Symbolism in The Reichenbach Fall

I originally wrote this article before the third season aired and posted it at Livejournal. I thought it couldn’t hurt to repost it here. I also made some edits concerning details I stumbled over during the third season.

Moriarty’s obsession with Fairy Tales in The Reichenbach Fall seems to be a little bit random at first glance. But if you look closer, you might notice that the whole episodes is woven around this theme. It’s like a game in a game, as if he tries to give Sherlock an additional hint, but deliberately in a way that he might miss the clue. When I really looked for parallels, I found a really interesting construct. I’m not saying that this is really what the writers had in mind, it is entirely possible that I overanalyse this (it’s even quite likely, but this was too much fun to stop in time).

1. The Number Three

The three is an important number in fairy tales. Cinderella goes three times to the ball before she loses her shoe, Snow White is visited by the Evil Queen three times before she dies, three blood drops and so on. Three is also the number which keeps popping up in Moriarty’s scheme. He breaks into the three most secure places in the country. His message for Sherlock, I O U, consists of three letters. He leaves the message three times (on the apple, in front of the precinct and in a Graffiti close to Baker Street – which is, by the way, a nice call-back to The Blind Banker). Three times he leaves an envelope for Sherlock (one entailed the bread crumps, one the book with the fairy tales and one the gingerbread man). And he threatens to kill three people if Sherlock doesn’t commit suicide, which are shadowed by three assassins – the whole threat is uttered in a pattern of three “Three bullets; three gunmen; three victims”. He also invokes the Magpie motive three times, once by playing the song when he steals the crown jewels, once by using a magpie symbol on the wax seal, and the I O U graffiti has magpie wings. (Edit: Note that the magpie turns also up during “The Sign of Three” of all episodes as part of the tapestry behind Mary, John and Sherlock during the wedding – and for some reason there are two birds which look like magpies on the placeholders, too, and the wedding invitation shows a magpie flying off a tree.)

2. I O U

Interesting in connection with the letters are the places where they turn up. At 221B (where John lives), at Baker Street (where Mrs. Hudson lives) and at the precinct (where Lestrade works). But even more interesting are the letters in itself. Joalro pointed out at the Sherlock Fanforum, that they could have a hidden meaning. If you look at the position of those letters in the alphabet, you end up with the numbers 9, 15 and 21 (which can be all divide through three, but that is most likely a lucky coincidence). If you now look at the number system of the Grimm fairy tales, you notice that 9 stands for The Twelve Brothers, 15 for Hänsel and Gretel and 21 for Cinderella. That Hänsel and Gretel of all the tales out there is among those seems more than a coincidence considering that Moriarty (and the writers) went out of his way to include Hänsel and Gretel into the plan. Plus, the three fairy tales have something in common. In all of them, birds play an important role and all of them have something to do with burning (or in Cinderella’s case, ash). And they refer to the three stages of Moriarty’s plan.

2.1 The Twelve Brothers

Twelve brothers, twelve jury members is the most obvious connection. In the tale, the live of the twelve brothers hinges on the birth of the next child. If it is a girl, they will all be killed. This is somewhat similar to the situation the jury members are in, their future hinges on one decision. But the similarities don’t end there. In the fairy tale, the brothers are eventually turned into ravens. Now, if you consider the magpie symbol Moriarty connects with himself, and that the jury members turn into his unwilling accomplices when they don’t convict him, he in a way turned them into ravens, too. The fairy tale ends with the sister, who has to fulfil a tasks which involves no laughing and no talking, being accused by her jealous mother-in-law of witchcraft. Because she can’t speak up, she nearly gets burned on a stake. In a way, the fairy tale foreshadows what will happen later in the episode. (Edit: And burning on a stake is also what happens to John in “The Empty Hearse”).

2.2 Hänsel and Gretel

There are a lot of obvious parallels inserted in the episode. The kidnapped children are brother and sister (who got abandoned by their parents to a boarding school…honestly, what kind of parents just leave their children alone during the holidays?), the chocolate in the sweet factory is a hint to the witches gingerbread house (Sherlock even points the fact out) and Moriarty leaves breadcrumbs. A less obvious parallel is that in the tale, the birds are eating the breadcrumbs, thus destroying the trace which leads back home, while now the bird (magpie) leaves the breadcrumps.

2.3 Cinderella

Since we are talking about Grimm stories, I’ll go with the German version – Aschenputtel – which is a little bit different from the French one. In this one, the birds (pigeons in this case) are Aschenputtel’s helper. Now consider that Moriarty made sure that a bunch of assassins watched Sherlock, ready to rescue his life to protect the code. The main theme of the tale is the jealously of the stepsisters and stepmother, who literally force Aschenputtle into the ash, while the good father does nothing to help her. The anger of the police officers results in them very ready to pull him down, while Lestrade is unable to help him. Cinderella loses a shoe at the ball which leads to the prince finding her. Sherlock following the clues of a footprint leads to the police suspecting him in the third act of Moriarty’s little play.

3. The Bird Symbolic

This is something the writers did rather than Moriarty, so it gets its own category. The first thing the audience gets to see before Moriarty starts his plan are the ravens at the Tower of London (another call-back to The Twelve Brothers). When the plot unfolds, there is not only the Magpie which keeps popping up, Moriarty also says “falling is just like flying”. And when, at the very end, Sherlock lies dead and the camera shows his body from above one last time, two birds (most likely pigeons, the birds which are associated with Aschenputtle) fly away. That is most likely deliberately done, considering that the birds start flying away from a window. The story concludes how it started, with birds.

4. Allusions to other stories

4.1 King Arthur

This story is most likely only there because the writers liked the Boastalot-pun, but it is fitting nevertheless. The Knights of the Round Table were sworn to protect the country, which is exactly the job of the police. Though…does this mean that Mycroft is Merlin?

4.1 The Gingerbread Man

How does Sherlock know that Moriarty want him to run from the police? Easy, because of his final message. In the story about the Gingerbread Man (not by the Grimm Brothers, btw), he runs away from Santa Claus because he doesn’t want to be eaten. He runs, and runs, and is finally eaten piece by piece by a fox.

4.2 Snow White

This is something the writers added because Moriarty couldn’t know that there would be an apple at Baker Street. I nevertheless looked for connections to Snow White and noted something. If you look at the tale you realize that it basically contains all the “tests” Moriarty designed for Sherlock during the first season. Snow White flees into the forest while the hunter brings the Evil Queen “proof” of her death mirrors (no pun intended) Ian Monkford faking his death. The first murder attempt on Snow White is done with a laced bodice used to asphyxiate her, which is basically the murder method of the golem, minus the bodice, naturally. The second time the Evil Queen uses a poisoned comb, which is similar to kill Connie Prince by injecting poison into her head. The third time she uses an apple, of which one half is poisoned (which she gives Snow White) and the other one not (which she eats herself), a nod to the Jefferson Hopes killing method with the two pills. The tale ends with the Evil Queen dancing to death in fiery shoes, which was basically Carl Powers fate (and if you remember that part of the story, the quote “I like to watch you dance” becomes an even more sinister meaning).

And this concludes my little search. As I said, some of those might be coincidence, and there is certainly a lot of room to interpret fairy tales in a certain way. But who knows, perhaps the writers did hide an elaborate riddle in this episode, just for fun.

Monday Musings: Restructuring The Empty Hearse

Unlike some fans, I loved season three. What I didn’t love though, was “The Empty Hearse”. In fact, it is now my least favourite Sherlock episode. My problems with this episode are very different from the usual points of critic.

The on-going commentary on fandom? I loved that! The three solutions? I think it was genius approach to what would have been a let-down in any case. The scene with the bomb? I totally dig the off-switch!

No, what I dislike about this episode mostly comes down to structure. Watching it I often get the feeling that Gatiss had a lot of ideas, but problems to connect them to a working narrative frame.

For example the prologue. It consists of three elements: The fake first theory, followed by John and Mary standing at Sherlock’s grave, followed by Sherlock in Serbia. And I admit, as much as I like the moment of John standing at the grave, it feels squeezed in (and don’t get me started on the cut from the coffee cups to his eyes), especially since we already see Sherlock’s grave stone at the very beginning. To me, it would have made much more sense if the grave scene had been the first of the episode…it would have been the perfect start since the last episode ended with John leaving there. They could have ended the scene with the close up to the grave stone and then shown the fake first theory. I actually think that it would have heightened the impact, because the scene at the grave is so calm, and the speed of this one would have been a great contrast. The audience would have no less believed that they now get the solution. Plus, the dialogue of Lestrade and Anderson ends with “And may God rest his soul” – is there anything more fitting to show Sherlock everything but restful in the next scene?

The next “scene of contention” is for me the various scenes of people encountering Sherlock again, leading up to the totally fannish second theory. I have two problems with those: One, John laying awake in the bed doesn’t really fit in. Two, where the hell are the reporters in the following scenes? A celebrity coming back to life, but Sherlock can go wherever he wants with no problem?

There are two prerogatives “fighting” with each other. Gatiss obviously wanted the “big press scene” at the end of the episode. Understandable, it’s a perfect closure. At the same time though, Sherlock coming back must be public, not just for the “Oh my god” scene, but mostly in order to explain clients turning up at his doorstep.

My solution would have been to give Sherlock coming back and his first reconciliation with more time…not more screen-time, just more time. For example, add a line in the scene between Sherlock and Mycroft that the press is now loosing interest and clients are now showing up again. Give it the appearance of at least a week long time-jump instead of just one or two days. End this scene with a shot of John laying awake in bed, thinking, followed by him shaving. This would also give John some time to come to terms with his feelings. After that back to the montage of Sherlock and Molly dealing with clients while John has a “normal” day – imho the high point of the episode, after the first fake theory.

Speaking of fake theories, the next and last big stumbling stone is for the placement of the third theory. Gatiss said that it felt right to place it in the middle of the bomb situation. From an audience pov it is more than a little bit confusing, because it first seems to be a leap forward, and then a random scene in the future. Or something which never happened. It certainly doesn’t work as pov from someone since it cuts away from John’s face and John isn’t present during the scene in question.

To me the perfect placing for this scene would have been when John asks Sherlock how he has done it and Sherlock looks thoughtful. Cutting to the recording in this moment would foul the audience into believing that this is from the interview first. Going then back to Sherlock’s “you know my methods” line would leave it open if Sherlock remembers something what happened or if he indulges in a nice little fantasy.

Naturally it is easy to criticise after the fact. Still…I think that a little bit tweaking of the structure would have made the whole episode better. As it is, it is a little bit disjointed.

Monday Musings: A Pack of Liars

Watching Sherlock, there are always odd parallels to discover. For example Sherlock not contacting John during his long absence is mirrored by John avoiding Mrs. Hudson and Baker Street, too. But what really stood out to me were all the lies told during “His Last Vow” – and how they crippled the characters.

The most obvious liar is naturally Mary. She lies to John about her past. She lies to Janine to get access. She might lie to Sherlock when she tries to convince him that she would kill him if he doesn’t keep her secret. But above all she lies to herself that keeping all those secrets is for John’s benefit.

Next on the list is Sherlock, who lies to everyone to keep his plans concerning Janine secret, and naturally lies to Janine, too. He then proceeds to lie on Mary’s behalf to the police. But the biggest lie is the one he tells himself – that he took drugs for a case. He is Sherlock Holmes. He would certainly be able to fake a drug habit, if he really wanted to. He could also staged multiple other scandals. But he picked drugs, marking it (presumably) the first time he didn’t take drugs in place of a case, but on a case.

John seems to be the most honest of all of them, but that’s mostly because Sherlock sees immediately through all his lies, starting with the claim that a random addict sprained Bill Wiggens wrist and ending with John’s supposedly desire for a quiet live. Like Mary and Sherlock, John lies to himself, too.

Ironically it is Sherlock who finally stages an intervention to blow all of those lies open. Not surprisingly, he is the only one who still manages to hold onto his secrets.

But the list doesn’t end there. Mycroft claims that Magnussen is not of importance because he never bothers anyone truly powerful. But in fact Magnussen is just attacking Lady Smallwood (who apparently is a high level official), planning a move on Mycroft himself and claims that Mycroft tried to nail him for something for years. It seems like Mycroft warning Sherlock away from the case is mostly based on a desire to protect Sherlock, not Magnussen.

And then there is Janine, the only liar who has success. At least she makes a lot of money with her story. Interestingly though she claims that there was no need for Sherlock to lie. Who knows, perhaps she would have helped him on her own if he had just asked….considering that Magnussen apparently had something on her and loved flickering her face, she certainly had enough reasons to hate him, too.

The one who doesn’t lie is Magnussen. He is the master of misdirection and misrepresenting facts, but he doesn’t directly lie. There is always a little bit of truth in everything he prints. In fact he is living from other people’s need to conceal. In a way though it is the last truth – that he doesn’t have a vault – which costs him his life. But then, Sherlock is lying when he calls himself a psychopath, too.

In the end though…if Mary hadn’t been too afraid that John would leave her and had asked Sherlock for help. If John had told her that he planed to take on Magnussen with Sherlock instead of pretending to be happy with a mundane life. If Sherlock had tried to convince Mycroft that Magnussen is a way bigger threat than Mycroft (presumably) perceived. Than Magnussen would have had a much harder time to seize control.

TV vs Reality or The Anatomy of a Shooting

Currently the Fandom is full of medical experts, discussing every aspect of the shooting, but especially the question if Mary really didn’t want to kill Sherlock. I guess a lot of fans learned more about anatomy than they will need ever again in their life. The specific location of the wound and the question if it might have nicked the lung or not is the topic of hot debates, and everyone is set on proving his view on Mary based on medical facts.

In the end though – does it really matter?

Sherlock is not a documentary. It is at the end of the day a TV show. And while it is grounded in reality, it does allow itself, like every other fictional work, some freedoms. Some small ones, like the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers having been John’s regiment, even though it has been long disbanded and he as a doctor should be attached to RAMC either way (and certainly not at the front lines…it’s not the policy of the army to send their medical personal into battle. They teach soldiers to act as medics, not doctors to do the job of a soldier). Or him carrying around a weapon in London despite the strict weapon law. Most of the time, the claims do have a connection to reality, but are adjusted to whatever the writers need. Yes, there are abandoned underground stations, but none of them is located directly under Westminster Abbey (and if there were one, I bet that it would be thoroughly guarded). Yes, there are experiments with jellyfish genes in rabbits, though I doubt that they glow in the dark like that. Yes, there have been cases of people just letting sensitive information lying around, though I really don’t see why someone who is working in a minor capacity on a project should take a memory stick full of them into a bar. And yes, there are bombs with off-switches, in fact an off-switch makes much more sense than a bomber helpfully color-coding the wires, it’s combining it with a timer instead of just activating it from afar which is overkill added to supply a dramatic moment.

Sherlock is also prone to feature characters with exceptional abilities. John is able to do a precise shot with a handgun through a window after not being able to train his skills for months and recovering from a shoulder injury. Mycroft learns a foreign language is a couple of hours. Magnussen is able to recall a whole library of files on different persons, including connecting the information.

So if the show tells us that it is possible to shoot someone in a way that he would most likely survive the injury, it is pretty mood to discuss if this is even possible. If the show tells us that it is possible, we are suppose to believe it. The question is if this is what the show is trying to do, or if Sherlock’s deduction is framed in a way which encourages us to doubt it. Arguments which speak against the “surgery” are the following:

1. Sherlock’s heart stopped
2. There is the possibility that Magnussen called 999 shortly before he was knocked out.
3. Mary never verbally confirms Sherlock’s version of the events.

I will be honest: In the context of the show I think that none of those arguments hold up close examination, for the following reasons:

1. Sherlock survived. How high is the likelihood of someone surviving a close range shot done by a professional assassin? To quote TBB: “What does it tell you when an assassin cannot shoot straight? It tells you that they are not really trying.”
2. I examined the footage thoroughly. Yes, there is a phone on the floor beside Magnussen. Yes, he leans in its direction while Mary turns her back to him. But, to be honest, if you pay attention it is obvious that there are multiple shots cut together. At one point you can see him lowering his hands, but when the camera cuts back to him, he suddenly holds his hands high again. That is all not deliberate enough for my taste. There is also the little fact that when Sherlock enters the room, you can see Magnussen to Mary’s left, while the phone is too Mary’s right – that’s quite a distance, I honestly don’t see Magnussen reaching it without falling over, never mind being back in his old position in seconds. Then there is the fact that if we are able to see him leaning to the side in the mirror behind Sherlock, Mary, who is a trained operative, would see it too. And last but not least, phones make sounds. If not while being activated, then the moment someone answers at the other end of the line.
There is also the question why Magnussen should even call 999. For him it makes much more sense to call immediate help for himself, and considering his position, he should have his own security on speed dial. (Yes, I am aware that this is a speculation, but so is the idea that he did something in the background which was deliberately not shown to us).
So why showing the phone in the first place? The easiest answer is: So that we can later see Mary picking it up, thus explaining how she was able to make the call without using her own phone.
3. There are a couple of reasons why Sherlock is the one who tells John (and the audience) that Mary didn’t want to kill him. The first one being that we would never believe her, but we are trained to believe him (despite the fact that he tends to play roles). This is not The Reichenbach Fall, which was designed to make the audience question everything they saw. This is a standard deduction. And as a general rule, Sherlock might miss some details (like the drug being in the air and not in the sugar) – after all, there is always something. But he is never outright wrong. Even the conclusion of that the Mayfly Man is an adulterer is not Sherlock’s theory – it’s John’s, which Sherlock accepts because he has no better one at this point.

The most important aspect in all of this is: Sherlock has no reason to lie. I really don’t see the writers trying to sell to the audience next season that he encouraged John so stay in a relationship with the woman who tried to kill him. We might have a problem with the concept of a “surgery shot”, but believing that Sherlock would manipulate John (who, being an army doctor would certainly call BS on a “surgery gun shot” if the wound hadn’t been at a location which makes it believable, of if the ambulance had been on place later than Sherlock claims) into staying with a woman who was trying to kill him or that John would willingly partake in this kind of manipulation is in my eyes not only far-fetched, but also a much worse scenario.

In the end, we might have a problem with the concept of shooting someone as acceptable reaction in this situation. We might have a problem with Sherlock and John forgiving Mary. And there is certainly nothing wrong with discussing if the storyline is a good one (considering how heated it’s discussed the writers did something right, though) or if it was sold it convincingly. But when it comes to the question if Mary tried to kill Sherlock or not – then it is not a question of science but a question of storytelling. And this story ends with Mary in tears because John considers her future his privilege and Sherlock calling her affectionately “my girl”. No scientific study will change this.

 

Thoughts about Season Three

Two years the Sherlock Fans have waited for it. Two years of speculations and rising expectations. Meeting those expectations was the difficult challenge the series had to meet. In a way, though, the writers didn’t even try. Instead the circumvented expectations and presented us with a new kind of Sherlock. This season felt different from the two before them, for various reasons.  It was a different kind of story-telling, a slightly different style, a different focus and we were presented with new characters. And yet, it still felt like Sherlock.

Sometimes it’s not a question of “who”; it’s a question of “who knows”

There are basically four points in every crime around which you can built a story. The culprit, the victim, the deed itself and the proof. Columbo for example was usually built around the proof. In most episodes, the audience did know who the culprit was and how he did it – the question was, how Columbo would proof it. The typical Ms. Marple or Poirot story tends to be about the classic “Who has done it?” question. They start with a number of suspect, a crime happens, and then the different clues are put together until the murder is found. Stories build around the victim have become a whole own category. The thrillers, the horror genre, they are all about following the potential victim of a crime.

Sherlock Holmes stories are nearly always build around the deed itself. There are exceptions. The Hound of the Baskerville is a classical “who has done it”, “Scandal in Bohemia” focusses on Holmes finding a way to retrieve the letters, and “The Copper Beeches” focussed largely on the potential victim. In the end though, the stories are, unlike modern Crime Shows, rarely about the “who?” and instead about the “how and why was it done?”.

Sherlock works largely the same way. The question in ASIP is not who the murderer is, but how does he lure his victims to the place of their murder and convince them to swallow poison. TGG is not about who the bomber is (it is Moriarty, and everyone could be that person), it is about why he does what he does. The case of the hiker and the back-fire in SIB doesn’t even have a culprit, it is all about the question “How was it done?”

TBB and HOB are often considered the odd ones out of the episodes, and in a way, they really are. HOB is, like the book it was based on, mostly a classic “Who did it?”, even if there is still an element of “How was it done?” in the story. And both episodes are more victim-oriented than the other ones, spending a lot of time with Soo-Lin and Henry Knight respectively.

One should add “TRF” to the list of “different” episodes, too, because this one is certainly not about the how, it is, again like its book counterpart, entirely about the victim. Just that the potential victim is in this case Sherlock Holmes himself.

The third season had a little bit of everything, though TEH was barely a case at all. It was more about Sherlock coming back, and the case was more about watching Sherlock narrowing it down to the actual plan, though there was the small mystery of how Moran vanished out of the subway thrown in.

TSOT was the classic “how was it done”. The audience even gets a lot of time to think about it. The solution might seem a little bit far-fetched, but at least the part with a wound not properly bleeding until the constriction is removed definitely works. The part of not realizing that someone just stabbed you might work, though the method seems quite risky to me.

HLV on the other hand is, pretty much like TRF, mostly about the victim (again the victim being Sherlock and to up the ante John and Mary) trying to struggle free from the grip of a villain. There isn’t much of a mystery to solve, the only mystery is if and how Sherlock will defeat CAM. That he never really manage and has to go the way of last resort is just the cherry on the cake.

My husband is three people

What makes Season 3 really different from the two prior seasons is not the kind of cases which are presented to the audience, but how those episodes are structured. So far, every episode was pretty much stand alone. Yes, there were little hints to Moriarty which connected the cases somewhat, but this connection was feeble at best (especially in HOB). In the third season though, the three episodes one long very thought-out story-arc. Details which are seemingly unimportant become suddenly significant in HLV.

Now, both approaches have their advantages and downsides. Being basically stand-alone movies, the episodes of the first two seasons feel more complete and rounded than the ones in season three,  but they are also more disconnected from each other. Season three offers a tighter narrative, which slowly builds up to the great climax. And in every episode, the audience is invited to look for clues which will become relevant in the last one. Which is, to be honest, a lot of fun.

Nevertheless, the focus in season three is a different one. The first season mainly about the cases, with a little bit character development build around them. The second season was already, due to its stronger focus on Moriarty, more character oriented. In the third season, though, there was a definitive shift. Now the focus is on the character development, while the actual cases are more of a background matter, mostly there to illustrate the relationship between the characters. This is especially obvious in TEH, when John works in the clinic and Sherlock solves cases with Molly. The whole sequence is less about the cases, medical or otherwise, in fact there is only one which becomes truly important later on. It is about the relationship of the two characters.

On this note, different is also the perspective. The first two seasons were mostly told from John’s point of view. While the audience does get a lot of glimpses into Sherlock’s mind, most of the time it is invited to see him through John’s eyes. This is especially true in ASIP and TRF, both episodes which heavily rely on giving the audience limited information. It knows a little bit more than John, but there are also huge chunks of information which  is deliberately kept from it. But season three is primarily told from Sherlock’s perspective. Most of the time the audience knows much more about what is going on with him than John, we have a way better idea what he went through during his absence, how difficult it is for him to deal with John moving on, what is going on in his mind palace.

Killing me – that is so two years ago

Different is also the use of time. The first two seasons are told in a linear fashion. In fact, the beginning scenes aside, they tend to focus on one to four days in the life of John and Sherlock. The exception here is SIB, which has multiple time jumps, but is still told pretty much in order.

The third season on the other hand likes to jump around not just in time, but also from one place to another.  Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just a different approach on story-telling. The advantage of this approach is that it allows the writer more freedom and a new way to connect scenes. TSOT uses this new tool masterfully. By infusing Sherlock’s best man speech which flashbacks to two unsolved cases, it can built up to the conclusion at the wedding. To be frank though: It shouldn’t be used the way it was done in TEH. All the jumps in this episode were very confusing. For example I thought upon the first watch that John dreamed the second solution for the fall, until suddenly the superfan turned up. And the placement of the third solution was, imho, the worst decision which was ever made in the whole series. To clarify, not the scene in itself. I thought it was genius. But its placement made no sense at all. Why blending over to it from John? John has nothing to do with this scene, which initially looks like a memory of someone. But then, it can’t be a memory, because it apparently is set in the future. But it also can’t be a figment of imagination because, well, why would John imagine something like that? Placed like it was, it just interrupted the narrative.

HLV is the most linear of the episodes, which might explain while it feels the most like “classic Sherlock”. Not only is the case more prominent than in the other two episodes, the only jump back in time is at the very end, when the episode alternates between the evening John learned the truth about Mary and the Christmas scene. Honestly, I can take or leave that one. I am not really sure what the writers wanted to accomplish with this one. If they wanted to give the audience mood-whiplash, they certainly did reach their goal. To put it bluntly: There is nothing elementary wrong with the way they did it, but I nevertheless feel that it didn’t add anything to the episode.

You are not a puzzle-solver – you never have been.  You’re a drama queen.

Well, so much about the structure, now lets talk about the look. Sherlock is partly considered one of the best shows on air because it has a lot to offer visually. The first episode though, was a big disappointment in this regard. It was trying to capture the style of the first two season, but mostly failed. The transitions were less smooth (I especially hate the one at the very beginning, when two cups of coffee blend over to John’s eyes),  and the mind palace scenes weren’t as organic as usual. It has it’s moments, but overall, it did way better in the “Hollywood style scenes” at the very beginning than in capturing the Sherlock style.

TSOT did way better in that regard. It had one or two clunky moments, too (the blend between the guardsmen and John and Sherlock was too much “look how clever we are”  for example) but overall, it did capture the style. Especially the glimpses in Sherlock’s mind were very well done. From the more comical ones (Egg? Sitty thing?) to the court room scene. Especially the details in it work perfectly, like the woman suddenly being in different clothes as soon as Sherlock knows what their jobs are.

HLV was divine. There is no other way to say it. Not only were the locations for CAM’s headquarters and his home very well chosen, they were also beautifully shot, taking full advantage of the architectural details. And the mind palace scene, as well as the blend over to Sherlock as a little child in the final scene – all this made the episode into one of the visually most interesting of the whole show. And I am ready to bet that this will be the episode the BBC will submits to the awards for this very reason.

It is familiar, but, er, with a quality of surprise! 

Sherlock is more than a show which has to look good, though. It also has to tell a story. And not any story, it is suppose to be an adaptation. In this case, an adaptation of “The Empty House”, “The Sign of Four” and “His Last Bow”. Or “The case in which Sherlock Holmes came back to life”, “The case in which John Watson married” and “The very last case”.

Due to the more connected structure of the third season, the lines between the adaptations are not that clear cut. “The Empty House” for example consists roughly of three important part. The most important one is Sherlock Holmes revealing himself to Watson. The part the title refers to, which involved catching Moran in the act of shooting a dummy of Sherlock Holmes. And the actual case, the murder of Ronald Adair.  Only the first of the three is actually addressed in TEH, quite thoroughly. The second one made it into HLV. The third one is strangely absent. It is like the writers avoided everything remotely related to the actual character of Sebastian Moran.

I was wondering about how the writers would tackle “The Sign of Four”, considering that a lot of aspects like Holmes deducing a watch and a murderer who can climb already were used in the first two seasons, and the “get to know Mary” part happened during the hiatus. The story is two-fold. On the one hand there is the actual case, which, if boiled down to its basic, is a story of revenge and a closed room murder. And what is the case in TSOT about? A story of revenge and a closed room murder. It is a different motive and a different solution (though the right solution from the book is mentioned by Lestrade), but the basics were there. What was missing, though, is the love story. Yes, John and Mary are getting married, but that is not exactly the core of “The Sign of Four”. The most important aspect of the story is, imho, not the case, but Watson’s moral dilemma. Mary Morstan the governess, is someone who matches his own social position. Mary Morstan the rich heiress on the other hand would be way above him. Nevertheless he decides to do his best to find the Agra treasure for her. When it is lost, they both are happy about it, because it means that it will not stand between them any longer.

I have to say, how the writers transported this aspect in modern times was genius, even though they did it one episode later. A token of Mary’s past might destroy any hope of a future together, though in this case it is a memory stick with truth about her. And this time around, John’s dilemma is not, if he finds it or not, but if he takes a look at it. Again, the destruction of the token is allows the relationship to move forward.

This leaves HLV. A little bit an off case, because despite it’s title, it has really not that much of a connection the “His Last Bow”. There are references to it, and the part about the east-wind (originally an allusion to the first world war)  is quoted nearly verbatim. But the actual plot of the episode is not based on this story (which involves Sherlock Holmes tricking the German spy Van Borg), but on the case of Charles Augustus Milverton.

Charles Augustus Milverton is my favourite Sherlock Holmes villain, because unlike Moriarty, he is undefeatable. He is always one step ahead of Sherlock Holmes and prompts him to take desperate measures – including faking an engagement and breaking into his house. And still, even though he goes way outside the law, he can’t defeat him. He basically gets lucky that a former victim of Charles Augustus Milverton conveniently shoots him (which is, to be honest, kind of a cop-out in canon).

