July 12, 2012 5:52pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Comic-Con 2012: 'Elementary' Cast, Creators Defend Female Watson
Sherlock Holmes has crossed the pond and arrived in New York, with CBS' fresh take on the famed detective, Elementary, meeting the make-or-break audiences of Comic-Con.
Starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, the modern-day telling features Holmes relocating to the U.S., where he assists the NYPD in solving difficult cases. Liu takes on the role of Dr. Joan Watson -- that's right, Holmes' right-hand man is a lovely lady -- assigned to oversee Sherlock's newfound sobriety.
Following the premiere screening of the series, one of three first-year shows to panel inside the sprawling Ballroom 20, the cast and creators -- including Rob Doherty (Medium), Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly (Justified) -- addressed the changes in the project as well as if other famed characters from the Arthur Conan Doyle books.
"When this opportunity arose, I did a lot of research -- psychological assessments of original characters by actual doctors -- and Holmes struggled a bit with women, He struggled with people in general, but there are moments when he doesn’t quite get the fairer sex," creator Doherty said. "It made me laugh: the idea of what would be more trying than Sherlock Holmes living with a Watson who's also a woman. It really shouldn't make a difference; it's a challenge of the series to not turn it into a will-they-or-won't-they. It's not about that, it's about honoring the source material and … the bond."
Liu noted that Watson is using her job as a sober companion to distract herself from dealing with her own emotional issues and noted that there's a strong link between Watson and Holmes. "There's something special there, and there's potential. I'm not saying it's romanitic, but it gives it a different shift, a little bit of a tingle," she said to applause.
Later, asked about the controversy circulating online about a female -- and Asian-American -- Holmes, Liu and Doherty defended the casting decision and noted they simply went with the best actor for the job.
As for whether other famed characters of the Sherlock Holmes mythos would appear, Doherty noted that he'd like to see -- including Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, and archnemesis Professor Moriarty. "It's something we will be looking at as we move through this first season," Doherty said. "It's somebody I'm really looking forward to writing and having our take on [Moriarty]."
Meanwhile, the pilot makes several references to Holmes' unseen father, with the series creator noting that the character will "cast a shadow over a lot of what we do in the early goings."
"I love the idea of him as a mysterious shadowy figure we'll get to build and make a part of the series," Doherty said.
Fans were clearly stoked about the series, screaming their approval following the screening as well as after the panel. Looks like the case of whether Comic-Con fans would approve of the new Holmes is solved.
Elementary premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, on CBS.
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