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Elementary is an American procedural drama series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. The series was created by Robert Doherty and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. The series premiered on CBS on September 27, 2012. The series is set and filmed primarily in New York City.[1]

The show follows Holmes, a recovering drug addict and former consultant to Scotland Yard, as he assists the New York City Police Department in solving crimes. His indifference to police procedure often leads to conflict with Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn), although the two still remain mutually respectful of one another. He is accompanied by Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), who initially acts as his sober companion. She is a former surgeon and was hired by Sherlock's father to help him in his rehabilitation. They eventually begin to work together on his cases, and she becomes Holmes' apprentice. The series also features Holmes' ongoing conflict with his nemesisJamie Moriarty (Natalie Dormer). Other supporting roles include Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell, Rhys Ifans as Sherlock's brother, Mycroft Holmes, and John Noble as Sherlock's father, Morland Holmes.

Before the series premiered, it was met with some criticism given it followed closely on the heels of the BBC's modern adaptation Sherlock.[2] After the premiere, it was picked up for a full season and later an extra two episodes.[3][4] The season two premiere was partly filmed on location in London.[5] The series has since been well received by critics, who have praised the performances, writing, and novel approach to the source material. On March 25, 2016, CBS renewed the series for a fifth season, which premiered on October 2, 2016.[6][7] On May 13, 2017, CBS renewed the series for a sixth season.[8] On November 29, 2017, CBS ordered an additional eight episodes bringing the sixth season total up to 21.[9] It is set to premiere on April 30, 2018.[10]


Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, a modern Sherlock Holmes relocates to Manhattan, where his wealthy father forces him to live with a sober companion, Dr. Joan Watson. Formerly a successful surgeon until she lost a patient, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people. However, Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and that he has devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her grouchy new charge on his jobs.

Over time, Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a talent for investigation. Sherlock's police contact, Captain Thomas Gregson, knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at solving cases, and welcomes him as part of the team. The investigative group also includes Detective Marcus Bell, an investigator with sharp intuition and intimidating interrogation skills. Although initially skeptical of Holmes and his unorthodox methods, Bell begins to recognize Sherlock as an asset to their investigations.


Main article: List of Elementary episodes

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes: A former Scotland Yard consultant who now lives in New York City after completing drug rehabilitation there for addiction-related problems in the United Kingdom. Holmes is a deductive genius with a variety of unusual interests and enthusiasms that assist him in his investigations. Feeling that the more interesting criminal cases are in America, he stays in New York. He contacts an old associate, Captain Thomas Gregson of the NYPD to resume his previous work as a consulting detective. He is forced by his father to live with Dr. Joan Watson, his "sober companion" who provides him with aftercare. Miller's Holmes displays many canonical aspects of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character, while his familial relations, especially his resentment for his father, have been added into his narrative. In between seasons two and three, Sherlock spent eight months in Britain working for MI-6. He returned to New York in "Enough Nemesis to Go Around" with a new protégé, Kitty Winter. At the conclusion of season three, Holmes suffers a relapse, but his father's connections allow him to resume working for the NYPD. In Season 4, it is revealed in mid-season that his mother, May Holmes, was also an opiate addict like him.
  • Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson (née Yun): Holmes' sober companion. Watson was a successful surgeon, which adds to her complement of skills. She comes to Holmes when she is hired by his father as his sober companion,[13] to help him remain abstinent after his release from rehabilitation. After her contracted time is finished, she remains on after lying to Holmes, telling him that his father had retained her services. He comes to rely on her input and grows to trust her as she helps him come to terms with his life after addiction. After a while, Holmes reveals that he found out that she was no longer being paid to stay as a companion. He offers her a position as an apprentice, telling her how much she means to him and how she helps him to focus. Watson accepts and starts her training as a detective with Holmes. After Sherlock left for London, Joan became the go-to consulting detective for the 11th Precinct, while also taking on more traditional private investigator-type cases that Sherlock eschews. Despite this, the two resumed working together after Holmes returned to New York, albeit with Joan taking on the occasional independent case away from Holmes. Joan has a brother Oren and a half-sister Lin Wen (née Yun). Joan and her sister have the same father, different mothers.
  • Aidan Quinn as Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson:[note 1] The captain of the New York City Police Department's 11th Precinct. He was previously assigned to Scotland Yard to observe their Counter-Terrorism Bureau, where he crossed paths with Sherlock and was impressed with his work. He genuinely likes Holmes, and the two have a mutual respect for each other, though he admits that Sherlock is a "pain in the ass". In season 2, Gregson separated from his wife of over twenty years, Cheryl, and they are divorced by season 3. In "Rip Off" (season 3, episode 5), it is revealed that his daughter, Hannah Gregson (Liza J. Bennett), is an ambitious patrol officer with the 15th Precinct. In "Absconded" (season 3, episode 23), Gregson is offered a promotion to Deputy Chief due to the good work of his unit, but despite hints that some higher-ups wanted him to accept the offer, he decided to remain as he valued his current role and ability to interact with people more than the possibilities offered by the promotion. It is also mentioned in that episode that he served at the 14th Precinct as a newly promoted Detective and was made head of the Major Case Squad at age 40. In Season Four, it is revealed mid-season that Gregson is now dating Paige Cowen, a former detective who quit after her unit was accused of taking bribes; they briefly break up after Joan runs into them at a restaurant, as Paige claims she doesn't want people to think ill of Gregson even if she wasn't involved in her unit's actions, but Joan soon learns that Paige actually has Multiple sclerosis, and convinces Gregson to give the relationship another chance. He is a recipient of the U.S. Flag Bar, World Trade Center Bar, NYPD Medal of Honor, NYPD Medal for Valor, and the NYPD 170th Commemorative Breast Bar.
  • Jon Michael Hill as Detective First Grade Marcus Bell:[19] A junior officer with the 11th Precinct with whom Holmes and Watson often work. While initially against the idea of getting help from Sherlock, he comes to realize Sherlock's talent as a detective and readily takes advice from him. He was briefly reassigned to an observational role in Season Two after sustaining a potentially serious shoulder injury due to a hostile witness Holmes had questioned earlier, but a confrontation with Holmes helped Bell get over the psychological issues that were hindering his recovery and he has since returned to his old role. He is a recipient of the U.S. Flag Bar, NYPD Excellent Police Duty, and the NYPD 170th Commemorative Breast Bar.
  • John Noble as Morland Holmes (Season 4): Sherlock's father who arrives in New York after Sherlock has a relapse. He works as an eminent business consultant, making arrangements for various companies to achieve their goals regardless of what they might be with Sherlock describing him as a 'neutral' party in that he has no concern about the consequences of his clients' goals so long as they are achieved. He has decided to stay in New York for unknown long-term reasons involving Sherlock, with Joan speculating from independent research that he suffered serious stomach damage in a failed attempt to murder him two years ago, and may believe that he is being targeted again. With a view to resolving the threat, at the end of Season 4, he takes over the leadership of Moriarty's organization which will help him to dismantle the group and guarantee safety of his son from further harm.
  • Nelsan Ellis as Shinwell Johnson (Season 5): A previous patient of Dr. Watson and an ex-convict and gang member for the SBK (South Bronx Killas). He and Watson became acquainted once more when he was released from prison and was placed on probation. During his time on probation, Watson helped him settle back into his life outside of prison while also assisting him in his attempt to build a relationship with his daughter. He was briefly an unofficial informant for an FBI agent and is now an official informant for the Bronx Gang Squad. His relationship with Sherlock and Joan faltered when Sherlock discovered that Shinwell was responsible for the death of a friend of his during his original time in SBK, but wrote a confession as he was preparing to bring down the gang, only to be killed by another member of SBK.