This in mind, I can totally get why the writers decide on this ending for Magnusson. Anything else would have been either a let-down or not true to the overly powerful villain. My only complain in this is that I would have loved to see more of Magnusson before he meet his end. On the one hand it seems kind of a waste to kill him off that fast. On the other hand they did use all the material about him available in canon.

All in all, the writers did manage to capture canon this season, while still creating a new and surprising story out of the familiar elements. They did built up to a finale, which might not be liked by everyone, but which certainly did surprise in a good way. There are some things I would have loved to see this season, like more interaction between John and Mycroft and especially at least one scene involving Sally and Sherlock, but nothing is perfect. Every season so far, there were two episodes I liked or mostly liked and one I found a little bit disappointing, but only by the standards the show set for itself. It’s not different this time around. For me TEH is the weak link, while TSOT and HLV were more or less equally good for different reasons.

The game is never over

There is no denying that the third season was different in a lot of aspects. A different focus, a different approach on story-telling, but still the same feel overall. It again delivered top-notch TV, and left us with a new riddle – kind of. There are two kind of cliff-hangers. One is the classic “The hero might die!” scenario which, honestly, is for me more on the boring side. Many might disagree, but the ending of the first season was terrible. There is nothing exciting about leaving the hero in a situation, in which the outcome is fairly obvious (he gets rescued somehow). The other one is leaving the hero in a situation which will change everything. TRF certainly qualified for that. As much fun as it was to look for clues and theorize about the fall, the real question was how John would react when he learned the truth, and how the situation would change during the time Sherlock was away. All in all, it was one of the best cliff-hangers any TV-show ever pulled, and it was a smart decision of the writers to not try to top it. Instead they gave us a teaser this time around. But that one is the topic for another article.

The Final Solution?

Before I start, here a big warning: This article will contain spoilers for “The Empty Hearse”. If you haven’t seen it yet, read on your own peril (or the peril of your enjoyment of the episodes when it finally airs).

I don’t intend to do a review about the whole episode, but about the one aspect a whole fandom was theorizing two years about: How did Sherlock survive the Fall? Two years waiting and now…well, now we get two crack-pot solutions and one which might be the right one. Perhaps.

Actually, not perhaps. I am absolutely sure that the third one is the one the writers had in mind when they wrote TRF. Accusations have been levelled that it was simply based on what fans have come up with, but just because it was most likely the most popular theory with some additional details thrown in, it doesn’t mean that this wasn’t the one the writers had in mind all around. After all, as they rightly pointed out, there are only so many ways to survive a fall like that, and the clues on which the fan theory is based are already there in TRF. It’s not really surprising that after two years, the fans came very close to the truth.

Which left the writers in quite a conundrum. Because no matter what, after all this time the audience would most likely be disappointed. It’s like visiting a magic show, it is only fun as long as we don’t know the trick. As soon as we get a look behind the scenes, the magic just disappears. This in mind, the writers gave us the option to discard the third theory too, if we wanted to. It was overall very cleverly done (though I wouldn’t have mined to see the real solution in the first two minutes and then go on with the episode, spending more time on the reunion and the actual case, I can’t deny that the fake ones were fun to watch).

But let’s run down the hints in TRF and see how they figured into the third solution.

This clue goes back as far as ASiB. During the breakfast scene with Mycroft, the newspaper has an article about it. This was a hint the fandom could discard as soon as the DVD was out, since the commentary revealed that this was originally supposed to be a hint, but didn’t end up being one because of later rewrites. The Q&A after the premiere of The Empty Hearse elaborated further. I wasn’t present, but Den of Geeks has helpfully wrote up the important points of the exchange  here. To quote Gatiss: “We were going to do it as a two-stage trick. There was going to be a sort of  window cleaning platform which Sherlock would hit and then another body would  drop out, this is an old trick. It’s actually why there is a reference in a  newspaper to a refit of the historical hospital. And then we changed our minds  because Toby Haynes, who was the director of The Reichenbach Fall, said  the ambulance station is at exactly the right level, we don’t need an extra  thing, so that’s how that came about.”

During the hiatus I didn’t really want to speculate to what degree Mycroft was involved. Mostly because I was pretty sure that he was part of the plan (after all, it was the same was in canon, and he was suspiciously absent with his surveillance towards the end of the TRF), but enjoyed the fantasy that he really thought, just for a moment, that he might have caused Sherlock’s dead. But if you wanted to think about it, Mycroft’s involvement was pretty obvious from HoB onwards. For starters, why should he let Moriarty go? Would Mycroft really make such a big mistake of giving Moriarty information of any kind about Sherlock without considering the possible consequences?

Another question which was impossible to solve and only partly answered in TEH was to what degree Sherlock put up an act during the episode. It was pretty clear that he was at least one step ahead of Moriarty, but how ahead was he really?

So, let’s put the scenes we saw in TRF and TEH back to back and look how they related to each other, starting with the day Sherlock jumped. Mycroft is calling John to him in order to tell him about the assassins living at Baker Street. Why is he doing it this day? They are apparently living there a while already, and Mycroft decides to tell John exactly the same day Moriaty makes his final attack? Most likely Mycroft knew that Moriarty was on the move, and wanted to prepare John, just in case. What follows is the kidnapping case, which comes to heat when the girl “screams her head off”.

The idea that Moriarty used a double is not as far-fetched as it might sound. After all, he didn’t need a twin, he just needed a resemblance which would fool a distressed child. Same statue, same hair colour, same clothes, and some similarities in the shape of the face would be enough for that. And Sherlock knows that. It’s the most obvious explanation, after all.

Next Sherlock leaves John behind, claiming that he “wants to think” in the cab. Which might be the truth, or he anticipated the possibility of Moriarty ambushing him, and he didn’t want John close to him. (In fact, he seems trying to get rid of John multiple times during the episode and only relents after John joins him for his arrest). At this point, he has a general idea of Moriarty’s plan, and mostly plays along, but I don’t think that he really knows what the final move (his own suicide) will be until he flees with John later on and encounters Moriarty at Kitty Riley’s home. Luckily, he has a plan, just in case he has to fake his dead.

At this point he and John split up for a brief period. John goes to Mycroft. And Sherlock? Now that he knows that it will most likely be necessary, he talks to Molly and ensures her help. She searches for the body of Moriarty’s henchman (honestly, even if there hadn’t been a convenient look-alike, it can’t be that difficult to find a body which will look like Sherlock from afar). Prepared with the rubber ball, he then thinks. The scene in TEH suggests that he thinks about the 13 different plans he prepared with Mycroft should the need arise. But he for sure thinks about the last puzzle piece he is missing – the code. He most likely knows that it is fake, but he needs to know what Moriarty hid during his visit in order to play his role convincing during the last confrontation. When he realizes what the fake clue was, he sends Moriarty a message and waits.

The one luring John away is most likely send by Moriarty himself. For three reasons: One, Sherlock gives Moriarty a place to meet, but not a time. He couldn’t know when Moriarty would turn up, so sending John away would make no sense, because the likelihood that he would be back too early was too high. Two, it would explain how the sniper knew were to set up. There was no need for him to follow John, because Moriarty told him that he would be back as soon as he realized that the message was a fake. And three, in canon the message is from Moriarty, too.

I guess if Moriarty hadn’t lured John away, Sherlock would have done it himself somehow. But since he does, Sherlock only has to stay where he is, picking up the ball and going to the roof, pretending that he fell for Moriarty’s scheme hook, line and sinker.

I guess the 13 different plans did not all involve actually jumping off, but also variants in which he got to Moriarty otherwise. In any case, the first step is to get Moriarty away from the edge so that he is not able to notice the preparation down on the street. He even remarks in TRF that there is by now an audience down there and we get treated to a shot of the truck and a couple of people. Sherlock succeeds on luring him away by asking him for “a moment of privacy”. Once he is sure that Moriarty can’t see what is going on, he takes a last shot to take him down differently by threatening him. Moriarty kills himself.

In TEH admits that Sherlock didn’t predict that Moriarty would go that far, despite the death wish established in TGG.  But his move leaves him no choice. He steps on the edge and sends Mycroft a message, according to TEH. Everything which happens down on the street is now controlled by his people. Most likely even the cab driver works for Mycroft. It would certainly explain why he let John out at exactly the right place, or why in TRF Sherlock was able to deal John before he even left the cab. John is a little fast on his feet, but Sherlock lures him back to the position where he left the cab. The position from which he can’t see the street due to the ambulance depot in front of him. Sherlock does his magic trick speech. Meanwhile everything is set up (they couldn’t do it beforehand, because John might have seen it).

According to TEH, Sherlock jumps into the air cushion, and Molly throws the body of his double out of the window. The latter part explains why we did see a body landing on the ground in TRF. It certainly served well as a riddle for the audience. But it is really necessary to fool John? And what about the truck? What is it’s purpose? Perhaps it will later remove the air cushion and serves, until this point, as an additional “screen” so to speak to make it more difficult for John to see everything?

Sherlock certainly could just take the place of the body himself from the get go in the time John needs to get around the depot. But this would give him less time to work on his fake wound. Either way, while John is disoriented, Sherlock takes the place of the corpse, puts the rubber ball in his arm pit and stops his pulse. The writers were a little bit out of luck with this one. I am fairly convinced that the majority of the audience would have needed a little bit more time to figure this one out if the same trick hadn’t been shown around the same time in “The Mentalist”. Either way, the people surrounding Sherlock make sure that John looks for the pulse at the right arm and in general keep him away far enough that he won’t notice the “window dressing”.

Meanwhile the sniper lowers his gun. During TFF the audience was fooled into believing that he fell for Sherlock’s trick, too, but that would only work if the sniper had watched only John during the whole time, which is pretty unlikely. From his position, he should have seen what was going on. In TEH we get the explanation that he “reconsidered” because a second sniper behind him “convinced” him.

So far, so good. All this could work. Certainly it could go wrong, too, but I guess Sherlock did plan for a couple of eventualities. There are still two questions left, though, one minor and one big one. The minor one is: What happened to Moriarty’s body? Anderson was convinced that Moriarty is dead. The fan girl thought he was alive. I guess, Mycroft removed the body, though, in order to confuse Moriarty’s network.

The major one is: If the sniper was invited to reconsider – for whom was Sherlock doing his little show? Just for John? That would be very, very cruel. There had to be more people of Moriarty in the area, or at least someone who would check the security cameras later on (which would mean that the plan had to be created in a way that it looked convincing on the footage, too). Since Moriarty says “Unless my people see you jump.” and there had to be someone whose job was to inform the assassins if they should go through with the plan or not, there are clues that there was at least one other watcher. So did Mycroft keep an eye on him, too, made sure that he was in a position from which he couldn’t see what was truly going on?

Those two questions are the only ones I really would like an answer to. Otherwise I am actually very satisfied with version 3, and ready to accept it as the final solution.

A Study in Pink vs A Study in Scarlet

Because I’m utterly crazy and obsessed, I spend months trying to put together a complete list of all references in Sherlock. Rather than just summarizing them, I worked with actual quotes from the source text, so that you are able to compare yourself, instead of just saying “there is a reference”. But if you want the short version, I’ll summarize my findings as soon as I have time for it.

I listed similar plot points, direct quotations and names. I didn’t list places in and around London, unless they are used in the source text in a similar context, because I feel that it’s nearly impossible not to mention certain places if a story is set in London. I also didn’t add crimes just for the sake if it. There are countless instances in which someone gets poisoned, shot or kidnapped, so unless the context is suspicious similar, I didn’t see the point in adding it. I did add, though, references to other adaptations and well-known fan-theories. Not all of them are confirmed, but I think it’s safe to say that everything which points to either a Basil Rathbone movie or Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is most likely deliberate.

Underlined words usually mark a reference to a name, a place or an object, bold sentences are (more or less) direct quotes. […] means that I cut something out of the text, either because it would have been too long, but often because there was a passage which was referenced somewhere else in the show. As a rule, I used every quote only once. Notes concerning non-canon references are marked this way. When I talk about “Sherlock” and “John”, I mean the BBC version, when I talk about “Holmes” and “Watson”, I’m referring to the original versions of the characters.

On the left side of the column is an episode transcript, arianedevere graciously allowed me to use. I really can’t thank her enough for this, I really don’t want to know how much work I was spared thanks to her. You can read her version (and some other really great Sherlock related stuff, including very helpful summaries of the audio commentaries) here: http://arianedevere.livejournal.com

Because I wanted to keep this as serious as possible, I removed some of the more fannish (but really funny remarks) she made, so you might want to read the unedited versions of the transcripts, too.

On the right side are the quotes, which I took from this version of the stories: http://sherlock-holm.es/stories/html/cano.html

and my notes. Since I wanted to keep this part as objective as possible, I divided the show in segments and left underneath my personal opinion about the changes. I would have preferred for the references to show up exactly side by side with the original quotes, but sadly, this was the one thing which wasn’t possible.

And now, without further ado, let’s start with A Study in Pink:

 

A Study in Pink

(based on A Study in Scarlet)

In a bedsit somewhere in London, John Watson is   having a nightmare. He is reliving his Army days and his team is under fire   somewhere abroad. A colleague cries out his name as the gunfire continues.   Finally he jolts awake, distressed and panic-stricken. He sits up in bed   wide-eyed and breathing heavily until he realises that he is safe and a long   way from the war. Flopping back onto his pillow, he tries to calm his   breathing as he continues to be haunted by his memories. Eventually, unable   to stop himself, he begins to weep.

Some time later he has sat up on the side of the bed and switched on the   bedside lamp. It’s still dark outside. John sits quietly, wrapped up in his   thoughts, and looks across to the desk on the other side of the room. A metal   walking cane is leaning against the desk. He looks at it unhappily, then   continues to gaze into the distance. He will not be sleeping again tonight.

DAY TIME. The sun has finally risen and John, now wearing a dressing gown   over his night wear, hobbles across the room leaning heavily on his cane. In   his other hand he has a mug of tea and an apple, both of which he puts down   onto the desk. The mug bears the arms of the Royal Army Medical Corps.   Sitting down, he opens the drawer in the desk to get his laptop. As he lifts   the computer out of the drawer, we see that he also has a pistol in there.   Putting the laptop onto the desk and opening the lid he looks at the webpage   which has automatically loaded. It reads, “The personal blog of Dr. John H.   Watson”. The rest of the page is blank.

Later he is at his psychotherapist’s office and he sits in a chair opposite   her.
ELLA: How’s your blog going?
JOHN: Yeah, good. (He clears his throat awkwardly.) Very good.
ELLA: You haven’t written a word, have you?
JOHN (pointing to Ella’s notepad on her lap): You just wrote “Still   has trust issues”.
ELLA: And you read my writing upside down. D’you see what I mean?
(John smiles awkwardly.)
ELLA: John, you’re a soldier, and it’s gonna take you a while to adjust to   civilian life; and writing a blog about everything that happens to you will   honestly help you.
(John gazes back at her, his face full of despair.)
JOHN: Nothing happens to me.

In the year 1878 I   took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and   proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the   army. […] The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could   join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I   learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep   in the enemy’s country. I followed, however, with many other officers who   were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Candahar in   safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.

The campaign brought   honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and   disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with   whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the   shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the   subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous   Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly,   who threw me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the   British lines.

Worn with pain, and   weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with   a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I   rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the   wards, and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I was struck down by   enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was   despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I   was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day   should be lost in sending me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly,   in the troopship Orontes, and landed a month later on Portsmouth   jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a   paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve   it.  (ASIS, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

It’s really   impressive how the show tells the gist of John’s backstory in a few simple   pictures and words. Freeman’s acting in this scene is outstanding, especially   the half sigh, half whimper when he wakes up from his nightmare is   heart-breaking. There is so much desperation in this one tone, so much raw   hurt on his face.
BTW, even though the show also mentions in Scandal in Belgravia that John was   attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers, that’s actually not possible.   In 1968 the British army was reformed, and all the Fusiliers amalgamated into   one big regiment, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Opening credits.

 

OCTOBER 12TH. A   well-dressed middle-aged business man walks across the concourse of a busy   London railway station talking into his mobile phone.

SIR JEFFREY: What   d’you mean, there’s no ruddy car?

(His secretary is at   his office talking into her phone as she walks across the room.)

HELEN: He went to   Waterloo. I’m sorry. Get a cab.

SIR JEFFREY: I never   get cabs.

(Helen looks around   furtively to make sure that nobody is within earshot, then speaks quietly   into the phone.)

HELEN: I love you.

SIR JEFFREY   (suggestively): When?

HELEN (giggling):   Get a cab!

(Smiling as he hangs   up, Sir Jeffrey looks around for the cab rank.)

 

Some unspecified   time later, sitting on the floor by the window of what appears to be an   office many stories above ground, Sir Jeffrey unscrews the lid of a small   glass bottle which contains three large capsules. Tipping one out, he stares   ahead of himself wide-eyed and afraid as he puts the capsule into his mouth.   Later, he is writhing on the floor in agony. We can now see that the office   in which his dying body is lying is empty of furniture.

 

POLICE PRESS   CONFERENCE. Flanked by a police officer and another man who may be her   solicitor or a family member, Sir Jeffrey’s wife is sitting at a table making   a statement to the press.

MARGARET PATTERSON   (tearfully as she reads from her statement): My husband was a happy man who   lived life to the full. He loved his family and his work – and that he should   have taken his own life in this way is a mystery and a shock to all who knew   him.

(Standing at one   side of the room, Helen tries to keep control of her feelings but eventually   closes her eyes and lets the tears roll down her face.)

 

NOVEMBER 26TH. Two   boys in their late teens are running down a street at night in the pouring   rain. Gary has opened a fold-up umbrella and is trying to keep it under   control in the wind, while Jimmy has his jacket pulled up over his head. He   calls out in triumph as a black cab approaches with its yellow sign lit to   show that it is available for hire.

JIMMY: Yes, yes,   taxi, yes!

(He whistles and   waves to the taxi but it drives past. He makes an exasperated sound, then   starts to head back in the direction he just came, looking round at his   friend.)

JIMMY: I’ll be back   in two minutes, mate.

GARY: What?

JIMMY: I’m just   going home; get my mum’s umbrella.

GARY: You can share   mine!

JIMMY: Two minutes,   all right?

(He walks away.   Sometime later Gary looks at his watch, apparently worried because Jimmy has   been gone for too long. He turns around and heads back in pursuit of his   friend.)

 

Some unspecified   time later, Jimmy sits crying and clutching a small glass bottle which   contains three large capsules. He unscrews the lid, his hands shaking, and sobs.   We see that he is sitting on a window ledge inside a sports centre   overlooking a sports court.

 

The following day,   an article in The Daily Express runs the headline “Boy, 18, kills himself   inside sports centre”.

 

JANUARY 27TH. At a   public venue, a party is being held. A large poster showing a photograph of   the guest of honour is labelled “Your local MP, Beth Davenport, Junior   Minister for Transport”. As pounding dance music comes from inside the room,   one of Beth’s aides walks out of the room and goes over to her male colleague   who is standing at the bar. He looks at her in exasperation.

AIDE 1: Is she still   dancing?

AIDE 2: Yeah, if you   can call it that.

AIDE 1: Did you get   the car keys off her?

AIDE 2 (showing him   the keys): Got ’em out of her bag.

(The man smiles in   satisfaction, then looks into the dance hall and frowns.)

AIDE 1: Where is   she?

 

Beth has slipped out   of the venue and is standing at the side of her car searching through her   handbag for her keys. She sighs when she can’t find them and looks around   helplessly.

 

Some unspecified   time later, Beth sobs hysterically as she stands inside a portacabin on a   building site. As she continues to cry, she reaches out a trembling hand   towards a small glass bottle which contains three large capsules.

 

POLICE PRESS   CONFERENCE. Detective Inspector Lestrade sits at the table looking   uncomfortable as his colleague sitting beside him, Detective Sergeant Sally   Donovan, addresses the gathered press reporters.

DONOVAN: The body of   Beth Davenport, Junior Minister for Transport, was found late last night on a   building site in Greater London. Preliminary investigations suggest that this   was suicide.

 
We can confirm that this apparent suicide closely   resembles those of Sir Jeffrey Patterson and James Phillimore. In the   light of this, these incidents are now being treated as linked. The   investigation is ongoing but Detective Inspector Lestrade will take questions   now.
REPORTER 1: Detective Inspector, how can suicides be linked?
LESTRADE: Well, they all took the same poison; um, they were all found in   places they had no reason to be; none of them had shown any prior indication   of …
REPORTER 1 (interrupting): But you can’t have serial suicides.
LESTRADE: Well, apparently you can.
REPORTER 2: These three people: there’s nothing that links them?
LESTRADE: There’s no link been found yet, but we’re looking for it.   There has to be one.
(Everybody’s mobile phone trills a text alert simultaneously. As they look   at their phones, each message reads:

Wrong!

Donovan looks at the same message on her own phone.)
DONOVAN: If you’ve all got texts, please ignore them.
REPORTER 1: Just says, ‘Wrong’.
DONOVAN: Yeah, well, just ignore that. Okay, if there are no more questions   for Detective Inspector Lestrade, I’m going to bring this session to an end.
REPORTER 2: But if they’re suicides, what are you investigating?
LESTRADE: As I say, these … these suicides are clearly linked. Um,   it’s an … it’s an unusual situation. We’ve got our best people   investigating …
(Everybody’s mobile trills another text alert and again each message reads   “Wrong!”)
REPORTER 1: Says, ‘Wrong’ again.
(Lestrade looks despairingly at Sally.)
DONOVAN (to the reporters): One more question.
REPORTER 3: Is there any chance that these are murders, and if they are, is   this the work of a serial killer?
LESTRADE: I … I know that you like writing about these, but these do appear   to be suicides. We know the difference. The, um, the poison was clearly   self-administered.
REPORTER 3: Yes, but if they are murders, how do people keep   themselves safe?
LESTRADE: Well, don’t commit suicide.
(The reporter looks at him in shock. Donovan covers her mouth and murmurs   a warning.)
DONOVAN: “Daily Mail.”
(Lestrade grimaces and looks at the reporters again.)
LESTRADE: Obviously this is a frightening time for people, but all anyone has   to do is exercise reasonable precautions. We are all as safe as we want to   be.
(Again the mobiles trill their text alerts, and once more each message   reads “Wrong!” But Lestrade’s phone takes a moment longer to alert him to a text   and when he looks at it, the message reads:

You know   where
to find me.
SH

Looking exasperated, he puts the phone into his   pocket and looks at the reporters as he stands up.)
LESTRADE: Thank you.

Shortly afterwards, he and Donovan are walking through the offices of New   Scotland Yard.
DONOVAN: You’ve got to stop him doing that. He’s making us look like   idiots.
LESTRADE: Well, if you can tell me how he does it, I’ll stop him.

Among these   unfinished tales is that of Mr. James Phillimore, who, stepping back into his   own house to get his umbrella, was never more seen in this world. (The   Problem of Thor Bridge)
RUSSELL SQUARE PARK. John is limping briskly through   the park, leaning heavily on his cane. As he walks past a man sitting on the   bench, the man stares after him, clearly recognising him. He calls out.
MIKE: John! John Watson!
(John turns back to Mike as he stands up and hurries towards him,   smiling.)
MIKE: Stamford. Mike Stamford. We were at Bart’s together.
JOHN: Yes, sorry, yes, Mike. (He takes Mike’s offered hand and shakes   it.) Hello, hi.
MIKE (grinning and gesturing to himself): Yeah, I know. I got fat!
JOHN (trying to sound convincing): No.
MIKE: I heard you were abroad somewhere, getting shot at. What happened?
JOHN (awkwardly): I got shot.
(They both look embarrassed.)

A little later they have bought take-away coffees and are sitting side by   side on a bench in the park. The coffee cups have written “Criterion”   on them. Mike looks at John worriedly. Oblivious, John takes a sip from his   coffee then looks across to his old friend.
JOHN: Are you still at Bart’s, then?
MIKE: Teaching now. Bright young things, like we used to be. God, I hate   them!
(They both laugh.)
MIKE: What about you? Just staying in town ’til you get yourself sorted?
JOHN: I can’t afford London on an Army pension.
MIKE: Ah, and you couldn’t bear to be anywhere else. That’s not the John   Watson I know.
JOHN (uncomfortably): Yeah, I’m not the John Watson …
(He stops. Mike awkwardly looks away and drinks his coffee. John switches   his own cup to his right hand and looks down at his left hand, clenching it   into a fist as he tries to control the tremor that has started. Mike looks   round at him again.)
MIKE: Couldn’t Harry help?
JOHN (sarcastically): Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!
MIKE (shrugging): I dunno – get a flatshare or something?
JOHN: Come on – who’d want me for a flatmate?
(Mike chuckles thoughtfully.)
JOHN: What?
MIKE: Well, you’re the second person   to say that to me today.
JOHN: Who was the first?

I had neither kith   nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income   of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such   circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, […]. There I stayed for some   time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless   existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freely than I   ought. So alarming did the state of my finances become, that I soon realized   that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere in the   country, or that I must make a complete alteration in my style of living.   Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the   hotel, and to take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive   domicile.

On the very day that I had come to this conclusion, I was standing at   the Criterion Bar, when some one tapped me on the shoulder, and   turning round I recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me   at Bart’s. The sight of a friendly face in the great wilderness of London   is a pleasant thing indeed to a lonely man. In old days Stamford had never   been a particular crony of mine, but now I hailed him with enthusiasm, and   he, in his turn, appeared to be delighted to see me. In the exuberance of my   joy, I asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off together   in a hansom.

“Whatever have you been doing with yourself, Watson?” he asked in   undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. “You   are as thin as a lath[…].”

I gave him a short sketch of my adventures, and had hardly concluded   it by the time that we reached our destination.

“Poor devil!” he said, commiseratingly, after he had listened to my   misfortunes. “What are you up to now?”

“Looking for lodgings,” I answered. “Trying to solve the problem as to   whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.”

“That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion; “you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me.

“And who was the first?” I   asked. (ASIS, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

The meeting is   actually a little bit longer, with John learning some details about Sherlock   Holmes from Stamford, but the writers of the show picket the perfect ending   point. I also liked the change they made by making John not particularly   joyful. The awkwardness between the two is way more realistic.

In the original   Pilot the meeting was actually filmed in the Criterion, but they couldn’t go   back there for refilming. I actually think that it’s for the better. Just   drinking a coffee on a bench looks more natural to this John Watson, and it’s   easier to see his gestures this way.

ST BARTHOLOMEW’S   HOSPITAL MORGUE. Sherlock Holmes unzips the body bag lying on the table and   peers at the corpse inside.  He sniffs.
SHERLOCK: How fresh?
(Morgue assistant Molly Hooper walks over.)
MOLLY: Just in. Sixty-seven, natural causes. He used to work here. I knew   him. He was nice.
(Zipping the bag up again, Sherlock straightens up, turns to her and   smiles falsely.)
SHERLOCK: Fine. We’ll start with the riding crop.

Shortly afterwards the body has been removed from the bag and is lying on   its back on the table. In the observation room next door, Molly watches and   flinches while Sherlock flogs the body repeatedly and violently with a riding   crop, but her face is also full of admiration. She walks back into the room   and as he finishes and straightens up, breathless, she goes over to him.
MOLLY (jokingly): So, bad day, was it?
SHERLOCK (ignoring her banter as he gets out a notebook and starts writing   in it): I need to know what bruises form in the next twenty minutes. A   man’s alibi depends on it. Text me.
MOLLY: Listen, I was wondering: maybe later, when you’re finished …
(Sherlock glances across to her as he is writing, then does a double-take   and frowns at her.)
SHERLOCK: Are you wearing lipstick? You weren’t wearing lipstick before.
MOLLY (nervously): I, er, I refreshed it a bit.
(She smiles at him flirtatiously. He gives her a long oblivious look, then   goes back to writing in his notebook.)
SHERLOCK: Sorry, you were saying?
MOLLY (gazing at him intently): I was wondering if you’d like to have   coffee.
(Sherlock puts his notebook away.)
SHERLOCK: Black, two sugars, please. I’ll be upstairs.
(He walks away.)
MOLLY: … Okay.

“Yes, but it may be   pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the   dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre   shape.”

“Beating the   subjects!”

