Television: Elementary, "Child Predator"

Nothing like a blunt title to let viewers know exactly what the episode is about (even when it's a play on words). Although one has to wonder if this means there will be no other episodes about child predators. Or maybe the next one with a child predator will have a title like "Another Child Predator" or simply "Child Predator 2." ("Child Predator Too?")

In this particular "Child Predator" episode, the writers hit the marks of Sherlock Holmes's insomnia and lack of appetite, traits typical to Holmes in all his incarnations and adaptations, as Doyle often made much of the detective's strange habits. The take on Watson's tendency to talk too much is also a common one, though less rooted in Doyle's stories.

As for the stories being told by the writers of the show—stories unrelated to Doyle's originals—they have a ripped-from-old-headlines feel eminently suitable for CBS's usual, greying demographic, those who primarily enjoy police procedurals with very regular plot points and pacing. Therefore the writing is solid but far from dynamic.

I enjoy JLM's twitchy nature, though it occurs to me it must be an exhausting method of acting. Liu as Watson has a pleasing stillness that counterbalances this. Yes, even when she's doing calisthenics. Perhaps it's an inner quietude, just as Holmes's restlessness originates at his core and radiates outward.

JLM also plays Holmes as strangely earnest, a quality not as often punched up in other versions of the character. Yet this is not a complete departure from Doyle, either, since the original Holmes was not only brilliant but equally eager to perform; he liked to show off. And while Holmes's arrogant streak is a favorite of writers and actors, what Holmes also had was a deep desire to see justice done, and even, at times, an earnestness in that drive. Maybe not to the extent of Elementary, but it's interesting to see those levels brought up when they are so often damped down.

Elementary is thus far a good program but not a great one. I'm waiting for it to hinge less on the plot and begin to develop more character.

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