  • Ophelia Lovibond as Kitty Winter: Sherlock's newest protégée whom he brought with him from London after leaving MI6. She was initially tasked with spying on Watson until she was discovered. Sherlock tends to be strict with her, but admires her detective skills. Kitty's real name is unknown as she was kidnapped and raped in London prior to meeting Sherlock and she had changed her name in an effort to forget it. Her character is based on Kitty Winter in Doyle's "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client".[20] After confronting and disfiguring her rapist, she decided she needed to leave the United States to avoid possible arrest, and to go somewhere she could use the skills that Sherlock and Watson had taught her.
  • Ato Essandoh as Alfredo Llamosa: Sherlock's NA sponsor who is a recovering addict himself. Alfredo is also reformed from a life of crime stealing cars. He is now paid by various car companies to test their cars' security systems, and he occasionally lets Sherlock try out his own skills on them. Alfredo is one of Sherlock's few real friends, but is not hesitant to criticize him and pushes him to continue his rehab regimen, including becoming a sponsor himself. He also teaches Joan how to bypass automotive security. Holmes 'fired' Alfredo as his sponsor so that he could help Alfredo as a friend.
  • Rhys Ifans as Mycroft Holmes: Sherlock's older brother who still lives in London. He and Sherlock had a very bitter relationship in the past, but Mycroft is taking steps to reconcile with his brother, and becomes good friends with Joan. He owns a chain of restaurants and is an excellent cook. It is later revealed that Mycroft is in the employ of MI6, and it becomes necessary for Mycroft to fake his death in "The Grand Experiment", an act that Holmes felt represented a lack of faith in Holmes to find another solution to the current dilemma.
  • Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler/Jamie Moriarty: As Irene, she is Sherlock's former lover, while in her true identity as Moriarty she is a criminal mastermind who romanced Sherlock—and then faked Irene's death—to draw his investigations away from her criminal activities. It was her supposed death as Irene that caused Sherlock's already established drug use to escalate. Despite Sherlock discovering her true identity, and her subsequent imprisonment, the two continue to have conflicting feelings for each other—Holmes noting during a conversation with Bell that "the love of [his] life is an unrepentant homicidal maniac"—and great mutual respect for each other's intellectual powers. She has also gained an amount of respect for Joan, as the latter's ability to fool her is what got her arrested; when Joan's life is threatened by drug kingpin Elana March, she arranges the criminal's death in her cell.
  • Sean Pertwee as Gareth Lestrade: Sherlock's British colleague and rival. While Sherlock was based in London, he worked with Lestrade, who was then a member of the Metropolitan Police. Lestrade took credit for solving cases that were actually solved by Sherlock. Lestrade is clearly not in Sherlock's league, but he is a skilled— if overzealous and impulsive— detective.
  • Candis Cayne as Ms. Hudson: An expert in Ancient Greek who essentially makes a living as a kept woman and muse for various wealthy men; Sherlock allows her to stay at the brownstone after a breakup, and she subsequently agrees to clean for them once a week as a source of income. Sherlock initially attempts to make Joan pay for the work as she complained about his messiness but she refuses and they settle on sharing the expense. Seen in single episodes in each of first three seasons (episodes 19, 45, 55), but mentioned in numerous others through season four.
  • Betty Gilpin as Fiona 'Mittens' Helbron: a brilliant software engineer for a technology company called Pentillion, who also is known as 'Mittens' in the hacker community. She is on the autism spectrum, and is a cat lover (hence her hacker moniker). She is briefly considered a suspect in one case (episode 81) but later assists Holmes and Watson in their investigation.[21] She later contacts Watson for assistance in another matter, and begins a romantic relationship with Holmes (episodes 84 and 90).
  • Jordan Gelber as Dr. Eugene Hawes, M.E.: New York Citymedical examiner that provides Sherlock and Watson with details relating to murders that cross paths with their investigations. He and Sherlock are regular chess partners ("the first Thursday of the month" is mentioned in the episode "Hounded"). After he is almost killed when a bomb is detonated in the city morgue ("Down Where the Dead Delight"), he develops an addiction to drugs. After noticing the indicators, Sherlock implores him to get him some help ("Hounded"). He takes a leave of absence to recover, but returns to active duty as the M.E. in the Season 5 episode "Ill Tidings"

Characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories[edit]

Elementary often has characters who are loosely based on characters from the original Sherlock Holmesstories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Vinnie Jones as Sebastian Moran: also known as "M", Moran was originally thought to be a serial killer whom Holmes believed had murdered Irene Adler. In actuality he was a former Royal Marine turned hired assassin, and was paid by Jamie Moriarty. In the Conan Doyle stories Moran was an ex-army colonel and the right-hand man of Professor James Moriarty. He was an excellent marksman and carried out assassinations for Moriarty with a specially built silent air rifle that fired revolver bullets, whereas the Moran in Elementary killed his targets by first hanging them upside down with a home made tripod device before then slitting their throat. ("M.", "A Landmark Story")
  • Freda Foh Shen as Mary Watson: in Elementary Mary is the mother of Joan Watson, whereas in the Conan Doyle stories Mary is the wife of Dr. Watson. ("The Leviathan", "T-Bone And The Iceman")
  • David Mogentale as Charles Augustus Milverton: Milverton extorted money from the families of rape victims, which is similar to the character in the Conan Doyle stories, who is described as "the king of the blackmailers". Both versions of the character are killed in front of Holmes who had broken into his house in order to destroy his blackmail materials. ("Dead Man's Switch")
  • Tim McMullan as DCI Hopkins: Hopkins is a Detective Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard who brings Holmes to London to find Gareth Lestrade. In the Conan Doyle stories his full name is Stanley Hopkins and he is also a Scotland Yard detective who works with Holmes. ("Step Nine")
  • Langdale Pike: is a CCTV observer at Trafalgar Square. In the Conan Doyle stories Pike is a celebrated gossipmonger whose columns are published in numerous magazines and newspapers. Both versions of the character are unseen and help Holmes learn the names of people involved in the case. ("Step Nine")
  • Stuart Townsend as Del Gruner - Adelbert Gruner ("The Illustrious Client", "The One that Got Away")