“Yes, to verify how   far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own   eyes.”(ASIS, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

 

BART’S LAB. Sherlock is standing at the far   end of the lab using a pipette to squeeze a few drops of liquid onto a Petri   dish. Mike knocks on the door and brings John in with him. Sherlock glances across   at them briefly before looking at his work again. John limps into the room,   looking around at all the equipment.
JOHN: Well, bit different from my day.
MIKE (chuckling): You’ve no idea!
SHERLOCK (sitting down): Mike, can I borrow your phone? There’s no   signal on mine.
MIKE: And what’s wrong with the landline?
SHERLOCK: I prefer to text.
MIKE: Sorry. It’s in my coat.
(John fishes in his back pocket and takes out his own phone.)
JOHN: Er, here. Use mine.
SHERLOCK: Oh. Thank you.
(Glancing briefly at Mike, he stands up and walks towards John. Mike   introduces him.)
MIKE: It’s an old friend of mine, John Watson.
(Sherlock reaches John and takes his phone from him. Turning partially   away from him, he flips open the keypad and starts to type on it.)
SHERLOCK: Afghanistan or Iraq?
(John frowns. Nearby, Mike smiles knowingly. John looks at Sherlock as he   continues to type.)
JOHN: Sorry?
SHERLOCK: Which was it – Afghanistan   or Iraq?
(He briefly raises his eyes to John’s before looking back to the phone.   John hesitates, then looks across to Mike, confused. Mike just smiles   smugly.)
JOHN: Afghanistan. Sorry, how did you   know …?
(Sherlock looks up as Molly comes into the room holding a mug of   coffee.)
SHERLOCK: Ah, Molly, coffee. Thank you.
(He shuts down John’s phone and hands it back as Molly brings the mug over   to him. He looks closely at her as he takes the mug. Her mouth is paler   again.)
SHERLOCK: What happened to the lipstick?
MOLLY (smiling awkwardly at him): It wasn’t working for me.
SHERLOCK: Really? I thought it was a big improvement. Your mouth’s too small   now.
(He turns and walks back to his station, taking a sip from the mug and   grimacing at the taste.)
MOLLY: … Okay.
(She turns and heads back towards the door.)
SHERLOCK: How do you feel about the violin?
(John looks round at Molly but she’s on her way out the door. He glances   at Mike who is still smiling smugly, and finally realises that Sherlock is   talking to him.)
JOHN: I’m sorry, what?
SHERLOCK (typing on a laptop keyboard as he talks): I play the violin   when I’m thinking. Sometimes I don’t   talk for days on end. (He looks round at John.) Would that bother   you? Potential flatmates should know   the worst about each other.
(He throws a hideously false smile at John, who looks at him blankly   for a moment then looks across to Mike.)
JOHN: Oh, you … you told him about me?
MIKE: Not a word.
JOHN (turning to Sherlock again): Then who said anything about   flatmates?
SHERLOCK (picking up his greatcoat and putting it on): I did.   Told Mike this morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for.   Now here he is just after lunch with an old friend, clearly just home from   military service in Afghanistan. Wasn’t that difficult a leap.
JOHN: How did you know about Afghanistan?
(Sherlock ignores the question, wraps his scarf around his neck, then   picks up his mobile and checks it.)
SHERLOCK: Got my eye on a nice little   place in central London. Together we ought to be able to afford it.
(He walks towards John.)
SHERLOCK: We’ll meet there tomorrow evening; seven o’clock. Sorry – gotta   dash. I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary.
(Putting his phone into the inside pocket of his coat, he walks past John   and heads for the door.)
JOHN (turning to look at him): Is that it?
(Sherlock turns back from the door and strolls closer to John again.)
SHERLOCK: Is that what?
JOHN: We’ve only just met and we’re gonna go and look at a flat?
SHERLOCK: Problem?
(John smiles in disbelief, looking across to Mike for help, but his friend   just continues to smile as he looks at Sherlock. John turns back to the   younger man.)
JOHN: We don’t know a thing about each other; I don’t know where we’re   meeting; I don’t even know your name.
(Sherlock looks closely at him for a moment before speaking.)
SHERLOCK: I know you’re an Army doctor and you’ve been invalided home from   Afghanistan. I know you’ve got a brother who’s worried about you but you   won’t go to him for help because you don’t approve of him – possibly because   he’s an alcoholic; more likely because he recently walked out on his wife.   And I know that your therapist thinks your limp’s psychosomatic – quite   correctly, I’m afraid.
(John looks down at his leg and cane and shuffles his feet awkwardly.)
SHERLOCK (smugly): That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think?
(He turns and walks to the door again, opening it and going through, but   then leans back into the room again.)
SHERLOCK: The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is two two one B Baker   Street.
(He click-winks at John, then looks round at Mike.)
SHERLOCK: Afternoon.
(Mike raises a finger in farewell as Sherlock disappears from the room. As   the door slams shut behind him, John turns and looks at Mike in disbelief.   Mike smiles and nods to him.)
MIKE: Yeah. He’s always like that.
Near the further end   a low arched passage branched away from it and led to the chemical   laboratory.

This was a lofty   chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were   scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen   lamps, with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the   room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound   of our steps he glanced round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure.   “I’ve found it! I’ve found it,” he shouted to my companion, running towards   us with a test-tube in his hand. “I have found a re-agent which is   precipitated by hœmoglobin, and by nothing else.” Had he discovered a gold   mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features.

“Dr. Watson, Mr.   Sherlock Holmes,” said Stamford, introducing us.

“How are you?” he   said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly   have given him credit. “You have been   in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

“How on earth did you know that?” I asked in astonishment. (ASIS,   Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

He has never been known to write where a telegram would serve. (The Devil’s   Foot)

 

Sherlock Holmes   seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me. “I have my eye on a suite in Baker   Street,” he said, “which would suit us down to the ground. You don’t mind   the smell of strong tobacco, I hope?”

“I always smoke   ‘ship’s’ myself,” I answered.

“That’s good enough.   I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that   annoy you?”

“By no means.”

“Let me see—what are   my other shortcomings. I get in the   dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days on end. You must not   think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I’ll soon be right.   What have you to confess now? It’s   just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they   begin to live together.”

I laughed at this   cross-examination. “I keep a bull pup,” I said, “and I object to rows because   my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am   extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I’m well, but those are the   principal ones at present.”

“Do you include   violin-playing in your category of rows?” he asked, anxiously.

“It depends on the   player,” I answered. “A well-played violin is a treat for the gods—a   badly-played one—”

“Oh, that’s all   right,” he cried, with a merry laugh. “I think we may consider the thing as   settled—that is, if the rooms are agreeable to you.”

“When shall we see   them?”

“Call for me here at   noon to-morrow, and we’ll go together and settle everything,” he answered.

“All right—noon   exactly,” said I, shaking his hand. (ASIS, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

“A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He   was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get someone to go   halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too   much for his purse.” (ASIS, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

 

Sherlock is really   economic, isn’t he? One “Thanks” for both, Molly and John.
It’s really interesting how different the BBC scene is, even though the   dialogue is basically the same. A Victorian Sherlock Holmes is obviously way   more polite than a modern one (and prefers to text instead to wire). There is   also more seizing up each other going on.
LATER. John has   returned to his bedsit. Sitting down on the bed, he takes out his mobile   phone and flicks through the menu to find Messages Sent. The last message   reads:

If brother has green ladder
arrest brother.
SH

(Puzzled, John looks at the message for a long moment, then looks across   to the table where his laptop is lying. He pushes himself to his feet and   walks over to the table. Shortly afterwards, he has called up a search   website called Quest and types “Sherlock Holmes” into the search box.)

In an unknown location, a woman wearing a pink overcoat and pink   high-heeled shoes slowly reaches down with a trembling hand towards a clear   glass bottle which is standing on the bare floorboards and which contains   three large capsules. Her fingers close around the bottle and she slowly   lifts it off the floor, her hand still shaking.

We left him working   among his chemicals, and we walked together towards my hotel.

“By the way,” I   asked suddenly, stopping and turning upon Stamford, “how the deuce did he   know that I had come from Afghanistan?”

My companion smiled   an enigmatical smile. “That’s just his little peculiarity,” he said. “A good   many people have wanted to know how he finds things out.”

“Oh! a mystery is   it?” I cried, rubbing my hands. “This is very piquant. I am much obliged to   you for bringing us together. ‘The proper study of mankind is man,’ you   know.”

“You must study him,   then,” Stamford said, as he bade me good-bye. “You’ll find him a knotty   problem, though. I’ll wager he learns more about you than you about him.   Good-bye.”

“Good-bye,” I   answered, and strolled on to my hotel, considerably interested in my new   acquaintance. (ASIS, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

In canon, it   actually takes some time before Watson learns what Holmes really does, even   though he constantly watches him and tries to figure it out.
BAKER STREET. John   limps along the road and reaches the door marked 221B just as a black cab   pulls up at the curb. John knocks on the door as Sherlock gets out of the   cab.

SHERLOCK: Hello.

(He reaches in   through the window of the cab and hands some money to the cab driver.)

SHERLOCK: Thank you.

(John turns towards   him as he walks over.)

JOHN: Ah, Mr.   Holmes.

SHERLOCK: Sherlock,   please.

(They shake hands.)

JOHN: Well, this is   a prime spot. Must be expensive.

SHERLOCK: Oh, Mrs.   Hudson, the landlady, she’s giving me a special deal. Owes me a favour. A few   years back, her husband got himself sentenced to death in Florida. I was able   to help out.

JOHN: Sorry, you   stopped her husband being executed?

SHERLOCK: Oh no. I   ensured it.

(He smiles at John   as the front door is opened by Mrs Hudson, who opens her arms to the younger   man.)

MRS HUDSON:   Sherlock, hello.

(Sherlock turns and   walks into her arms, hugging her briefly, then steps back and presents John   to her.)

SHERLOCK: Mrs   Hudson, Doctor John Watson.

MRS HUDSON: Hello.

JOHN: How do?

MRS HUDSON   (gesturing John inside): Come in.

JOHN: Thank you.

SHERLOCK: Shall we?

MRS HUDSON: Yeah.

We met next day as   he had arranged, and inspected the rooms at No. 221b, Baker Street, of which   he had spoken at our meeting. They consisted of a couple of comfortable   bed-rooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and   illuminated by two broad windows. So desirable in every way were the   apartments, and so moderate did the terms seem when divided between us, that   the bargain was concluded upon the spot, and we at once entered into   possession. That very evening I moved my things round from the hotel, and on   the following morning Sherlock Holmes followed me with several boxes and   portmanteaus. For a day or two we were busily employed in unpacking and   laying out our property to the best advantage. That done, we gradually began   to settle down and to accommodate ourselves to our new surroundings. (ASIS,   The Science of Deduction)

The landlady stood   in the deepest awe of him and never dared to interfere with him, however   outrageous his proceedings might seem. She was fond of him, too. (The Dying   Detective)

 

(The men go   inside and Mrs Hudson closes the door. Sherlock trots up the stairs to the first   floor, then pauses and waits for John to hobble upstairs. As John reaches the   top of the stairs, Sherlock opens the door ahead of him and walks in,   revealing the living room of the flat. John follows him in and looks around   the room and at all the possessions and boxes scattered around it.)
JOHN: Well, this could be very nice. Very nice indeed.
SHERLOCK: Yes. Yes, I think so. My thoughts precisely.
(He looks around the flat happily.)
SHERLOCK: So I went straight ahead and moved in.
JOHN (simultaneously): Soon as we get all this rubbish cleaned out …   Oh.
(He pauses, embarrassed, as he realises what Sherlock was saying.)
JOHN: So this is all …
SHERLOCK: Well, obviously I can, um, straighten things up a bit.
(He walks across the room and makes a half-hearted attempt to tidy up a   little, throwing a couple of folders into a box and then taking some   apparently unopened envelopes across to the fireplace where he puts them onto   the mantelpiece and then stabs a multi tool knife into them. John has noticed   something else on the mantelpiece and lifts his cane to point at it.)
JOHN: That’s a skull.
SHERLOCK: Friend of mine. When I say ‘friend’ …
(Mrs Hudson has followed them into the room. She picks up a cup and saucer   as Sherlock takes off his greatcoat and scarf.)
MRS HUDSON: What do you think, then, Doctor Watson? There’s another bedroom   upstairs if you’ll be needing two bedrooms.
JOHN: Of course we’ll be needing two.
MRS HUDSON: Oh, don’t worry; there’s all sorts round here. (Confidentially,   dropping her voice to a whisper by the end of the sentence) Mrs Turner   next door’s got married ones.
(John looks across to Sherlock, expecting him to confirm that he and John   are not involved in that way but Sherlock appears oblivious to what’s being   insinuated. Mrs Hudson walks across to the kitchen, then turns back and   frowns at Sherlock.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh, Sherlock. The mess you’ve made.
(As she goes into the kitchen and starts tidying up, John walks over to   one of the two armchairs, plumps up a cushion on the chair and then drops   heavily down into it. He looks across to Sherlock who is still tidying up a   little.)
An anomaly which   often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that,   although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of   mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he   was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever   drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional   in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on   the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax   than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a   man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, […], and his unanswered   correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden   mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. (The Musgrave Ritual)

Note: In A Scandal in Belgravia, Mrs. Hudson   is suddenly replace by Mrs. Turner. One fan explanation is that she is   a neighbouring landlady who helps out on this one occasion for one reason or   another.

JOHN: I looked you   up on the internet last night.
SHERLOCK (turning around to him): Anything interesting?
JOHN: Found your website, The Science of Deduction.
SHERLOCK (smiling proudly): What did you think?
(John throws him a “you have got to be kidding me” type of look. Sherlock   looks hurt.)
JOHN: You said you could identify a   software designer by his tie and an airline pilot by his left thumb.
SHERLOCK: Yes; and I can read your military career in your face and your leg,   and your brother’s drinking habits in your mobile phone.
JOHN: How?
(Sherlock smiles and turns away. Mrs Hudson comes out of the kitchen   reading the newspaper.)
MRS HUDSON: What about these suicides then, Sherlock? I thought that’d be   right up your street. Three exactly the same.
(Sherlock walks over to the window of the living room as a car pulls up   outside.)
SHERLOCK: Four.
(He looks down at the car as someone gets out of it. The vehicle is a   police car with its lights flashing on the roof.)
SHERLOCK: There’s been a fourth. And there’s something different this time.
MRS HUDSON: A fourth?
(Sherlock turns as D.I. Lestrade [who apparently must have picked the lock   on the front door … like you do …] trots up the stairs and comes into the   living room.)
SHERLOCK: Where?
LESTRADE: Brixton, Lauriston Gardens.
SHERLOCK: What’s new about this one? You wouldn’t have come to get me if   there wasn’t something different.
LESTRADE: You know how they never leave notes?
SHERLOCK: Yeah.
LESTRADE: This one did. Will you come?
SHERLOCK: Who’s on forensics?
LESTRADE: It’s Anderson.
SHERLOCK (grimacing): Anderson won’t work with me.
LESTRADE: Well, he won’t be your assistant.
SHERLOCK: I need an assistant.
LESTRADE: Will you come?
SHERLOCK: Not in a police car. I’ll be right behind.
LESTRADE: Thank you.
(Looking round at John and Mrs Hudson for a moment, he turns and hurries   off down the stairs. Sherlock waits until he has reached the front door, then   leaps into the air and clenches his fists triumphantly before twirling around   the room happily.)
SHERLOCK: Brilliant! Yes! Ah, four serial suicides, and now a note! Oh, it’s   Christmas!
“Pshaw, my dear   fellow, what do the public, the great unobservant public, who could hardly tell a weaver by his   tooth or a compositor by his left thumb, care about the finer shades of   analysis and deduction!” (The Copper Beeches)

It was upon the 4th   of March, as I have good reason to remember, that I rose somewhat earlier   than usual, and found that Sherlock Holmes had not yet finished his   breakfast. The landlady had become so accustomed to my late habits that my   place had not been laid nor my coffee prepared. With the unreasonable   petulance of mankind I rang the bell and gave a curt intimation that I was   ready. Then I picked up a magazine from the table and attempted to while away   the time with it, while my companion munched silently at his toast. One of   the articles had a pencil mark at the heading, and I naturally began to run   my eye through it.

Its somewhat   ambitious title was “The Book of Life,” and it attempted to show how much an   observant man might learn by an accurate and systematic examination of all   that came in his way. It struck me as being a remarkable mixture of   shrewdness and of absurdity. The reasoning was close and intense, but the   deductions appeared to me to be far-fetched and exaggerated. The writer   claimed by a momentary expression, a twitch of a muscle or a glance of an   eye, to fathom a man’s inmost thoughts. Deceit, according to him, was an   impossibility in the case of one trained to observation and analysis. His   conclusions were as infallible as so many propositions of Euclid. So   startling would his results appear to the uninitiated that until they learned   the processes by which he had arrived at them they might well consider him as   a necromancer.

“From a drop of   water,” said the writer, “a logician could infer the possibility of an   Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So   all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown   a single link of it. Like all other arts, the Science of Deduction and   Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study nor is   life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible   perfection in it. Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the   matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the enquirer begin by   mastering more elementary problems. Let him, on meeting a fellow-mortal,   learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man, and the trade or   profession to which he belongs. Puerile as such an exercise may seem, it   sharpens the faculties of observation, and teaches one where to look and what   to look for. By a man’s finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his   trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his   expression, by his shirt cuffs—by each of these things a man’s calling is   plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent   enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.” “What ineffable twaddle!” I   cried, slapping the magazine down on the table, “I never read such rubbish in   my life.”

“What is it?” asked   Sherlock Holmes.

“Why, this article,”   I said, pointing at it with my egg spoon as I sat down to my breakfast. “I   see that you have read it since you have marked it. I don’t deny that it is   smartly written. It irritates me though. It is evidently the theory of some   arm-chair lounger who evolves all these neat little paradoxes in the   seclusion of his own study. It is not practical. I should like to see him   clapped down in a third class carriage on the Underground, and asked to give   the trades of all his fellow-travellers. I would lay a thousand to one against   him.”

“You would lose your   money,” Sherlock Holmes remarked calmly. “As for the article I wrote it   myself.”

“You!”

“Yes, I have a turn   both for observation and for deduction. The theories which I have expressed   there, and which appear to you to be so chimerical are really extremely   practical—so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese.”

“And how?” I asked   involuntarily. (ASIS, The Science of Deduction)

This is the letter   which I read to him—

“My dear Mr.   Sherlock Holmes:

“There has been a   bad business during the night at 3, Lauriston Gardens, off the Brixton   Road. Our man on the beat saw a light there about two in the morning, and   as the house was an empty one, suspected that something was amiss. He found   the door open, and in the front room, which is bare of furniture, discovered   the body of a gentleman, well dressed, and having cards in his pocket bearing   the name of ‘Enoch J. Drebber, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.’ There had been no   robbery, nor is there any evidence as to how the man met his death. There are   marks of blood in the room, but there is no wound upon his person. We are at   a loss as to how he came into the empty house; indeed, the whole affair is a   puzzler. If you can come round to the house any time before twelve, you will find   me there. I have left everything in statu quo until I hear from you.   If you are unable to come I shall give you fuller details, and would esteem   it a great kindness if you would favour me with your opinion.

“Yours faithfully,
“Tobias Gregson.”

“Gregson is the   smartest of the Scotland Yarders,” my friend remarked; “he and Lestrade are   the pick of a bad lot. They are both quick and energetic, but   conventional—shockingly so. They have their knives into one another, too.   They are as jealous as a pair of professional beauties. There will be some   fun over this case if they are both put upon the scent.” (ASIS, The Lauriston   Garden Mystery)

 

(Picking up his   scarf and coat he starts to put them on as he heads for the kitchen.)
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson, I’ll be late. Might need some food.
MRS HUDSON: I’m your landlady, dear, not your housekeeper.
SHERLOCK: Something cold will do. John, have a cup of tea, make yourself at   home. Don’t wait up!
(Grabbing a small leather pouch from the kitchen table, he opens the   kitchen door and disappears from view. Mrs Hudson turns back to John.)
MRS HUDSON: Look at him, dashing about! My husband was just the same.
(John grimaces at her repeated implication that he and Sherlock are an   item.)
MRS HUDSON: But you’re more the sitting-down type, I can tell.
(John looks uncomfortable.)
MRS HUDSON (turning towards the door): I’ll make you that cuppa. You   rest your leg.
JOHN (loudly): Damn my leg!
(His response was instinctive and he is immediately apologetic as Mrs   Hudson turns back to him in shock.)
JOHN: Sorry, I’m so sorry. It’s just sometimes this bloody thing …
(He bashes his leg with his cane.)
MRS HUDSON: I understand, dear; I’ve got a hip.
(She turns towards the door again.)
JOHN: Cup of tea’d be lovely, thank you.
MRS HUDSON: Just this once, dear. I’m not your housekeeper.
JOHN: Couple of biscuits too, if you’ve got ’em.
MRS HUDSON: Not your housekeeper!
(John has picked up the newspaper which Mrs Hudson put down and now he   looks at the article reporting Beth Davenport’s apparent suicide. Next to a   large photograph of Beth is a smaller one showing the man who just visited   the flat and identifying him as D.I. Lestrade.
Note: Mrs. Hudson is often wrongly portrayed   as Sherlock’s housekeeper, but she is in fact his landlady. Things like making   breakfast used to be part of the usual duties of a landlady, though.   Nevertheless, Sherlock Holmes pays her for using HER rooms – she is not one   of his servants. 

 

Before he can   read on, Sherlock’s voice interrupts him and John looks up and sees him   standing at the living room door.)
SHERLOCK: You’re a doctor. In fact you’re an Army doctor.
JOHN: Yes.
(He gets to his feet and turns towards Sherlock as he comes back into the   room again.)
SHERLOCK: Any good?
JOHN: Very good.
SHERLOCK: Seen a lot of injuries, then; violent deaths.
JOHN: Mmm, yes.
SHERLOCK: Bit of trouble too, I bet.
JOHN (quietly): Of course, yes. Enough for a lifetime. Far too much.
SHERLOCK: Wanna see some more?
JOHN (fervently): Oh God, yes.
(Sherlock spins on his heel and leads John out of the room and down the   stairs. John calls out as he follows him down.)
JOHN: Sorry, Mrs Hudson, I’ll skip the tea. Off out.
MRS HUDSON (standing near the bottom of the stairs): Both of you?
(Sherlock has almost reached the front door but now turns and walks back   towards her.)
SHERLOCK: Impossible suicides? Four of them? There’s no point sitting at home   when there’s finally something fun going on!
(He takes her by the shoulders and kisses her noisily on the cheek.)
MRS HUDSON: Look at you, all happy. It’s not decent.
(She can’t help but smile, though, as he turns away and heads for the   front door again.)
“But he begs you to   help him.”

“Yes. He knows that   I am his superior, and acknowledges it to me; but he would cut his tongue out   before he would own it to any third person. However, we may as well go and   have a look. I shall work it out on my own hook. I may have a laugh at them   if I have nothing else. Come on!”

He hustled on his   overcoat, and bustled about in a way that showed that an energetic fit had   superseded the apathetic one.

“Get your hat,” he   said.

“You wish me to   come?”

“Yes, if you have   nothing better to do.” A minute later we were both in a hansom, driving   furiously for the Brixton Road. (ASIS, The Lauriston Garden Mystery)

SHERLOCK: Who cares   about decent? The game, Mrs   Hudson, is on!
(He walks out onto the street and hails an approaching black cab.)
SHERLOCK: Taxi!
“Come, Watson,   come!” he cried. “The game is afoot.   Not a word! Into your clothes and come!” (The Abbey Grange)
(The taxi pulls   up alongside and he and John get in, then the car drives off again and heads   for Brixton. The boys sit in silence for a long time while Sherlock sits with   his eyes fixed on his smartphone and John keeps stealing nervous glances at   him. Finally Sherlock lowers his phone.)
SHERLOCK: Okay, you’ve got questions.
JOHN: Yeah, where are we going?
SHERLOCK: Crime scene. Next?
JOHN: Who are you? What do you do?
SHERLOCK: What do you think?
JOHN (slowly, hesitantly): I’d say private detective …
SHERLOCK: But?
JOHN: … but the police don’t go to private detectives.
SHERLOCK: I’m a consulting   detective. Only one in the world. I invented the job.
JOHN: What does that mean?
SHERLOCK: It means when the police are   out of their depth, which is always, they consult me.
JOHN: The police don’t consult amateurs.
(Sherlock throws him a look.)
SHERLOCK: When I met you for the first   time yesterday, I said, “Afghanistan or Iraq?” You looked surprised.
JOHN: Yes, how did you know?
SHERLOCK: I didn’t know, I saw. Your haircut, the way you hold yourself says   military. But your conversation as you entered the room …
(Flashback to the lab at Bart’s)
JOHN (looking around the lab): Bit different from my day.
SHERLOCK: … said trained at Bart’s, so Army doctor – obvious. Your face is   tanned but no tan above the wrists. You’ve been abroad, but not sunbathing.   Your limp’s really bad when you walk but you don’t ask for a chair when you   stand, like you’ve forgotten about it, so it’s at least partly psychosomatic.   That says the original circumstances of the injury were traumatic. Wounded in   action, then. Wounded in action, suntan – Afghanistan or Iraq.
(He loudly clicks the ‘k’ sound at the end of the final word. Your humble   transcriber, for whom this is her favourite vocal idiosyncrasy from Sherlock,   giggles quietly.)
JOHN: You said I had a therapist.
SHERLOCK: You’ve got a psychosomatic limp – of course you’ve got a   therapist. Then there’s your brother.
JOHN: Hmm?
SHERLOCK (holding his hand out): Your phone. It’s expensive, e-mail   enabled, MP3 player, but you’re looking for a flatshare – you wouldn’t waste   money on this. It’s a gift, then.
(By now John has given him the phone and he turns it over and looks at it   again as he talks.)
SHERLOCK: Scratches. Not one, many   over time. It’s been in the same pocket as keys and coins. The man   sitting next to me wouldn’t treat his one luxury item like this, so it’s had   a previous owner. Next bit’s easy. You know it already.
JOHN: The engraving.
(We see that engraved on the back of the phone are the words

Harry Watson
From Clara
xxx

SHERLOCK: Harry Watson: clearly a family member who’s given you his old   phone. Not your father, this is a young man’s gadget. Could be a   cousin, but you’re a war hero who can’t find a place to live. Unlikely you’ve   got an extended family, certainly not one you’re close to, so brother it is.   Now, Clara. Who’s Clara? Three kisses says it’s a romantic attachment. The   expense of the phone says wife, not girlfriend. She must have given it to him   recently – this model’s only six months old. Marriage in trouble then – six   months on he’s just given it away. If she’d left him, he would have   kept it. People do – sentiment. But no, he wanted rid of it. He left her.   He gave the phone to you: that says he wants you to stay in touch. You’re   looking for cheap accommodation, but you’re not going to your brother for   help: that says you’ve got problems with him. Maybe you liked his wife; maybe   you don’t like his drinking.
JOHN: How can you possibly know about the drinking?
SHERLOCK (smiling): Shot in the dark. Good one, though. Power   connection: tiny little scuff marks around the edge of it. Every night he   goes to plug it in to charge but his hands are shaking. You never see those marks on a sober man’s phone; never see a drunk’s   without them.
(He hands the phone back.)
SHERLOCK: There you go, you see – you were right.
JOHN: I was right? Right about what?
SHERLOCK: The police don’t consult amateurs.
(He looks out of the side window, biting his lip nervously as he awaits   John’s reaction.)
JOHN: That … was amazing.
(Sherlock looks round, apparently so surprised that he can’t even reply   for the next four seconds.)
SHERLOCK: Do you think so?
JOHN: Of course it was. It was extraordinary; it was quite   extraordinary.
SHERLOCK: That’s not what people normally say.
JOHN: What do people normally say?
SHERLOCK: ‘Piss off’!
(He smiles briefly at John, who grins and turns away to look out of the   window as the journey continues.)

That is why I have   chosen my own particular profession,—or   rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.

“The only unofficial   detective?” I said, raising my eyebrows.

The only unofficial consulting detective,”   he answered. “I am the last and   highest court of appeal in detection. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney   Jones are out of their depths—which, by the way, is their normal state—the   matter is laid before me.” (The Sign of Four, The Science of Deduction)

“But do you mean to   say,” I said, “that without leaving your room you can unravel some knot which   other men can make nothing of, although they have seen every detail for   themselves?”

“Quite so. I have a   kind of intuition that way. Now and again a case turns up which is a little   more complex. Then I have to bustle about and see things with my own eyes.   You see I have a lot of special knowledge which I apply to the problem, and   which facilitates matters wonderfully. Those rules of deduction laid down in   that article which aroused your scorn, are invaluable to me in practical   work. Observation with me is second nature. You appeared to be surprised when I told you, on our first meeting,   that you had come from Afghanistan.”

“You were told, no   doubt.”

“Nothing of the   sort. I knew you came from Afghanistan. From long habit the train of   thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind, that I arrived at the conclusion   without being conscious of intermediate steps. There were such steps,   however. The train of reasoning ran, ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type,   but with the air of a military man. Clearly an army doctor, then. He has just   come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint   of his skin, for his wrists are fair. He has undergone hardship and sickness,   as his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has been injured. He holds it   in a stiff and unnatural manner. Where in the tropics could an English army   doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm wounded? Clearly in   Afghanistan.’ The whole train of thought did not occupy a second. I then   remarked that you came from Afghanistan, and you were astonished.” (ASiS, The   Science of Deduction)

“Though unsatisfactory, my research has not been entirely barren,” he   observed, staring up at the ceiling with dreamy, lack-lustre eyes. “Subject   to your correction, I should judge that the watch belonged to your elder   brother, who inherited it from your father.”

“That you gather, no   doubt, from the H. W. upon the back?”

