Elementary Casts Game of Thrones' Natalie Dormer to Play Sherlock's Ex-Love Irene Adler

'Elementary' Irene Adler Natalie DormerGames of ThronesNatalie Dormer has landed the pivotal role of Irene Adler on Elementary, CBS announced Tuesday.

The actress will appear as Sherlock Holmes’ former love in three episodes, beginning May 9 and climaxing in the show’s two-hour season finale on May 16.

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Londoner Irene Adler was the only woman to truly capture Sherlock’s heart. It was revealed earlier this season that Moriarty was responsible for her death, which sent the investigator on a downward spiral into drug addiction.

“We’re moving to the next chapter in our show – and in some ways, to a previous chapter in Holmes’ story,” said executive producer creator Rob Doherty in a statement. “Irene Adler is perhaps the most pivotal relationship in Sherlock’s life, and I can’t think of an actress better suited to the challenge than Natalie.”

As for whether Irene might actually be alive, the EP revealed at TCA Press Tour in January that there was talk about exploring the character in flashback to “see why Sherlock would be drawn to this particular women — she’s got to be pretty unique — so we definitely want to meet her.”

In addition to her role as Joffrey’s intended bride, Margaery Tyrell, on Game of Thrones, Dormer is known for playing Anne Boleyn on The Tudors.

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  1. Ashley says:

    This is so amazing! She was one of the people bouncing around in my head for Irene but i didn’t think it’d happen.

  2. Christine says:

    Holy ….. that is big news!

  3. Maggie says:

    I’m pretty sure if you looked up perfect casting in the dictionary, this news would be right there, well done team Elementary!

  4. Mike says:

    Great, I love Natalie Dormer, she is awesome on GOT, just like practically everyone on GOT.

  5. Kaycee says:

    Natalie is an amazingly talented actress! so excited!

  6. rachelle says:

    Perfect, perfect, perfect casting! I didn’t know how bad I wanted this til I saw it was gonna happen, but it’s perfect. She’s a great actress.

  7. Kate says:

    Sorry but she can’t beat Pulver as Irene. Pulver was the gold standard. This show can never beat what BBC Sherlock has done so far.

    • Katherine215 says:

      Pretty sure it’s not a competition. They can both be good shows.

    • Allis says:

      As much as I absolutely adore BBC Sherlock, Elementary has gone far above and beyond Sherlock in so many ways. Pulver was fantastic but don’t write off an amazing actress just because of your (frankly pathetic) bias.

      • Gwen says:

        I don’t believe that someone who states an opinion contrary to what you think can be thought of as “frankly pathetic.” Of course, you are also entitled to your frankly pathetic opinion…

    • Rebecca74 says:

      As compared to Rachel McAdams from the movie? Because Lara’s Irene was more than a passing homage to Rachel’s. But the Sherlock stans always overlook Guy Ritchie’s ’09 movie, so what else in new?

    • Artemis Scribe says:

      Lara Pulver is an excellent actress but was let down by very shoddy writing.
      Elementary has proved to us now, more times than there are episodes of Sherlock that they are very very good at establishing characters in interesting new ways without removing a Holmesian essence from the show.
      Looking at it from an adaptation point of view and taking context, setting, casting and writing into account I think we could be in for one of the greatest versions of Irene Adler of all time.
      I wanted to love Lara’s version, I really did, Irene is my favourite Holmes character, but what was done with her left a bitter taste in my mouth.
      Love interest I can cope with (everyone else has made that mistake, it’s not new) but having her lose to Sherlock? It’s just plain wrong.
      Bring on Elementary, bring on subtlety, bring on the beautiful Natalie and her face like a Russian novel.
      We may finally get the modern Irene we deserve.

      • scooby says:

        BBC’s Sherlock and shoddy writing in the same thought? Wow, pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve read that anywhere. The writing is actually pretty stellar and the episode you’re referring to actually got an Emmy nomination for writing. Lara did a great job with a great script. Was it the nudity you minded? I like both versions. The people behind each have different visions and needs, and the execution works for both. Looking forward to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return as Holmes and Watson, and I think Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu have really hit on a good (and different) dynamic. Not sure why we have to put either show down.

