Super sleuths can be found anywhere, even in New York City. It is here that a detective, with the most uncanny ability to read a situation, lives. Unfortunately, he has a problem with heroin addiction. Because of that, his father hires a former practicing surgeon to be his companion and help him in his recovery. From that moment on their lives are irrevocably altered. He is Sherlock Holmes, and she is Joan Watson.
After years of adventures together Watson too learns to become a detective after being under Sherlock’s tutelage, and together they make an impressive crime-fighting team working as consultants for the N.Y.P.D. Sometimes their methods are unorthodox, which lands them in a variety of difficult situations, including Sherlock being forced to leave the U.S. and live again in England. However, when Sherlock’s and Joan’s friend (the Captain of the N.Y.P.D. Precinct they consult with) is shot it forces Sherlock to return to New York City and try to bring to justice the person responsible for nearly killing the Captain. This lands them in the crosshairs of Odin Reichenbach, a CEO for a major tech company. Apparently, the Captain’s shooting is somehow tied back to Reichenbach, and it is here that they learn of a program that he has put together to help fight crime, and it’s something that neither Holmes nor Watson can get support or get behind. This sets the stage for what might be the most difficult case Holmes and Watson have ever tangled with that ultimately brings one or two people from Holmes’ past.
After 7 seasons this series finally comes to an end. For a time stories involving Sherlock Holmes had become trendy with movies in the theater, a series of movie-length episodes for the BBC, and now a series for CBS, only this time it’s set in modern-day in the U.S., and Watson is now a woman. Watson, as played by Lucy Liu, adds a completely fresh take on the character as well as the friendly relationship between Holmes and Watson, but in this case, her character is given room to grow. She starts merely as a sober companion, through her constant exposure to Holmes as his sober companion, but Liu not only shows us that itch that Watson wants so that she might be one day as good a detective as Holmes, but Liu shows Watson’s progress as she is forced to push into becoming a proper detective. Liu’s transformation is so beautifully gradual that before you know she’s able to solve complex crimes without the benefit of Holmes, but when Holmes returns to NYC Liu has Watson fall right that friendly bickering that makes these characters so much fun.
Speaking of fun, Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes is a true breath of fresh air. He has the bearing of a man who is both a genius as well as terribly damaged. Miller shows us a Holmes who is surrounded by walls and barriers, but only Watson is able to worm her way through, layer after layer.
There is a myriad of secondary, and even guest actors to appear on the show, most notable of the secondary characters is Aidan Quinn as Captain Gregson, and here Quinn convinces us that he’s from Brooklyn with his manner of speech as well as his behavior on the street. One moment he’s crusty, the next he has a heart bigger than all of the outdoors, and his scenes with as Gregson, when he’s with Holmes and Watson, are incredibly amusing as he almost comes off as the last person to figure out what is really happening around him. As far as guest actors go, one who came in a few times over the last couple of seasons is John Noble as Morland Holmes, the father to Sherlock. Noble has quite a respectable career in a variety of genre movies and television, but as Morland, he is deliciously diabolical. On one hand, he comes off as extremely kind and approachable, but then he’ll turn around and commit some atrocity that makes Sherlock’s resentment towards his father understandable.
As with all mysteries, this series had no shortage of surprising twists and revelations that always made guessing who committed the crime and why an impossibility. It always reminds me of Neil Simon’s Murder By Death where Lionel Twain bitterly complains about how detectives when writing their mysteries leave vital clues for the very last page. Elementary is no different, and to make matters worse usually the important piece to the puzzle is something that was “discovered” by our detectives during a commercial break, making it doubly difficult for the solving of the crime. Still, the magic is in the characters of Holmes and Watson as well as their own little Scooby Gang of police detectives, not to mention the collection of unsavory associates that Sherlock would call on in a moment’s notice. Now with the series ending there had to be some way to tie up both this story arc as well as this series. Most shows would probably wrap those two ideas together, but in this case, it was the penultimate episode that all but wraps up the arc with Odin Reichenbach leaving the finalé to reveal what will happen to Holmes and Watson in just a few short years. This was a troublesome episode in that I wanted more substance, but I was extremely happy with the character direction that both Sherlock and Joan had.
Closing out a series as successful as this can sometimes be problematic, but splitting up the ending of the major story arc and the series ending over two episodes not only worked by not shortchanging anything, all of the necessary answers were revealed in just the right way that would make any observant viewer say, “It was all Elementary.”