• Network: CBS
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 27, 2012
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 237 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 237

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  1. Sep 27, 2012
    A fairly generic procedural crime drama that uses Holmes and Watson in name only. Other than the names these characters are indistinguishable from the myriad of similar characters on similar shows. Just another case of the week show, only this one uses a big license to get people to pay attention. Without the name I don't think anyone would care at all, and even with the name I certainly do not. If you love procedurals then I am sure this will bring enjoyment, but if you are in it for Sherlock Holmes then you will be sadly disappointed as he is not here. Watch (or rewatch) the superior BBC show Sherlock. Expand
  2. Sep 28, 2012
    I gave it to the first commercial. Police show with eccentric detective, whose eccentricities have been worn thin. Holmes was great before I was born and modernizing him makes him look......yawn.
  3. Feb 15, 2014
    While Elementary struggles to be half as smart as BBC's Sherlock, it does prove to be entertaining enough on its own if you forget Benedict Cumberbatch's finest hours on telly. It is a good time filler in between the waiting time between the BBC's next batch of Sherlock episodes that are yet to be filmed.

    Don't get too excited over watching this interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle's
    classic consulting detective; just take it for what it is and it should be fine. Expand
  4. Jan 12, 2013
    This series is fantastic. Screw BBC-s Sherlock Holmes. Elementary is an awesome series i give it 10 points! It is funny, interesting and i can only recommend it to all those Sherlock Holmes lovers out there. Awesome CBS keep it going! :D
  5. Sep 28, 2012
    An unremarkable police procedural that bears little resemblance to the Conan Doyle Sherlock (or Watson), except for the noncredibly keen observations followed by the inevitably accurate deductions. What annoys me most about this show is the hard to understand machine gun like dialogue coming from the Holmes character. I'm 72 years old, but my hearing can't be that bad.
  6. Mar 16, 2013
    I'm failing to see how a comparison between Elementary and Sherlock, which I love as well, could yield a resulting score of 0.0 for this show. What is wrong with people? Is there only place for a single show of every topic, and every other must automatically be entirely useless?

    Yes Elementary is not as lofty and stylish as Sherlock. But it is more down to earth, and the characters are
    more relatable. Which, in my book, is worth something. Plus I really find Miller's take on Sherlock Holmes refreshing. And someone was mentioning there not being any chemistry between the characters... have you even watched the show more than 5 minutes? I think there is more than enough space for two Sherlock Holmes shows on TV, and both of the work fine and are highly entertaining. At least I think so. Expand
  7. Feb 3, 2013
    I was bored watching the first episode of this show...when they introduced "Watson" as a woman, I just rolled my eyes. This is just another lame, crime-drama that borrows from other shows and uses the names from Sherlock Holmes stories to gain viewers.
  8. Dec 4, 2012
    It is impossible not to compare "Elementary" with "Sherlock". If it weren't for the success of the latter, there would have been no motivation to develop another modern-day version of Holmes. However "Elementary" falls short on every single feature the British counterpart exceeds in. For example, if you think "Elementary" is stylish, you just haven't watched "Sherlock." Same thing could be said of the intelligence behind the scripts and the way suspense is handled; the chemistry between Watson and Holmes; the villains (Moriarty is genius in "Sherlock"); and acting, in general. Expand
  9. Nov 7, 2012
    Just a generic police procedural. Doesn't really feel like Holmes. It feels like they're trying not to be the Sherlock Holmes film or BBC's Sherlock, and thus loses something. The Characters may as well be called James and Margaret, will not make any difference. Feels like they are using the names just to drive interest, and do not want to make any justice to the original characters. You can get something good from that, (but no longer is Holmes) but this isn't that good. Expand
  10. Dec 11, 2012
    Quickly people have compared Elementary to the UK version 'Sherlock', I've seen both seasons of the BBC show and I like it, but I don't love it. Whereas in Elementary I love the whole show, foremost in my mind is Jonny Miller as this version of the title character, the stories are engrossing and-up to now-it hasn't jumped on the 'Sherlock-Moriarty' band wagon like the other show did. The only downside I see is the lacklustre supporting cast, but we're only a few episodes in and there's nothing serious to complain about, Lucy Liu is rather decent in this show compared to the BBC's Martin Freeman.
    Will it continue to be engrossing with 16 episodes left(11-12-12/12-11-12) only tie will tell, but I'm hoping so.
  11. Jun 9, 2013
    I started this show recently, and think that it has many good aspects to it. I think there should have been more episodes dedicated to the main plot than there were. The main plot was very good, and I think there were too many episodes on random missions that Watson and Sherlock take part in. Though they were interesting, there were far too many. Nevertheless, the show shows a lot of promise and I'm looking forward to the next season. Expand
  12. Sep 13, 2013
    I was a little worried when I first started watching because it is based off Sherlock Holmes and I didn't want to sit through a show that simply revisits the cases from the books. That being said, I love it. Miller is fantastic as Holmes and Liu is a wonderful lead actress who compliments the Holmes character well as Watson. The stories are enjoyable but a little bit predictable but still entertaining to watch.