        • Artemis Scribe says:

          Nudity is fine, I was even fine with her being a lesbian dominatrix unlike a lot of people who still call themselves Sherlock fans. My main problems with her character were
          1) She was in love with Sherlock.This is a minor one, I can cope with it, nobody seems to be able to get their heads around the fact that no she wasn’t in love with him and no he wasn’t in love with her so I’m not going to complain about the BBC version specifically for that (I will praise Granada for getting it right though, thank God for Jeremy Brett)
          2) Her sexuality. As I said before, I’m fine with the fact that she’s a lesbian but the only mention of it we get is one joke about shagging the secretary and that line she says to John. The rest of the plot hinges on the fact that she is utterly in love with Sherlock, I’d only side-eye it if she were Bi, but Moffat himself said she was a lesbian.
          3) This is the important one: she loses. The whole point of Irene is that she wins and gets away with it. The whole point of her is to show that Holmes can lose that he is fallible but they messed it around. And it annoys me about how they go on and on about being “true to the stories” when they have changed the very nature of the most iconic female character. Moffat himself admits that he read back over the script after finishing it and realised that he didn’t have a point where she is “The woman who beat him” the essence of her character. How does he solve this? Oh yes, a little light S&M rather than the battle of wits that the 19th Century mysoginist Doyle gave us.

        • Arthur says:

          “BBC’s Sherlock and shoddy writing in the same thought? Wow, pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve read that anywhere.”

          Because it’s blatantly untrue? The writing on Sherlock is some of the best I’ve seen, not only in the Holmesian world but all television.

    • Arthur says:

      Completely agreed, Kate. After the perfection of BBC Sherlock, any attempts at an Americanized remake are bound to fall flat. I can’t bring myself to suffer through Elementary after what I’ve heard of it.

  8. Jacee says:

    I hate how this show is basically copying everything BBC Sherlock did. How original.

    • Christine says:

      Yeah, how dare they copy BBC Sherlock’s original story. Oh, wait…

    • Allis says:

      Have you… even watched the show? Honestly. Literally anyone who has is rolling their eyes at your naivety. What Elementary is doing is nothing at all like BBC Sherlock beyond the fact that they’re both set in the modern era. Oh and guess who doesn’t have a copyright on Sherlock Holmes.
      That’s right.

    • Bridgey says:

      I bet you haven’t even seen “Elementary”. Oh and by the way, Sherlock Holmes is public domain, so any one can interpret it any way they want. BBC Sherlock is not the first nor will it be the last adaptation of ACD’s works.

    • Emily says:

      They’re both modern Sherlock updates. And in the end, they’re different shows. Everything’s a knockoff of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, anyway. It’s not like BBC Sherlock made up Irene Adler. People need to let it go.

    • Artemis Scribe says:

      You are aware that the first ever Sherlock Holmes tv series set in the modern day was created in the 80’s by CBS.
      The network that airs Elementary, thee show-runners quite happily acknowlege that BBC Sherlock is the reason they were given the go-ahead to make Elementary, while Moffat and Gatiss proclaimed to everyone who would listen that they were doing something that “no one has ever done before” (Please see my first point).
      The two shows are completely different, from casting, to setting, to use of the original text, to the extent of Holmes’ drug use, to the way it’s filmed, to season length.
      THe only thing they have incommon is the source text.

      • Rowan77 says:

        Boy, you are on a roll today- as far as being wrong is concerned. The television MOVIE (not series) was The Return of Sherlock Holmes, but it is not a modern day telling. While it takes place in 1986, Sherlock was cryogenically frozen for 80 years and a DESCENDANT of Dr. Watson (played by the always great Margaret Collin) unfroze him. It did not use a Conan Doyle story, it did not feature the incredible friendship between Sherlock and John (mostly because John’s been dead for a long time), and Holmes was a man out of his time. He didn’t use the technology of the day (as he did in Victorian London) because he didn’t know it. SHE was is gateway to modern tech. Totally different. Not even close. But thanks for trying.

        • Artemis Scribe says:

          I guess the point I was trying to make is that absolutly nothing is original, I just wasn’t so fantastic at expressing it because OH MY GOD NATALIE DORMER! (Yeah, still not great at expressing it).
          I just really love this show because it’s friendly and fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously but every time I open an article about it there’s another BBC Sherlock fan complaining about how they’re copycats!
          You don’t see Shakespeare fans moaning about West Side Story do you? Why is it Sherlock fans just won’t leave Elementary alone?
          It gets me down when I’m just trying to enjoy a tv show so I make fumbled attempts to defend it. I’ve never actually seen the tv movie, I just knew it existed, thought I’d throw it in.

