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A couple of days ago we learned that Jonny Lee Miller had been cast in Elementary, a modern-day retelling of Sherlock Holmes. In a recent interview with The Independent, Sue Vertue, Executive Producer of Sherlock (who has in the past been very outspoken on her thoughts of the remake) shared her thoughts on the casting, while also issuing another warning to the american broadcaster CBS.

Sherlock producer Sue Vertue hinted that CBS are now sniffing around her team for casting clues. She told The Independent: “Johnny is a very fine actor, who I saw recently in the theatre when he and Benedict played alternating roles in Frankenstein. Let’s hope their pilot script has stayed further away from our Sherlock than their casting choice.”

She added: “We have been in touch with CBS and informed them that we will be looking at their finished pilot very closely for any infringement of our rights.”

You can read the full article here.

Are you glad that Vertue and co. are keeping a close eye on the development of Elementary, or do you think they are taking it all too far?

  • http://twitter.com/VeronicaADuff Veronica Duff

    They should definitely keep tabs on it. If the only reason CBS are doing this is to make a carbon-copy Americanized version of “Sherlock,” then they have every right to sue for infringement.

  • upper_westsider

    I LOVE the BBC’s Sherlock and I’m not interested in the American version.  But Vertue’s comments are starting to sound silly.  I doubt CBS is shaking in its boots over her latest warning.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurabyrnecristiano Laura Byrne Cristiano

    Let me start by saying I adore the BBC version of Sherlock. They have a very clever approach as to visualization of Sherlock processing information, their spin on how Holmes is connected to the police and coroner, and the backstory of Watson and backstory and persona.   They have engaging story lines and I look forward to the next season. However that all being said, they are adapting and modernizing a story in the public domain as they or anyone else is permitted.

    There are so many ways that you could go with a modern Sherlock Holmes story. Every time a genre is successful there are similar launches (vampire drama for example). Even public domain dueling adaptations are not unheard of: the 2 Snow White movies anyone. What you don’t see are producers with their knickers in a constant public twist in the media saying “you better not copy me”.

    Television and movie professionals are well aware of the boundaries of copyright law. They are not going to breach it. They aren’t going to take your exact spin. However since they are adapting what is in the public domain they can certainly have Holmes and Watson working together in modern London with and annoying Mycroft, a femme fatal Adler, and an arch-enemy Moriarty!

    Honestly, in my opinion, she is embarrassing herself as a professional and is an embarrassment to women who have struggled to get to the level she has reached. More than anything she seems annoyed that the US is going to produce something that will have more than 4 episodes at a clip that will feed the public desire for detective fiction.

    • http://twitter.com/CatKoski Cat Koski

      I don’t see what her being a woman has to do with anything. If she were a man, would you say that the producer was an embarrassment to men?

      • http://www.facebook.com/laurabyrnecristiano Laura Byrne Cristiano

         I think women have to watch being seen as emotional and whiny in the workplace in male dominated fields. Double standard? Yep, but it makes it that much harder for the next person to be taken seriously.

        • Manda K.

          The point of the article was about BBC making sure that CBS doesn’t rip them off.  And I agree, I hope they take a brilliant new approach.  But you decided, for whatever reason, to finish your argument that Sue is being too ‘emotional’.  You turned this a gender issue when it was simply about copyright. What gives?  Cause I can GUARANTEE if the showrunner for Sherlock (and her husband) Steven Moffat had made a statement, he would have said the EXACT SAME THING and you wouldn’t have called him out for ‘embarrassing himself as a professional and is an embarrassment to men who have struggled to get to the level he has reached.”  Don’t hate on woman in the industry who voice their opinion and show passion for a project.  There’s enough men out there doing that already. 
          Side Note: Now I also believe in calling people out on their shit.  Men.  Women.  Whoever.  But your blast at Sue is unnecessary.  Stick with what you know.

          • http://www.facebook.com/laurabyrnecristiano Laura Byrne Cristiano

            Actually I would have called Moffat out for being an out-of-character ass if he took that approach. What I am taking an issue with is that when you jump the gun and criticize a project without having seen it, especially one that is a public domain adaptation and has (as was noted above) a completely different setting and spin it makes you look petty at best and immature at worst. On top of that, when you are a women in a male dominated field (very few female directors, writers, producers who have fought tooth and nail for those jobs. To this day they are still told things like “women can only do romance” women aren’t suited to action”) you need to be more circumspect because it reflects poorly on you and, alas (not saying it’s fair but it is what it is) other women in the field.

