What really ignites this show is Liu’s Watson, an Asian-American woman who is front and centre of the action and is Holmes’s intellectual equal, and absolutely not a love interest. Series creator Robert Doherty described it as a “bromance where one of the bros is female”. A groundbreaking idea, making the creation of a female Watson a masterstroke of modernisation.
Then there’s Adler, a juicy part that is complex enough to attract Natalie “Game of Thrones” Dormer. This Adler shows up Sherlock’s naked, occasionally lesbian, dominatrix incarnation for the malformed adolescent fantasy it is. In Elementary, there’s a scene in which Adler gets dressed in front of Holmes and she turns away as she does so. Sure, you’re not going to get nip-slips on CBS, but it’s hard to believe this isn’t making a deliberate point. No distracting Holmes with nakedness for this Adler incarnation. She really doesn’t need to.
And that makes two women in this show that Sherlock Holmes considers his intellectual equals. Has Elementary just solved patriarchy?