What is it that so fascinates us about Sherlock Holmes that he lives on nearly 100 years after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stopped writing about him? The brilliant consulting detective with a predilection for drugs and the violin – and puzzles has been the central character in post-Conan Doyle novel, multiple film and television series over the years. Still, we continue to be intrigued, and Rob Doherty introduces us to yet another side of Sherlock in the new CBS hit series Elementary.
Veteran television executive producer-writer Doherty has worked on several successful series, including Star Trek: Voyager, Medium, and most recently, Ringer. Starring Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone, Trainspotting), Elementary is one of the top rated scripted series on television this season.
Doherty and I spoke at length the other day, about his version of Sherlock Holmes, and how it differs from than anything else Holmesian out there. He teased a bit about this week’s episode (mild spoilers ahead), which guest stars Lisa Edelstein (House, M.D.), as well as several upcoming storylines.
With all the other Holmes franchises out there just now, I was a bit curious about why Doherty wanted to develop another one. Explaining that the idea originally came from Carl Beverly (Unforgettable, A Gifted Man), another executive producer on the series, he told me that the two of them had been trying to come up with a project to do together, something to which they were equally drawn. Beverly offered the idea of doing “Sherlock Holmes in New York City,” according to Doherty. “It never would have occurred to me to tackle Sherlock Holmes. I feel like it’s the kind of thing you need suggested to you.” He elaborated, “Conan Doyle was well over a century ahead of his time.” Building a “prototype,” the author created a character that “you see in so many other detectives in the cinema and on TV,” he said. Doherty loved the “idea of transporting this iconic British character to New York. I thought that was a great idea.” But he also wondered about where to go from there? Where to take the idea, and make it more than a gimmick? “It can’t just be about Sherlock in New York,” Doherty continued. “That feels like that’s one really great element, but what else can we do?”