” Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team. With the mischievous Sherlock Holmes now running free in New York solving crimes, it’s simple deduction that he’s going to need someone to keep him grounded, and it’s elementary that it’s a job for Watson. Rob Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Cuesta, who directed the pilot, are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.

CBS released this video, which gives us a look at the show and has the cast talking about their characters.

I really liked Miller when he appeared in Dexter as the villainous Jordan Chase, and I think he could be really great as Holmes. With Cumberbatch's outstanding performance in our minds, Miller has some high standards to meet but judging from what we're seeing in the video, it seems like he's up for the task. A female Watson may take a bit more time to get used to, but Liu's proven to deliver top notch performances in the past. Perhaps this is just my optimism shining through, but I can see Elementary working out for CBS, especially for those of us who are craving Holmes between Sherlock series. At the very least, I'm willing to give it a try.

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View the rest of CBS' 2012-2013 Primetime lineup here.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.