Deducing What’s Next on Elementary

Not the Sherlock and Watson we're used to but still just as fabulous!
Not the Sherlock and Watson we’re used to but still just as fabulous!
Elementary’s revolutionary take on the classic characters of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories quickly enthralled viewers, despite worry from Sherlockians. The show received positive ratings, even winning a People’s Choice Award, a Teen Choice Award, and two Primetime Emmys. And Elementary’s first season boasted over 10 million viewers – 20 million for its post-Superbowl episode.

CBS’ 2012 drama is a contemporary retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes that places the famous detective in New York City. Holmes, played by Jonny Lee Miller, is a recovering addict, a victim of recent heartbreak, and a former Scotland Yard consultant.

Holmes’ assistant, Dr. John Watson, has been rewritten as Dr. Joan Watson. Lucy Liu plays a former surgeon who becomes Holmes’ minder when he moves to New York City for rehab—and then his apprentice when he begins to take on cases in the U.S.

The question is – will Elementary be able to keep viewers’ interest during its sophomore season? We’ll have to wait to find out – the show’s second season premieres September 26. But in case you missed it, we’ll catch you up on what’s made it great so far – and what’s coming next.

What makes Elementary great?

The who-dunnit mysteries are reason enough to tune in on their own. But what really puts Elementary ahead? Its two dynamic main characters.

Elementary does a great job of integrating the brilliance (and ego) of Conan Doyle’s Holmes with the scruffy, troubled Sherlock played by Miller. Writer and producer Robert Doherty’s choice to focus so openly on Holmes’ addiction was controversial – but it worked out.  Elementary’s Sherlock is brilliant, sure, but he’s also flawed – and relatable. 

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson
Joan as John.
Reimagining Holmes’ trusty sidekick as a woman was another risky-but-successful creative choice. Elementary could have raised the ire of fans by keeping Dr. Joan Watson as nothing more than a foil to Holmes. But Watson is intelligent and intuitive in her own right. Even better? So far, there’s hardly a hint of romantic attraction between the two.

Predictions for Season 2

Elementary ended in May – and the next season won’t premiere for another few weeks. But TV critics and fans have been filling the gap with predictions about upcoming episodes.

The series’ stars were spotted in London  earlier this summer, filming the season 2 premiere. Rumor has it that Holmes is called to London to reexamine an old case – and to deal with problems he left behind. Viewers will get a closer look at Holmes’ mysterious past, as Watson learns more about her partner.

As for new cast members? A few have been confirmed. British actor Sean Pertwee will join the show as Scotland Yard inspector Lestrade. And Rhys Ifans – who’s acted previously in films from Harry Potter to Notting Hill – will make an appearance as Holmes’ older brother, Mycroft. 

What else is in the cards for Holmes and Watson? That remains to be seen. The season 1 finale (spoiler alert, obviously) only answered some of the questions. Tune into the season 2 premiere of Elementary on CBS, September 26 at 10 p.m. to find out.


Sam Melton is a TV and entertainment writer with a serious addiction to crime shows. In a former life he was an IT professional and computer science teacher, and he still loves to talk tech news and fun gadgets. Contact Sam directly via email.

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