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    Jeff Hope 

Jeff Hope

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sherlockjeffhope_8843.jpg
"It's not chance, Mr. Holmes, it's chess. It's a game of chess."
Played By: Phil Davis

The killer in "A Study in Pink," who has a sponsor and receives money for his family for every kill.


  • Adaptational Jerkass: The literary version of him was a Sympathetic Murderer who targeted Asshole Victims for hurting the people he loved. Here he's a Serial Killer whose motivation is much less sympathetic, targets completely innocent people, and is overall much more cold-blooded and cruel.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Like Adler, he was originally American, this time from Utah. In the TV series, he is a Cockney cab driver.
  • Almighty Janitor: His career is rather dull and unimportant, yet he shows himself to be rather intelligent and calculating. He lampshades that someone like him who drives a cab doesn't look all that bright.
  • Alone with the Psycho: A variation. Sherlock actually volunteers to be alone with the psycho because the aforementioned psycho's promised to tell Sherlock how he's been committing his murders.
  • Beneath Notice: As he says, nobody ever thinks about the cabbie. It's like he's just a back of a head. He's able to take advantage of his job to hide in plain sight and be inherently trusted by his victims.
  • Break Them by Talking:
    "I'm not going to kill you, Mr. Holmes. I'm going to talk to you, and you're going to kill yourself."
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He's very intelligent but working in a low income job, even Sherlock lampshades it:
    "Either way you're wasted as a cabbie."
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: There was some subtle foreshadowing about what the character's profession was, but the character himself is never introduced, nor is he ever clearly seen onscreen, until the climax of his episode.
  • Driven to Suicide: It looks like this is what he does to his victims. It turns out he's forcing them at gunpoint to choose between two pills, one of which is poisonous.
  • Evil Old Folks: His exact age is unknown, but he's definitely getting on in years.
  • Faux Affably Evil: His tone is certainly friendly and cordial, but the actual content of what he says shows him to be a pretty massive asshole.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: His glasses only add to the eerie appearance that he has, although they're more subtle than most cases of this trope.
  • Irony: Greatly values intelligence in people, and prides himself on his own ability, yet is suffering from a brain aneurysm that threatens to kill him.
  • Lack of Empathy: He doesn't seem particularly bothered by the fact that he has to kill people in order to secure money for his children. In fact, he seems to like killing and holds most people in contempt.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The entire reason behind his killings is because, once he's dead, there'd be no income to provide for his children. Moriarity acts as a "sponsor," paying him loads for each person he kills.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's able to play on Sherlock's constant curiosity and desire for excitement to get Holmes to, not only go alone somewhere with him, but also to play the "game" even when there’s no reason for Sherlock to do so. His game also depends on manipulating people based on what he's deduced about them and what he believes they've deduced about him.
  • Never Suicide: The entire plot of his episode, really. Though since these are "serial suicides" it's kind of obvious.
  • Nice Hat: Sports a nifty flat cap.
  • No Name Given: His name is only revealed in the credits, and even then his last name's not given.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Whenever he plays his "game" with his victims, there's a good chance he could die too, but he just doesn't seem to care. Most likely it's a combination of this trope due to the knowledge he's dying anyway, and confidence that he'll always be able to outsmart his opponents.
  • Papa Wolf: The more people he kills, the more money Moriarty gives to his children.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: His method of killing involves offering his victims a choice between two identical pills, one of them harmless, the other poisoned.
  • Serial Killer: He's murdered at least four people and he aims to take a fifth in Sherlock Holmes.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He may not look it, but he is a genius behind the simplish look.
  • Smug Snake: While he is a very clever man, as proven by how he's managed to survive four rounds of his "game," his arrogance, cold-bloodedness, and firm belief in the stupidity of everyone around him does little to earn anyone's admiration.
  • Starter Villain: He's the villain of the first episode of the series, and, while clever and dangerous enough to arouse Sherlock's interest, he's just the opening act for Moriarity.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: At least in his own opinion.
    "Between you and me sitting here, why can't people think? Don't it make you mad? Why can't people just think?"
  • Take a Third Option: If anyone tries to refuse his game, he offers them a bullet from his gun instead. Gun's a fake.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: He's a perfectly ordinary-looking man, which aides him in committing his murders.
  • Worthy Opponent: While he talks about all his other victims as if they were idiots, he seems to hold Sherlock in some regard. Granted he still thinks Sherlock's not as smart as him, but he's conversational with him and even compliments Sherlock on the ideas Sherlock's put on his website.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: He has a life-threatening aneurysm, meaning he lives with the knowledge any breath could be his last.
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    Irene Adler 

Irene "The Woman" Adler

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/adler_irene_6077.jpg
"Do you know the problem with a disguise, Mr Holmes? However hard you try, it's always a self-portrait."
Played By: Lara Pulver

The Woman, perhaps the only person to ever consistently flummox Sherlock Holmes. She's a dominatrix who first enters the story due to blackmailing the royal family.