“Quite so. The W.   suggests your own name. The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back, and   the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation.   Jewelry usually descents to the eldest son, and he is most likely to have the   same name as the father. Your father has, if I remember right, been dead many   years. It has, therefore, been in the hands of your eldest brother.”

“Right, so far,”   said I. “Anything else?”

“He was a man of   untidy habits,—very untidy and careless. He was left with good prospects, but   he threw away his chances, lived for some time in poverty with occasional   short intervals of prosperity, and finally, taking to drink, he died. That is   all I can gather.” (The Sign of Four, The Science of Deduction)

What seems strange   to you is only so because you do not follow my train of thought or observe   the small facts upon which large inferences may depend. For example, I began   by stating that your brother was careless. When you observe the lower part of that watch-case you notice that it   is not only dinted in two places, but it is cut and marked all over from the   habit of keeping other hard objects, such as coins or keys, in the same   pocket. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a   fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man. Neither is it a very   far-fetched inference that a man who inherits one article of such value is   pretty well provided for in other respects.”

I nodded, to show   that I followed his reasoning.

“It is very   customary for pawnbrokers in England, when they take a watch, to scratch the   number of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside of the case. It is more   handy than a label, as there is no risk of the number being lost or   transposed. There are no less than four such numbers visible to my lens on   the inside of this case. Inference,—that your brother was often at low water.   Secondary inference,—that he had occasional bursts of prosperity, or he could   not have redeemed the pledge. Finally, I ask you to look at the inner plate,   which contains the key-hole. Look at the thousands of scratches all round the   hole,—marks where the key has slipped. What   sober man’s key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a   drunkard’s watch without them. He winds it at night, and he leaves these   traces of his unsteady hand. Where is the mystery in all this?” (The Sign of   the Four, The Science of Deduction)

Yeah, quite a lot   quotes…I tried to line them up as orderly as possible, but there are so many   of them that I had to compromise a little bit. While the wording is a little   bit modern, a lot of Sherlock’s deductions in this are actually   straight-forward quotes. The only difference is that they are now about   modern jobs and that the object of his deductions is a mobile phone – which   is a similar status symbol nowadays as watches used to be.
John’s research into Sherlock Holmes is way more briefly, but it’s still   alluded to.
To add to my landlady note: The rooms in canon naturally didn’t have an own   kitchen (they consisted of one sitting room with two bedrooms attached to it).   Hence the need to offer regular meals to the lodgers. It was just the way it   was done back then, before the kitchens became more modern.
BRIXTON. The cab   has arrived at Lauriston Gardens and Sherlock and John get out and walk   towards the police tape strung across the road.
SHERLOCK: Did I get anything wrong?
JOHN: Harry and me don’t get on, never have. Clara and Harry split up three   months ago and they’re getting a divorce; and Harry is a drinker.
SHERLOCK (looking impressed with himself): Spot on, then. I didn’t expect to be right about   everything.
JOHN: And Harry’s short for Harriet.
(Sherlock stops dead in his tracks.)
SHERLOCK: Harry’s your sister.
JOHN (continuing onwards): Look, what exactly am I supposed to be   doing here?
SHERLOCK (furiously, through gritted teeth): Sister!
JOHN: No, seriously, what am I doing here?
SHERLOCK (exasperated, starting to walk again): There’s always   something.
“Then how in the   name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely   correct in every particular.”

“Ah, that is good   luck. I could only say what was the balance of probability. I did not at all expect to be so   accurate.“ (The Sign of the Four, The Science of Deduction)

(They approach   the police tape where they are met by Sergeant Donovan.)
DONOVAN: Hello, freak.
SHERLOCK: I’m here to see Detective Inspector Lestrade.
DONOVAN: Why?
SHERLOCK: I was invited.
DONOVAN: Why?
SHERLOCK (sarcastically): I think he wants me to take a look.
DONOVAN: Well, you know what I think, don’t you?
SHERLOCK (lifting the tape and ducking underneath it): Always, Sally. (He   breathes in through his nose.) I even know you didn’t make it home last   night.
DONOVAN: I don’t … (She looks at John.) Er, who’s this?
SHERLOCK: Colleague of mine, Doctor Watson.
(He turns to John.)
SHERLOCK: Doctor Watson, Sergeant Sally Donovan. (His voice drips with sarcasm.)   Old friend.
DONOVAN: A colleague? How do you get a colleague?!
(She turns to John.)
DONOVAN: What, did he follow you home?
JOHN: Would it be better if I just waited and …
SHERLOCK (lifting the tape for him): No.
(As John walks under the tape, Donovan lifts a radio to her mouth.)
DONOVAN (into radio): Freak’s here. Bringing him in.
(She leads the boys towards the house. Sherlock looks all around the area   and at the ground as they approach. As they reach the pavement, a man dressed   in a coverall comes out of the house.)
SHERLOCK: Ah, Anderson. Here we are again.
(Anderson looks at him with distaste.)
ANDERSON: It’s a crime scene. I don’t want it contaminated. Are we clear on   that?
SHERLOCK (taking in another deep breath through his nose): Quite clear.   And is your wife away for long?
ANDERSON: Oh, don’t pretend you worked that out. Somebody told you that.
SHERLOCK: Your deodorant told me that.
ANDERSON: My deodorant?
SHERLOCK (with a quirky expression on his face): It’s for men.
ANDERSON: Well, of course it’s for men! I’m wearing it!
SHERLOCK: So’s Sergeant Donovan.
(Anderson looks round in shock at Donovan. Sherlock sniffs pointedly.)
SHERLOCK: Ooh, and I think it just vaporised. May I go in?
ANDERSON (turning back and pointing at him angrily): Now look:   whatever you’re trying to imply …
SHERLOCK: I’m not implying anything.
(He heads past Donovan towards the front door.)

SHERLOCK: I’m sure Sally came round for a nice little chat, and just happened   to stay over.
(He turns back.)
SHERLOCK: And I assume she scrubbed your floors, going by the state of her   knees.
(Anderson and Donovan stare at him in horror. He smiles smugly, then turns   and goes into the house. John walks past Donovan, briefly but pointedly   looking down to her knees, then follows Sherlock inside. Sherlock leads him   into a room on the ground floor where Lestrade is putting on a coverall.   Sherlock points to a pile of similar items.)
SHERLOCK (to John): You need to wear one of these.
LESTRADE: Who’s this?
SHERLOCK (taking his gloves off): He’s with me.
LESTRADE: But who is he?
SHERLOCK: I said he’s with me.
(John has taken his jacket off and picks up a coverall. He looks at   Sherlock who has picked up a pair of latex gloves.)
JOHN (referring to the coverall): Aren’t you gonna put one on?
(Sherlock just looks at him sternly. John shakes his head as if to say,   ‘Silly me. What was I thinking?!’)
SHERLOCK (to Lestrade): So where are we?
LESTRADE (picking up another pair of latex gloves): Upstairs.

Lestrade leads   the boys up a circular staircase. He and John are wearing coveralls together   with white cotton coverings over their shoes, and latex gloves. Sherlock is   putting latex gloves on as they go up the stairs.
LESTRADE: I can give you two minutes.
SHERLOCK (casually): May need longer.
LESTRADE: Her name’s Jennifer Wilson according to her credit cards. We’re   running them now for contact details. Hasn’t been here long. Some kids found   her.
(He leads them into a room two storeys above the ground floor. The room is   empty of furniture except for a rocking horse in the far corner. Emergency   portable lighting has been set up, presumably by the police. Scaffolding   poles hold up part of the ceiling near where a couple of large holes have   been knocked through one of the walls. A woman’s body is lying face down on   the bare floorboards in the middle of the room. She is wearing a bright pink   overcoat and high-heeled pink shoes. Her hands are flat on the floor either   side of her head. Sherlock walks a few steps into the room and then stops,   holding one hand out in front of himself as he focuses on the corpse. Behind   him, John looks at the woman’s body and his face fills with pain and sadness.   The three of them stand there silently for several long seconds, then   Sherlock looks across to Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: Shut up.
LESTRADE (startled): I didn’t say anything.
SHERLOCK: You were thinking. It’s annoying.

Number 3, Lauriston   Gardens wore an ill-omened and minatory look. It was one of four which stood   back some little way from the street, two being occupied and two empty. The   latter looked out with three tiers of vacant melancholy windows, which were   blank and dreary, save that here and there a “To Let” card had developed like   a cataract upon the bleared panes. A small garden sprinkled over with a   scattered eruption of sickly plants separated each of these houses from the   street, and was traversed by a narrow pathway, yellowish in colour, and   consisting apparently of a mixture of clay and of gravel. The whole place was   very sloppy from the rain which had fallen through the night. The garden was   bounded by a three-foot brick wall with a fringe of wood rails upon the top,   and against this wall was leaning a stalwart police constable, surrounded by   a small knot of loafers, who craned their necks and strained their eyes in the   vain hope of catching some glimpse of the proceedings within.

I had imagined that   Sherlock Holmes would at once have hurried into the house and plunged into a   study of the mystery. Nothing appeared to be further from his intention. With   an air of nonchalance which, under the circumstances, seemed to me to border   upon affectation, he lounged up and down the pavement, and gazed vacantly at   the ground, the sky, the opposite houses and the line of railings. Having   finished his scrutiny, he proceeded slowly down the path, or rather down the   fringe of grass which flanked the path, keeping his eyes riveted upon the   ground. Twice he stopped, and once I saw him smile, and heard him utter an   exclamation of satisfaction. There were many marks of footsteps upon the wet   clayey soil, but since the police had been coming and going over it, I was   unable to see how my companion could hope to learn anything from it. Still I   had had such extraordinary evidence of the quickness of his perceptive   faculties, that I had no doubt that he could see a great deal which was   hidden from me. (ASIS, The Lauriston Garden Mystery)

 

Here is one of the   main difference between the show and the source text. In the show, the police   is very competent when it comes to securing a crime scene. In the stories –   not so much. It’s not just Holmes’ intellect which makes him a better   detective, but also his willingness to study crime and his methods, which are   more or less what a modern police force would do.
Note again how Sherlock looks around when he approaches the house – exactly   how it’s described in the story.
(Lestrade and   John exchange a surprised look as Sherlock steps slowly forward until he   reaches the side of the corpse. His attention is immediately drawn to the   fact that scratched into the floorboards by the woman’s left hand is the word   “Rache”. His eyes flick to her fingernails where the index and middle nails   are broken and ragged at the ends with the nail polish chipped, in stark   comparison to her other nails which are still immaculate. The woman’s index   finger rests at the bottom of the ‘e’ as if she was still trying to carve   into the floor when she died. Sherlock makes an instant deduction:
left handed

He looks back to the word carved into the floorboards and an immediate   suggestion springs into his mind:
RACHE
German (n.) revenge

Instantly he shakes his head in a tiny dismissive movement and the   suggestion disappears. He looks at the carved word again and overlays the   five letters with a clearer type. Next to the ‘e’ a rapid progression of   letters appear and disappear as he tries to complete the word, then the   correct letter settles into place to form the word:
Rachel

He squats down beside the body and runs his gloved hand along the back of   her coat, then lifts his hand again to look at his fingers:
wet

He reaches into her coat pockets and finds a white folding umbrella in one   of them. Running his fingers along the folds of the material, he then   inspects his glove again:
dry

Putting the umbrella back into her pocket, he moves up to the collar of   her coat and runs his fingers underneath it before once again looking at his   fingers:
wet

Reaching into his pocket he takes out a small magnifier, clicks it open   and closely inspects the delicate gold bracelet on her left wrist …
clean

… then the gold earring attached to her left ear …
clean

… and then the gold chain around her neck …
clean

… before moving on to look at the rings on her left ring finger. The   wedding ring and engagement ring flag a different message to him:
dirty

Sherlock blinks as a rapid succession of conclusions appear in front of   his eyes:
married
unhappily married
unhappily married 10+ years

Carefully Sherlock works the wedding ring off the woman’s finger and holds   it up to look at the inside of the ring. While the outside of the ring is   still showing
dirty
the inside registers as
clean

As Sherlock lowers the ring and slides it back onto the woman’s finger, he   has already reached a conclusion about the ring:
regularly removed

Lifting his hands away from the woman, he looks down at her and makes his   final deduction about her:
serial adulterer

He smiles slightly in satisfaction.)
LESTRADE: Got anything?
SHERLOCK (nonchalantly): Not much.
(Standing up, he takes the gloves off and then gets his mobile phone from   his pocket and begins typing on it.)
ANDERSON (from where he is leaning casually against the doorway):   She’s German. ‘Rache’: it’s German for ‘revenge’. She could be trying to tell   us something …
(As he has been speaking, Sherlock has walked quickly towards the door and   now begins to close it in Anderson’s face.)
SHERLOCK (sarcastically): Yes, thank you for your input.
(Slamming the door shut, he turns and walks back into the room. On his   phone, he has called up a menu for “UK Weather”. The menu offers five   options:
Maps
Local
Warnings
Next 24 hrs
7 day forecast
He selects the Maps option.)
LESTRADE: So she’s German?
SHERLOCK (still looking at his phone): Of course she’s not. She’s from   out of town, though. Intended to stay in London for one night … (he   smiles smugly as he apparently finds the information he needed) …   before returning home to Cardiff.
(He pockets his phone.)
SHERLOCK: So far, so obvious.
JOHN: Sorry – obvious?
LESTRADE: What about the message, though?
SHERLOCK (ignoring him and looking at John): Doctor Watson, what do   you think?
JOHN: Of the message?
SHERLOCK: Of the body. You’re a medical man.
LESTRADE: Wait, no, we have a whole team right outside.
SHERLOCK: They won’t work with me.
LESTRADE: I’m breaking every rule letting you in here.
SHERLOCK: Yes … because you need me.
(Lestrade stares at him for a moment, then lowers his eyes helplessly.)
LESTRADE: Yes, I do. God help me.
SHERLOCK: Doctor Watson.
JOHN: Hm?
(He looks up from the body to Sherlock and then turns his head towards   Lestrade, silently seeking his permission.)
LESTRADE (a little tetchily): Oh, do as he says. Help yourself.
(He turns and opens the door, going outside.)
LESTRADE: Anderson, keep everyone out for a couple of minutes.
(Sherlock and John walk over to the body. Sherlock squats down on one side   of it and John painfully lowers himself to one knee on the other side,   leaning heavily on his cane to support himself.)
SHERLOCK: Well?
JOHN (softly): What am I doing here?
SHERLOCK (softly): Helping me make a point.
JOHN (softly): I’m supposed to be helping you pay the rent.
SHERLOCK (softly): Yeah, well, this is more fun.
JOHN: Fun? There’s a woman lying dead.
SHERLOCK: Perfectly sound   analysis, but I was hoping you’d go deeper.
(As Lestrade comes back into the room and stands just inside the doorway,   John drags his other leg down into a kneeling position and then leans forward   to look more closely at the woman’s body. He puts his head close to hers and   sniffs, then straightens a little before lifting her right hand and looking   at the skin. He kneels up and looks across to Sherlock.)
JOHN: Yeah … Asphyxiation, probably. Passed out, choked on her own vomit.   Can’t smell any alcohol on her. It could have been a seizure; possibly drugs.
SHERLOCK: You know what it was. You’ve read the papers.
JOHN: What, she’s one of the suicides? The fourth …?
LESTRADE: Sherlock – two minutes, I said. I need anything you’ve got.

I have remarked that   the paper had fallen away in parts. In this particular corner of the room a   large piece had peeled off, leaving a yellow square of coarse plastering.   Across this bare space there was scrawled in blood-red letters a single word—

RACHE.

“What do you think   of that?” cried the detective, with the air of a showman exhibiting his show.   “This was overlooked because it was in the darkest corner of the room, and no   one thought of looking there. The murderer has written it with his or her own   blood. See this smear where it has trickled down the wall! That disposes of   the idea of suicide anyhow. Why was that corner chosen to write it on? I will   tell you. See that candle on the mantelpiece. It was lit at the time, and if   it was lit this corner would be the brightest instead of the darkest portion   of the wall.”

“And what does it   mean now that you have found it?” asked Gregson in a depreciatory   voice.

“Mean? Why, it means   that the writer was going to put the female name Rachel, but was disturbed   before he or she had time to finish. You mark my words, when this case comes   to be cleared up you will find that a woman named Rachel has something to do   with it. It’s all very well for you to laugh, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. You may be   very smart and clever, but the old hound is the best, when all is said and   done.”

[…]

Sherlock Holmes   chuckled to himself, and appeared to be about to make some remark, when   Lestrade, who had been in the front room while we were holding this   conversation in the hall, reappeared upon the scene, rubbing his hands in a   pompous and self-satisfied manner.

“Mr. Gregson,” he   said, “I have just made a discovery of the highest importance, and one which   would have been overlooked had I not made a careful examination of the   walls.”

The little man’s   eyes sparkled as he spoke, and he was evidently in a state of suppressed   exultation at having scored a point against his colleague.

“Come here,” he   said, bustling back into the room, the atmosphere of which felt clearer since   the removal of its ghastly inmate. “Now, stand there!”

He struck a match on   his boot and held it up against the wall.

“Look at that!” he   said, triumphantly.

“I really beg your pardon!” said my   companion, who had ruffled the little man’s temper by bursting into an   explosion of laughter. “You certainly have the credit of being the first of   us to find this out, and, as you say, it bears every mark of having been   written by the other participant in last night’s mystery. I have not had time   to examine this room yet, but with your permission I shall do so now.”

As he spoke, he   whipped a tape measure and a large round magnifying glass from his pocket.   With these two implements he trotted noiselessly about the room, sometimes   stopping, occasionally kneeling, and once lying flat upon his face. So   engrossed was he with his occupation that he appeared to have forgotten our   presence, for he chattered away to himself under his breath the whole time,   keeping up a running fire of exclamations, groans, whistles, and little cries   suggestive of encouragement and of hope. As I watched him I was irresistibly   reminded of a pure-blooded well-trained foxhound as it dashes backwards and   forwards through the covert, whining in its eagerness, until it comes across   the lost scent. For twenty minutes or more he continued his researches,   measuring with the most exact care the distance between marks which were   entirely invisible to me, and occasionally applying his tape to the walls in   an equally incomprehensible manner. In one place he gathered up very   carefully a little pile of grey dust from the floor, and packed it away in an   envelope. Finally, he examined with his glass the word upon the wall, going   over every letter of it with the most minute exactness. This done, he   appeared to be satisfied, for he replaced his tape and his glass in his   pocket.

“They say that   genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains,” he remarked with a smile.   “It’s a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.”

Gregson and Lestrade   had watched the manœuvres of their amateur companion with considerable   curiosity and some contempt. They evidently failed to appreciate the fact,   which I had begun to realize, that Sherlock Holmes’ smallest actions were all   directed towards some definite and practical end.

“What do you think   of it, sir?” they both asked.

“It would be robbing   you of the credit of the case if I was to presume to help you,” remarked my   friend. “You are doing so well now that it would be a pity for anyone to   interfere.” There was a world of sarcasm in his voice as he spoke. “If you   will let me know how your investigations go,” he continued, “I shall be happy   to give you any help I can. In the meantime I should like to speak to the   constable who found the body. Can you give me his name and address?”

Lestrade glanced at   his note-book. “John Rance,” he said. “He is off duty now. You will find him   at 46, Audley Court, Kennington Park Gate.”

Holmes took a note   of the address.

“Come along,   Doctor,” he said; “we shall go and look him up. I’ll tell you one thing which   may help you in the case,” he continued, turning to the two detectives.   “There has been murder done, and the murderer was a man. He was more than six   feet high, was in the prime of life, had small feet for his height, wore   coarse, square-toed boots and smoked a Trichinopoly cigar. He came here with   his victim in a four-wheeled cab, which was drawn by a horse with three old   shoes and one new one on his off fore leg. In all probability the murderer   had a florid face, and the finger-nails of his right hand were remarkably   long. These are only a few indications, but they may assist you.”

Lestrade and Gregson   glanced at each other with an incredulous smile.

“If this man was   murdered, how was it done?” asked the former.

“Poison,” said   Sherlock Holmes curtly, and strode off. “One other thing, Lestrade,” he   added, turning round at the door: “‘Rache,’ is the German for ‘revenge;’ so   don’t lose your time looking for Miss Rachel.”

With which Parthian   shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him. (ASIS,   The Lauriston Garden Mystery)

“Perfectly sound!” said Holmes.   (The Hound of the Baskervilles, Mr. Sherlock Holmes)

SHERLOCK (standing   up as John struggles to get to his feet): Victim is in her late thirties.   Professional person, going by her clothes; I’m guessing something in the   media, going by the frankly alarming shade of pink. Travelled from Cardiff   today, intending to stay in London for one night. It’s obvious from the size   of her suitcase.
LESTRADE: Suitcase?
(John looks around the room but can’t see a suitcase anywhere.)
SHERLOCK: Suitcase, yes. She’s been married at least ten years, but not   happily. She’s had a string of lovers but none of them knew she was married.
LESTRADE: Oh, for God’s sake, if you’re just making this up …
SHERLOCK (pointing down to her left hand): Her wedding ring. Ten years   old at least. The rest of her jewellery has been regularly cleaned, but not   her wedding ring. State of her marriage right there. The inside of the ring   is shinier than the outside – that means it’s regularly removed. The only   polishing it gets is when she works it off her finger. It’s not for work;   look at her nails. She doesn’t work with her hands, so what or rather who does   she remove her rings for? Clearly not one lover; she’d never sustain   the fiction of being single over that amount of time, so more likely a string   of them. Simple.
JOHN (admiringly): That’s brilliant.
(Sherlock looks round at him.)
JOHN (apologetically): Sorry.
LESTRADE: Cardiff?
SHERLOCK: It’s obvious, isn’t it?
JOHN: It’s not obvious to me.
SHERLOCK (pausing as he looks at the other two): Dear God, what is it   like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring.
(He turns back to the body.)
SHERLOCK: Her coat: it’s slightly damp. She’s been in heavy rain in the last   few hours. No rain anywhere in London in that time. Under her coat collar is   damp, too. She’s turned it up against the wind. She’s got an umbrella in her   left-hand pocket but it’s dry and unused: not just wind, strong wind –   too strong to use her umbrella. We know from her suitcase that she was   intending to stay overnight, so she must have come a decent distance but she   can’t have travelled more than two or three hours because her coat still   hasn’t dried. So, where has there been heavy rain and strong wind within the   radius of that travel time? (He gets his phone from his pocket and shows   to the other two the webpage he was looking at earlier, displaying today’s   weather for the southern part of Britain.) Cardiff.
JOHN: That’s fantastic!
SHERLOCK (turning to him and speaking in a low voice): D’you know you   do that out loud?
JOHN: Sorry. I’ll shut up.
SHERLOCK: No, it’s … fine.
LESTRADE: Why d’you keep saying suitcase?
SHERLOCK (spinning around in a circle to look around the room): Yes,   where is it? She must have had a phone or an organiser. Find out who Rachel   is.
LESTRADE: She was writing ‘Rachel’?
SHERLOCK (sarcastically): No, she was leaving an angry note in   German(!) Of course she was writing Rachel; no other word it can be.   Question is: why did she wait until she was dying to write it?
LESTRADE: How d’you know she had a suitcase?
SHERLOCK (pointing down to the body, where her tights have small black   splotches on the lower part of her right leg): Back of the right leg:   tiny splash marks on the heel and calf, not present on the left. She was   dragging a wheeled suitcase behind her with her right hand. Don’t get that   splash pattern any other way. Smallish case, going by the spread. Case that   size, woman this clothes-conscious: could only be an overnight bag, so we   know she was staying one night.
(He squats down by the woman’s body and examines the backs of her legs   more closely.)
SHERLOCK: Now, where is it? What have you done with it?
LESTRADE: There wasn’t a case.
(Slowly Sherlock raises his head and frowns up at Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: Say that again.
LESTRADE: There wasn’t a case. There was never any suitcase.
(Immediately Sherlock straightens up and heads for the door, calling out   to all the police officers in the house as he begins to hurry down the   stairs.)
SHERLOCK: Suitcase! Did anyone find a suitcase? Was there a suitcase in this   house?
(Lestrade and John follow him out and stop on the landing. Lestrade calls   down the stairs.)
LESTRADE: Sherlock, there was no case!
SHERLOCK (slowing down, but still making his way down the stairs): But   they take the poison themselves; they chew, swallow the pills themselves.   There are clear signs, even you lot couldn’t miss them.
LESTRADE: Right, yeah, thanks(!) And …?
SHERLOCK: It’s murder, all of them. I don’t know how, but they’re not   suicides, they’re killings – serial killings.
(He holds his hands up in front of his face in delight.)
SHERLOCK: We’ve got ourselves a serial killer. I love those. There’s   always something to look forward to.
LESTRADE: Why are you saying that?
SHERLOCK (stopping and calling up to the others): Her case! Come on,   where is her case? Did she eat it?(!) Someone else was here, and they took   her case. (More quietly, as if talking to himself) So the killer must   have driven her here; forgot the case was in the car.
JOHN: She could have checked into a hotel, left her case there.
SHERLOCK (looking up the stairs again): No, she never got to the   hotel. Look at her hair. She colour-coordinates her lipstick and her shoes.   She’d never have left any hotel with her hair still looking …
(He stops talking as he makes a realisation.)
SHERLOCK: Oh.
(His eyes widen and his face lights up.)
SHERLOCK: Oh!
(He claps his hands in delight.)

JOHN: Sherlock?
LESTRADE (leaning over the railings): What is it, what?
SHERLOCK (smiling cheerfully to himself): Serial killers are always   hard. You have to wait for them to make a mistake.
LESTRADE: We can’t just wait!
SHERLOCK: Oh, we’re done waiting!
(He starts to hurry down the stairs again.)
SHERLOCK: Look at her, really look! Houston, we have a mistake.   Get on to Cardiff: find out who Jennifer Wilson’s family and friends were.   Find Rachel!
(He reaches the bottom of the stairs and disappears from view.)
LESTRADE (calling after him): Of course, yeah – but what mistake?!
(Sherlock comes back into view and runs up a couple of stairs so that he   can be seen before he yells up to Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: PINK!
(He hurries off again. Lestrade, baffled, turns and goes back into the room   while Anderson and his team, who had been waiting on the next landing down,   hurry up the stairs and follow him into the room.)

ANDERSON: Let’s get on with it.
I trust that I am   not more dense than my neighbours, but I was always oppressed with a sense of   my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes. Here I had heard what   he had heard, I had seen what he had seen, and yet from his words it was   evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened but what was about to   happen, while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque. (The   Red-Headed League)

“I shall never do   that,” I answered; “you have brought detection as near an exact science as it   ever will be brought in this world.”

My companion flushed   up with pleasure at my words, and the earnest way in which I uttered them. I   had already observed that he was as sensitive to flattery on the score of his   art as any girl could be of her beauty. (ASIS, What John Rance had to tell)

I really like how   the audience gets a glimpse in Sherlock’s mind. As it should be in a good   detective story, it does get the opportunity to come to the same conclusion   on its own, but honestly, I would never make the leap to windy rain from a   damp collar and dry umbrella, even though this is completely logical. I call   foul play on the ring though, at least partly. A woman who doesn’t work with   her hands might remove her ring regularly nevertheless for a hobby,   especially when she does some kind of sport. It’s only the combination with   the fact that she neglects the ring, and only the ring, which makes   Sherlock’s conclusion the most likely. And even then, it’s entirely possible   to be unhappily married and not having an affair.
Lestrade is way more resentful the novel, but his character is depicted   different in every single one of his six appearances. According to the audio   commentary of ASIP, the writers picked his appearance in “The Six Napoleons”   as baseline. There he even visits Holmes regularly.
Sherlock seems to be more polite in canon, but if you pay attention you   notice that he is mostly amused by Lestrade’s and Gregson’s efforts (and if   he considers them the best of the lot, I don’t want to know what he thinks   about the other police officers). And while none of the police officers is   openly hostile towards him like in the show, it’s made clear that there is   hidden contempt towards him. As a general rule, most of them act obnoxious   towards Holmes, but are very ready to take credit for his work later on. The one   who reminds me most of Anderson in terms of stupidity is Athelney Jones from   The Sign of the Four.
John on the other hand is in both versions openly appreciative of his   abilities, and Sherlock in both versions preens under his attention.
(Forgotten by   everyone else, John hesitates on the landing for a moment and then slowly   starts making his way down the stairs. A couple more police officers hurry up   and one of them bumps against him, throwing him off-balance and making him   lurch heavily against the bannisters. The man hurries on without a word,   although his colleague does at least look apologetically at John as he   passes. John regains his balance and continues down the stairs.)
(Shortly afterwards he has removed his coverall and put his jacket back on,   and now walks out onto the street. Looking all around, he can see no sign of   Sherlock. He walks towards the police tape, still looking around. Donovan,   standing at the tape, sees him.)