    I'd recommend it, It's a pretty good show and I don't see how people can hate it let alone give it a negative review.
  13. Feb 16, 2013
    When BF made me watch it I was skeptical. Another procedural? Cute Asian chick as Watson? I read Sherlock as a kid and that casting is just weird. Then again Homeland and Dexter and Breaking Bad are still in the works. Nothing much to watch so I sat through two episodes... At first Lucy Liu just felt too flat and subtle in contrast to Jonny Lee Miller's OTT mad theatrical style. As the fast pace story progressed...I GOT HOOKED. There's a point to their high contrast delivery! Well-written plots, well directed pacing, quick yet allow for character's personalities to shine through. No boring get-this-over-and-done-with-quick moments, not overly procedural-ish...no cheesy weirdness, only surprises after surprises. Well done Elementary team! Can't wait for next series.... Quiicccckkk! Expand
  14. rcj
    Feb 1, 2013
    Johnny Lee Miller is AMAZING Lucy Lu is always perfect and the show is intelligent, well-written,. directed and cast. I'd rather eat dirt than miss an episode.
  15. Oct 9, 2012
    I don't really know what it's trying to be. Modern Sherlock Holmes? Meh. BBC Sherlock? Fail. Crime Drama? So-so. Can CBS please bring something new to the table next time?!
  16. Oct 12, 2012
    I'm not going to compare the both versions of the Sherlock because they both are too different when considered solely. Elementary has both good and bad sides. Good sides being Jonny Lee Miller's amazing performance as Sherlock Holmes, and good overall direction of the show. Bad sides being the whole idea of having a female support to Sherlock Holmes, I'm not impressed by that because it sucks. Additionally, this series doesn't have any slow-motion scenes/shots similar to BBC's version and Robert Downey, Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes movies. Overall, I can still say that I am going to keep on watching this series because "Sherlock Holmes", I wouldn't miss that! Expand
  17. Oct 1, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is not Sherlock Holmes. The writing is lazy and not creative at all. Holmes is supposed to be brilliant at the art of deduction, but he only appears brilliant because he is surrounded by idiots. For example, in the case a victim's phone goes missing and the police brush it off and say it was lost. Just stupid stuff like that. There is absolutely no chemistry between watson and holmes. I don't mean sexual, I mean chemistry friends would have because I know they don't want them to be together. They aren't a good fit. Overall this is your run of the mill crime drama, where one person is smart and everyone else is stupid. So if you like that, then have at it. If you want something with good writing, interesting stories, and characters watch anything else. Expand
  18. Sep 28, 2012
    In spite of the dubiousness of the proposal of another modernization of the legendary Mr.Holmes, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. With it's suitably holmsian narrative and handsomely shot scenes, the New-york version gives some promising performances despite trying to avoid similarities with its contemporary British version. Should be an interesting watch to observe the character arc of the new Mr.Holmes and Ms.Watson. Expand
  19. Jan 13, 2013
    It´s funny because everyonee is extremely sexist about the female watson, calm down we are not in the Victorian era. Also, NBC has the right to make their own version of sherlock holmes it´s not like Sherlock were the first to make an adaptation. Aside from that, this is a good detective-like show
  20. Oct 27, 2012
    I don't mind a modern "Sherlock Holmes" variation and I like both Miller and Liu. Although in this case, given Holmes' personality, the show could also be called "Sherlock House".
    Miller is the one who fuels the show with energy, something you can't say about Lucy Liu.
    Sadly, there's no immediate chemistry between the two and Watson, albeit her backstory isn't a very interesting
    character and her motivation for assisting Holmes with his cases is not very compelling.
