Elementary (TV series)

Created by Robert Doherty
Based on The works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Composer(s) Sean Callery
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 104 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Alysse Bezahler
Geoffrey Hemwall
Melissa Owen
Carol Cuddy
Location(s) New York, United States
Cinematography Nelson Cragg
Ron Fortunato
Tom Houghton
Peter Reniers
Editor(s) Gerald Valdez
Sondra Watanabe
Running time 43–46 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Paramount Home Media Distribution (DVD)
Original network CBS
Original release September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27) – present
External links
Official website

Elementary is an American procedural drama series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. The series 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. The series is set and filmed primarily in New York City.[1]

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 mutually respectful of one another. He is accompanied by Dr. Joan Watson, 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, and she becomes Holmes' apprentice. 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.[2] After the premiere, it was picked up for a full season and later an extra two episodes.[3][4] The season two premiere was partly filmed on location in London.[5] The series has since been well received by critics, who have praised the performances, writing, and novel approach to the source material. On March 25, 2016, CBS renewed the series for a fifth season, which premiered on October 2, 2016.[6][7]


Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, an eccentric modern 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 grouchy new charge on his jobs.

Over time, Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a talent with 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.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
124September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27)May 16, 2013 (2013-05-16)
224September 26, 2013 (2013-09-26)May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15)
324October 30, 2014 (2014-10-30)May 14, 2015 (2015-05-14)
424November 5, 2015 (2015-11-05)May 8, 2016 (2016-05-08)
524[8]October 2, 2016 (2016-10-02)TBA

Cast and characters




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."[18] Beverly spoke about the relationship between Sherlock and Watson in the show in July 2012:

Rob [Doherty] 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.[18]


Liu was cast by February 2012.[19] 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."[20]

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."[21] 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."[22]

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."[22]

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.[18] 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."[1]


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.[23]


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 41 collected reviews, with an average score of 7.3 out of 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."[24] It also holds a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100 based on 29 sampled reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25] 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".[26] 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."[27] 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)".[28]

Season two was met with equally positive reviews. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews, with an average score of 8.5 out of 10.[29] 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 [30] - 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.[31] Noel Kirkpatrick of TV.com also praised Ifans, saying he "very finely" played the role.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] Kirkpatrick also appreciated the season as a whole for its development of Holmes' character, as well as the performance of the cast.

Season three continues the Elementary's trend of a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on six reviews, with an average score of 8.9 out of 10.[35] IGN praised the evolution of Watson as a character in the show, saying "While other Holmes/Watson incarnations focus Watson being a friend, medic, and put-upon backup, Elementary has elevated the character into someone with loftier aspirations."[36] 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".[37]

Season four, like previous seasons, was met with a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews, with an average score of 7.4 out of 10.[38] 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 didn't 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".[39]


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Rank Avg. viewers
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Thursday 10:00 pm 24 September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27) 13.41[40] May 16, 2013 (2013-05-16) 8.98[41] 2012–13 14 12.65[42]
2 24 September 26, 2013 (2013-09-26) 10.18[43] May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15) 7.37[44] 2013–14 20 11.74[45]
3 24 October 30, 2014 (2014-10-30) 7.57[46] May 14, 2015 (2015-05-14) 6.96[47] 2014–15 35 11.12[48]
4 Thursday 10:00 pm (1–16)
Sunday 10:00 pm (17–24)
24 November 5, 2015 (2015-11-05) 5.58[49] May 8, 2016 (2016-05-08) 5.46[50] 2015–16 43 9.14[51]
5 Sunday 10:00 pm TBA October 2, 2016 6.03[52] TBA TBD 2016–17 TBD TBD

