Follow TV Tropes


Heartwarming / Sherlock Holmes

Go To

No use hiding those tears, Watson.

    open/close all folders 


  • Bit of Fridge Brilliance and the series' famously inconsistent continuity here... but in The Blue Carbuncle Holmes says Watson is his only friend. His letter to Watson in The Final Problem mentions regretting the pain his death will cause his friends, implying Character Development.
  • In "The Blanched Soldier", one of the few tales Doyle wrote in Holmes' perspective, Holmes states that he doesn't bring Watson along out of sympathy, sentiment, or vanity, but because Watson is genuinely useful, and if readers are unaware of that fact, it's only because Watson, in his modesty, downplays his own contributions in order to exaggerate Holmes' own abilities.
     A Study in Scarlet 
  • Holmes being taken aback and flattered at Watson's praise of his detective skills, contrasting sharply with Lestrade and Gregson alternately sneering at his ideas and being resentful when he is right.
    "...all facts which led me to believe that he had been a sergeant.”
    “Wonderful!” I ejaculated.
    “Commonplace,” said Holmes, though I thought from his expression that he was pleased at my evident surprise and admiration.
  • And then later that same day:
    "You know a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all.”
    “I shall never do that,” I answered; “you have brought detection as near an exact science as it ever will be brought in this world.”
    My companion flushed up with pleasure at my words, and the earnest way in which I uttered them. I had already observed that he was as sensitive to flattery on the score of his art as any girl could be of her beauty.
  • Through its backstory, the explanation of the crime opens with a description of a man in the desert who can't find water and realizes that he's about to die. Then we find out that he's carrying a little girl who had lost her mother, who had also been on the expedition. He comforts her with the fact that she'll see her mother soon, and they fall asleep in each other's arms. When they're saved by a caravan, he resolves to adopt her. Even when he's not writing mystery, Doyle was a good writer.
  • John Farrier and Lucy. He looked after her in terrible conditions, even adopting her once they were rescued and settled with the Mormons. He was willing to kill, and to die, to protect her. The fact Doyle took the time to establish that Lucy had grown into a happy young woman and that her father was a decent man made the whole business even worse.
    The Sign of the Four 
  • Holmes plays Watson to sleep with his violin.
  • Watson and Mary holding hands outside Pondicherry Lodge, and confessing their love for each other, also after they open the jewel-box, with an especially touching speech by Watson:
    "Because you are within my reach again," I said, taking her hand. She did not withdraw it. "Because I love you, Mary, as truly as ever a man loved a woman. Because this treasure, these riches, sealed my lips. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. That is why I said, 'Thank God.'"
    "Then I say 'Thank God,' too," she whispered as I drew her to my side.
    Whoever had lost a treasure, I knew that night that I had gained one.
     The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 
  • A Scandal in Bohemia: Holmes tells Watson, "I am lost without my Boswell."
  • In The Man with the Twisted Lip, where Watson goes to retrieve a patient from an opium den and runs into Holmes there. It's quickly revealed that Holmes was only working a case, but Watson's initial freakout shows how much he cares about his prickly partner.
  • At the end of The Blue Carbuncle, which takes place during Christmastime, Holmes and Watson finally corner the man who stole the jewel. After admitting everything and falling completely apart for guilt, Holmes, seeing that jail would ruin his mental state completely, lets the culprit go free.
     The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 
  • The Yellow Face: The ending when Grant Munro decides to adopt his wife's biracial daughter into the family.
    Grant Munro: I may not be a very good man, Effie, but I think I am a better man than you take me for.
    • This is even a CMOH in-universe; Watson prefaces it by saying that just thinking about it gives him warm fuzzies.
    • And don't forget what Holmes says at the very end: "Watson," said he, "if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."
    • It's not just Munro, it's not just Holmes, it's Watson's narration:
      It was a long ten minutes before Grant Munro broke the silence, and when his answer came it was one I love to think. He lifted the little child, kissed her, and then, still carrying her, he held his other hand out to his wife and turned towards the door.
      "We can talk more comfortably at home," said he. "I am not a very good man, Effie, but I think that I am a better one than you have given me credit for being."
      Holmes and I followed them down the lane, and my friend plucked at my sleeve as we came out.
      "I think," said he, "that we shall be of more use in London than in Norbury."
      Not another word did he say of the case until late that night, when he was turning away, with his lighted candle, for his bedroom.
      "Watson," said he, "if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."
  • In "The Adventure of the Navel Treaty", we see a rare side of Holmes, as he is moved by the sight of a moss rose:
    Holmes: "There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."
     His Last Bow 
  • The moment in The Bruce-Partington Plans when Holmes and Watson discuss breaking into a house; also a Moment of Awesome.
    "I don’t like it, Holmes."
    "My dear fellow, you shall keep watch in the street. I’ll do the criminal part. It’s not a time to stick at trifles. Think of Mycroft’s note, of the Admiralty, the Cabinet, the exalted person who waits for news. We are bound to go."''
    My answer was to rise from the table.
    "You are right, Holmes. We are bound to go."
    He sprang up and shook me by the hand.
    "I knew you would not shrink at the last," said he, and for a moment I saw something in his eyes which was nearer to tenderness than I had ever seen. The next instant he was his masterful, practical self once more.
  • "The Dying Detective":
    • We see Watson ready to go to any lengths to save his friend's life, even if it means catching Holmes' disease and possibly dying himself. For his part, Holmes has a Freak Out when he sees Watson touching a box on his mantlepiece; we later find out that the box contained the disease and would have killed him.
    • Holmes has to pretend to be ill with a deadly disease, and has to fool Watson to keep up the charade. When it's over, Holmes explains to Watson as he apologizes.
    Holmes: You won't be offended, Watson? You will realize that among your many talents dissimulation finds no place, and if you had shared my secret you would never have been able to impress Smith with the urgent necessity of his presence.
    • When Watson asked Holmes why he wouldn't let him examine him if he wasn't actually sick:
    Holmes: Can you ask, my dear Watson? Do you imagine that I have no respect for your medical talents? Could I fancy that your astute judgment pass a dying man who, however weak, had no rise of pulse or temperature? At four yards I could deceive you.
  • The Devil's Foot:
    • Surprisingly, the scene in which Holmes and Watson test Holmes' theory about the titular substance on themselves provides a couple.
      • What breaks Watson's horror-struck state and steels him to get out of the poisonous fumes? Seeing Holmes looking like the victims previously killed by the same method.
      • Holmes loses his composure after Watson has saved them both from the titular drug/nerve gas and admits that he should never have subjected his friend to it.
      • When Holmes lets the perpetrator go, once he knows why he committed the crime.
    "I owe you both my thanks and an apology. It was an unjustifiable experiment even for one's self, and doubly so for a friend. I am really very sorry."
    "You know," I answered with some emotion, for I have never seen so much of Holmes's heart before, "that it is my greatest joy and privilege to help you."
     The Return of Sherlock Holmes 
  • The Empty House:
    • Holmes explains that part of the reason he chose to reveal himself now is because he learned of the death of Watson's wife, and "Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson."
    • The entire first half, where Watson tries his own detective work. Just... bless him.
    • Another The Empty House example: Holmes and Watson's conversation after Watson woke up from fainting due to Holmes' sudden reveal of being, y'know, alive. It's an incredibly sweet moment, as they're both concerned for the other's well-being in their own sorts of ways...
    • Also in that scene is the fact that Holmes apologizes to Watson when he makes Watson faint.
  • The Solitary Cyclist: Carruthers throws the entire evil plan away out of love for Violet in his confession.
  • The Six Napoleons:
    • Where Lestrade and Holmes are finally reconciled.
      "'We're not jealous of you at Scotland Yard. No sir, we are very proud of you, and if you come down tomorrow, there's not a man from the oldest inspector to the youngest constable who wouldn't be glad to shake you by the hand.' 'Thank you!' said Holmes and as he turned away it seemed to me that he was more nearly moved by the softer human emotions than I had ever seen him.
    • Not to mention Holmes getting all soft-hearted when Watson and Lestrade heartily applaud after he presents the pearl.
     The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes 
  • The Three Garridebs:
    • When Watson is shot, we see what may be the only instance in the canon of Holmes truly shaken. "You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!" Watson's commentary clinches it:
      It was worth a wound — it was worth many wounds — to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.
    • And, just to wrap it all up, we have this:
      "By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have gotten out of this room alive..."
  • In The Lion's Mane, Holmes is on his own, having retired and moved to the country while Watson stayed in London. They see each other on weekends, but it's clear that the detective misses his Boswell.
  • After hearing the truly tragic story of the titular lady in "The Veiled Lodger" Holmes expresses sympathy and, suspecting that she is planning to end her life, tries to convince her otherwise. A few days later Holmes receives the undrunken bottle of poison she was going to use to kill herself with.
    Holmes: It came by post. ‘I send you my temptation. I will follow your advice.’ That was the message. I think, Watson, we can guess the name of the brave woman who sent it.
  • From "The Hound of the Baskervilles" when Sherlock advises Sir Henry not to go back to Baskerville without an ally.
    “Whom would you recommend, then?”
    Holmes laid his hand upon my arm.
    “If my friend would undertake it there is no man who is better worth having at your side when you are in a tight place. No one can say so more confidently than I.”

