As Elementary’s second season unfolds, the relationship between Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) continues to deepen: Joan has not only shifted from sober companion to detective protégé, but a trusted friend Sherlock cares a great deal about.
“There’s a certain amount of comfort between them; they’re much more of a partnership,” Miller told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s PaleyFest: Made in NY event Oct. 5. “Me and Lucy, we work well together, but we’re looking for friction as well. I think that’s more interesting.”
The most recent episode of the CBS drama had Joan opening up to Sherlock about one of her patient’s deaths under her watch. When the patient’s son asks Joan to invest in a business project, she gives into her guilt and asks Sherlock for an advance. Instead, he gifts her with a hefty sum to pay the ailing son off and rid herself of regret.
“I knew there was something that had gone awry, but I didn’t really know what had happened until I actually read it myself,” said Liu, wearing an embellished herringbone dress from Roberto Cavalli. “It gives more dimension to her. She’s been following [Sherlock], running after him and trying to figure out how to help him as a sober companion, and then trying to catch up and learn from him as an apprentice. This is a nice way to accent the second season and say, this season, she’s definitely his partner, and these are little things about Watson that you’ll learn.”
However, Doherty clarified once again that Sherlock and Joan will not be another epic love story, as the friendship from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle canon is sacred and special and worth preserving.
“I feel like a broken record, so forgive me, but it’s just not what we set out to do,” explained Doherty, as the audience applauded. “At the end of the day, it’s too easy to turn it into a romance … We’ve been happy with what we’ve done up to this point, so I don’t see any reason to mess with it. We want to mess with Sherlock’s life and Joan’s life in many other different ways, but we don’t have to put them together.”
Miller added: “If there’s one thing that has to be faithful, it’s the Holmes/Watson relationship, it has to be sacred almost, really. I think you can play with certain things but if you take the anchor way from the entire thing, then you’re drifting, and the show is something else.” Yet Liu joked, “When ratings fall, tops will come off!”
Liu confirmed that Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) will make his way from London to New York. “Their lack of a relationship actually helps the dynamic between me, Sherlock and Mycroft, and adds a little bit of a comic energy. Also, a side of Sherlock you’ve never seen – the younger brother. There’s a vulnerability there that I think is really lovely. I find it very funny too, but that’s just me.”
Doherty announced that Natalie Dormer will return midseason as Irene Adler/Moriarty, and aside from adding Laura Benanti and Steve Kazee as guest stars, Elementary will introduce Captain Thomas Gregson’s (Aidan Quinn) wife. Jon Michael Hill said he’d be surprised if they made it out of the season without encountering Marcus Bell’s brother Andre (Malcolm Goodwin) again.
Throughout the panel, the creators and cast shared their initial thoughts about joining the show (Quinn was the only one on the fence), and their familiarity with the Sherlock Holmes literature (Miller’s copy now looks like “a hedgehog of Post-Its”), and the unique interpretation of Watson as an Asian-American female (one attendee praised Liu for “decolonizing the British literary canon"). A paranoid Miller, who is British, jokingly checked if his glass of water was poisonous.
Audiences were also treated to an early screening of the Oct. 10 hour, an “espionage episode that has an [Edward] Snowden/Wikileaks/[Julian] Assange-type character that deals with interesting topical issues of what’s going on with our government and electronic surveillance in our lives,” Quinn told THR. Written by executive producer Craig Sweeney, the episode ventures into Joan’s love life (and revisits Sherlock’s), and hints at a point of Joan’s legacy in the canon.
Elementary airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.
Lucy Liu: Action scenes, reactions to a female Watson, romance
Aidan Quinn: Holmes and Gregson bond, Gregson's wife
Jon Michael Hill: Is Bell learning from Sherlock?
EPs and head writers: "smack talk" for the other Sherlock Holmes incarnations, Moriarty, romance
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"Shatson" is the writers' nickname for Sherlock & Watson LOL. Clearly didn't think that one through.