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Doherty: Ascension up ranks rather ‘Elementary’

10 TV Scribes to Watch 2012: Robert Doherty

As an aspiring short-story writer at Colgate U, undergrad Robert Doherty connected with “the right person at the right time” when visiting alum Lydia Woodward offered a senior-year internship on “ER.”

A post-grad stint on “Star Trek: Voyager” set in motion a busy career whose next phase is the upcoming modernized Sherlock Holmes skein “Elementary.”

The scribe confesses a fondness for “high concept ideas and premises,” and stories that “come at you sideways, that keep twisting and turning.” Small wonder he found working on “Medium” so satisfying.

“It was about a medium’s family and marriage, but it was also as close as I’ll ever get to ‘The Twilight Zone.’ … We were able to tell strange and sometimes scary stories that let us play with structure and the filmmaking more than others would.”

Comparisons to transatlantic hit “Sherlock” will be downright “Elementary,” though Doherty points out the conceit has been around “since Basil Rathbone was fighting Nazis.” Still, that the dueling Holmeses (the BBC’s Benedict Cumberbatch and CBS’ Jonny Lee Miller) just got done alternating as Frankenstein and the Creature at the Royal National Theater is a coincidence worthy of Conan Doyle himself.

Doherty expresses “tremendous respect for the BBC and their show’s creators,” but “I didn’t want to just replicate it. … I wanted to go in other directions, a little darker, a little stranger.

“I see him as a man who’s trying to repair himself. He’s gone through something terrible, emerging from addiction and trying to get his history behind him. But at the core there’s a very big amount of self-doubt, and for Sherlock Holmes that can be very dangerous.”

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