  • Adaptational Badass: In the original stories, Irene Adler's impressive feat was simply seeing through Holmes' ruse, pulling one in turn, and then having the good sense to skip town while she has the chance. Here, she manages to con him into decoding top-secret, vital information which she then passes along to Moriarty, ruining Mycroft's day. It takes a last-second epiphany for Sherlock to recover himself and make up for his own royal screwup.
  • Adaptational Nationality: In the original series, Adler is American, from New Jersey. In the new series, she's played by English Lara Pulver. They do allude to her original American background with her going to America for witness protection, but really being captured in Karachi, and seemingly beheaded...
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original short-story, Irene just wanted to be left alone.
  • Badass Boast: "This is how I want you to remember me... the woman who beat you."
  • Big Bad Wannabe: For all of Irene’s cleverness, it’s still clear that she wouldn’t have gotten away with as much without Moriarty’s assistance. This is made more evident after she loses his support, and is captured and almost put to death.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She may not have been a sweetheart when she was introduced, but by the time the episode ends, it’s revealed that she’s complicit in terrorist plots and Moriarty's willing accomplice.
  • Bi the Way: She's been in relationships with both men and women prior to meeting Sherlock.
    • She's reported as breaking up the marriage of a writer and his wife by having an affair with both of them.
  • Brains and Bondage: A dominatrix who caters to the highest echelons of society. One of very few people to get several over on Sherlock Holmes.
  • Brainy Brunette: Brown hair and nearly as smart as Sherlock.
  • Broken Bird: She's very clever, but also clearly rather damaged; Irene routinely drugs her 'friends', keeps blackmail material on her phone just in case she needs it, and her career is sex — it's not fun, it's a job.
  • The Cameo: Irene very briefly appears in Sherlock's mind palace in "The Sign of Three", suggesting that Sherlock still thinks about her sometimes. She's completely naked, naturally.
  • Catchphrase: She mentions a couple of times she knows somebody, then amends, "Well, I know what he/she likes."
  • The Chessmaster: Outplays both Holmes brothers, at one point.
  • Consummate Liar: She's very good at manipulating and deceiving people. Ironically, she even convinces herself she's only pretending to have feelings for Sherlock.
  • Dark Action Girl: She can handle herself in a scrap, as seen when she and Sherlock are ambushed in her drawing room, she easily disarms and pistol-whips her attacker.
  • Dominatrix: Mycroft specifically describes her as such.
  • Easily Forgiven: She was perfectly willing to extort the British government for millions, enlist the skills of a psychopath, aid in a terrorist plot, and manipulate and betray Sherlock, yet she still gets saved by Sherlock in the end and lives without any apparent consequences or moral development.
  • Excessive Evil Eye Shadow: Prior to meeting Sherlock, she is seen liberally applying copious pearlescent eye-shadow and blood-red lipstick.
  • Faking the Dead: Twice.
  • Femme Fatale: A classic example.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: One of her many tricks for stealing blackmail material.
  • Friendly Enemy: Whether he still has any animosity towards her is debatable, but "The Lying Detective" reveals that, wherever she is now, she and Sherlock still text regularly. She even wishes him a happy birthday. Sherlock has mixed feelings about the situation, but John encourages him to pursue it (he knows better than anyone he might not get another chance).
  • Fun with Subtitles: When Sherlock does his trademark scan, a subtitle floating beside the clue says what he's noticed. When he first meets Irene, all his scans get is "???????".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Let's be honest, whether she has feelings for Sherlock or not, it still doesn't stop her from treating him terribly or excuse her for working with Moriarty. She's made it pretty clear all through that episode that her self-interest comes before anything else.
  • Karma Houdini: For all the havoc and damage she caused, she still gets to survive in the end, albeit which her reputation destroyed and her "occupation" taken away from her.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: She does everything she can to exploit Sherlock’s naivete when it comes to sex and intimacy but in the end her own feelings for him prove to be her downfall. Verges on Dramatic Irony.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Struts into the drawing room to greet Sherlock stark naked.
  • Naked on Arrival: Pulls this on Sherlock to defeat his trademark scan. Can't tell anything from a person's clothes if they're not wearing any, right?
  • No-Sell: When first meeting Adler, Sherlock's scan can only come up with "??????"
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Admittedly, she might not be from New Jersey in this version, but the fact Pulver uses her normal accent is a notable departure from past portrayals of the character.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Kate, her lover/assistant.
  • Show Some Leg: Calculates that showing some leg would simply be analyzed for what it is by Sherlock. So she takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Elegant. Ruthless.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Caters to both male and female clients, claims to self-identify as being gay, yet the only man (or indeed anyone) she actually shows any serious interest seems to be Sherlock. Her chosen password is particularly telling.
    I Am SHER Locked
  • Troll: She loves to troll Sherlock, even altering his phone so that every time she messages him, it plays a soft, pleasured sigh.
  • Unusual Euphemism: At one point, her occupation is described as "recreational scolding".
  • The Vamp: A dangerous, beautiful woman who uses sex as a tool to get what she wants.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Very much taken with Sherlock.
  • Woman Of Wealth And Taste: The phone everybody was fighting for in "A Scandal in Belgravia" was a Vertu Constellation Quest smart phone, with a price tag of £17,300. There was more than one reason she was fighting tooth and nail to get it back.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what became of her after the events of "A Scandal in Belgravia", presumably she's in hiding in somewhere.
    • In "The Lying Detective," she is revealed to be in contact with Sherlock.
  • Whip It Good: Introduced holding a riding crop, which features extensively in her website's photos, and uses it for reasons very different from Sherlock's.