        • http://twitter.com/CatKoski Cat Koski

          I think women having to “watch” being emotional and whiny is stupid. The reason they have to watch themselves is to appease the males. !? Or to act as an ambassador for all women!? If a woman is too tough, she gets called a bitch, if she’s emotional, she’s excused for being a woman. The only way to get rid of the double standard is to not use gender as the blame/excuse/reason for anything.  
          This is why we have to do away with stereotypes. Sue is not a representation of all woman. If you wanted to say she was embarrassing herself, then fine. However to drag the rest of us down with her is not ok. 

  • madge

    I absolutely ADORE “Sherlock”, but BBC does not own the characters of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and they do not own Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.  I understand the wariness, but you can accomplish a modern Sherlock Holmes without being “Sherlock”.  Look at “House”, and “Psych”, for example!  Both are amazing plays on a modern Holmes and they aren’t “Sherlock”.  At first it was understandable for BBC to be wary about this modern American Sherlock, but now it is embarrassing.  No matter what the gender of the speaker, there is a point where people should step back, let things happen, and take action when it is needed.

    • stargazer

      The difference is that neither House nor Psych has a main character named Sherlock Holmes.  They may have been inspired by Sherlock Holmes, but they don’t put the “Sherlock Holmes” stamp or seal or whatever on themselves.  They stand on their own.  Now, with an Americanized version of Sherlock Holmes, things are going to get antsy.  Are they going to make totally new mysteries for this Sherlock Holmes who lives in America to solve? (I cringe when I think of Holmes living in America)  Are they going to adapt Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories for a modern audience–kind of like cut and paste?  Are they going to do what the show “Sherlock” has done and take elements from the stories and twist them in unexpected ways? (I read A Study in Scarlet after seeing A Study in Pink, and it’s amazing how many similarities and yet how many differences there were.  It was obvious what parts were adapted from the original story, but it was also obvious what changes they made)  Will they incorporate technology in much the same way as “Sherlock” does?  That in itself may be a copyright infringement.  So, how are they going to produce and develop this show?  The outcome of that will determine if they have infringed on BBC’s Sherlock.

      I’ve reread your comment, after nearly finishing mine, and I do agree that they should step back and observe without necessarily making a public announcement to the effect of, “You’d better watch your step or we’ll sue you for everything you’re worth” at every casting choice.  Wait until either a) you have access to the script, b) you’ve seen filmed-yet-unreleased footage, or c) the pilot comes out.  Or at least just send a private email with that “we’ll sue you” threat without making the public have to listen to you every step of the way.

      I probably won’t watch Elementary, just because I think it’s inherently wrong for Sherlock Holmes himself to have his home be in America.  But I won’t know if they’ve copied Sherlock until the pilot comes out.

      Also, why is it a big deal that Johnny Lee Miller was cast as Sherlock Holmes?  Do he and Benedict Cumberbauch (I can’t remember if that’s spelled right at the moment) have similar acting styles? (that’s a serious question.  If anyone has the answer, I’d like to know.)  I know they played the same role alternating nights, but two people can play the same character very differently.

      • http://www.facebook.com/laurabyrnecristiano Laura Byrne Cristiano

        Also, why is it a big deal that Johnny Lee Miller was cast as Sherlock Holmes?  Do he and Benedict Cumberbauch (I can’t remember if that’s spelled right at the moment) have similar acting styles? (that’s a serious question.  If anyone has the answer, I’d like to know.)  I know they played the same role alternating nights, but two people can play the same character very differently.”

        I too thought it an odd comment. Miller (though a Brit) has done more American TV than Cumberbauch, notably Dexter and Eli Stone. Lord knows he’s not the only Brit on American TV. We seem to be attracting a lot of Scots, Brits and Aussie’s as successful male leads Alan Cumming, Robert Carlyle, Hugh Laurie and Simon Baker leap immediately to mind. So, it is by no means an unprecedented move. I’ve chiefly known him for his costume drama work such as Emma and Mansfield Park (which I adore even if it isn’t the most authentic book adaptation). If you want to see him in something fun and off-beat, check out Hackers.

