in Television

Character Appreciation: Sherlock Holmes from “Elementary”


As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been re-watching some of Elementary’s first season, and I’ve noticed that the character work is even stronger on a second viewing.

Unfortunately, the person I would really like to character appreciate (I, in my great and infinite power, have turned this term into a verb) within this narrative has already been appreciated. However, there wouldn’t be a show without the main man himself, so I’m going to spend the next 500 words or so sending some love his way.

Let’s get down to business and properly appreciate Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Jonny Lee Miller done good.

H is for Heroin

If there’s one thing this adaptation’s Holmes is known for, it’s his former drug addiction. While he’s kicked the habit for the time being (Are there going to be any “Holmes back on drugs” arcs in the near future?), Sherlock’s entire character is informed by his need to stay away from all sorts of naughty, habit-forming substances. It doesn’t help that his job constantly puts him in trying situations that could send him right back to his old ways.

O is for Outfits

This is probably the most casual Holmes that we’ve gotten in a long time. Yet, he still dresses in a way that feels stiffly British and utterly unique to arguably the greatest detective in the history of ever. Who else can you think of that would wear a graphic tee one day and a vest and button-up (that looks like it’s cutting off his neck circulation) the next?

L is for Lusty

As I said, this Holmes feels more casual than any of the recent interpretations of the character. The added human element spills over into all facets of the character – including his sexual nature. While past adaptations have seen Holmes be practically celibate (or literally only interested in one single woman in the whole of time and space), this time we got a Holmes that sometimes hires escorts. That’s right, Sherlock has needs – and many of them involve handcuffs.

M is for Moriarty

Who is Holmes without his most famous foe? Well, still Holmes… but you get my point.  This adaptation offered up a mish-mash of Moriarty and Irene Adler – the two most popular characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original work (aside from Holmes and Watson, of course) – and it lead to a fresh take on the relationship. Holmes started off in love with the woman and ended up putting her away in jail. In fact, before he found out the truth about Moriarty, his main driving force outside of sobriety was avenging Irene’s death.

E is for Erudite

Holmes is like a walking encyclopedia. No, more like a living, breathing Google homepage that offers up search results you didn’t ask for. His library is packed with all sorts of reference books (conveniently organized by academic rigor, courtesy of Ms. Hudson) on just about anything one could want to research. And, he knows practically all the information by heart.

S is for Stubborn

There’s nothing like a detective bent on solving a case. Well, that’s one level… Sherlock is a couple levels above that. He goes downright crazy when he isn’t able to suss out a string of events. One example that comes to mind: When he can’t figure out how thieves got into a supposedly impenetrable vault, he smashes the vault’s keypad into hundreds of tiny pieces.

Who’s your favorite Elementary character?