     Bob Frankland 

  • Affably Evil: Dr Frankland is very polite and friendly despite being a murderer involved in highly unethical scientific experiments.
  • Gaslighting: Frankland has been drugging Henry in order to discredit him as a witness to his father's death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the climax of "The Hounds Of Baskerville", Frankland attempts to escape through the Grimpen Minefield and steps on a mine, which blows him to bits.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Double-subverted. Frankland was ultimately responsible for the death of Henry's father, and got away with it because even though Henry witnessed it, Henry was drugged by the Project Hound drug and rationalized it into thinking it was the hound to cope with the trauma. When Henry finally learned and accepted the truth about the hound and his father's murder twenty years later, he furiously tried to attack Frankland before being stopped by Lestrade. Frankland then attempted to escape through the Grimpen Minefield and, predictably, ended up getting blown up.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Monster of the Week: Only appears in "The Hounds Of Baskerville".
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Subverted. Once he's caught, he attempts to escape through the Grimpen Minefield, only to end up stepping on a mine and gets blown up.

    Charles Augustus Magnussen 

Charles Augustus Magnussen

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/magnussen_charles_augustus_4796.jpg
"Knowing is owning."
Played By: Lars Mikkelsen

A media mogul who owns the majority of Western civilization through very careful application of blackmail.


