Fall TV Preview

Elementary Boss: Playing Up Sherlock/Watson Sexual Tension 'Is Completely Off the Table'

Sherlock Holmes purists who might already be knitting their brows over CBS’ Elementary casting Lucy Liu as a female Watson can find great solace in the fact that, even with that male/female dynamic, the New York City-set freshman mystery series will not devolve into some “Will They/Won’t They?” thing.

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“For me, it’s completely off the table,” Elementary showrunner Rob Doherty told TVLine at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills. “It’s just not in my head for Season 1 and, looking ahead … I just don’t feel like that’s a part of the show.”

Doherty instead says his sole goal is to “honor the original relationship” between the partners in crimesolving. “And the original Holmes, to the best of my knowledge, never slept with Watson.”

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When apprised that CBS has been running promos purposely edited to, for example, make a jailhouse visit come off as a flirtatious exchange between Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (who in this iteration is the deductive genius’ sober companion), Doherty could only shrug.

“I get that. I understand that. [CBS] has to use every arrow in its quiver, and we have a mind-bogglingly attractive pair in Jonny and Lucy,” he noted. “But that’s one of the reasons I feel we the writers don’t have to write to it. There’s a natural sexual tension when you put them in a room, so you’re just go to feel it. So, are we going to write to it? No. Are they going to act to it? No. But it will be there.”

As such — and admittedly despite his very best efforts — Doherty is nonetheless prepared to field an unending volley of questions throughout the show’s run, about the “Will They/Won’t They?” topic.

“People will ask us every week, and there will be people who want to see it happen, and I don’t want to break any hearts but it’s just not in our plans,” he reiterated. “And I have felt no pressure [from higher-ups] to pursue that kind of storyline.”