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Sherlock is a BBC Television series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. It was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson.
Hartswood Films produced the series for the BBC, and co-produced with WGBH Boston for its Masterpiece anthology series. Filming took place at various locations, including South Wales and London. Other cast members include Rupert Graves as DI Greg Lestrade, Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty, Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes, Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, as well as Vinette Robinson and Louise Brealey playing recurring roles.
Critical reception was overwhelmingly positive and the first series won the 2011 BAFTA Television Award for Best Drama Series. All six episodes have been released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the UK, alongside tie-in editions of some of Conan Doyle's original books. Soundtrack albums from each series are also scheduled for release.
Both series, each of three episodes, have been released on DVD and Blu-ray by 2entertain.
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD/Blu-ray release|
|Release date (Region 2)||Extra features|
|1||3||2010||30 August 2010|
|2||3||2012||23 January 2012|
|No.||#||Title||Directed by||Written by||UK viewers|
|Original air date|
|1||1||"A Study in Pink"||Paul McGuigan||Steven Moffat||9.23||28.5||25 July 2010|
|The police investigate the deaths of a series of people who all appear to have committed suicide by taking a poisonous pill. They turn to their unofficial consultant, Sherlock Holmes, who deduces various elements pointing to a serial killer. Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes is introduced to John Watson, a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, and the pair immediately move into a flat in Baker Street. John Watson slowly gets to know and trust Holmes despite police officer Sally Donovan (Vinette Robinson) warning him that Holmes is a psychopath and will one day be responsible for murder. Sherlock's brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), at first not revealing his identity, kidnaps Watson and asks whether he'll spy on Sherlock for money, but Watson refuses. After a series of incidents, the person responsible for the deaths, a taxicab driver (Phil Davis), reveals that his victims took their own lives by playing a game of Russian roulette with two pills: one fatally poisonous, the other safe. Watson shoots the cabbie, who reveals as he dies that Moriarty was his sponsor.|
|2||2||"The Blind Banker"||Euros Lyn||Steve Thompson||8.07||25.5||1 August 2010|
|Holmes is hired by an old friend to investigate a mysterious break-in at a bank in the City. He discovers that symbols spray-painted onto an office wall are a coded message intended for an employee of the bank, who is later discovered dead in his flat. The next day, a journalist is killed and the same symbols are found nearby. Holmes and Watson follow a trail of clues that link the two dead men to a Chinese smuggling ring, who are trying to retrieve a valuable item that one of them stole. Holmes eventually cracks the coded message based on Suzhou numerals and a book cipher, but not before Watson and a female friend are kidnapped by the criminals. Holmes rescues Watson's friend but the leader of the gang escapes. After escaping, the leader of the gang is in communication with her superior, who is identified by the initial "M". She is then shot by a sniper.|
|3||3||"The Great Game"||Paul McGuigan||Mark Gatiss||9.18||31.3||8 August 2010|
|Holmes is commissioned by Mycroft to investigate the suspicious death of a government employee, who was working on a top-secret defence project: the Bruce-Partington Project. After apparently rejecting the case and handing it over to Watson, Holmes begins to be taunted by a criminal who puts his victims into explosive vests and sets Holmes deadlines to solve the apparently unrelated cases, which include a twenty-year-old cold case involving the shoes of a drowned boy, the disappearance of a businessman, the death of a TV personality, and the assassination of a guard of an art gallery by the "Golem". As Holmes solves the cases, he finds links between them. After clearing up the original case of the civil servant, Holmes tries to force his unseen adversary to reveal himself. Near the end of the episode, Holmes and "Jim Moriarty" reach a standoff, where Jim reveals that he is responsible for the crimes. In the final seconds, Sherlock Holmes points his gun at a bomb on the floor that was strapped to Watson.|
The second series of three 90-minute episodes was initially planned to air in late 2011. However, a lengthy filming schedule forced the broadcast date to 1 January 2012, with a PBS broadcast confirmed for May. At the Kapow! 11 convention, Gatiss confirmed that the three episodes would be based on the stories A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Final Problem, and that the writers would be Moffat, Gatiss and Thompson, respectively. Gatiss explained, "We knew after having a successful first run that the natural order would be to do three of the most famous [stories]". "There's the question of how to go out on a cliffhanger and then the thematic things of the three stories, where we were trying to get to and what Sherlock and John's relationship is a little further on. You can't just go back to: 'You have no emotions.' 'I don't care.' You've got to move on somewhere and make sure the other characters have something of a journey too." Paul McGuigan directed two episodes, and Doctor Who director Toby Haynes handled "The Reichenbach Fall". Filming ran from 16 May 2011 to 24 August. Sue Vertue produced the first two episodes and Elaine Cameron produced the third, with Vertue credited as executive producer for this episode. Russell Tovey appeared in "The Hounds of Baskerville" and Lara Pulver portrayed Irene Adler.
