Note that while we've tried to keep all spoilers marked, due to the nature of the show it's very difficult to keep everything hidden, and it's quite possible that by merely looking at this page at all you will spoil yourself, especially due to the Walking Spoiler
nature of certain characters. You have been warned.
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"I am smarter than everyone I meet."
Watson: "You know, for a genius you can be a real nimrod."
from a wealthy family, fresh out of rehab, who tries to go back to work as a consultant detective in New York City
after a trauma in his past.
- Adorkable: A brilliant, calculating minded man with a plethora of tastes and interests, but has some trouble with certain social expectations because he doesn't think much of them.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In "The Many Mouths of Aaron Colville" Sherlock needed information long buried on the internet and asks Everyone for aide. They agree to give it for a price: Sherlock sings songs from Frozen in a prom dress. Sherlock does it.
- All Women Are Doms All Men Are Subs:
- In the first episode we first see him after a dom woman has left his house, though he seems to have more of an academic interest in bondage than a sexual one.
- And in the beginning of "The Deductionist", he is being entertained by two dom women, who handcuff him to a chair. Unfortunately they are there for other reasons...
- He's apparently friendly with a dominatrix, who called him first when she discovers a client's body.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Following the tradition of depictions of Sherlock, his brain literally seems to work differently than other people. He has a lot of common personality traits with Asperger Syndrome—socially awkward and extremely gifted within a certain area (in his case detective work), straightforward and with a lot of Brutal Honesty, often oblivious to others' feelings but not lacking in empathy. He also has certain physical tics like the way he stands hunched in on himself sometimes, his jerking head movements and the way he grips his hands which are also consistent with someone who has Aspergers or Autism. He falls into this trope since he hasn't specifically been diagnosed on screen.
- A Freeze-Frame Bonus on "Deja Vu All Over Again" of his rehab report from Hemdale reveals that he is clinically depressed, refused medication and saw a therapist while in rehab.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Sherlock becomes this whenever he's around his brother Mycroft, calling him "Fatty" and needling him. It only gets worse after he deduces that Mycroft slept with Watson.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: As usual, for his character. The show works a bit to desconstruct the "magical" aspect of his Sherlock Scan, though. Sherlock is often shown studying and training to maintain his deductive accuracy, showing that without hard work his awesomeness wouldn't be possible. And with Joan, Sherlock shows how it's possible to teach his observation skills to other people if they are receptive and determined.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Holmes and Watson's relationship in the series grows into a close friendship and it's evident that they care for each other. Holmes even panics at one moment when he thinks Watson's been shot in "A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs" and after a speech about his partnership with Watson and its complexity, he gives her a chest filled with his cold cases so she can solve on her own and "succeed where he failed" in "An Unnatural Arrangement".
- Badass Bookworm: As per usual.
- Bad Liar: He turns into a sheet of cellophane whenever Watson's around.
- Berserk Button:
- He really doesn't like it when people victimize children or the mentally ill. The best example of this is in "Dead Man's Switch" where he expresses glee when he finds out the rumour that victimisers of children are treated brutally in prison is true and talks to one of them with barely restrained disgust.
- Anything relating to Irene's death is a huge trigger for Sherlock.
- Another button was in "A Giant Gun, Filled With Drugs" when Rhys tempted Sherlock to take cocaine to help with the case, he threw out and nearly strangled the latter while shouting for even suggesting such a thing.
- Black Sheep: Apparently to his family.
- Blessed with Suck:
- His intelligence makes him a brilliant investigator but means that he also picks up on things about people he'd rather not know, makes it difficult to sustain relationships or even find much excitement in life.
- His Hyper Awareness also makes him prone to sensory overload in the chaos of a modern big city, and in Sherlock's own opinion, contributed to his drug addiction.
- Boarding School of Horrors: It's first mentioned in "Child Predator", but in "Poison Pen" Sherlock tells Watson he went to boarding school and used to be beaten up and abused by his classmates.
- Brains and Bondage: Sherlock has a passing interest in bondage, from both a point of study and personal pleasure.
- Brutal Honesty: Sherlock has many admirable qualities, but tact and diplomacy are not among them. He also asks people to be honest with him and with themselves.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Something Gregson flat out admits, and why he puts up with Sherlock's behavior, since he usually is right.
- This trope is deconstructed and then reconstructed in "Tremors". Sherlock (and by association, Watson) goes to court thanks to his bad attitude and lack of professionalism due to a shooting that affected Detective Bell. After the evaluation, the judge recognizes the value of their work to the NYPD, but also recognizes how dangerous Sherlock's lack of control and bad mood can be, deciding to end his career as a police detective. After that, Detective Bell thinks it would be better if Sherlock kept the job, so he continues to work with the NYPD, but without Bell's friendship and on bad terms with Watson.
- Byronic Hero: Though this version of the character is at the absolute light end of this trope.
- Character Development: Sherlock has admitted in the second season that he grew and became a softer person, not because of his own talent, but because of the help the people around him have given.
- Character Tics: Sherlock tends to move his hands very fast (representing the velocity of his mind), stand completely static in certain situations, and make hilarious facepalms with both hands when something goes wrong.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Has a strong code of honor but doesn't stop him from enjoying a variety of women, from dominatrices, to seeing how "identical" two identical twins are, to just the more mundane lady.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: When nothing is around to occupy his mind, he can be a bit off.
- Cultured Badass: He knows much about fine Epicurean delights, various forms of art, literature, and a plethora of other "Cultured" materials.
- Daddy Issues: He and his father have a rather frosty relationship.
- Dark and Troubled Past: "M." reveals that the death of Irene Adler caused his breakdown. Moriarty-Irene faked her own death using Moran's M.O. in order to get out of Holmes's sphere, and in the process, likely unintentionally sent Holmes headlong into his worst drug use.
- Dating Catwoman: Holmes' former girlfriend, Irene Adler, is actually his nemesis, Moriarty.
- Deadpan Snarker: His general tone towards others when not deducing some key fact.
- Declaration of Protection: This incarnation of Holmes is extremely protective of his Watson. In "Risk Management", Sherlock lies to Joan to protect her from a possible attack from Moriarty. She is not amused. Then, in "Solve For X", Sherlock tries to protect Watson from her patient's son and declares to her his concern for her mental health and feelings of guilt.
- Defective Detective: His work as a detective is nearly flawless, but his personal life is an absolute train wreck.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Has gone from petulant to resistant to gradually more and more friendly, grateful, and ultimately open about talking about his feelings and how important he considers Watson to be, even explaining in unabashedly desperate terms how much he needs her around. With emotional relationships and his own state of being, he seems to really want and try to get better.
- Despair Event Horizon: Irene Adler's death, it would seem. Plunged into an out-of-control drug addiction and despite being a generally well-meaning logical thinker started planning a murderous vendetta.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: In "Ancient History" when trying to explain to Watson why he slept with her friend, he manages to infuriate Watson even more when he admits that he stalked Watson in the beginning of their relationship and lied to her friend about his identity.
- Distressed Dude: In "The Rat Race". Obviously, Watson is the one who rescues him.
- Elegant Classical Musician: He plays the violin in "While You Were Sleeping" and he's seen playing piano in "The Leviathan".
- Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Obviously; this is Sherlock Holmes we're talking about!
- Et Tu, Brute?: Poor Sherlock.
- In "The Deductionist" we see that Kathryn Drummond, a former lover and apprentice, used confidential information to profile him.
- And then in "The Woman" we see the sweet Irene Adler, the love of his life, revealing her real identity: Moriarty, the one who destroyed his life.
- In "Blood Is Thicker" we see that his brother, Mycroft, is planning something behind Sherlock's back to bring him back to London and using Watson to make Sherlock fall into his gambit.
- Foil: Both Sherlock and Joan are this for each other but surprisingly, in this adaptation, Sherlock is the more noticeable one, especially when we watch the whole first season and "Heroine". Sherlock is Hot-Blooded and emotionally dumb, while Watson is The Stoic, emotionally intelligent and controlled.
- Also, he is one for Moriarty. While both of them share the genius, the intellect and the sensitivity, Sherlock is a good person who wants to make the world a better place, while Moriarty is cruel, criminal and wants to destroy everything.
- Fool for Love: A dark version of this. Watson pinpoints, and he later confirms, that the root of his downward spiral was the loss of a woman. And it's a loss that continues to motivate him to extremes.
- Forgets to Eat: And sleep. And shower. And take care of himself in general.
- Friendless Background: Subverted. At first Watson believe that Sherlock doesn't have any friends and she lampshades it in "Lesser Evils". With more episodes, she learns that Sherlock does have several acquaintances.
- And then, this trope is explicitly stated by Mycroft in "Step Nine". He tells Joan that Sherlock never had any real friends and that from his point of view, she is Sherlock's first real friend.
- Fun T-Shirt: Sherlock used several in the beginning of the show when he was still fresh out of rehab.
- Genius Slob: When he agreed to clean up part of the house, he would do that and only that, regardless of the mess that was building up around him.
- Good Is Not Nice: He can be crass and blunt most of the time, especially when dealing with frustration, but that doesn't stop him from being a good man.
- Good Is Not Soft: He's still nicer than a lot of other interpretations of the character, but if he's morally outraged or for some other reason decides you need to be hurt, he will hurt you. Perhaps just to spite your expectation that he is soft.
- This trope is discussed in "On the Line". After a conflict with Watson thanks to his bad behavior, Sherlock gives up and says he is not a nice man and that's who he is. That he's not gonna change. Watson says he already changed, but he denies it. He is only nicer to Watson because she is exceptional.
- This comes back to bite him in "Tremors" when it provokes a suspect he insulted to take a shot at him, which Bell takes instead, estranging them. It probably doesn't help that Sherlock won't go visit Bell in the hospital until prompted by Joan, out of guilt and thinking his sympathies would be meaningless.
- When Sherlock becomes a rehab sponsor for a recently sober addict, he makes it very clear that they will not be friends, the man will not be coddled, and if he feels he needs to talk with someone, Sherlock has a list of therapists but will not be one himself to the man. He will be there for the sole job of being his sponsor. The addict accepts.
- Heartbroken Badass: The loss of Irene did a number on him. And then the revelation that Irene is Moriarty broke his heart forever.
- Hero with an F in Good: After the events of "On the Line" and "Tremors", Holmes behavior seems to fit all aspects of the trope and literally everyone who works or lives with him thinks he's this.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Well, he fell in love with Irene Adler knowing she was an international art thief and yet still decided to go on with the relationship believing she was a good person because of why she stole: to preserve what would only be ruined by reparation.
- Hyper Awareness: Sherlock considers this both a blessing and a curse. In the season one finale, someone makes the observation that the pain his Hyper Awareness causes him is probably the reason he turned to drugs in the first place.
- Hypocrite: Sherlock acts like this on many occasions, and even Watson mentioned it in "The Rat Race", but it becomes more noticeable in "The Marchioness", after deducing that Watson slept with Mycroft. Sherlock is absolutely outraged and upset with this situation, blaming Watson for it and being a jerk. The funny thing is: he slept with one of her best friends after stalking Watson and lying to the friend.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: For all his arrogance and abrasiveness, Holmes believes deep down that he's unworthy of love or people treating him well.
- Insistent Terminology: Consultant detective.
- Insufferable Genius: He can be at times, but mellowed with his developing friendship with Joan, Captain Gregson, and Detective Bell.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Something he cautions Watson about after she begins using his methods, and it's obvious that he's experienced this firsthand.
- It's All About Me: Even though he truly cares for other people and his behavior gets better thanks to Joan, Sherlock tends to prioritize everything that happens to himself.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sherlock is somewhat alienating in the way he relates to other people, but still seems to care about not needlessly insulting or angering people. For instance, his intentional mis-deducing of why Joan stopped being a surgeon was to "spare her feelings," and from his tone he was probably sincere about it too.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: According to himself, at least. He claims there is not a "nicer version" of himself hidden away somewhere, waiting to be "coaxed out" into the open. Watson isn't entirely convinced.
- Lawman Baton: He sometimes uses one, most memorably in "M."
- Love at First Sight: Subverted with Watson in the pilot episode. And then possibly Double Subverted as the first season goes.
- Played straight with Irene Adler in "The Woman".
- Manchild: Explored in several episodes, most notable in “Snow Angels”, when Watson sarcastically calls him "a six year old". Later in the episode, we see him making a fort with comforters to protect himself from a blizzard... inside his own residence.
- Married to the Job: While he will admit to the need of carnal sexual release to help sate part of his brain, he has rarely only shown any interest in a romantic pursuit and claims that romantic love will only mess with his job.
- Master of Unlocking: He keeps a bucket of padlocks around for lock picking as well as teaching himself how to get free from handcuffs. Also sports an ever-increasing collection of picked locks, which he hangs on some pretty enormous racks in his kitchen.
- Men Can't Keep House: He can, he just chooses not to.
- Men Don't Cry: Averted. Sherlock nearly cries in the second of episode, nearly cries twice in "M.", nearly cries again in "Dead Man's Switch" and finally cries out loud in "Risk Management".
- The Mentor: To Watson in the art of deduction.
- Missing Mom: With all the talk about Sherlock's father, there's never any mention of his mother.
- Motor Mouth: Once he gets going on details on a case.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It happens a lot. Sherlock usually makes good deductions to solve the cases, but in several of them he just make things worse (other murders happen, innocent people go to jail or get hurt, etc), and almost everything he does to make amends to people he cares about ends fucking up the situation worse.
- The Nicknamer: In few occasions he comes up with nicknames for random people he meet in cases, such as Green Stick in "The Leviathan" and Bleach Teeth in "A Landmark Story".
- Non-Idle Rich: His family has high levels of undisclosed funds, enough to pay the blackmailers in one case, but he doesn't tend to use it often.
- In "Blood Is Thicker", we see that he only touched his trust fund to pay Watson's salary.
- The Nose Knows: Sherlock seems to have a mundane version of this. In "While You Were Sleeping," he's able to identify a brand of women's deodorant by scent, he can identify explosives by scent (as well as other factors) in "The Long Fuse," and in "Flight Risk" he has an unusually strong reaction to the scent of model glue. In "Solve For X" he figures out that Watson went to visit her patient's grave by the smell of flowers in her clothes. In "On The Line" he deduces that a man took precautions against a polygraph by putting antiperspirant on his fingers; Sherlock shook hands with the man, then sniffed his own fingers and detected a "distinctly chemical sea breeze."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Sherlock will on occasion lie about what he deduces, for instance when he initially claims that Joan left being a surgeon when a friend died, only to later admit that he knew she was forced out because she killed a patient.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Sherlock's attitude toward Moriarty and then subverted. It's Watson, not Holmes, who figures out how to defeat her. When Moriarty's caught, Holmes has no problem giving Joan full credit.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Acts this way when is extremely upset or jealous. This is more visible in "The Marchioness" when he discovers that Watson slept with Mycroft and starts to argue with both of them.
- Perpetual Frowner: Lampshaded by Sebastian Moran in "A Landmark Story".
- Really Gets Around: In "Corpse de Ballet" we learn that he is involved with compulsive sex for a few weeks and sleeps with a suspect.
- Rebellious Spirit: He generally ignores his powerful father's orders.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The passionate red oni to Watson's composed blue oni.
- Shameless Fanservice Boy: He's definitely not shy about his Shirtless Scenes. Or his interest in bondage for that matter.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: As the show proceeds and Sherlock spends more time sober, his wardrobe becomes sharper. Compare his usual outfits in Season 1 with Season 2.
- Sherlock Scan: Duh! It can be hard to tell when Holmes is actually analyzing, though. It's sporadic at times.
- Shirtless Scene: Part of his Establishing Character Moment in the first episode. And then in "Child Predator" we first see Sherlock sitting with no shirt on and looking through some boxes. The funny part is he remembers having it on when he started his search the previous night and has no idea how or why he took it off.
- Sibling Rivalry: With Mycroft. It only gets worse after he discovers Watson slept with Mycroft.
- Sophisticated as Hell: He has a tendency to say socially inappropriate or overly blunt things in an oddly formal way. See "The Deductionist", where he describes serial killers as 'onanists' (which is a really roundabout way to say jerkoffs), and "Déja Vu All Over Again" when he tells Watson that 'opinions are like ani' (plural of anus, or asshole). The British accent helps.
- Stalker Without a Crush: In "Ancient History" we learn that Sherlock used to follow Watson in the beginning of their partnership to know more about her and be sure if she was someone he could trust.
"I'm gonna do you the favor of believing you're just an idiot."
Sherlock: The thing that's different about me, empirically speaking, is you.
American ex-surgeon who walked away from a successful medical career after a surgery gone terribly wrong and decided to become a sober companion.
- Action Survivor: As she gets into more and more fights, she is becoming this.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: There's hardly ever a time where Watson is not composed. Deconstructed to a certain point. While her appearance is cool and tough, she also has a boatload of self-esteem issues.
- Always Someone Better: A non-villain verson to Moriarty. Watson is the only one able to see through her in "Heroine" and send her to jail. Then in "The Diabolical Kind" Watson, one more time, sees right through her manipulation tactics and disarms her completely. And then when Moriarty discovers that Sherlock was the one who wanted Watson's company, she gets visibly unhappy.
- Amicable Exes: With Ty Morstan in "While You Were Sleeping".
- Animal Motifs: Bees are a motif for the series, in general, but Watson is somewhat the one who is most associated with them. In "Pilot" Sherlock mentions her daily use of beeswax in her hands. In the same episode, she is the one who notices the honey falling through the ceiling of her bedroom. And then Sherlock even names a whole new species after her in "Heroine".
- Armor-Piercing Sentence: Watson is fairly expert in these.
- To Sherlock in "Pilot": "Now I know it was a woman".
- To Moriarty in "Heroine": "You are afraid of him".
- To Moriarty again (about Sherlock's interest in her) in "The Diabolical Kind": "That bothers you, doesn't it?"
- Awesomeness by Analysis: In "Pilot", she discovers the whole reason of Sherlock's drug addiction and despair with one look.
- Audience Surrogate: This time, with a point of view for women and people of color.
- Badass: Grows into this through detective work with Sherlock.
- Batman Gambit: Her plan to capture Moriarty in "Heroine" is flawless. She knows Moriarty wants to win over Sherlock at any costs and own him as an object. She also knows Moriarty would never let him go without trying to turn him to her side. Then she plans the whole overdose scheme waiting for Moriarty to show up at the hospital. It works.
- Berserk Button: Don't even try to 1) use the accident in her operating table against her 2) threat the well-being of her former sober clients 3) ignore boundaries when it comes to her or people she likes (includes stalking and disrespect for confidentiality arrangements).
- Beware the Nice Ones: Joan can be as sweet and gentle as a lamb, but press anything mentioned under Berserk Button and be prepared to stare down a cold glare of Tranquil Fury.
- Big Sister Instinct: In "Lesser Evils" she quickly socializes with her friend's patient and is able to diagnose her within seconds. In "Dirty Laundry" she empathizes and truly cares for the victim's daughter and thanks to it is able to find new evidence and put the missing pieces together, helping Holmes to solve the case.
- Deconstructed in "Solve for X". Watson feels responsible for her dead patient's son (a young boy), and wants to provide for him. The boy knows this and takes advantage of her good will.
- Brainy Brunette: She was valedictorian in medical school after all. She often can see beyond the facts and the evidences, being able to solve things Holmes can't. In Season 2, she is starting to notice things Sherlock misses in crime scenes.
- Brutal Honesty: She is very polite and tries to fool herself in several occasions, but when it comes to other people she prefers not to sugarcoat the truth and likes to be as direct or sincere as possible.
- The Caretaker: By profession and by nature. Even mentioned by her friends in "Déja Vu All Over Again".
- Character Development: Joan has become a highly proficient investigator by the second season.
- Character Tics: Tends to roll her eyes when she's unamused or unimpressed by something.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Joan is a good and heroic person, but her lack of self-esteem and her reserved nature are constant problems in her life that she tries hard to overcome.
- Closer to Earth: A lot calmer and wiser in contrast to Sherlock's eccentricities.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: As usual with The Watson, she acts as the saner, more reasonable counterpart to Sherlock.
- Combat Stilettos: Wears high heel boots a lot, even while adventuring.
- The Conscience: When Sherlock starts going off the moral path, she is the one to try and convince him there are other ways.
- Custom Uniform: Watson's white coat can be considered her "uniform". Even the costume designer of the show mentioned it as such.
- Consummate Professional: She is really dedicated and serious about her job as a consultant detective, and her posture was the same when she was a sober companion. Also, in "Lesser Evils" she tells Sherlock that she simply walked away from medicine because she didn't feel confident enough to operate again and it would be better for her (and her future patients).
- Dark and Troubled Past: In "Solve For X", Joan tells to Sherlock what happened to her patient when she was still a surgeon.
- Deadpan Snarker: She gives a lot of dry put-downs. Truly, Joan Watson doesn't take anyone's crap.
- Death Glare: Watson employs this frequently when Holmes says or does something that she thinks is outlandish. Which is all the time.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Her plot at the beginning. She finds it with Sherlock as a detective.
- Didn't See That Coming: Joan is this to chessmasters. Her insight and character have twice helped Sherlock best gambits being played against him. First, she recognized Moriarty's flaw and how best to use it. Second, when Mycroft was manipulating Sherlock with Joan's financial well-being on the line, Watson simply declared succinctly and tactfully "Screw [Papa Holmes]" and helped Sherlock get over his unease being cut off by his father.
- Disappeared Dad: In "Corpse de Ballet" we learn that Joan's birthfather is a schizophrenic man who divorced her mother after Joan was born and now lives in New York as a homeless.
- Establishing Character Moment: Watson, alone in the Brownstone, findind the missing piece and cracking the case in the pilot.
- Even the Girls Want Her: An escort gives Watson her card in "Dirty Laundry".
- The Fettered: Watson is a principled person who stands by her word, defends that deals and confidentiality agreements must be honored and feels bad when she needs to break the law to solve a case or find evidence.
- Flaw Exploitation: Watson sends Moriarty to jail using her arrogance and her obsession with Sherlock against her.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Downplayed with Liam, as explained in "You Do It To Yourself". Joan treated his injuries when she was still a resident doctor and they fell in love.
- Foil: To Sherlock. While Sherlock is Hot-Blooded and emotionally dumb, Watson is The Stoic, emotionally intelligent and controlled. This makes the whole difference in the season finale, when Watson's ability to stay cool and focused allowed her to deduce and capture Moriarty.
- In "We Are Everyone" we see that Watson is also a foil to Moriarty. While Moriarty is selfish about her relationship with Sherlock and destructive, Watson is his Morality Chain and wants to share their friendship with the world.
- A Friend in Need: One of the few people who stick to Holmes in rain or shine.
- Gender Flip/Race Lift: The white, English John Watson is now Joan Watson and played by Lucy Liu.
- Genre Savvy: And a really good one. Invokes Good Cop/Bad Cop in the pilot, notices inconsistent details in stories, situations or objects in crime scenes and is able to put them together and her impartial observations of Moriarty's actions made her able to deduce her motivations, craft a plan to her capture and succeed at it.
- Good Is Not Soft: Calls the shots on a regular basis to get Holmes out of trouble or to impose authority when needed.
- Guile Heroine: She may not have combat skills, but her mind and wit is incredibly sharp, and her ability to stay cool under pressure allow her to think her way out of hard spots. Including seeing Moriarty's weakness.
- Guilt Complex: As explained in "Solve For X", her mess up in the hospital room caused her to lose confidence in her surgical abilities. Watson blames herself for an accident that happened in her operating table, which makes her feel responsible for her dead patient's son.
- Gut Feeling: In "Lesser Evils" she has a feeling that a little girl may be suffering from a serious condition and Sherlock encourages her to trust her intuition. She was right. In "Déjà Vu All Over Again", she dislikes one person who was involved with the victim of the week. She was right, again.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: In the beginning of their partnership, Watson had to explain more than once that despite sharing a brownstone with him, she and Sherlock are NOT involved.
- Heroic BSOD: What happened in her OR when she was operating Gerald Castoro.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: She doesn't have so much esteem to begin with, but in "Déjà Vu All Over Again" even Sherlock gets frustrated about this.
- Hidden Depths: The whole point of her character is to show how The Watson is not a mere Sidekick, Foil or Audience Surrogate without personality, relevance or feelings, but a very intelligent (sometimes even more than Holmes), flawed and complex character on her own.
- Hospital Hottie: In her past, at least.
- Hyper Awareness: Shows signs of it as early as the pilot and it develops further the more time she spends with Sherlock.
- I Choose to Stay: Not that we didn't see this coming already, but Joan at the end of "M". Her six weeks with Sherlock is over. She decides to stay on anyway, despite Holmes' father terminating her services and pay, not that she told Holmes that. He found out. He was fine with it, and rehired her as his apprentice.
- I Should Write a Book About This: In "We Are Everyone", after feeling sorry for Sherlock's wish to hide himself from the world and declaring she shouldn't be the only one allowed to know him, she finally starts writing his chronicles.
- In-Series Nickname: Joanie.
- Irony: She began the series, telling Sherlock that he needed to open himself to other people, not lock them out. By Season 3, she flat out tells Sherlock that she doesn't need him anymore, and that she works better alone.
- Last Name Basis: Sherlock is the only one who calls her "Watson".
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Watson is Light, Moriarty is Dark.
- Living Emotional Crutch: In "Blood Is Thicker", Sherlock admits to Mycroft that Watson is this to him. He even tells her that he doesn't want to give up their "structure" until he is ready, showing how he is dependent on their relationship.
- Living Lie Detector: In "Child Predator" she already shows signs of this without Sherlock's help. By the end of the first season, with her detective training, she can smell a lie miles away and Sherlock turns into a sheet of cellophane whenever she's around.
- Little "No": Most of her 'No's are directed to Sherlock and his crazy ideas.
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: A current theme in Season 02 is how she desperately tries to date new men and can't get no satisfaction.
- Married to the Job: When she starts to work with Sherlock. She's not happy about it, but is starting to become resigned.
- Master of Unlocking: In season 2, Watson is the one responsible for opening doors while Sherlock observes.
- The Medic: Watson usually has medical knowledge that Sherlock lacks, noticing things he doesn't (such as the insulin pump in "Flight Risk" and the unhealthy food in "The Deductionist". She also fixes him up when he's hurt (his dislocated shoulder in "A Landmark Story" and his bullet wound in "Heroine"). In "A Landmark Story" we also saw her performing an autopsy, receiving compliments from Sherlock.
- In "Solve For X", she is much more comfortable in a morgue and it seems that she has been practicing autopsies.
- Mentor's New Hope: After Sherlock's tragic experience with Kathryn Drummond, Watson fits this trope.
- Mixed Ancestry: A photo of Watson's parents in the pilot shows that her mother is Asian and her father is white. Subverted. He's her stepfather and her family took his last name. Her biological father is schizophrenic and homeless.
- Morality Chain: By the end of the season, Watson becomes this to Holmes. Lampshaded in "Heroine" by Sherlock himself, when he says he didn't use Vicodin for his back pain because of her.
- Ms. Fanservice: Defied in "Snow Angels". Watson refuses to change clothes in front of Sherlock and he turns his back. The audience believes that she is going to change in front of the camera but she does it underneath her sheets and only gets up after she is entirely dressed.
- Nerves of Steel: In "Heroine", she stares down Moriarty without so much as a bead of sweat coming out. Lampshaded by Moriarty herself, when she notices that Watson is not afraid of her.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Watson and Moriarty lunch together in "Heroine".
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Even though Sherlock says she is quite Victorian when it comes to nudity and sex, Joan plainly ignores him when he is doing exercise in the middle of the night without a shirt and in front of her.
- Not So Different: From Sherlock. She essentially becomes him in Season 3, complete with an Arch-Enemy all her own who, very much like Jamie Moriarty, is a wealthy, ruthless, and extremely arrogant woman. However, unlike Holmes, she prefers to work alone without a partner or protege.
- She's also not good dealing with emotional pain. While Sherlock turned to drugs to cope with Irene's death, she puts on a detached and icy demeanor as response to accidentally killing a patient and Sherlock leaving without saying goodbye.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Lampshaded in "The Marchioness". The fact that she slept with Mycroft is this in Sherlock's opinion and he lampshades it by saying it is unlike her "to introduce such a free radical into an otherwise highly functional relationship". She doesn't like it.
- Only Sane Woman: Compared to Sherlock's tendencies and behaviors, yes she is.
- Passionate Sports Girl: In the first episodes, she's shown a passionate interest in baseball, running, and soccer.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Watson usually gets bothered when there are random shirtless men walking around the brownstone ('A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs' and 'Solve For X').
- Plucky Girl: She's a lot older and more mature than the usual for this trope, but she qualifies through her sheer determination and ability to overcome her weaknesses. It's most apparent in "Heroine" where she manages to bring Moriarty down all by herself.
- Precision F-Strike: This is CBS, so there's no explicit cursing. And yet...
- In "Heroine": About Moriarty: "What say we go stop this bitch?"
- In "Blood is Thicker": About Papa Holmes: "Screw him."
- Proper Tights With Skirt: Her usual attire in general, particularly when working. Has since mostly ditched the tights, presumably for extra Fanservice, or possibly because it's summer at the beginning of Season 2.
- Reaction Shot: Watson is very good at these.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The composed, stoic blue oni to Holmes' eccentric, passionate red oni.
- Silk Hiding Steel: A polite and down-to-earth woman who doesn't hesitate to call people out on their crap.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Joan seems to like moral and virtuous men. She left Liam when he didn't want her help with his drug addiction (as we can see in "You Do It To Yourself"), she is interested in Jeff after he wants to see if she's okay in "We Are Everyone" and she slept with Mycroft because he was "sincere, sweet and funny", as we can see in "The Marchioness".
- She's Got Legs: Her collection of skirts, high heels, and tights display them quite well.
- Street Smart: The both sides of this trope apply to Watson. She is extremely practical and pragmatic, which helps a lot in her detective work, and she knows a lot about urban groups/people. This is presented in "Internal Audit", when she decides to talk with a group of skateboarders because she knows them from past experiences.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Downplayed. Watson is severe and distant in some occasions (especially with subjects related to her personal life or her past), but is very friendly and caring.
- Supporting Protagonist: While Sherlock is the main character, the series opens up on her first day working with him, and the show’s longest running arcs seems to be her own evolution as a detective on her own and her role in Sherlock’s life.
- Surgeons Can Do Autopsies If They Want: As we can see in "A Landmark Story", "Solve For X" and "Tremors".
- Surpassed the Teacher: It's safe to say she's a better detective than Sherlock, especially in Season 2.
- In Season 3, Captain Gregson appreciates her so much, that he tells Sherlock that he needs her permission, not his to get his old consulting job back.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Sherlock strongly implies that she had an affair with her Chemistry teacher in "Possibility Two".
- There Are No Therapists: Averted. Watson sees a therapist several times during Season 1 to talk about her issues with her job.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- While not physically "badass" (not yet, at least), Watson is rapidly developing considerable deductive skills. Within a few weeks of meeting Sherlock, she's good enough at deduction to realize that her date was lying when he said he wasn't married and a few episodes later that Sherlock has a fear of planes, just through body language cues. She also diagnoses a girl with a relatively rare condition through a minor foot injury, in an interesting confluence of her medical skills and burgeoning powers of deduction that makes her seem not unlike House.
- And in "A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs", she manages to knock out an armed man and gets Sherlock to call 911, and stops a man who got shot from bleeding to death.
- Takes an even bigger level in "Heroine" when she is the one who deduces and brings down Moriarty.
- In "Step Nine" she effortlessly takes down an escaping criminal with a collapsible baton. Sherlock is pleased she's been attending her self-defense classes.
- In "We Are Everyone" she is already an expert in lockpicking and then she learns pickpocketing by herself and stoles the watch of the criminal of the week, being able to catch the evidence needed to solve the case. Even Holmes gets impressed and is speechless for a moment.
- Troll: In "Ancient History", Watson makes Sherlock panic for a few seconds by telling him that her friend Jennifer could be pregnant with his child.
- Underestimating Badassery: Moriarty underestimated Joan, calling her "a mascot". Turns out that Joan was the one who solved the crucial Moriarty puzzle in "Risk Management" AND was the one who solved Moriarty herself, being instrumental to her capture in "Heroine".
- Unfazed Everywoman: About 90% of all Sherlock's antics barely faze her. Even when he crashed her car in a temper tantrum in the first episode, she didn't go ballistic on him.
- The Watson: As an audience surrogate of course, from a female point of view. Downplayed as she's slowly becoming a decent investigator in her own right. Deconstructed in the season finale, when she was underestimated by Moriarty and in the end was the only one able to solve her, being promoted from Sidekick to Heroine and Sherlock is the one who needs to explain to Moriarty (and the audience) her deduction and plan.
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Watson has hints of this in "The Leviathan". When going to brunch with her mother, Sherlock mentions that she's dressing for a job interview, not meeting a loved one. Slightly subverted in that it turns out that her mother isn't criticizing her current career because it's not as respectable as a surgeon but because it doesn't make Joan happy. Joan's mother is actually glad she's working with Holmes because this does make her happy.
- Wham Line: In "Flight Risk":
"I know about Irene".
- Wham Shot: In "We Are Everyone", the screen of her computer when she starts writing the chronicles of Sherlock Holmes.
- When She Smiles: Joan is usually on the quiet and serious (and outwardly severe) side, but occasionally when she gets excited about something she lights up in really giddy grins.
- With Friends Like These...:
- Emily, who sets her up with a married guy in "Rat Race", ambushes her with other friends in "Déjà Vu All Over Again" and signs her up for a dating website in "We Are Everyone".
- Up to Eleven with Sherlock in "Ancient History", when he flat out admits that he used to follow her around and spy on her in the beginning of their partnership and that he lied and slept with a close friend of hers.
- Woman in White: In Season 2, Watson is mostly wearing white clothes in addition to her usual white coat.
- Women Are Wiser: Played with. While both leads are certainly intelligent, Sherlock's analytical knowledge and deduction reasoning is a few steps ahead of her. That said, from her experience with medicine and people, she owns more medical knowledge and is able to deduce people's emotions.
Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson
"You don’t let anyone into your life that’s not constantly concerned with you... what kind of mood you’re in, whether you’re getting high or not, whether you’re going to work like an adult or throw a temper tantrum. You know, most of the time, you’re worth it, ‘cause you are special. Damned if you don’t know it. But you are."
Played by: Aidan Quinn
A former Scotland Yarder
and Sherlock's contact at the NYPD. The two have mutual respect for each other.
- Friend on the Force: Sherlock knew him from his days in London soon after 9/11. Now even Watson finds she can talk to him in confidence about certain issues.
- Inspector Lestrade: Gregson seems to take the actual Lestrade's place as this role, undoubtedly named after one of Lestrade's colleagues in the first Sherlock Holmes story, Inspector Tobias Gregson. Downplayed, since Gregson is actually a very good detective, and even Sherlock acknowledges it.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: And it's a good thing, too. While Sherlock is an invaluable aid to the police, and Gregson realizes this, Holmes' antics can make him hard to deal with. Gregson often has to clean up Sherlock's messes after he offends people.
- Secret Secret Keeper: He's known about Sherlock's drug problem for a while. Although he's not happy that Sherlock was not upfront about it to him in the first place, he still believes in Sherlock's abilities.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Dresses well. Captain Gregson has a very good sense of style.
Detective Marcus Bell
Played by: Jon Michael Hill
An NYPD detective who works with Gregson. He's often assigned to Sherlock's cases.
- By-the-Book Cop: "Details" show that this almost gets him killed as his ex-girlfriend, a fellow police officer, tried to murder him and his brother because Marcus had gone to Internal Affairs with evidence that her former superior on a major drug case was a Dirty Cop, thus blocking her chances at promotion.
- Not only that, his brother Andre is an ex-criminal. Their relationship had been strained because of this, but after an attempt was made on their lives, they're seen slowly reconciling.
- Canon Foreigner: Out of the main cast, he's the only one without an evident counterpart in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Details" centers around an attempt on his life, as well as his ex-criminal brother Andre. "All in the Family" centers around his work for the Demographics Unit and his return to the NYPD.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Marcus and Sherlock definitely got off on the wrong foot when they first worked together in "While You Were Sleeping", but since then they've come to respect each other.
- Friend on the Force: Is this after Gregson stops trusting Holmes. Sherlock comes to refer to all the other detectives who are not Gregson and Bell as "Not Bell". Lampshaded in "All in the Family". Holmes and Watson dismiss the cops they've been working with since Bell moved to the Demographics unit as a series of "bad dates".
- Meaningful Name: He shares his last name with Dr. Joseph Bell, the inspiration for the original Sherlock Holmes.
- Mr. Fanservice: Bell is put into several tight-fitting shirts in "Details". Fandom was very happy indeed.
- Mythology Gag: His name could be a reference to Joseph Bell, a doctor that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked for and loosely based Sherlock Holmes on.
Played by: Vinnie Jones
A legendary and exceedingly efficient Serial Killer
who has crossed paths with Holmes before.
- Fate Worse Than Death: His suicide attempt caused him to be stuck on comatose on a very delicate stage and zero chances of waking up.
- Genius Bruiser: All of his crimes are perfectly calculated, and he is a frighteningly strong man. Subverted in that his crimes were paid assassinations and as such, were not necessarily calculated by him.
- Still, even if the planning wasn't from him, his instructions included breaking in to his victims' homes while carrying a large tripod device, and after killing his victims, he has to leave carrying the tripod and the victim's body, all without being seen. This would not be an easy thing to do. Yet he did it successfully three dozen times. Moriarty picked the right man for the job.
- He's also able to decode Moriarty's last message entirely in his head.
- Hero Killer: Subverted. Turns out he didn't kill Irene Adler. He still fits the type of character, however.
- Not Me This Time: As noted above, he insists that he was in prison when Irene Adler was murdered. Holmes soon verifies that he's telling the truth.
- Obfuscating Insanity: Holmes fully believes he is faking his madness. He's completely right.
Played by: F. Murray Abraham
- Attention Whore: When he's caught, he doesn't bother asking for a lawyer. He just quite eagerly spills his guts about every job he's ever done, happy to finally have an audience.
- Weak, but Skilled: He's a scholarly old man with no evidence of any advanced combat training. He's also a successful assassin with an effective and uniquely subtle M.O.
Click here to see Moriarty. Massive spoilers, obviously.
Played by: Natalie Dormer
Moran's Mysterious Backer
. Sherlock's new nemesis and the one responsible for the death of Irene Adler, Sherlock's ex-lover from when he was in London.
- Adaptational Badass: As portrayals of Irene Adler go, she even outclasses The BBC's version in this regard. That version managed to "bring the country of England to its knees", but she was ultimately still a minor villain compared to Moriarty. This version is Moriarty.
- Adaptational Villainy: Moriarty holds an aspect the original one never did. In the original stories, Irene was nothing more than an unusually clever opera singer who happened to get her hands on a compromising photograph, and was smart enough to prevent Holmes from stealing it back. Here, she's a persona deliberately created by her true identity, Moriarty, to seduce and fool Holmes.
- Arch-Enemy: Naturally, what with being Sherlock Holmes' iconic nemesis. However, this version of Moriarty has a more personal connection to Holmes than just being his rival. In addition to being a criminal mastermind, she also seduced him with a false persona, causing the reveal of her true nature to hit him close to home.
- Badass: Spectacularly managed to outwit and manipulate Sherlock Holmes himself. Then there's "The Diabolical Kind", where she escapes from prison and personally murders her daughter's kidnappers.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Has a nice selection of them to choose from depending on mood.
- Badass Boast: Delivers a chilling one to Sherlock in the first season finale:
Moriarty: I would never kill you. Not in a million years. You may not be as unique as you thought, darling, but you're still a work of art. I appreciate art. But, what I can do - what I will do - is hurt you. Worse than I did before. I have reserves of creativity I haven't even begun to tap. So please, for your own good, let me win.
- Bad Boss: Don't stop being useful to Moriarty; death by sniper rifle is the least painful retirement plan. Even then, being useful is no guarantee. See We Have Reserves below.
- Beneath the Mask: Moriarty reveals to Sherlock she is Irene, his love interest.
- Big Bad: Of Season 1.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Moriarty can play up a facade of a friendly, people person who is actually a ruthless criminal.
- Blondes Are Evil: This Moriarty is blonde and quite evil, vicious, and diabolical.
- Broken Pedestal: To Holmes. As Irene, he saw her as an exceptional woman, calling her "the one who eclipses the whole of her gender". The reveal that Irene was really Moriarty nearly broke him.
- Brutal Honesty: Subverted. In a flashback conversation between Irene and Sherlock in "The Woman", he praises her honesty towards people. In "Heroine" he finds out that she was lying about everything.
- Cardboard Prison: Moriarty revealed capable of breaking out of her prison with ease when the time comes. She even tells her warden how many ways she has planned to get out.
- Character Shilling: Sherlock gives high praise of Irene to everyone he meets, calling her the one who eclipses the whole of her gender, but when we see her through flashbacks, she is (seemingly) just a normal painter trying to live her life.
- The Chessmaster: Orchestrated hundreds of murders, which occurred over the span of years without being discovered.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: One possible way to explain Moriarty's animosity with Watson. When Moriarty learned that their partnership was Sherlock's idea, Moriarty was visibly upset about it. She then proclaimed to Watson that she was the only one Holmes could ever relate to.
- Complexity Addiction: Moriarty seems to suffer from this, especially when she is focused on Sherlock. She could've killed him years ago, but insisted on studying him, creating a whole new identity for this and messing with his head for years. The simple fact that she can't stop with the abuse and the mind-games are what allowed Watson to send her to jail.
- Composite Character: In this version, Moriarty is revealed to be playing the role of Irene Adler to get close to Sherlock.
- Consummate Liar: Half the things Moriarty says are lies. This criminal can speak truths, one just needs to look carefully at the words and actions.
- Cultured Badass: Always enjoyed dressing in nice suits and eat at fancy restaurants.
- Damsel in Distress:Subverted. At first we think Irene has been traumatized and held captive by Moriarty for months but turns out that she was Moriarty and was the one planning everything.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Well, she deliberately created a whole new identity knowing Sherlock's reactions to certain narrative devices just to fuck with his mind. Also, her methods of planning assassinations fit this trope as well.
- Dating Catwoman: Irene was Holmes' ex-girlfriend in London. Seduced him to study his intelligence and methods and then destroyed him.
- Despair Gambit: What she did to Sherlock before the events of Season 1 certainly qualifies. It becomes even more complex when she was both the mastermind who crafted the gambit and the loved person who had to die to destroy him.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Loves to plan out various gambits that can be truly destructive and personally profitable. In the end of season 1 Moriarty was willing to cause a huge international interest to get a windfall on a currency bet.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Sherlock Holmes ruins her plans? It's time to create a whole new persona, seduce him, live with him for a while until you fake your own death and leads the man to despair and heroin addiction.
- Dumb Blonde: Averted. Moriarty is actually smarter than Holmes and just stays behind of, surprisingly, Watson.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Everything Moriarty assumes about Watson and her partnership with Sherlock in "Heroine" and in "The Diabolical Kind" is wrong.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Averted. Moriarty kills men, women, elderly people and a child without feeling remorse and doesn't hesitate before killing employees or deliberately ruining loved one's lives.
- Evil Brit: Moriarty comes from Britain.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: She fails to understand the complexity of Sherlock and Joan's friendship, even implying that Joan is sexually attracted to Sherlock, and underestimates Joan's abilities. Joan's impartial view about the whole mess allows her to see further and deduce Moriarty's motivations. When Moriarty is captured she is pretty surprised by this.
- In "The Diabolical Kind" she tries to comprehend goodness and feelings, but fails.
- Evil Costume Switch/Woman in Black: After her identity reveal, Irene starts wearing exclusively black, likely an indicator of her 'dark' side finally revealed to Holmes.
- Evil Is Petty: Her behavior not only includes major acts of villainy, but she's also an utter dick. Her rudeness, her racist and dismissive slurs towards Watson, the poor treatment she disposes for her employees, her pleasure in starting interpersonal conflict just for fun, mocking Holmes for his drug addiction, being a douche to all the other villains, etc.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: As Irene, she used to always wear her hair down. After The Reveal that she's Moriarty, her hair is either done up in structural hairstyles in a ponytail. And then when she tries to seduce Sherlock again, in the end of "Heroine", she goes back to Irene's hair.
- Faking the Dead: Moriarty planned and faked her own death because she knew how this would affect Holmes and be good for her plans.
- Fatal Flaw: She constantly underestimates Watson, to the point where she still does it even after underestimating Watson results in her being exposed and jailed, as shown by the fact that she never even considered the idea that their partnership was Sherlock's idea.
- Faux Affably Evil: Can act kind and friendly, but it is always an act.
- Fauxreigner: Moriarty pretends to be an American when meeting with Sherlock at one point. Dormer gets to use her real accent after the reveal.
- Feet-First Introduction: The first image we see of her is a closeup of her bare foot with red paint on it.
- First Name Basis: The only person Holmes calls by first name consistently, at least until "The Woman".
- Foil: For Sherlock and for Watson, in different ways. Sherlock and Moriarty share the genius, the personality and the sensitivity, but while Sherlock is good and somewhat naive, Moriarty is evil and unscrupulous.
- In "The Woman/Heroine" we see how Watson and Moriarty are opposite sides of a coin. While Watson is kind, selfless, rebuilds lives and shows to Sherlock the true meaning of friendship, Moriarty is evil, selfish, destructive and can't truly understand the meaning of love. In "We Are Everyone", Sherlock, Joan and Moriarty are contrasted to each other (and related at the same time) in the final scene of the episode. While Joan encourages Sherlock to open himself and let other people know him, Moriarty continues to suggest that she remains the only person who can truly know him.
- Fragile Flower: In "The Woman", a traumatized Irene is the epitome of this trope. Subverted after by the end. It was just acting.
- Gender Flip: One of the twists to this version.
- Genre Motif: In the flashbacks of "The Woman", everytime Sherlock meets her, a soft and romantic piano song starts playing.
- The Ghost: Sherlock had absolutely nothing on Moriarty, whose true identity was unknown... for a while.
- The Voice: We have only heard his voice through a phone call, but no visuals. Turns out that it was only one of her hitmen.
- Gone Horribly Right: Moriarty's plan to fake her death and as such distract Sherlock enough to stop ruining Moriarty's plans. He spirals into drugs instead, which is not what she anticipated—after all, you don't ruin a perfectly good work of art like Holmes.
- Honey Trap: To Sherlock. After he unknowingly foiled several plans, she seduced him to get close enough to study him, then faked her murder to distract him so she could go about her other plans without his interference.
- Insufferable Genius: A truly brilliant mind but odds are Moriarty will repeatedly rub this aspect in people's faces with that small smug smirk on the face.
- Irony/Laser-Guided Karma: Says that people underestimate women, which has proven useful. Calls Watson "a mascot" and underestimates her in a meeting. Few hours later, Watson is the one who solves her and plans her capture. Holmes mentions it: "She solved you. The mascot. Watson." Moriarty leaves the scene in tears.
- It's All About Me:
- Even her concern over Sherlock in the finale is structured on selfish reasons. She doesn't care about his well-being and still continues to threaten him.
- In "The Diabolical Kind" she gets furious because her henchmen had the nerve to kidnap her daughter.
- It's Personal: Instead of just killing Sherlock as planned, Moriarty dropped her initial plans to murder him, seduced him to understand his methods and his brain and became obsessed with him. Then she faked her own death knowing he would be devastated and even after everything still messed with him just because she wanted to see how he would react.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Even though she somehow cares for Sherlock... in the end she is a very arrogant person, a proud sociopath and obsessed with Holmes to the point of ruining his entire life and career without feeling remorse.
- Kick the Dog: From "Heroine", she directly mocks Sherlock's addiction and uses it to humiliate him.
- Lack of Empathy: Moriarty doesn't care for anyone's feelings and just wants to get the job done. Not even the fact that she has feelings for Sherlock helps it. She tries to coldly manipulate him after his overdose in "Heroine" for selfish reasons and doesn't give a damn about his mental health after everything she did to him.
- In "The Diabolical Kind" she refrains from killing her guard because it would have looked bad to Sherlock. She asks him if caring how other people perceived him is what keeps him grounded.
- Last Name Basis: We don't learn her first name, Jamie, until the second season episode "We Are Everyone".
- Letting Her Hair Down: As a result of the Expository Hairstyle Change.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Was this for Holmes before becoming a Broken Pedestal. Her "death" induced his drug habits.
- Love Interest: Invoked as a way of getting close to Holmes.
- Luxury Prison Suite: After being arrested, she's able to manipulate the British and American governments by offering off information. She's kept in an warehouse, where's she allowed a newspaper, and arts supplies.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Contracts several hitmen to make the murders look like the works of serial killers or freak accidents when they are actually financially motivated assassinations.
- Mama Bear: "The Diabolical Kind" reveals that she has a young daughter, who is kidnapped by one of her former henchmen. Because of this, she escapes from her prison, hunts down and murders the henchman and his team, while still bleeding out from cutting her wrists to short circuit her handcuffs. It's left ambiguous as to whether she truly feels anything beyond superficial concern for the girl or if she's trying to manipulate Sherlock again.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed. Irene is first introduced as an optimistic, sexual, beautiful, artsy and quirky woman who showed a bright side of life to Holmes. It doesn't last. Her "death" led Holmes to addiction and destroyed his life and career in London. Just to get better, two years later Holmes discovers that she was faking everything and "Irene" never existed at all. Her persona was meticulously constructed by herself to fool Holmes and push him away from her plans.
- Manipulative Bastard: Oh so much. Moriarty knows how to push people into doing things they wouldn't do normally. Such as getting Holmes to give Moran the order "Kill yourself or I kill your sister".
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: To the point where she willingly returns to prison at the end of "The Diabolical Kind", despite having the opportunity to escape. She tells Sherlock that she doesn't want to live like a fugitive, especially when she'll be free soon enough.
- Minor Major Character: Apart from being the Big Bad of the show, Moriarty appears virtually in 4 episodes out of 36, and in one only as a voice-over.
- Mythology Gag: As in "Valley of Fear", it is observed that Irene keeps a painting he/she could not possibly afford legally prominently displayed for anyone to see. Holmes identifies it upon sight, implying that most people would just think it's a reconstruction. Fans who realized this knew Irene Adler was Moriarty a good 45 minutes before the ultimate reveal.
- Also, her full name is Jamie Moriarty, which reflects the original's full name James Moriarty.
- Mysterious Backer: To Moran and Daniel Gottlieb.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Save for personally shooting Isaac Proctor, all of Moriarty's crimes are done simply by pulling the strings. In "The Diabolical Kind" she averts this by going out personally to handle her daughter's kidnappers.
- Not So Different: "Do you know why you're so drawn to narcotics? Because you're in near constant pain. [...] I know what that's like, Sherlock. Only me."
- Not So Stoic: In "The Diabolical Kind", when her kidnapped daughter is put on the phone she displays visible anger, which is how Watson figures out that something is not right.
- Obfuscating Insanity: As Irene, she fakes PTSD and amnesia to keep Sherlock busy taking care of her.
- Offstage Villainy: Few things seen in the episodes are done by Moriarty.
- Out-Gambitted: By Watson in "Heroine".
- Plot-Triggering Death: Moriarty's arranging Irene's death turned Sherlock into drug addiction, lead him to get fired by Scotland Yard and run away from New York, get drug treatment and meet Watson.
- Pragmatic Villainy: She sees no need to escape from prison and become a fugitive. She's content to just sit back and wait for the corruption of the world to just secure her release.
- Samus is a Girl: One of the twists.
- Slouch of Villainy: Moriarty and Holmes' confrontation in the Brownstone has a bleeding Holmes on the floor and Moriarty casually on a chair.
- Smug Smiler: Had the typical smirk on the face nearly all the time.
- The Sociopath: This version of Moriarty personifies every single aspect of this trope with a more personal and realistic approach. Moriarty blackmails and kills her/his own employees, manipulates people just for fun, don't even think twice before ruining anyone's life and uses outright violence without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: So far, Moriarty hasn't gone above a normal speaking volume.
- The Stoic: Her real personality.
- Stuffed In The Fridge: Invoked and deconstructed. She fakes her death and counts on Sherlock's guilt to incapacitate him, and thus distract him from her actual plans. It works better than she expected.
- This Is Unforgivable!: How Joan reacts to Moriarty's abusive and manipulative behavior in "The Diabolical Kind" and directly warns Sherlock that "she's never gonna change".
- Too Clever by Half: Her own scheme to put Sherlock away led him to his drug addiction and she is truly surprised and sorry for that. Also, her arrogance and extreme self-confidence makes Watson - the one who she underestimated - able to defeat her and send her to the jail while her 2 billion dollars earned in an assassination are recovered.
- Two Aliases, One Character: Irene is Moriarty.
- Villain Has a Point: Moriarty may be a criminal, but it's hard to argue with her reasons for giving up her daughter for adoption. As she points out, a criminal mastermind does not make an ideal mother.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Well, after all, she is a top art restorer respected in Europe.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: Has a very warped obsession with Holmes, who she views as a work of art she would like to possess. And then, in Season 2, she develops one for Watson as well, to the point of painting her face from memory.
- Walking Spoiler: Just look how much of this entry is in spoiler tags.
- We Have Reserves: Deliberately sets up two highly efficient assassins, who've each killed over 30 people on Moriarty's orders, to get caught by Holmes and will have any henchmen killed who failed or who have outlived their usefulness.
- Wicked Cultured
- Woman in White: In Moriarty's first appearance, she is all dressed in white. Her hair is white-blonde and the WHOLE room is white.
- Worthy Opponent: To Holmes for actions done in London. And has developed a wariness of Watson for not being as dumb as initially thought.
- Woman Of Wealth And Taste: A true trait of Moriarty's personality.
Played by: Rhys Ifans
Sherlock's brother, with whom Sherlock has a strained and contentious relationship.
Played by: Ato Essandoh
- Hidden Depths: Alfredo initially appears like the least likely person to be a sponsor (and his appearance has hindered him before from being one) but as his meeting with Joan and later Sherlock shows, he is a very patient and supportive person.
- Mentor Archetype: Subverted; Alfredo is Sherlock's sponsor and is teaching Joan lock picking, but Sherlock picked him out as a sponsor specifically because he defied a more clean-cut stereotype.
- Only Sane Man: Teaches Joan lock-picking, but freaks out when she goes to use said skills with the suspect dangerously close by.
- Reformed Criminal: He's a former car thief who now works as a security consultant for car companies.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Holmes in "Dead Man's Switch".
Played by: Candis Cayne
A former 'professional muse' friend of Sherlock's who worked with him on several cases. Becomes official housekeeper at the end of her introductory episode.
