Elementary is an American crime drama on CBS that follows the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Author Conan Doyle’s famous literary character, in the modern day. The series was created by Robert Doherty, and stars Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson.
The show takes place in New York City, and focuses on Holmes helping the NYPD solve various crimes. Sherlock is a recovering drug addict, and although Dr. Watson originally joins him in order to aid in his rehabilitation, she eventually becomes his apprentice and works with him on cases.
The series faced a great deal of initial criticism, as many viewed it as a cheap imitation of BBC’s Sherlock, which was released shortly prior to Elementary’s premiere. Sue Vertue, producer of Sherlock, issued this statement prior to Elementary’s release: “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 modernized Sherlock Holmes doesn’t resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying. 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.”
In response, CBS assured viewers of the substantial differences between the two shows, stating: “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.” After the airing of the pilot, one of the show’s stars, Lucy Liu, said that the producers of Sherlock had seen the pilot, noted the differences between Elementary and Sherlock, and had no objections.
Elementary received positive responses from critics, who appreciated the chemistry amongst the cast and the creative spin on the traditional story of Sherlock Holmes. Elementary received several awards, including the PRISM, GLAAD Media, and Seoul International Drama awards, as well as the ASCAP Film & Television Music Award for Top Television Series. Lucy Liu has also received several awards for her acting, including a Teen Choice Award and an award from the New York Women in Film and Television Muse. Elementary has also been nominated for several other awards, including People’s Choice, Satellite, Primetime Emmy, and Television Critics Association awards.
The fifth season of Elementary premiered on October 2, 2016.