|No.||#||Title||Directed by||Written by||UK viewers|
|Original air date|
|4||1||"A Scandal in Belgravia"||Paul McGuigan||Steven Moffat||10.66||1 January 2012|
|Mycroft hires Holmes and Watson to retrieve compromising photos of a minor royal, which are held on Irene Adler's (Lara Pulver) camera phone, a ruthless and brilliant dominatrix who also trades in classified information extracted from her rich and powerful clients. Holmes obtains Adler's phone, but discovers it is booby-trapped and requires a code to disarm it. When Adler discovers that the CIA are on her trail, she disappears and is then apparently killed, only to reappear weeks later when the coast is clear. Adler manipulates Holmes into deciphering a coded message on her phone which she obtained from another well-connected client. She sends the message to Moriarty, who in turn uses it to foil a British counter-terror operation, before going underground again. The episode concludes as Mycroft tells Watson that she has been killed by a terrorist group in Pakistan. This is another lie: Sherlock helped her escape when she was on the brink of death.|
|5||2||"The Hounds of Baskerville"||Paul McGuigan||Mark Gatiss||10.27||8 January 2012|
|Sherlock and Watson are contacted by Henry Knight (Russell Tovey), a man traumatized by the death of his father by a monstrous hound on Dartmoor years before. Investigating Dewer's Hollow, a local spot where the beast was allegedly seen, as well as the nearby Ministry of Defence testing site Baskerville, Holmes and Watson uncover a conspiracy wherein one of the Baskerville scientists, Dr. Frankland (Clive Mantle), is continuing the work of H.O.U.N.D., an aborted project to create a hallucinogenic gas for military use. Holmes and Watson discover that the legendary hound is an ordinary dog used for publicity that the hallucinogenic gas makes appear as a demonic monster. The "hound" that killed Henry's father was actually Frankland wearing a red-lensed gas mask and a T-shirt bearing the logo of the H.O.U.N.D. group. Confronting both the dog and Frankland at Dewer's Hollow, Watson and Lestrade shoot the dog. Frankland attempts to flee, but dies when he runs into a minefield. In the final scene, Mycroft releases a confined Jim Moriarty.|
|6||3||"The Reichenbach Fall"||Toby Haynes||Steve Thompson||9.78||15 January 2012|
|After a series of high-profile cases lead Sherlock to fame, Moriarty launches a simultaneous heist on the Tower of London, Bank of England and Pentonville Prison using just a few lines of code that can break any security; crimes for which he allows himself to be captured and put on trial. He secures a not-guilty verdict through blackmailing the jury and visits Holmes, explaining he still intends to "burn" him, taunting him with a "final problem" for him to solve. Soon afterwards, Moriarty arranges for the kidnapping of the children of an American ambassador, who are terrified of Holmes once he has them rescued. This, in conjunction with the ease with which Sherlock solves the case, leads to Holmes becoming a suspect. Holmes escapes arrest, and soon learns Moriarty is under the alias of an actor hired by Holmes, and has seeded the press with a story of Holmes being a fraud. The two meet on the roof of a hospital, where Moriarty explains that assassins will kill Watson, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade if Sherlock Holmes does not commit suicide; he wants Holmes to do this to cement his story after explaining that his "god code" was a myth. After a tense conversation, in which Moriarty realizes the two are enough alike that Sherlock would be willing to do anything to Moriarty to get him to call off the assassins, Moriarty kills himself to force Sherlock to do the same. Sherlock calls Watson and "confesses" to being a fraud (which Watson refuses to believe). Watson pleads for him to come down. Sherlock states his final "Goodbye" and then steps off the roof, leading to his vilification by the press. Watson and Mrs. Hudson meet alone at Sherlock's grave to say their goodbyes; the final seconds show Sherlock watching from afar, having faked his death. Moffat and Gatiss have stated that it was shown on screen how he survived, but that no one has yet figured it out.|
As they had done in order to promote series two, Moffat and Gatiss announced three words to tease the content of the third series. These words were, "rat, wedding, bow". Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August 2012, Moffat said that these words "may be misleading, are not titles, are only teases or possibly clues, but might be deliberately designed to get you into a lather." The third series, again written by Moffat, Gatiss and Thompson, is scheduled to start filming in March 2013. The first episode will be based on "The Adventure of the Empty House" and will be written by Gatiss.