        I like both of their work, but I personally enjoy Cumberbauch more. I feel he has a greater depth than Miller. He can say volumes with a look and a raised eyebrow.

  • Guest

    The very fact that the show format will not be just three episodes a season, combined with the fact that it’s in New York City, already makes it a different show as it changes the aesthetic entirely. And, like many have already stated, Sherlock Holmes does not belong to BBC, the character and books are public domain. Just because the brilliance of the BBC version inspired them to try their own modern day Sherlock (who isn’t House), does not make them evil, or copyright infringers. Now, I don’t think that the American version can ever measure up to the Moffat version and don’t think it will do well (like Prime Suspect), but one can always be pleasantly surprised (take the Office for example), but either way, sueing them is not the mature way to handle this. If people are offended by it, don’t watch it/boycott the program: the only reason that shows last past a first season is because there is a huge audience. Also, if it does turn out to be a success, BBC Sherlock fans should not be dismayed. If Americans have never seen the BBC version and are introduced by the American one, they are only more likely to read the original books and try watching the BBC version while the American one is on hiatus….that’s what fans do. If anything, this show will introduce the BBC series to a new audience over time. People just need to calm down and let it take it’s course……

    • TheHamburglar

       Really well said. I agree that CBS really hasn’t done anything wrong (yet). There is certainly the possibility of a misstep on their part, but the show hasn’t even aired yet so its a little premature to a) call it a remake b) say that CBS copied

    • Katelyn

      No, suing them IS the mature way to handle this.  The difference is that CBS already asked Sue Vertue if they could redo her Sherlock, and she said no, partly because her Sherlock already runs on PBS here in America.  And now they’re acting as if doing an Americanized version of “Sherlock” wasn’t the original plan, but merely to do a modern adaptation.  Gervais gets royalties from the American Office, which is why it’s okay.   I WANT Elementary to do well in America, because it could be a very different beast and there are plenty of stories that Sherlock only alludes to but doesn’t actually cover, plus other aspects of the ACD source material that I would love to see on screen.  But every move they make just seems…sketchy.  Out of all the actors in the world to play a Sherlock Holmes in NYC, they pick a British one…who played Dr. Frankenstein/the Monster on stage, alternating with the man who plays Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock?  It could be completely innocent, and I hope it is, but you can’t deny that all of this LOOKS like they’re trying to come as close as they can to BBC’s Sherlock without violating copyright.  It’d be so much better if they went in a different direction in a more obvious way.   

      If CBS hadn’t already asked Vertue to do her Sherlock with “fresh American faces” – to quote them – things would be completely different and I guarantee you that Vertue wouldn’t be nearly as defensive. 

      • Ron Storozyszyn


    • http://twitter.com/benedictclarke Benedict Clarke

      The BBC version is shown on an American channel. It is very well known. I hope Sue sues!

  • http://twitter.com/Leah617 Leah Cornish

    Everyone commenting on the number of Sherlock Holmes’ adaptations and that Vertue is overstepping her bounds isn’t paying attention.  The issue isn’t that the idea of a modern Sherlock Holmes will be ripping off the BBC. It’s the fact that CBS approached Vertue, Moffat, and Gatiss wanting to adapt THEIR version for american television – the trio turned them down. CBS set out with the initial plan of using THEIR Sherlock. If they had gotten the Brits on board, they would have received royalties for their intellectual property (like Gervais does from the american Office). That CBS is moving forward without them, means that they have to continue to watch to make sure that their intellectual property remains safe. Not Sherlock or John or 221B or the modern setting – but all of the ways in which they have made their version unique.  Cmon Hypable fan – use your brains.

    • Katelyn


      • NOEDGE!!!


        • Katelyn

          That’s internet-language for “Leah, I rather like your comment, and completely agree with it.  I also believe all others should see your comment, because it’s highly informative.”  ;) 

  • http://www.twitter.com/starlysh Lysh

    I adore Sherlock but they need to not remind everyone of the possibility of suing every time CBS does something. They’re embarrassing themselves. CBS will never have Paul McGuigan, who I think makes the show so stunning and unique. I’m mostly a little annoyed they chose an English actor for the American version…and I’m not sure why because it’s a silly thing to care about. Either way, I’ll still watch it because I love Sherlock Holmes and there’s always plenty of things you can do to make ACD’s stories interesting and fresh. 