Writer and producer Robert Doherty created the show. Doherty has commented that it was Carl Beverly[clarification needed] who "initially was the one who brought up the possibility of developing a Sherlock show."[22] Beverly spoke about the relationship between Sherlock and Watson in the show in July 2012:

Rob [Doherty] often calls it a bromance, but one of the bros just happens to be a woman. He said that from the very beginning and I think it's really an apt description. There's this idea that a man and a woman can't be together on a show especially without needing to be together sexually or in love or whatever, and this is really about the evolution of a friendship and how that happens. Watching that should be as much the story of this show as the mysteries that you see week in and week out about who killed who.[22]


Liu was cast by February 2012.[23] That July, she said that Watson is not "someone who's on the sideline; she's his sober companion, she's engaged in him, not the mystery, [...] From that point on you get to see how that blossoms out. The foot-in-the-bucket and that kind of Watson happens because in entertainment, there's got to be a sidekick. In this case, that's not the direction we're going in. Ask me in six episodes and if I have a foot in a bucket then we'll have a discussion."[24]

Relationship to BBC's Sherlock[edit]

Sherlock, a contemporary reworking of the Sherlock Holmes story, premiered in the UK in July 2010 and in the U.S. in October 2010. The British show has since sold to more than 200 territories. In January 2012, shortly after CBS's announcement they had ordered the pilot for Elementary, Sherlock producer Sue Vertue told newspaper The Independent "we understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes. It's interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn't resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying."[25] The following month Vertue said that "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."[26]

CBS made a statement on the issue: "Our project is a contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes that will be based on Holmes, Watson and other characters in the public domain, as well as original characters. We are, of course, respectful of all copyright laws and will not infringe on any stories or works that may still be protected."[26]

Creator Robert Doherty discussed comparisons between Sherlock and Elementary the following July, pointing out that a tradition of updated Holmes stories dates back to the Basil Rathbone films of the 1940s, and that he did not think it was the case that Elementary took anything from Sherlock, which he described as a "brilliant show" having watched its first series.[22] Several months later, Lucy Liu confirmed the producers of the UK Sherlock were shown the pilot, "saw how different it was from theirs," and were "okay with it now."[1]


Some interior scenes are shot at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City. Some exterior shots of Sherlock's brownstone are filmed in Harlem which is a stand-in for Brooklyn Heights.[27] Several episodes have been filmed in Whitestone, Queens, most recently on August 11, 2017.


The first season was met with positive reviews from critics, who highlighted the show's novel approach to the source material, the writing quality, and the performances and chemistry found between its two leads and supporting cast. Season one holds an 83% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 46 collected reviews, with an average score of 7.4 out of 10. The site's consensus reads: "It may not appeal to purists, but Elementary provides a fresh new spin on Sherlock Holmes, and Jonny Lee Miller shines in the title role."[28] It also holds a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100 based on 29 sampled reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[29]The Guardian's Phelim O'Neill felt that "Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu make it a double act to rival Sherlock" and noted that "the pacing feels perfect and the details are light: viewers can keep up with the investigation and feel involved, not something every investigative show achieves".[30] Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the pilot episode 3 stars out of 4, and said "While the latest interpretation doesn't live up to the British import, it's still more entertaining than your typical CBS procedural."[31] Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave it a B+ and felt that the show "exhibits enough stylish wit in its mood and look to quickly distinguish itself from the latest British Sherlock series (seen on PBS)".[32]

Season two was met with equally positive reviews. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on eleven reviews, with an average score of 8.3 out of 10. The site's consensus reads, "With the introduction of Mycroft and Lestrade, Elementary successfully extends into the Sherlock Holmes canon in season two."[33] Several critics praised Rhys Ifans for his portrayal of Mycroft Holmes, with Myles McNutt of The A.V. Club calling his casting choice "inspired" and praising him for being able to match with Miller's "bitterness" and praising the premiere episode overall [34] - he later went on to offer positive words on Ifans' performance in the finale episodes pertaining to Mycroft's story, despite finding flaws in the overall arc.[35] Noel Kirkpatrick of TV.com also praised Ifans, saying he "very finely" played the role.[36] The episode "The Diabolical Kind" also attracted wide acclaim, with many singling out the emotional depth and Natalie Dormer's performance as Moriarty. McNutt called Moriarty's presence in both the episode and the series as a whole "refreshingly dominant" and also praised the storytelling and dialogue, singling out several bits of witty humor in the episode.[37] The episode has a 9.0 rating on TV.com with Kirkpatrick claiming Dormer was "having a ball" playing the role of Moriarty and saying there was "good stuff" to be had in her.[38] Kirkpatrick also appreciated the season as a whole for its development of Holmes' character, as well as the performance of the cast.

Season three continues Elementary's trend of a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on eleven reviews, with an average score of 8.7 out of 10.[39] IGN praised the evolution of Watson as a character in the show, saying "While other Holmes/Watson incarnations focus on Watson being a friend, medic, and put-upon backup, Elementary has elevated the character into someone with loftier aspirations."[40] Particular praise was given to Ophelia Lovibond for her performance as Sherlock's protege Kitty Winter, with critics feeling she was a welcome addition to the cast. The episode "The One That Got Away" garnered critical acclaim for its resolution of Kitty's story, as well as the performances of Miller and Lovibond. The Season 3 finale was met with positive reviews. IGN's Matt Fowler gave the Season finale: "A Controlled Descent" an 8.3/10 saying that "The one-two punch of Sherlock both giving into his anger and his heroin lust was a scorching way to send us out of Season 3".[41]

Season four, like previous seasons, was met with a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on ten reviews, with an average score of 7.5 out of 10.[42] IGN's Matt Fowler gave the season 4 premiere episode "The Past is Parent" a 7.3/10. He praised Joan and Sherlock's deepening friendship and John Noble's performance as Sherlock's father, but criticized the fact that the episode didn't capitalize off the crisis from the Season 3 finale, saying that "while there wasn't anything necessarily bad about "The Past is Parent," it just failed to capitalize off the momentum from last season".[43]


Awards and nominations[edit]

