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Note that while we've tried to keep all spoilers marked, due to the nature of Elementary 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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Main Characters

    Sherlock Holmes
"I am smarter than everyone I meet."
Played by: Jonny Lee Miller

Watson: You know, for a genius you can be a real nimrod.

A Londoner 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.

  • Adaptational Jerkass: As is often the case with Holmes adaptions. The books' Holmes was hardly warm but would generally be polite with others unless given reason to be otherwise. Elementary's Sherlock is usually rude and callous with almost everyone but the actually traumatised.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Starting partway through season 2, Sherlock frequently finds himself needing information buried somewhere on the Internet or accessible only to master hackers. The hacker collective Everyone will get it for him for a price: self-humiliation. Sherlock has done everything from standing on a street corner asking people to punch him to writing an academic paper about The Twilight Saga to singing along to Frozen (2013) in a prom dress. Sherlock doesn't even blink at their requests.
  • All There in the Manual/Shown Their Work: His heroin addiction as explicitly stated on page one of The Sign of the Four.
  • 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.
  • Aw, 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. Unlike most incarnations of the character, Sherlock is shown to repeatedly study the subjects that he mentions.
  • Bad Liar: He turns into a sheet of cellophane whenever Watson's around.
  • Batman Gambit: Has pulled off quite a few of these to catch criminals. For example:
    • In "The Rat Race", he gets kidnapped by the killer and convinces her that Watson will keep texting and notify the police if she doesn't hear from him. The killer sends Watson a text from his phone, telling her that he's fine and heading back and he'll see her soon. Watson realizes that Sherlock didn't send the message, because he normally messages, as she put it, "like a teenager on a sugar high," using odd abbreviations, like CUS instead of "See you soon." After tracing his phone and saving him, Sherlock reveals that he planned all of that.
  • 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 during the first season.
    • 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.
    • In "Alma Matters" he finds out someone tried to frame him for an attempt on his father's life. He takes this very personally. Not the attempted assassination of his father, but that someone would smear his reputation in doing so.
    • A more low key one is his fondness for bees extending to having extreme contempt for people whose practices would harm them, especially as regards Colony Collapse Disorder.
    • He retains his literary inspiration's distaste for blackmail.
    • He detests bullies and abusers. One episode has him deduce that a prospective client's son is struggling due to the effects of physical abuse from the father. Holmes then punches the man in the face before agreeing to take his case.
  • 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.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: During an AA meeting he admits that he turned to drugs to deal with the overstimulation caused by the modern era's constant flow of information. He theorises that if he'd lived in a quieter time period, such as the Victorian era, then he wouldn't have needed the drugs to cope.
  • 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. And when he's called in to help Asshole Victims, particularly Corrupt Corporate Executives or abusers, he lets them know exactly what he thinks of them.
  • 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, although they all eventually become friends again.
  • Byronic Hero: Though this version of the character is at the absolute light end of this trope.
  • Carpet of Virility: This Sherlock has a chest full of hair, and is a lot more sexually inclined than previous versions.
  • 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.
  • Child Hater: It's not outright hatred but he's visibly uncomfortable with children, something that is implied to be caused by his own unhappy childhood. His reaction to seeing Watson look at a picture of a mother and her baby is a disdainful "who's the breeder?", and when Kitty brings her son to meet him he gets a look on a face that she describes as "like I'd brought a giant spider into his house." Subverted in the latter case - it wasn't the kid he had a problem with, it was that she had had a child and not bothered to tell him until now, which he interpreted as her not seeing him as a friend anymore.
    • He seems to have softened with this: in season six when he discovers Watson has been seriously considering becoming a mother (by adopting), he fully supports her on it and plainly states he would "lay down his life for him or her (the child)" as he would do for Watson. And in the first episode of season seven, Sherlock is seen spending time with Kitty's son Archie, rather cheerfully treating him to ice cream in the morning. Of course these could all just be exceptions.
  • 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.
    • As revealed later, this was completely intentional
  • 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 King: 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.
  • Dented Iron: Years of drug abuse, martial arts and getting beaten up by criminals eventually take their toll resulting in his developing Post-Concussion Syndrome at the end of the fifth season.
  • 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.
    • He comes close to crossing it again in London when he is fired from his now job and his aspiring protogé Kitty walked out on him, but he was saved when Kitty returned.
  • 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.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation:
    • Sherlock's drug usage from the books is referenced and is in fact a major part of his character. At the start of the series he's recovering from heroin addiction. Joan starts out as his Sober Companion.
    • Sherlock ends up diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, Post-concussion syndrome to be specific.
  • 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.
    • Alistair offers a different interpretation; that Sherlock has friends but that being his friend is an on-again, off-again affair, that he'll show up when he needs something then vanish but the experience is worthwhile while it lasts. Joan is effectively Sherlock's first full-time friend.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Sherlock used several in the beginning of the show when he was still fresh out of rehab.
  • Genius Bruiser: His genius credentials are obvious and he also stays in very good shape and regularly trains in various forms of self-defense.
  • 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.
    • He also generally had a slovenly appearance early in the series, often wearing unwashed Fun T-Shirts as regular attire. This toned down considerably with his Character Development, to the extent where he is almost always a Sharp-Dressed Man in later episodes. While he continues to make messes related to his work at the brownstone, he also seems much tidier than he used to be, and his messes are typically cleaned up within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Glass Cannon: After his diagnose with post-concussion syndrome, Holmes notes at least once that it would be dangerous for him to take further blows, so while he can still defend himself in a fight he can’t let himself get into one.
  • 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.
    • A Discussed Trope in "On the Line". After a conflict with Watson thanks to his bad behavior, Sherlock finally says that he is not a nice man and that's not going to change. Watson says he's already changed, but he denies it, claiming that 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.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: After Sherlock realised that his father had survived an assassination attempt recently, he confronted his father about it; believing that Morland hadn't told him about the attempt because he thought Sherlock was behind the attempt, Sherlock observes that his father can be sure he didn't do it because Morland is still alive.
  • 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: Consulting detective. Not private 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.
  • In the Blood: Morland reveals to Sherlock that his mother was also an addict. Sherlock is stunned, but concludes that she isn't responsible for her own actions.
  • 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 as being about or at least related 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.
  • Lack of Empathy: Subverted. His sensory "gifts" allowing him to deduce the lives (and hardships) of people around him actually cause him to suffer from too much empathy, and he willfully tries to lack empathy in order to protect himself from the anguish this brings him.
  • Ladykiller in Love: He has almost no romantic inclinations and generally views sex as a purely physical act akin to exercise. The vast majority of women he "dates" are fine with this. Irene Adler was the one woman who made him reconsider.
  • Last of His Kind: As of the series finale he's the only remaining member of the Holmes family after his father is murdered by Odin Reichenbach.
  • 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. After what happened with Irene, well, it's understandable.
  • 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 episode, nearly cries twice in "M.", nearly cries again in "Dead Man's Switch" and finally cries out loud in "Risk Management". And then there's the moment where he discovers Irene is alive...
  • The Mentor: To Watson in the art of deduction.
  • Missing Mom: With all the talk about Sherlock's father, there was never any mention of his mother until Season 4, when we find out she's been dead for years.
  • Momma's Boy: Turns out he was very close to his mom when she was still alive. Apparently, she was the only parent who could control him.
  • Motor Mouth: Once he gets going on details on a case.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Gets a few shirtless scenes and workout scenes to show off his ripped physique.
  • My Greatest Failure: In Season 6, he blames himself for not immediately realizing that Michael Rowan was a Serial Killer, even though he admits that his detective skills were temporarily diminished due to the injuries Shinwell gave him during a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • 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 hates having to tap it because it generally means he then owes his father.
    • In "Blood Is Thicker", we see that he only touched his trust fund to pay Watson's salary after she stopped being his sober companion.
  • 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."
    • And even with all that, he doesn't consider himself an olfactory 'expert'; one of his Irregular network is an old man known affectionately as 'the Nose', who Holmes contacts when dealing with cases where he requires a more detailed scent analysis than what he is capable of, or at least seeks a second opinion.
  • 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.
  • Odd Name Out: Sherlock is the only Holmes whose name starts with an S in the otherwise Alliterative Family of M's.
  • Off the Wagon: He relapses and uses heroin at the end of the third season after being forced to spend extended time with his "friend" Oscar. He gets clean during the break between seasons and is determined not to let it happen again. After a Time Skip in the Grand Finale he reveals to Gregson that he relapsed again while he was in hiding. His fear of doing so for a third time is why he's stayed away from Joan and her son.
  • 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.
  • Perma-Stubble: He has facial hair always just short of a beard.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Lampshaded by Sebastian Moran in "A Landmark Story".
  • Pet the Dog: As harsh as Sherlock can be, he does seem to sympathize with those who are less fortunate.
    • In "Rat Race", while at one of the city's most expensive restaurants, he notices a couple sitting nearby and deduces that the man had to save up to get to eat there and that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend. He orders the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu and sends it over as "congratulations or condolences."
    • In "Snow Angels" he and Watson meet a homeless vet who has been selling new model cell phones that were stolen. After he tells them that he found the phones in the dumpster, Holmes pays him for his information, advises him that the people in the neighborhood they were in would pay even more than he was originally charging for the phones, and leaves the phones with him, explaining to Watson, "The thieves don't care about them; why should we?" Sherlock also gives the vet some some money for a hotel room during the forthcoming blizzard, a scene invoked improvised by Jonny Lee Miller.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Watson. They are good friends and come to be reliable, inseparable partners. Sherlock even declares that they love each other. However the nature of that ‘love’ isn’t romantic in the slightest.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: An unusual example since his behaviour isn't based on outdated mores but on what he considers to be cutting-edge science - for instance, at one point he tells Watson to go to bed because studies have shown that women need more sleep than men do. note 
  • 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.
  • Recovered Addict: Sherlock is a recovering heroin addict and Joan Watson was originally his live-in sober companion before becoming his protoge, then partner, then 'quit' to start her own private investigation business.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The passionate red oni to Watson's composed blue oni.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Surprisingly averted for this interpretation of Sherlock Holmes; where most iterations of Holmes are skilled investigators while suffering from comparatively limited social skills, Sherlock has managed to maintain a small but significant social network, including regular sexual partners. This may be attributed to the existence of the 'Irregulars' in this adaptation; rather than Holmes's spies on the street, this version of the Irregulars are various experts in certain fields, such as mathematics or meteorology, who Holmes consults when his existing knowledge on these subjects is inadequate for the current case, allowing him to avoid needing to 'specialise' to the same extent as other versions of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Shameless Fanservice Guy: He's definitely not shy about his Shirtless Scenes. Or his interest in bondage, for that matter (though he claims in the first episode that should Watson find a gimp mask, he's only holding that for a friend). He's also not shy about things he considers fanservice, in particular his pen pal (with whom he writes erotic letters) and openly hoping that Watson's tensions with a female friend are because of a "failed Sapphic dalliance".
  • 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: It can be hard to tell when Holmes is actually analyzing and when he's just zoned out, 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 when or why he took it off.
  • Sibling Rivalry: With Mycroft. It only gets worse after he discovers Watson slept with Mycroft.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Not frequently seen, but he has regular games with Eugene the medical examiner. Shinwell Johnson was apparently good enough at chess to be a hustler, but Sherlock still defeats him pretty easily.
  • 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 of saying jerkoffs or wankers), 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 she was someone he could trust.
  • Strange Cop in a Strange Land: An English detective operating in New York.
  • Strictly Professional Relationship: In "Step Nine", Sherlock uses this several times to justify to himself why he and Watson can't sleep together.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He is tall, dark-haired and he snarks.
  • Tantrum Throwing: When he is frustrated or unable to find a solution for a case, he tends to throw things around the Brownstone or find something to break, blow up, bounce, smash or hit.
  • Tattoo Conceals Scars: The episode "Flight Risk" reveals that Sherlock has a tattoo on his wrist to cover up a scar from a childhood injury caused by him falling and breaking a bone so badly it stuck out from his skin.
  • That Man Is Dead: In a variation, Holmes regards his addict self as a different person, one that he's glad to be rid of.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: His character development in Season 2 surprisingly leads to this.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: When it comes to Watson, and recognized by both of them in-universe.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he's very upset, personally or morally, he talks with quiet, deliberate acidity.
    Sherlock: I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm not calm. I am merely presenting a calm exterior. Inside, I am roiling.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Courtesy of Jamie Moriarty before the beginning of Season 1 and it only gets worse.
  • Troll: Sherlock frequents an online forum for conspiracy theorists and has been known to make up conspiracies out of whole cloth. Also trolls Watson into believing that he's going to make Clyde the Tortoise into soup.
    • What are his plans one night? Engaging in flame wars. It's for a case. Honest!
      Joan: So you plan on arguing on the internet all night?
      Sherlock: Yes.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He is a recovering heroin addict with some nasty depths, but he cares deeply for people despite his snarky oddball behaviour.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Sherlock is happy to share his wealth with others.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In Moriarty's plan for killing Moran in "A Landmark Story".
  • Verbal Tic: A short affirming "Hm?" during an explanation of something he's deduced, as if he's magnanimously deigning to acknowledge the lesser intellects of his audience. Sometimes other characters pick it up during their own explanations.
  • Waistcoat of Style: One of Sherlock's standbys for attire.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gets this a lot, especially from Watson and Gregson, usually accompanied by one "The Reason You Suck" Speech.

