Sally Donovan

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Name: Sally Donovan
Occupation: Law Enforcement
Title/Rank: Detective Sergeant
Location: London, U.K.
Status: Alive
Relationships: Lestrade (co-worker), Anderson (co-worker, lover), Sherlock Holmes (antagonist)
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
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Sergeant Sally Donovan is a member of Scotland Yard in BBC's TV miniseries Sherlock. She is a minor antagonist to Sherlock Holmes. In the unaired pilot (available on the DVD of the first season) Donovan is played by Zawe Ashton, but in the aired episodes, she is portrayed by Vinette Robinson. She appears in the first and third episodes.


Sally Donovan is a member of DI Lestrade's homicide investigation team, perhaps his second in command (although this is never canonically stated.) She appears with him in the press conference regarding the serial suicides in the first episode, and is at Scotland Yard in Lestrade's office in the third episode when Sherlock arrives to examine Moriarty's first overt message. Donovan is one of the few recurring characters on BBC Sherlock not to be based on any character in original book canon. She is also the only person of color to be a recurring character.

Donovan and Sherlock do not get along; she refers to him as "Freak" and warns John Watson that he is a psychopath who will probably end up becoming a killer when solving crimes is no longer interesting enough to hold his attention. By the third episode her warnings have become slightly less ominous, consisting of repeatedly suggesting alternate hobbies he could have. ("Fishing!")

As of episode one, Sally was having an affair with Anderson, a married forensics technician.


In fanfiction Sally is often portrayed as a one-dimensional "Mean Girl" who just stands around and cruelly insults Sherlock; however there are also many more nuanced portrayals of her character.



There is not much fic for Donovan/Anderson. Some fans enjoy making up theories that explain that actually, Sherlock was wrong, and Donovan and Anderson's supposed "affair" was actually something completely innocent.


There is a slight chemistry between Donovan and Sherlock that leads some fans to theorize that her antagonism towards him is based on either a past romantic relationship that ended badly, or Sherlock's clumsy rejection of a romantic advance from Sally. Sherlock himself introduces Sally to John Watson as "an old friend," an odd thing to say for someone who, later in the episode, is startled by the idea that he might have any friends at all. Examples of Sally/Sherlock stories include:



Fanart and Comics