2012New York Women in Film & TV Muse AwardActressLucy LiuWon[59]
People's Choice AwardsFavorite New TV DramaElementaryNominated[60]
Satellite AwardsActor in a Television Series DramaJonny Lee MillerNominated[61]
2013ASCAP Film & Television Music AwardsTop Television SeriesSean Callery and Mark SnowWon[62]
Edgar Allan Poe AwardsTV Episode TeleplayPeter Blake ("Child Predator")Nominated[63]
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Main Title Theme MusicSean CalleryNominated[64]
Outstanding Main Title DesignSimon Clowes, Benji Bakshi, Kyle Cooper, Nate Park and Ryan RobertsonNominated[65]
Prism AwardsDrama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance UseCraig Sweeny, Robert Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Robert Doherty, Peter Blake, Craig Sweeny, Liz Friedman, Corinne Brinkerhoff, Christopher Silber, Jeffrey Paul King, Michael Cuesta, John David Coles, Rod Holcomb, Rosemary Rodriguez, Colin Bucksey, David Platt, Seith Mann, Andrew Bernstein and Phil AbrahamNominated[66]
Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-EpisodeLucy LiuNominated
EIC President's AwardElementaryWon[67]
Saturn AwardBest Network Television SeriesElementaryNominated[68]
Seoul International Drama AwardsBest ActressLucy LiuWon[69]
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV Actress: ActionLucy LiuWon[70]
Television Critics Association AwardsOutstanding New ProgramElementaryNominated[71]
TV Guide AwardsFavorite New SeriesElementaryNominated[72]
2014GLAAD Media AwardsOutstanding Individual Episode (in a Series without a Regular LGBT Character)Andrew Bernstein and Jason Tracey ("Snow Angels")Won[73]
2015People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime Drama ActressLucy LiuNominated[74]
Prism AwardsDrama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance Use"No Lack of Void" / "End of Watch"Won[75]
Drama Episode – Mental HealthJean de Segonzac and Liz Friedman
("Corpse de Ballet")
Voice AwardsTelevisionElementaryWon[76]
2016People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime Drama ActressLucy LiuNominated[77]
World Soundtrack AcademyTelevision Composer of the YearSean CalleryNominated[78]
2017People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Crime Drama ActressLucy LiuNominated[79]


In Australia, Elementary premiered on Network Ten on February 3, 2013.[80] The second season started airing on March 23, 2014.[81] The third season started airing on March 2, 2015.[82]

In Canada, it airs simultaneously on Global.[83][84][85] In New Zealand, it premiered on Prime on February 27, 2013.[86]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the series was acquired by Sky Living, a subscription channel.[87] It debuted on October 23, 2012.[88] The second season premiered on October 22, 2013.[89] The third season began airing on November 11, 2014.[90] Season 1 premiered on free-to-air TV in the UK on Sky-owned channel Pick on February 6, 2017.

On February 3, 2013, Elementary was broadcast after Super Bowl XLVII. The episode drew 20.8 million viewers despite running out of prime time in the Eastern time zone as a result of a game delay.[91][92]

Tie-in media[edit]

In February 2015, Titan Books published the first official tie-in novel, The Ghost Line (ISBN 9781781169841), written by Adam Christopher. A second novel, also written by Adam Christopher and titled Blood And Ink, was published on April 26, 2016.(ISBN 9781785650277).

See also[edit]



  1. ^ abYuan, Jada (September 27, 2012). "Lucy Liu on Elementary and That Other Sherlock Show Starring Benedict Cumberbatch". Vulture. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  2. ^Handlen, Zack (January 20, 2014). "How the CBS procedural surpassed the BBC drama". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  3. ^Kondolojy, Amanda (23 October 2012). "Vegas & Elementary Get Full Season Orders From CBS". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  4. ^Porter, Rick (15 November 2012). "Guys With Kids and Elementary get more episodes & Vegas cut by one". Zap2It. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  5. ^Kondolojy, Amanda (March 27, 2013). "The Good Wife, Elementary, Person Of Interest, 2 Broke Girls, NCIS: LA, The Mentalist, Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0 & Blue Bloods Renewed by CBS". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  6. ^"Find Out Which CBS Shows Have Also Been Renewed For The 2016-2017 Season!". CBS. March 25, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  7. ^Andreeva, Nellie (June 21, 2016). "CBS Sets Fall 2016 Premiere Dates, Slates JonBenet Ramsey Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 21, 2016. 
  8. ^Andreeva, Nellie (May 13, 2017). "'Elementary' & 'Amazing Race' Renewed For Next Season By CBS". Deadline. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  9. ^Porter, Rick (November 29, 2017). "'Elementary' Season 6 extended at CBS, suggesting a premiere date pretty soon". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 29, 2017. 
  10. ^Pedersen, Erik (January 11, 2018). "CBS Sets Midseason Premiere Dates For 'Elementary' & 'Code Black'". Deadline. Retrieved January 11, 2018. 
  11. ^Porter, Rick (November 29, 2017). "'Elementary' Season 6 extended at CBS, suggesting a premiere date pretty soon". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 29, 2017. 
  12. ^Porter, Rick (January 11, 2018). "'Elementary' and 'Code Black' find their places on CBS' spring (and summer) 2018 schedule". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 11, 2018. 
  13. ^"About Elementary". CBS. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  14. ^Hale, Mike (September 27, 2012). "A Sherlock Holmes, Out of Rehab and Teaming Up With a Lady Watson". The New York Times. p. C3. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  15. ^McNamara, Mary (September 26, 2012). "Television review: 'Elementary' puts new Sherlock, Watson on the case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  16. ^Elementary Writers (April 14, 2013). "@Elementary_Fans In the Elementraverse, Gregson's first name is 'Tommy.'". Twitter. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  17. ^"About the Show: Elementary". CBS Press Express. July 2013. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  18. ^"Bios: Aidan Quinn". CBS Press Express. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  19. ^"Tremors". Elementary. Season 2. Episode 10. December 5, 2013. CBS. 
  20. ^Gelman, Vlada. "'Elementary' Boss on Joan's New Life, Sherlock's 'Rougher' Protégé & More". TVLine. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  1. ^Gregson was originally identified as Tobias Gregson in the media, the name used in the original stories. The name Tobias was used briefly in early reviews of the show. Holmes identifies him as Capt. Thomas Gregson in episode 201 and he is repeatedly referred to as Thomas in episode 206.[14][15] The show's writers and CBS media site have subsequently confirmed the character's correct name is Thomas.[16][17][18]

"House M.D." redirects here. For the titular character, see Gregory House.

House (also called House, M.D.) is an American television medical drama that originally ran on the Fox network for eight seasons, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The series' main character is Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), an unconventional, misanthropic medical genius who, despite his dependence on pain medication, leads a team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey. The series' premise originated with Paul Attanasio, while David Shore, who is credited as creator, was primarily responsible for the conception of the title character. The series' executive producers included Shore, Attanasio, Attanasio's business partner Katie Jacobs, and film director Bryan Singer. It was filmed largely in a neighborhood and business district in Los Angeles County's Westside called Century City.

House often clashes with his fellow physicians, including his own diagnostic team, because many of his hypotheses about patients' illnesses are based on subtle or controversial insights. His flouting of hospital rules and procedures frequently leads him into conflict with his boss, hospital administrator and Dean of Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). House's only true friend is Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), head of the Department of Oncology. During the first three seasons, House's diagnostic team consists of Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer), Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps). At the end of the third season, this team disbands. Rejoined by Foreman, House gradually selects three new team members: Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley (Olivia Wilde), Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson), and Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn). Meanwhile, Chase and Cameron continue to appear in different roles at the hospital. Kutner dies late in season five; early in season six, Cameron departs the hospital, and Chase returns to the diagnostic team. Thirteen takes a leave of absence for most of season seven, and her position is filled by medical student Martha M. Masters (Amber Tamblyn). Cuddy and Masters depart before season eight; Foreman becomes the new Dean of Medicine, while Dr. Jessica Adams (Odette Annable) and Dr. Chi Park (Charlyne Yi) join House's team.