  • Adam

    Yeah I don’t understand why we have to take a good British show and try to Americanize it. It’s good in Britain the way it is. Leave it alone. I love Jonny Lee Miller but let him do something else great.

  • Rdh014

    i just dont think its going to do very well. 

  • Glaciusx

    Screw this! There does NOT need to be an American version of Sherlock. This is so lame!!!

  • TheOneAndOnlyCliche

    An adaption of the BBC’s Sherlock would be pretty harmless if they allowed Sherlock to finish it’s run first. It’s an obnoxious, greedy plan. Damn straight, Sue, you keep a close eye on them and make sure they don’t screw around with what you’ve done!
    It wouldn’t be so bad if they allowed Sherlock to finish first. But no, they ask for permission, ignore the answer, and then give the lead role of their adaption to someone who has played dual personalities against the lead role of the what they’re adapting FROM?
    Nuh uh. Not on. I’m going to be very petty about this.

  • Katelyn

    They really should have picked an American actor.  Honestly, if CBS’s goal is to create an “Americanized” Sherlock, then they should be doing it all the way.  If anything, it’d give them a lot more ground against any copyright infringement claims.  The are so many ways to pull of a clever Americanized Sherlock that could be just as awesome (or close to it) as the BBC version.  But everything they’re doing with “Elementary” just keeps looking like they’re trying to hide ripping off “Sherlock.”  WHY did they have to pick an actor that was British, AND worked so intimately with Cumberbatch? Out of ANYONE IN THE ACTING WORLD, they picked this guy?  It just looks really, really bad.  I want Elementary to be great! But EVERYTHING they’re doing is just looking bad, copyright-wise. 

  • http://twitter.com/Lorentio16 Lauren Dipple

    there is NO WAY the americanised version will match Sherlock in intelligence and entertainment. Sherlock in New York? No. Just no.

  • AlternaKat

    Why do you guys care? Just don’t watch. If it’s no good it will die a natural death. If it’s good but infringes on the UK version then they will get sued. If it’s good and does NOT infringe on the UK version then those who will actually watch will get some enjoyment out of it. If you think that it is impossible to actually create a quality American version of Sherlock Holmes then you are just plain wrong. Nothing is impossible. Highly unlikely? Yes. Will they probably screw it up? Yes. But stranger things have happened. It’s incredibly unfair to judge something sight unseen. Resist the urge and calm the F down.

  • Iphigenia

    I believe that the creators of “sherlock” believe they are being ripped off (possible) but since they aren’t ACD they should just shut up.  An American version could be great IF they had the right people doing it.  American TV rips off British TV left and right, and has frequently improved it (though not lately).  We have supposedly had our modern Sherlock in David Shore’s  ”House”.  Should Shore be suing Moffot & Gatiss?  Ridiculous.  More likely that the estate of Collier Young should be suing David Shore because House is less like SH and more like a very successful detective show that ran from the late 60′s through the mid 70′s.  When House began it was a complete lift from this other show, aside from being a medical mystery, not a crime drama.  There is no such thing as an original idea, if someone hasn’t lifted it from another TV show, they’ve stolen it from a book somewhere. “Sherlock” is brilliant; if Elementary is only half as good it may be worth watching. As for making Dr. Watson a woman it has been done before; who cares.  Hollywood no matter how PC they pretend to be has always been about the bottom line:money.  PBS had some show about Asians in hollywood being discriminated against, stuff like that is still going on today, look at the new Hawaii 5 0. Sure they have a woman, but she’s the most junior character, & NOT ONE OF THE MAJOR CHARACTERS IS HAWAIIAN, just eye candy.
    As for the casting of Elementary, most people in America know very little about what Jonny Lee Miller is doing or has done, aside from Eli Stone and the Latest PBS version of Emma. I think casting a brit is a good idea, as who does America have that can carry the role. Too bad Jason Isaacs is tied up with Awake, we probably won’t see too much more of Jackson Brodie, guess we’ll have to read the books instead.
    All in all you can’t have too much good TV, lord knows CBS’ only “Good” show looks like it is headed for cancellation.

  • cumberbatched but unsherlocked

    gees, if you are already that good, what is there to be afraid of?  that other people can better you?  of course, EVERYBODY is in for the money…like what? you shouldnt expect it to be?  just back off and let people breathe. 

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