    Joan Watson (née Yun)
"I'm gonna do you the favor of believing you're just an idiot."
Played by: Lucy Liu
Dubbed by: Atsuko Tanaka (Japanese)

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 becomes this.
  • Adaptational Badass: The literary Watson was far from stupid but he never managed to develop into a skilled detective in his own right.
  • Adaptational Wimp: To start with, since the original Dr. Watson was an army vetran and thus a skilled combatant while Joan has no combat experience or training at the begining of the series. This goes away as she trains with Holmes however.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: There's hardly ever a time where Watson is not composed. However, this tirope is deconstructed to a certain point; while her demeanor is cool and tough, she also has a boatload of self-esteem issues.
  • 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".
  • The Apprentice: To Sherlock. An aspect of their relationship is Watson being tutored by Sherlock when it comes to deductioning skill.
  • 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", Joan discovers the whole reason of Sherlock's drug addiction and despair with one look. As the series progresses, her background as a doctor has actually allowed her to notice certain aspects about a case and correctly deduce the facts before Sherlock. This was first shown in "The Deductionist" when Joan realizes that Patricia Ennis deliberately destroyed her kidneys in order to aid her brother's escape, Mycroft being a cancer survivor from IV scars on his arms, and in "Alma Matters" when she deduces from Morland's eating habits that he had part of his stomach removed and that the injury came from a failed assassination attempt.
    • Her knowledge of fashion and clothing, such as the way a woman was walking in Ugg boots, has also allowed her to pick up on things that Sherlock misses.
  • Audience Surrogate: This time, with a point of view for women and people of color.
  • Badass Bookworm: She's a learned doctor but she's not afraid to kick ass.
  • 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) threaten 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.
  • Bifauxnen: Starting in season 5 Watson began wearing a lot more masculine outfits, with lots of dress shirts and ties.
  • 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.
  • Deuteragonist: Much like her literary counterpart, Watson is a classic example.
  • 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 homeless in New York.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Watson, alone in the Brownstone, finding 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 sticks with Holmes in rain or shine.
  • Gender Flip: John Watson is now Joan Watson.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: At one point she has dinner with Moriarty. Though she notes how ridiculous the situation is.
  • 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.
  • Happily Adopted: When her mother remarried her new husband adopted Joan and Oren, with both kids taking his last name. It's made clear that Joan was very close with her stepfather until his infidelity drove a wedge between them, something he deeply regrets as he misses Joan's friendship.
  • 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 Badass: She's in general shy and restrained, but can deliver a world of pain if pressed.
  • 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.
  • Honorary Aunt: When Kitty Winter introduces her son to Joan she refers to her as "Aunty Watson", a title Joan happily accepts.
  • 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.
  • Long-Lost Relative: She has a paternal half-sister named Lin. Lin knew all about Joan and resents her.
  • 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: As a former (and excellent) surgeon, Watson has in-depth medical knowledge that Sherlock lacks. This allows her to notice things he doesn't, such as the insulin pump in "Flight Risk" and the unhealthy food in "The Deductionist". Her expertise as a doctor is also crucial to his success in "Lesser Evils", since the killer is an "angel of death" who operates in a hospital: Sherlock notes that she was very much in her element during the investigation. 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.
  • Meta Girl: From time to time she makes a few meta comments.
  • Mirror Character: For 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.
    • She admits as much in "The Female of the Species" as she realizes she'll never have a normal life again, since she's too committed to being a detective.
  • Mistaken for Romance: 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 sexually involved.
  • Morality Chain: By the end of the first 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. Holmes explicitly states more than once that he considers himself 'better' in Watson's company than he is on his own, and outright calls her his 'best friend' on more than one occasion.
  • 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.
  • My Greatest Failure: A patient's death haunts her, and is apparently the reason she ended her original medical career.
  • 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.
  • Nice Girl: Joan is compassionate, caring, friendly and tries her best to help everyone around 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.
  • The Not-Love Interest: She's the female lead of the show as well as Sherlock's trusted partner and despite what other characters tend to assume, there really isn't any romance between her and Sherlock.
  • Only Sane Woman: Compared to Sherlock's tendencies and behaviors, yes she is.
  • O.O.C. 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.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: In the first episodes, she's shown a passionate interest in baseball, running, and soccer. Running also seems to be her favorite way of staying in shape.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Sherlock. While she makes clear that they aren't romantically involved, they are inseparable partners.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Watson usually gets bothered when there are random shirtless men walking around the brownstone (as in "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.
  • Politeness Judo: Joan can wield politeness expertly as a verbal weapon.
  • 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.
  • Race Lift: The white, English John Watson is now played by Lucy Liu. Moreover, her character’s Chinese birth name is Yun Jingyi, though it’s only brought up once in “Worth Several Cities”.
  • 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".
  • 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 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.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Joan is the girly girl, Kitty is the tomboy.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Watson rapidly develops 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.
    • 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 steals 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 The 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".
    • Sherlock in "Ancient History" 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.
  • Women Are Wiser: Played with. While both leads are certainly intelligent, Sherlock's analytical knowledge, general knowledge and deduction reasoning are a few steps ahead of her own. That said, from her experience with medicine and people, she possesses more medical knowledge and is able to deduce people's emotions.

    Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson
"Look, you bring me solid evidence, establish probable cause, I'll put cuffs on God himself."

"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.

  • Action Dad: In "Dead Man's Switch", Sherlock reveals that Gregson has two daughters.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Early promotional material and reviews referred to him as 'Tobias Gregson', in line with his counterpart from the original Holmes canon. The name was never used on screen and during the first season the nameplate on his desk read 'T. Gregson'. The second season established his name as 'Thomas' which has stuck ever since.
  • Amicable Exes: Even though he and Cheryl have separated after twenty eight years, they've settled into this at the end of "An Unnatural Arrangement".
  • Badass in Distress: As of the end of the Season 7 premiere, he's been shot and is hospitalized, fighting for his life. Fortunately, he gradually recovers.
  • Benevolent Boss: He is generally friendly and affable to his people, Sherlock and Watson. He even understands some of Sherlock's actions. See Secret Secret-Keeper below.
  • Brutal Honesty: In Season 3, he tells Sherlock that although he likes him, they were never friends, they just never bothered to admit it out loud.
  • By-the-Book Cop:
    • Most prominently in "One Way to Get Off", where he agonizes over the possibility that a murderer might have been convicted with planted evidence. While the evidence was planted (by Gregson's then-partner without his knowledge), Holmes ends up finding evidence that proves that the man really was guilty.
    • Also demonstrated in "The Red Team": He's understandably disturbed by Sherlock's willingness to kidnap and torture Moran in the previous episode. When Watson defends Sherlock by pointing out that he believed Moran was responsible for Irene's death, this is his response:
      Gregson: That makes it natural to think about paying him back, but officers in this department do not act on those feelings.
    • However, this all goes out the window in the Season 6 Series Fauxnale when he learns that his daughter Hannah killed Michael Rowan, then destroys the evidence that would have proved it.
  • A Day in the Limelight: He has larger roles than usual in "One Way to Get Off" and "An Unnatural Arrangement".
  • Da Chief: As per the archetype, his job is basically to reign in Sherlock's stubborn eccentricity.
  • Easily Forgiven: After he gets shot in Season 7, Sherlock not only forgives him for the Hannah incident, but risks his freedom by returning to New York to solve the crime.
  • Fair Cop: A mild example, but he's quite handsome for a rugged cop.
  • 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.
  • Married to the Job: Why his first marriage fell apart. Cheryl, his ex-wife, decided she couldn't take him prioritizing work over family life anymore. Gregson points out to her that he'd always been clear about how important his job was, Cheryl counters that she never promised she'd always accept that. Tellingly, his second wife is a former police officer who, presumably, would be more understanding of his work commitments.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted, he is distraught and on the verge of tears in "An Unnatural Arrangement" when he realizes his marriage to Cheryl isn't going to work out.
  • Only Sane Man: His reactions to Watson's and Holmes's methods can be summed up as this.
  • Papa Wolf: When his daughter confided to him that she was beaten by her partner, his response was to punch him. In front of his fellow policemen. And then there's the Season 6 finale...
  • 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.
  • The Reliable One: He stays by Holmes even in some dark times.
  • Second Love: With Paige Cowan, a former police officer he begins dating during season 4. Despite a brief blip where she tries to push him away so he won't have to deal with her Multiple Sclerosis they remain together. Season 5 sees them get married, in part so that Paige will be covered by Tommy's medical insurance but it's made clear that he wanted to marry her even before her medical costs became an issue.
  • 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.
  • Silver Fox: Remains attractive well into his middle age.
  • Team Dad: He's gruff, straight-laced and puts the well-being of his people before all else.

