Elementary – full series synopsis and character details for the Sherlock Holmes update

Revealed: insights into Holmes's background and character, his move to New York, his relationship with Dr Joan Watson and more...


US network CBS has released a full synopsis for its modern-day Sherlock Holmes series Elementary (along with the first official shot from the show, above).


The broadcaster revealed in February that it had ordered a pilot episode of the show starring Jonny Lee Miller as the detective and Lucy Liu as his female sidekick, but further information was scant.

Now, following the announcement earlier this week that a full series of Elementary has been given the go-ahead, CBS has revealed more background to the two main characters, as well as details of their personal and working relationships.

Jonny Lee Miller’s detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu’s Dr Joan Watson are described as “a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD’s most impossible cases”.

There are also further references to Sherlock’s struggle with addiction and some explanation of what brings the former Scotland Yard detective to Manhattan:

“Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare – a sober companion, Dr Watson.” 

Joan Watson is said to have been “a successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago”, and “views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance.” 

Watson has been tasked with treating Sherlock for his addiction problems, although the detective has other ideas: 

“The restless Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and he’s devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City.” 

That’s the initial set up that sees the pair become a crime-fighting duo: “Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs. But Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for playing investigator.” 

She’s also described as the “elementary” choice to keep the “mischievous” Sherlock Holmes grounded as he “[runs] free in New York solving crimes”. 

Helping the pair in their work (and vice versa) is Sherlock’s police contact, Captain Tobias “Toby” Gregson, played by Aidan Quinn. 

Presumably filling the Lestrade role in Elementary’s take on the world of Sherlock Holmes, Gregson knows Sherlock as a brilliant detective from his work with Scotland Yard, and is said to welcome him as part of his investigative team.


Like the sound of Elementary from what you’ve heard so far? How do you think it will compare with Sherlock? Post a comment below and let us know.