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Conan Doyle's Sherlock stories have been able to remain popular thought the decades.
But, as anything in this world, in order to remain popular something had to be tweaked. Some
modern tweaks or adaptations to the Watson character have been made in the CBS television
series Elementary. Perhaps the biggest change to Watson is the fact that in elementary Watson
is portrayed as a female. As noted by scholarly writer Leroy Panek "unlike most earlier fiction

which made its pitch to female readers, the new detective story aimed at entertaining what it
perceived to be the middle-class male mind" (Panek 17). So, naturally the original Watson was a
male to appeal to the male audience the stories were targeted for. However, the gender change
gives a new perspective to Watson, and although it faced criticism, the female Watson has
proven to be a great Wasto, Conan Doyle's quintessential Watson, has been modified in recent

adaptations of the Sherlock novels in Sherlock and Elementary, in order to appeal to a more
modern audience.
When Doyle created Watson, he created a character that would not only assist out genius
detective Sherlock, but also a character that would be Sherlock's companion and friend.
Elementary, another modern adaptation of Sherlock in modern times, aimed at the modern 21st
century american audience, which depicted the iconic Watson as women, did just that. The role
of Joan Watson played by Lucy Liu gives a nice twist to the role of watson. Even Though
Watson is played by a women that in no way changes the relationship between Watson and
Sherlock. If anything the relationship between Sherlock seems strengthened. As explained by "Turning John into Joan (and casting Lucy Liu in the role) wasn't just a gimmick, but
rather the central part of a commitment to finding a new take on the Holmesian mythology."(2)
Sherlock would have not of offered Joan Watson to go from sober companion to aspiring

consulting detective, of he didn't feel there was something within her. According to the website,"They are played as equals according to the show's premiseSherlock even recruits
Watson as an apprentice because he believes she can develop a skill set much like his own and
become a detective. It features a relationship between a man and a woman that is a true, deep
friendship with no other strings attached" ( Unlike in the victorian era when only a man
was thought capable of such genius, Elementay's Sherlock, shows no bias towards Joan because
she is a woman, and instead look at her talent. Sherlock demonstrates he has faith in Watson's
detective capabilities, when he assigns the Sutter murder case of season one episode 22 "Risk
Management" to her. And Watson proved herself to Sherlock, the use of her relationship and
concern towards Sherlock helped her crack the case. She showed a women was at par level with
Sherlocks detective skills. Where as explained by scholar Leroy Panek, the classic Watson fails
at his deductions that Sherlock feel empowered to point out his errors to him (Doyle 86). And
our updated Watson is spot on with her deductions Sherlock has nothing to point out to her.
Watson and Sherlock share a special bond, more than a romantic bond bond and Watson noticed
the same bond was present with Mr. and Mrs. Sutter. A bond that would take you to all extremes
to avoid the other person from slipping away. Sherlock could have solved the case, but Watson
used her sentimental instincts to solve it. As Sherlock explain how the crime played put, the
camera goes into a slow pan to show everyone present in the room from Mrs. Sutter to Detective
Lestrade. This is where Watson being a women makes sense, no man would jump to conclusions
based on sentients. Only or for the most part makes sense a woman acts on sentiments, since they
are more sensitive to that then men, and the end result proves Watson right. Having Watson be
portrayed as a female not only gains the attention of female Sherlock fans, who want to show
that women are just as capable as men at solving crimes. But, also adds new depth to Watson,