Awards and nominations

The series has been nominated and won several high-profile television & entertainment awards:[53]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2012 New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award Actress Lucy Liu Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Drama Elementary Nominated
Satellite Awards Actor in a Television Series Drama Jonny Lee Miller Nominated
2013 ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards Top Television Series Sean Callery & Mark Snow Won
Edgar Allan Poe Awards TV Episode Teleplay "Child Predator" Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Sean Callery Nominated
Outstanding Main Title Design Elementary Nominated
Prism Awards Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance Use Elementary Nominated
Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Lucy Liu Nominated
EIC President's Award Elementary Won
Saturn Award Best Network Television Series Elementary Nominated
Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actress Lucy Liu Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action Lucy Liu Won
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding New Program Elementary Nominated
2014 GLAAD Media Awards[54] Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character) "Snow Angels" Won
2015 Prism Awards Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance Use "No Lack of Void" / "End of Watch"' Won
Drama Episode – Mental Health "Corpse de Ballet" Nominated
Voice Awards[55] Television Elementary Won


In Australia, Elementary premiered on Network Ten on February 3, 2013.[56] The second season started airing on March 23, 2014.[57] The third season started airing on March 2, 2015.[58]

In Canada, it airs simultaneously on Global.[59][60][61] In New Zealand, it premiered on Prime on February 27, 2013.[62]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the series was acquired by Sky Living.[63] It debuted on October 23, 2012.[64] The second season premiered on October 22, 2013.[65] The third season began airing on November 11, 2014.[66]

On February 3, 2013, Elementary was broadcast after Super Bowl XLVII. 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.[67][68]

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).

See also


  1. Gregson was originally identified as Tobias Gregson in the media, the name used in the original stories. The name Tobias was used briefly in early reviews of the show. Holmes identifies him as Capt. Thomas Gregson in episode 201 and he is repeatedly referred to as Thomas in episode 206.[10][11] The show's writers and CBS media site have subsequently confirmed the character's correct name is Thomas.[12][13][14]