    • mawhi says:

      Every time you say the word “Elementary”, a Sherlock fan grows wings and flies over to whine at you, revealing that they have never heard of adaptations or original sources and/or artistic choices.

    • Arthur says:

      It’s just a cheap knockoff of BBC Sherlock. They wanted permission to do an American version (gag), were denied, and plowed along with it anyway. It’s detestable.

  9. kirads09 says:

    Yay! Great choice.

  10. I wish people would stop comparing Elementary to Sherlock on the BBC. It isn’t like the BBC series is the first adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a good show, but that doesn’t mean that Elementary isn’t good as well. In fact, Elementary is great. Anyone who hasn’t given it a chance out of some imagined feud between the adaptations is seriously missing out.

  11. Tedi says:

    The most PERFECT casting choice I have seen in a while

  12. Karen says:

    This is great casting for Irene.

    Now please get IDRIS ELBA as Moriarty please. C’mon Elementary please make it happen, pleeeeeease.

  13. I’m so excited! I’ve loved her in everything that she’s been in and I can’t wait to see her play Irene.

  14. I was hoping for Naomie Harris but this casting is equally as flawless! Now I am just hoping for Idris Elba or Naveen Andrews for Moriarty.

  15. JP says:

    Though Idris Elba would be great as Moriaty, I’m secretly hoping for Hugh Laurie to be Moriaty.

    • BabyJunkyHamlet says:


    • Artemis Scribe says:

      That would practically be trolling! I would love them so much if they cast Hugh Laurie, but it is my strong belief that Lucy Liu and Idris Elba should play all the traditionally white, male roles ever invented.
      And the trolling aspect would remain because Elba is the star of Luther which has a very Holmesian feel to it.

  16. Millie says:

    So exciting!

  17. tp says:

    I was hoping that since they made Watson a woman they would go with someone other than a blue eyed blonde. I’m sure I will enjoy the show just the same though.

    • Saying Natalie is just a “blue eyed blonde” is a terrible understatement but I get your point. : )

    • mawhi says:

      Well the show has two Black supporting leads and just introduced a trans Miss Hudson, so… I think it’s doing fine.

      • tp says:

        Well that’s great that you think it’s doing just fine. I don’t. See how opinions work? I know of one supporting lead, the detective, who is the other? Also, just because I would like to see someone other than a white woman play Adler doesn’t mean she would have to be black.

  18. Sara says:

    I am super excited by this casting choice!

  19. kate says:

    this is such great news. Natalie Dormer is so talented and so underrated – she’s easily one of the most underrated on GoT.

  20. Jacob says:

    hopefully it will be 3 episodes with flashbacks that will end that story line so Sherlock can move on with Watson with new story lines, or will they hunt down red john for the next 5 years?

  21. Sorokaste says:

    Just once in a Sherlock Holmes-interpretation, I’d like to see the writers use Irene Adler in the right way. But every single stupid time they throw her character into a story, it’s as Sherlock’s love interest. It’s been done to DEATH. In the books, Sherlock was impressed by her for beating him, but never (and I quote Watson) “felt any akin to love for Irene Adler”.
    I really hope that Elementary will make it a tad bit more original and keep her dead and just a memory. For that, I can respect this show.
    Also, if they want to do something that REALLY hasn’t been done before, they should refer to her as Irene Norton. ‘Cause that’s what her name was in the later half of the novel. Since she got married. With Godfrey Norton. Not Sherlock Holmes.

  22. Lucy Honeychurch says:

    “Londoner Irene Adler was the only woman to truly capture Sherlock’s heart.”

    In the books, Irene Adler was from New Jersey and seemed to have spent most of her time on the continent. So … not a Londoner, as far as I know. Just to make sure the facts get in here. Not that I care that they’ve cast an Englishwoman. I like Natalie Dormer.

    I’m just hoping that they’ll do a really fun and juicy interpretation — I’m secretly hoping for her to have gotten in league with Moriarty and have faked her death in order to destroy Sherlock, who had budded into one of the biggest threats ever to organized crime and therefore an enemy that Moriarty couldn’t brook. But then I’m secretly wishing for Moriarty to turn out to be Sherlock’s dad, too — a “Luke, I am your father” moment somewhere in season three or four.