  • Achilles' Heel: Magnussen stores all the information about his victims not on a computer, which would be hackable, but in hard copy form in a vast underground vault underneath his high-security home. Only he has access to it, and he doesn't let anybody in. ... Except that he doesn't. There is no such vault. He just remembers it all. As a result, Sherlock is able to eliminate Magnussen as a threat by shooting him in the head.
  • Adaptational Badass: His literary counterpart was content blackmailing England's nobility and gentry, specifically ladies, who were either married or engaged. Here he's blackmailing world governments, and instead of keeping all of his information in a locked safe, he keeps it all in his own head.
  • Adaptational Nationality: His book counterpart was British. Magnussen is probably from a Scandinavian country but we never find out which one.
    • His actor being told to keep his native accent (more distinctive to Scandinavians than Anglophones, admittedly)and the spelling ("Magnussen" rather than "Magnusson") strongly suggest he's meant to be Danish.
  • Adaptation Name Change: From Milverton to Magnussen.
  • Always Someone Better: Sherlock's hatred of him is exacerbated by the fact that Magnussen is genuinely smart enough to outwit him.
  • Asshole Victim: He's so cruel and unlikable, you can't help but cheer Sherlock on when he shoots Magnussen in the head.
  • Big Bad: He's the one for Series 3.
  • Blackmail: Specializes in extortion.
    Sherlock: ... he attacks people who are different and preys on their secrets!
  • Boom, Headshot!: Sherlock shoots him in the head after he makes it clear that if he dies, his information goes with him.
  • The Bully: What he is, and the specific reason Sherlock hates him as he picks on people for being different, hinting at a bit of bullying in Sherlock's own past.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Seriously, revealing that there are no physical Appledore vaults, that all the information is in his head, and there are no tangible copies of data or backups or contingencies that can be disseminated in the event of his death to cause chaos, and then being utterly unrepentant and physically humiliating the people who hate him and want to stop him. Did Magnussen really not consider someone would be desperate or stupid or self-sacrificing enough to simply kill him where he stood? Because that is the one thing that will easily and definitively eliminate the threat of his blackmail scheme by leaving all that sensitive information completely dead inside his equally dead brain. It is especially puzzling that he would admit as much to Sherlock, after just barely escaping a similar fate by Mary's hand earlier in the episode.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: To the people he's blackmailing. In public, he presents himself as a simple businessman. Defied at the end, though — he mocks Sherlock and John precisely for treating him like some kind of villain. He seems to honestly believe that he isn't a villain due to some Insane Troll Logic like, for instance, the fact that he technically hasn't killed anyone (even though he has ruined several lives and puts others in mortal danger, both for his own amusement).
  • The Chessmaster: His ultimate goal in Series 3 is to get leverage on Mycroft to blackmail and control him. He achieves this by blackmailing Mary, then manipulating Sherlock and John when they react as he expects they will, relying on a series of "pressure points" to control the involved parties. Once Sherlock implicated himself for high treason by trying to sell him Mycroft's laptop full of government information, Magnussen would have the leverage he needs to get to Mycroft.
  • Composite Character: Largely based on Charles Augustus Milverton, from the short story of the same title. However, the larger scale of his activities, the "Napoleon" nickname, his appearance and personality, and the events in his brief meetings with Sherlock, make him a more faithful depiction of Moriarty as he originally appeared in the Conan Doyle stories than the Sherlock Jim Moriarty is.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In addition to his blackmailing activities, he has no problem printing false information in his papers.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    John: I don't understand.
    Magnussen: You should put that on a t-shirt.
    [later]
    John: I still don't understand.
    Magnussen: And there's the back of the t-shirt.
  • Dirty Coward: No problem with begging for his life when he's got a gun to his head.
  • Dirty Old Man: He can go anywhere from small, simple actions and words that will leave your skin crawling, to licking a woman's face and molesting Sherlock while he's nearly unconscious in a deleted scene.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: His interactions with his victims strongly resemble those of a rapist (and in Britain, forcibly licking someone like that counts as sexual assault).
  • The Dreaded: Sherlock mentions that Magnussen is the most dangerous threat he's faced up to that point and nobody's ever made his stomach turn quite like Magnussen.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: For all the ways that he managed to outwit Sherlock and take advantage of the fact that John is Sherlock's pressure point, he was apparently unaware of how far Sherlock would go to protect John.
    • A smooth talker with a thousand enemies and a gun presently to his head: "What's this obsession with honesty?!"
    • Also, for all the truly vile and horrible things he does every single day, he scoffs and laughs at the idea that he is actually the bad guy.
  • Evil Counterpart: Another one to Sherlock. Like Sherlock, he's a genius who stores vast amounts of information in his head via the Mind Palace technique. This is the secret of his serial blackmailing. He doesn't need to store the information corporeally or digitally. He's Sherlock's logical side, if taken to a cold, logical extreme.
    • Like Sherlock, Magnussen specializes in uncovering secrets and solving mysteries, but while Sherlock uses it to put evil away and better society, Magnussen uses it as power to assert his dominance over people and countries.
    • He is an evil counterpart of Mycroft. Both have extensive influence over governments, both have direct yet ethically-questionable access to leaders of Britain, both are more chessmasters than trickster, and both are strongly implied to actually be smarter than Sherlock (and both definitely like reminding him of it). It's strongly implied that Magnussen has clashed with Mycroft before and has found a way to blackmail or control him which may be threats against Sherlock and at one point Sherlock tries and fails to bribe him with Mycroft's laptop, because Magnussen craves the information on it. In the original stories Sherlock muses that if Mycroft had the inclination he could easily become the most successful criminal the world had ever seen- Magnussen could be read as an attempt to see if that is true.
  • Evil Gloating: Magnussen likes to do this. And in classic villain fashion, this ultimately leads to his downfall: When he thinks that he has beat Sherlock Holmes, he tells him the reason why - this way exposing his own biggest weakness. Namely that the police can't confiscate his blackmail vault because it only exists in his head. Thus the vault will simply cease to exist and stop causing any more trouble with Magnussen's death.
  • Evil Is Petty: Mainly because of all the information he has on people, he fully believes he can do whatever to whomever he wants. In fact this seems to be his main motivation.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He rarely gets angry, and almost always speaks with the same polite tone of voice. It makes him even creepier and even more disgusting.
  • For the Evulz: He's a wealthy newspaper magnate, so he blackmails people because he enjoys the power it gives him, not for the money.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: A criminal mastermind with a pair of rimless glasses.
