Elementary (CBS) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

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Following the success of BBC’s ‘Sherlock’, CBS was contemplating making a remake of it for the U.S. For some reason, the deal fell through, and CBS decided just to make its own modern take on the classic Sherlock Holmes tale.

The series is created by Rob Doherty, who is known from producing and writing on ‘Medium’ and ‘Ringer’. Starring are Jonny Lee Miller (‘Trainspotting’) as the modern Sherlock Holmes, a recovering drug addict and former consultant to Schotland Yard.

After breaking out of the rehab facility in New York on the day he would be released, Holmes’ father hires a sober companion to live with him for the next couple of weeks, in his Brooklyn appartment. The sober companion, is of course Watson. The only catch is that Watson is a woman called Joan (Lucy Liu, 'Ally McBeal').

To keep himself occupied, Holmes decides to start working as a consultant for the NYPD. Because of connections he still has left from his time with Scotland Yard, he can get the job just like that. The fact that it is unpaid probably helps his case as well.

Holmes has his own way of solving cases, he is really good at observing a crime scene and a person’s behavior. Holmes also uncovers a bit of Watson’s past, how she was a surgeon who let a patient die on the operation table. This makes Watson upset and decides she’s going to get Holmes a new companion.

Later that night Holmes solves the murder case, but there is one problem: He has no proof. Watson however, helps Holmes find the much needed proof. At this point it is clear Watson secretly loves playing detective, it doesn’t come as a surprise that she decides to stay Holmes’ companion.

As could be very well expected, ‘Elementary’ is a classic CBS police procedural. The cases featured in the show aren’t very special, but what sets this show apart from the other police procedurals is the way the cases are solved. Holmes investigates and solves the murders that take place in his own, very particular way. The quirks in Holmes’ personality, and the way he deduces things about the dead people and their killers make for some funny and interesting situations.

Added to that, it seems that the relationship between Holmes and Watson is going to be the interesting serialized part of the series. I wonder if Watson’s role will get smaller and more assistant-like when she’s finished being awed by Holmes infallible deductions. Another point is that Watson is only hired for a couple of weeks, so the show will have to come up with an explanation for her staying any longer than that.

What did you think of 'Elementary'?

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Comments 6 comments

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I was trying to see this last night and fell asleep. I was so upset with myself. Fortunately it's re-airing tomorrow. I figured this would be like a regular police procedural which I believe is the strong suit of the network. I only knew Johnny Lee Miller from Hackers and as Angelina Jolie's first husband so I'm interested to see how he'll play Holmes. And as always, I think Lucy Liu is an accomplished actress. Definitely going to try and tune in.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I got half way through it. I couldn't help but compare it to Sherlock and there is no comparison.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

I saw the trailer of this and was curious to see their take on it. The BBC series is one of my favorite interpretations of Holmes and this somewhat looked like it was trying too hard... I am sure I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the review, Robin.


Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hi Alecia,

CBS does have some great police procedurals, they work really well on the network, so it is no wonder they made another one. I like that this is a show with ordinary cases, but a character that makes the show stand apart from all other shows.


Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hi Uninvited Writer,

When a TV show is a remake or based on the same character from other TV shows or books, it is always hard to not compare the two. Which is a shame because a show could be really good if you didn't compare the two. But I guess that's the risk of making a show like this.


Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hi Docmo,

I think this show is worth your shot. Let me know what you think of it after you watched it!

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