ELEMENTARY at TCA: 3 (More) Things to Know About the New CBS Series
July 29, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
There are still a couple months left before ELEMENTARY debuts on CBS, but thanks to Sunday’s Television Critics Association panel, we have a few more teases about what you can expect from the newest take on the Sherlock Holmes tale…
Moriarty is coming!
At Comic-Con just a few short weeks ago, ELEMENTARY executive producer Rob Doherty said it would be “a shame” for legendary Holmes foe Moriarty to not show up on the new CBS series. And true to his word, Doherty kicked off the ELEMENTARY session at the Television Critics Association by announcing that Moriarty will indeed play a role in the latest adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story.
“We officially have a plan for our Moriarty, and we look forward to introducing you to him as we go,” Doherty teased.
When he was pressed to expand on what Moriarty might be up to in ELEMENTARY, Doherty was a bit coy.
“I’m trying to figure out what I can and cannot say about Moriarty at this point,” he said. “We want to keep all our secrets. You know, I feel it’s important at the end of the day to be true to the spirit of the character. I feel like there’s a little more wiggle room with Moriarty in that…in so many of the books, he was such a shadowy figure. I think he was described as the spider at the center of the web of crime in London. So quite often you’re dealing with his agents…he’s the man behind the man behind the man. We may be able to make some use of that. In other words, there are a few dominos we knock over before we ultimately get to him, but because I want everyone to be surprised, it’s hard to give too many clues or descriptive terminology when it comes to Moriarty at the moment.”
What makes this Sherlock tick?
“Our Sherlock is a puzzle‑solver,” Doherty noted. “I really think that is his obsession to the point you might call it an addiction. I think, in many senses, he has something of an addictive personality…the original Sherlock dabbled with cocaine, dabbled with opiates. Our Sherlock had those same problems, but I think one of the big differences is our Sherlock hit a serious wall…I’ve always described him as someone for whom the world and life came quite easily because he could see so many things…But, obviously, something happened [before the series]. To his great surprise, the world is not as easy as he thought.”
What exactly happened to Sherlock is a bit of mystery that is briefly addressed in the pilot.
“Something terrible happened to him in London,” Doherty teased. “He spiraled out of control. And I think what we have…our Sherlock has emerged with what I think is at his core just a tiny kernel of self‑doubt where one previously never existed. It’s not something we are going to speak to very often, but I think it’s one of the things that drives him. I absolutely don’t see him as a sociopath. I see him as someone who is driven, again, to solve puzzles, to do the right thing, to help people. I really do think, at the end of the day, he believes in justice. It’s not just about putting bad guys behind bars. Helping people and doing the right thing are factors that play into it as well.”
So what IS going on with Sherlock and Watson?
“I think Rob put it really well — I heard him talk about it the other week…the friendship is core,” Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock) said, who earlier in the session cited the relationship between Watson and Sherlock as one of the things that makes his character so unique. “The partnership [between them], and they become colleagues, partners. There’s also the other reason that they have to be together that we have, the sober companionship. But Robert said that it is a man and woman, it shouldn’t matter. And there is that element, and people are going to wonder, but then wondering and asking questions is something that you really want your audience to do, isn’t it?
Additionally, Lucy Liu said Sherlock’s discomfort with the opposite sex brings an entirely different tension to the relationship.
“I also think that Rob brought up something really wonderful at Comic‑Con, which was that he could have made Watson a man,” Liu said. “That was, kind of a given, and the only reason he didn’t is because, in the stories themselves, you’ll see that Sherlock Holmes has a bit of an awkward relationship with the other gender. And so bringing that into play, it’s a constant reminder of that awkwardness and that division between being a friend — but it’s a woman. So it’s sort of like in geometry, there’s a given, and that’s now a given, and that’s a very nice thing to always have under there because it’s like having an itchy sweater. You know you have it on, but there’s a little bit something is going on. So I think that’s a nice thing to have that uncomfortability.”
What do you hope to see from ELEMENTARY?
And to be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel atyoutube.com/givememyremotetv