Editor's Note: For more on
Elementary, see Ed Bark's
Uncle Barky's Bytes.
Elementary, the latest incarnation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective Sherlock Holmes, has enough potential to move the needle to wow. In its season premiere at 10 p.m. ET Thursday (Sept. 27) on CBS, we’re treated to a fast-paced introduction of the crime-solving duo that attracts us to both leading characters.
Jonny Lee Miller is appropriately quirky, yet riddled with a complicated past that includes drug addiction. His downfall at Scotland Yard is countered by his resurrection at NYPD with the aid of Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), hired by Holmes’ father to watch Holmes and make sure he doesn’t fall off the wagon. The two work well together, not only as Holmes and Watson, but also in the chemistry between the actors.
Miller’s Holmes is brilliant. He more than satisfies audience expectations that what’s easily overlooked by the untrained eye is a roadmap to tracking criminals. In part because of his lanky physique and closely cropped hair, but mostly because of his staccato interrogation pace, Miller’s Holmes sometimes evokes the character Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, although he’s not a nerd.
Watson is anything but elementary; she’s dazzling. Hats off to executive producers Carl Beverly and Rob Doherty for pivoting from convention and casting Lucy Liu as Watson. Any scene with her in it is a guiltless pleasure to watch, but she adds dimension to Elementary with her own very complicated past. That presents lots of opportunities for the writers to explore Watson’s relationships — with her parents, her patients when she was a surgeon and her love life. She’s Lucy Liu. How on earth could she not have suitors strewn in her wake?
At any rate, a woman as Watson and an Asian American at that, is definitely 21st century and about time. Aidan Quinn is the rugged, seasoned detective Captain Toby Gregson who calls on Holmes for crime-solving help.
If the writers can sustain the pace and clever feints shown in the opening episodes, then viewers should break out their deerstalker caps and meerschaum pipes because Elementary will not prove to be an easily-solved whodunit.