Elementary Season 1: What to Expect in 2013

Elementary - CBS

Elementary season 1 continues on Thursday, January 31, and with another special episode airing after the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3. The cast, including Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, along with creator Robert Doherty were on hand at TCA 2013 to discuss what fans can expect from the rest of the show’s first season.

The Super Bowl episode has been a bear. Asked about what it’s been like to film such an important episode like the one airing after the big game, Robert Doherty said, “It’s been a bear, but in a lovely way. It was an episode that we had to do in two parts, in that we were shut down for a couple of weeks for a holiday hiatus. So some of the work was done prior to the break. A lot of work has been done this week to wrap up the episode.”

A full season order was wonderful news. Johnny Lee Miller talked about what it was like when they heard that the show was the number 1 most watched new show. He said, “You kind of hope for the best, but you try and do the best that you can. You never in your wildest dreams imagine that. Your first goal is to stay on the air, you know, in any new show. Make a product that you want to make; make the show you want to make; make it as good as can. But just to stay on. To be given our full season order was wonderful news for all of us. And that was really hugely exciting.”

Being compared to other versions of Sherlock Holmes is stressful. Asked about the pressure of the Super Bowl episode, plus being the number 1 new show, Lucy Liu said, “It’s more that we knew that we had to deal with a lot of the combative press about comparing us to the one that was currently there, and what’s going on with all the different incarnations of Sherlock Holmes being in films, and how will the characters be different from one another. How is it going to be having a man and a woman working together, and things like that. I think that once all that noise pollution kind of dies down, when you’re working and the hours and the amount of locations and all of that, it just sort of dulls it down to a nice silence.”

The show is going to get more serialized as season 1 continues. Asked about Moriarty and whether his appearance on the show will make Elementary more serialized, Doherty said, “I foresee us getting a bit more serialized than we have been as we get into something of an end run for this first season. We’ll still look to have a case that begins and ends over the course of a single hour of television. But you want to dollop Moriarty out appropriately, and we have a strong sense of what we want to do. We have since the beginning of the season. Some of the specifics still need to be ironed out. But, yes, as we get closer and closer to wrapping the season there will be a bit more serialization.”

Miller and Liu’s chemistry helps the writing process. Asked about whether the writing changed after seeing Miller and Lui work together in the first episode, Doherty said, “As what I saw on the screen and tried to write to, I don’t know that chemistry is a strong enough word. I don’t know that it encapsulates what I saw. But most immediately you enjoyed seeing them together. And that was huge. That was crucial to the success of the show, or at least to the degree of success we’ve had to this point. I’m blown away by almost every cut that ends up coming in.”

Miller and Liu have become a team, in real life as well as on the show. Miller spoke too about the relationship between Holmes and Watson. He said, “It’s an incredible thing about this medium, and working close with another actor on a show where you’re there all the time working together – your relationship in real life develops, and you become very close as a team, as we do with everyone that we work with. It’s not like we’re doing a run on a play where we do the same two hours every time, repeat that. It’s constantly evolving. So it’s extremely interesting, and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to help each other. And, you know, it’s a real blessing to form a working relationship and a bond with someone that you, you know, love and respect so much.”

The Holmes and Watson relationship is going to get redefined. Asked about what will happen when the sober companion part of Watson’s job ends, Doherty said, “We’ve always planned to get to a point in the season where we formalized the relationship. I mean, you know, the sober companionship was a starting point. It gave Watson a real purpose to be in the life of Holmes. But you can’t do that for six, seven, eight years. And so we don’t plan to redefine that relationship. I feel like a powerful friendship has developed. That may not be the term that either character would use to describe that relationship, but it’s a friendship. And yet my sense of Sherlock is that everything needs to be defined in a more formal way. So I think that as he recognizes the sober companion side of things, or the sober companion side of Joan, is sort of falling away, he’ll want to make her more appropriate; more of an associate, more of a partner, more of somebody he can lean on and utilize in an investigative way.”

Miller loves playing Holmes because he is raw. Talking about his character, Miller said, “Any time that you get to color that with history and emotion and those darker sides, which are a part of all of us, that’s really the bread and butter of what we do. So any chance that any of us get to do that is really great. And, you know, one thing I love about this character is that he’s quite raw, and his struggles are on the surface. And hopefully that makes it more enjoyable for people, and they can identify with that really. And that’s what we’re trying to do is make a drama.”

We will definitely meet Irene Adler in some form. Asked about the character of Irene Adler and if she will ever be seen on the show, Doherty said, “She’s an important element of Sherlock’s backstory, especially our Sherlock. I’d love to have a face to that name. And we’ve talked, in a very roundabout way, about maybe doing a flashback show where we can see a little bit more of why would someone like our Sherlock be drawn to this particular woman? What is it about her that would that he would be attracted to? She’s got to be pretty unique. So we definitely want to meet her. And so in that sense, you will see a living, breathing actress reading lines and portraying Irene.”

But don’t expect to know who Moriarty is too soon. When talking about the introduction of the Moriarty character and the casting of such an important role, Doherty said, “You know, it’s tricky business. We cannot wait to get more serious about Moriarty. In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to stunt a role and not have everyone in the universe know that this person is coming and will be revealed as this character. So we’re approaching it very carefully and as quietly as we can. At the end of the day, we want a tremendous actor, but again, it’s certainly less fun for me if all of you know who it is and when they’ll arrive and what they’ll be doing. But it’s a problem in the immediate future, but at least not we have a few more weeks, I think, before we have to sweat that.”

What do you think now that you’ve heard more about Elementary from the cast and creator? Are you excited to see what else will be happening this season? Are you planning to watch that special episode after the Super Bowl?

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  • The upcoming episodes sound promising. Hope they do a great job at their version of Moriarty.


  • anon

    Line 2, Liu’s last name was misspelled