I’ve just watched the film of the final part from The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate and was struck by a few interesting comments. When discussing the future, talk inevitably turned to how BBC Sherlock would tackle Sherlock’s return to London after his fake suicide. In the original canon, Holmes’ return from the dead is revealed in the story entitled The Empty House.
It involves the attempt by Moriarty’s right-hand man, Colonel Moran, to murder Holmes by firing a shot from a specialist air-gun out of the window of an empty house right opposite 221b. So far in Sherlock, there has been no mention of Colonel Sebastian Moran – which is surprising because the creators have been so conscious about using as much from the canon as possible.
How can they miss out a character as important as Moran? Well, a big clue as to whether he was lurking in the background during the Reichenbach Fall was revealed during the debate by the Sherlockology team.
Apparently, the sniper who Moriarty sets upon John has a military-issue riffle. Could this be the illusive Moran and one of his specialist weapons?
So will Moffat and Gattis, the creators of Sherlock, keep with the original plot and have Sherlock return to London to trap Moran in the empty house across the street?
Well, another massive clue came from the Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Roger Johnson who had been invited by the Sherlock team to spend a day on set with them. They revealed that they were filming scenes for the opening episode of series three in the house across the street, onto which they had erected ‘to let’ signs.
So, that strongly suggests that the canon will be followed. Well, you can’t do the Empty House without Moran, and in the original he knew the truth about Holmes’ ‘death’ so will it be the same for Sherlock?
Another thought just occurred to me. What about poor Lestrade? At the end of series two, he was in trouble for giving an ‘amateur’ access to high profile cases, a man who is then arrested for kidnapping two children and confesses to being a fraud before jumping from a building to take his own life. You can see how things must look to Lestrade’s superiors – pretty bleak to be honest.
Surely someone has to resign over such an apparent error of judgement and Lestrade, perfectly played by Rupert Graves, is right in the firing line. Will series three open with him working as a security guard in the local supermarket? Definitely not his division . . . I have often wondered how Lestrade, Gregson and Hopkins in the original canon must have felt when Watson published his accounts.
Holmes was always happy for them to take the credit for his resolutions and his name did not appear in the press, but when the truth came out that they didn’t solve the crime after all – things must have been a tad awkward for them. This is played out differently in Sherlock because he does seem to take the credit himself; this is what ultimately enabled Moriarty to orchestrate his ‘fall’ so successfully in the series finale. Sherlock usually gets the credit and Lestrade gets all the grief. I really like the characterisation here – Lestrade isn’t a bumbling, comical character but rather a capable, convincing copper who has an almost fatherly admiration for Sherlock. But will this relationship ultimately have cost him his position?