  1. 1 2 Yuan, Jada (September 27, 2012). "Lucy Liu on Elementary and That Other Sherlock Show Starring Benedict Cumberbatch". Vulture. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  2. Handlen, Zack (January 20, 2014). "How the CBS procedural surpassed the BBC drama". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  3. Kondolojy, Amanda (October 23, 2012). "Vegas & Elementary Get Full Season Orders From CBS". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  4. Porter, Rick (November 15, 2012). "Guys With Kids and Elementary get more episodes & Vegas cut by one". Zap2It. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  5. Kondolojy, Amanda (March 27, 2013). "The Good Wife, Elementary, Person Of Interest, 2 Broke Girls, NCIS: LA, The Mentalist, Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0 & Blue Bloods Renewed by CBS". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  6. "Find Out Which CBS Shows Have Also Been Renewed For The 2016-2017 Season!". CBS. March 25, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  7. Andreeva, Nellie (June 21, 2016). "CBS Sets Fall 2016 Premiere Dates, Slates JonBenet Ramsey Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  8. "Elementary - Season 5 - CBS Orders 2 More Episodes". SpoilerTV. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  9. "About Elementary". CBS. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  10. Hale, Mike (September 27, 2012). "A Sherlock Holmes, Out of Rehab and Teaming Up With a Lady Watson". The New York Times. p. C3. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  11. McNamara, Mary (September 26, 2012). "Television review: 'Elementary' puts new Sherlock, Watson on the case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  12. Elementary Writers (April 14, 2013). "@Elementary_Fans In the Elementraverse, Gregson's first name is 'Tommy.'". Twitter. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  13. "About the Show: Elementary". CBS Press Express. July 2013. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  14. "Bios: Aidan Quinn". CBS Press Express. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  15. "Tremors". Elementary. Season 2. Episode 10. December 5, 2013. CBS.
  16. Gelman, Vlada. "'Elementary' Boss on Joan's New Life, Sherlock's 'Rougher' Protégé & More". TVLine. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  17. Fowle, Kyle (2016). "Elementary recap: 'Murder Ex Machina'". Entertainment Weekly.
  18. 1 2 3 Roberts, Sheila (July 17, 2012). "Comic-Con: Executive Producers Robert Doherty and Carl Beverly Talk New CBS Series ELEMENTARY, Comparisons to SHERLOCK, and More". Collider. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  19. Goldberg, Lesley (February 27, 2012). "Lucy Liu to Play Watson in CBS's Sherlock Holmes Drama Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  20. Goldberg, Lesley (July 29, 2012). "TCA 2012: 'Elementary' Showrunner Says Most Shows Have a Sherlock". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  21. Sherwin, Adam (January 21, 2012). "Legal thriller looms as Sherlock takes his caseload to New York". The Independent. London. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  22. 1 2 Sherwin, Adam (February 15, 2012). "Jonny Lee Miller to play Sherlock Holmes in US series". The Independent. London. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  23. Chuck Taylor. "New CBS Drama Elementary Set In Brooklyn Heights and filmed In Harlem". Brooklyn Heights. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  24. "Elementary - Season 1 Reviews". Flixster. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  25. "Elementary - Season 1 Reviews". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  26. Phelim O'Neill. "Elementary – box set review". The Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  27. "Fall TV preview: Female doctors lead promising new shows". Suntimes.com. Archived from the original on 17 February 2014. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  28. Farhi, Paul (16 September 2013). "CBS's Elementary: Sherlock, Rehabbed". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  29. "Elementary - Season 2 Reviews". Flixster. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  30. McNutt, Myles. "Elementary - "Step Nine"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  31. McNutt, Myles. "Elementary: "The Grand Experiment"". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  32. Kirkpatrick, Noel. "Elementary Season 2 Premiere Review: Home Again, Home Again". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  33. McNutt, Myles. "Elementary: "The Diabolical Kind"". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  34. Kirkpatrick, Noel. "Elementary "The Diabolical Kind" Review: Affection Was Never Wasted". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  35. "Elementary - Season 3 Reviews". Flixster. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  37. Matt Fowler (15 May 2015). "Elementary: "A Controlled Descent" Review". IGN.
  38. "Elementary - Season 4 Reviews". Flixster. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  39. Matt Fowler (November 11, 2015). "ELEMENTARY: "THE PAST IS PARENT" REVIEW". IGN.
  40. Kondolojy, Amanda (September 28, 2012). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory', 'Grey's Anatomy', Adjusted Up; 'Parks & Rec', 'Up All Night', 'SNL: Weekend Update', 'The Office', 'Glee', 'Scandal', 'Rock Center' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  41. Kondolojy, Amanda (May 17, 2013). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Hannibal', 'The Big Bang Theory', 'The Vampire Diaries', 'Grey's Anatomy' & 'Office' Retrospective Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  42. Dominic Patten. "Full 2012-2013 TV Season Series Rankings". Deadline.
  43. Kondolojy, Amanda (September 27, 2013). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory', 'The Michael J Fox Show' & 'The X Factor' Adjusted Up; 'The Crazy Ones' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  44. Bibel, Sara (May 16, 2014). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'Grey's Anatomy' Adjusted Up; 'Reign' & 'The Millers' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  45. Deadline Team, The (May 23, 2014). "Full 2013-14 Series Rankings". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  46. Bibel, Sara (October 31, 2014). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Vampire Diaries' & 'Scandal' Adjusted Up; 'Mom', 'Two and a Half Men', 'The McCarthys' & 'Elementary' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  47. Bibel, Sara (May 15, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Blacklist' Adjusted Up; 'Reign' Adjusted Down; No Adjustment to 'Scandal'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  48. Deadline Team, The (May 22, 2015). "Full 2014-15 Series Rankings". Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  49. Porter, Rick (November 6, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Elementary' and 'Mom' adjust down considerably thanks to NFL". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
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  53. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2191671/awards?ref_=tt_awd
  54. Townsend, Megan (May 3, 2014). "George Takei, "Orange is the New Black," "Concussion" among #GLAADAwards recipients in New York City". GLAAD. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  55. "2015 Award Winners".
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  58. Knox, David (February 27, 2015). "Elementary: March 2". TV Tonight. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
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  61. "Elementary — Episode Guide". Global Television Network. Shaw Media. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  62. "Prime TV and CBS Studios International Conclude New Deal". May 30, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  63. Munn, Patrick (July 3, 2012). "BSkyB Acquires UK Rights To 'Arrow', 'Elementary', 'The Following' & 'Vegas'". TVWise. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
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