“Elementary’s” Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and
Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) are friends — without benefits. And the burgeoning partners’ relationship will remain platonic, promises showrunner Rob Doherty.
“As long as I’m part of this show it’s not something I will want to see,” he told reporters Saturday (Jan. 12) at the TCA press tour.
“Many people will be desirous of [a romance],” he acknowledges, “there will be that expectation, [but] we love to defy expectations on this show. Mostly because I don’t think we need it.
“When you look at the relationship in the original Conan Doyle canon they didn’t need to get together,” he quipped. “They did quite nicely — they managed to tell many fascinating stories.
“I’d like to apply that thinking to this show as long as I possibly can,” regardless of the fact that his Watson is a woman.
That decision was roundly criticized by a number of “Sherlock Holmes” fans, who also voiced resistance to another modern-day adaptation following so closely on the heels of the U.K.’s critical darling, “Sherlock.”
“We knew we had to deal with a lot of combative press comparing us to [‘Sherlock’],” notes Liu. [But] once all that noise pollution dies down — [our busy work schedule] dulls it down to nice silence.”
Doherty admitted that he felt “dismayed” by some of the early criticism about “Elementary.” “People who are passionate [about the] original works are entitled to their passion, [but] sometimes I felt people drifted into a very close-minded place.
“I respect everyone’s opinion to a degree, but personally I thought anyone who was genuine angry about it — my advice to you would be: ‘Please move along.’
“The people who don’t watch show because we happen to have a female Watson — I don’t miss them.”
When asked (again) about the reaction of his mate Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the famous consulting detective in “Sherlock,” Miller said he “was extremely complimentary — he sent me some messages when he first saw the show [which was] really, really nice.”
But he noted with a laugh:
“I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have sent me a text message saying, ‘You suck.'”
“I saw him at the Emmys,” added Liu, “and he was really effusive about the show. The other Watson [Martin Freeman, now starring in ‘The Hobbit’] was there, and the two of us took a picture together [as the] two Watsons,” joking that she was heading to London “to switch” roles.
Speaking of London, Doherty reveals that in addition to meeting Moriarty later this season, “We’ll meet Sherlock’s dealer from London,” played by John Hannah (“Damages”). “The window into Sherlock and his experience in London is going to open that much wider for having met this character.”
Doherty was coy about the status of Sherlock’s girlfriend Irene Adler, whom Sherlock believes was murdered by Moriarty. (Her character was also presumed dead in “Sherlock.”)
“Irene is alive in my heart,” he said. “I’d love to have a face to that name. We’ve talked in a roundabout way about maybe doing a flashback show … we definitely want to meet her, so in that sense you will see a living, breathing actress reading lines and portraying her.”
Doherty was equally mum about the casting for the Napoleon of crime.
“It’s a tricky business. We are serious about Moriarty, but in this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to stunt [cast] a role and not have everyone in universe know … We’re approaching it as carefully and quietly as we can. It’s less fun for me if all of you know who it is and when he’ll arrive.”
“Elementary,” the No. 1 new show on television, is looking forward to attracting even more viewers when it airs in a special episode after the Super Bowl Feb. 3.
“We could not be more excited about it,” enthuses Doherty. “It’s a really coveted spot [and a] tremendous honor to get it as first-year show. We’re going to do our level best to keep the audience in their seats after the game.”