  • Hypocrite: He loves threatening people with ruination and does so with the utmost apathy and grace, but as soon as his neck's on the line, he breaks down into a quivering, pleading mess.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Sherlock compares his eyes to the "dead eyed" gaze of a shark.
  • Irony: Sherlock shoots Magnussen in his both his literal and metaphorical computer, (where he stored all his oh so valuable blackmail information) which is directly caused by two separate instances of the dog biting back.
  • Jerkass: He's a pretty big one. He blackmails people just for the hell of it and because it gives him power over them, consequences (to them) be damned.
  • Kick the Dog: To all of his onscreen victims.
  • Knight of Cerebus: For Series 3. At first, it appeared "The Empty Hearse" would be more lighthearted and funny... then John Watson is nearly burned to death. From there, he only gets worse.
  • Lean and Mean: In a conspicuous contrast to the portly Milverton of the original story, Lars Mikkelsen's sharp, angular features help to create the effect.
    • His height helps the sharp, skeletal effect. Mikkelsen at six feet three and a half inches looms over even Cumberbatch and Gatiss, and positively towers over 5'7" Martin Freeman and 5'4" Amanda Abbington.
    • Ironically, his brother, Mads Mikkelsen is another tall, thin actor who is well-known for playing Le Chiffre, the villain of Film/Casino Royale who like Milverton, is described as short and fat in the book in which he appears.
  • Necessarily Evil: For the British government, as described by Mycroft:
    "He's a businessman, that's all. And occasionally useful to us. A necessary evil."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Of Rupert Murdoch. Both are wealthy, powerful foreigners who run controversial news organizations. Also Robert Maxwell.
  • Old Media Are Evil: He's an international newspaper magnate who blackmails people as a sideline.
  • Out-Gambitted: For all of his planning and manipulation, he'd never anticipated Sherlock shooting him in the head.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After a Kick the Dog moment courtesy of him, this is what two of his onscreen victims do back.
  • Photographic Memory: There are hints that he's using some sort of Google Glass-esque Heads-Up Display, and that's the conclusion Sherlock initially comes to, but it's a Red Herring. He keeps all his secrets in his "mind palace", with no backup whatsoever.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He is the most powerful man in the world, but he acts like a Spoiled Brat or Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up, since he uses said power mainly to bully and humiliate people For the Evulz.
  • Red Right Hand: In his interaction with Lady Smallwood in Claridge's, he reveals that he suffers from hyperhydrosis.
  • Sadist: Absolutely revels in the power his information, influence and public standing gives him over other people- to the point of forcefully licking the arm and face of a government minister or pissing in Sherlock's fireplace, just because he can.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Even though he's seen blackmailing MP's (and it's implied the Prime Minister) Mycroft wants him left alone for reasons that are unclear.
    • Sherlock accuses Mycroft of also being blackmailed by Magnussen. It's implied that he actually got to Mycroft by threatening to use his papers to go after Sherlock.
  • Shadow Archetype: If Moriarty is the more chaotic, wild counterpart to Sherlock, Magnussen is Sherlock to his absolute coldest depths.
    • He is also a more smug, sadistic, and unprincipled version of Mycroft, what the latter could be if he stopped caring about the defence of the realm and instead decided to rub its face in the mud.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Always dresses in suits and despite having a condition that makes him sweat constantly, he always looks immaculate from his hair to his clothes.
  • Smug Snake:
    • He considers John and Mrs. Hudson to be "unimportant".
    • He tends to underestimate the people he blackmails. Some like Lady Smallwood and Mary refuse to put up with it and act to bring him down.
    • All his information is memorized, so there's no hard copy of it. But he tells this all to Sherlock, thinking he got one up on him, which is a rare but severe miscalculation on his part. Sherlock has no problem putting a bullet in his brain when he threatens John and Mary's happiness.
    • He dismisses Sherlock as a hero who can't do anything to stop him. Sherlock calls him out on this and shoots him.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Is always soft spoken, even when pleading for his life. Also, torments people he doesn't need to just because he enjoys it.
  • Stat-O-Vision: His glasses show information useful for blackmail on anyone he looks at including their porn preference and "pressure points." It turns out that his glasses are completely ordinary and the information he sees is just his "mind palace." It still fits this trope, though.
  • Take That!: Arguably to another newspaper executive Rupert Murdoch (leading to more accusations of BBC bias from the Daily Mail.)
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Villainous version, and an extremely borderline case. He has no problem arranging for John to be put in a bonfire just to see how Sherlock would react... but says he had a man on-site who would have saved him had Sherlock not made it in time, so it doesn't really count. His final fate is to be on the receiving end of Sherlock defying this trope. Also, at least one of his blackmail victims committed suicide after he threatened them, and he doesn't give a damn.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Mycroft has him under protection, yet Magnussen has no problem stealing data from British Intelligence if it gives him more power. But he's savvy enough to not get caught doing it.
  • Villain Ball: Magnussen makes two mistakes:
    1. He decides to blackmail Mary, a recently retired assassin. He presumably knows everything about her, and takes joy in amusing himself with the nature of her assassinations. Except this also means she has no moral or practical issue in just sneaking into his office and shooting him in the head as soon as she could fit it in her schedule. Which she was seconds away from doing if not for Sherlock and Watson making an appearance and forcing her to improvise to avoid them being suspected in Magnusson's murder.
    2. The reveal that the Appledore blackmail vault is entirely in Magnusson's head, and he controls no records other than what he remembers, makes him pretty impotent. Perhaps the only reason he hasn't been killed before the episode is that his targets think that Magnusson has some sort of failsafe in case he's killed, such as physical records that would be disseminated if he dies under suspicious circumstances. Magnussen likes the idea of showing up Sherlock by getting the police to search his home and find nothing incriminating. However, he seems ignorant of the fact that this also will reveal to lots of current and future unhappy blackmail victims that it might be better to just kill him instead of pay him. The reveal is intended to demonstrate Magnusson defeating Sherlock's plan to expose him, but it also suggests Magnusson is far and wide the stupidest criminal Sherlock has ever faced, as even after Mary attempting to kill him, he seems unaware that any of his victims might attempt to kill him, and therefore makes no effort to use his extensive blackmail library to protect himself.
  • Villains Want Mercy: He's even more of a Dirty Coward than his literary counterpart, who was obviously also terrified to face some who would Just Shoot Him but never quite stooped to invoking her (husband's) better nature.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: To the general public, he's simply a businessman with some good connections.
  • White Void Room: His "vault", which helps him in accessing his mind palace.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He labels Sherlock a "hero". This leads to his downfall.

