Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller
What happens when Watson's employment as Sherlock's sober companion runs out?
CBS' Elementary will face that exact conundrum soon since Watson (Lucy Liu) was only said to be employed by Sherlock's (Jonny Lee Miller) father for six weeks. Sure, it's a television show centered around these two characters, so the writers will find a way to keep them together, but that raises the question: How? To find out and get scoop on their upcoming post-Super Bowl slot, TVGuide.com turned to executive producer Rob Doherty:
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At some point we're going to hit the end of Watson's employment. How soon do we hit that moment?
Rob Doherty: Without telling you what we do, I can tell you the episode. I feel like I'm self-promoting, but it's the script I just wrote, and it's the 12th episode that airs. We are closing in on the final days of her six-week stint. So the episode will honor that and also reposition the players. At the end of the day, we rather desperately want to keep our Holmes and our Watson together.
Could it be a case of Sherlock hurting Watson beyond repair? Is he even capable of that?
Doherty: Sort of psychological cruelty? That kind of thing? I don't believe that Sherlock could hurt her beyond repair, in that she's just too strong a person. Can he upset her to the point that she decides he's not worth the trouble? Yeah, absolutely. She has a threshold like anyone else, and he's a handful and he can go out of his way to make you unhappy. That's very much his M.O. She absolutely has a breaking point, but for her, it's more about just getting away from the person where it's time to move on. She has bigger and better things to do. For our sake, I hope that's quite some time.
Though we found out that Irene Adler is apparently dead, you say we'll see her before the end of the season. But what about another character from the novels, Sherlock's nemesis Moriarty? Will we see the man himself or lieutenants before him?
Doherty: Again, in the script that I literally just put out, Moriarty plays a part. That sounds a little misleading. That sounds like there's an actor playing the part. Moriarty will come up in that episode in this show. As far as getting to lieutenants first, we'd like to see one or two before we get all the way to the man himself. It's funny, we were fortunate enough to not only be picked up, but have a couple of episodes added to that back order. So it will affect the way we parse these things out. Our timeline has expanded a little bit, which is great. It's a lovely problem to have. The good news is we haven't arced things very, very specifically over the back half, but we may have a couple of standalone episodes to create more space between some of the more mythological episodes.
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How will you keep Moriarty grounded in this present-day reality?
Doherty: I think it will be challenging, but it should also be a lot of fun. It's easy to veer into archness, so we're hopeful we won't go down that path. The intention would be constructing a nemesis that is appropriate to our Sherlock and not necessarily someone from other books, or movies, or shows. We want to build around our guy. If you look back at the original Moriarty, the original motivation was money and profit. He wasn't a comic book super villain. He wasn't doing bad just to do bad. There was a real and relatable motive. So in that respect, I think we will be able to ground our version and make him feel like he's a part of our world and our show.
Will we ever get to see flashbacks to Sherlock's drug-addled days or his time at Scotland Yard?
Doherty: We have talked about it, but it's not an official plan yet. It would be great to try to tell that kind of story. We, of course, would want to be able to do it. Our challenge is we have so many wonderful actors on the show. So it's a matter of finding a construction that would feature Sherlock in London, but also include and get the most out of Lucy, Aidan [Quinn], and Jon.
Congratulations on the post-Super Bowl timeslot. Have you started breaking that episode?
Doherty: That would be [Episode 14], and the script for [Episode 12] came out, and we're trying to break [Episode 13] right now. So it's next up in the queue. We're about to rush headlong into that slot.
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Are you guys feeling the need to do anything different because it's such a wide audience that night?
Doherty: We're very aware of the opportunity that it presents. We know that we will potentially have tens of millions more eyes on the show. That's why we're so excited and why it's such an honor. We want to tell a story that is fitting of that slot, something that is eye-catching and fun and scary in the right spots. We want to take care that it's very inclusive and not exclusive. For the people who have been watching the show from Day 1, they know the arcs to this point, they know what Sherlock's been through, they know what Joan's been through. We want the new folks to be able to enjoy this particular episode as much as our regular viewers. It's really just walking that line. Nothing would make us happier than finding a few more fans as we go.
Has there been a push from CBS to get any great guest stars like former big-screen Sherlock Robert Downey Jr. or introduce a character from the Holmes mythos?
Doherty: I guess I can't say it's a push, but it's absolutely something we'd like to do if we can. We would love to craft a story that includes a big and interesting and promotable role for a great actor or actress.
Doherty: Too soon, too soon!
Has the idea to reach out to Downey Jr. actually come up?
Doherty: No, that's actually never come up. I'm a big fan of the Robert Downey, Jr. series, and yet at the same time, I feel like it would remind our viewers that they're just looking at a TV show. I would be nervous about there being some sort of disconnect when somebody looks at two great actors, one who is playing Sherlock in the moment, and one who has played Sherlock in films. Seeing them share a screen in the same moment, I'd be worried about that not computing for some folks.
What about the possibility of Sherlock's father? The real one, not the fake guy we've already seen.
Doherty: I don't know. As far as Sherlock's dad goes — I shouldn't say I don't know.
Wait, so that means you've already cast him?
Doherty: No, no, no, we haven't cast him yet. For me, when it comes to Sherlock's dad, I keep feeling like we'll know when it's right. We do want to meet him. I've been kind of fascinated by the notion of the man since we made the character part of the pilot. Yet we want to do it right, and we want to do it at the right time. It's nothing we want to rush out. I've likened the character to Robin Masters from Magnum P.I. I don't know if you were a fan, but he owned the estate where Magnum and Higgins lived, and he was often mentioned, but never seen. It's funny. I think they actually cast Orson Welles. I think Orson Welles popped up as Robin Masters at some point, but he's not available [since he died in 1985]. On that show, he was never exposed, and I think of Vera on Cheers, or Maris on Frasier. We will get there.
Who do you think should play Moriarty or Sherlock's father? Hit the comments!
Elementary airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS.