[[caption-width-right:350:Dr. Doyle and Dr. Bell]]

->''"Life may be stranger than fiction. It is often more disturbing. Before I wrote my stories of the Great Detective, I had access to a terrifying world of mystery and murder. My companion and teacher on this journey was Dr. Joseph Bell. Here in this extraordinary man was my inspiration. But it is only now I have chosen to reveal the Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes."''
-> -- '''Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle''', OpeningNarration

''Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes'' [[note]] Also subtitled "Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes" in some markets.[[/note]] has the premise that Arthur Conan Doyle (Robin Laing in the PilotMovie and Charles Edwards in the series) based his character of Literature/SherlockHolmes on surgeon Dr. Joseph Bell, his old medical professor (Ian Richardson) with whom he used to solve murders. Bell did in fact exist, and it is said some of Holmes' personality traits and observational methods were based on him, but Doyle and Bell certainly did not solve murders together. Originally commissioned as a one-off drama, positive reception led to a full series of four 90 minute episodes.

The pilot has Doyle as a young medical student at Edinburgh University, where he quickly catches the eye of Dr. Bell who makes him his clerk and takes him under his wing. Together they are drawn in the hunt for a nasty serial killer stalking Edinburgh.

The series takes place after a TimeSkip where the now Dr. Doyle is attempting to start a medical practice in the resort town Southsea, Portsmouth. Doyle struggles to establish himself and inevitably finds himself involved in a murder case. Doyle sends a letter to Bell asking for advice, and Bell decides to come down in person. Together they find a valuable ally with the local Inspector Warner who willingly seeks their expert medical and forensic advice for the most bizarre murders that seem to haunt the seaside town.

The series only has [[{{BritishBrevity}} six episodes]] (or five depending how the pilot is edited) and some speculate it was ScrewedByTheNetwork after someone from the BBC remarked it was "[[{{Too Good to Last}} too successful for the wrong department]]".

!! Episodes:
!!! Series One (2000) [[note]] The pilot was originally broadcast in two parts but is often edited together on home video as one PilotMovie.[[/note]]
# "Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes Part One"
# "Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes Part Two"
!!! Series Two (2001)
# "The Patient's Eyes"
# "The Photographer's Chair"
# "The Kingdom of Bones"
# "The White Knight Stratagem"
!!This series provides examples of:

