The modern day retelling of Sherlock Holmes is a mega-hit for the BBC, which is why U.S. network CBS, has decided to adapt the series for American audiences.  The big change up for domestic audiences is switching Dr. John Watson to Dr. Joan Watson and having the character played by Lucy Liu.

The official series plot from CBS

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 tolive 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.

I’m kind of split on my thoughts on this show. On one hand – Lucy Lui. On the other hand, the BBC Sherlock series is awesome. Heck, I’ll probably end up watching and enjoying both.


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. From the trailer I saw, the BBC Sherlock has nothing to worry about. The US version not close to as good.

  2. Why did they feel the need to change Watson’s gender? Did they think Americans couldn’t wrap their heads around the concept of two dudes solving mysteries? Did the network just demand there be a female lead? Were they afraid Americans couldn’t handle the oft-used quasi-homo sexual tension between Holmes and Watson? Or did Lucy Liu just really, really want the part?

  3. justanothergeek on

    Oh dear, it’s actually happening! I really thought people would realize that this is a bad idea.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean that this is going to be a bad show, I love Jonny Lee Miller acting and it’s great to see Lucy Liu again but, I think it’s conceptually problematic and it’s going to be difficult to get away from that.

  4. The Holmes here seems to be lacking the know-it-all edge of the BBC series or FOX’s House… the closest he comes is the strangling related interrogation and that’s hardly any edgier than socially awkward super-detectives like Monk, Bones, or Grissom.

  5. ~wyntermute~ on

    I =just= found out about “Sherlock” this past weekend (I hadn’t watched “Masterpiece Theatre” in a long time, okay? Sue me. :P), and… Well, I’m going to be getting THAT over this, based on the 4 or 5 minutes of “The Hounds of Baskerville” that I saw (and switched away from, when I realized it was halfway-through). This show is going to attempt to out-mentalist “The Mentalist”, as far as I can tell, and won’t do much more than a season’s worth of episodes.

    • The mentalist is actually doing an entire riff on Sherlock. “You know my methods. Apply them.” Chap. 6, p. 112 The Sign of the Four.
      His methods are to observe and deduce. The Mentalist does exactly what Holmes does but more charming.
      I know Holmes did Cocain and Morphine recreationally, but the show takes it a little too far.
      I was actually a little repulsed.

  6. This isn’t an adaptation of the BBC series. CBS asked Moffat to do an American adaptation, but he either didn’t want to or didn’t have time, so this is just an American version of their idea, but not an adaptation.

  7. I really feel like they completely missed why “Sherlock” was successful when they came up with this show. The BBC series has been a hit because they used the source material as much as possible to tell their stories. This one just seems to want to throw the Holmes name at a poor detective series that will eventually try to have Joan and Sherlock hook up.

  8. Oldcomicfan on

    From the clues in this video, I can make four deductions. This is another case of American media copycatting somebody else as opposed to thinking up a good idea of their own. Two: They’ve also showed us the best parts of the entire show in the clip. Three: The producer are trying to be trendy by making Watson a woman and giving Holmes tattoos. Meh. Four: The producers have obviously never READ an actual Sherlock Holmes story. Five: It looks nice but being as this is American TV you know they are automatically going to screw it up. It probably won’t last one season.
    Okay, that’s five deductions, but, hey, I’m no Sherlock.

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