DONOVAN: He’s gone.
JOHN: Who, Sherlock Holmes?
DONOVAN: Yeah, he just took off. He does that.
JOHN: Is he coming back?
DONOVAN: Didn’t look like it.
JOHN: Right.
(He looks around the area again thoughtfully, unsure what to do.)
JOHN: Right … Yes.
(He turns to Donovan again.)
JOHN: Sorry, where am I?
DONOVAN: Brixton.
JOHN: Right. Er, d’you know where I could get a cab? It’s just, er … well   … (he looks down awkwardly at his walking stick) … my leg.
DONOVAN: Er … (she steps over to the tape and lifts it for him) …   try the main road.
JOHN (ducking under the tape): Thanks.
DONOVAN: But you’re not his friend.
(John turns back towards her.)
DONOVAN: He doesn’t have friends. So who are you?
JOHN: I’m … I’m nobody. I just met him.
DONOVAN: Okay, bit of advice then: stay away from that guy.
JOHN: Why?
DONOVAN: You know why he’s here? He’s not paid or anything. He likes it. He   gets off on it. The weirder the crime, the more he gets off. And you know   what? One day just showing up won’t be enough. One day we’ll be standing   round a body and Sherlock Holmes’ll be the one that put it there.
JOHN: Why would he do that?
DONOVAN: Because he’s a psychopath. And psychopaths get bored.
LESTRADE (calling from the entrance to the house): Donovan!
DONOVAN (turning and calling to him): Coming.
(She turns back towards John as she walks towards the house.)
DONOVAN: Stay away from Sherlock Holmes.
(John watches her go for a moment, then turns and begins to limp off down   the road. To his right, the phone in a public telephone box begins to ring.   He stops and looks at it for a few seconds but then looks down at his watch,   shakes his head and continues down the road. The phone stops ringing.)

Not long afterwards, John is walking down what may well be Brixton High Road.   He tries to hail a passing taxi.
JOHN: Taxi! Taxi …
(The taxi passes him by. In Chicken Cottage, the fast food restaurant   outside which John is standing, the payphone on the wall begins to ring. John   turns and looks as one of the serving staff walks over to it but as he   reaches for the phone, it stops. John walks on down the road and shortly   afterwards approaches another public telephone box. The phone inside starts   to ring. Mystified by this, he pulls open the door, goes inside and lifts the   phone.)
JOHN: Hello?
(A man’s voice speaks down the phone.)
MAN’s VOICE: There is a security camera on the building to your left. Do you   see it?
JOHN (frowning): Who’s this? Who’s speaking?
MAN’s VOICE: Do you see the camera, Doctor Watson?
(John looks through the window of the phone box at the CCTV camera high up   on the wall of a nearby building.)
JOHN: Yeah, I see it.
MAN’s VOICE: Watch.
(The camera, which was pointing directly at the phone box, now swivels   away.)
MAN’s VOICE: There is another camera on the building opposite you. Do you see   it?
(John looks across to the second camera, which is also pointed towards the   phone box.)
JOHN: Mmm-hmm.
(The camera immediately swivels away.)
MAN’s VOICE: And finally, at the top of the building on your right.
(John stares up into the third camera which is watching him but which now   turns away.)
JOHN (into phone): How are you doing this?
MAN’s VOICE: Get into the car, Doctor Watson.
(A black car pulls up at the kerbside near the phone. The male driver gets   out and opens the rear door.)
MAN’s VOICE: I would make some sort of threat, but I’m sure your situation   is quite clear to you.
(The phone goes dead. John puts it down and looks thoughtful for a long   moment, then apparently decides that there’s not much else he can do and   turns to leave the phone box.)

A few moments later he is sitting in the back seat of the car as it pulls   away and drives off. An attractive young woman is sitting beside him, her   eyes fixed on her BlackBerry as she types on it. She is pretty much ignoring   him.
JOHN: Hello.
WOMAN (smiling brightly at him for a moment before returning her gaze to   her phone): Hi.
JOHN: What’s your name, then?
WOMAN: Er … Anthea.
JOHN: Is that your real name?
WOMAN (smiling): No.
(John nods, then twists to look out of the rear window briefly before   turning back again.)
JOHN: I’m John.
NOT-ANTHEA: Yes. I know.
JOHN: Any point in asking where I’m going?
NOT-ANTHEA: None at all …
(She turns and smiles briefly at him, then looks back at her phone again.)
NOT-ANTHEA: … John.
JOHN: Okay.

 

I made no remark,   however, but sat nursing my wounded leg. I had a Jezail bullet through it   some time before, and, though it did not prevent me from walking, it ached   wearily at every change of the weather. (The Sign of the Four, The Science of   Deduction)

 

It’s a little bit   strange that Watson’s wound is suddenly in his leg in The Sign of the Four   (in later stories ACD is a little bit more careful about contradicting   himself and keeps the exact location vague). There are two fan theories,   either this is a wound he got before he was shot in the shoulder, or the   actualy location of the wound was too embarassing to be truthful about it.   Either way, the solution that the actual wound is in the shoulder and the   limp is psychosomatic works for me.
Some time later,   the car pulls into an almost-empty warehouse. A man in a suit is standing in   the centre of the area, leaning nonchalantly on an umbrella as he watches the   car stop and John get out.
[Transcriber’s note: Now, I know that the vast majority of people who read   this transcript will have already seen the episode, but for the benefit of   the very few people who may be reading this having never watched the show,   and because at this point in the episode we are not told who this man is, I’m   going to refer to him as ‘M’, which is short for … um, ‘Man’, okay?   {transcriber inserts winky face here…}]
In front of the man is a straight-backed armless chair facing him. He   gestures to it with the point of his umbrella as John limps towards him   leaning heavily on his cane.

M: Have a seat, John.
(John continues towards him, his voice calm.)
JOHN: You know, I’ve got a phone.
(He looks round the warehouse.)
JOHN: I mean, very clever and all that, but er … you could just phone me.   On my phone.
(He walks straight past the chair and stops a few paces away from the   man.)
 
M: When one is avoiding   the attention of Sherlock Holmes, one learns to be discreet, hence this   place.
(His voice, which has had a pleasant smile in it so far, now becomes a   little sterner towards the end of the next phrase.)
M: The leg must be hurting you. Sit down.
JOHN: I don’t wanna sit down.
(The man looks at him curiously.)
M: You don’t seem very afraid.
JOHN: You don’t seem very frightening.
(The man chuckles.)
“One has to be   discreet when one talks of high matters of state.” (The Bruce-Partington   Plans)
M: Ah, yes. The   bravery of the soldier. Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity,   don’t you think?
(He looks at John sternly.)
M: What is your connection to Sherlock Holmes?
JOHN: I don’t have one. I barely know him. I met him …
(He looks away thoughtfully, then appears surprised as if he hadn’t   realised until now how little time has passed.)
JOHN: … yesterday.
M: Mmm, and since yesterday you’ve moved in with him and now you’re solving   crimes together. Might we expect a happy announcement by the end of the week?
JOHN: Who are you?
M: An interested party.
JOHN: Interested in Sherlock? Why? I’m guessing you’re not friends.
M: You’ve met him. How many ‘friends’ do you imagine he has? I am the closest   thing to a friend that Sherlock Holmes is capable of having.
“I think that you   know me well enough, Watson, to understand that I am by no means a nervous   man. At the same time, it is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to   recognize danger when it is close upon you.” (The Final Problem)
M: In his   mind, certainly. If you were to ask him, he’d probably say his arch-enemy.   He does love to be dramatic.
(John looks pointedly around the warehouse.)
JOHN (sarcastically): Well, thank God you’re above all that.
(The man frowns at him. Just then John’s phone trills a text alert. He   immediately digs into his jacket pocket, takes out the phone and activates   it, looking at the message while ignoring the man in front of him. The   message reads:
Also that I can never resist a dramatic   situation. (The   Mazarin Stone)

 

Baker Street.
Come at once
if convenient.

SH

M: I hope I’m not distracting you.
JOHN (casually): Not distracting me at all.
(He takes his time looking up from the phone before he pockets it.)
M: Do you plan to continue your association with Sherlock Holmes?
JOHN: I could be wrong … but I think that’s none of your business.
M (a little ominously): It could be.
JOHN: It really couldn’t.
(The man takes a notebook from his inside pocket, then opens it and   consults it as he speaks.)
M: If you do move into, um … two hundred and twenty-one B   Baker Street, I’d be happy to pay you a meaningful sum of money on a regular   basis to ease your way.
(He closes the notebook and puts it away again.)
JOHN: Why?
M: Because you’re not a wealthy man.
JOHN: In exchange for what?
M: Information. Nothing indiscreet. Nothing you’d feel … uncomfortable   with. Just tell me what he’s up to.
JOHN: Why?
M: I worry about him. Constantly.
JOHN (insincerely): That’s nice of you.
M: But I would prefer for various reasons that my concern go unmentioned. We   have what you might call a … difficult relationship.
(John’s phone sounds another text alert. Again he immediately fishes the   phone out and looks at the message which reads:

If inconvenient,
come anyway.
SH

JOHN (in response to the man’s offer): No.
M: But I haven’t mentioned a figure.
JOHN (putting his phone away again): Don’t bother.
M (laughing briefly): You’re very loyal, very quickly.
JOHN: No, I’m not. I’m just not interested.
(The man looks at him closely for a moment, then takes out his notebook   and opens it again.)
M (gesturing slightly to make it clear that he is reading a note from the   book): “Trust issues,” it says here.
(For the first time since their encounter began, John looks a little   unnerved.)
JOHN: What’s that?
M (still looking down at his book): Could it be that you’ve decided to   trust Sherlock Holmes of all people?
JOHN: Who says I trust him?
M: You don’t seem the kind to make friends easily.
JOHN: Are we done?
(The man raises his head and looks into John’s eyes.)
M: You tell me.
(John looks at him for a long moment, then turns his back on him and   starts to walk away.)
M: I imagine people have already warned you to stay away from him, but I can   see from your left hand that’s not going to happen.
(John stops dead. His shoulders tense and drop and he angrily shakes his   head a little. He is clearly furious as he turns back around to face the   man.)
JOHN (savagely, through bared teeth): My wot?
M (calmly): Show me.
(He has nodded towards John’s left hand as he speaks, and now he plants   the tip of his umbrella on the floor and leans casually on it like a man who   is used to having his orders obeyed. John, however, is not going to be   intimidated and deliberately shifts his feet under him as if digging in. He   raises his left hand, bending it at the elbow, and stands still. His message   is clear: if the man wants to look at his hand, he’ll have to come to him.   Apparently unperturbed by this belligerence, the man strolls forward, hooking   the handle of the umbrella over his arm as he reaches for John’s hand. John   instantly pulls his hand back a little.)
JOHN (tensely): Don’t.
(The man lowers his head and raises his eyebrows at John, almost as if   saying, ‘Did I mention trust issues?!’ John very reluctantly lowers his hand,   holding it out flat with the palm down. The man takes it in both of his own   hands and looks at it closely.)
M: Remarkable.
JOHN (snatching his hand away): What is?
M (turning and walking a few paces away): Most people blunder round   this city, and all they see are streets and shops and cars. When you walk   with Sherlock Holmes, you see the battlefield. (He turns towards John   again.) You’ve seen it already, haven’t you?
JOHN: What’s wrong with my hand?
M: You have an intermittent tremor in your left hand.
(Perhaps unintentionally, John nods his head.)
M: Your therapist thinks it’s post-traumatic stress disorder. She thinks
you’re haunted by memories of your military service.
(John almost flinches as the man accurately fires off these facts at him.   His gaze is fixed ahead of him and a muscle in his cheek twitches   repeatedly.)
JOHN (angry and distressed): Who the hell are you? How do you   know that?
M: Fire her. She’s got it the wrong way round. You’re under stress right now   and your hand is perfectly steady.
(John’s eyes flicker down towards his hand before returning to stare ahead   of himself, his face set and struggling to hold back his anger.)
M: You’re not haunted by the war, Doctor Watson … you miss it.
(He leans closer to him. Reluctantly John’s eyes rise up to meet his.)
M (in a whisper): Welcome back.
(He turns and starts to walk away just as John’s phone trills another text   alert.)
M (casually twirling his umbrella as he goes): Time to choose a side,   Doctor Watson.
(John stands fixed to the spot for a few seconds, then turns and glances   towards the departing man as, behind John, the car door opens and not-Anthea   gets out and walks a few paces towards him, her attention still riveted to   the BlackBerry held in front of her in both hands.)
NOT-ANTHEA: I’m to take you home.
(John half-turns towards her, then stops and takes out his phone to look   at the new message. It reads:

Could be dangerous.
SH

Putting the phone back into his pocket, John holds out his left hand in   front of him and studies the lack of tremor coming from it. He smiles wryly.)
NOT-ANTHEA: Address?
JOHN (turning and walking towards her): Er, Baker Street. Two two one   B Baker Street. But I need to stop off somewhere first.

It was one Sunday   evening early in September of the year 1903 that I received one of Holmes’s   laconic messages:

Come at once if convenient—if inconvenient   come all the same.

— S. H.

(The Creeping Man)

 

 

Note: According to the audio commentary of   ASIP, this version of Mycroft was heavily inspired by “The Private Life of   Sherlock Holmes”. The way Mycroft says “If you choose to move into two   hundred and twenty-one B” is a nod to the Granada series. In the episode “The   Adventure of the Creeping Man” Professor Presbury emphasises the address   similarly.

 

Later, John opens   the door into his bedsit and switches on the light. Walking inside and   closing the door behind him, he goes across to the desk and opens the drawer,   taking out his pistol. Checking the clip, he tucks the gun into the back of   the waistband of his jeans and turns to leave again.

Later again, the car pulls up outside 221B Baker Street. Not-Anthea is still   riveted by whatever she’s typing on her phone [that must be one heck   of a running blog that she’s writing]. John looks across to her.
JOHN: Listen, your boss – any chance you could not tell him this is where I   went?
NOT-ANTHEA (nonchalantly): Sure.
JOHN: You’ve told him already, haven’t you?
(She smiles across to him briefly.)
NOT-ANTHEA: Yeah.
(John nods in resignation and turns to get out of the car but just as he   has opened the door, he turns back to her.)
JOHN: Hey, um … do you ever get any free time?
(She chuckles.)
NOT-ANTHEA (sarcastically) : Oh, yeah. Lots.
(John waits expectantly. She continues working her phone for a long   moment, then turns and looks at him before allowing her gaze to drift past   him to the door of 221B.)
NOT-ANTHEA: ’Bye.
JOHN: Okay.
(He gets out and closes the door, then watches the car pull away before   turning and walking across the pavement to the front door of 221B. He knocks   on the door.)

“Oh, you can leave   me to deal with him then. Have you any arms?”

“I have my old   service revolver and a few cartridges.”

“You had better   clean it and load it. He will be a desperate man, and though I shall take him   unawares, it is as well to be ready for anything.”

I went to my bedroom   and followed his advice. When I returned with the pistol the table had been   cleared, and Holmes was engaged in his favourite occupation of scraping upon   his violin. (ASIS, Our Advertisement brings a visitor)

“Have you a pistol,   Watson?”

“I have my old   service-revolver in my desk.”

“You had best take   it, then. It is well to be prepared.” (The Sign of the Four, The End of the   Islander)

 

 
In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate   continents…(The Sign of the Four, The Statement of the Case)

John is really   bad-ass. All the effort Mycroft put into impressing him, and what does he?   Uses him as a taxi service, so that he can fetch his gun before going to   Sherlock.
Watson’s reputation as a womanizer is mostly based on this one remark in The   Sign of Four, and his general appreciation of females, which contrasts with   Holmes disinterest.
Upstairs in the   living room of the flat, Sherlock is lying stretched out on the sofa with his   head towards the window and resting on a cushion. With his jacket off and his   shirt sleeves unbuttoned and pushed up his arms, he has his eyes closed and   he is pressing the palm of his right hand firmly onto the underside of his   left arm just below the elbow. After some seconds his eyes snap open wide and   he stares fixedly up towards the ceiling, then he sighs out a noisy breath   and relaxes. John comes through the door, then stops and stares as Sherlock   repeatedly clenches and unclenches his left fist.
JOHN: What are you doing?
SHERLOCK (calmly): Nicotine patch. Helps me think.
(He lifts his right hand to show that he has three round nicotine patches   stuck to his arm and it was these which he was pressing against his skin to   release the substances more quickly.)
SHERLOCK: Impossible to sustain a smoking habit in London these days. Bad   news for brain work.
JOHN (walking further into the room): It’s good news for breathing.
SHERLOCK (dismissively): Oh, breathing. Breathing’s boring.
(John frowns as he looks more closely at Sherlock’s arm.)
JOHN: Is that three patches?
SHERLOCK (pressing his hands together in the prayer position under his   chin): It’s a three-patch problem.
(He closes his eyes. John looks around the room for a moment, then looks   down at Sherlock again.)
JOHN: Well?
(Sherlock doesn’t respond.)
JOHN: You asked me to come. I’m assuming it’s important.
(Sherlock still doesn’t respond instantly, but after a couple of seconds   his eyes snap open. He doesn’t bother turning his head to look at John.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, yeah, of course. Can I borrow your phone?
JOHN: My phone?
SHERLOCK: Don’t wanna use mine. Always a chance that the number will be   recognised. It’s on the website.
JOHN: Mrs Hudson’s got a phone.
SHERLOCK: Yeah, she’s downstairs. I tried shouting but she didn’t hear.
JOHN (beginning to get angry): I was the other side of London.
SHERLOCK (mildly): There was no hurry.
(John glares at him as he gazes serenely at the ceiling before closing his   eyes again. Eventually John digs his phone out of his jacket pocket and holds   it towards him.)
JOHN: Here.
(Without opening his eyes, Sherlock holds out his right hand with the palm   up. John glowers at him for a moment, then steps forward and slaps the phone   into his hand. Sherlock slowly lifts his arm and puts his hands together again,   this time with the phone in between his palms. John turns and walks a few   paces away before turning around again.)
JOHN: So what’s this about – the case?
SHERLOCK (softly): Her case.
JOHN: Her case?
SHERLOCK (opening his eyes): Her suitcase, yes, obviously. The   murderer took her suitcase. First big mistake.
JOHN: Okay, he took her case. So?
SHERLOCK (quietly, as if to himself): It’s no use, there’s no other   way. We’ll have to risk it.
(Raising his voice a little, he imperiously holds the phone out towards   John, still not looking at him.)
SHERLOCK: On my desk there’s a number. I want you to send a text.
(John half-smiles in angry disbelief.)
JOHN (tightly): You brought me here … to send a text.
SHERLOCK (oblivious to his anger): Text, yes. The number on my desk.
(He continues to hold the phone out while John glowers at him, possibly   wondering if he can get away with justifiable homicide. Eventually he stomps   across the room and snatches the phone from Sherlock’s hand. Sherlock refolds   his hands under his chin and closes his eyes but instead of going to the   table, John walks over to the window and looks out of it into the street   below. Sherlock opens his eyes and tilts his head slightly towards him.)
SHERLOCK: What’s wrong?
JOHN: Just met a friend of yours.
(Sherlock frowns in confusion.)
SHERLOCK: A friend?
JOHN: An enemy.
(Sherlock immediately relaxes.)
SHERLOCK (calmly): Oh. Which one?
JOHN: Your arch-enemy, according to him. (He turns towards   Sherlock.) Do people have arch-enemies?
(Sherlock looks towards him, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.)
SHERLOCK: Did he offer you money to spy on me?
JOHN: Yes.
SHERLOCK: Did you take it?
JOHN: No.
SHERLOCK: Pity. We could have split the fee. Think it through next time.
JOHN: Who is he?
SHERLOCK (softly): The most dangerous man you’ve ever met, and not my   problem right now. (More loudly) On my desk, the number.
(John gives him a dark look but Sherlock has already looked away again so   John walks over to the desk and picks up a piece of paper taken from a   luggage label. He looks at the name on the paper.)
JOHN: Jennifer Wilson. That was … Hang on. Wasn’t that the dead woman?
SHERLOCK: Yes. That’s not important. Just enter the number.
(Shaking his head, John gets his phone out and starts to type the number   onto it.)
SHERLOCK: Are you doing it?
JOHN: Yes.
SHERLOCK: Have you done it?
JOHN: Ye… hang on!
SHERLOCK: These words exactly: “What happened at Lauriston Gardens? I must   have blacked out.”
(John starts to type but looks briefly across to Sherlock as if concerned   at what he just said. Sherlock continues his narration.)
SHERLOCK: “Twenty-two Northumberland Street. Please come.”
(John has got as far as:
What happened at
Lauriston Gdns?
I must have b
Now he looks across to Sherlock again, frowning.)
JOHN: You blacked out?
SHERLOCK: What? No. No!
(He flips his legs around and stands up, taking the shortest route towards   the kitchen – which involves walking over the coffee table beside the   sofa rather than around it.)
SHERLOCK: Type and send it. Quickly.
(Going into the kitchen, he picks up a small pink suitcase from a chair   and brings it back into the living room. Walking over to the dining table, he   lifts one of the dining chairs and flips it around, setting it down in front   of one of the two armchairs near the fireplace. He puts the suitcase onto the   dining chair and sits down in the armchair. John is still typing.)
SHERLOCK: Have you sent it?
JOHN: What’s the address?
SHERLOCK (impatiently): Twenty-two Northumberland Street. Hurry up!
(John finishes the message, then looks round as Sherlock unzips the case   and flips open the lid, revealing the contents. There are a few items of   clothing and underwear – all in varying shades of pink – a washbag, and a   paperback novel by Paul Bunch entitled “Come To Bed Eyes”. As John turns   towards the case he staggers slightly in shock as he realises what he’s   looking at.)
JOHN: That’s … that’s the pink lady’s case. That’s Jennifer Wilson’s case.
SHERLOCK (studying the case closely): Yes, obviously.
(As John continues to stare, Sherlock looks up at him and then rolls his   eyes.)
SHERLOCK (sarcastically): Oh, perhaps I should mention: I   didn’t kill her.
JOHN: I never said you did.
SHERLOCK: Why not? Given the text I just had you send and the fact I that   have her case, it’s a perfectly logical assumption.
JOHN: Do people usually assume you’re the murderer?
SHERLOCK (smirking): Now and then, yes.
(He puts his hands onto the arms of the armchair and lifts his feet up and   under him so that he is perching on the seat with his backside braced against   the back rest, then clasps his hands under his chin.)
JOHN: Okay …
(He limps across the room and drops heavily into the armchair on the other   side of the fireplace.)
JOHN: How did you get this?
SHERLOCK: By looking.
JOHN: Where?
SHERLOCK: The killer must have driven her to Lauriston Gardens. He could only   keep her case by accident if it was in the car. Nobody could be seen with   this case without drawing attention – particularly a man, which is   statistically more likely – so obviously he’d feel compelled to get rid of it   the moment he noticed he still had it. Wouldn’t have taken him more than five   minutes to realise his mistake. I checked every back street wide enough for a   car five minutes from Lauriston Gardens …
(Cutaway shot of Sherlock standing on the edge of a rooftop looking down   into the streets below as he searches for a glimpse of anywhere the case   might have been hidden.)
SHERLOCK: … and anywhere you could dispose of a bulky object without being   observed.
(Cutaway shot of Sherlock back on the ground and rooting through a large   skip in an alley before unearthing the case buried under some black plastic,   then checking the luggage label attached to the handle.)
SHERLOCK: Took me less than an hour to find the right skip.
JOHN: Pink. You got all that because you realised the case would be   pink?
SHERLOCK: Well, it had to be pink, obviously.
JOHN (to himself): Why didn’t I think of that?
SHERLOCK: Because you’re an idiot.
(John looks across to him, startled. Sherlock makes a placatory gesture   with one hand.)
SHERLOCK: No, no, no, don’t look like that. Practically everyone is.
(He refolds his hands and then extends his index fingers to point at the   case.)
SHERLOCK: Now, look. Do you see what’s missing?
JOHN: From the case? How could I?
SHERLOCK: Her phone. Where’s her mobile phone? There was no phone on the   body, there’s no phone in the case. We know she had one – that’s her number   there; you just texted it.
JOHN: Maybe she left it at home.
(Sherlock puts his hands onto the arms of the chair and raises himself up   so that he can lower his feet to the floor, then sits down properly on the   chair.)
SHERLOCK: She has a string of lovers and she’s careful about it. She never   leaves her phone at home.
(He puts the slip of paper back into the luggage label on the case and   looks at John expectantly.)
JOHN: Er …
(He looks down at his mobile phone which he has put onto the arm of his   chair.)
JOHN: Why did I just send that text?
SHERLOCK: Well, the question is: where is her phone now?
JOHN: She could have lost it.
SHERLOCK: Yes, or …?
JOHN (slowly): The murderer … You think the murderer has the phone?
SHERLOCK: Maybe she left it when she left her case. Maybe he took it from her   for some reason. Either way, the balance of probability is the murderer has   her phone.
JOHN: Sorry, what are we doing? Did I just text a murderer?! What good will that   do?
(As if on cue, his phone begins to ring. He picks it up and looks at the   screen for the Caller I.D. It reads:

(withheld)
calling

He looks across to Sherlock as the phone continues to ring.)
SHERLOCK: A few hours after his last victim, and now he receives a text that   can only be from her. If somebody had just found that phone they’d   ignore a text like that, but the murderer …
(He pauses dramatically for a moment until the phone stops ringing.)
SHERLOCK: … would panic.
(He flips the lid of the suitcase closed and stands up, walking across the   room to pick up his jacket. As John continues to stare down at his phone,   Sherlock puts his jacket on and walks towards the door.)

Note: This naturally looks initially as if   Sherlock is doing hard drugs, a reference to his drug habits. Though he   informed fan knows that he never did drugs during a case, only when there was   nothing else to occupy his mind.

My first impression   as I opened the door was that a fire had broken out, for the room was so   filled with smoke that the light of the lamp upon the table was blurred by   it. As I entered, however, my fears were set at rest, for it was the acrid   fumes of strong coarse tobacco which took me by the throat and set me   coughing. Through the haze I had a vague vision of Holmes in his   dressing-gown coiled up in an armchair with his black clay pipe between his   lips. Several rolls of paper lay around him.

“Caught cold,   Watson?” said he.

“No, it’s this   poisonous atmosphere.”

“I suppose it is   pretty thick, now that you mention it.”

“Thick! It is   intolerable.” (The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Problem)

“What are you going   to do, then?” I asked.

“To smoke,” he   answered. “It is quite a three pipe   problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.” He   curled himself up in his chair, with his thin knees drawn up to his hawk-like   nose, and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting   out like the bill of some strange bird. I had come to the conclusion that he   had dropped asleep, and indeed was nodding myself, when he suddenly sprang   out of his chair with the gesture of a man who has made up his mind and put   his pipe down upon the mantelpiece.(The Red-Headed League)

“Look at this   advertisement,” he answered. “I had one sent to every paper this morning   immediately after the affair.”

He threw the paper   across to me and I glanced at the place indicated. It was the first   announcement in the “Found” column. “In Brixton Road, this morning,” it ran,   “a plain gold wedding ring, found in the roadway between the ‘White Hart’   Tavern and Holland Grove. Apply Dr. Watson, 221b, Baker Street, between eight   and nine this evening.”

“Excuse my using   your name,” he said. “If I used my own some of these dunderheads would   recognize it, and want to meddle in the affair.” (ASIS, Our Advertisement   brings a Visitor)

 

JOHN (finally   looking up): Have you talked to the police?
SHERLOCK: Four people are dead. There isn’t time to talk to the police.
JOHN: So why are you talking to me?
(Sherlock reaches behind the door to take his greatcoat from the hook. As   he looks across towards John he notices that something is missing from the   mantelpiece.)
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson took my skull.
JOHN: So I’m basically filling in for your skull?
SHERLOCK (putting his coat on): Relax, you’re doing fine.
(John doesn’t move.)
SHERLOCK: Well?
JOHN: Well what?
SHERLOCK: Well, you could just sit there and watch telly.
JOHN: What, you want me to come with you?
SHERLOCK: I like company when I go out, and I think better when I talk aloud.   The skull just attracts attention, so …
(John smiles briefly.)
SHERLOCK: Problem?
JOHN: Yeah, Sergeant Donovan.
SHERLOCK (looking away in exasperation): What about her?
JOHN: She said … You get off on this. You enjoy it.
SHERLOCK (nonchalantly): And I said “dangerous”, and here you are.
(Instantly he turns and walks out of the door. John sits there   thoughtfully for a few seconds, then almost angrily leans onto his cane to   push himself to his feet and head for the door.)
JOHN: Damn it!
It was difficult to   refuse any of Sherlock Holmes’ requests, for they were always so exceedingly   definite, and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery. I felt, however,   that when Whitney was once confined in the cab my mission was practically   accomplished; and for the rest, I could not wish anything better than to be   associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the   normal condition of his existence. (The Man with the Twisted Lip)

The relations   between us in those latter days were peculiar. He was a man of habits, narrow   and concentrated habits, and I had become one of them. As an institution I   was like the violin, the shag tobacco, the old black pipe, the index books,   and others perhaps less excusable. When it was a case of active work and a   comrade was needed upon whose nerve he could place some reliance, my role was   obvious. But apart from this I had uses. I was a whetstone for his mind. I   stimulated him. He liked to think aloud in my presence. His remarks could   hardly be said to be made to me—many of them would have been as appropriately   addressed to his bedstead—but none the less, having formed the habit, it had   become in some way helpful that I should register and interject. If I   irritated him by a certain methodical slowness in my mentality, that   irritation served only to make his own flame-like intuitions and impressions   flash up the more vividly and swiftly. Such was my humble role in our   alliance. (The Creeping Man)

Note that even the   way Sherlock sits when he thinks about something is exactly like it’s   described in the stories, and that’s by far not the only example where   Benedict Cumberbatch copies exactly his habits. Sometimes people point out   that he acts like Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett, but that’s usually because   they copied Holmes habits, too.
Not long   afterwards, John catches up to Sherlock in the street and they continue down   the road.
JOHN: Where are we going?
SHERLOCK: Northumberland Street’s a five-minute walk from here.
JOHN: You think he’s stupid enough to go there?
SHERLOCK (smiling expectantly): No – I think he’s brilliant   enough. I love the brilliant ones. They’re always so desperate to get caught.
JOHN: Why?
SHERLOCK: Appreciation! Applause! At long last the spotlight. That’s the   frailty of genius, John: it needs an audience.
JOHN (looking pointedly at him): Yeah.
(Oblivious to the implication, Sherlock spins around to indicate the   entire area as he continues down the road.)
SHERLOCK: This is his hunting ground, right here in the heart of the city.   Now that we know his victims were abducted, that changes everything. Because   all of his victims disappeared from busy streets, crowded places, but nobody   saw them go.
(He holds his hands up on either side of his head as if to focus his   thoughts.)
SHERLOCK: Think! Who do we trust, even though we don’t know them? Who passes   unnoticed wherever they go? Who hunts in the middle of a crowd?
JOHN: Dunno. Who?
SHERLOCK (shrugging): Haven’t the faintest. Hungry?
 
