TV Review: Elementary Season 1

With the series leaving Amazon Prime, I finally get around to watching Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in the entertaining Elementary

“What kind of a name is Sherlock”

Who knows what inspired Robert Doherty to think of a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s indelible Sherlock Holmes but there’s something of a wry symmetry between Frankenstein theatrical co-stars Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch each getting to play the role within a year of appearing at the National Theatre together in 2011.

Cumberbatch of course starred in Sherlock from 2010 whilst Miller took on the role in the US-based Elementary which relocated the detective to New York City, starting in 2012. And with the marvellous Lucy Liu on hand as Dr Joan Watson, the show became a CBS mainstay with full-on 24 episode series as opposed to the event TV nature of its British forebear.

I’m not going to review formally but one of the joys of the show for a theatre nerd like me, spotting the famous (to me) faces and Broadway names popping up in the supporting cast. So I’m just going to point out my faves for a bit of fun:

  1. It’s a blink-and-miss-her moment (which should be illegal for stars like this) but the talented Judy Kuhn features briefly in fourth episode ‘The Rat Race’ as ‘Board Member’
  2. Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose pops up in Episode 5 ‘Lesser Evils’ as a former friend of Watson’s, Dr. Carrie Dwyer, their relationship having gone a bit spiky.
  3. The same episode features the swoonsome David Harbour as Dr. Mason Baldwin who may or may not be suspicious but you’d probably still forgive him anyway, right?
  4. I can’t say too much about Roger Rees’ turn as Alistair Moore in Episode 6 ‘Flight Risk’ for risks of spoilers but it is lots of good fun for this great character actor
  5. And I also liked getting to see 24’s Michelle aka Reiko Aylesworth in that episode too as Miranda Molinari, mixed up in the airplane crash that is the case of that week
  6. Who doesn’t LOVE Lisa Edelstein, so all should be delighted to see her get a genius mini character arc in Episode 8 ‘The Long Fuse’ as Heather Vanowen, a flirty bombshell with quite a past
  7. I’m still not entirely convinced by the reinvention of Vinnie Jones as actor but Episode 12 ‘M’ features a striking appearance by him as Sebastian Moran, a nefarious figure who may link to Sherlock’s past
  8. Episode 19 ‘Snow Angels’ sees the introduction of an iconic Conan Doyle character in Ms. Hudson, played with engaging vigour by Candis Cayne, suggesting that an interesting future as a regular that sadly never came to pass   
  9. Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham stars in Episode 21 ‘A Landmark Story’ as the rather menacing Daniel Gottlieb who has ties to series super-villain Moriarty
  10. The series finale ‘Heroine’ largely revolves around a great reveal (which I’m not mentioning) so attention is being paid instead to the Mummy himself – Arnold Vosloo. Playing on his ethnic ambiguity once again, here he’s a Greek ne-er-do-well Christos Theophilus.

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