This is an old article, but in case you weren’t convinced, here she is herself:
“Who Watson is now is someone who’s on the sideline; she’s his sober companion, she’s engaged in him, not the mystery,” she noted. “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.”
This is why Lucy Liu is not Watson in any meaningful way. Watson IS the sidekick. He (or she, as it were) is NOT Holmes’s partner or even his protege. Watson is meant to assist Holmes and to provide his unique skills and talents when useful. Making Holmes and Watson’s relationship the same as Olivia and Stabler’s in “Law and Order: SVU” changes the entire purpose of the character, which is to complement Holmes and be his foil, not to partner with Holmes and be his equal.
And this is why, no matter how good “Elementary” is, I’ll never be able to accept it as a good Sherlock Holmes adaptation. Because this relationship, at least when it’s included (there are good Holmes pastiches that don’t have Watson in them), is so central to the Holmes canon that to deviate from it in such a fundamental way is to not be Sherlock Holmes. If you’re not going to include Watson, then don’t include Watson. Just don’t stick him in a dress, keep the name, and expect us to act as if it’s the same character, because it’s not.
Sigh. And here I was in the middle of writing a cheerful post about “The Great Mouse Detective”, and then I find this. Super-fans who tend to geek out like I do should know what I’m talking about when I say that I feel very strongly about this.