(Lowering his   hands, he leads John onwards and into a small restaurant. The waiter near the   door clearly knows him and gestures to a reserved table at the front window.)
SHERLOCK: Thank you, Billy.
(Taking his coat off, he sits down on the bench seat at the side of the   table and immediately turns sideways so that he can see clearly out of the   window. As Billy takes the ‘Reserved’ sign off the table, John sits down on   the other bench seat with his back to the window, and takes off his jacket.)
SHERLOCK (nodding to a building over the road): Twenty-two   Northumberland Street. Keep your eyes on it.
JOHN: He isn’t just gonna ring the doorbell, though, is he? He’d need to be   mad.
SHERLOCK: He has killed four people.
JOHN: … Okay.
(The manager and/or owner of the restaurant comes over, clearly pleased to   see Sherlock.)
ANGELO: Sherlock.
(They shake hands.)
ANGELO: Anything on the menu, whatever you want, free.
(He lays a couple of menus on the table.)
ANGELO: On the house, for you and for your date.
SHERLOCK (to John): Do you want to eat?
JOHN (to Angelo): I’m not his date.
ANGELO: This man got me off a murder charge.
SHERLOCK: This is Angelo.
(Angelo offers his hand to John, who shakes it.)
SHERLOCK: Three years ago I successfully proved to Lestrade at the time of a   particularly vicious triple murder that Angelo was in a completely different   part of town, house-breaking.
ANGELO (to John): He cleared my name.
SHERLOCK: I cleared it a bit. Anything happening opposite?
ANGELO: Nothing. (He looks at John again.) But for this man, I’d have   gone to prison.
SHERLOCK: You did go to prison.
ANGELO (to John): I’ll get a candle for the table. It’s more romantic.
JOHN (indignantly, as Angelo walks away): I’m not his date!
(Sherlock puts his own menu down onto the table.)
SHERLOCK: You may as well eat. We might have a long wait.
(Angelo comes back with a small glass bowl containing a lit tea-light. He   puts it onto the table and gives John a thumbs-up before turning and walking   away again.)
JOHN (a little tetchily): Thanks(!)

 

Later, John has a   plate of food in front of him and is eating from it. Sherlock’s attention is   fixed out of the window and he is quietly drumming his fingers on the table.
JOHN: People don’t have arch-enemies.
(It takes a moment but Sherlock finally looks round.)
SHERLOCK: I’m sorry?
JOHN: In real life. There are no arch-enemies in real life. Doesn’t   happen.
SHERLOCK (disinterestedly, looking out of the window again): Doesn’t   it? Sounds a bit dull.
JOHN: So who did I meet?
SHERLOCK: What do real people have, then, in their ‘real lives’?
JOHN: Friends; people they know; people they like; people they don’t like …   Girlfriends, boyfriends …
SHERLOCK: Yes, well, as I was saying – dull.
JOHN: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?
SHERLOCK (still looking out of the window): Girlfriend? No, not really   my area.
JOHN: Mm.
(A moment passes before he realises the possible significance of this   statement.)
JOHN: Oh, right. D’you have a boyfriend?
(Sherlock looks round at him sharply.)
JOHN: Which is fine, by the way.
SHERLOCK: I know it’s fine.
(John smiles to indicate that he wasn’t signifying anything negative by   what he said.)
JOHN: So you’ve got a boyfriend then?
SHERLOCK: No.
JOHN (still smiling, though his smile is becoming a little fixed and   awkward): Right. Okay. You’re unattached. Like me. (He looks down at   his plate, apparently rapidly running out of things to say.) Fine. (He   clears his throat.) Good.
(He continues eating. Sherlock looks at him suspiciously for a moment but   then turns his attention out of the window again. However, he then appears to   replay John’s statement in his head and looks a little startled. Turning his   head towards John again, he starts speaking rather awkwardly but rapidly   speeds up and is almost babbling by the time John interrupts him.)

Note: Angelo is most likely based on the   Basil Rathbone movie Dressed to Kill (1946), which also features a man   Sherlock Holmes got of a murder charge, in this case by proving that he was   blowing open a safe at the other side of London.

 

“Take your breakfast,   Watson, and we will go out together and see what we can do. I feel as if I   shall need your company and your moral support to-day.”

My friend had no   breakfast himself, for it was one of his peculiarities that in his more   intense moments he would permit himself no food, and I have known him presume   upon his iron strength until he has fainted from pure inanition. “At present   I cannot spare energy and nerve force for digestion,” he would say in answer   to my medical remonstrances. I was not surprised, therefore, when this   morning he left his untouched meal behind him and started with me for   Norwood. (The Norwood Builder)

 

SHERLOCK: John, um   … I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work, and   while I’m flattered by your interest, I’m really not looking for any …
JOHN (interrupting): No. (He turns his head briefly to clear his   throat.) No, I’m not asking. No.
(He fixes his gaze onto Sherlock’s, apparently trying to convey his   sincerity.)
JOHN: I’m just saying, it’s all fine.
(Sherlock looks at him for a moment, then nods.)
SHERLOCK: Good. Thank you.
(He turns his attention back to the street. John looks away with an   bemused expression on his face as if asking himself, ‘What the heck was all that   about?!’ Just then, Sherlock nods out of the window.)
SHERLOCK: Look across the street. Taxi.
(John twists in his seat to look out of the window where a taxi has parked   at the side of the road with its back end towards the restaurant.)
SHERLOCK: Stopped. Nobody getting in, and nobody getting out.
(In the rear seat of the taxi the male passenger is looking through the   side windows as if trying to see somebody particular.)
SHERLOCK (to himself): Why a taxi? Oh, that’s clever. Is it   clever? Why is it clever?
JOHN: That’s him?
SHERLOCK: Don’t stare.
JOHN (looking round at him): You’re staring.
SHERLOCK: We can’t both stare.
But love is an   emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold   reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I   bias my judgment.” (The Sign of Four, The Strange Story of Jonathan Small)

 

(Getting to his   feet, he grabs his coat and scarf and heads for the door. John picks up his   own jacket and follows … completely forgetting to take his walking cane   with him. Outside the door, Sherlock shrugs himself into his coat while   keeping his eyes fixed on the taxi. The passenger continues to look around   him, then turns and looks out the back window. His gaze falls on the   restaurant and he looks at it for a few moments while Sherlock stares back at   him, then the man turns towards the front of the vehicle and the taxi begins   to pull away from the kerb. Sherlock immediately heads towards it without   bothering to check the road that he’s running into and is almost run over by   a car coming from his left. The driver slams on the brakes and stops the car   but Sherlock, always keen to take the quickest route, allows his forward   impetus to carry him onto the top of the bonnet. He rolls over the bonnet,   lands on his feet on the other side and then runs after the taxi. As the   driver of the car angrily sounds his horn, John puts one hand on the bonnet   and vaults over the front of the car, apologising to the driver as he goes.)
JOHN: Sorry.
(He chases after Sherlock, who runs a few yards up the road before realising   that he’s not going to catch the taxi and slows to a halt. John catches up   and stops beside him.)
JOHN: I’ve got the cab number.
SHERLOCK: Good for you.
(He brings his hands up to either side of his head and concentrates,   calling up a mental map of the local area and overlaying it with images of   the streets along the route which he calculates that the taxi must take.)
SHERLOCK (quick fire): Right turn, one way, roadworks, traffic lights,   bus lane, pedestrian crossing, left turn only, traffic lights.
(Having worked out the route, he lifts his head and sees a man unlocking   the door to a nearby building. Instantly his mind flashes up a signpost   saying, “ALTERNATIVE ROUTE” [we won’t mention the fact that the man is on the   right-hand side of the street but the sign is pointing to the left …].   Sherlock races towards the man and grabs him, shoving him out of the way   before charging into the building.)
MAN: Oy!
(John hurries after Sherlock, raising an apologetic hand to the man as he   goes.)
JOHN: Sorry.
(The two of them race up the stairs and out onto a metal spiral fire   escape staircase leading to the roof. Sherlock, the lanky git, takes the   steps two or even three at a time and John struggles to keep up with him as   he scurries up behind him.)
SHERLOCK: Come on, John.
(Reaching the top of the stairs, Sherlock runs to the edge and looks over   before seeing a shorter metal spiral staircase leading down the side of the   building to another door one floor lower. He gallops down the stairs and   climbs onto the railing before leaping across the gap to the next building.   John scrambles onto the railing and follows. Sherlock runs across to the   other side of the roof and again leaps across to the next building. John   races after him, but then skids to a halt as he realises that the gap may be   too big for him to jump across. As if in sympathy, pedestrian traffic lights   on the ground change from the green “It is safe to cross” sign to the red   “Stop and wait” sign. John hesitates, looking down at the drop beneath him.)
SHERLOCK: Come on, John. We’re losing him!
(John backs up a few paces and braces himself. As the traffic lights   change to “Safe to cross” again, he takes a run-up and leaps the gap.   Dropping down onto a walkway along the side of the building, the boys run   onwards. As the taxi continues its journey on the ground, the boys gallop   down another metal staircase, then run to a ledge and drop down into an   alleyway before running onwards again. Sherlock leads John down the alleyway   as, in his head, a map shows their location in comparison to where the taxi   must be. Their paths are beginning to get closer and they are heading towards   a point where Sherlock and John will exit the alleyway onto D’Arblay Street,   which the taxi is just turning into. Sherlock turns the corner and races down   the last part of the alley, only to see the taxi drive past the end, heading   to the left.)
SHERLOCK (angrily): Ah, no!
(Without breaking stride, he races out of the end of the alley and turns   right.)
SHERLOCK: This way.
(Instinctively John turns left in pursuit of the taxi.)
SHERLOCK: No, this way!
JOHN: Sorry.
(He turns and heads back in the opposite direction, following Sherlock. In   Sherlock’s mind-map, he picks a new point where he and John can intercept the   cab. The boys run down the street, taking a shorter route than the taxi which   is being diverted by various road signs taking it the long way around. They   head down more alleyways and side streets towards the interception point in   Wardour Street and finally, at the precise point which his mental map   predicted, Sherlock races out of a side street and hurls himself into the   path of the approaching cab, which screeches to a halt as he crashes hard   into the bonnet. Scrabbling in his left coat pocket, Sherlock pulls out an   I.D. badge and flashes it at the driver as he runs to the right hand side of   the cab.)
SHERLOCK: Police! Open her up!
“Oh, I don’t mind   telling a story against myself. That creature had gone a little way when she   began to limp and show every sign of being foot-sore. Presently she came to a   halt, and hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. I managed to be close to   her so as to hear the address, but I need not have been so anxious, for she   sang it out loud enough to be heard at the other side of the street, ‘Drive   to 13, Duncan Street, Houndsditch,’ she cried. This begins to look genuine, I   thought, and having seen her safely inside, I perched myself behind. That’s   an art which every detective should be an expert at. Well, away we rattled,   and never drew rein until we reached the street in question. I hopped off   before we came to the door, and strolled down the street in an easy, lounging   way. I saw the cab pull up. The driver jumped down, and I saw him open the   door and stand expectantly. Nothing came out though. When I reached him he   was groping about frantically in the empty cab, and giving vent to the finest   assorted collection of oaths that ever I listened to. There was no sign or   trace of his passenger, and I fear it will be some time before he gets his   fare. On inquiring at Number 13 we found that the house belonged to a   respectable paperhanger, named Keswick, and that no one of the name either of   Sawyer or Dennis had ever been heard of there.” (ASIS, Our Advertisement   brings a visitor)

At first I had some idea as to the direction in which we were driving; but   soon, what with our pace, the fog, and my own limited knowledge of London, I   lost my bearings, and knew nothing, save that we seemed to be going a very   long way. Sherlock Holmes was never at fault, however, and he muttered the   names as the cab rattled through squares and in and out by tortuous   by-streets.

“Rochester Row,”   said he. “Now Vincent Square. Now we come out on the Vauxhall Bridge Road. We   are making for the Surrey side, apparently. Yes, I thought so. Now we are on   the bridge. You can catch glimpses of the river.”

We did indeed bet a   fleeting view of a stretch of the Thames with the lamps shining upon the   broad, silent water; but our cab dashed on, and was soon involved in a   labyrinth of streets upon the other side.

“Wordsworth Road,”   said my companion. “Priory Road. Lark Hall Lane. Stockwell Place. Robert   Street. Cold Harbor Lane. Our quest does not appear to take us to very   fashionable regions.” (The Sign of Four, In Quest of a Solution)

“Let me see,” said Holmes, standing at the corner and glancing along the   line, “I should like just to remember the order of the houses here. It is a   hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London. There is Mortimer’s, the   tobacconist, the little newspaper shop, the Coburg branch of the City and   Suburban Bank, the Vegetarian Restaurant, and McFarlane’s carriage-building   depot. That carries us right on to the other block.” (The Red-Headed League)

 

 

(Panting heavily,   he tugs open the rear door and stares in at the passenger, who looks back at   him anxiously. Instantly Sherlock straightens up in exasperation just as John   joins him.)
SHERLOCK: No.
(He leans down again to look at the passenger a second time.)
SHERLOCK: Teeth, tan: what – Californian?
(He looks at something on the floor in front of the passenger.)
SHERLOCK: L.A., Santa Monica. Just arrived.
(He straightens up again, grimacing.)
JOHN: How can you possibly know that?
SHERLOCK: The luggage.
(He looks down at the suitcase on the floor of the cab and its luggage   label showing that the man has flown from LAX [Los Angeles International   Airport] to LHR [London Heathrow Airport].)
SHERLOCK (to the passenger): It’s probably your first trip to London,   right, going by your final destination and the route the cabbie was taking   you?
PASSENGER: Sorry – are you guys the police?
SHERLOCK: Yeah. (He flashes the I.D. badge briefly at the man.)   Everything all right?
PASSENGER (smiling): Yeah.
(Sherlock pauses for a moment as if wondering how to finish this   conversation, then smiles falsely at the man.)
SHERLOCK: Welcome to London.
(He immediately walks away, leaving John staring blankly for a moment   before he steps closer to the taxi door and looks in at the passenger.)
JOHN: Er, any problems, just let us know.
(As the man nods, John smiles politely and slams the cab door shut. The   man looks round to the taxi driver in bewilderment. John walks to where   Sherlock has stopped a few yards behind the vehicle.)
JOHN: Basically just a cab that happened to slow down.
SHERLOCK: Basically.
JOHN: Not the murderer.
SHERLOCK (exasperated): Not the murderer, no.
JOHN: Wrong country, good alibi.
SHERLOCK: As they go.
(John notices as Sherlock switches the I.D. card from one hand to   another.)
JOHN: Hey, where-where did you get this? Here.
(He reaches for the card and Sherlock releases it.)
JOHN: Right. (He looks at the name on the card.) Detective Inspector   Lestrade?
SHERLOCK: Yeah. I pickpocket him when he’s annoying. You can keep that one,   I’ve got plenty at the flat.
(John nods, then looks down at the card again before lifting his head and   giggling silently.)
SHERLOCK: What?
JOHN: Nothing, just: “Welcome to London”.
(Sherlock chuckles, then looks down the road to where a police officer has   apparently gone to investigate why the cab has stopped in the middle of the   road. The passenger has got out and is pointing down the road towards the   boys.)
SHERLOCK (to John): Got your breath back?
JOHN: Ready when you are.
(They turn and run off down the road.)
All this Jefferson   Hope was able to tell him, and in a style which interested Lucy as well as   her father. He had been a pioneer in California, and could narrate   many a strange tale of fortunes made and fortunes lost in those wild, halcyon   days. He had been a scout too, and a trapper, a silver explorer, and a   ranchman. Wherever stirring adventures were to be had, Jefferson Hope had been   there in search of them. (ASIS, The Flower of Utah)
In the novel, Holmes   knows early on that the culprit was a cabbie. Also in the unaired pilot of A   Study in Pink. The main reason why he doesn’t know in this version is to   stretch the viewing time to 90 minutes. I don’t mind, though, since we are   instead treated to a really great chase scene. And an impressive display of   Sherlock’s/Holmes’ ability to know every street in London. In canon, Holmes   is misled by a disguise, Sherlock on the other hand loses his prey because he   looks in the wrong place. (Though the guy on the backseat might be very lucky   that his cabbie was distracted by a new goal).
221B. The boys   have arrived back and walk along the hallway, breathing heavily. John hangs   his jacket on a hook on the wall while Sherlock drapes his coat over the   bottom of the bannisters.
JOHN: Okay, that was ridiculous.
(They lean side by side against the wall, still trying to catch their   breath.)
JOHN: That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.
SHERLOCK: And you invaded Afghanistan.
(John giggles adorably and after a moment Sherlock also begins to laugh.)
JOHN: That wasn’t just me.
(Sherlock chuckles.)
JOHN: Why aren’t we back at the restaurant?
 
SHERLOCK (becoming   more serious and waving his hand dismissively): Oh, they can keep an eye   out. It was a long shot anyway.
JOHN: So what were we doing there?
(Sherlock clears his throat.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, just passing the time.
(He looks at John.)
SHERLOCK: And proving a point.
JOHN: What point?
SHERLOCK: You.
(He turns and calls loudly towards the door to Mrs Hudson’s flat.)
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson! Doctor Watson will take the room upstairs.
JOHN: Says who?
SHERLOCK (looking towards the front door): Says the man at the door.
(John turns his head towards the door just as someone knocks on it three   times. He turns back to look at Sherlock in surprise. Sherlock smiles. John   stares at him for a moment, then walks along the hall to answer the door.   Sherlock leans his head against the wall and blows out a breath. John opens   the door and finds Angelo standing outside.)
ANGELO: Sherlock texted me.
(Smiling, he holds up John’s walking cane.)
ANGELO: He said you forgot this.
(John stares at the cane in surprise, then takes it.)
JOHN: Ah.
(He turns and looks down the hall to Sherlock, who grins at him.)
JOHN (turning back to Angelo): Er, thank you. Thank you.
(As he comes back in and closes the door, Mrs Hudson comes out of her flat   and hurries over to the boys. She sounds upset and tearful as she speaks.)
MRS HUDSON: Sherlock, what have you done?
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson?
MRS HUDSON: Upstairs.
“A long shot,   Watson; a very long shot,” said he, pinching my arm. (The Silver Blaze)

 

(Sherlock turns   and hurries up the stairs, John following him. Sherlock opens the living room   door and goes inside, where he finds D.I. Lestrade sitting casually in the   armchair facing the door. Other police officers are going through Sherlock’s   possessions. Sherlock storms over to Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: What are you doing?
LESTRADE: Well, I knew you’d find the case. I’m not stupid.
SHERLOCK: You can’t just break into my flat.
LESTRADE: And you can’t withhold evidence. And I didn’t break into   your flat.
SHERLOCK: Well, what do you call this then?
LESTRADE (looking round at his officers before looking back to Sherlock   innocently): It’s a drugs bust.
JOHN: Seriously?! This guy, a junkie?! Have you met him?!
(Sherlock turns and walks closer to John, biting his lip nervously.)
SHERLOCK: John …
JOHN (to Lestrade): I’m pretty sure you could search this flat all day,   you wouldn’t find anything you could call recreational.
SHERLOCK: John, you probably want to shut up now.
JOHN: Yeah, but come on …
(He looks into Sherlock’s eyes. Sherlock holds his gaze for a long moment   and John realises how serious he’s looking.)
JOHN: No.
SHERLOCK: What?
JOHN: You?
SHERLOCK (angrily): Shut up!
(He turns back to Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: I’m not your sniffer dog.
LESTRADE: No, Anderson’s my sniffer dog.
(He nods towards the kitchen.)
SHERLOCK: What, An…
(The closed doors to the kitchen slide open and reveal several more   officers in there searching through the room. Anderson turns towards the   living room and raises his hand in sarcastic greeting.)
SHERLOCK (angrily): Anderson, what are you doing here on a   drugs bust?
ANDERSON (venomously): Oh, I volunteered.
(Sherlock turns away, biting his lip angrily.)
LESTRADE: They all did. They’re not strictly speaking on the   drugs squad, but they’re very keen.
(Donovan comes into view from the kitchen, holding a small glass jar with   some white round objects in it.)
DONOVAN: Are these human eyes?
SHERLOCK: Put those back!
DONOVAN: They were in the microwave!
SHERLOCK: It’s an experiment.
LESTRADE: Keep looking, guys.
(He stands up and turns to Sherlock.)
LESTRADE: Or you could help us properly and I’ll stand them down.
SHERLOCK (pacing angrily): This is childish.
LESTRADE: Well, I’m dealing with a child. Sherlock, this is our   case. I’m letting you in, but you do not go off on your own. Clear?
SHERLOCK (stopping and glaring at him): Oh, what, so-so-so you set up   a pretend drugs bust to bully me?
LESTRADE: It stops being pretend if they find anything.
SHERLOCK (loudly): I am clean!
LESTRADE: Is your flat? All of it?
SHERLOCK: I don’t even smoke.
(He unbuttons the cuff of his left shirt and pulls it up to show the   nicotine patch on his lower arm.)
LESTRADE: Neither do I.
(He pulls up the right sleeve of his own shirt to show a similar patch on   his arm. Sherlock rolls his eyes and turns away and they both pull their   sleeves back down again.)
LESTRADE: So let’s work together. We’ve found Rachel.
SHERLOCK (turning back to him): Who is she?
LESTRADE: Jennifer Wilson’s only daughter.
SHERLOCK (frowning): Her daughter? Why would she write her daughter’s   name? Why?
ANDERSON: Never mind that. We found the case.
(He points to the pink suitcase in the living room.)
ANDERSON: According to someone, the murderer has the case, and we   found it in the hands of our favourite psychopath.
SHERLOCK (looking at him disparagingly): I’m not a psychopath,   Anderson. I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.
(He turns back to Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: You need to bring Rachel in. You need to question her. I   need to question her.
LESTRADE: She’s dead.
SHERLOCK: Excellent!
(John looks startled at this.)
SHERLOCK (to Lestrade): How, when and why? Is there a connection?   There has to be.
LESTRADE: Well, I doubt it, since she’s been dead for fourteen years.   Technically she was never alive. Rachel was Jennifer Wilson’s stillborn   daughter, fourteen years ago.
(John grimaces sadly and turns away. Sherlock, on the other hand, just   looks confused.)
SHERLOCK: No, that’s … that’s not right. How … Why would she do that? Why?
ANDERSON: Why would she think of her daughter in her last moments?(!) Yup –   sociopath; I’m seeing it now.
SHERLOCK (turning to him with an exasperated look on his face): She   didn’t think about her daughter. She scratched her name on the floor   with her fingernails. She was dying. It took effort. It would have hurt.
(He begins to pace back and forth across the room again.)
JOHN: You said that the victims all took the poison themselves, that he makes   them take it. Well, maybe he … I don’t know, talks to them? Maybe he used   the death of her daughter somehow.
SHERLOCK (stopping and turning to him): Yeah, but that was ages   ago. Why would she still be upset?
(John stares at him. Sherlock hesitates as he realises that everyone in   the flat has stopped what they’re doing and has fallen silent. He glances   around the room and then looks awkwardly at John.)
SHERLOCK: Not good?
JOHN (also glancing around at the others before turning back to Sherlock):   Bit not good, yeah.
(Sherlock shakes it off and steps closer to John, looking at him   intently.)
SHERLOCK: Yeah, but if you were dying … if you’d been murdered: in your   very last few seconds what would you say?
JOHN: “Please, God, let me live.”
SHERLOCK (exasperated): Oh, use your imagination!
JOHN: I don’t have to.
(Sherlock seems to recognise the look of pain in John’s face. He pauses   momentarily and blinks a couple of times, shifting his feet apologetically   before continuing.)
SHERLOCK: Yeah, but if you were clever, really clever … Jennifer   Wilson running all those lovers: she was clever.
(He starts to pace again.)
SHERLOCK: She’s trying to tell us something.
(Mrs Hudson comes to the door of the living room.)
MRS HUDSON: Isn’t the doorbell working? Your taxi’s here, Sherlock.
SHERLOCK: I didn’t order a taxi. Go away.
(He continues pacing as Mrs Hudson looks around the room.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh, dear. They’re making such a mess. What are they looking for?
JOHN: It’s a drugs bust, Mrs Hudson.
MRS HUDSON (anxiously): But they’re just for my hip. They’re herbal   soothers.
(With his back to the door, Sherlock stops and shouts out.)
SHERLOCK: Shut up, everybody, shut up! Don’t move, don’t speak, don’t   breathe. I’m trying to think. Anderson, face the other way. You’re putting me   off.
ANDERSON: What? My face is?!
LESTRADE: Everybody quiet and still. Anderson, turn your back.
ANDERSON: Oh, for God’s sake!
LESTRADE: Your back, now, please!
SHERLOCK (to himself): Come on, think. Quick!
MRS HUDSON: What about your taxi?
SHERLOCK (turning to her and shouting furiously): MRS HUDSON!
(She turns and hurries away down the stairs. Sherlock stops and looks   around as he finally realises something.)
SHERLOCK: Oh.
(He smiles in delight.)
SHERLOCK: Ah! She was clever, clever, yes!
(He walks across the room and then turns back to the others.)
SHERLOCK: She’s cleverer than you lot and she’s dead. Do you see, do you get   it? She didn’t lose her phone, she never lost it. She planted   it on him.
(He starts pacing again.)
SHERLOCK: When she got out of the car, she knew that she was going to her   death. She left the phone in order to lead us to her killer.
LESTRADE: But how?
SHERLOCK (stopping and staring at him): Wha…? What do you mean, how?
(Lestrade shrugs.)
SHERLOCK: Rachel!
(He looks at everyone triumphantly. They all look back at him blankly.)
SHERLOCK: Don’t you see? Rachel!
(Still everyone looks blank. Sherlock laughs in disbelief.)

