British Actor Rhys Ifans to Play Elementary’s Mycroft Holmes


Rhys Ifans in Syfy miniseries "Neverland". (Photo: Syfy)
CBS’s Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary continues its streak of making incredibly interesting casting choices for secondary roles – decisions that are just intriguing enough to make you come back to the show again and again even its actual stories are maybe not everything you might wish.  (This is at least where I am with the series – I know many people love it and many can’t stand it. So clearly, your mileage may vary greatly with this particular crime drama.)

They really are pretty good at pulling you back in right when think you’re out though. Well done, show.

Elementary, which stars Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson, also seems to pride itself on its non-traditional casting and character decisions. Besides making Watson a woman, the show features a transgender Mrs. Hudson and cast Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler at the end of last season only to turn around and make her Moriarty by the finale. Now another British actor will be joining the mix – Rhys Ifans is set to play Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft Holmes when the show returns for its second season this Fall. And what kind of twist we might expect on this particular canon character is anyone’s guess.

Ifans is probably best known for his recent role as the villain in The Amazing Spiderman, but you may also remember him as Luna Lovegood’s slightly dotty father in the Harry Potter movies, Hugh Grant’s strange flatmate in Notting Hill  or Jimmy Hook in TV miniseries Neverland. The range of roles that Ifans has previously played means that they could basically take the character in any direction, particularly since we’ve heard very little about Mycroft in the Elementary universe. (We’ve probably seen and heard more of Sherlock’s mysterious and domineering father than his brother if memory serves.) 

While the wisdom of what the show’s writers did with Irene Adler is up for debate, you can’t fault their casting director; Dormer was basically perfect for the part. They seem to have picked another great actor to play Mycroft – and here’s hoping that the show’s writers purposefully make the Elementary version of his character very different from his BBC counterpart. (It’s going to be hard to top the BBC version’s Mark Gatiss in the snarky puppetmaster department, after all.) 

Rhys is set to appear in the first episode of the new season, when Sherlock and Joan travel to London and stay with Mycroft – who apparently lives at 221B Baker Street, the famous address from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories. (Though this does put a stop to the wondering about whether there’s a hidden “Baker Street” we’re unaware of somewhere in NYC…)

Creator Robert Doherty told the Radio Times that he and the cast are looking forward to working with Ifans:  “I could not be more excited to have Rhys coming aboard. I’ve always been a tremendous fan and feel very honored to have him in the fold.”

 Elementary returns for Season 2 on September 26.  What do you think of their choice in Mycroft?  And how many of you are fans of this particular Holmes adaptation? Have you given Elementary a shot?