    Detective Marcus Bell
Played by: Jon Michael Hill

An NYPD detective who works with Gregson. He's often assigned to Sherlock's cases.

  • Abusive Parents: In "Fly Into a Rage, Make a Bad Landing", Sherlock deduces that Marcus's mother hadn't been in a car accident like he'd said but had been repeatedly and rather viciously abused by his father, resulting in several life threatening injuries and almost killing her. Marcus confirms that his mother wasn't the only recipient of the abuse and that he and Andre were both victims as well.
  • 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.
    • Taken further with "Fly Into a Rage, Make a Bad Landing", where we discover his father was physically abusive to him, his brother and his mother and it seriously affected his upbringing.
  • Canon Foreigner: Out of the main cast, he's the only one without an evident counterpart in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. His last name may be a nod to Joseph Bell, one of Doyle's inspirations for Holmes.
  • 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. In season 5, his relationship with Chantal becomes the basis of a multi-episode story arc.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Matches Holmes in the sarcasm factor.
  • Fair Cop: He has quite the physique.
  • 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: 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.
  • Morality Chain: While Holmes and Watson wouldn’t be ‘villains’ without Marcus, Gregson notes at one point that he appointed Marcus their regular police contact because he knew that the younger detective would keep them in line in the sense that he would let them use their position as consultants to do what regular police couldn’t without doing anything that would outright break the law in a manner that might risk compromising their cases.
  • 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.
  • The Reliable One: Alongside Gregson, he's this for Holmes.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: His relationship with Sherlock.
  • Second Episode Introduction: He's not in the pilot, but he's appeared in every other episode so far.
  • Second Episode Substitute: To Detective Javier Abreu.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Always seen in a suit (or one of the aforementioned tight t-shirts). Sherlock calls attention to this.
    "Then I remembered your dark grey summer suit you favored in September. Always paired with your brown Pergottis."
  • Smarter Than You Look:
    • In "You Do It To Yourself", he was the one who knew that the mahjong tiles in Annunzio's desk were for membership into underground gambling parlours, something that Sherlock didn't deduce.
    • In "Snow Angels", he figures out that a suspect has been wearing a wig recently, leading him to deduce the suspect's true identity.
  • We Used to Be Friends: In "Tremors", after being shot thanks to Sherlock's bad attitude towards an armed man, he clearly doesn't want Sherlock around anymore, and tells him this directly. However, by the end of "All in the Family" they're working together again.

An old tortoise Sherlock brings home from a crime scene after its original owner was murdered.
  • Breakout Character: Clyde the turtle is oddly popular for a character who appears only slightly more often than Mycroft.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Sherlock spends some time to comment on how Clyde will most likely outlive him and Watson.
  • Emergency Food Supply Animal: Sherlock initially claims he's taken Clyde home with him with the intention of turning him into turtle soup.
  • Flipping Helpless: As to be expected for a tortoise. During his introductory episode Joan comes home to find Sherlock has him flipped over on top of a stack of books. She scolds Sherlock for using Clyde as a paperweight and sets the poor tortoise back onto his feet.
  • Long-Lived: Played with. Morland estimates that Clyde is actually still fairly young, only a few years at most, which means he will definitely outlive Sherlock and Joan. Apparently the plan is for Kitty, and eventually her son Archie, to take him in when Holmes and Watson pass.
  • Planning with Props: In "Snow Angels", Sherlock is trying to work out the route some thieves took through the city and uses Clyde to represent the ambulance they used as a getway vehicle.
  • Team Pet: Instead of eating him, Sherlock decided to adopt him. He and Joan eventually "share custody" of Clyde, sending him back and forth between their homes during times when they live apart.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: While a tortoise isn't a rare pet in real life, they aren't seen very often in fiction. He's a suitable pet for two people in a unique field like detctive work.

Holmes Family

    Mycroft Holmes 
Played by: Rhys Ifans

Sherlock's brother, with whom Sherlock has a strained and contentious relationship.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The literary Mycroft was monsterously fat while this version is quite trim. He is mentioned as having had a weight problem in the past.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the books and many protrayals, Mycroft is a member of the British Government and a "human database" with the influence that his brother once called him "the British government itself." Here he's a restauranteur and even his work with MI-6 is that of an informant and intelligence asset rather than a position in the organization itself.
  • Aloof Big Brother: His relationship with Sherlock is so strained that he couldn't even bring himself to tell Sherlock that he was ill and needed a bone marrow donor. He genuinely loves and cares for Sherlock as evidenced by him saying "I love you, brother" before disappearing in hiding.
  • Ambiguously Evil: His motives for separating Sherlock from Joan followed by his mysterious phone conversation is a bit suspect. Joan's kidnapping at Diogenes at the end of "The Man With The Twisted Lip" may or may not have been orchestrated by him.
    • In "Paint it Black", it's revealed that Mycroft is with MI6, and while he didn't orchestrate Joan's kidnapping, he certainly allowed her to become collateral damage and gambled that Sherlock would find the real person who leaked the Swiss bank list.
  • The Atoner: Mycroft is trying to repair his relationship with Sherlock after he was unable to tell him he had cancer and needed a bone marrow transplant. He also claims that due to the British government's interest in the brothers, his role with MI6 was also his way of protecting Sherlock.
  • Batman Gambit: The plot of "The Man With the Twisted Lip" and "Paint it Black" turns out to have been engineered by Mycroft all along. Step 1 - pretend to be a Upper-Class Twit and allow French mobsters to set up shop in your New York restaurant. Step 2 - rely on your brother and his partner's connection to the police and natural suspicion to begin investigating said mobsters. Step 3 - when Joan is kidnapped by the mobsters, rely on Sherlock's feelings for his partner to find the information the French mobsters want. Step 4 - when information is acquired, incapacitate Sherlock so your plan won't be disturbed. Step 5 - make the trade for Joan, allow the head of Le Milieu to escape with what is likely a doctored list, and rely on the mobsters to attempt to kill you and Joan. Step 6 - signal for your MI6 sniper team to take the mobsters out.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Subverted at first. While the brothers' relationship is presented as prickly and distant at best, the Season 2 finale reveals Mycroft is extremely protective of Sherlock, despite former evidence to the contrary. He had in fact gotten out of the espionage world, but then Sherlock was used by a terrorist in committing crimes. MI6 offered to drop treason charges against Sherlock if Mycroft rejoined them, and he did so promptly. When Sherlock finds this out, he is visibly confused as to why Mycroft would do this.
      Sherlock: You... owed me nothing.
      Mycroft: You're my brother.
    • Mycroft then goes on to contact the NSA and allow his death to be faked, meaning he'll have to leave his entire life behind and disappear, probably permanently, all because the alternative would mean Sherlock and Joan being killed.
  • Bus Crash: In "Nobody Lives Forever", Sherlock finally decides to get back in touch with Mycroft only to find out he died of a brain hemorrhage.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Wears solid, often opposite colors, such as his black and white outfit when he's introduced. This is in contrast to Sherlock, who favors a mix of patterns and neutral colors.
  • Consummate Liar: At the end of "Blood is Thicker", we learn that he was lying about his father's desires to see Sherlock back in London, which implies that he was lying about everything else, especially his intentions with Sherlock and their relationship and his romantic interest in Watson.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Mycroft is an MI6 agent, embedded in Le Milieu, pretending to be a restaurateur.
  • The Dutiful Son: His relationship with Papa Holmes seems to be way better than Sherlock's.
  • Faking the Dead: Mycroft's cover was being threatened with exposure, so with assistance from the NSA, he's forced to fake his death and sever his ties with Joan and Sherlock.
  • Formerly Fat: Sherlock's nickname for him is "Fatty", to which Mycroft claims he lost weight due to exercise. He actually had cancer and had a bone marrow transplant.
  • Gentleman Snarker: One of his first lines with Joan shows this clearly.
    "It's funny that Sherlock's never mentioned me to you. I wonder why that might be? Maybe it's because the last time I saw him he was face-deep in my fiancée".
  • Idle Rich: Subverted. In Sherlock's opinion, he is this, but runs several successful restaurants and really is good at his work (his restaurant has 2 Michelin stars). He's also an MI6 agent.
  • Informed Attribute: Sherlock keeps insisting that Mycroft is lazy and lacking in drive, but as per above, he's a successful cook and restaurant owner and seems to be working steadily at both. Sure, he's not as hyperactive and super-accomplished as Sherlock, but who is?
  • Manipulative Bastard: As shown in "Blood is Thicker" he is nearly able to lie and trick Sherlock into leaving New York for London for some unknown reason by claiming their father will cut him off if he doesn't come home. Then he beautifully plays on Sherlock's companionship with Joan as a motivating point to come home as she has become a dependent on their father's money.
    • In "Paint it Black", he manages to one-up not only himself, but Sherlock as well: Mycroft and MI6 have been playing Gambit Roulette with Le Milieu, Mycroft posing as a Upper-Class Twit, allowing Le Milieu a foothold into the States with Diogenes, while he engineers their downfall. He allows Joan to be kidnapped and talks Sherlock into finding who leaked a bank list that many spy agencies and countries would like to get their hands on, tasing Sherlock when he's too close to the truth, and arranging for his team to extract him and Joan when the exchange is made with Le Milieu.
  • Non-Idle Rich: He invested his share of the Holmes family fortune into several popular and successful restaurants.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In "Step Nine", Joan comes to this conclusion about Mycroft and Sherlock and uses these exact words after Sherlock tells her that Mycroft blew up what was left of Sherlock's possessions and considers it a clean slate.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He had Sherlock thinking that he was little more than a shallow, womanizing restaurateur.
  • Out-Gambitted: In "Blood Is Thicker", Mycroft tries to make Sherlock move back to London and uses Sherlock's affection for Watson to convince him. Well, he didn't expect Watson's response at all (staying in New York with Sherlock even without money) and his plan failed.
  • Put on a Bus: In the season 2 finale Mycroft is forced to go into hiding, and he doesn't appear ever again.
  • Sibling Rivalry: With Sherlock, naturally.
  • Supreme Chef: Owns and operates several successful restaurants, one of which was awarded two Michelin stars. He invites Joan to his restaurant to have a talk with her and admits to trying to soften their chat with some good food and wine.
  • Took a Level in Badass: See Batman Gambit and Manipulative Bastard. Seems this version of Mycroft is as cunning as Sherlock and is actually an MI6 consultant.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: When he has to step up his game in "The Man With the Twisted Lip", he becomes highly manipulative toward Joan and then acts like as big a jerk to Sherlock as Sherlock is to him for a change.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Mycroft is a cancer survivor. Joan noticed his transplant scars and conjectures that he may have graft-versus-host disease as a complication. He tells Joan that as a result of his illness, he gave some serious thought to his life and wishes to make amends with Sherlock. When Joan is kidnapped, Sherlock uses this as an insult.

