In her el­e­ment

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

LUCY Liu was look­ing to make a TV com­edy. “I adore do­ing com­edy,” says the ac­tress, whose break­out se­ries Ally McBeal led to movie roles in the likes of Char­lie’s An­gels, Kung Fu Panda and Kill Bill.

What Liu got in­stead is a top­less Jonny Lee Miller do­ing push- ups while she tries to fo­cus on her lines.

“Yeah, I’m pretty good at be­ing fo­cused,” Liu says with a laugh. “And we do it so many times … we’re with each other so much. Luck­ily we re­ally do get along.”

Liu is Dr Joan Wat­son to English ac­tor Miller’s Sher­lock Holmes in El­e­men­tary, a mod­ern spin on the clas­sic de­tec­tive story. Now in its sec­ond sea­son, El­e­men­tary looks set to be a long- run­ner for Liu, af­ter her pre­vi­ous few se­ries – Southland, Dirty Sexy Money and Cash­mere Mafi a – came and went within a few sea­sons. A third sea­son has yet to be locked in, but all signs are “en­cour­ag­ing”, Liu says.

El­e­men­tary has al­lowed Liu, who turns 45 in De­cem­ber, to re- root her­self in her home town, New York.

“It’s weird to be in this busi­ness and know where you’re gonna be un­til a cer­tain time. That’s nice but it’s also ter­ri­fy­ing, be­cause we’re so used to be­ing un­planned about our lives. It re­ally changes your for­mat of liv­ing. I’ve got­ten a lot out of it.”

El­e­men­tary wasn’t al­ways such a sure bet: ini­tially it seemed it might be the poor Amer­i­can cousin to the BBC’s ac­claimed Sher­lock, star­ring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Free­man as the de­tec­tive and his side­kick. But the US se­ries has carved out its own au­di­ence.

“We still have very strong pro­ce­dural as­pects to the show ev­ery week, but our re­la­tion­ship, I think, is what peo­ple tune into,” Liu says. Liu’s Wat­son ini­tially be­gan work­ing with Holmes as his “sober com­pan­ion” – a well- paid babysit­ter whose task was to keep him away from drugs. But the ec­cen­tric sleuth has now come to count on Wat­son.

El­e­men­tary al­lows Liu plenty of comedic op­por­tu­ni­ties, along with el­e­ments of drama, crime and the odd kick- butt mo­ment. It’s enough, she says, “that I don’t feel I’ve lost out on not do­ing a com­edy”.

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