“Elementary my dear Watson,” is a well-known phrase. However, the line never actually appear in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. The phrase was first uttered in P.G. Wodehouse’s PSmith Journalist in 1915. The phrase came to mind since I began watching the 2012 series Elementary on DVD this week. The show is a contemporary update on the character of Sherlock Holmes. Instead of 1800s London, he exists in 2000s New York. Jonny Lee Miller, of Hackers fame, stars as the brilliant detective. Though not formally trained, he consults on cases, much like Patrick Jane on The Mentalist. This Holmes is a recovering addict, which makes sense given Doyle’s portrayal. I like that Watson is a former surgeon turned Addiction Recovery Companion. And I like that he is now a she. Lucy Liu brings a sharpness to the role. And the sexual undertones of Holmes’s and Watson’s friendship plays well between a man and a woman. Lu’s Watson is a perfect protégé. Her cool, calm demeanor balances Holmes’s often manic behavior. Yet oddly, she is more open to their connection, while he remains a locked box of mysteries. There are many procedural dramas out there, but I like this nod to the grandfather of CSI.
While I was watching a DVD of the show Elementary and realized how important it is for intellectuals to connect with other intellectuals. As much of a nemesis as Moriarty became to Holmes in the show, they also shared a physical relationship. I liked that they made Moriarty a woman and Holmes’s equal in the updated version of the classic stories. Natalie Dormer is fantastic in the roll as well.
Out of curiosity, I checked online about the origin of the name Sherlock. It is an English Surname and it means “Shear Lock” or closely cut hair. For some reason Sherlock reminds me of Shylock. Shylock is the name of a rich Jew in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. It is also the center of an Erica Jong novel called Shylock’s Daughter. I am not sure how to connect Erica Jong to Elementary. But I did find a chemistry paper on the Periodic Table using Sherlock Holmes. A very creative approach to teaching I must say.