House was among the top 10 series in the United States from its second through fourth seasons. Distributed to 66 countries, House was the most-watched television program in the world in 2008.[4] The show received numerous awards, including five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Peabody Award, and nine People's Choice Awards. On February 8, 2012, Fox announced that the eighth season, then in progress, would be its last.[5] The series finale aired on May 21, 2012, following an hour-long retrospective.



In 2004, David Shore and Paul Attanasio, along with Attanasio's business partner Katie Jacobs, pitched the series (untitled at the time) to Fox as a CSI-style medical detective program,[6] a hospital whodunit in which the doctors investigated symptoms and their causes.[7] Attanasio was inspired to develop a medical procedural drama by The New York Times Magazine column, "Diagnosis", written by physician Lisa Sanders, who is an attending physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), and Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH, not to be confused with the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro) is modeled after this teaching institution.[8] Fox bought the series, though the network's then-president, Gail Berman, told the creative team, "I want a medical show, but I don't want to see white coats going down the hallway".[9] Jacobs has said that this stipulation was one of the many influences that led to the show's ultimate form.[9]

"We knew the network was looking for procedurals, and Paul [Attanasio] came up with this medical idea that was like a cop procedural. The suspects were the germs. But I quickly began to realize that we needed that character element. I mean, germs don't have motives."

—David Shore to Writer's Guild magazine[10]

After Fox picked up the show, it acquired the working titleChasing Zebras, Circling the Drain[11] ("zebra" is medical slang for an unusual or obscure diagnosis, while "circling the drain" refers to terminal cases, patients in an irreversible decline).[12] The original premise of the show was of a team of doctors working together trying to "diagnose the undiagnosable".[13] Shore felt it was important to have an interesting central character, one who could examine patients' personal characteristics and diagnose their ailments by figuring out their secrets and lies.[13] As Shore and the rest of the creative team explored the character's possibilities, the program concept became less of procedure and more focused upon the lead role.[14] The character was named "House", which was adopted as the show's title, as well.[11] Shore developed the characters further and wrote the script for the pilot episode.[6]Bryan Singer, who directed the pilot episode and had a major role in casting the primary roles, has said that the "title of the pilot was 'Everybody Lies', and that's the premise of the show".[14] Shore has said that the central storylines of several early episodes were based on the work of Berton Roueché, a staff writer for The New Yorker between 1944 and 1994, who specialized in features about unusual medical cases.[7]

Shore traced the concept for the title character to his experience as a patient at a teaching hospital.[15] Shore recalled: "I knew, as soon as I left the room, they would be mocking me relentlessly [for my cluelessness] and I thought that it would be interesting to see a character who actually did that before they left the room."[16] A central part of the show's premise was that the main character would be disabled in some way.[17] The original idea was for House to use a wheelchair, but Fox rejected this. Jacobs later expressed her gratitude for the network's insistence that the character be reimagined—putting him on his feet added a crucial physical dimension.[14] The writers ultimately chose to give House a damaged leg arising from an incorrect diagnosis, which requires him to use a cane and causes him pain that leads to a narcotic dependency.[17]

References to Sherlock Holmes[edit]

References to the fact that Gregory House was based on the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appear throughout the series.[18][19] Shore explained that he was always a Holmes fan and found the character's indifference to his clients unique.[16] The resemblance is evident in House's reliance on deductive reasoning[18] and psychology, even where it might not seem obviously applicable,[12] and his reluctance to accept cases he finds uninteresting.[20] His investigatory method is to eliminate diagnoses logically as they are proved impossible; Holmes used a similar method.[11] Both characters play instruments (House plays the piano, the guitar, and the harmonica; Holmes, the violin) and take drugs (House is dependent on Vicodin; Holmes uses cocaine recreationally).[18] House's relationship with Dr. James Wilson echoes that between Holmes and his confidant, Dr. John Watson.[11]Robert Sean Leonard, who portrays Wilson, said that House and his character—whose name is very similar to Watson's—were originally intended to work together much as Holmes and Watson do; in his view, House's diagnostic team has assumed that aspect of the Watson role.[21] Shore said that House's name itself is meant as "a subtle homage" to Holmes.[11][22] House's address is 221B Baker Street, a direct reference to Holmes's street address.[12] Wilson's address is also 221B.[23]

Individual episodes of the series contain additional references to the Sherlock Holmes tales. The main patient in the pilot episode is named Rebecca Adler after Irene Adler, a character in the first Holmes short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia".[24] In the season two finale, House is shot by a crazed gunman credited as "Moriarty", the name of Holmes's nemesis.[25] In the season four episode "It's a Wonderful Lie", House receives a "second-edition Conan Doyle" as a Christmas gift.[26] In the season five episode "The Itch", House is seen picking up his keys and Vicodin from the top of a copy of Conan Doyle's The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.[27] In another season five episode, "Joy to the World", House, in an attempt to fool his team, uses a book by Joseph Bell, Conan Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.[11] The volume had been given to him the previous Christmas by Wilson, who included the message "Greg, made me think of you." Before acknowledging that he gave the book to House, Wilson tells two of the team members that its source was a patient, Irene Adler.[28] The series finale pays homage to Holmes's apparent death in "The Final Problem", the 1893 story with which Conan Doyle originally intended to conclude the Holmes chronicles.[29]

Production team[edit]

House was a co-production of Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions, and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios for Fox.[31] Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs, the heads of Heel and Toe Films; David Shore, the head of Shore Z Productions; and Bryan Singer, the head of Bad Hat Harry Productions, were executive producers of the program for its entirety.[15]Lawrence Kaplow, Peter Blake, and Thomas L. Moran joined the staff as writers at the beginning of the first season after the making of the pilot episode. Writers Doris Egan, Sara Hess, Russel Friend, and Garrett Lerner joined the team at the start of season two. Friend and Lerner, who are business partners, had been offered positions when the series launched, but turned the opportunity down. After observing the show's success, they accepted when Jacobs offered them jobs again the following year.[32] Writers Eli Attie and Sean Whitesell joined the show at the start of season four; Attie would stay on the show's writing staff through the series finale, which he co-wrote. Since the beginning of season four, Moran, Friend, and Lerner have been credited as executive producers on the series, joining Attanasio, Jacobs, Shore, and Singer.[31] Hugh Laurie was credited as an executive producer for the second[33] and third[34] episodes of season five.