SHERLOCK: Oh, look at you lot. You’re all so vacant. Is it nice not being me?   It must be so relaxing. (More sternly) Rachel is not a name.
JOHN (equally sternly): Then what is it?
SHERLOCK: John, on the luggage, there’s a label. E-mail address.
(John looks at the label on the suitcase and reads out the address.)
JOHN: Er, jennie dot pink at mephone dot org dot uk.
(Sherlock has sat down at the dining table and is looking at his computer   notebook.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, I’ve been too slow. She didn’t have a laptop, which means she   did her business on her phone, so it’s a smartphone, it’s e-mail enabled.
(He has pulled up Mephone’s website and types the email address into the   ‘User name’ box.)
SHERLOCK: So there was a website for her account. The username is her e-mail   address …
(He begins to type into the ‘Password’ box.)
SHERLOCK: … and all together now, the password is?
JOHN (walking over to stand behind him): Rachel.
ANDERSON: So we can read her e-mails. So what?
SHERLOCK: Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You lower the I.Q. of the whole   street. We can do much more than just read her e-mails. It’s a smartphone,   it’s got GPS, which means if you lose it you can locate it online. She’s   leading us directly to the man who killed her.
LESTRADE: Unless he got rid of it.
JOHN: We know he didn’t.
(Sherlock looks at the screen impatiently.)
SHERLOCK: Come on, come on. Quickly!
Things had indeed   been very slow with us, and I had learned to dread such periods of inaction,   for I knew by experience that my companion’s brain was so abnormally active   that it was dangerous to leave it without material upon which to work. For   years I had gradually weaned him from that drug mania which had threatened   once to check his remarkable career. Now I knew that under ordinary   conditions he no longer craved for this artificial stimulus, but I was well   aware that the fiend was not dead, but sleeping; and I have known that the   sleep was a light one and the waking near when in periods of idleness I have   seen the drawn look upon Holmes’s ascetic face, and the brooding of his   deep-set and inscrutable eyes.(The Missing Three-Quarter)

 

Nothing could exceed   his energy when the working fit was upon him; but now and again a reaction   would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the   sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to   night. On these occasions I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression in   his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of   some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanliness of his whole life   forbidden such a notion. (ASIS, The Science of Deduction)

 

(Mrs Hudson trots   up the stairs and comes to the door again.)
MRS HUDSON: Sherlock, dear. This taxi driver …
(Sherlock gets to his feet and walks over towards her.)
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson, isn’t it time for your evening soother?
(John sits down on the chair which Sherlock vacated and watches a clock   spinning round on the website as it claims that the phone will be located in   under three minutes. Sherlock turns to Lestrade.)
SHERLOCK: We need to get vehicles, get a helicopter.
(Mrs Hudson looks around anxiously as a man walks slowly up the stairs   behind her.)
SHERLOCK (to Lestrade): We’re gonna have to move fast. This phone   battery won’t last for ever.
LESTRADE: We’ll just have a map reference, not a name.
SHERLOCK: It’s a start!
(On the computer, a map has appeared and is now zooming in on the location   of the phone.)
JOHN: Sherlock …
SHERLOCK (to Lestrade): It narrows it down from just anyone in London.   It’s the first proper lead that we’ve had.
JOHN: Sherlock …
SHERLOCK (hurrying across the room to look over John’s shoulder): What   is it? Quickly, where?
(The map is now indicating the precise location of the phone.)
JOHN: It’s here. It’s in two two one Baker Street.
SHERLOCK (straightening up): How can it be here? How?
LESTRADE: Well, maybe it was in the case when you brought it back and it fell   out somewhere.
SHERLOCK: What, and I didn’t notice it? Me? I didn’t notice?
JOHN (to Lestrade): Anyway, we texted him and he called back.
(Lestrade turns to call out to his colleagues.)
LESTRADE: Guys, we’re also looking for a mobile somewhere here, belonged to   the victim …
(Sherlock tunes him out as he begins to remember questions he asked to   John earlier.)
SHERLOCK (voiceover): ‘Who do we trust, even if we don’t know them?’
(Behind Mrs Hudson, the man has reached the top of the stairs. He is   wearing a badge in a leather holder on a cord around his neck. The badge is   for a licenced London cab driver.)
SHERLOCK (voiceover): ‘Who passes unnoticed wherever they go?’
(In a cutaway, a black taxi drives down a rainy street with its sign lit   indicating that it’s for hire.)
(In flashback, at the railway station Sir Jeffrey Patterson walks to the cab   rank and raises his hand to a taxi.)

SHERLOCK (voiceover): ‘Who hunts in the middle of a crowd?’
(Sherlock stands lost in thought in the flat.)
(In flashback, James Phillimore walks across the road, huddled against the   pouring rain as a vacant taxi drives along the road behind him.)
(In flashback, Beth Davenport looks around despairingly as she realises that   she doesn’t have her car keys. Nearby, a vacant cab pulls up.)
(In the flat, Sherlock turns, his mind racing as he puts all the clues   together.)
(In flashback, Jennifer Wilson arrives at a London terminus and gets into the   back of a taxi.)
(Sherlock turns his head, still putting it all together. On the landing, the   taxi driver takes a pink smartphone from his pocket and presses the screen to   send a text. A moment later, Sherlock’s own phone trills a text alert. Taking   his phone from his jacket pocket he looks at the message which simply reads:   COME WITH ME. As he turns his head towards the door, the taxi driver turns   around and calmly heads off down the stairs.)

JOHN: Sherlock, you okay?
SHERLOCK (vaguely, watching the man go): What? Yeah, yeah, I-I’m fine.
JOHN: So, how can the phone be here?
SHERLOCK (still watching the taxi driver): Dunno.
JOHN (getting up to get his own phone out of his jeans pocket): I’ll   try it again.
SHERLOCK: Good idea.
(He heads towards the door.)
JOHN: Where are you going?
SHERLOCK: Fresh air. Just popping outside for a moment. Won’t be long.
(John frowns as Sherlock leaves the room, and calls after him.)
JOHN: You sure you’re all right?
SHERLOCK (hurrying down the stairs): I’m fine.
Gregson and Lestrade   seemed to be far from satisfied by this assurance, or by the depreciating   allusion to the detective police. The former had flushed up to the roots of   his flaxen hair, while the other’s beady eyes glistened with curiosity and   resentment. Neither of them had time to speak, however, before there was a   tap at the door, and the spokesman of the street Arabs, young Wiggins,   introduced his insignificant and unsavoury person.

“Please, sir,” he   said, touching his forelock, “I have the cab downstairs.”

“Good boy,” said   Holmes, blandly. “Why don’t you introduce this pattern at Scotland Yard?” he   continued, taking a pair of steel handcuffs from a drawer. “See how   beautifully the spring works. They fasten in an instant.”

“The old pattern is   good enough,” remarked Lestrade, “if we can only find the man to put them   on.”

“Very good, very   good,” said Holmes, smiling. “The cabman may as well help me with my boxes.   Just ask him to step up, Wiggins.”

I was surprised to   find my companion speaking as though he were about to set out on a journey,   since he had not said anything to me about it. There was a small portmanteau   in the room, and this he pulled out and began to strap. He was busily engaged   at it when the cabman entered the room.

“Just give me a help   with this buckle, cabman,” he said, kneeling over his task, and never turning   his head.

The fellow came   forward with a somewhat sullen, defiant air, and put down his hands to   assist. At that instant there was a sharp click, the jangling of metal, and   Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet again.

“Gentlemen,” he   cried, with flashing eyes, “let me introduce you to Mr. Jefferson Hope, the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph   Stangerson.” (ASIS, Light in the Darkness)

I picked this quote   about Sherlock drug habits instead of one of the others, because this is one   of the rare moments in the stories that it’s portrayed as some kind of   problem. In the early works, though Watson disapproves of it, the habit is   treated more like an unhealthy vice, along the same line of smoking a pipe. To   understand this attitude consider how the view on smoking has changed in the   last 50 years. Nowadays it’s seen as a much more serious problem because we   are more aware of the dangers. The same shift in perspective happened back   then concerning cocaine (which wasn’t an illegal substance). Holmes is   portrayed as a character, who is in control of himself, and I think this also   includes his drug habit. It’s not something he fell victim to, it’s something   he did to control his mind and doesn’t do anymore later on. He also does not   look or behave like a typical drug addict, quite the opposite in fact (though   this might be also because ACD didn’t introduce the drug habit before The   Sign of the Four, the only story in which it plays an important role of   sorts).
Downstairs,   Sherlock opens the front door and stands on the doorstep for a moment as he   shrugs himself into his coat. A taxi is parked at the kerb and the driver,   Jeff Hope, is leaning casually against the side of the cab.
JEFF: Taxi for Sherlock ’olmes.
(Sherlock steps forward, closing the door behind him.)
SHERLOCK: I didn’t order a taxi.
JEFF: Doesn’t mean you don’t need one.
SHERLOCK: You’re the cabbie. The one who stopped outside Northumberland   Street.
(In flashback, the American man sits in the back of the cab outside the   restaurant and turns his head to the front. In the driver’s seat, Jeff looks   over his shoulder and through the rear window of the cab before turning   around again and starting to drive away.)
 
SHERLOCK: It was you,   not your passenger.
JEFF: See? No-one ever thinks about the cabbie. It’s like you’re invisible.   Just the back of an ’ead. Proper advantage for a serial killer.
(Sherlock takes a few more steps forward and looks up towards the windows   of his flat.)
SHERLOCK: Is this a confession?
JEFF: Oh, yeah. An’ I’ll tell you what else: if you call the coppers now, I   won’t run. I’ll sit quiet and they can take me down, I promise.
SHERLOCK: Why?
JEFF: ’Cause you’re not gonna do that.
SHERLOCK: Am I not?
JEFF: I didn’t kill those four people, Mr. ’olmes. I spoke to ’em … and   they killed themselves. An’ if you get the coppers now, I promise you one   thing.
(He leans forward.)
JEFF: I will never tell you what I said.
(Sherlock stares at him. After a moment, Jeff straightens up and starts to   walk around the front of the cab.)
SHERLOCK: No-one else will die, though, and I believe they call that a   result.
(Jeff stops and turns back towards him.)
JEFF: An’ you won’t ever understand how those people died. What kind of   result do you care about?
(He turns again and continues around to the driver’s door. Getting in, he   sits down and closes the door, settling into his seat and ignoring Sherlock.   Biting his lip, Sherlock walks closer to the cab, looking up again at the   flat windows, then he bends and looks into the open side window of the cab.)
SHERLOCK: If I wanted to understand, what would I do?
JEFF (turning to look at him): Let me take you for a ride.
SHERLOCK: So you can kill me too?
JEFF: I don’t wanna kill you, Mr. ’olmes. I’m gonna talk to yer … and then   you’re gonna kill yourself.
(He turns to face the front again. Sherlock straightens up, his eyes lost   in thought as he considers the situation. Jeff calmly sits gazing out of the   front window, then smiles in satisfaction as the rear door opens. The cab   dips as Sherlock gets in and then the door slams shut. Jeff starts the   engine.)
(Upstairs, John has his phone held to his ear as he looks out of the window.   The cab can be heard as it pulls away.)

JOHN: He just got in a cab.
(He turns to Lestrade.)
JOHN: It’s Sherlock. He just drove off in a cab.
(Donovan, standing beside Lestrade, tuts in irritation.)
DONOVAN: I told you, he does that.
(She turns to Lestrade.)
DONOVAN: He bloody left again.
(She walks back into the kitchen, talking loudly.)
DONOVAN: We’re wasting our time!
JOHN (to Lestrade): I’m calling the phone. It’s ringing out.
(In the cab, a phone is ringing. Sherlock watches Jeff as the pink phone –   which Jeff has put in the well beside his seat – continues to ring. Back in   the flat, Lestrade watches John as he continues to hold his phone to his   ear.)
LESTRADE: If it’s ringing, it’s not here.
(John lowers his phone and reaches for the computer notebook.)
JOHN: I’ll try the search again.
(Donovan comes back to confront Lestrade.)
DONOVAN: Does it matter? Does any of it? You know, he’s just a   lunatic, and he’ll always let you down, and you’re wasting your time. All   our time.
(Lestrade stares at her for a long moment as she holds his gaze, then he   sighs.) LESTRADE (loudly): Okay, everybody. Done ’ere.
(In the cab, Sherlock is watching the London scenery pass by.)
“They were very near   doing it for all that. Go where they would about London, I was always at   their heels. Sometimes I followed them on my cab, and sometimes on foot, but   the former was the best, for then they could not get away from me. It was   only early in the morning or late at night that I could earn anything, so   that I began to get behind hand with my employer. I did not mind that,   however, as long as I could lay my hand upon the men I wanted.” (ASIS, A   Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson, M.D.)
SHERLOCK: How did   you find me?
JEFF: Oh, I recognised yer, soon as I saw you chasing my cab. Sherlock   ’olmes! I was warned about you. I’ve been on your website, too. Brilliant   stuff! Loved it!
SHERLOCK: Who warned you about me?
JEFF: Just someone out there who’s noticed you.
SHERLOCK: Who?
(He leans forward, looking closely at the side of Jeff’s neck, then   noticing a photograph of a young boy and girl attached to the dashboard of   the cab.)
SHERLOCK: Who would notice me?
JEFF (meeting his eyes briefly in the rear view mirror): You’re too   modest, Mr. ’olmes.
SHERLOCK: I’m really not.
JEFF: You’ve got yourself a fan.
SHERLOCK (nonchalantly, sitting back in his seat): Tell me more.
JEFF: That’s all you’re gonna know …
(He pauses dramatically for a moment.)
JEFF (quietly): … in this lifetime.
(Back at the flat, as the other police officers leave, Lestrade picks up   his coat and turns to John.)
LESTRADE: Why did he do that? Why did he have to leave?
JOHN (shrugging): You know him better than I do.
LESTRADE: I’ve known him for five years and no, I don’t.
JOHN: So why do you put up with him?
LESTRADE: Because I’m desperate, that’s why.
(He walks to the door, then turns back.)
LESTRADE: And because Sherlock Holmes is a great man. And I think one day, if   we’re very, very lucky, he might even be a good one.
(He turns and leaves. Some distance away, the cab drives on and finally   stops at the front of two identical buildings side by side. Jeff turns off   the engine and gets out, coming to the passenger door and opening it. He   looks in at Sherlock.)
SHERLOCK: Where are we?
JEFF: You know every street in London. You know exactly where we are.
SHERLOCK: Roland-Kerr Further Education College. Why here?
JEFF: It’s open; cleaners are in. One thing about being a cabbie: you always   know a nice quiet spot for a murder. I’m surprised more of us don’t branch   out.
SHERLOCK: And you just walk your victims in? How?
(Jeff raises a pistol and points it at Sherlock. Sherlock rolls his eyes   and turns his head away.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, dull.
JEFF: Don’t worry. It gets better.
SHERLOCK: You can’t make people take their own lives at gunpoint.
JEFF: I don’t. It’s much better than that.
(He lowers the gun.)
JEFF: Don’t need this with you, ’cause you’ll follow me.
(He confidently walks away. Sherlock sits for a moment, then grimaces in   exasperation at himself as he does just what Jeff predicted and gets out of   the cab to follow the man.)

Back at 221B, John is alone in the flat. He appears to have decided to go   home and walks towards the living room door, then looks down and clenches his   right hand as if realising that he doesn’t have his walking cane. He looks   round and sees the cane lying on top of a box of papers next to the dining   table and goes over to collect it. With its back to him, Sherlock’s notebook   is still on Mephone’s website and the clock is spinning on the screen as the   site searches for Jennifer Wilson’s phone. As John picks up the cane and   heads for the door again, the computer beeps triumphantly and a map appears   on the screen and starts to zoom in on the location of the phone. John turns   back as the computer beeps repeatedly. Going back to the table and propping   his cane against it, he picks up the notebook and looks at the screen, then   he turns and takes the notebook with him as he hurries out of the door and   down the stairs, once again forgetting to take his cane.

I had been warned   against you months ago[…]. And your address had been given me. (A Scandal in   Bohemia, 3)
It’s somewhat   interesting that Lestrade calls Sherlock a great man, because that’s what   Holmes calls Moriarty in The Valley of Fear. I wonder if that’s deliberate or   not, to underline how easily Sherlock could have ended up like Moriarty.
At Roland-Kerr   College, Jeff opens the door of a room and stands aside so that Sherlock can   go in. Sherlock looks at him closely but steps inside the room, then Jeff   releases the door and lets it swing closed as he walks over to some switches   on the wall and turns on the lights. The men are in a large classroom which   has long fixed wooden benches and plastic chairs. Sherlock walks deeper into   the room, looking around.
JEFF: Well, what do you think?
(Sherlock raises his hands and shrugs as if to ask, ‘What do I think about   what?’)
JEFF: It’s up to you. You’re the one who’s gonna die ’ere.
(Sherlock turns back to him.)
SHERLOCK: No, I’m not.
JEFF: That’s what they all say.
(He gestures to one of the benches.)
JEFF: Shall we talk?
(Without waiting for a reply, he pulls out one of the chairs and sits   down. Sherlock takes a chair from the bench in front, flips it around and   sits down opposite. He sighs dramatically.)
SHERLOCK: Bit risky, wasn’t it? Took me away under the eye of about half a   dozen policemen. They’re not that stupid. And Mrs Hudson will remember   you.
JEFF: You call that a risk? Nah.
(He reaches into the left pocket of his cardigan.)
JEFF: This is a risk.
(He takes out a small glass bottle with a screw top on it and puts it onto   the table in front of him. There is a single large capsule inside. Sherlock   looks at it but doesn’t react in any way.)
JEFF: Ooh, I like this bit. ’Cause you don’t get it yet, do yer? But you’re   about to. I just have to do this.
(Reaching into his right pocket, he takes out an identical bottle   containing an identical capsule and puts it onto the table beside the first   bottle.)
JEFF: You weren’t expecting that, were yer?
(He leans forward.)
JEFF: Ooh, you’re going to love this.
SHERLOCK: Love what?
JEFF (sitting back again): Sherlock ’olmes. Look at you! ’Ere in the   flesh. That website of yours: your fan told me about it.
SHERLOCK: My fan?
JEFF: You are brilliant. You are. A proper genius. “The Science of   Deduction.” Now that is proper thinking. Between you and me sitting   ’ere, why can’t people think?
(He looks down angrily.)
JEFF: Don’t it make you mad? Why can’t people just think?
(He looks up again into Sherlock’s eyes. Sherlock looks back at him for a   long moment, narrowing his eyes, then makes a realisation.)
SHERLOCK (his voice dripping with sarcasm): Oh, I see. So   you’re a proper genius too.
JEFF: Don’t look it, do I? Funny little man drivin’ a cab. But you’ll know   better in a minute. Chances are it’ll be the last thing you ever know.
(Sherlock holds his gaze for a second or two, then looks down to the   table.)
SHERLOCK: Okay, two bottles. Explain.
JEFF: There’s a good bottle and a bad bottle. You take the pill from the good   bottle, you live; take the pill from the bad bottle, you die.
SHERLOCK: Both bottles are of course identical.
JEFF: In every way.
SHERLOCK: And you know which is which.
JEFF: Course I know.
SHERLOCK: But I don’t.
JEFF: Wouldn’t be a game if you knew. You’re the one who chooses.
SHERLOCK: Why should I? I’ve got nothing to go on. What’s in it for me?
JEFF: I ’aven’t told you the best bit yet. Whatever bottle you choose, I take   the pill from the other one – and then, together, we take our medicine.
(Sherlock starts to grin. Now he’s interested.)
JEFF: I won’t cheat. It’s your choice. I’ll take whatever pill you don’t.
(Sherlock looks down at the bottles, concentrating properly now.)
JEFF: Didn’t expect that, did you, Mr. ’olmes?
SHERLOCK: This is what you did to the rest of them: you gave them a choice.
JEFF: And now I’m givin’ you one.
(Sherlock looks up at him.)
JEFF: You take your time. Get yourself together.
(He licks his lips in anticipation.)
JEFF: I want your best game.
SHERLOCK: It’s not a game. It’s chance.
JEFF: I’ve played four times. I’m alive. It’s not chance, Mr. ’olmes, it’s   chess. It’s a game of chess, with one move, and one survivor. And this … this   … is the move.
(With his left hand he slides the left-hand bottle across the table   towards Sherlock. He licks his top lip as he pulls his hand back and leaves   the bottle where it is.)
JEFF: Did I just give you the good bottle or the bad bottle? You can choose   either one.

John is in the back of a taxi. He has the computer notebook open on his   lap and is holding his phone to his ear.
JOHN (into phone): No, Detective Inspector Lestrade. I need to   speak to him. It’s important. It’s an emergency!
(The map on the laptop shows the location of Jennifer’s phone again.)
JOHN (to the cab driver): Er, left here, please. Left here.

ROLAND-KERR COLLEGE. Jeff looks down at the bottles briefly then meets   Sherlock’s eyes.
JEFF: You ready yet, Mr. ’olmes? Ready to play?
SHERLOCK: Play what? It’s a fifty-fifty chance.
JEFF: You’re not playin’ the numbers, you’re playin’ me. Did I just   give you the good pill or the bad pill? Is it a bluff? Or a double-bluff? Or   a triple-bluff?
SHERLOCK: Still just chance.
JEFF: Four people in a row? It’s not just chance.
SHERLOCK: Luck.
JEFF: It’s genius. I know ’ow people think.
(Sherlock rolls his eyes.)
JEFF: I know ’ow people think I think. I can see it all, like a map   inside my ’ead.
(Sherlock looks exasperated.)
JEFF: Everyone’s so stupid – even you.
(Sherlock’s gaze sharpens.)
JEFF: Or maybe God just loves me.
(Sherlock straightens up and leans forward, folding his hands in front of   him on the table.)
SHERLOCK: Either way, you’re wasted as a cabbie.

John has arrived at Roland-Kerr College. As the taxi pulls away, John   tucks the notebook into his jacket and looks at the two identical buildings   in front of him. Clearly the map isn’t precise enough to indicate exactly   where the phone is. After a moment, he makes his choice and heads towards the   buildings.

In the classroom, Sherlock lifts his folded hands in front of his mouth and   gazes at Jeff intently.
SHERLOCK: So, you risked your life four times just to kill strangers. Why?
(Jeff nods down to the bottles.)
JEFF: Time to play.
SHERLOCK (unfolding his fingers and adopting the prayer position in front   of his mouth): Oh, I am playing. This is my turn. There’s   shaving foam behind your left ear. Nobody’s pointed it out to you.
(Flashback to Jeff sitting in the driver’s seat of the cab, which is when   Sherlock noticed this.)
SHERLOCK: Traces of where it’s happened before, so obviously you live on your   own; there’s no-one to tell you.
(Jeff tries not to fidget under Sherlock’s gaze.)
SHERLOCK: But there’s a photograph of children. The children’s mother has   been cut out of the picture. If she’d died, she’d still be there.
(Flashback to the photograph attached to the dashboard of the cab. There   is indeed a third person at the left of the photograph but the photo has been   cut along that side to remove her.)
SHERLOCK: The photograph’s old but the frame’s new. You think of your   children but you don’t get to see them.
(Jeff’s gaze slides away from Sherlock and for the first time there’s a   hint of pain in his eyes.)
SHERLOCK: Estranged father. She took the kids, but you still love them and it   still hurts.
(He extends his index fingers.)
SHERLOCK: Ah, but there’s more.
(Jeff lifts his gaze back to Sherlock as he points his index fingers   towards him.)
SHERLOCK: Your clothes: recently laundered but everything you’re wearing’s at   least … three years old? Keeping up appearances but not planning ahead. And   here you are on a kamikaze murder spree. What’s that about?
(Jeff has got control of himself again and his expression says nothing as   he gazes back at Sherlock. The detective’s eyes widen slightly as he makes   his most important deduction.)
SHERLOCK (softly): Ahh. Three years ago – is that when they told you?
JEFF (flatly): Told me what?
(Sherlock’s deduction seems to appear beside Jeff’s head:

DYING

SHERLOCK: That you’re a dead man walking.
JEFF: So are you.
SHERLOCK: You don’t have long, though. Am I right?
(Jeff smiles.)
JEFF: Aneurism.
(He lifts his right hand and taps the side of his head.)
JEFF: Right in ’ere.
(Sherlock smiles in satisfaction.)
JEFF: Any breath could be my last.
SHERLOCK (frowning again): And because you’re dying, you’ve just   murdered four people.
JEFF: I’ve outlived four people. That’s the most fun you can ’ave   on an aneurism.
SHERLOCK (thoughtfully): No. No, there’s something else. You didn’t   just kill four people because you’re bitter. Bitterness is a paralytic. Love   is a much more vicious motivator. Somehow this is about your children.
JEFF (looking away and sighing): Ohh.
(He looks at Sherlock again.)
JEFF: You are good, ain’t you?
SHERLOCK: But how?
JEFF: When I die, they won’t get much, my kids. Not a lot of money in driving   cabs.
SHERLOCK: Or serial killing.
JEFF: You’d be surprised.
SHERLOCK: Surprise me.
(Jeff leans forward.)
JEFF: I ’ave a sponsor.
SHERLOCK: You have a what?
JEFF: For every life I take, money goes to my kids. The more I kill, the   better off they’ll be. You see? It’s nicer than you think.
SHERLOCK (frowning): Who’d sponsor a serial killer?
JEFF (instantly): Who’d be a fan of Sherlock ’olmes?
(They stare at each other for a moment.)
JEFF: You’re not the only one to enjoy a good murder. There’s others out   there just like you, except you’re just a man … and they’re so much more   than that.
(The side of Sherlock’s nose twitches in distaste.)
SHERLOCK: What d’you mean, more than a man? An organisation? What?
JEFF: There’s a name no-one says, an’ I’m not gonna say it either. Now,   enough chatter.
(He nods down to the bottles.)
JEFF: Time to choose.
(Sherlock looks down to the bottles, his eyes moving from one to the   other.)

Elsewhere in the college, John is running through the corridors.
JOHN (calling out): Sherlock?
(He runs from door to door, trying them and peering in through windows.)
JOHN: Sherlock!

CLASSROOM.
SHERLOCK: What if I don’t choose either? I could just walk out of   here.
(Sighing in a combination of exasperation and disappointment, Jeff lifts   up the pistol and points it at Sherlock.)
JEFF: You can take your fifty-fifty chance, or I can shoot you in the head.
(Sherlock smiles calmly.)
JEFF: Funnily enough, no-one’s ever gone for that option.
SHERLOCK: I’ll have the gun, please.
JEFF: Are you sure?
SHERLOCK (still smiling): Definitely. The gun.
JEFF: You don’t wanna phone a friend?
(Sherlock smiles confidently.)
SHERLOCK: The gun.
(Jeff’s mouth tightens, and slowly he squeezes the trigger. A small flame   bursts out of the end of the muzzle. Sherlock smiles smugly.)
SHERLOCK: I know a real gun when I see one.
(Calmly Jeff lifts the pistol/cigarette lighter and releases the trigger.   The flame goes out.)
JEFF: None of the others did.
SHERLOCK: Clearly. Well, this has been very interesting. I look   forward to the court case.
(He stands up and walks towards the door. Jeff puts the gun onto the desk   and calmly turns in his seat.)
JEFF: Just before you go, did you figure it out …
(Sherlock stops at the door and half-turns towards him.)
JEFF: … which one’s the good bottle?
SHERLOCK: Of course. Child’s play.
JEFF: Well, which one, then?
(Sherlock opens the door a little but shows no sign of leaving the room.)
JEFF: Which one would you ’ave picked, just so I know whether I could have   beaten you?
(Sherlock closes the door again.)
JEFF (chuckling): Come on. Play the game.
(Slowly Sherlock walks back towards him. When he gets to the table, he   reaches out and sweeps up the bottle nearest to Jeff, then walks past him.   Jeff looks down at the other bottle with interest but his voice gives nothing   away as he speaks.)
JEFF: Oh. Interesting.
(He picks up the other bottle as Sherlock looks down at the bottle in his   own hand.)

(Out in the corridors, John is still running along and searching.)

(In the classroom, Jeff has opened his bottle and tips the capsule out into   his hand. He holds it up and looks at it closely as Sherlock examines his own   bottle.)
JEFF: So what d’you think?
(He looks up at Sherlock.)
JEFF: Shall we?
(In the corridors, John pulls open yet another door and looks inside the   room before hurrying onwards.)
JEFF: Really, what do you think?
(He has stood up and is facing Sherlock.)
JEFF: Can you beat me?
(John races up a flight of stairs and continues his search.)
JEFF: Are you clever enough to bet your life?

(John bursts through a door and stares ahead of him as he finally sees who   he’s looking for. His eyes fill with horror. Inside the classroom, Sherlock   lifts his gaze from the bottle he’s holding … and the camera zooms over his   shoulder and out of the window behind him, soaring across the courtyard   outside and in through another window to reveal John standing in an identical   classroom in the other building, too far away to be of help. John cries out   in horror.)
JOHN: SHERLOCK!

(Unaware that they’re being watched, Jeff continues to hold up his pill as he   looks at Sherlock.)
JEFF: I bet you get bored, don’t you? I know you do. A man like you   …
(Sherlock undoes the lid of the bottle.)
JEFF: … so clever. But what’s the point of being clever if you can’t prove   it?
(Sherlock takes out the capsule and holds it between his thumb and finger,   raising it to the light to examine it more closely.)
JEFF: Still the addict.
(Slowly Sherlock lowers the pill again, holding it at eye level and gazing   at it.)
JEFF: But this … this is what you’re really addicted to, innit?
(Sherlock holds the pill in his fingers and stares at it.)
JEFF: You’d do anything … anything at all …
(Sherlock’s fingers begin to tremble with excitement and anticipation.)
JEFF: … to stop being bored.
(Slowly Sherlock begins to move the pill closer to his mouth. Jeff matches   the movement with his own pill.)
JEFF: You’re not bored now, are you?
(Each of their hands gets closer to their own mouth.)
JEFF: Innit good?
(A gunshot rings out and a bullet impacts Jeff’s chest close to his heart,   then goes through his body and smashes into the door behind him. As he falls   to the floor, Sherlock drops his pill in surprise. In the opposite building,   John has his pistol still raised and aimed out of the window. He lowers the   gun to his side. In the other building, Sherlock turns, slides over the desk   behind him and hurries to the window, bending down to stare through the   bullet hole in the glass. The window of the opposite room is open (opening   the window makes the shot more likely because this was there is one barrier   which might impact the flight of the bullet less in the way) but there is   nobody in sight. As Sherlock straightens up, Jeff breathes heavily and   coughs. Sherlock turns back, looking around the room and sees one of the   pills lying on the desk as Jeff convulses on the floor and gasps and coughs   in pain. Sherlock snatches up the pill, kneels down and brandishes it at   Jeff, who has a large pool of blood underneath him and is staring up at him   in shock.)
SHERLOCK: Was I right?
(Jeff turns his head away in disbelief.)
SHERLOCK: I was, wasn’t I? Did I get it right?
(Jeff doesn’t reply. Sherlock angrily hurls the pill across the room and   stands up.)
SHERLOCK: Okay, tell me this: your sponsor. Who was it? The one who told you   about me – my ‘fan’. I want a name.
JEFF (weakly): No.
SHERLOCK: You’re dying, but there’s still time to hurt you. Give me a name.
(Jeff shakes his head. Grimacing angrily, Sherlock lifts his foot and puts   it onto Jeff’s shoulder. Jeff gasps in pain.)
SHERLOCK: A name.
(Jeff cries out in pain.)