    But far more problematic is the fact that Holmes' observations and deductions only come across as razor sharp because the cops are depicted as incompetent fools, only standing around, stating the obvious and not seeing one bit past what's apparent to the eye.
    A high-level bank CEO dead in his big clean apartment with a heroin filled needle in his arm.
    The scene screams "murder staged as suicide". What do the cops say? "Accidental death". Oh come on, guys!
    I can look past the fact that Holmes' deductions often seem arbitrary and that others (e.g. the coroner) could come up with the same results and conclusions based on their own competence and work.
    But Holmes looking like a genius because the cops around him are seemingly idiots that do no police work is a weakness that's hard to swallow week after week.
    Thanks to Miller, the show still is watchable and it has the potential to be more the it is now, and that is just an average procedural.
  21. Oct 2, 2012
    I enjoyed the new House. I doubt it will be as good, but it was better than most attempts at something new. It sort of reminds me of that Police show set in NYC where the detective was an immortal. I can't remember the name. The real question is, how soon will it get old. I'll tell you one thing, anytime you can replace an old crusty Dr. Watson with a smoking hot Lucy Liu, you should.
  22. Sep 29, 2012
    Holmes did not wow me; one is supposed to be mystified by his superior skills of deduction and intellect. Instead he frequently got things wrong, was difficult to understand, and did not live up to what Holmes is supposed to portray. I highly suggest BBC's "Sherlock" instead, it is much more captivating.
  23. TJN
    Oct 1, 2012
    Elementary throws a gender bomb into Holmes and Watson and the result fizzles with tepid writing and a weak dynamic between the iconic pair. Johnny Lee Miller's Sherlock is a kept dillatante on the leash of his father at one end and the feminized Watson at the other. There is nothing interesting or mysterious about Holmes and his deductive talents are bragged about but seldom shown. Miller minces about while Liu rolls her eyes at his antics. This retelling brings change for its own sake with nothing else to offer. Expand
  24. Oct 5, 2012
    There is no point in this show existing. There are already countless depictions of Sherlock Holmes that are eons better. Especially because Elementary seems to forget that they are calling these characters by familiar names because they are from a certain source material but instead goes for the sad illusion that people will watch anything they love being butchered because they are a fan. Instead I was watching the saddest caricature of the most common piles of tropes and cliches. Every single moment 'Sherlock' was on screen I wanted to punch him. And Joan. Joan. Why change the gender of a pivotal character? ROMANCE, I'm assuming, based on the assumption that it is physically impossible to create something without it shoehorned and in the fashion that I imagine would need a bloody knife for. And then all we get is a migraine as I have to watch the typical girlfriend cutout screeching and rolling her eyes. Goody. Just watch House, or Sherlock. Really I imagine that whoever made this was disappointed House had ended and they were stuck with having to come up with something original until they remembered they can make a terrible, terrible, in name only adaption and pretend to be clever or showing respect to the source. Expand
  25. Oct 6, 2012
    So far, so good! It's not as good as the recent BBC version of a modern Sherlock Holmes but it is quite good, quite well acted and produced. Sherlock's observations and deductions are for the most part believable and it is interesting throughout. I will watch this one regularly.
  26. Oct 21, 2012
    If you expect something like BBC's "Sherlock" you'll probably won't like it. In my opinion Jonny Lee Miller can't keep up with the Sherlock that Benedict Cumberbatch delivered.
    But still this show is different and has a fresh new approach to Sherlock Holmes. I find it to be entertaining, the acting is alright and the stories have been fun too (four episodes so far).
  27. Oct 9, 2012
    This it is solely based on the pilot episode.