    Morland Holmes
"There are things that money can't buy, but fewer, perhaps, than you'd like to believe."
Played by: John Noble

Sherlock and Mycroft's father, who became rich and powerful as "an influence peddler par excellence" whose job is "to grease the skids so that politicians and corporations can operate around the globe." Sherlock and Joan (and eventually Gregson) seem to be the only people in his life whom he can't control or buy off.

  • Abusive Parents: Was a less than ideal father to both Sherlock and Mycroft when they were growing up.
  • Affably Evil: He is always a perfectly polite gentleman, even when making thinly-veiled threats.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Just how bad he is or is not is a major cause of speculation throughout Season 4.
  • Animal Motif: Sherlock compares him to a shark, a mighty, indiscriminate predator that will eventually get want it wants.
  • Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: He tends to go back and forth between the two throughout the fourth season. He falls firmly into the latter by the end of it, choosing to become the boss of Moriarty's organization in order to dismantle from the inside.
  • The Atoner: Like Mycroft before him, he realizes just how screwed up his relationship with Sherlock is and wishes to make amends. Although revelations at the end of "The Cost of Doing Business" put into question the sincerity of this. "Alma Matters" then reverses this and makes his sincerity genuine, and the tragedy of the character is how both circumstances and his own character flaws keep thwarting his attempts.
  • Back for the Dead: Returns towards the end of season 7 and is promptly killed on Reichenbach's orders.
  • Been There, Shaped History: According to Sherlock, he had a hand in starting The Falklands War.
    Watson: Look, I think it's nice that he wants to help, but you know we can't go back to the department— it's not possible.
    Holmes: Neither was war in the Falklands, but the old man tends to get what he wants.
  • Berserk Button: While it pushes him only into a more harsher tone, when Sherlock wants to deny payment for services done to his father, Morland does get angry. He won't not pay Sherlock for consulting rendered.
    • When he finds out that Sherlock has been withholding some vital information from him, he is furious.
  • Canon Foreigner: Presumably Sherlock and Mycroft did have a father in the books but his name is never given and whoever he was he had little or no impact on his sons' adult lives.
  • Composite Character: Despite being an original character, his "consulting work" makes him eerily similar to Conan Doyle's version of Professor Moriarty, the consulting criminal. He eventually becomes leader of Moriarty's organization.
    Sherlock: Perhaps you need sanctions eased against a rogue nation so that you can sell them your tanks or your factories can only spew toxins if the U.S. doesn't sign an emissions treaty. Father can make it so, with the moral neutrality of the plague.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He didn't make his money honestly, that's for sure. In fact it's his job to bribe and exhort on behalf of corporations and governments. He also has no problem claiming responsibility for the assassination of an INTERPOL agent in order to terrify someone, even though he didn't do it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: "Alma Matters" shows he's quite capable of it.
  • Deal with the Devil: Sherlock views accepting money or help from him in this light. He will be asked favors and other means to repay the debt but Sherlock doesn't imply he will move goalposts either.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's as slimy and corrupt as they come, but he clearly does care for Sherlock, even if it's in his own twisted way. He also truly cared for Sabine, which is what drives most of his actions in Season 4.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He comes by his money through dubious means and his actions have caused the deaths of countless innocents, but even Sherlock has to concede that he would never head up an organization that intentionally murders people for profit. When he does agree to do so, it's for the explicit purpose of tearing said organization down from the inside. While he is unable to do this, he does manage to make less murder-oriented crimes the organization's focus during his time as its leader.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Him vs. Moriarty in Season 6 and him vs. Odin Reichenbach in Season 7. In both cases, he is the lesser of the two evils and thus on Sherlock's side.
  • Fiction 500: He's rich. Very rich. His wealth is so known in the banking and higher finance world that Mycroft and Sherlock don't need to craft a false identity to meet some hedge fund managers for an investigation. They just claim they want to invest some of their father's money and the people rolled out the red carpet, complete with a huge table of a variety of delicacies just for the two Holmes brothers.
  • The Ghost: Until Season 4, when he's Unseen No More.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: He becomes the leader of Moriarty's organization, which means he'll have to start doing even more terrible things than even he's used to, but it's for the purpose of eventually destroying the group from the inside. Unfortunately for him, by the sixth season he's begun to accept that this task is impossible, especially in light of his failing health.
  • Heel Realization: He denies that he's as monstrous as Sherlock makes him out to be, until he learns that the attempt on his life that cost him his girlfriend was all because of him possessing all the qualities required to lead Moriarty's criminal organization in her absence and having the record to prove it.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: At least until the fourth season.
  • In the Blood: Just like his sons, he's also a "consultant" for various operations.
  • Jerkass: He was built up as one for a long time, and does not disappoint when he appears in person. While he genuinely wants to help his son, his cold, distant demeanor and amoral methods make it easy to understand why neither Sherlock nor Joan trusts him.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In both Season 6 and 7, he's developed into this. In spite of his flaws and criminal position, he truly does love his son and is willing to do anything for him.
  • Killed Off for Real: In "Unfriended", he returns after a lengthy absence. Turns out he was brought Back for the Dead.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Combined with Dramatic Irony. After all the evil he's been responsible for, trying to help Sherlock stop Odin Reichenbach proves to be his undoing.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: He is more than willing to offer these to people who frustrate him. In "Tag, You're Me" when dealing with a woman who wants to build a resort near where he wants to build a wind farm and she is blocking him, he has evidence that an endangered species' habitat is partially inside both lands. His employers are going to send a letter out citing this fact and this woman can either be a co-signer, reducing the size of her resort but keeping good face, or refuse and be burned by public anger and other legal issues.
  • Offstage Villainy: In the Kitty Winter two-parter in Season 5, we get to hear about several high-scale criminal operations that Morland has directed as the head of Moriarty's organization.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In "The Cost of Doing Business" he comforts a murder victim's widow, leading both Sherlock and the audience to wonder if he has some decency in him after all. This seems undone by the end of the episode, where he claims that he had an Interpol Special Agent murdered, but "Alma Matters" reveals he didn't actually do it, but did imply responsibility in order to frighten Lucas when the latter attempts to blackmail him.
    • His return in Season 6 has him even more committed to doing right by Sherlock following Mycroft's death and his own unsuccessful attempts at dismantling Moriarty's organization from within. This time, it goes more successfully than it did before.
    • In Season 7, he teams up with his son to help defeat Odin Reichenbach. It costs him his life, and his last words are to concernedly ask what is going to happen to his son.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In "Unfriended", he seems to fully reconcile with Sherlock as they team up to stop Odin Reichenbach. Naturally, this means he ends up getting killed by the end of the episode.
  • The Mole: He eventually becomes head of Moriarty's organization so he can destroy it from the inside. He is unable to do this, but he does manage to prevent it from engaging in any more mass murder.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He launders money in order to bribe the DA in Season 4, so Sherlock wouldn't be charged with assault against Oscar Rankin.
  • The Stoic: Is very cold, non-demonstrative, and dry-witted. As such, Sherlock is constantly trying to get a rise out of him. He's unsuccessful. Mostly.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: He doesn't show much reaction when people refer to him by his personal name, but at the end of "The Cost of Doing Business", when his Interpol contact, Lucas, attempts to blackmail him and in response Morland claimed to have had Lucas's predecessor murdered when he tried asking for more money, their meeting ends with:
    Lucas: I'm sorry, Morland. I'm very sorry.
    Morland: Lucas... [Beat] Call me Mister Holmes.

    May Holmes 
Click here to see May Holmes
Played by: Joanna Christie
Morland's ex-wife and the mother of Sherlock and Mycroft who died years before leaving a mark on all of them.
  • Blackmail: This was the reason why Morland divorced her in the first place. The pre-nup prevented her from seeing her sons and Morland wouldn't relent until she got clean. She didn't and died in the fire that consumed her flat.
  • Canon Foreigner: As with Morland; the Holmes brothers' mother never comes up in any capacity in the books.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: She's remembered fondly by all of the Holmes men, even Morland, and her death greatly affected them. Even the revelation that she was a drug addict like him does little to taint the saint-like image Sherlock has of his mother.
  • The Ghost: Only mentioned in passing a few times and little is revealed about this particular member of the Holmes family beyond that she died years before. Becomes somewhat literal in the final two episodes of Season 5, where the woman Sherlock has been speaking with is a hallucination of his mother.
  • History Repeats Itself: Years after her death and a confrontation between Sherlock and Morland leads father to reveal this to his son: May suffered from drug addiction and it was part of the reason for her death.
  • Missing Mom: She died when both her sons were young and attending boarding school neither aware that Morland divorced her in an attempt to convince her to get clean.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Very very rarely does she get mentioned by her sons or ex-husband, primarily because her death hurts them even now all these years later.

Friends & Associates

    Alfredo Llamosa
Played by: Ato Essandoh

Sherlock's friend and sponsor. A former car thief turned security consultant.

  • Brutal Honesty: He doesn't beat around the bush with Holmes.
  • Canon Foreigner: No literary counterpart for him.
  • 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: Various

A "hacktivist" group introduced in "We Are Everyone." Joan and Sherlock cross paths with them on a case, and at first cause great trouble for the duo. However, Sherlock eventually reaches a truce with Everyone, and begins enlisting their help on future cases.

  • The Cracker/Playful Hacker: The collective includes members of both types, some with political motives behind their hacks and others who just want to show off how good they are. This escalates into a "civil war", as one member describes it, during the third season.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While "evil" is a bit harsh, they are generally a group of intelligent but morally chaotic individuals who will attack people who piss them off. That said, when Sherlock needs information on a particularly nasty CEO with whom Everyone has a past experience with, they help Sherlock get information without making him pay some task.
  • The Faceless: They don't show their faces or names, mainly because what they do is illegal. But some of them are willing to do it if the situation is dire enough.
  • Fictional Counterpart: To the Anonymous collective.
  • Hacker Collective: An extremely skilled one, there's very few limits on what they can do or find online.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Only a handful of their members have ever been seen in person.
  • Information Broker: The main reason Sherlock keeps in touch — it seems that Everyone can find any information you want, and very quickly, too.
  • Jerks With Hearts of Gold: Ruthless hackers and cybercriminals they may be, Everyone isn't an evil organization. They look after their own and are willing to help Sherlock solve crimes. Fifteen of them also reveal their faces on camera to save Joan's life — and there's no mention of them ever demanding a price for this.
  • Noble Demons: They dabble in all sorts of illegal activities, and, of course, their dozens of members show varying degrees of morality. But overall, Everyone seems to operate under some sort of code of honor, and they're not evil. They're also willing to stick their necks out to help Watson in her time of need.
  • Trolls: Most of the tasks they have Sherlock do in exchange for favors are petty, immature, but ultimately harmless pranks. Highlights include making Sherlock sing "Let It Go" while dressed in drag, and having him stand on a street corner with a sign instructing people to hit him.
    • When Watson is the one asking for information, Everyone usually make her indulge their fetishes, albeit in a way that's funny without being degrading. On one occasion, she had to livestream Holmes' bees while playing Barry White music. Holmes later tells her that one of Everyone's founders has an insect fetish. For another request, she had to stream herself crumpling up dozens of pieces of tissue paper, which some of Everyone's members found arousing.
  • Worthy Opponent: Holmes views them as such given their mastery in cyber tactics. When they sent him a Nintendo Hard-tier game as the challenge and told him to beat it to get some information for a case, Holmes simply assumed beating it and showing a screen shot of the final screen would be the key to have Everyone release the information. In truth, the information Holmes needed was the name of one of the game's developers, whose name would only appear in the credits of the game once completed. Holmes calls it an elegant challenge once Watson beat the game and he realizes the full set of facts.

    Ms. Hudson
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.

  • Adaptational Gender Identity: In the original novels Mrs. Hudson was a cisgender woman. This version of the character is a trans woman.
  • Bookworm: She taught herself 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.
  • Grew a Spine: Part of her status as a "kept woman" seems to stem from low self-esteem. At the end of her introductory episode, she tells her sleazy boyfriend where he can shove it, and decides to be independent from then on.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's very nurturing and kind hearted.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Not your grandfather's Mrs. Hudson. The second most predominant comment after what a positive example of trans representation she is has almost always been "Hello, nurse!"
  • The Mistress: 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".
  • The Muse: Sherlock notes her status as this; brilliant artists tend to create their best works when they're dating her.
  • Neat Freak: She cleans and organizes compulsively, especially when she's upset. Joan loves her for this.
  • Nice Girl: She's very pleasant, kind and good-natured.
  • Obsessively Organized:
    • She 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.
  • Scout-Out: In "Snow Angels" she builds a fire to keep the Brownstone warm and tells Joan she got a merit badge for it as a child.
  • 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.

    Kitty Winter
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.
  • Adaptational Badass: Her literary original was a one-shot character who aided Holmes to get revenge on an abusive ex and was almost as much a hinderance as a help. This Kitty becomes Sherlock's apprentice and skilled crime solver in her own right.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: An unusual anguished declaration of platonic love in "The One That Got Away". She manages to gasp this out to Holmes, in their final conversation, as she's leaving the country following the resolution of the Del Gruner affair.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: To Joan as Sherlock's apprentice — she's a grim and punkish young woman with a Dark and Troubled Past and a violent and ruthless streak, especially when it comes to men who abuse women.
  • Brainy Brunette: She's a talented detective, and she has dark hair.
  • 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.
  • But Now I Must Go: After she gets her revenge on rapist/murderer Del Gruner (by burning his face off with acid), she realizes the police will be looking for her (Gregson says as much), so she leaves New York for parts unknown. She calls Sherlock from the airport to say goodbye, and he states that he may seek her help in the future.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She keeps up with Sherlock and Joan, and gets extra marks on the Deadpan part.
    Joan: So, did he behave himself while I was gone?
    Kitty: That depends. Are you talking about the frowny one with the hard shell, or do you mean Clyde?
  • Hates Being Touched: When Bell tries to direct her away from a tripping hazard, she pulls herself away from him forcibly. However, considering her Dark and Troubled Past, she has a good Freudian Excuse for this.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: She always wears a black leather jacket.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her abrasive manner, she gradually emerges as one of these.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of "The One That Got Away".
    • The Bus Came Back: Helps Sherlock and Joan during a two-parter in Season 5, and cameos in the Season 7 premiere.
  • Rape and Revenge: Her endgame with Dell Gruner.
  • Rape as Backstory: She was a victim of sexual abuse in London, where she was held hostage by a sadistic serial rapist/killer until she escaped (the only one of his victims to do so). 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.
  • 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.
  • Revenge: When she learns the man who raped her is in New York, this becomes her motivation...and she eventually gets it.
  • Scars Are Forever: She has a series of branding marks on her back that were inflicted by the man who kidnapped her. A body showing up with identical markings alerts Holmes and the police to the fact that her kidnapper is now operating in New York.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: One of her skills. She follows Joan for a long time before Joan realizes it.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kitty is the tomboy, Joan is the girly girl.

    Shinwell Johnson 
Played by: Nelsan Ellis

A former member of a street gang, the South Bronx Killers, trying to make amends. Watson saved his life as a doctor when he was shot in a gunfight and reaches out to him in Season 5. He became a recurring charcter throughout the season.

  • Adaptational Jerkass: The literary Shinwell was also a reformed crook looking to take down his former colleagues but was far less abrasive, less obsessive and more loyal to Holmes.
  • The Atoner: Regrets his actions as a member of SBK and works to bring the gang down.
  • Book Dumb: He barely has any formal education, but turns out to be a very capable informant with Sherlock and Watson's training and is even able to beat Sherlock at chess.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: He dies right before the two-part Season 5 finale, at the end of an episode that was mostly unrelated to him.
  • Knight Templar: Dedicated to his mission to the point of assaulting Sherlock to threaten him and Watson into leaving him alone when they link him to an old murder.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: SBK leadership convinced him that his best friend was betraying the gang and ordered him to be the one to carry out the hit since his friend wouldn't see him coming. He later learned that his friend was innocent. He just happened to be seeing a girl that was the ex of a rival gang leader. The gang leader wanted his ex's new man killed as part of a truce between him and SBK.
  • No Place for Me There: He reveals to Joan that he has no plans to keep living as a free man after he brings down SBK and gives her a signed confession for a murder he committed years ago, planning to turn himself in when he's done.
  • The Mole: Rejoins SBK to assist the authorities as an informant.
  • The Needs of the Many: He considers his killing of a fellow SBK member negligible in the greater scope of things since he is needed to bring down SBK as an organization.

    Eugene Hawes 
Played by: Jordan Gelber

A medical examiner for the NYPD who frequently assists in cases.

  • Friend on the Force: Helps out Sherlock and Joan with cases and occasionally lets them in to look for new ones. He's also become a good friend to both of them, with Joan attending his stand-up comedy set and Sherlock reaching out to offer help when Eugene is struggling.
  • The Lost Lenore: He'd just worked up the courage to ask out fellow ME Nicole Slater moments before she was killed. He's devastated by her death, and his proximity to the explosion, and turns to drugs to try and cope. Eventually Sherlock reaches out and offers advice on how to get clean.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In his first appearance he and Sherlock play chess with Sherlock's prize for winning being access to the morgue to look for unsolved murders he can work on. They continue to play in subsequent episodes.

Recurring and Minor Characters

    Gareth Lestrade
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 addiction, leaving Lestrade still craving the limelight, but without the skills needed to actually get it.
    • Further deconstructed when it shows that Holmes' constant criticism of him takes its toll as he comes to believe that he is worthless without Sherlock's 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. As he puts it, it is the one thing about him that is non-negotiable.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: "The One Percent Solution" shows he's actually a good person deep down.
  • 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.

    Hannah Gregson
Played by: Liza J. Bennett

One of Gregson's daughters with his first wife. A police officer, later a sergeant, at the 15th precinct who's hoping to move up in the ranks.

  • The Alcoholic: We learn in season 6 that she's a recovering alcoholic who's begun the 12 step process.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: She's unhappy when her father punches her partner, who she'd been secretly dating, because it made the partner hitting her public knowledge at her precinct. She'd wanted to keep it private so her fellow police officers wouldn't look at her and see a victim, something she feels will affect her promotion prospects.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Started out as a dedicated, if slightly rash, policewoman. Michael Rowan's murder of her roommate seems to have pushed her over the edge. She takes matters into her own hands by tracking him down and beating him to death.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her actions in the season 6 finale have unforeseen consequences that upend the series' status quo. To wit:Joan is suspected of the killing she committed. Meanwhile, her father sullies his previously spotless record to destroy the evidence implicating her, which leads to a rift with Sherlock. Finally, Sherlock decides to protect both Joan and Hannah by confessing to the murder himself and flees to London, with Joan following him.

    Fiona Helbron 
Played by: Betty Gilpin

A neuro-atypical (she refers to herself as such) software programmer who first appeared as a person of interest in "Murder Ex Machina". She and Sherlock later became romantically involved.

  • Berserk Button: Downplayed, as she doesn't get angry about it, but she doesn't like when people treat her as a lesser person because of her neuro-atypicality. She nearly breaks up with Sherlock over her belief that he is doing this, before he explains himself.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: She is compulsively honest and can't even say insignificant things if she knows them to be inaccurate; when Sherlock and Joan first meet her, Sherlock asks her to say that the sky is green. She is unable to process the request and won't say it.
  • Hollywood Autism: A downplayed example. She's explicitly stated to be Autistic but avoids most of the usual stereotypes. While she has difficulties with social interaction, and usually avoids eye contact, she develops a romantic connection with Sherlock and mentions having other boyfriends in the past. She's compulsively honest and is visibly upset when she learns that her work may have been used to harm people.
  • Introverted Cat Person: She loves cats, though the rules of her apartment building prohibit pets, so she instead goes to a local cat café to cuddle with them.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: She is a very sweet person who loves cats. Apparently this trait is well-known to the hacking community who refer to her as "Mittens".
  • Nice Girl: Is very kind-hearted and nice, even though she isn't very social.

    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.

    Kathryn Drummond
Played by: Kari Matchett

A former lover and protégée of Sherlock back in London. Works as a profiler and has a dubious character about her work.

  • Alpha Bitch: One gets the sense she enjoys being in a control.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Holmes once "tutored" her, but he clearly disapproves of her methods.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Is willing to fabricate evidence to get what she perceives to be justice done.
  • The Profiler: An expert of the field. The show addresses the doubts over a profiler's efficiency, and her episode explores this.
  • Too Much Alike From Sherlock in some ways, which is another reason why he can't stand her.
  • 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".

    Dean McNally 
Played by: Tim Guinee

An Agent with the NSA who appears several times throughout the series to either aid or hinder Holmes and Watson depending on the case.

  • Beardness Protection Program: Had a beard for one episode in season 4 which was gone by his next appearance. It's implied it was part of a cover identity.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: He's often aware of what Holmes and Watson want before they officially ask him, strongly implying he (or someone at the NSA) is watching them.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: Is introduced working for a web development company that Holmes and Watson know is actually an NSA front.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the final season Holmes realises McNally is working for Odin Reichenbach as that is the only way the NSA could have a clear recording of their private conversation.
  • Friend on the Force: "Friend" is pushing it as neither Holmes nor Watson particularly like him, and the feeling is mutual, but he is willing to help them out by supplying information and leads on some cases. Then again, he's just as willing to shut down their efforts.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Often meets up with Holmes in public parks.
  • Papa Wolf: Has a young daughter and is not happy when Holmes shows up while he's collecting her from school.

Played by: Robert Capron

A young Irregular who Sherlock occasionally turns to for help with computers and technology.

  • Geek: He plays video games in his spare time and Sherlock occasionally pays him for his service with rare action figures. In his first episode he references several science-fiction concepts such as the "button box" theory and quotes The Terminator as part of his explanation.
  • The Rival: To Everyone. He looks down on the collective and doesn't think much of their skills. When he struggles with a particularly difficult hack Sherlock motivates him by saying he'll ask Everyone to do it instead.
  • Teen Genius: He's young enough that one character mistakes him for Sherlock's son. Despite his youth he's incredibly knowledgeable about computer science and a hacker to rival Everyone.

    Captain William Dwyer 
Played by: Rob Bartlett

Normally Captain of the 12th Precinct, he temporarily takes over command of the 11th in Season Seven, when Gregson is shot and seriously injured by a suspected perp.

  • Dirty Old Man: After he leaves the 11th, Gregson reveals that he is a notorious sexual harasser, and one of Gregson's best female officers quit the force in disgust at its sexism when his letching over her was the last straw.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Supposedly an old buddy of Gregson, but only appears in a few episodes late in the show, and is most memorable for being the bad guy in a "sexual harassment exists and is bad" Very Special Episode subplot.
  • Mellow Fellow: His Establishing Character Moment is when Watson and Bell prepare a detailed presentation of a case for him, with a wall of diagrams and table full of evidence, and he ignores it because he's a "thirty-thousand foot guy", declaring that if they're making progress and have suspects he doesn't want to know any details.
  • Sketchy Successor: He keeps the precinct running, but isn't as committed as Gregson and has major personal flaws.

Moriarty's Organization

    Moriarty *Spoiler Character* 

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.
  • Arc Villain: Of Season 1 (and as the Greater-Scope Villain of Season 4.)
  • 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 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.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Because Watson is hers to play with, not anyone else's, she has Elana March killed after she started a revenge plot on Joan that caused Andrew's death.
  • Becoming the Mask: She seduced Sherlock into a relationship to get close enough to study him, but she didn't count on actually falling in love with him.
  • Beneath the Mask: Moriarty reveals to Sherlock she is Irene, his love interest.
  • Big Bad: The show's most dangerous villain by far, and the only one whose involvement spans multiple seasons even without her appearing in person.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Moriarty can play up a facade of a friendly, people person who is actually a ruthless criminal.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: She is under no illusions about her evil lifestyle.
  • 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. Almost as if he wasn't exactly objective about her.
  • 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 and that Sherlock will eventually move on from Watson. Later, she's quite offended by another female crime boss trying to take her place as Watson's arch-nemesis and has her killed.
    • Becomes even more layered when one takes into account Moriarty's projecting onto Sherlock; her insistence that Sherlock will eventually get bored with Watson lines up against the fact that Moriarty herself still can't stop thinking about Joan. She almost seems to be trying to reassure herself that she will get over her obsession with the obviously unworthy "mascot". Whose face she painted a massive Renaissance-style portrait of, from memory.
  • Complexity Addiction: While claiming to dislike certain schemes, such as kidnappings, as there are too many 'moving parts' that could go wrong, 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 is 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. As such, she does successfully fool Sherlock using a disguise like in the original tales, leading him into his pre-show drug addiction and collapse.
  • 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: A very talented painter and art thief who does it for pure appreciation of art.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: A downplayed version. She had a daughter she gave up for adoption after birth primarily because it would interfere with running her criminal empire but she also acknowledges that her nature would make her an unfit mother both of which make an unsuitable environment for a child to grow up in.
  • 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.
  • Dating Catwoman: Irene was Holmes' ex-girlfriend in London. Seduced him to study his intelligence and methods and then destroyed him. She and Holmes still have this odd kind of relationship, even after they officially become enemies.
  • 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 incident 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. Her original idea of just killing him would have been kinder.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Everything Moriarty assumes about Watson and her partnership with Sherlock in "Heroine" and in "The Diabolical Kind" is wrong.
  • 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's pretty surprised.
    • In "The Diabolical Kind" she tries to comprehend goodness and feelings, but fails, still asking Sherlock just how he does it as it's beyond her grasp. Even the care she has for her daughter is something she doesn't really understand and gives the impression that she'd much rather be without it.
  • Evil Costume Switch: 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 and dismissiveness 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. Does it again in the series finale after Holmes inadvertedly makes her realize its benefits. This time, Holmes is not fooled for one minute.
  • 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 polite 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". He still has to correct himself occasionally in the second season.
  • Final Boss: She becomes the last criminal that Holmes and Watson must deal with in the series.
  • 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.
  • 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, at least at first.
    • In Seasons 4 through 7, Moriarty occasionally plays a role but is neither seen nor heard.
  • 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, no one destroys a unique work of art so lovely as the mind of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In Season 4, where the Arc Villain works for her.
  • 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 face in people's faces, smirking.
  • Irony: 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 almost in tears.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Even her concern over Sherlock in the first season finale is selfish. She doesn't care about his well-being so long as he's at least alive and still continues to threaten him.
    • In "The Diabolical Kind" she gets furious because her henchmen had the nerve to kidnap her daughter and try to take over her criminal empire. She likely wouldn't help the police if her henchmen were doing something else that didn't affect her in any way.
  • 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 continued to toy with him after his recovery for personal amusement.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Even though she cares for Sherlock, she remains arrogant, cruel, vicious, haughty, and obsessed with Holmes to the point of ruining his entire life and career without remorse. She later rescues her daughter out of Mama Bear instincts, but once she does so resumes having no personal interest in said daughter whatsoever.
  • Kick the Dog: From "Heroine", she directly mocks Sherlock's addiction and uses it to humiliate him. In an odd twist, she later reveals that his addiction unnerved her greatly, so perhaps her mocking was to hide her real feelings on the matter.
  • Lack of Empathy: Moriarty doesn't care for anyone's feelings and just wants to get the job done. She doesn't even 'care' for Sherlock as a person - only as either a wonderful toy she can play with or as a magnificent work of art that she can relate to. She continues trying to manipulate him after his seeming overdose in "Heroine" purely for her own entertainment. His health means nothing to her so long as she doesn't destroy him completely.
    • Addressed in "The Diabolical Kind" where she refrains from killing her guard only 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" aggravated his previously mild drug habits and sent him into a breakdown.
  • 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, reasonably free movement and art 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. She escapes from her prison, hunts down and murders the henchman and his team, while bleeding out from cutting her wrists to short circuit her handcuffs. She afterward implies that this is due to a biological maternal bond she can't get rid of, much to her irritation.
  • 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 to fool Holmes and push him away from her plans, and her "death" was designed to break him.
  • 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. By Season 6, she has finally escaped, the FBI having "gradually lost track of her".
  • Minor Major Character: Despite being the Big Bad of the show, Moriarty appears in 4 episodes, and in 2 others only as a voice-over.
  • Mysterious Backer: To Moran and Daniel.
  • 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 forty-five minutes before the ultimate reveal.
    • Also, her full name is Jamie Moriarty, which reflects the original's full name James Moriarty.
  • Narcissist: Moriarty is a cold, manipulative chameleon who believes she is superior to everyone. The reason she became Irene Adler was to examine Sherlock up close and personal as a warped experiment after she thought he was a threat but was intrigued by how similar their minds were; the reason she faked her death was because she concluded that she was better than he was and hat he therefore posed no threat- she views his subsequent emotional breakdown and spiral into drugs not as a destructive but normal human reaction to a tragedy, but as proof that she was correct to judge him inferior after all.
  • Nominal Hero: The very definition of the trope in "The Diabolical Kind", to the point where her method of saving the day in the end is mass murder (plus personal blackmailing of one of her victims).
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Save for personally shooting Isaac Proctor, all of Moriarty's crimes are committed at a remove. In "The Diabolical Kind" she averts this by going out personally to handle her daughter's kidnappers.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: "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: Things happen by Moriarty's design and order, but rarely at Moriarty's hand.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Watson in "Heroine".
  • Pet the Dog: Her one unambiguously good act was giving up her daughter for adoption at birth, knowing full well that not only would a child interfere with her career but that her career plus evil nature would make her a terrible mother for the child, and she actually did want better for the girl.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Moriarty's arranging Irene's death turned Sherlock to heroin, got him fired from Scotland Yard and drove him to New York to seek treatment and rehab, where he met Watson.
  • The Power of Acting: Fools the entire New York City police department and Holmes in a fell swoop with this.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Suggested; at one point claims that kidnappings aren’t a typical part of Moriarty’s operations as the amount of ‘moving parts’ involved in such a plan creates too many opportunities for things to go wrong.
    • 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, which it has by Season 6.
  • 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, doesn't even think twice before ruining anyone's life and uses outright violence without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse. In "The Diabolical Kind", she even asks Sherlock, the only one she can relate to, how he manages to empathize with other people and be "one of them".
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: So far, Moriarty hasn't gone above a normal speaking volume.
  • The Stoic: Her real personality - glacially calm and devoid of human warmth.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Rather possessive of people viewed as equals, which is basically only Sherlock. Has issued standing orders that he is not to be harmed in any way, and in "The Female of the Species" Watson joins the list, as she arranged the murder of Elena March for almost killing Joan.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: How Joan reacts to Moriarty's abusive and manipulative behavior in "The Diabolical Kind", directly warning Sherlock that "she's never gonna change".
  • Too Clever by Half: Her scheme to keep Sherlock out of her way led him to fall apart into his addictions and she is truly surprised and sorry about that. Also, her arrogance and extreme self-confidence make Watson - the one 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, whom 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.
  • The Voice: For awhile we only heard Moriarty's voice through a phone call, but no visuals. Turns out that it was only one of her hitmen.
  • 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: As both Irene and Moriarty, especially the latter.
  • Woman Of Wealth And Taste: A characteristic of Moriarty's true personality.
  • Worthy Opponent: To Holmes for actions done in London. And has developed the same wariness yet professional respect of Watson for not being as dumb as initially thought.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Not personally, but Moriarty sometimes orders employees like Sebastian Moran to do so.