Shore is House's showrunner.[35] Through the end of the sixth season, more than two dozen writers have contributed to the program. The most prolific have been Kaplow (18 episodes), Blake (17), Shore (16), Friend (16), Lerner (16), Moran (14), and Egan (13). The show's most prolific directors through its first six seasons were Deran Sarafian (22 episodes), who was not involved in season six, and Greg Yaitanes (17). Of the more than three dozen other directors who have worked on the series, only David Straiton directed as many as 10 episodes through the sixth season. Hugh Laurie directed the 17th episode of season six, "Lockdown".[36] Elan Soltes has been the visual effects supervisor since the show began.[37]Lisa Sanders, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, is a technical advisor to the series. She writes the "Diagnosis" column that inspired House's premise.[38] According to Shore, "three different doctors... check everything we do".[39] Bobbin Bergstrom, a registered nurse, is the program's on-set medical adviser.[39]


At first, the producers were looking for a "quintessentially American person" to play the role of House.[40] Bryan Singer in particular felt there was no way he was going to hire a non-American actor for the role.[13] At the time of the casting session, actor Hugh Laurie was in Namibia filming the movie Flight of the Phoenix. He assembled an audition tape in a hotel bathroom, the only place with enough light,[40] and apologized for its appearance[41] (which Singer compared to a "bin Laden video").[42] Laurie improvised, using an umbrella for a cane. Singer was very impressed by his performance and commented on how well the "American actor" was able to grasp the character.[13][43] Singer was not aware that Laurie was English, due to his convincing American accent. Laurie credits the accent to "a misspent youth [watching] too much TV and too many movies".[40] Although locally better-known actors such as Denis Leary, David Cross, Rob Morrow, and Patrick Dempsey were considered for the part, Shore, Jacobs, and Attanasio were as impressed as Singer and cast Laurie as House.[44]

"It wasn't a massive move when I first considered [doing House]. What usually happens is you do a pilot and of the very few picked up, only about a quarter go to a second year. So I thought I'll have three fun weeks. I never dreamed I'd be here three and a half years later."

—Hugh Laurie[45]

Laurie later revealed that he initially thought the show's central character was Dr. James Wilson. He assumed that House was a supporting part, due to the nature of the character, until he received the full script of the pilot episode. Laurie, the son of medical doctor Ran Laurie, said he felt guilty for "being paid more to become a fake version of [his] own father".[40] From the start of season three, he was being paid $275,000 to $300,000 per episode, as much as three times what he had previously been making on the series.[47][48] By the show's fifth season, Laurie was earning around $400,000 per episode, making him one of the highest-paid actors on network television.[49]

Robert Sean Leonard had received the script for the CBS show Numb3rs, as well as that for House.[50] Leonard thought the Numb3rs script was "kind of cool" and planned to audition for the show.[50] However, he decided that the character he was up for, Charlie Eppes, was in too many scenes; he later observed, "The less I work, the happier I am".[50] He believed that his House audition was not particularly good, but that his lengthy friendship with Singer helped win him the part of Dr. Wilson.[50] Singer had enjoyed Lisa Edelstein's portrayal of a prostitute on The West Wing, and sent her a copy of the pilot script.[51] Edelstein was attracted to the quality of the writing and her character's "snappy dialogue" with House, and was cast as Dr. Lisa Cuddy.[51]

Australian actor Jesse Spencer's agent suggested that he audition for the role of Dr. Robert Chase. Spencer believed the program would be similar in style to General Hospital, but changed his mind after reading the scripts.[52] After he was cast, he persuaded the producers to turn the character into an Australian.[53] Patrick Dempsey also auditioned for the part of Chase; he later became known for his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy.[54]Omar Epps, who plays Dr. Eric Foreman, was inspired by his earlier portrayal of a troubled intern on the NBC medical drama ER.[55]Jennifer Morrison felt that her audition for the part of Dr. Allison Cameron was a complete disaster.[56] However, before her audition, Singer had watched some of her performances, including on Dawson's Creek, and already wanted to cast her in the role.[56] Morrison left the show when her character was written out in the middle of season six.[57]

At the end of season three, House dismisses Chase, while Foreman and Cameron resign.[58] After an episode in which he "borrows" a janitor whom he calls "Dr. Buffer" to assist in a diagnosis, House must then recruit a new diagnostic team, for which he identifies seven finalists. The producers originally planned to recruit two new full-time actors, with Foreman, who returns in season four's fifth episode, bringing the team back up to three members; ultimately, the decision was made to add three new regular cast members.[59] (Along with Epps, actors Morrison and Spencer remained in the cast, as their characters moved on to new assignments.) During production, the show's writers dismissed a single candidate per episode; as a result, said Jacobs, neither the producers nor the cast knew who was going to be hired until the last minute.[60] In the season's ninth episode, House's new team is revealed: Foreman is joined by doctors Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn),[61]Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson),[62] and Remy "Thirteen" Hadley (Olivia Wilde).[63] The candidates rejected by House did not return to the show, with the exception of the last one cut: Amber Volakis (Anne Dudek), who appeared for the rest of season four as Wilson's girlfriend,[64] and in seasons five and eight as a hallucination of House's.[65] While Penn and Wilde had higher profiles than the actors who played the other finalists, Jacobs said they went through an identical audition process and stayed with the show based on the writers' interest in their characters.[60] Kutner was written out of the series in episode 20 of season 5 after Penn took a position in the ObamaWhite House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.[66]

The contracts of Edelstein, Epps, and Leonard expired at the end of season seven. As a cost-cutting measure, the three actors were asked to accept reduced salaries. Epps and Leonard came to terms with the producers, but Edelstein did not, and in May 2011 it was announced that she would not be returning for the show's eighth season.[67]

Filming style and locations[edit]

House is often filmed using the "walk and talk" filming technique,[9][20] popularized on television by series such as St. Elsewhere, ER, Sports Night, and The West Wing.[68] The technique involves the use of tracking shots, showing two or more characters walking between locations while talking.[68] Executive producer Katie Jacobs said that the show frequently uses the technique because "when you put a scene on the move, it's a... way of creating an urgency and an intensity".[9] She noted the significance of "the fact that Hugh Laurie spans 6'2" and is taller than everybody else because it certainly makes those walk-and-talks pop".[9] Nancy Franklin of The New Yorker described the show's "cool, Fantastic Voyage–like special effects of patients' innards. I'll bet you didn't know that when your kidneys shut down they sound like bubble wrap popping."[69] "Cameras and special effects travel not only down the throat" of one patient, another critic observed, "but up her nose and inside her brain and leg".[70] Instead of relying primarily on computer-generated imagery, the interior body shots tend to involve miniature effects and motion control photography.[37] Many of the sets are dressed with a variety of unscripted props that allow Laurie to physically improvise, revealing aspects of his character and the story.[9]

The pilot episode was filmed in Vancouver, Canada; primary photography for all subsequent episodes has been shot on the Fox lot in Century City.[39] Bryan Singer chose the hospital near his hometown, West Windsor, New Jersey, as the show's fictional setting.[15]Princeton University's Frist Campus Center[a] is the source of the aerial views of Princeton‑Plainsboro Teaching Hospital seen in the series.[71] Some filming took place at the University of Southern California for the season-three episode "Half-Wit", which guest-starred Dave Matthews and Kurtwood Smith.[72] Part of House's sixth season was filmed at the abandoned Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, as the fictional Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital.[73]

Opening sequence[edit]

