We’re now moving into episodes that aren’t as densely packed with canon references, so I’ll be doubling up.
Episode 202: “Solve for X”
Not much in this episode to talk about.
Detective Bell: Since Detective Bell showed up a few times in this episode, I should mention something I’ve been wondering for a while: this may be a reference to Dr. Joseph Bell, the real-life teach to Arthur Conan Doyle that served as the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. He was able to deduce a lot of information about patients with a quick glance, leading to one of Holmes’ most iconic abilities. (This inspiration actually ended up leading to the creation of House, M.D., which is essentially what would happen if you merged Joseph Bell and Sherlock Holmes, and was one of the better Holmes pastiches until the current crop of adaptations came around.)
Holmes doing physical exercise: Something you see a lot of is Holmes doing physical exercise in the show. The canonical Holmes was actually in good physical shape. In fact, he was an excellent boxer (“Gloria Scott” mentions that he trained in boxing, and “the Yellow Face,” Watson mentions that “he was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have ever seen.” Arthur Conan Doyle was obsessed with boxing, and even wrote a novel entirely about it (Rodney Stone).
Tattoos: This has nothing to do with the canon, but I just think it’s interesting. Most, if not all, of Sherlock’s tattoos are actually real tattoos that Jonny Miller has.
Episode 203: “We Are Everyone”
This episode has a few more interesting elements to consider.
Title Sequence: Something I keep meaning to mention: the smashing of the white bust during the Rube Goldberg-esque title sequence is likely a reference to “The Six Napoleons,” where Holmes smashed several plaster busts of Napoleon to find a stolen pearl.
Meeting With Clients: The meeting with “Mr. Mueller” in which he refuses to speak until Watson is present is an interesting inversion of the usual canonical trope: In a number of the early stories, Holmes refuses to see a client unless Watson is allowed to remain and listen to the case.
Damery: I was particularly pleased with this one, as it’s very subtle. “Muller” references “Damery Corporation” in the scene, saying that they “highly recommend” Holmes. “Damery” is likely a reference to Sir James Damery, who was a character in “The Illustrious Client,” another story about a man speaking on behalf of the government under false pretenses.
Clyde: I love Clyde. That is all.
Robert Moses: Not strictly canon-related, but it is interesting that Robert Moses, the urban planner referenced in the episode, really existed.
Captain Gregson: Holmes once mentions Gregson’s full name, “Thomas Gregson.” Gregson is likely a reference to Tobias Gregson, Lestrade’s counterpart in A Study in Scarlet as well as some other stories.
Interestingly, on CBS.com’s “About” page for Elementary, there’s this quote:
Sherlock’s police contact, Capt. Tobias “Toby” Gregson, knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team.
Watson As Scribe: Watson debates writing down Holmes’ cases, which is the classic relationship they have. The title she briefly considers in the episode is “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes,” which is an actual book title (although it often has the more Victorian construction of “Case-Book”).
Moriarty: The name of Jamie Moriarty is very close to “James Moriarty” (and the same kind of gender-bent naming as “Joan Watson”). But there’s a funny story about the name “James Moriarty”: it’s actually the name of both Professor Moriarty and his older brother in “The Final Problem” (specifically, “… the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother…”). He also had a third, unnamed younger brother. Kim Newman played with this naming oddity to comedic effect in his story “The Greek Invertebrate,” part of his wonderful and hilarious novel Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’ubervilles.
I’ll likely get more into Moriarty in future episodes, since it seems we’ll see her again in this season.