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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 27, 2012
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
Elementary Image
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 235 Ratings

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  • Summary: After a stint in rehab, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) resumes work, this time consulting with the NYPD. His father, however, has appointed him a sober companion in the form of Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure, Suspense
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 4, 2012
    88
    [A] highly satisfying update. [8 Oct 2012, p.57]
  2. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 14, 2012
    83
    Elementary exhibits enough stylish wit in its mood and look to quickly distinguish itself from the latest British "Sherlock" series.
  3. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Sep 27, 2012
    80
    Stylishly directed, Elementary is one loaded show, including its wonderful, well-matched leads.
  4. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 25, 2012
    75
    Elementary will probably infuriate Sherlock Holmes purists, but other viewers are likely to find it gripping and well cast.
  5. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Sep 26, 2012
    75
    Miller is infinitely watchable as the twitchy detective, and I'm sure Liu will bring more to Watson if she's given the chance.
  6. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 27, 2012
    70
    Miller's approach may be different from Benedict Cumberbatch's in "Sherlock," but he's as riveting a screen presence. Even if you don't care about the weekly whodunit--and mostly, I don't--Elementary" could be fun.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 25, 2012
    40
    The two leads lack any kind of chemistry, platonic or otherwise, and the storytelling lacks the smarts and insight of one of TV's best Sherlockian creations, "House."

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 52
  2. Negative: 11 out of 52
  1. Jan 29, 2013
    10
    I watched the BBC's Sherlock before watching this. Sherlock is boring, but this is exciting. Jonny Miller's acting is fantastic, Lucy Lui not that much. There were a few boring episodes, but overall the best new series Expand
  2. qev
    Aug 17, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Elementary is an exceptional piece of work. J Lee M is bang on his character. that's his character, not the one written by Conan Doyle. of course, shows with such weighty subjects as The Most Famous Fictional Detective Television Has Ever Seen will attract its detractors who stand tip-toe in the wings for any sign of proof they were right all along in saying "No, no, i knew it would never work, didn't i tell you? no? are you sure? well, i told someone!" will ALWAYS find fault, no matter how obscure, in their insatiable need to exercise their well-honed righteous indignation, which is why they do it, and which is why good actors rarely if ever heed the bluff and guffaws of the critic. you know when you're in a pile of tosh, i certainly have in my lengthy career, and if you know what you're doing and how the show stands up to your own critical professional values and those of your trusted and equally committed colleagues you can walk any length of carpet, red or otherwise, with your head held high, and with no fear of facing either a damning personal review OR, worst of all, that nemesis of many a once sure-fire winner, a jumping shark. my only criticism is very slight, and one that has been addressed to the point that now i simply don't care, my mind has been changed, and for the greater good and even deeper depth of my enjoyment. i speak of the dreaded D-word. having read the entire opera of Sherlock Holmes novelettes a number of times over the years i understand his predilection for infrequent forays into varied mind-bending intoxicants, and it's not difficult to see a/ why, and b/ why not, it doing neither him nor his trusted companion and closest friend (which the uber-talented Miss Liu performs effortlessly, top marks) John Watson any noticeable harm at all. indeed, Holmes is vocally pro the D-word, noting astutely and correctly the enormous benefits to his sociopathic character after having imbibed such nefarious narcotics. no, Mr Miller pulls off HIS characters various and chronic (in the way Holmes is NOT addicted, chronic nor otherwise) addictions with absolute believability, as indeed he does with his personal, rarely private, yet invariably rather painful path to achieving freedom from them. in all, a truly masterful piece of drama, littered with countless equally masterful classes on the craft of acting. from the top two to pretty much everyone else. it brims with vignettes, nuances, and the moments delicate. beautifully and consummately crafted. a real joy. hence a ten. unlike 'Sherlock' to which, even in fairness for the work and effort clearly gone into it, there is no comparison. i mean, nicotine patches? don't be daft! Expand
  3. Oct 25, 2012
    9
    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! Expand
  4. Apr 8, 2013
    8
    It's practically unavoidable that this show doesn't get compared to BBC's earlier take on setting Sherlock Holmes in modern times, however I believe some of the reviews written here do it quite an injustice. If you believe this series to be worth a 0, then apparently you don't really know what bad is.

    Considering I like BBC's Sherlock, although I believe the 2nd season didn't quite live up to the first, it's not impossible for one to appreciate both renditions. Yes Watson is a woman. Yes, Sherlock makes mistakes. However it's these differences which makes me like the series. We get a stronger character as Watson as opposed to a 'lackey' of sorts. And a Sherlock Holmes who is not infallible, which makes for a far more likable character than other versions I've seen.

    The observation that Elementary is at it's core a police procedural is correct, however it's one that does it right. It's because Sherlock makes mistaken deductions, or ones that seem wrong but end up being right on the nose, a case is mostly not obvious from the get go. The twist and turns in most episodes makes me want to keep on watching despite it 'merely' being a police procedural.
    Expand
  5. Nov 27, 2012
    8
    Yet another procedural drama, with a twist. A modern day take on Sherlock Holmes starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. Sherlock (Miller) comes across as the "House" of private detectives while his "companion" Watson (Liu) is the "Cuddy" character, keeping him in line as much as she can. It definitely works, though this seems like a bunch of borrowed ideas. Sherlock is very much a "mentalist" of sorts, inferring from the smallest of implications. His wide range of expertise combined with his attention to detail makes him a very good, yet neurotic, consultant for the police. He is accompanied by Joan Watson, a companion hired by Sherlock's father due to a bout of drug use in Sherlock's recent past. She is to keep him clean, and help him recover; but he ends up using her to help him solve cases. The chemistry between them is very tense at moments, yet Watson seems to break through Sherlock's barrier at least a few times. I would recommend this show to anyone who's looking for a police procedural with a twist, or Sherlock Holmes fans with an appreciation of the present as well as the past. Rating it an 8/10. Expand
  6. Oct 27, 2012
    5
    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.
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  7. Jan 10, 2013
    0
    There is nothing about yhis show that is redeeming. A steaming pile of cra p that like a lot of american tv, tries to be successful by copying someone elses ideas. Please stop producing this shi t or if you do, please dont export it to australia. Why? Why bother?

    This new sherlock is like a sex deprived loser who spouts nonsensical verbal diareah. Whats next? Winnie the pooh reimagined as a crack dealer who bums tigger in a gimp suit.... stop making this cra p.
    Expand

See all 52 User Reviews

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