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

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

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 241 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jonny Lee Miller
  • 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
  • Creator: Robert Doherty
  • Show Type: In Season
  • Season 1 premiere date: Aug 22, 2012
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 10:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 4, 2012
    [A] highly satisfying update. [8 Oct 2012, p.57]
  2. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 14, 2012
    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
    Stylishly directed, Elementary is one loaded show, including its wonderful, well-matched leads.
  4. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 25, 2012
    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
    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
    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
    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 54
  2. Negative: 11 out of 54
  1. Jan 29, 2013
    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
    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
    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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. Collapse
  7. Jan 10, 2013
    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.

See all 54 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. Fall TV Second Look: Elementary (CBS)

    Fall TV Second Look: Elementary (CBS) Image
    Published: October 26, 2012
    The modern-day Sherlock Holmes drama "Elementary" had one of the best-reviewed pilots of the fall season. Find out if critics still like the hit drama now that we're four episodes in.