Elementary, S1E01 – Pilot

Elementary is CBS’s new adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, set in modern day New York City.  Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is a recovering drug addict who’s fresh out of rehab and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is the former-surgeon-turned-sober companion hired by Holmes’ father to keep an eye on him for the next six weeks.  Holmes makes use of his contacts in the NYPD and arranges to consult on Captain Tobias Gregson’s (Aidan Quinn) cases, much to the dismay and annoyance of Detective Javier Abreu (Manny Perez).

8 things I really loved about the pilot episode:

          1.

The tattoos.

      Look, I know, they’re Jonny Lee Miller’s own tattoos and not at all a decision the creators made for Holmes to be tattooed.  But.  I’d be lying if said I haven’t constantly thought about it.  After all, Canon-Holmes was fascinated enough by tattoos to study and write about them (The Red-Headed League, anyone?).  A Holmes born in the 1970s, raised in the 80s and 90s, with an interest in tattoo markings?  Yeah, I can absolutely see him getting ink done.

2.  Abreu calling Holmes “Prince Charles.”  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy that.  What I love most, though, is that despite the fact that Abreu isn’t a fan of Holmes, he still attempts to thank him for helping with the case.  He keeps his ego separate from the job, and I admire that.  There’s something to be said for professionalism, if not respect.

3.  Joan Watson.  In general.  She has such command in this story.  I love her, already.

4.  Gregson’s relationship with Holmes.  I like that there is a rational justification for why Holmes would be allowed to consult on NYPD cases.  After 9/11, Gregson observed Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism bureau while Holmes was working in homicide.  They seem to be friendly, which will be fun to explore.

5.  The SET.  I’m completely and utterly in love with Holmes’ brownstone and all the little knick-knacks.  I love the Persian carpets and the pizza boxes everywhere; I love that Holmes has a collection of vintage typewriters; I love that he has model bird skeletons on one of the mantles and on his desk; I love that there’s a map of NYC on the wall-a clear reference to Canon-Holmes and his having a complete knowledge of every street in London (Of course, he’d do the same for NYC, now that he’s relocated).  I love that Holmes’ room is the library, and I love that his library/bedroom has a rolling library ladder.  For the sake of my emotional well-being, don’t get me started on that ladder.

6.  Holmes has kinky sex.  The portrayal of BDSM in popular culture as of late has been horrifying, bordering on irresponsible (I’m looking at you, 50 Shades of Grey).  It’s not perfect, but one can hope for a potentially more realistic and healthy portrayal, right?

7.  Jonny Lee Miller is the spitting image of Sidney Paget’s illustrations of Holmes.  Honestly, the resemblance is eerily uncanny.  Pull up any of the profile shots of Miller and put them side-by-side to Paget’s illustrations from The Strand and you’ll see what I mean.

8.  The commentary on how we treat mental illness.  Usually, having the murderer be clinically insane is not a good thing, but in this case, I feel the show sympathizes with Peter Saldua.  The show explicitly recognizes that Saldua was taken advantage of and that his actions were not his fault.  It is clearly Mantlo’s abuse of power and manipulation that get his wife killed.  He knew exactly what aspects of Saldua’s illness to trigger and how to do it.  Also, Holmes’ pure and utter rage at Mantlo for manipulating his wife into getting plastic surgery and most especially for taking advantage of Saldua’s illness is something I’ll never tire of seeing.  There’s room for improvement, of course, but I think this is a step in the right direction.

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