Like CBS’s Elementary? We suspect you’ll like The Killing



  1. Both shows offer unique male-female dynamic duos trying to solve a murder case.
  2. Both shows offer almost anti-hero types in leading roles.  In Elementary, Sherlock Holmes is recovering drug addict.  His partner, Watson, is a trained medical doctor suspended from practice.  In The Killing, Sarah Linden, a former runaway and foster child, is a young detective trying to run from her profession.  Her partner, Stephen Holder, is a former Narcotics Officer dealing with his own addiction to methamphetamine.
  3. Both shows present leads, namely, Sherlock Holmes and Sarah Linden, with powerful deductive and intuitive abilities to dissect a crime scene for clues.  Both Sherlock and Linden initially seem reluctant to take on a partner, but after allowing their understudies to observe for a period of time, both Watson and Holder demonstrate their keen insight about the case, leading to the formation of two well-balanced and fluid pairs.
  4. Both shows seemingly isolate the pairs, forcing the partners to rely only upon one another.  In Elementary, Sherlock Holmes has no meaningful family connections except his estranged father.  Joan Watson, however, has a family, but she remains isolated from her family because of her choice not to pursue the reinstatement of her ability to practice medicine.  In The Killing, Sarah Linden has no meaningful family connections except her overly needy son and former social worker, both frequently exasperated by her obsessions.  Stephen Holder, however, has a family, but he remains isolated from his family because of his previous behavior as an addict.
  5. Both shows feature the partners living together at some point during the series.
  6. Both shows features leads that prefer to sleep only when the case has been solved.  Sherlock and Linden rarely sleep while working a case much to the disgust of their partners, Watson and Holder.
  7. Both shows feature leads in Sherlock and Linden willing to test the patience of law enforcement, give a false name to track down a lead, and even violate the law in order to get answers in the case.
  8. Both shows feature work partners with undeniable chemistry that make the pair almost infallible, but in both shows, it seems equally undeniable that they will eventually have to determine if this professional chemistry translates in their personal relationships with one another.
  9. Both shows feature socially awkward characters, rarely able to express how they feel about one another with any measure of clarity or seriousness.  In Elementary, Sherlock conveys his appreciation for Watson by telling her he is sharper when she is around.  In The Killing, Holder shows his affection for Linden by reminding her that she is still his “BFF” and “his ride.”
  10. Both shows feature very obsessive leads in Sherlock and Linden, but each approach the crime with different goals.  For Sherlock, he is intrigued by the riddle itself, solving the puzzle, not being outsmarted by a criminal, rather than any deep personal concern with bringing the perpetrator to justice.  For Linden, she is governed entirely by her need to obtain some measure of justice for the victims by arresting the perpetrator.  She takes no pleasure in solving a riddle unless it results in the arrest and conviction of the guilty party.


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