    Devon Gaspar 
Played by: Adam Godley (voice only), Andrew Howard

One of Moriarty's top lieutenants who attempts to take over after she is incarcerated.

  • Big Bad Wannabe: While Moriarty trusted him enough to act as a proxy when dealing with certain "clients", it's noted that he was overly ambitious, and after Moriarty's arrest, he tries a complex plan to gain access to some of Moriarty's secret data caches.
  • Decoy Leader: Acts as a front for Moriarty in cases where Moriarty either wants to conceal her identity for practical reasons or because potential clients would be less likely to take a woman seriously.
  • Number Two: Is trusted to pose as Moriarty when communicating with others so Moriarty can keep their true identity a secret.
    • Dragon Ascendant: Attempts to step into Moriarty's role in season two but doesn't last long. Moriarty quickly works out what he's up to and Holmes isn't too far behind.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite ordering Kayden Fuller's kidnapping he's polite and kind to the girl once he has her. He teaches her to play Cribbage and tells her to hide when he hears someone breaking into the safe house he's holding her in.
  • The Voice: Unseen during the first season and is only heard in phone calls to Holmes and Watson. He appears in person in "The Diabolical Kind".

    Sebastian Moran
Played by: Vinnie Jones

A legendary and exceedingly efficient Serial Killer who has crossed paths with Holmes before.

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As if being a brutally efficient killer wasn't bad enough, he's also an Arsenal fan (may be a more serious infraction than others, depending on how much of a football fan you are).
  • Bald of Evil: He's bald and also a Professional Killer.
  • The Dragon: To Moriarty.
  • Driven to Suicide: Was forced to commit suicide by banging his head against a mirror when Moriarty sent him this message: "MORAN YOU NEVER TOLD ME YOU HAD A SISTER. SHE DIES OR YOU DO. YOUR CHOICE. M".
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Moriarty threatened to kill his sister, forcing Moran to commit suicide.
  • Evil Brit: Quite English and quite evil.
  • Fate Worse than Death: His suicide attempt left him comatose, unlikely to last the night. He will not wake up.
  • Football Hooligans: His alibi for Irene's murder is that it happened when he was doing six months in prison for a "misunderstanding" with a rival fan who was insulting his beloved Arsenal.
  • Genius Bruiser: All of his crimes are perfectly calculated, and he is a frighteningly strong man. He becomes an even stronger example of the trope once it's discovered that his crimes were paid assassinations, even if they were not necessarily planned by him. To whit - breaking into his victims' homes while carrying a large tripod device, killing the victim quietly using a fairly complex method, leaving carrying said tripod and the victim's body, all without being seen would not have been easy, yet he did it successfully three dozen times. Moriarty chose a splendid tool.
    • 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.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: He is kept well paid by his employer.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Sells out his boss when he finds out he was framed.
  • 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.
  • Professional Killer: A ruthless British assassin.
  • Psycho for Hire: Notably he's a violent brute even when he's not being paid to kill someone, as evidenced by the fact he's a Hooligan.
  • Red Herring: There are some early hints that he was the Elementary's version of Moriarty but instead it turns out he is working for Moriarty.
  • Serial Killer: What he is believed to be. He is actually a hitman.
  • Serious Business: Moran and the Arsenal.
  • The Sociopath: He gleefully admits to having murdered 36 people. Kills another person later while in prison, laughing and singing a song after he does it.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: He laughs and mocks Sherlock's torture.
  • Torture Technician: Moran even gives Holmes tips onto how best torture him.
  • Villains Out Shopping: We briefly see him resting and watching a football game while dispensing with the services of a hooker.
  • Wham Line: In "M":
    "Your girl. That was him. That was Moriarty."
  • Would Hit a Girl: Some of his victims were women. Indeed, he's trying to kill a woman when Holmes finds him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It is mentioned one of his (many) victims was twelve.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: On the receiving end from Moriarty.

    Daniel Gottlieb

  • Attention Whore: When he's caught, he doesn't bother asking for a lawyer. He just eagerly spills his guts about every job he's ever done, happy to finally have an audience.
  • Badass Bookworm: A unassuming but clever man who kills the shit out of people using nothing but his wits.
  • The Chessmaster: He manages to plan around Holmes efficiently.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Once he's captured, he's all snark.
  • Co-Dragon: To Moriarty alongside Moran.
  • Elite Mook: One of Moriarty's chief assassins.
  • Evil Genius: Sherlock describes him as the scalpel to Moran's bludgeon.
  • Hero Killer: Was once contracted to kill Holmes, back when he was still a junkie. For reasons Gottlieb didn't understand, the hit was later called off.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: His M.O.
  • Mythology Gag: In "The Final Problem", Holmes tells Watson that since he's been on Moriarty's trail, he's almost been killed "by accident" a suspiciously large number of times (like almost being hit by a "out-of-control" carriage, narrowly dodging a brick dropped from a building, and so forth), strongly hinted to be the work of Moriarty's henchmen. Gottlieb takes that concept and makes it into a character of its own.
  • Professional Killer: His job is to put people out of Moriarty's way.
  • Psycho for Hire: He was a serial killer before becoming a hitman. This should tell you enough.
  • Serial Killer: Was already this before Moriarty contacted him. Afterwards, he at last gets paid to do what he loves.
  • The Sociopath: Doesn't feel an ounce of remorse for his actions. On the contrary, he's very proud.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Gottlieb is polite and serene as he meticulously plans your death. His opening scene has him calmly causing a man to have a heart attack and admitting he'd be entirely content watching his victim die if he wasn't on orders.
  • 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.

    Isaac Proctor
Played by: Erik Jensen

  • Beard of Evil: Initially, he later shaves it.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Deliberately shot a policeman's vest, not wanting to kill him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When he goes after Sherlock, he simply sneaks up behind with a gun. It's only through chance Sherlock sees his reflection on a lamp and gets shot in the shoulder. In a brief physical struggle in which he drops his gun, Isaac repeatedly rams his knee into Sherlock's bullet wound. And when Sherlock escapes upstairs, Proctor briefly considers running after him before deciding on retrieving his gun.
  • Cold Sniper: Kills John Douglas this way.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Moriarty's men try to kill him when he goes rogue.
  • Important Haircut: In "The Woman", he shaves off his long hair and beard when on the run.
  • In the Back:
    • Tries to this to Sherlock, but Sherlock sees his reflection in a lamp and takes a bullet to the shoulder instead.
    • Is killed like this at the hands of Moriarty.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Is ordered not to kill Sherlock, which becomes clear that he could have done so after shooting Douglas. When he is betrayed, he gets revenge by trying to kill Sherlock, whom he realizes that Moriarty is obsessed with.
  • Wham Line: In "The Woman" when he reveals Moriarty is a woman:
    Then a few hours ago, she tried to have me killed.

    Joshua Vikner 
Played by: Tony Curran

A professor of economics who Sherlock discovers has taken over Moriarty's organization.

  • Affably Evil: Has thus far had cordial communication with Sherlock and Joan, despite the latter not hiding their desire to take him down and Sherlock's obvious attempts to provoke him.
  • Arc Villain: Revealed to be the mastermind behind the assassination attempt on Morland Holmes and is now essentially at war with him.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He may have been Moriarty's hand picked successor, but he's not quite pragmatic enough to fill in. Several of his subordinates note that he's a hammer in situations that require a scalpel. As it turns out, Morland Holmes makes a far more appropriate successor to Moriarty than he does.
  • The Chessmaster: Selected by Moriarty to a top role in her organization, as well as fathering her child, and Sherlock notes she wouldn't have chosen someone incapable for either role.
  • Mythology Gag: Vikner is an updated version of the (James) Moriarty from the original stories: a brilliant university professor with a specialty involving numbers (mathematics from the original stories, economics for Vikner) who is also running an international criminal organization. His appearance is similar to how Jared Harris looked playing Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
  • Spear Counterpart: Vikner is Jamie Moriarty's male counterpart.
  • Worthy Opponent: Regards Holmes as this, not denying who he is nor being surprised Holmes identified him. Vikner is honestly surprised it took Holmes so long to find him. He doesn't regard Watson in the same way, and is confused as to why Moriarty does.

