From: ep. 2.1 (a little in 3.2), Elementary (3 eps in Season 1, 2 in Season 2)
Character: Irene Adler
Reference: The character of Irene Adler always seems to be adapted to be a love interest of Sherlock’s in most all media adaptations–sometimes, as in Elementary, more ostensibly than in others. In reality, though, she appears in one Doyle story (“A Scandal in Bohemia”), and does nothing but (a little late, even) stay one step ahead of Holmes by eloping and fleeing the country. She keeps the incriminating photograph of her and the King of Bohemia to protect her, which she similarly does in the BBC series. However, the woman known in Victorian London as an “adventuress” is only, as far as Doyle shows, independent. She is also intimated by Holmes as being the only woman who has ever beaten him, though as the wikipedia article on her states, when Holmes mentions being beaten by “thrice by men, and once by a woman,” it’s in a story that takes place before the events of “Scandal.” But Doyle is famously inconsistent with his writings, so we can safely write this off as an authorly oversight. She’s not a love interest, but she is the woman. As Watson tells us:
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion
akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer — excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.