The game is afoot | Inquirer Entertainment

The game is afoot

By: - Columnist
/ 12:25 AM January 19, 2017

Martin Freeman (left) and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the television series, “Sherlock.”

Martin Freeman (left) and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the television series, “Sherlock.”

The title of this week’s article should have a familiar ring if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes.

This well-known literary character and that of Dr. John Watson, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, have been fascinating and enthralling readers of the original stories since the first one, “A Study in Scarlet,” was printed in 1887.


A total of 56 short stories and four novels that featured Holmes were published, with numerous films and television series produced.


The latest television series, cocreated by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, is simply titled “Sherlock.”

It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, with Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes, Una Stubbs as landlord Mrs. Hudson, Louise Brealey as the love-struck Molly Hooper (who turns in a heartbreaking single scene in the final episode), Rupert Graves as Det. Lestrade, Andrew Scott as Moriarty (nope, it’s not what you think), Amanda Abbington as Mary Watson, and for the fourth season, Sian Brooke in a star-making turn as Eurus Holmes and Toby Jones as baddie Culverton Smith.

Beginning in 2010 with an episode titled “A Study in Pink,” each season has captivated fans all over the world, and each succeeding season would follow two years later, save for this fourth one; fans waited three years for things to start up again, owing perhaps to the busy work schedules of everyone in the cast, Cumberbatch and Freeman in particular.

(By the way, Cumberbatch’s real-life parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton, appear as Sherlock’s mother and father, and Abbington plays opposite her ex-real-life partner, Freeman. Talk about keeping it all in the family.)

Like many other fans of the show, I waited that extra year for Season Four, and started watching almost immediately after the first episode became available on iTunes, and I would look forward to watching once I received notification that a new one could be streamed or downloaded.

The writing is suspenseful, the direction well-paced and the acting excellent. You never know which way anything or anyone is truly headed.


The first episode can come off as somewhat predictable, until your realization while watching the second and third episodes that the first was maybe purposely engineered to make you feel comfortable. And once you are, they pull the rug out from under you.

Cumberbatch follows quite a few illustrious names that have played this iconic role in the past. Jeremy Brett was my first Sherlock, having found myself addicted to the Granada TV series while living in London in the late 1980s. He played the good detective a record 41 times.

However, Cumberbatch’s quirkiness, no-nonsense intellect, and unpredictability make his Sherlock a masterful creation. The role undoubtedly made him an international superstar, and a hot commodity in blockbuster films, but it may be that Sherlock is the role that fans will identify with him the most. For this reason, I hope that there will be more episodes produced by the BBC.

If Cumberbatch is the brains of the series, Freeman is the heart, his John Watson a damaged creature of war and heartbreak. Given his character’s backstory, one doesn’t know which way he’ll turn, but that he remains upright and standing is nothing short of a miracle.

Plus, it is with much pleasure watching his scenes with the outstanding Abbington, knowing the real-life history of the two of them.

However, one big reason to watch this season is an actor by the name of Sian Brooke, who plays Eurus Holmes, Sherlock and Mycroft’s youngest sibling.

She appears in every single episode of the series, but her debut is one that you don’t see coming. She hides in plain sight (a reference to the second episode, “The Lying Detective”), so once she’s revealed, you kick yourself in the rear wondering how you never noticed her. And then, you’re forced to. The result is absolute brilliance, and I hope to see more of her in the future.

The final moments of the last episode seem to bid us all goodbye, but I’m hoping it’s nothing more than “see you later,” because I haven’t had my fill of “Sherlock.” A total of 12 episodes and one TV movie aren’t enough to satiate my craving, but for now, they’ll have to do.

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I shall start the series over and savor every nail-biting minute.

TAGS: Backstory, Benedict Cumberbatch, Entertainment, Lea Salonga, Martin Freeman, Sherlock Holmes

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