     Culverton Smith 

Culverton Smith

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/17_97.jpg
"We're going to have endless fun, Mr. Holmes, aren't we?"
Played by: Toby Jones

A well known philanthropist and media personality who is secretly a serial killer.


  • Adaptational Jerkass: Culverton Smith was no saint in "The Dying Detective"; he did kill his nephew for inheritance. But this version is a complete sadist killing scores of people.
  • Attention Whore: He loves being famous - no matter what he has to do to obtain it.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a daughter with whom he is apparently close.
  • Fatal Flaw: Culverton has an obsessive need to confess his crimes. This screws him over when, after being arrested for murder on the basis of an inadmissible recorded confession, Culverton repeatedly makes willing confessions of his crimes to the police.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He has a jovial attitude, but he's a thoroughly unpleasant human being and if pressed will drop the attitude.
  • For the Evulz: He kills because he enjoys doing it. After the killing, however, he discovers that he enjoys the attention he gets from confessing as well.
  • Graceful Loser: He's doesn't mind being caught because it means he'll live forever in infamy.
  • Hate Sink: His overt repulsiveness surpasses even Magnussen's. Made explicit when he spits out food into a spit bucket after filming a commercial and then proceeds to hit on the young female PA holding the bucket.
  • Never One Murder: Culverton's confession at the beginning reveals that he's not looking to kill a specific person; he's actually addicted to the thrill of murder and has the constant urge to kill anyone without discrimination. Once he confesses at the episode's end, he discovers he has an even stronger addiction to confessing his crimes and letting the world see and know.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: He never acts as if his addiction to killing is horrifying or even very abnormal.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • This version of Smith is based off disgraced BBC presenter Jimmy Saville, including using his influence to access restricted areas (including a hospital mortuary) and others being subtly complicit in his crimes thanks to his fame. The only difference is Saville was a serial rapist, not a serial murderer. He even inherits Saville's habit of Sarcastic Confession in public.
    • There are also parallels to H. H. Holmes, who Culverton explicitly references, including the serial murders, the hidden tunnels inside their building of choice, firing their architects, and the anonymity of their victims because of the locale.
    • Steven Moffat has even compared him to Donald Trump.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-universe. His reaction to Sherlock accusing him of being a serial killer is to use it in advertising campaigns, and invite Sherlock for an interview.
  • Red Herring: All of the promotional materials and press releases made a really big deal about Culverton Smith to hide the fact that Eurus Holmes is the true villain of Series 4.
  • Sarcastic Confession:
    "You know I'm a killer, but did you know that I'm... a CEREAL KILLER!"
  • Scary Teeth: Visibly out-of-place and rotten, specifically mentioned by the producer "symbolic of the rot inside him", which just adds to the idea that they're imported from "The Case of the Illustrious Client" and Baron Adelbert Gruner.
  • Serial Killer: He uses a hospital he built in order to murder people and get away with it by making them look like natural deaths.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Culverton is a beloved philanthropist and entrepreneur, and he gives to charity which makes the public dismiss his rather morbid quirks as him fooling around.

     Eurus — WALKING SPOILER 

Eurus Holmes

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eurus_holmes.jpg
"Didn't it ever occur to you, not even once, that Sherlock's secret brother might just be Sherlock's secret sister?"
Played by: Sian Brooke

The long lost sibling of Mycroft and Sherlock, who comes back into their lives around the same time as Moriarty's "resurrection".