The opening sequence begins with an MRI of a head with an image of the boxed "H" from the logo (the international symbol for hospital) in the foreground. This is then overlaid with an image of Dr. House's face taken from the pilot episode with the show's full title appearing across his face. House's head then fades and the show's title is underlined and has the "M.D." appear next to it, producing the entire logo of the show. This was the full extent of the title sequence in the pilot episode.[74] All subsequent episodes contain a longer sequence including the names of the six featured cast members and creator David Shore. Laurie's name appears first, followed by the names of the five other featured cast members in alphabetical order (Edelstein, Epps, Leonard, Morrison, and Spencer, then Shore).[75]

After the show's title fades, an aerial view of PPTH (actually various Princeton University buildings, primarily Frist Campus Center)[71] is followed by a series of images accompanying each member's name; most are shown next to, or superimposed upon, illustrations of the human anatomy. Laurie's name appears next to a model of a human head with the brain exposed; Edelstein's name appears next to a visual effects–produced graphic of an angiogram of the heart. Epps's name is superimposed upon a rib cage X-ray; Leonard's name appears on a drawing of the two hemispheres of the brain.[75] The producers originally wanted to include an image of a cane and an image of a Vicodin bottle, but Fox objected. Morrison's title card was thus lacking an image; an aerial shot of rowers on Princeton University's Lake Carnegie was finally agreed upon to accompany her name.[76] Spencer's name appears next to an old-fashioned anatomical drawing of a spine. Between the presentations of Spencer and Shore's names is a scene of House and his three original team members walking down one of the hospital's hallways.[75] Jacobs said that most of the backgrounds have no specific meaning; however, the final image—the text "created by David Shore" superimposed upon a human neck—connotes that Shore is "the brain of the show".[76] The sequence was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design in 2005.[77] The title sequence continued to credit Spencer and Morrison, even when their characters were reduced to background roles during seasons four and five, and Morrison even after hers was written out. A new opening sequence was introduced in season seven to accommodate the changes in the cast, removing Morrison's name and including Jacobson and Wilde's. It was updated in season eight removing Edelstein's name and added Annable and Yi.[78][79]

The series' original opening theme, as heard in the United States, comprises instrumental portions of "Teardrop" by Massive Attack.[80] The piece was used in part because of the distinct tempo which roughly mimics the sound of a beating human heart.[81] An acoustic version of "Teardrop", with guitar and vocals by José González, is heard as background music during the season-four finale.[82]

Series overview[edit]

See also: List of House episodes

"Anytime you try to summarize a show in one word, you sound like an ass. It's about truth."

—David Shore[83]

Gregory House, M.D., often construed as a misanthropic medical genius, heads a team of diagnosticians at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey.[74] Most episodes revolve around the diagnosis of a primary patient and start with a cold open set outside the hospital, showing events ending with the onset of the patient's symptoms.[20] The typical episode follows the team in their attempts to diagnose and treat the patient's illness,[80][84] which often fail until the patient's condition is critical.[80] They usually treat only patients whom other doctors have not accurately diagnosed,[71] and House routinely rejects cases that he does not find interesting.[20] The story lines tend to focus on his unconventional medical theories and practices, and on the other characters' reactions to them, rather than on the details of the treatments.[6]

The team employs the differential diagnosis method,[84] listing possible etiologies on a whiteboard, then eliminating most of them, usually because one of the team (most often House) provides logical reasons for ruling them out.[85] Typically, the patient is misdiagnosed at least once and accordingly receives some treatments that are at best useless;[84] this usually causes further complications, but—as the nature of the complications often provides valuable new evidence—eventually these help them diagnose the patient correctly.[20] House often tends to arrive at the correct diagnosis seemingly out of the blue, often inspired by a passing remark made by another character.[84] Diagnoses range from relatively common to very rare diseases.[86]

The team faces many diagnostic difficulties from patients' concealment of symptoms, circumstances, or personal histories, so House frequently proclaims during the team's deliberations, "The patient is lying", or mutters "Everybody lies"; such an assumption guides House's decisions and diagnoses,[12] and makes the countermeasure of housebreaking a routine procedure. Because many of his hypotheses are based on epiphanies or controversial insights, he often has trouble obtaining permission for medical procedures he considers necessary from his superior, who in all but the final season is hospital administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy.[87] This is especially the case when the proposed procedures involve a high degree of risk or are ethically questionable. Frequent disagreements occur between House and his team,[88] especially Dr. Allison Cameron, whose standards of medical ethics are more conservative than those of the other characters.[80]

Like all of the hospital's doctors, House is required to treat patients in the facility's walk-in clinic.[74][89] His grudging fulfillment of this duty, or his creative methods of avoiding it, constitute a recurring subplot, which often serves as the series' comic relief.[80][90] During clinic duty, House confounds patients with unwelcome observations into their personal lives, eccentric prescriptions, and unorthodox treatments.[74] However, after seeming to be inattentive to their complaints, he regularly impresses them with rapid and accurate diagnoses.[18] Analogies with some of the simple cases in the clinic occasionally inspire insights that help solve the team's case.[20][91]

"It's not a show about addiction, but you can't throw something like this into the mix and not expect it to be noticed and commented on. There have been references to the amount of his consumption increasing over time. It's becoming less and less useful a tool for dealing with his pain, and it's something we're going to continue to deal with, continue to explore."

—Shore on House's Vicodin addiction[92]

A significant plot element is House's use of Vicodin to manage pain, caused by an infarction in his quadriceps muscle five years before the show's first season, which also forces him to use a cane.[93] In the first season, 11th episode "Detox", House admits he is addicted to Vicodin, but says he does not have a problem because the pills "let me do my job, and they take away my pain".[b] His addiction has led his colleagues, Cuddy and Dr. James Wilson, to encourage him to go to drug rehabilitation several times.[94] When he has no access to Vicodin or experiences unusually intense pain, he occasionally self-medicates with other narcoticanalgesics such as morphine,[95]oxycodone,[96] and methadone. House also frequently drinks liquor when he is not on medical duty, and classifies himself as a "big drinker".[98] Toward the end of season five, House begins to hallucinate; after eliminating other possible diagnoses, Wilson and he determine that his Vicodin addiction is the most likely cause.[99] House goes into denial about this for a brief time, but at the close of the season finale, he commits himself to Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. In the following season's debut episode, House leaves Mayfield with his addiction under control.[101] However, about a year and a half later, in season seven's 15th episode, "Bombshells", House reacts to the news that Cuddy possibly has kidney cancer by taking Vicodin,[102] and his addiction recurs.[103]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main article: List of House characters

