Thursdays 10 p.m. on CBS
Let's not make the same mistake some of us made with "Prime Suspect." You know, when we (and when I say 'we' I don't include Happiness) hated that NBC show starring Maria Bello mostly because it wasn't the "Prime Suspect" with Helen Mirren.
"Elementary" isn't like the British import "Sherlock." And although the main character's name is Sherlock Holmes and his partner is a woman with the surname Watson, it really isn't very true to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle characters.
It's another take on the procedural -- crime solving and crime solvers. And it's enjoyable and appealing in its own way.
Brit Jonny Lee Miller plays Holmes, fresh out of rehab, still jittery, fragile, and socially impaired, and exiled to New York from London. Lucy Liu plays Joan Watson, a fallen surgeon who is hired as his sober coach by Holmes's father. Holmes keeps busy by working as a consultant for Capt. Tobias Gregson (Aidan Quinn).
Miller's Holmes is from the book of "Monk," or the more recent "Perception," with that same ability to be unconsciously cruel and otherworldly observant. But Miller's edginess as an actor makes his character cooler, and maybe darker. There are hints that this Sherlock could have some really bad things in his past. Liu's Watson has a past too; they're both broken people in different ways. There's an ease between the characters but not a sexual chemistry, which is fine with me. Sometimes men and women just work together, you know?
I think the show also does a great job of using the texture of New York to the show's advantage, just as London was the original Sherlock's other character.
The cases aren't unimportant, but what's going to make "Elementary" work are the layers of these characters and what Liu and Miler bring to them. Here's hoping they're up to the task.