    As someone who has watched Sherlock, I can't help but compare the two shows. But I'm going to do my best to keep an open mind and remember that Elementary and Sherlock are completely separate entities. So, unlike just about every other review of this show, I'm going to avoid the topic of BBC's Sherlock.

    The show begins with Sherlock
    Holmes' first day out of rehab. His new sober companion, Joan Watson meets him at his house to help him make the transition back to the real world as smooth and natural as possible. She is supposed to be staying with him for six weeks, but since a show that only spans six weeks (besides 24) would either be a failure or a mini-series, Watson will clearly stay for longer. She will, no doubt, fall in love with Sherlock's way of thinking and puzzle-solving and stay on as his sidekick for a long time. I say "fall in love with his way of thinking," because the creators promised that there will be no chance of the two of them getting together romantically.

    We don't learn too much about Joan Watson in the pilot. We know that she was a surgeon who left her job to become a drug sitter, which is quite unusual for someone who has never had issues with drugs. She is easily intrigued (she quickly caught interest in Sherlock's way of thinking and the case he was investigating) and fairly quick to anger. Hopefully her personality will expand soon, because right now, she is neither interesting nor relatable.

    On the flip side of the coin, we learn quite a bit about Sherlock. He used to be a consultant for Scotland Yard, which gave him the freedom to work as he saw fit and he didn't have to answer to anyone, which would clearly be a major difficulty for him. As Arthur Conan Doyle intended, Sherlock is hyper observant, he can determine an occupation from the calluses on one's hands and will notice if the tiniest detail doesn't add up. But he isn't afraid to fact check, Google is his friend. He can keep a ridiculous assortment of facts in his head, he's writing an entire book without writing anything down! Manipulating people comes easily to him, and he doesn't hesitate to do so in any situation.

    One thing about Sherlock's brilliance that really irked me was that so much of what he deciphers would be impossible, even for a savant to do. He figures out the exact outcome of a baseball game, down to the plays. He would have to know every single statistic about every player on the field and be lucky for that to happen. But sometimes it's the little things that drive me the most crazy.

    Since this is a police (more or less) show on CBS, you should definitely expect a standard procedural with some elements of Doyle's work. If you are a big fan of either procedurals or Sherlock Holmes (or both!), you should definitely tune in. If you tend to only follow serialized shows, this is not going to be your new favorite show. I have very little doubt that Elementary will become a hit, seeing as crime procedurals are what CBS does best. And if Watson becomes a genuine, lovable character and the writers manage to keep the cases interesting, I think that Elementary has a real shot at being a fun, captivating show.
  28. Oct 25, 2012
    Great show! Love the banter between Holmes and Watson. Much lighter than CSI, more like the detective shows of the 80's, which I loved. I really enjoy Miller's version of Sherlock. Great job CBS!
  29. Nov 1, 2012
    This show has started off with a lot of promise. Though it doesn't introduce many new things, the genuinely committed performances by Miller and Liu make it worth watching. The twists are sometimes surprising. Give this show a few more seasons, and I think it'll get it's niche.
  30. Nov 16, 2012
    I have seen episodes 1 through 7, and I would recommend this show to everyone but younger children. The first episode suffered from terrible writing, but the rest of the episodes have been excellent, and the acting has been wonderful. The mysteries are interesting (enough) and the completely-platonic relationship between Holmes and Watson is refreshing.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Oct 5, 2012
    There's enough room left in the genre for another modern pairing, and Mr. Miller and Ms. Liu bring something memorably new to each character.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 4, 2012
    [A] highly satisfying update. [8 Oct 2012, p.57]
  3. 50
    This is a slight but watchable show, yet more brain candy from CBS's vending machine.