  • Accent Relapse: Once she's revealed, she reverts to her natural accent, but keeps changing accents in order to mess with John (see Brief Accent Imitation below).
  • Always Someone Better: She is able to outwit both of her brothers despite their intelligence and connections.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: The show claims she has psychosis, which is a pretty general term for being out of touch with reality. She doesn't seem to have an ability to distinguish emotions or even pain, and she quickly slips between being calm and screaming. It isn't helped that her sanity and/or conscience is represented as a child trapped in a malfunctioning airplane all alone.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Claims to have raped a nurse before killing them. When asked about the gender, she nonchalantly states she didn't notice.
  • Ax-Crazy: The reason why she was locked away. She killed Sherlock's best friend and then set fire to the house to kill her brother when she was younger, and she's only gotten worse in this regard with age.
  • Beneath Notice: Takes advantage of how most people don't look twice at a woman.
    "Amazing the times a man doesn't really look at your face. Oh, you can hide behind a sexy smile or a walking cane, or just be a therapist, talking about you... all the time."
  • Big Bad: For Series Four.
  • Black Sheep: Of the Holmes siblings, she's the only one who is decidedly not on the side of the angels.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: She's the low-functioning sociopath to her brothers, and it shows. She used to cut herself open to inspect her muscles, not realizing she was feeling pain.
  • Break Them by Talking: Eurus's M.O. when she isn't killing her victims. She talks people into helping her if they aren't sufficiently intelligent to be immune (like Mycroft claims to be) or are just inclined to help her anyway (like Jim Moriarty).
  • Brief Accent Imitation: A very dark example. Not only is she able to disguise herself physically, but she adopts three different accents and moves fluidly between them and her natural accent while revealing herself to John.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Sherlock and Mycroft's Abel.
  • The Chessmaster: She is utterly brilliant in this regard. She concocts a decades-long plan for Sherlock, Mycroft and John, and it works beautifully. The only reason why the three won in the end is because her fragile sanity more or less gave out.
  • The Corrupter: She is terrifyingly good at manipulating people to do as she says, to the point where a psychiatrist sent to evaluate her ended up committing murder-suicide simply because she told him to. There is a reason why Mycroft explicitly prohibits anyone from speaking to her without his personal supervision and everyone is required to stay at least three feet away from her at all times.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Spends most of her featured episode staring at the camera with them. She doesn't blink much.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: We don't know the exact details, but apparently she became a "security risk", so Mycroft had her locked up or exiled. It's pretty much revealed that she murdered Sherlock's friend Victor as a kid and then attempted to kill him by burning down the first Holmes residence; this resulted with her being thrown into a mental institution where she "died", when all Mycroft did was send her to Sherrinford.
  • Decomposite Character: Shares traits with Moriarty. In the books, Moriarty was surprised when he first met Holmes face to face, expecting him to have a larger head (phrenology was still respected at this time). Eurus is also surprised when she meets her brother; he's nicer than what she expected.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Perhaps. We find out that Eurus raped and killed a nurse. But wasn't fussy about the gender — not noticing it beforehand — and apparently couldn't distinguish the gender from the resulting mess.
  • Does Not Like Men: Has shades of this, as she expresses contempt at how easily men are fooled by her disguises, not to mention she's mildly irritated that John naturally assumed she was Sherlock's secret brother instead of his sister. Also appears to be slightly annoyed when Sherlock assumes the nurse she raped was a man (even though she herself admitted the nurse may or may not have been male)
  • The Dreaded: She is this to Mycroft. The very mention of her name puts him on edge and he is utterly cowed by the very memory of her, going as far as to give her "treats" so that she's dissuaded from breaking out and causing mayhem. Considering the possible carnage she could (and did) cause when she combined her prodigal intelligence with her Ax-Crazy nature, his fears were quite justified.
  • Driven by Envy: She killed Sherlock's best friend because she was jealous that her brother played with Victor instead of her.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite all the awful and inhumane things she did that made her arguably a worse antagonist than Moriarty himself, Sherlock forgives her by the end of the episode — after she'd already killed multiple people and attempted to kill John.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Despite being the Big Bad of series 4 and a Psychopathic Manchild, Sherlock, Mycroft and their parents still love her.
  • Fighting from the Inside: That little girl on the plane is actually her conscience, understanding and horribly aware that she's doing horrific things to people and trying to stop herself, although she doesn't manage to until Sherlock helps her to "land the plane."
  • For the Evulz: She doesn't really have a true goal so far, other than causing hell for John and her brothers for little more than sick amusement. Deconstructed; the reason she does these things is because she doesn't know how else to act, and mostly does vicious things in order to feel something.