- Bookworm: Taught her self Ancient Greek and is familiar with most if not all the authors in Sherlock's library due to being able to rank their works by intellectual rigeur.
- Dumb Blonde: Subverted; Ms. Hudson taught herself Ancient Greek and she's good at it.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's very nurturing and kind hearted.
- Hotter and Sexier: Not your grandfather's Mrs. Hudson, she; the second most predominant comment after what a positive example of trans representation she is has almost always been "Hello, nurse!"
- The Mistress/The Muse: Ms. Hudson's official job description is "professional muse", but she's referred to by Sherlock and herself as a kept woman. She gives up being one by the end of "Snow Angels".
- Smarter Than You Look: Ms. Hudson is shown to be very clever and resourceful. She's entirely self-taught in Ancient Greek and is skilled enough to make a fire by herself, the latter due to earning a merit badge for it.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's pretty much the same height as Sherlock.
- Super OCD: Conjectures that she has a "touch of OCD" that flares up after bad break-ups, leading to her cleaning the entirety of Holmes' and Watson's apartment.
- She organizes Sherlock's library alphabetically by author in descending order of intellectual rigeur.
- Transsexual: Downplayed; after a single confirming remark about her having an Adam's apple and a reference to Boy Scouts, her status as trans is never mentioned again, allowing for a focus on her as a human being rather than a stereotype.
An old tortoise Sherlock brings home from a crime scene after its original owner was murdered.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Sherlock spends some time to comment on how Clyde will most likely outlive him and Watson.
- Cool Pet/Team Pet: Instead of eating him, Sherlock decided to adopt him.
- Eat the Dog: Sherlock initially claims he's taken Clyde home with him with the intention of turning him into turtle soup.
- Turtle Power: He's adopted by Joan and Sherlock after his owner is murdered. Sherlock thinks he makes a good paperweight and a good ambulance.
A group of well-meaning friends who are skeptical of Joan's interactions with Holmes and worried how it's affecting her life.
- Happily Married: Two members in the group have been together since their college days.
- With Friends Like These...: While well-meaning, they often don't take Joan's feelings into consideration when setting her up without her knowledge and staging an intervention when they think Sherlock is manipulating her.
Played by: Sean Pertwee
- The Alcoholic: He's often seen drinking from a flask.
- Attention Whore: Deconstructed. Lestrade's a good detective, but he wants the fame more that comes from solving high-profile cases. He was disgraced and practically laughed off the force when one case blew up in his face. He falls back into his fame hungry ways after Sherlock solves the case.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Invoked, you could say. Lestrade's dressing varies according to his ego: When he's feeling depressed and moopy, he dresses plainly, when he's feeling more confident and badass (or wants to feel confident and badass) he dresses in a sharp suit.
- Break the Haughty: When Sherlock left him, it did a real number on his career. Got even worse when Sherlock left again. He was reduced to being a glorified pimp, which severely damaged his already fragile self esteem.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Zig-zagged. He is eccentric, but he is not nearly as skilled as Sherlock and far more arrogant. But we later see he does have some genuine skill to himself, eccentricities apart.
- Cowboy Cop: He's not afraid to resort to use force or dirty tactics when on a case.
- Deconstruction: This Lestrade is a deconstruction of the Holmes/Lestrade relationship as depicted in Conan Doyle's earlier stories where Holmes openly despised Lestrade, but let him take all the credit for Holmes' success. The show's Lestrade shows just how damaging and enabling such a relationship would be to Lestrade, especiallly when the secret to Lestrade's success (Holmes) suddenly went away when Holmes fell into drug adiction, leaving Lestrade still craving the limelight, but without the skills needed to actually get it.
- Further deconstructed when it shows that Holmes' criticism of him takes his toll as he truly believes that he is worthless without his help.
- Drunk with Power: His issue with working with Sherlock. The fame got to his head.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's capable of a lot of morally shady things, but in "The One Percent Solution" we learn that covering up a murder isn't one of them.
- Fallen Hero: He once was a decent detective but the spotlight from "solving" the cases caused him to get a big ego and when Sherlock fell into his drug issues, the facade fell and Lestrade was taken down with Sherlock.
- Great Detective: Desperately wants to be one.
- Guttural Growler: His typical style of speech.
- Heel Realization: In "The One Percent Solution", he realizes his wrongdoings.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Non-lethal variation. The fact he willingly sacrifices his (high-paying, well-respected) job to catch a murderer instills great respect in Holmes and Watson.
- He's Back: In-Universe when at the end of "Ears To You", he manages to return to being a excellent detective on his own.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Despite boasting a massive ego, he is terribly insecure about himself, convinced that he is nothing without Sherlock.
- Inspector Lestrade: The man himself, though Watson notes that he must be somewhat effective at his job, since Holmes refused to work with several other Scotland Yard inspectors before agreeing to work with Lestrade.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Lestrade took credit for Sherlock's work for years, then ignored all Sherlock's attempts to help him and at the end of "Step Nine" took advantage of Sherlock's wit again.
- Took a Level in Badass: His sub-plot in "Ears To You" shows he's actually become quite clever.
- Took a Level in Kindness: The events of "The One Percent Solution" display more of his good qualities. And across the episodes he admits his faults and becomes a much better person.
Played by: Keri Matchett
A former lover and protégée of Sherlock back in London. Works as a profiler and has a dubious character about her work.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Kathryn believes that the father of Martin Ennis has sexually abused him, but she didn't have concrete evidence to show that he did it, so she paid off Ennis' neighbor to make up a lie.
- Working with the Ex: Was Sherlock's lover in London a few years before and worked with him on "The Deductionist".
Anne Barker/Abigail Spencer
Played by: Laura Benanti
Introduced in episode four of season two, "Poison Pen," she is the nanny for the victim of the week, Titus Delancey. She was also Sherlock's only friend during his time at boarding school. After she was put on trial for murdering her father, she became Sherlock's pen pal. She gained a new identity and became a nanny for the Delancey family. Eventually she takes the fall for Titus' murder in order to protect the real murderer, his son Graham.
- Abusive Parents: It led to her murdering her father.
- Break the Cutie: Nothing seems to go right for her and things go from bad to worse.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The climax of "Poison Pen" can be interpreted this way. Graham kills his father for sexually abusing him, then frames Abigail, who killed her own abusive father but was acquitted for it. She confesses to the murder because she doesn't want Graham's life to be ruined the way her own father's trial ruined her life.
- Only Friend: To Sherlock when they were teenagers. He was bullied a lot during his time at boarding school and beaten up on a regular basis. Her letters were the only good thing from that time.
- Trauma Conga Line: She was horribly abused by her father and accused of his murder. After the trial, she got a new identity only for her new identity to become exposed. She then takes the fall for the murder of her employer to protect his son, who had been abused by his father sexually.
- You Are Not Alone: When she meets Sherlock in person she tells him how much his letters meant to her. It was really the only thing that got her through such a hard time. Sherlock also confesses to Joan how much Abigail's friendship meant to him.
Played by: Ophelia Lovibond
Introduced in the season 3 premiere, she is Sherlock's new protégé. Holmes met her in London when he was working for MI6
; he realized she had the potential to become a Great Detective
and they solved several cases together. When he returned to New York, he brought Kitty with him.
- Action Girl: Sherlock taught her single stick fighting, though she still can't beat Joan.
- Brutal Honesty: Even more so than Sherlock, sometimes to Jerkass levels. However, she has a Freudian Excuse, and she gets better as the series progresses.
- Dark and Troubled Past/Rape as Backstory: She was a victim of sexual abuse, although the details haven't been revealed yet. Part of the reason she came to New York was to make a new start. This is not far off from her counterpart in canon.
- Hates Being Touched: When Bell tries to direct her away from a tripping hazard, she pulls herself away from him forcibly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her abrasive manner, she gradually emerges as one of these.
- Replacement Goldfish: After Watson left him, Sherlock decided that his true calling is as a mentor to budding detectives, resulting in his taking on a new student and putting her through all the same things as Joan.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: One of her skills. She follows Joan for a long time before Joan realizes it.