‘Sherlock’ Season 3 Villain Revealed as Charles Augustus Magnussen

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 1st, 2013 at 1:13 pm,

sherlock season 3 start date Sherlock Season 3 Villain Revealed as Charles Augustus Magnussen

It’s been a long wait for season 3 of the BBC geek favorite detective show Sherlock, the first two seasons of which were met with resounding success and have since found a dedicated fanbase. It’s not easy to fit in a shooting schedule for a TV show when its two stars are so in demand – Benedict Cumberbatch played the villain in this year’s blockbuster sci-fi Star Trek Into Darkness and is committed to over half a dozen other movie roles, and Martin Freeman is currently going on an epic and time-consuming adventure as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.

Somehow the producers have found a way to make it all work, however, and Sherlock will return to our screens later this year with three brand new episodes that will find Sherlock and John back to their old ways, despite the devastating events of the season 2 finale, “The Reichenbach Fall.”

The team behind Sherlock have kept up a healthy amount of communication with the fans on social media, posting small teasers and hints of things to come, and that is how they chose to reveal season 3′s ‘big bad’. Producer Sue Vertue posted an image of The Killing star Lars Mikkelsen on Twitter, in which the actor was all dressed up for the role of “Sherlock’s new nemesis,” Charles Augustus Magnussen.


Lars Mikkelsen as Charles Augustus Magnussen in Sherlock 570x378 Sherlock Season 3 Villain Revealed as Charles Augustus Magnussen

The backdrop of this photo, you may notice, is the wallpaper in John and Sherlock’s apartment, which likely means that we’ll see the slippery individual paying them a home visit. The slight name change notwithstanding, this is the main villain from Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1904 short story “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton,” and right off the bat Sherlock makes it very clear that he doesn’t even come close to admiring Milverton in the same way that he did Moriarty. Describing Milverton as “the worst man in London” (a hard title to win), Sherlock describes his feelings towards the notorious blackmailer in vivid detail:

“Do you feel a creeping, shrinking sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in the Zoo, and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that’s how Milverton impresses me. I’ve had to do with fifty murderers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the repulsion which I have for this fellow.”

The word “nemesis” implies that Magnussen will be an overarching villain for this season in the same way that Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) was the running thread of evil throughout the first two seasons. Screen Rant learned during the Sherlock panel at this year’s Comic-Con that Moriarty is most definitely dead, and that the filming that Scott has been doing for this season of the show is entirely flashback scenes.

Sherlock BBC Hounds Baskerville Sherlock Season 3 Villain Revealed as Charles Augustus Magnussen

The panel also confirmed that the second of these teaser words should be taken on face value: Amanda Abbington will be introduced onto the show this season as Mary Morstan, and she and John will get hitched in the second episode with Sherlock acting as best man. This may end up tying into plot elements from “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton,” in which the subject of marriage cropped up several times and even Sherlock ended up getting engaged (admittedly only as a front for his investigations).

The titles for Sherlock’s season 3 episodes have now all been confirmed: “The Empty Hearse,” a twist on the detective’s comeback story “The Empty House;” “The Sign of Three,” taken from Doyle’s 1890 novel “The Sign of the Four;” and the final episode title is “His Last Vow,” from a later collection of Sherlock Holmes stories called “His Last Bow.” The three ‘teaser words’ revealed by showrunner Steven Moffat, are “Rat,” “Wedding and “Bow.”

As short-lived as the original character’s appearance in the Sherlock Holmes stories was, do you think that Charles Augustus Magnussen is a worthy foe for Sherlock? Give us your thoughts on this reveal, and the casting choice for Magnussen, in the comments.


Sherlock returns to the BBC some time in fall 2013, with the PB3 air dates currently estimated to be set for early 2014.

Source: Sue Vertue

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Sherlock
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  1. Whenever I hear the name Magnussen all I can think of is the Scientist from Half Life 2: Episode 2, and how much I hated that guy.

  2. Huh. So this is the last season I take it? (Last Bow)

    • I really doubt it.

    • No its been confirmed for another season, last vow is John’s wedding day.

      Mark Gattis (Mycroft/executive producer) stated that they could continue doing it till they’re 50.

  3. Story about the Giant Rat of Sumatra? I’m there.

    • maybe Magnusson is the rat?

  4. Can’t wait for season 3.

  5. A brief appearance in Sherlock Holmes stories means little. Look at Moriarty. He appeared only once, though he was referenced a few times in other stories. Same is true for Irene Adler, who also only appeared in one story. Given the short story nature of Holmes, they have enough freedom to do whatever they want while still honoring the source material. I’m sure they will make it work.

    • Moriarty was blamed for many different cases in the stories though.

  6. After watching the first series (and the RDJ movies) I’m actually reading the Conan Doyle stories, which are fab.

    Haven’t come across Milverton yet. Seems intriguing if he repulses Sherlock to such a degree.

    • Millverton only appeared in one story and was a very smart man. But no match for SH.

  7. I just read up on this Charles Augustus character (ie, I just re-read the original short story) and, while the actor they’ve got for him seems a little on the physically thin side, I can see him playing the wretch Sir Conan Doyle created. The writers, in their own turn, did create a brilliant modern version of Moriarty, so I’m intrigued on how they’ll work this particular villain over. If they keep with the original character’s particular form of villainy (no spoilers), it’ll be interesting to see how our modern Sherlock reacts. I’m guessing that he’ll either learn about the villain from his brother or else reveal a personality trait that, while typical for the original Sherlock Holmes, I wouldn’t quite expect from this modern version. He’s surprised me before, though.

    As for the actor playing C.A.M., I’ve never seen The Killing and know nothing about him other than what’s stated here. But the show hasn’t gone wrong with any casting choices so far. ^_^

    Still with me?

    In conclusion: while I can’t see the original character being a Moriarty-level Nemesis, if anyone can make this villain work for an entire series’ arc, it’s Messrs. Moffit and Gatiss. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

    mac :]

    • Can’t wait to see Lars Mikkelsen in that role. Being a Dane I am really proud of it. He is a Danish actor with many great parts in Danish movies and theatre plays. He is brilliant!

  8. no one will ever be good as moriartyor even take his place

  9. Are we really all buying that Moriarty is dead? I mean, come on. I am nearly positive we will see the return of Moriarty. In some form or another (twin brother perhaps?).