“Elementary,” My Dear Caitlin
//irishphiladelphia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/caitlyn-tv-pic.jpg” alt=”" width=”380″ height=”237″ /> Really, that’s Caitlyn Finley in this screen shot from “Elementary,” the new Sherlock Holmes TV series.
If you watched the premier episode of CBS’s “Elementary,” the modern update of the Sherlock Holmes story set in New York, you caught the briefest flash of a young Irish fiddler in a smoky pub.
Unless you were the fiddler’s mother, who fell asleep. “She missed me!” says Caitlin Finley of Lower Merion, the fiddler in question, of her mother, Denys Everingham.
Lucky for Everingham—and anyone else who missed one of the area’s premier young fiddlers—she can still catch the episode on the CBS website or on Comcast On Demand.
So how did Finley, a 21-year-old physics major at Columbia University in New York, wind up on a show starring Aidan Quinn as the modern day Lestrade, Lucy Liu as Holmes’ physician sidekick Joan Watson, and Angelina’s first ex, Jonny Lee Miller, as the drug-addled poster child for Aspberger’s, Sherlock Holmes?
“I was contacted by an Irish musician I know in New York, the flute-player Deirdre Corrigan, who was childhood friends with a woman working on the show,” says Finley, who has been a fixture on the Irish music scene in Philadelphia since she was a child and now plays in several New York sessions. “They said they wanted a fiddler or this scene in a pub. She put me in contact, they asked me to send a picture, and then I heard, ‘You got the job.’”
And quite a job it was. Even behind the scenes, TV doesn’t have a firm grip on reality. First, Finley had to talk them out of having her play classical music because, well, no one does that in a pub. Then, they told her she didn’t move enough while she was playing.
“One of the people on the set said she goes to this pub, Lily’s, where all the musicians are so impassioned that they’re dancing while they play,” says Finley. “I said, no, I play at Lily’s, and usually we’re just sitting there.”
Still, they made her go outside on the street and practice play “like in ‘Celtic Women,’” the made-for-TV group of gorgeous Irish women who do dance while they play. “It was really embarrassing,” confesses Finley. “This is not how people act in a pub at a session. This is TV.”
It wasn’t all bad. “I got my hair and makeup done,” she says. “The director said I didn’t look old enough to even be in a bar. And they had wardrobe for me—just jeans and a sweater.”
Though her part was a nanosecond long and the entire scene just a couple of minutes, it took six hours to film. “A lot of it was just sitting around waiting,” Finley says.
Though she didn’t get to meet Miller and Liu, she did shake hands with Aidan Quinn. “He’s really nice, he’s great. He introduced himself to every single member of the crew and to me. He was a very nice guy.”
So, would she do it again? “Maybe, we’ll see,” she says, laughing. “It was a lot of fun and I got paid, but if I do it again I have to join the actors’ union. They give you one free pass and then you have to pay dues.”
But Finley has bigger fish to fry. She’s now applying for post-graduation jobs—and not as an actor or fiddler. She gave up the idea of fiddling for a living because most fiddlers she knows—including her teacher, Brian Conway—have day jobs. Conway, who is well known in the Irish music world, is also an assistant district attorney in New York.
“Oh, I’ll definitely keep playing music but I don’t know if I’d want it to be a job. It’s not a good way to make a living and it’s something I do now for stress relief,” she says.
Her post graduate options are very different. “I’m studying Italian and taking a course to teach English as a foreign language so I’m looking at possibly spending time in Italy as an English teacher,” she says. At the same time, she wants to put all that physics she’s learned to good use.
“I’m applying now for jobs at NASA,” she says.
She wants to be a rocket scientist? “Oh, I would love to do that!” Finley says with enthusiasm.