  • Freudian Excuse: Turns out she did what she did because Sherlock wouldn't play with her. Played with, in that this is only one of many problems she has. It could also be implied she became so obsessed with Sherlock (to the point of deranged love for her brother), she went out of her way to screw with him.
  • Gender Flip: The third Holmes sibling is traditionally a male - Sherrinford.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Inverted; historical Sherlock's nemesis Moriarty is a willing pawn of her scheme instead of being the real mastermind.
  • Honey Trap: That woman that John met on a bus and started texting? That was one of her disguises.
  • Light Is Not Good: Her Sherrinford garb is all white, yet she is the villain in "The Final Problem".
  • Mad Scientist: The core of her Deadly Game is, by her estimation, understanding emotional reactions.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Knows exactly how Sherlock and John tick, and everything she does is to sow discontent in their friendship.
  • Master of Disguise: She's a human chameleon; to wit, her disguises so far:
    • She disguised herself as an attractive woman to flirt with John.
    • She disguised herself as Smith's daughter so that Sherlock was completely fooled (and in part to discredit him).
    • Pulled a Kill and Replace on John's second therapist. John was completely fooled until she ousted herself to him.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name is Greek for "East Wind", traditionally a bad omen in British folklore. Remember that an East Wind was foreshadowed in the last minute of "His Last Vow".
    Sherlock: The east wind takes us all in the end.
    John: What's that?
    Sherlock: It’s a story my brother told me when we were kids. The east wind. This terrifying force that lays waste to all in its path. Seeks out the unworthy and plucks them from the Earth.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: It is extremely likely that she's genuinely clinically insane. She also shows a bit of conflict over what she is.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Averted. While all three Holmes children were found to be prodigies, Eurus surpassed both of her brothers. Unfortunately she also a genuine sociopath.
  • Mood-Swinger: At some points she switches from stoic, to playful, to psychotically enraged.
  • Not So Similar: To Moriarty. Unlike him, she's genuinely mentally ill; Moriarty knows the difference between right and wrong, he just doesn't care.
  • The Ophelia: She carries a sort of childlike lust for understanding the complex world around her, and is completely bonkers.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Turns out the reason behind her killing Victor and burning down the house was to get back at Sherlock for not playing with her. Although she is played somewhat more tragically because she is genuinely suffering from her condition.
  • Red Right Hand: Taking out one brown contact to reveal her naturally blue eyes (but leaving the other in) gives her subtly disturbing Mismatched Eyes.
  • Reluctant Psycho: As revealed in the climax, she knows fully well what she does is evil, but she doesn't know how to stop herself.
  • Revenge by Proxy: In her own word, she is Moriarty's revenge on Sherlock after his death.
  • The Sociopath: A more genuine example than either of her two siblings; she has no regard for human life, not even her own family.
    Eurus: [While holding John at gunpoint] "Oh, please don't go anywhere, I'm sure the therapist who actually lives here wouldn't want blood on the carpet. Oh, hang on, it's fine. She's in a sack in the airing cupboard."
  • Straw Nihilist: Eurus comes across as one of these to some viewers, especially as she's presented as being groundbreakingly intelligent and apparently having no understanding of morality as a partial consequence. (Of course, this is an aspect of her general presentation as The Sociopath).
  • Thicker Than Water: Averted, she did something so heinous that Mycroft either exiled her or locked up her up without a second thought.
    Mycroft: Sherlock gone rogue is a legitimate security concern. The fact that I'm his brother changes absolutely nothing! It didn't the last time!
    • Played straight by the end of the episode, however, in that she's largely given a pass where other antagonists who committed far less heinous acts are imprisoned, forced into life on the run, commit suicide (on purpose or by accident) or are straight-out murdered themselves. Because she's family, not because she's innocent.
  • Troll: All her efforts are aimed just to cause Mycroft, Sherlock, and John grief. However, unlike many examples of this trope, she's less mischievous and more Ax-Crazy.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Her first "unsettling" act was nothing short of leaving her brother's best friend to die in a well. She followed this up with drawing pictures of Sherlock's grave and burning down their house to kill him.
  • The Vamp: Disguised herself as an attractive redhead to flirt with John and cause a wedge in his marriage. Lampshaded during a late night text with John as she describes herself as a "Vampire."
  • Villainous Breakdown: She begins losing control of her torture run of Sherlock, John and Mycroft when Sherlock openly disobeys her attempt at a Sadistic Choice. When she's forced to endanger John further, Sherlock beats time and solves her remaining puzzles. By the time Sherlock finds her, gone is the composed lunatic from the TV screen—and in her place is a badly traumatised Psychopathic Womanchild sobbing near-incoherently in the corner. By the time she's locked up again, she's gone almost completely catatonic.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Jim Moriarty. They're both Ax-Crazy and obsessed with Sherlock.
  • Walking Spoiler: The biggest in the show's history, since we had no idea she existed until the closing minutes of "The Lying Detective".
  • Wham Line: "My parents loved silly names, like Eurus... or Mycroft... or Sherlock.''

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