* AbsenceOfEvidence
* AfterActionPatchUp
* TheAlibi: It is a detective series.
* AmateurSleuth: Doyle and Bell obviously.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:The medical examiner in "The Photographer's Chair"]] and the moneylender in "The White Knight Stratagem".
* BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible: Bell expects Lieutenant Blaney to be this in "The White Knight Stratagem", but he actually goes along with him (albeit grudgingly and only under orders from the Assistant Chief Constable).
* BittersweetEnding: "The White Knight Stratagem".
* BluffingTheMurderer: [[spoiler:Doyle tries to do this to lieutenant Blaney but doesn't find anything out.]]
* BritishBrevity: There are only four episodes and the pilot.
* ChekhovsGun: The coins in the pilot episode.
* ColdReading: Bell is an expert at this.
* ConnectTheDeaths: The pilot.
* CostumePorn: It is set in UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Loads in the pilot
** Many students and professors are aghast that women are allowed to be in medical school, and the professors have discretion if they allow women into their class, and the anatomy professor point blanks refuses to teach them. The tension between the women and the sexist males get so bad that all the female students are suspended two months to keep the peace, much to Dr. Bell's fury.
** Women in general are treated as second class citizens, prostitutes are seen as inhuman and any wife who accuses her husband of being unfaithful can have the accusation turned on them and thrown into an asylum.
* DarkerAndEdgier: To the [[{{Literature/SherlockHolmes}} Sherlock Holmes canon]] itself.
* DownerEnding: The pilot. [[spoiler: The murder escapes to Nova Scotia, Elspeth is killed, and Doyle destroys the only (unstable) evidence against him.]]
* EatTheEvidence: One of the terrorists attempt to do this in "The Kingdom of Bones".
* EurekaMoment: Bell has this in the pilot.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the pilot, Doyle is played by a [[{{TheOtherDarrin}} different actor]] and is brasher and angstier and Dr. Bell has a horrible haircut.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The pilot is made of these between Doyle and Bell, but the one that specially stands out is when Bell examines Doyle's father's watch.
* EvilPlan: "The Kingdom of Bones".
* FairPlayWhodunnit: The viewer has the same the access to the evidence as Doyle and Bell.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Every villain in the series.
* [[{{FingerInTheMail}} Ear in the Mail]]: Elspeth recieves one in the pilot.
* {{Flashback}}: Used in "The Photographer's Chair".
* ForTheEvulz: [[spoiler: The motivation of the killer in the pilot; which is quite noticeable as the murderers in the series were motivated by love, revenge, justice, etc.]]
* {{Frameup}}: [[spoiler: Neill attempts this in the pilot and Lieutenant Blaney in "The White Knight Stratagem".]]
* GentlemanDetective: Bell.
* GiveMeBackMyWallet: Judd pickpockets Bell's wallet in "The Photographer's Chair".
* {{Homage}}: The scene in which Bell examines Doyle's father's watch is an homage to a similar scene in ''Literature/TheSignOfTheFour''.
* InsufferableGenius: Some people (most notably Lieutenant Blaney) see Bell as this.
* TheKillerBecomesTheKilled: [[spoiler:"The White Knight Stratagem".]]
* LastNameBasis: Everyone except the Scottish police.
* LockedRoomMystery: In the pilot.
* TheLostLenore: Elspeth. The main subplot of "The Photographer's Chair" is Doyle finally moving on.
* MysteryMagnet: [[{{LampshadeHanging}} Lampshaded]] by Bell in "The White Knight Stratagem".
* MysteryOfTheWeek: Well it is a murder mystery drama.
* MythologyGag: Several of the mysteries contain elements of Literature/SherlockHolmes stories, as if to suggest that they were the inspirations. For instance, "The Patient's Eyes" is about a young woman who is being followed on her bicycle commute, as in "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist".
* NeverOneMurder: The murderer of the week always has multiple victims.
* NiceHat: Bell wears a topper, while Doyle wears a derby.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Doyle [[spoiler:ruins the only evidence to convict the killer in the pilot episode.]]
* NoHeroToHisValet: In the pilot, Doyle doesn't think much of Dr. Bell's methods as a student. Bell is bemused but rather than kick Doyle out of his class he decides to make him his clerk as he believes the ignorant should be taught.
* NotSoStoic: Doyle in the pilot episode.
* OldFriend: Bell and Fergusson in "The White Knight Stratagem".
* RedHerring: In the pilot much suspicion is placed upon Sir Henry Carlisle played by Creator/CharlesDance [[spoiler: He's innocent of the murders. He frequented a brothel, gave is wife syphillis and unknowingly gave her poisoned pills to make her better.]]
* SequelHook: The pilot ends with Bell telling Doyle that one day they will find Elspeth's killer.
* SceneryPorn: The series looks fantastic.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Doyle joins the practice of an old classmate in "The Patient's Eye" but it doesn't last. His classmate is very unscrupulous he does not charge a diagnosis fee but he makes a killing by prescribing medicine to his very poor patient cliental regardless of they need it or not. Doyle is appalled and promptly leaves and starts his own practice which sadly is not very successful despite Doyle's skill and compassion.
* SharpDressedMan: More or less everyone but most noticeably Doyle and Bell.
* SherlockScan: Bell. That part of his persona is backed up by historical data and it is said Doyle was inspired by Bell's use of the Technic on his patients to create Sherlock himself.
* SmartPeoplePlayChess: "The White Knight Stratagem".
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Often applies.
* TheStakeout: Doyle attempts this in "The Photographer's Chair".
* TheSummation: Always done in the last 10 minutes or so.
* SuspectExistenceFailure: [[spoiler:"The White Knight Stratagem".]]
* TwistEnding: All episodes except for "The Kingdom of Bones".
* TwoDunIt: [[spoiler:"The White Knight Stratagem".]]
* VictorianLondon: The climax of "The Kingdom of Bones" takes place here, all the other episodes take place in either Edinburgh or Southsea.
* WretchedHive: Edinburgh in the pilot, where crime is commonplace but largely ignored unless it affects the well to do or generates so much publicity it can't be ignored.