Other Antagonists

    Del Gruner
Played by: Stuart Townsend

Joan's boss at Leda, introduced partway through Season 3.

  • Adaptational Villainy: His orginal counterpart was already a nasty piece of work, a serial philanderer who was implied to have murdered his wife. Here he's a outright rapist and serial killer.
  • Arc Villain: Of Kitty Winter's arc.
  • Benevolent Boss: It's part of his masquerade.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Your typical psychopath in the guise of a charming businessman.
  • The Charmer: How he seduces women.
  • The Chessmaster: Not to, say, Moriarty's level, but he played a mean game, manipulating just about everyone. And he almost got away with it.
  • Facial Horror: The consequences of Kitty's revenge leave his entire face in bandages.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He only acts kind and polite. In reality, he's a vicious monster.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He kept one of his victims alive longer than his usual MO after she became pregnant with his child and arranged for the baby to be adopted by a member of his company so he could influence the boy's life. After Holmes and Watson realise this, they're able to use the son's DNA (since it matches both the murdered woman and Gruner) to prove that he is a serial rapist and killer.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kitty is happy to deliver it to him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: See The Chessmaster above.
  • Nice Guy: But it's only a front.
  • The Sociopath: He's spent the last several years torturing and murdering young women. Kitty was the only one who escaped.
  • Torture Technician: As poor Kitty could tell you.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: A wealthy owner of an insurance company, secretly a rapist.
  • Walking Spoiler: As evidenced by the number of spoiler tags in his tropes.

    Michael Rowan
A fellow recovering addict whom Sherlock befriends in Season 6, until he learns that he is also a deranged serial killer.

  • Arc Villain: Of Season 6's story arc.
  • Ax-Crazy: As would be expected of a serial killer.
  • Back for the Finale: He's absent for a longer period of time than intended thanks to the network expanding the episode count for the season beyond what was originally planned, but he returns for the final two...kind of. He's Killed Off for Real in the penultimate episode, and the season finale deals with Joan being accused of his murder.
  • Big Bad Friend:
    • He and Sherlock become friends in the Season 6 premiere, which makes it worse for Sherlock when he discovers the truth about him.
    • This is also his relationship with William Bazemore, a fashion designer who's also a recovering addict. William believes in Michael's innocence until he realizes that Michael killed his husband Ray (also a recovering addict) and made it look like a suicide because Michael thought that Ray would start William using again. When William learns this, he falls off the wagon and fatally overdoses. Michael blames Joan, and shows up while she's alone to avenge his friend...
  • Faux Affably Evil: He considers himself to be Sherlock's friend and is amiable toward the detective, even after Sherlock learns the truth about him. Eventually, Sherlock runs out of patience and tells him to Shut Up, Hannibal!. He also sent a letter to Graham Jenkins (who was convicted of a murder Michael committed) saying he was never meant to be convicted. Sherlock thinks that this is him exercising power and to fuel his ego.
  • Never My Fault: He attacks Joan Watson blaming her for the death of William Bazemore, who just overdosed when he had a relapse into his old drug addiction; Bazemore did relapse because of news Joan gave him, but when that news is evidence that Michael killed Bazemore's husband, that undermines the idea that Joan is responsible for his fate.
  • Not Me This Time: In "Fit to Be Tied", he claims to be innocent of the latest murder committed in his distinctive style. However, when Sherlock shows him photos of the victim, he says whoever killed her must have really hated her. He's right on both counts; not only does he have an alibi, but the real killer turns out to be a judge familiar with his case, who used his techniques to eliminate the woman her husband was having an affair with.
  • Serial Killer: His true profession.

    *Spoiler Character of Season 7* 

Odin Reichenbach
Played By: James Frain

Founder and CEO of odker, a software company with businesses across the globe, as well as the final Arc Villain of the series. He uses his tech to prevent crimes before they happen — even if that means becoming a criminal himself.

  • Anti-Villain: Unlike previous Big Bads and Arc Villains who were Card-Carrying Villains and heads of criminal organizations, Reichenbach is a respected businessman who's motivated by a sense of justice; wanting to prevent crime and death rather than cause it...even if his way of preventing it involves causing it.
  • Arc Villain: Of Season 7.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: How he knew of the ferry-bombing ahead of time. Since a vast majority of people use his hardware/software, he's able to tweak his coding to alert him of anyone who shows signs of committing violent crimes.
  • Big Bad Slippage: While he considers himself a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's killing future criminals to save their future victims, as time goes on he proves himself capable of having anyone murdered to benefit his project or protect his secrets. For example, he kills an innocent woman as part of a plan to take over her brother's company because the company's tech will improve his crime prediction system.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He hires Joan and Sherlock to investigate threats against his niece and sister, but it turns out to be a Secret Test of Character to see just how far the two would be willing to go to protect an innocent person. He wasn't disappointed.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He's the one who Patrick Mears, who shot Captain Gregson, works for and the head of a major corporation.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Despite being the Arc Villain for the final season, he get arrested at the beginning of the final episode, to which Moriarty takes over and becoming the Final Boss.
  • Foil: To Moriarty. Both were heads of international and financially successful organizations. One was a woman, and an international fugitive, whose stock in trade was murders and crimes with a network of spies and assassins. The other is a respected business man trying to prevent crimes from happening — even at the expense of innocents. The former was the Arc Villain of the first season while the latter is the Arc Villain of the final season.
  • Hypocrite: Reichenbach claims that he has people killed to prevent them committing future crimes against innocent people, but on at least one occasion he has three innocent people killed just to frame the son for killing his parents in a murder-suicide, and had previously killed a woman so that her brother would be unable to protest his acquisition of the man's company.
  • It's All About Me: Despite Reichenbach's claims that he acts to protect innocent people from future crimes, his attitude at least strongly suggests that he mainly enjoys the sense of power he gets from killing; even when Holmes suggests an alternative system where Reichenbach's forces would just monitor potential killers and try to amend the issues that might drive them to kill, he goes so far as to kill three innocent people just to create the impression that his own methods are superior.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Any hint of moral ambiguity about his actions end in "Unfriended", when it's revealed that he ordered the murders of a man who Sherlock had persuaded not to kill, and his innocent parents, faked as a familicide, solely to persuade Sherlock that his murder-first approach was correct, and also that he had a completely innocent woman killed so that he could buy a company owned by her brother.
  • Meaningful Name: Both his first and last name are significant.
    • The original Odin is a Norse god whose powers include the ability to foretell the future, just as Reichenbach uses his software to predict crimes. The two also share the traits of being The Trickster and not being infallible.
    • His surname combines this trope with Mythology Gag. He shares the name of Reichenbach Falls, famously known as the location of Holmes and Moriarty's final showdown and (presumed) death. The confrontation itself took place in the story "The Final Problem", the intended Grand Finale to the original Conan Doyle stories. Appropriately enough, he's the final Big Bad of the Elementary series, and is defeated by Holmes faking his death.
  • Precrime Arrest: He uses his company's resources to monitor his customers and software to predict those who are planning to commit crimes. As Joan points out, there's a major flaw to this plan due to people loving to rant on the internet just for catharsis. Sherlock mentions one of Reichenbach's victims, a school bus driver who blogged about killing the kids on her bus every year when her birthday came around, but never followed through. Sherlock observes that, as disturbing as her fantasies were, she was probably just venting so there was no need to kill her.
  • Smug Snake: Becomes one over the course of the season. As he becomes more and more convinced of his own righteousness, he gets more careless and less principled. This causes loose ends that could expose him. Tying them up causes even more loose ends to appear. It gets worse after he has Morland killed. He thinks he is untouchable even with a growing number of people becoming aware of his operation, including high ranking members of the New York justice system. He easily falls into Sherlock's trap to frame him for his own murder. All the people he dismissed as non-threats are now free to use the murder investigation to expose him.
  • Start of Darkness: Years ago a school shooter in Iowa killed 17 of his classmates with Odin spending days watching the news coverage wondering how no-one had seen it coming. Finally he violated his own Terms of Service and to his horror discovered plenty of evidence of what the shooter was going to do. The next day, he began tweaking the code of his software to alert him of anyone who was planning to commit similar crimes.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The idea of preventing crimes, especially large-scale ones like the ferry-bombing, is a noble cause. Unfortunately, Reinchenbach believes in acceptable losses even when presented with evidence that his system isn't 100% accurate, and his later actions reinforce the idea that he just kills people because he likes the sense of power rather than out of purely altruistic motives.

    Cassie Lenue 

Cassie Lenue

Played by: Ally Ioannides
A teenage con artist with a penchant for inserting herself into families with missing children to bilk them out of money.

  • Birds of a Feather: She perceives herself and Holmes as this, as he's the only person she can view as an intellectual equal. This prompts her to seek him out in hopes of making a connection with him.
  • Consummate Liar: She's exceptionally good at lying, to the point where even Sherlock has trouble working out if she's telling the truth or not.
  • Curiosity Causes Conversion: Her eventual Heel–Face Turn is prompted by her curiosity about Holmes and desire to forge a connection with him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted in "Miss Taken". She claims that she has discovered that the family she has conned her way into was abusing their real daughter and claimed she went "missing" to cover up that they murdered her. However, Sherlock and Joan quickly work out that this is a lie she made up to distract them.
  • Heel–Face Turn: By the end of "Miss Understood", she has seemingly given up using her skill at deception for selfish gain.
  • Living Lie Detector: Sherlock notes that her skill at lying means she's very good at noticing when other people are lying.
  • Only One Name: "Lenue" is not her actual last name. It was a designation given by the courts, an expansion of "LNU", meaning "Last Name Unknown."
  • Riddle for the Ages: In "Miss Understood" she implies to Watson that she believes that she is Holmes's daughter via a one-night-stand with the woman that was probably her mother. She never brings this up with Holmes, and it is never resolved whether this is true, something false that she genuinely believes, or a lie she made up to mess with Watson.