In the wake of Guy Ritchie's re-imagining, the BBC puts its own stamp on Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth--and sets him in a London filled with cell phones and laptops. In the pilot, director Paul McGuigan (a keen visual stylist) introduces Sherlock Holmes (Atonement
's Benedict Cumberbatch) as a "high-functioning sociopath" and Dr. John Watson (The Office
's Martin Freeman) as an army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. Through a mutual friend, the two become flatmates at 221B Baker Street (Una Stubbs plays their landlady). Holmes, who consults with Scotland Yard inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) on his trickier cases, drafts Watson to assist him.
In "Study in Pink," four people commit suicide by poison. When Holmes sets out to establish a link, he falls right into the culprit's clutches. Other cases concern a smuggling operation ("The Blind Banker") and a mad bomber ("The Great Game"). Though he doesn't make a formal entrance until episode 3, Sherlock's archenemy, Moriarty (Andrew Scott), has a hand in each mystery, while the detective's brother, Mycroft (co-creator Mark Gatiss), first appears when he tries to hire Watson as a spy, an offer the good doctor refuses. Through his job at a medical office, Watson also meets Sarah (Zoe Telford), who becomes his girlfriend.
Part of the fun of Jeremy Brett's Holmes (and Agatha Christie's Poirot) came from the period details, so this update takes a little getting used to--as does the occasional mumbled line--but Cumberbatch and Freeman share an enjoyable Odd Couple rapport, marked by flashes of deadpan wit, which compensates for the absence of deerstalker caps (Holmes favors scarves) and journals (Watson maintains a website). Extras include commentary on the finale, the original pilot, and a featurette, in which co-creator Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) notes that Cumberbatch was his only choice for the title role. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
John Watson (Martin Freeman), army doctor, invalided home from Afghanistan, alone and friendless ...
Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), the most brilliant intellect of his generation, alone and friendless ...
London 2010 - the best and longest friendship in all of fiction is about to begin anew. The most famous detective, the most baffling mysteries, the most thrilling adventures and the deadliest foes, are coming in out of the fog. Sherlock Holmes was always a modern man - it was the world that got old. Now he's back as he should be - edgy, contemporary, difficult, dangerous.
Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) is the best Scotland Yard has got, but he knows he's not as good as a strange young man called Sherlock ...
The world’s favourite detective has come out of the fog.