Sherlock Holmes (character)

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This article is for the general character of Sherlock Holmes. For the specific character portrayed by Cumberbatch, see Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock character).

Name: Sherlock Holmes
Occupation: consulting detective
Relationships: Dr. John Watson (roommate);
Mycroft Holmes (brother);
Professor James Moriarty (archenemy);
Inspector Lestrade;
Mrs. Hudson (landlady)
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes
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Sherlock Holmes, the iconic Great Detective in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, is a late Victorian/Edwardian character known for his scientific approach to solving crimes. He is a somewhat ambiguous and inscrutible figure, but is often characterized as a Bohemian, a genius, an addict, a misanthrope, and a confirmed bachelor. His hobbies include performing chemistry experiments and playing the violin.


Various adaptations and pastiches have emphasized different aspects of his canon self.

Basil Rathbone

Russian TV

Portrayed by Vasili Livanov.

Sherlock Holmes (Granada)

An iconic Holmes and widely considered very close to canon. Portrayed by Jeremy Brett.

Mary Russell

This controversial Holmes takes Mary Russell as an apprentice and later marries her.

Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century

Voiced by Jason Gray-Stanford. This series portrays Holmes as a younger man than one sees in most screen adaptations. Within the story, this is said to be necessary so that the rejuvenated Holmes can more effectively assume the physical demands of his pursuit of Moriarty; it's also likely that the age of the intended audience was a factor in the decision.

The series also alters Holmes' major character relationship dynamics. While he develops (over time) a solid bond with the show's robotic version of Watson, he also develops a close partnership with New Scotland Yard Inspector Beth Lestrade. Lestrade's relationship to Holmes is complex; she is evidently a direct descendant of the original Holmes (though the exact connection is never specified), the instrument of the latter-day Holmes' resurrection, and his official liaison with New Scotland Yard. She is thus in many respects a more Watsonian figure than "Watson" himself in the show's universe.

22nd-century Holmes is somewhat more outgoing and less abrasive (though no less self-confident) than many versions of the character. In particular, he is a more avid teacher of deduction than in many other incarnations, constantly encouraging Lestrade and his new Irregulars with the signature phrase "Eyes and brains!".

House, M.D.

The main character was inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Portrayed by Hugh Laurie. See Gregory House.

This version has the main character lacking in empathy and perhaps subject to some form of personality disorder.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. A more physical, less cerebral take on the character.

Sherlock (BBC)

Portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. Compared with ACD canon, and like House, M.D., this modern version is also lacking in empathy and perhaps subject to some form of personality disorder. Holmes' canonical lack of interest in women is emphasised, with hints of asexuality. See Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock character).


Portrayed by Johnny Lee Miller. This characterization is still unfolding, but early indications suggest a sharply different take from that seen in the BBC's Sherlock despite the outward similarity of the modern-day settings.

Ace Attorney