Even Elementary’s take on Watson is more complex and interesting. The Sherlock version is perfectly acceptable: Freeman is well cast, and does a fine job of switching between outrage, awkward double takes, and astonishment. But it was established in the first episode that Watson’s war experience (he served as an army doctor in Afghanistan) had deeply affected him, and this has been largely forgotten, outside of the occasional tossed-off bit of dialogue. Though he’s given the dignity of outside work and occasional love interests, Watson’s main job is to react to Sherlock. As Joan Watson, on the other hand, Lucy Liu gives life to one of the stronger female roles on network television, a former surgeon turned sober companion who first meets Sherlock when his father hires her to help him go (and stay) drug-free. Over the course of the first season, Watson helped bring balance and perspective into Holmes’s world, while he, in turn, offered her a glimpse of the challenges and gratification of investigative work. It’s an equal partnership that allows Watson agency and standing without diminishing Holmes’ gifts.