12:16 pm - 12/19/2012

Elementary: Female Watson 'Started as a Joke'

Rob Doherty's choice to pair Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes with a woman resulted in fall's No. 1 new series, and inclusion in THR's 2012 Rule Breakers portfolio.

"It started out as something of a joke," creator Rob Doherty confesses of his decision to make the Watson in his Sherlock Holmes tale a woman. When he began to research the story's original characters, he came across a handful of experts who had written up psychological assessments of Sherlock; one of them had noted an aversion to women.

"I thought to myself, 'What would make Holmes crazier than taking the figurative rock he has in Watson and making him a woman?' I scribbled it down and then went back to my research," the 38-year-old Elementary showrunner continues. "The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try it."

The result: casting Asian-American film star Lucy Liu as the first female Watson opposite Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock and an impressive 13.9 million viewers tuning in weekly, making Elementary the No. 1 new series with total viewers this fall. (Among the key 18-to-49 set, the series ranks No. 2 behind only NBC's breakout Revolution.) And come February, the CBS drama -- one of the season's few hits with critics and audiences alike -- will get the coveted post-Super Bowl slot.
The show's stars, Liu, 44, and Miller, 40, still are making sense of the series' success, particularly rewarding because the show colors outside the lines in a way that excites both of them.

"To me, one of the best things you can do in this profession is to take a risk," says Miller, whose co-star plays sober coach to his recovering-addict Sherlock. Liu says the tweak in formula can liberate the story in other ways as well: "There's an endless supply of unpredictability that we can delve into and we can change and add. It will still be a pound cake, but it could be marble, it could be lemon, it could be poppy seed."

sarahvma 19th-Dec-2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'm biased, but I felt like Eccleston was at least more genuinely interested in the hopes/dreams/thoughts of people around him.

He was still a James Bond Jesus the way Who always has to be, but there was less dick worship for him than there was for Tennant.
sherlockholmes 19th-Dec-2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Eccleston was pretty good. I think the show, as it gained steam and popularity, just started getting more... full of itself.
sarahvma 19th-Dec-2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
That seems fair. The Eccleston episodes just seemed a lot more fun, which is ironic because I feel like Eccleston was darker and that his goofiness was a mask, whereas I never bought Tennant's shout-y moments and thought he was more himself when he was doing his little "WELLLLL" routines and so forth.
maria1221 19th-Dec-2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Eccleston is and will always be my favorite (outside of Baker). The way he looked at Rose, with such respect and awe, the conflict and turmoil he portrayed after the war...

Sigh, I genuinely miss that man so much.also, maths will always be my beloved because SHE left and put the needs of her family and herself first, BRAVO.
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