Sherlock Holmes is everywhere these days -- on the hit BBC series, in huge Hollywood blockbuster films and, as "Elementary" executive producer Robert Doherty pointed out, an inspiration all over TV: "I see his fingerprints on so many shows." But CBS' new version isn't like any Sherlock we've ever seen.
Set in modern-day New York City, "Elementary's" Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) is a tatted-up recovering alcoholic ("Some of my choices in the '90s have made for some time-consuming make-up calls," Miller said of his tattoos. "But not here."); Holmes, fresh out of rehab, is saddled with a sober partner named Watson, who just so happens to be a woman (hi, Lucy Liu!).
At Sunday's CBS Television Critics Association panel, Miller and Liu were joined by executive producers Doherty, Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman to tell us more about the new dynamic they're exploring here, and how they'll incorporate the stories' classic themes and characters -- including big bad Moriarty.
"Man, woman -- the friendship is core, the partnership," said Miller. "They become colleagues and partners, and there's also the other reason they have to be together that we have, the sober companionship."
But are they setting up this classic duo to now have a will-they/won't-they sexual tension? Don't count on it. "People are going to wonder, but wondering and asking questions is something you want your audience to do," Miller said.
"It’s a very fresh and wonderful take on who Watson is," Liu said, on why this part appealed to her. But when asked if being not just a woman, but an Asian-American woman playing Watson would come into play, Liu was all laughs: "I don't think I'm going to be doing any karate moves on him anytime soon," she said, before shouting "judo chop!," complete with hand motions.
Liu's Watson isn't the comic relief or the action-hero type -- at least not at first -- but she'll have to hone her skills eventually to help Holmes face off with his ultimate nemesis.
"There are a few dominoes to knock over before we ultimately get to him," Doherty said of Dr. James Moriarty. "But because I want everyone to be surprised, it's hard to give too many clues or descriptive terminology when it comes to Moriarty."
"Elementary" premieres Thurs., Sept. 27, 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
Check out more info and watch previews of CBS's new 2012-2013 shows here:
"Elementary" stars Jonny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day drama about a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD's most impossible cases. 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. A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance. However, 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. 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. Sherlock's police contact, Capt. Tobias "Toby" Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team. With the mischievous Sherlock Holmes now running free in New York solving crimes, it's simple deduction that he's going to need someone to keep him grounded, and it's elementary that it's a job for Watson. Rob Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Cuesta, who directed the pilot, are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.
"Vegas," starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis, is a drama inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a fourth-generation rancher tasked with bringing order to Las Vegas in the 1960s, a gambling and entertainment mecca emerging from the tumbleweeds. Ralph Lamb (Quaid) wants to be left in peace to run his ranch, but Las Vegas is now swelling with outsiders and corruption which are intruding on his simple life. Recalling Lamb's command as a military police officer during World War II, the Mayor appeals to his sense of duty to look into a murder of a casino worker - and so begins Lamb's clash with Vincent Savino (Chiklis), a ruthless Chicago gangster who plans to make Vegas his own. Assisting Lamb in keeping law and order are his two deputies: his diplomatic, even-keeled brother Jack (Jason O'Mara) and his charming but impulsive son, Dixon (Taylor Handley). Ambitious Assistant District Attorney Katherine O'Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss), who grew up on the ranch next to the Lambs, also lends a hand in preserving justice. In Vegas, two powerful men - Lamb and Savino - are engaged in a fierce battle for control of the budding oasis, and for both of them, folding is not an option. Nicholas Pileggi, Greg Walker, Cathy Konrad, Arthur Sarkissian and James Mangold, who also directed the pilot, are the executive producers for CBS Television Studios.
"Made In Jersey" is a drama about a young working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete among her pedigreed Manhattan colleagues at a prestigious New York law firm. Martina Garretti (Janet Montgomery) finds her firm's cutthroat landscape challenging, but what she lacks in an Ivy League education she more than makes up for with tenacity and blue-collar insight. After just a few weeks, firm founder Donovan Stark (Kyle MacLachlan), takes note of Martina's ingenuity and resourcefulness, as does her sassy secretary Cyndi Vega (Toni Trucks). With the support of her big Italian family, including her sexy older sister Bonnie (Erin Cummings), Martina is able to stay true to her roots as a bold, passionate lawyer on the rise in a new intimidating environment. Jamie Tarses, Kevin Falls, Julia Franz and Mark Waters, who also directed the pilot, are the executive producers for Sony Pictures Television in association with CBS Television Studios. Pilot was written by creator and co-executive producer Dana Calvo.
"Partners" is a comedy based on the lives of creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, about two life-long best friends and business partners whose "bromance" is tested when one of them is engaged to be married. Joe (David Krumholtz) is an accomplished architect who leads with his head and not his heart, especially in his love life. That's in stark contrast to his gay co-worker, Louis (Michael Urie), who is spontaneous, emotional and prone to exaggeration. Both have found joy in their love lives: Joe is newly engaged to Ali (Sophia Bush), a beautiful and sophisticated jewelry designer, while Louis is dating Wyatt (Brandon Routh), a vegan nurse who Louis insists is just a promotion away from becoming a doctor. As news of Joe's engagement settles, time will tell if their business and personal bond can adapt to the addition of two other important relationships. Emmy Award winners David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television. Emmy Award winner James Burrows directed the pilot.