gives the characters more sentiments. The female Watson isn't afraid to reassure Sherlock she's
there for him, as she did before she told him how she solved the case, and she isn't afraid to
sometimes let her sentiments guide her. But not only is Watson's gender changed his personality
is also slightly modified. In minute 39:04 Sherlock is getting ready to enter the meeting place
where he will finally meet his arch nemesis Moriarty, the camera goes into a xoom shot to show
us the location where Sherlock is going to finally meet his arch nemesis. But as soon as he open
the gate Joan pops up behind him. Unlike the traditional Watson who failed to follow his
partners steps plenty of times. Even though Sherlock told Joan he had not received word from
Moriarty Joan was smart enough to have a copy made of the phone Moriarty was using to reach
Sherlock, that way ensuring she had the correct information received by Sherlock from Moriarty.
And Sherlock and many others warned her to keep her distance, but yet she stands side by side
with Sherlock. In the scene Sherlock tells Joan he is trying to protect, to which she responds that
she doesn't need protecting and that she knew what she signed on for when she decided to help
Sherlock. This scene shows Joan's loyalty to Sherlock, after all the warning she will stand with
him. In the victorian era loyalty to a man could only be given to him by another man, but with
Joan we see a female is also capable of loyalty to a man, not an emotionally attached loyalty but
something more, a loyalty that is based on their friendship and partnership. Having the female
Watson show so much loyalty and cunningness, definitely appeals to the female audience. Which
shows the male counterparts that a woman is perfectly capable of being, loyal without being
sentimental attached to the other. Essentially the scene from when to Watson solves the case to
where she follows Sherlock, it shows how making Watson a female did not change the core
aspects of the character.

In many instances, Watson does try to prove to Sherlock, that she is at his level, but there
are some instances where Watson knows enough is enough and its time to back out. Our
modified 21st Watson changes in that she always keeps a steady and level head, even when
Sherlock fails to do so. In scene minute 1:17:11-1:19:35 episode 24 season 1 of Elementary,
"Heroine," Sherlock seems beat ny Moriarty. Moriarty has been to be smarter than out detective,
and Sherlock is going crazy. Finally, when Moriarty has cornered them Watson tells Sherlock the
on way to not only save the case but Sherlock himself is to let Moriarty win. Watson knows
Sherlock will not understand at the moment, but she assures him its fro his own good, "its the
only way this doesn't eat you alive"(Heroine 1:18:12). The importance of Watsons actions show,
Watson is able to stop when she knows enough, is enough. That's due to the fact she thinks
clearly, she doesn't let her ego of trying to solve a case interfere with her well being, and because
has better developed people feelings. We see these new conventions in our updated Watson
mainly because, our character has gain more depth. Unlike, the classic Watson who has a
narrator to the stories and sherlocks companion. Elementary which has more episodes than the
originals Sherlock stories, allows the extra episodes to focus on the characters and further
develop them. As published by,"The other key change in the Watsons is that
Joan isn't ex-military. She was a civilian surgeon, and I think this simply opens more possibilities
for storylines, especially in a version of the show which has to fill a great number more episodes.
I think this is one of the reasons why Joan is so much more interesting than John has become there are only so many murders that can take place, even in New York City. The rest of the time
needs to be filled with character development"(3). THe fact that Watson isn't a war veteran in
the series is key, because that way there is no psychological trauma that impede her from having
normal interactions and feelings. Thats important because it makes Watson more relatable to the

average viewer. Unlike Sherlock who is a genius detective with more social skills, Watson is
clever but at the same time remains normal to us.Again her telling Sherlock to give up is key,
because Watson understands that you don't always win and sometimes it's better to give up, then
to lose everything. She understands that because, she knows we are only human and failing is
natural. Something Sherlock can't comprehend to him there is only winning, and when he seems
in defeat he overdoses with heroine. Watson just like Sherlock has many things at stake with
letting Moriarty when, yet she is able to remain level headed and separate herself from the case,
somthing Sherlock can't seem to do. Watson in a way has become more human she is able to
keep a clear level mind, accepts defeat as something natural, and is able to be there for Sherlock
when he is in need of support.

Work Cited
"Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better
Adaptation." N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
"10 Reasons Why Elementary Is Better Than Sherlock." WhatCulturecom 10 Reasons Why
Elementary Is Better Than Sherlock Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
"It's Elementary, Sherlock: How the CBS Procedural Surpassed the BBC Drama."
A.V. Club, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Doherty, Robert. "Elementary "Risk Management" CBS. New York City, New York, 27 May.
2013.. Television.
Leroy, Panek "Read An Introduction to the Detective Story" 1987. Web. 23 Nov. 2014