NamePortrayed byOccupationSeasons
Dr. Gregory HouseHugh LaurieInfectious Disease Specialist, Nephrologist, Head of Department of Diagnostic MedicineMain
Dr. Lisa CuddyLisa EdelsteinEndocrinologist, Dean of MedicineMain
Dr. Eric ForemanOmar EppsNeurologist, Diagnostic Medicine, Dean of MedicineMain
Dr. James WilsonRobert Sean LeonardHead of Department of OncologyMain
Dr. Allison CameronJennifer MorrisonImmunologist, Diagnostic MedicineMainGuest
Dr. Robert ChaseJesse SpencerSurgeon, Intensivist, Cardiologist, Head of Department of Diagnostic Medicine (series finale)Main
Dr. Chris TaubPeter JacobsonPlastic Surgeon,[104] Diagnostic MedicineMain
Dr. Lawrence KutnerKal PennSports Medicine specialist,[105] Diagnostic MedicineMainGuest
Dr. Remy "Thirteen" HadleyOlivia WildeInternist,[105] Diagnostic MedicineMain
Dr. Martha MastersAmber TamblynDouble-Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Art History,[106] Medical studentMainGuest
Dr. Jessica AdamsOdette AnnablePrison clinic physician,[107] Diagnostic MedicineMain
Dr. Chi ParkCharlyne YiNeurologist, Diagnostic MedicineMain

Main characters[edit]

Throughout House's run, six of the main actors have received star billing. All of them play doctors who work at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey.[74] Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), the title character, heads the Department of Diagnostic Medicine.[108] House describes himself as "a board-certified diagnostician with a double specialty of infectious disease and nephrology".[109] Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), House's one true friend, is the head of the Department of Oncology.[110]Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), an endocrinologist,[111] is House's boss, as she is the hospital's dean of medicine and chief administrator.[112] House has a complex relationship with Cuddy, and their interactions often involve a high degree of innuendo and sexual tension.[113] In the sixth episode of season five, "Joy", they kiss for the first time.[114] Their physical relationship does not progress any further during the fifth season; in the finale of season five, House believes he and Cuddy had sex, but this is a hallucination brought on by House's Vicodin addiction. In the finale of season six, Cuddy tells House she loves him. They kiss and agree to try being a couple.[115] Throughout season seven, House and Cuddy try to make their relationship work. However, in the finale of season seven, House drives his car into Cuddy's living room in anger and their relationship effectively ends.

House's original team of diagnosticians consists of Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), a neurologist; Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer), an intensivist; and Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), an immunologist.[112] In the season-three episode "Family", Foreman announces his resignation, telling House, "I don't want to turn into you".[c] During the season finale, House tells Chase that he has either learned everything he can, or nothing at all, and dismisses him from the team. Cameron, who has developed an affection for Chase, soon resigns.[58] This leaves House without a team for the season-four premiere.[116]

Under orders from Cuddy to recruit a new team, House considers 40 doctors.[98] Season four's early episodes focus on his selection process, structured as a reality TV–style elimination contest[98] (Jacobs referred to it as a "version of Survivor").[117] House assigns each applicant a number between one and 40, and pares them down to seven finalists.[118] He assesses their performance in diagnostic cases, assisted by Foreman, who returns to the department after his dismissal from another hospital for House-like behavior.[118][119][120] While Foreman's return means only two slots are open, House tricks Cuddy into allowing him to hire three new assistants.[121] He ultimately selects Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson), a former plastic surgeon; Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn), a sports medicine specialist; and Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley (Olivia Wilde), an internist (nicknamed for her number in the elimination contest).[121][122] In the season finale, Thirteen discovers she has, as she had long dreaded, inherited Huntington's disease from her mother, which is incurable.[82]

In the 11th episode of season five, "Joy to the World", Foreman and Thirteen engage in a passionate kiss.[28] Thirteen is at first reluctant to start a relationship with Foreman, but the two eventually begin dating and are still together at the end of the season. They break up early in season six. In the 20th episode of season five, "Simple Explanation", Kutner is found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. Because Kutner left no note, House suspects foul play, though the death is accepted by the other characters as a suicide.[123]

In the seventh episode of season two, "Hunting", Cameron and Chase have a one-night stand.[124] In the middle of season three, they initiate a sexual relationship that Cameron insists be casual;[111] when Chase declares that he "wants more", Cameron ends the affair.[125] By the end of the season, however, Cameron recognizes that she has romantic feelings for Chase and they begin a serious relationship.[58] After leaving the diagnostic team, they assume different roles at the PPTH, Cameron as a senior attending physician in the emergency room[d] and Chase as a surgeon.[98] They become engaged in the season-five episode "Saviors" (the episode immediately following Kutner's suicide)[65] and are married in the season finale.[126] When Chase rejoins House's team in season six, Cameron leaves her husband and the hospital in "Teamwork", the season's eighth episode.[127] She returns as a guest character in "Lockdown", nine episodes later.[128]

Early in season seven, Thirteen takes an unexplained leave of absence. Cuddy orders House to fill her position with another woman,[129] but eventually makes the choice for him: medical student Dr. Martha M. Masters (Amber Tamblyn), who makes her first appearance in the season's sixth episode.[130] Thirteen returns in "The Dig"—the season's 18th episode and the show's 150th—in which the reason for her absence is revealed: she was in prison for six months for having helped euthanize her brother, who was suffering from advanced Huntington's.[131] While Jacobson and Wilde play central characters (as did Penn), they did not receive star billing until season seven. They were credited as "Also Starring", with their names appearing after the opening sequence.[132] In season seven, Jacobson and Wilde received star billing; new regular cast member Tamblyn did not.[133]

Recurring characters[edit]

The first six seasons of House each included one or more recurring featured characters, who appear in multiple-episode story arcs.[134] In season one, Edward Vogler (Chi McBride), the billionaire owner of a pharmaceutical company, appears in five episodes.[135] He donates US$100 million to the PPTH in return for chairing its board.[136] Vogler represented an attempt to introduce a villain, a move urged by Fox. By the time the Vogler episodes began to air, the show had become a hit and the character was soon dropped.[135] Shore said the concept of a villainous boss was not really viable for the series: "It's called House. The audience knows he'll never get fired."[12]

Stacy Warner (Sela Ward), House's ex-girlfriend,[137] appears in the final two episodes of the first season, and seven episodes of season two.[12] She wants House to treat her husband, Mark Warner (Currie Graham), whom House diagnoses with acute intermittent porphyria in the season-one finale.[137] Stacy and House grow close again, but House eventually tells Stacy to go back to Mark, which devastates her.[138]

Michael Tritter (David Morse), a police detective, appears in several season-three episodes. He tries to extract an apology from House, who left Tritter in an examination room with a thermometer in his rectum.[139] After House refuses to apologize, Tritter brings him up on charges of unprescribed narcotics possession and forces him to attend rehabilitation. When the case reaches court, Cuddy perjures herself for House and the case is dismissed. The judge reprimands Tritter for pursuing House to excess, and tells House that she thinks he "has better friends than he deserves", referring to Cuddy's 11th-hour testimony on his behalf. House is sentenced to one night in jail for contempt of court and finishes his rehabilitation under the influence of Vicodin.[94]

The candidates for House's new diagnostics team are season four's primary recurring characters.

Sherlock Holmes serves as an inspiration for the series.
The original lead characters of House, M.D.: Wilson, Cuddy, Chase, House, Cameron, and Foreman

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