[WARNING: THIS ARTICLE FEATURES SPOILERS FOR ALL SEASONS OF SHERLOCK]
Thanks to the success of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes blockbuster feature-film franchise and the CBS procedural Elementary, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous creation is back in the public eye during the 21st century. However, the most popular incarnation of the master detective is arguably the BBC drama, Sherlock, which stars fan-favorite Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as his faithful ally, Dr. John Watson. Thanks to its present-day setting, clever writing, and great performances, the show has attracted a large following by offering a fresh take on the iconic character.
Hitting the air in 2010, Sherlock recently wrapped up its third season (in America) on February 2nd. Although there are only three 90-minute episodes in each season, there have been plenty of memorable moments that stand out. As we wait patiently for Sherlock to return in season 4, we’re offering our selections for the 5 greatest Sherlock moments (so far).
Cabbie Showdown – “A Study in Pink”
The goal of any series pilot is to draw the audience in and get them immediately hooked. By that criterion, “A Study in Pink,” Sherlock’s debut episode, was an overwhelming success. Featuring a nice balance of drama and humor, the episode builds its world to great effect and designs the perfect template for the many episodes to come. One of the many series staples established here is ending each episode with a nail-biting climax – this one courtesy of a desperate cabbie.
Investigating a series of “suicides,” Sherlock gets a visit from an interested cab driver. Confessing that he’s responsible for the various murders, the driver takes advantage of Sherlock’s desire to learn how it was done and takes him on a ride to an empty college. There, an intense showdown between the two takes place, as Sherlock is given the choice between two pills. One will kill him.
Trading the non-stop action of the Ritchie version for suspenseful thrills proved to be the best route to go for the show. Relying on an eerie setting, well-written dialogue, and an unsettling performance by Phillip Davis as the cabbie, director Paul McGuigan was able to create something that would have been at home in David Fincher’s Se7en. The episode’s climax also showed that Holmes and Watson would be a formidable team, with the war veteran using his resources and coming to his new friend’s rescue with one deadly shot. As Sherlock and John laugh about their first of many adventures, it’s easy to feel like they’re a dynamic duo already.