Elementary creator – “Our Sherlock is not a sociopath, he believes in justice”

As the US update gets a stateside preview - and a new promo poster - creator Rob Doherty talks about his Sherlock Holmes... and Moriarty

While Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is a self-confessed sociopath, Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes is driven by a belief in justice, according to Elementary creator Rob Doherty.


“I absolutely don’t see him as a sociopath. I see him as someone who is driven… to do the right thing, to help people,” said Doherty, creator of the new CBS drama, which transplants the detective to modern-day New York (and partners him with a female sidekick, Lucy Liu’s Dr Joan Watson).

“I really do think that at the end of the day he believes in justice,” added Doherty. “It’s not just about putting bad guys behind bars. Helping people and doing the right thing are factors that play into it as well,” he told press at a preview for the US Television Critics Association.

Whether the same can be said of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s Sherlock is debatable, but what the two takes on the character do apparently have in common is their addiction to unravelling mysteries.

“Our Sherlock is a puzzle-solver,” said Doherty. “I really think that’s his obsession. To a point, you might call it an addiction. In many senses he has an addictive personality.”

Certainly, mysteries are far from the only thing Elementary’s detective is addicted to: “The original Sherlock dabbled with cocaine and opiates. Our Sherlock had those same problems,” said Doherty.

“The big difference is our Sherlock hit a serious wall. To his great surprise, the world is not as easy as he thought. Something terrible happened to him in London and he spiraled out of control.”

Doherty also revealed that Sherlock Holmes’s arch-enemy Moriarty will rear his head at some point in the new series – although it may take Holmes a while to reach him.

“In so many of the books he was such a shadowy figure. He was described as the spider at the centre of the web of crime in London,” said Doherty.

“Quite often you’re dealing with his agents because he has a finger in every pie. He’s the man behind the man behind the man. We may be able to make some use of that.

“In other words, there are a few dominoes we may knock over before we get to him.”


Elementary is due to premiere in the US on 27 September and soon afterwards in the UK on Sky Living.