SHERLOCK: Now.
(Still Jeff can only whine in pain. His face intent and manic, Sherlock leans   his weight onto his foot. Jeff whimpers.)

SHERLOCK (furiously): The NAME!
JEFF (agonised): MORIARTY!
(His eyes close and his head rolls to the side. Sherlock steps back, turning   his head away and looking reflective. After a few seconds, he silently mouths   the word ‘Moriarty’ to himself.)

“And there was   nothing else?” Holmes asked.

“Nothing of any   importance. The man’s novel, with which he had read himself to sleep was lying   upon the bed, and his pipe was on a chair beside him. There was a glass of   water on the table, and on the window-sill a small chip ointment box   containing a couple of pills.”

Sherlock Holmes   sprang from his chair with an exclamation of delight.

“The last link,” he   cried, exultantly. “My case is complete.”

The two detectives   stared at him in amazement.

“I have now in my   hands,” my companion said, confidently, “all the threads which have formed   such a tangle. There are, of course, details to be filled in, but I am as   certain of all the main facts, from the time that Drebber parted from   Stangerson at the station, up to the discovery of the body of the latter, as   if I had seen them with my own eyes. I will give you a proof of my knowledge.   Could you lay your hand upon those pills?”

“I have them,” said   Lestrade, producing a small white box; “I took them and the purse and the   telegram, intending to have them put in a place of safety at the Police   Station. It was the merest chance my taking these pills, for I am bound to   say that I do not attach any importance to them.”

“Give them here,”   said Holmes. “Now, Doctor,” turning to me, “are those ordinary pills?”

They certainly were   not. They were of a pearly grey colour, small, round, and almost transparent   against the light. “From their lightness and transparency, I should imagine   that they are soluble in water,” I remarked.

“Precisely so,”   answered Holmes. “Now would you mind going down and fetching that poor little   devil of a terrier which has been bad so long, and which the landlady wanted   you to put out of its pain yesterday.”

I went downstairs   and carried the dog upstair in my arms. It’s laboured breathing and glazing   eye showed that it was not far from its end. Indeed, its snow-white muzzle   proclaimed that it had already exceeded the usual term of canine existence. I   placed it upon a cushion on the rug.

“I will now cut one   of these pills in two,” said Holmes, and drawing his penknife he suited the   action to the word. “One half we return into the box for future purposes. The   other half I will place in this wine glass, in which is a teaspoonful of   water. You perceive that our friend, the Doctor, is right, and that it   readily dissolves.”

“This may be very   interesting,” said Lestrade, in the injured tone of one who suspects that he   is being laughed at, “I cannot see, however, what it has to do with the death   of Mr. Joseph Stangerson.”

“Patience, my   friend, patience! You will find in time that it has everything to do with it.   I shall now add a little milk to make the mixture palatable, and on   presenting it to the dog we find that he laps it up readily enough.”

As he spoke he   turned the contents of the wine glass into a saucer and placed it in front of   the terrier, who speedily licked it dry. Sherlock Holmes’ earnest demeanour   had so far convinced us that we all sat in silence, watching the animal   intently, and expecting some startling effect. None such appeared, however.   The dog continued to lie stretched upon the cushion, breathing in a laboured   way, but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught.

Holmes had taken out   his watch, and as minute followed minute without result, an expression of the   utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his features. He gnawed his lip,   drummed his fingers upon the table, and showed every other symptom of acute   impatience. So great was his emotion, that I felt sincerely sorry for him,   while the two detectives smiled derisively, by no means displeased at this   check which he had met.

“It can’t be a   coincidence,” he cried, at last springing from his chair and pacing wildly up   and down the room; “it is impossible that it should be a mere coincidence.   The very pills which I suspected in the case of Drebber are actually found   after the death of Stangerson. And yet they are inert. What can it mean?   Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot have been false. It is impossible!   And yet this wretched dog is none the worse. Ah, I have it! I have it!” With   a perfect shriek of delight he rushed to the box, cut the other pill in two,   dissolved it, added milk, and presented it to the terrier. The unfortunate   creature’s tongue seemed hardly to have been moistened in it before it gave a   convulsive shiver in every limb, and lay as rigid and lifeless as if it had   been struck by lightning.

Sherlock Holmes drew   a long breath, and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. “I should have   more faith,” he said; “I ought to know by this time that when a fact appears   to be opposed to a long train of deductions, it invariably proves to be   capable of bearing some other interpretation. Of the two pills in that box   one was of the most deadly poison, and the other was entirely harmless. I   ought to have known that before ever I saw the box at all.”

This last statement   appeared to me to be so startling, that I could hardly believe that he was in   his sober senses. There was the dead dog, however, to prove that his   conjecture had been correct. It seemed to me that the mists in my own mind   were gradually clearing away, and I began to have a dim, vague perception of   the truth. (ASIS, Light in the Darkness)

“I’ve got a good deal to say,” our prisoner   said slowly. “I want to tell you gentlemen all about it.”

“Hadn’t you better   reserve that for your trial?” asked the Inspector.

“I may never be   tried,” he answered. “You needn’t look startled. It isn’t suicide I am   thinking of. Are you a Doctor?” He turned his fierce dark eyes upon me as he   asked this last question.

“Yes; I am,” I   answered.

“Then put your hand   here,” he said, with a smile, motioning with his manacled wrists towards his   chest.

I did so; and became   at once conscious of an extraordinary throbbing and commotion which was going   on inside. The walls of his chest seemed to thrill and quiver as a frail   building would do inside when some powerful engine was at work. In the   silence of the room I could hear a dull humming and buzzing noise which   proceeded from the same source.

“Why,” I cried, “you   have an aortic aneurism!”

“That’s what they   call it,” he said, placidly. “I went to a Doctor last week about it, and he   told me that it is bound to burst before many days passed. It has been   getting worse for years. I got it from over-exposure and under-feeding among   the Salt Lake Mountains. I’ve done my work now, and I don’t care how soon I   go, but I should like to leave some account of the business behind me. I   don’t want to be remembered as a common cut-throat.”

The Inspector and   the two detectives had a hurried discussion as to the advisability of   allowing him to tell his story.

“Do you consider,   Doctor, that there is immediate danger?” the former asked.

“Most certainly   there is,” I answered.

[…]

“They were very cunning, though. They must   have thought that there was some chance of their being followed, for they   would never go out alone, and never after nightfall. During two weeks I drove   behind them every day, and never once saw them separate. Drebber himself was   drunk half the time, but Stangerson was not to be caught napping. I watched   them late and early, but never saw the ghost of a chance; but I was not   discouraged, for something told me that the hour had almost come. My only   fear was that this thing in my chest might burst a little too soon and leave   my work undone.

“At last, one   evening I was driving up and down Torquay Terrace, as the street was called   in which they boarded, when I saw a cab drive up to their door. Presently   some luggage was brought out, and after a time Drebber and Stangerson   followed it, and drove off. I whipped up my horse and kept within sight of   them, feeling very ill at ease, for I feared that they were going to shift   their quarters. At Euston Station they got out, and I left a boy to hold my   horse, and followed them on to the platform. I heard them ask for the   Liverpool train, and the guard answer that one had just gone and there would   not be another for some hours. Stangerson seemed to be put out at that, but   Drebber was rather pleased than otherwise. I got so close to them in the   bustle that I could hear every word that passed between them. Drebber said that   he had a little business of his own to do, and that if the other would wait   for him he would soon rejoin him. His companion remonstrated with him, and   reminded him that they had resolved to stick together. Drebber answered that   the matter was a delicate one, and that he must go alone. I could not catch   what Stangerson said to that, but the other burst out swearing, and reminded   him that he was nothing more than his paid servant, and that he must not   presume to dictate to him. On that the Secretary gave it up as a bad job, and   simply bargained with him that if he missed the last train he should rejoin   him at Halliday’s Private Hotel; to which Drebber answered that he would be   back on the platform before eleven, and made his way out of the station.

“The moment for   which I had waited so long had at last come. I had my enemies within my   power. Together they could protect each other, but singly they were at my   mercy. I did not act, however, with undue precipitation. My plans were   already formed. There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has   time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon   him. I had my plans arranged by which I should have the opportunity of making   the man who had wronged me understand that his old sin had found him out. It   chanced that some days before a gentleman who had been engaged in looking   over some houses in the Brixton Road had dropped the key of one of them in my   carriage. It was claimed that same evening, and returned; but in the interval   I had taken a moulding of it, and had a duplicate constructed. By means of   this I had access to at least one spot in this great city where I could rely   upon being free from interruption. How to get Drebber to that house was the   difficult problem which I had now to solve.

“He walked down the   road and went into one or two liquor shops, staying for nearly half-an-hour   in the last of them. When he came out he staggered in his walk, and was   evidently pretty well on. There was a hansom just in front of me, and he hailed   it. I followed it so close that the nose of my horse was within a yard of his   driver the whole way. We rattled across Waterloo Bridge and through miles of   streets, until, to my astonishment, we found ourselves back in the Terrace in   which he had boarded. I could not imagine what his intention was in returning   there; but I went on and pulled up my cab a hundred yards or so from the   house. He entered it, and his hansom drove away. Give me a glass of water, if   you please. My mouth gets dry with the talking.”

I handed him the   glass, and he drank it down.

“That’s better,” he   said. “Well, I waited for a quarter of an hour, or more, when suddenly there   came a noise like people struggling inside the house. Next moment the door   was flung open and two men appeared, one of whom was Drebber, and the other   was a young chap whom I had never seen before. This fellow had Drebber by the   collar, and when they came to the head of the steps he gave him a shove and a   kick which sent him half across the road. ‘You hound,’ he cried, shaking his   stick at him; ‘I’ll teach you to insult an honest girl!’ He was so hot that I   think he would have thrashed Drebber with his cudgel, only that the cur   staggered away down the road as fast as his legs would carry him. He ran as   far as the corner, and then, seeing my cab, he hailed me and jumped in.   ‘Drive me to Halliday’s Private Hotel,’ said he.

“When I had him   fairly inside my cab, my heart jumped so with joy that I feared lest at this   last moment my aneurism might go wrong. I drove along slowly, weighing in my   own mind what it was best to do. I might take him right out into the country,   and there in some deserted lane have my last interview with him. I had almost   decided upon this, when he solved the problem for me. The craze for drink had   seized him again, and he ordered me to pull up outside a gin palace. He went   in, leaving word that I should wait for him. There he remained until closing   time, and when he came out he was so far gone that I knew the game was in my   own hands.

“Don’t imagine that   I intended to kill him in cold blood. It would only have been rigid justice   if I had done so, but I could not bring myself to do it. I had long   determined that he should have a show for his life if he chose to take   advantage of it. Among the many billets which I have filled in America during   my wandering life, I was once janitor and sweeper out of the laboratory at   York College. One day the professor was lecturing on poisons, and he showed   his students some alkaloid, as he called it, which he had extracted from some   South American arrow poison, and which was so powerful that the least grain   meant instant death. I spotted the bottle in which this preparation was kept,   and when they were all gone, I helped myself to a little of it. I was a   fairly good dispenser, so I worked this alkaloid into small, soluble pills,   and each pill I put in a box with a similar pill made without the poison. I   determined at the time that when I had my chance, my gentlemen should each   have a draw out of one of these boxes, while I ate the pill that remained. It   would be quite as deadly, and a good deal less noisy than firing across a   handkerchief. From that day I had always my pill boxes about with me, and the   time had now come when I was to use them.

“It was nearer one   than twelve, and a wild, bleak night, blowing hard and raining in torrents.   Dismal as it was outside, I was glad within—so glad that I could have shouted   out from pure exultation. If any of you gentlemen have ever pined for a   thing, and longed for it during twenty long years, and then suddenly found it   within your reach, you would understand my feelings. I lit a cigar, and   puffed at it to steady my nerves, but my hands were trembling, and my temples   throbbing with excitement. As I drove, I could see old John Ferrier and sweet   Lucy looking at me out of the darkness and smiling at me, just as plain as I   see you all in this room. All the way they were ahead of me, one on each side   of the horse until I pulled up at the house in the Brixton Road.

“There was not a   soul to be seen, nor a sound to be heard, except the dripping of the rain.   When I looked in at the window, I found Drebber all huddled together in a   drunken sleep. I shook him by the arm, ‘It’s time to get out,’ I said.

“‘All right, cabby,’   said he.

“I suppose he   thought we had come to the hotel that he had mentioned, for he got out   without another word, and followed me down the garden. I had to walk beside   him to keep him steady, for he was still a little top-heavy. When we came to   the door, I opened it, and led him into the front room. I give you my word   that all the way, the father and the daughter were walking in front of us.

“‘It’s infernally   dark,’ said he, stamping about.

“‘We’ll soon have a   light,’ I said, striking a match and putting it to a wax candle which I had   brought with me. ‘Now, Enoch Drebber,’ I continued, turning to him, and   holding the light to my own face, ‘who am I?’

“He gazed at me with   bleared, drunken eyes for a moment, and then I saw a horror spring up in   them, and convulse his whole features, which showed me that he knew me. He   staggered back with a livid face, and I saw the perspiration break out upon   his brow, while his teeth chattered in his head. At the sight, I leaned my   back against the door and laughed loud and long. I had always known that   vengeance would be sweet, but I had never hoped for the contentment of soul   which now possessed me.

“‘You dog!’ I said;   ‘I have hunted you from Salt Lake City to St. Petersburg, and you have always   escaped me. Now, at last your wanderings have come to an end, for either you   or I shall never see to-morrow’s sun rise.’ He shrunk still further away as I   spoke, and I could see on his face that he thought I was mad. So I was for   the time. The pulses in my temples beat like sledge-hammers, and I believe I   would have had a fit of some sort if the blood had not gushed from my nose   and relieved me.

“‘What do you think   of Lucy Ferrier now?’ I cried, locking the door, and shaking the key in his   face. ‘Punishment has been slow in coming, but it has overtaken you at last.’   I saw his coward lips tremble as I spoke. He would have begged for his life,   but he knew well that it was useless.

“‘Would you murder   me?’ he stammered.

“‘There is no   murder,’ I answered. ‘Who talks of murdering a mad dog? What mercy had you   upon my poor darling, when you dragged her from her slaughtered father, and   bore her away to your accursed and shameless harem.’

“‘It was not I who   killed her father,’ he cried.

“‘But it was you who   broke her innocent heart,’ I shrieked, thrusting the box before him. ‘Let the   high God judge between us. Choose and eat. There is death in one and life in   the other. I shall take what you leave. Let us see if there is justice upon   the earth, or if we are ruled by chance.’

“He cowered away with   wild cries and prayers for mercy, but I drew my knife and held it to his   throat until he had obeyed me. Then I swallowed the other, and we stood   facing one another in silence for a minute or more, waiting to see which was   to live and which was to die. Shall I ever forget the look which came over   his face when the first warning pangs told him that the poison was in his   system? I laughed as I saw it, and held Lucy’s marriage ring in front of his   eyes. It was but for a moment, for the action of the alkaloid is rapid. A   spasm of pain contorted his features; he threw his hands out in front of him,   staggered, and then, with a hoarse cry, fell heavily upon the floor. I turned   him over with my foot, and placed my hand upon his heart. There was no   movement. He was dead!  (ASIS, A   Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson, M.D.)

 

We had all been   warned to appear before the magistrates upon the Thursday; but when the   Thursday came there was no occasion for our testimony. A higher Judge had   taken the matter in hand, and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before a   tribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him. On the very night   after his capture the aneurism burst, and he was found in the morning   stretched upon the floor of the cell, with a placid smile upon his face, as   though he had been able in his dying moments to look back upon a useful life,   and on work well done. (ASIS, the Conclusion)

Even though the   motive is different, in both cases love proofs to be a more vicious   motivator. And in both cases Hope worked with other people, whose names are   never revealed in the original story.
I have to cry fool play on one of Sherlock’s deductions again. I wear clothes   which are a couple of years old all the time. They are comfortable, after   all.
LATER. Outside   the college, Sherlock is sitting on the back steps of an ambulance. A   paramedic puts an orange blanket around his shoulders as Lestrade walks over.   Sherlock gestures to the blanket.
SHERLOCK: Why have I got this blanket? They keep putting this blanket on me.
LESTRADE: Yeah, it’s for shock.
SHERLOCK: I’m not in shock.
LESTRADE: Yeah, but some of the guys wanna take photographs.
(He grins. Sherlock rolls his eyes.)
SHERLOCK: So, the shooter. No sign?
LESTRADE: Cleared off before we got ’ere. But a guy like that would have had   enemies, I suppose. One of them could have been following him but … (he   shrugs) … got nothing to go on.
(Sherlock looks at him pointedly.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, I wouldn’t say that.
(Now it’s Lestrade’s turn to roll his eyes.)
LESTRADE: Okay, gimme.
SHERLOCK (standing up): The bullet they just dug out of the wall’s   from a hand gun. Kill shot over that distance from that kind of a weapon –   that’s a crack shot you’re looking for, but not just a marksman; a fighter.   His hands couldn’t have shaken at all, so clearly he’s acclimatised to   violence. He didn’t fire until I was in immediate danger, though, so strong   moral principle. You’re looking for a man probably with a history of military   service …
(As he’s talking, he turns his head to look around the area and sees John   standing some distance away behind the police tape.)
SHERLOCK: … and nerves of steel …
(He trails off. As John looks back at him innocently and then turns his   head away, Sherlock begins to realise the connection. Lestrade turns to   follow Sherlock’s gaze and Sherlock turns back to him before he can start to   ask questions.)
SHERLOCK: Actually, do you know what? Ignore me.
LESTRADE: Sorry?
SHERLOCK: Ignore all of that. It’s just the, er, the shock talking.
(He starts to walk towards John.)
LESTRADE: Where’re you going?
SHERLOCK: I just need to talk about the-the rent.
LESTRADE: But I’ve still got questions for you.
SHERLOCK (turning back to him in irritation): Oh, what now? I’m   in shock! Look, I’ve got a blanket!
(He brandishes the sides of the blanket at Lestrade as if to prove it.)
LESTRADE: Sherlock!
SHERLOCK: And I just caught you a serial killer … more or less.
(Lestrade looks at him thoughtfully for a moment.)
LESTRADE: Okay. We’ll bring you in tomorrow. Off you go.
(Sherlock walks away. Lestrade smiles as he watches him go. Taking the   blanket from around his shoulders, Sherlock bundles it up as he approaches   John, who is standing at the side of a police car. Sherlock tosses the   blanket through the open window of the car and ducks under the police tape.)
JOHN: Um, Sergeant Donovan’s just been explaining everything, the two pills.   Been a dreadful business, hasn’t it? Dreadful.
(Sherlock looks at him for a moment.)
SHERLOCK (quietly): Good shot.
JOHN (trying and utterly failing to look innocent): Yes. Yes, must   have been, through that window.
SHERLOCK: Well, you’d know.
(John gazes up at him, still trying unsuccessfully not to let his   expression give him away.)
SHERLOCK: Need to get the powder burns out of your fingers. I don’t suppose   you’d serve time for this, but let’s avoid the court case.
(John clears his throat and looks around nervously.)
SHERLOCK: Are you all right?
JOHN: Yes, of course I’m all right.
SHERLOCK: Well, you have just killed a man.
JOHN: Yes, I …
(He trails off. Sherlock looks at him closely.)
JOHN: That’s true, innit?
(He smiles. Sherlock continues to watch him carefully.)
JOHN: But he wasn’t a very nice man.
(Apparently reassured that John really is okay, Sherlock nods in   agreement.)
SHERLOCK: No. No, he wasn’t really, was he?
JOHN: And frankly a bloody awful cabbie.
(Sherlock chuckles, then turns and starts to lead them away as he speaks.)
SHERLOCK: That’s true. He was a bad cabbie. Should have seen the route   he took us to get here!
(John giggles, and Sherlock smiles.)
JOHN: Stop! Stop, we can’t giggle, it’s a crime scene! Stop it!
SHERLOCK: You’re the one who shot him. Don’t blame me.
JOHN: Keep your voice down!
(They’re walking past Sergeant Donovan.)
JOHN (to Donovan): Sorry – it’s just, um, nerves, I think.
SHERLOCK (to Donovan): Sorry.
(John clears his throat as they walk away from Donovan.)
JOHN: You were gonna take that damned pill, weren’t you?
(Sherlock turns back to him.)
SHERLOCK: Course I wasn’t. Biding my time. Knew you’d turn up.
JOHN: No you didn’t. It’s how you get your kicks, isn’t it? You risk your   life to prove you’re clever.
SHERLOCK: Why would I do that?
JOHN: Because you’re an idiot.
(Sherlock smiles, apparently delighted that he has finally found someone   who understands him. After a moment he forces the smile down.)
SHERLOCK: Dinner?
JOHN: Starving.
(They turn and start to walk again.)
SHERLOCK: End of Baker Street, there’s a good Chinese stays open ’til two.   You can always tell a good Chinese by examining the bottom third of the door   handle.
(As he has been speaking, a few yards ahead of them a car has pulled up   and the man who abducted John earlier gets out. John stares.)
JOHN: Sherlock. That’s him. That’s the man I was talking to you about.
(Sherlock looks across at the man.)
SHERLOCK: I know exactly who that is.
 
(He walks closer   to the man and stops, looking at him angrily. John glances round to gauge   where the police are in case he needs to summon their help. The man speaks   pleasantly to Sherlock.)
M: So, another case cracked. How very public spirited … though that’s never   really your motivation, is it?
SHERLOCK: What are you doing here?
M: As ever, I’m concerned about you.
SHERLOCK: Yes, I’ve been hearing about your ‘concern’.
M: Always so aggressive. Did it never occur to you that you and I belong on   the same side?
SHERLOCK: Oddly enough, no!
M: We have more in common than you like to believe. This petty feud between   us is simply childish. People will suffer … and you know how it always   upset Mummy.
(John frowns as if unsure of what he just heard.)
SHERLOCK: I upset her? Me?
(The man glowers at him.)
SHERLOCK: It wasn’t me that upset her, Mycroft.
JOHN: No, no, wait. Mummy? Who’s Mummy?
SHERLOCK: Mother – our mother. This is my brother, Mycroft.
(John stares at the man in amazement.)
SHERLOCK (to Mycroft): Putting on weight again?
M/MYCROFT: Losing it, in fact.
JOHN (to Sherlock): He’s your brother?!
SHERLOCK: Of course he’s my brother.
JOHN: So he’s not …
SHERLOCK: Not what?
(The brothers look at John as he shrugs in embarrassment.)
JOHN: I dunno – criminal mastermind?
(He grimaces at having even suggested it. Sherlock looks at Mycroft   disparagingly.)
SHERLOCK: Close enough.
MYCROFT: For goodness’ sake. I occupy   a minor position in the British government.
SHERLOCK: He is the British   government, when he’s not too busy being the British Secret Service or   the CIA on a freelance basis.
(Mycroft sighs.)
SHERLOCK: Good evening, Mycroft. Try not to start a war before I get home.   You know what it does for the traffic.
(He walks away. John starts to follow him but then turns back to Mycroft,   who has turned to watch his brother.)
JOHN: So, when-when you say you’re concerned about him, you actually are   concerned?
MYCROFT: Yes, of course.
JOHN: I mean, it actually is a childish feud?
MYCROFT (still watching his brother): He’s always been so resentful.   You can imagine the Christmas dinners.
JOHN: Yeah … no. God, no!
(He half-turns to follow Sherlock.)
JOHN: I-I’d better, um …
(He turns back to not-Anthea, who has been standing nearby throughout the   conversation with her eyes fixed on her BlackBerry.)
JOHN: Hello again.
(She looks up and smiles at him brightly.)
NOT-ANTHEA: Hello.
JOHN: Yes, we-we met earlier on this evening.
(She stares at him as if she has never seen him before but reacts as if   she is trying to pretend that she remembers him.)
NOT-ANTHEA: Oh!
JOHN: Okay, good night.
(He includes Mycroft in his glance, then turns and follows after   Sherlock.)
MYCROFT: Good night, Doctor Watson.
(John catches up to Sherlock and they walk away side by side.)
JOHN: So: dim sum.
SHERLOCK: Mmm! I can always predict the fortune cookies.
JOHN: No you can’t.
SHERLOCK: Almost can. You did get shot, though.
JOHN: Sorry?
SHERLOCK: In Afghanistan. There was an actual wound.
JOHN: Oh, yeah. Shoulder.
SHERLOCK: Shoulder! I thought so.
JOHN: No you didn’t.
SHERLOCK: The left one.
“It saved me from   ennui,” he answered, yawning. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. My   life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence.   These little problems help me to do so.”

“And you are a   benefactor of the race,” said I.

He shrugged his   shoulders. “Well, perhaps, after all, it is of some little use,” he remarked.   “‘L’homme c’est rien—l’oeuvre c’est tout,’ as Gustave Flaubert wrote   to George Sand.” (The Red-Headed League)

 

 

 

 

Mycroft Holmes was a   much larger and stouter man than Sherlock. His body was absolutely corpulent,   but his face, though massive, had preserved something of the sharpness of   expression which was so remarkable in that of his brother. His eyes, which   were of a peculiarly light, watery gray, seemed to always retain that   far-away, introspective look which I had only observed in Sherlock’s when he   was exerting his full powers. (The Greek Interpreter)

“It recalls nothing   to my mind. But that Mycroft should break out in this erratic fashion! A   planet might as well leave its orbit. By the way, do you know what Mycroft   is?”

I had some vague   recollection of an explanation at the time of the Adventure of the Greek   Interpreter.

“You told me that he had some small office   under the British government.”

Holmes chuckled.

“I did not know you   quite so well in those days. […]You are right in thinking that he under the   British government. You would also be right in a sense if you said that   occasionally he is the British   government.”

“My dear Holmes!”

“I thought I might   surprise you. Mycroft draws four hundred and fifty pounds a year, remains a   subordinate, has no ambitions of any kind, will receive neither honour nor   title, but remains the most indispensable man in the country.”

“But how?”

“Well, his position   is unique. He has made it for himself. There has never been anything like it   before, nor will be again. He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with   the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. The same great   powers which I have turned to the detection of crime he has used for this   particular business. The conclusions of every department are passed to him,   and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the   balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience. We   will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves   the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question; he could get his   separate advices from various departments upon each, but only Mycroft can   focus them all, and say offhand how each factor would affect the other. They   began by using him as a short-cut, a convenience; now he has made himself an   essential. In that great brain of his everything is pigeon-holed and can be   handed out in an instant. Again and again his word has decided the national   policy. He lives in it. He thinks of nothing else save when, as an   intellectual exercise, he unbends if I call upon him and ask him to advise me   on one of my little problems. But Jupiter is descending to-day. (The   Bruce-Partington Plans)

 

 

JOHN: Lucky guess.
SHERLOCK: I never guess.
JOHN (laughing): Yes you do.
(He looks across to Sherlock, who is smiling.)
JOHN: What are you so happy about?
SHERLOCK: Moriarty.
JOHN: What’s Moriarty?
SHERLOCK (cheerfully): I’ve absolutely no idea.
(Back at the car, not-Anthea turns to Mycroft who is watching the boys as   they walk away.)
NOT-ANTHEA: Sir, shall we go?
MYCROFT: Interesting, that soldier fellow.
(Not-Anthea looks briefly at the departing boys, then turns her attention   back to her BlackBerry.)
MYCROFT: He could be the making of my brother – or make him worse than ever.   Either way, we’d better upgrade their surveillance status. Grade Three   Active.
(Not-Anthea looks up from her phone.)
NOT-ANTHEA: Sorry, sir. Whose status?
MYCROFT: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.
Hero!shot as our boys walk in slow motion towards the camera before   turning and smiling at each other
“But it was not mere   guess-work?”

“No, no: I never guess. It is a shocking   habit,—destructive to the logical faculty. (The Sign of the Four, The Science   of Deduction)

 

And this concludes   what I consider the best adaptation of “A Study in Scarlet”. Most adaptations   cheat and skip the first meeting, simply presenting the relationship between   Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as a forgone conclusion, without bothering to   build it up (the notable exception is the Russian version, which really takes   its time with it. Here we not only get a built up but also an explanation why   John would want to stick around Sherlock, one which fits into what we know   about him from canon.
Of the case itself, the writers chucked out everything, which didn’t fit into   modern time (mainly the whole Mormon backstory) and kept the best elements:   The murderer being a cabbie and the use of two pills, both brilliant ideas,   which ACD sadly treated more like afterthoughts.