Basil Rathbone Film Series

     Dressed To Kill 
  • Holmes and Watson find a little girl bound and gagged inside a cupboard after the former hears her kicking the wall to get help. Holmes carries her out upon discovering her, and proceeds to comfort her in a fatherly way even before he and Watson untie her. Holmes continues to try and comfort her after she tells them of the theft of her music box, and it's really adorable how he fits into the role of doting father so easily despite being socially awkward. When Holmes decides to investigate further, he tells Watson to look after the girl until her, and the Watson makes a really adorable attempt to cheer her up after Holmes leaves.
    • Friend to All Children: Holmes and Watson. They're so adorable as they almost seem to fall over themselves to try and comfort the distressed child who was bound and gagged all so her music box could be stolen; Holmes clearly doesn't like that a little child was traumatized before being robbed, not due to the case, but because he clearly has a Hidden Heart of Gold.
     Sherlock Holmes Faces Death 
  • It is revealed that the culprit, Dr. Sexton, was murdering the Musgraves in hopes of inheriting their estate, which, abiding by a newly discovered ancient document, could be worth millions. Sally is left the remaining inheritor, but realising that people living and working in the estate could lose their livelihoods if it was confirmed, burns the document without a second thought. Holmes later comments to Watson how impressed he was by this blunt act of selflessness, hoping it to be a sign of better times:
    Holmes: There's a new spirit abroad in the land. The old days of grab and greed are on their way out. We're beginning to think of what we owe the other fellow, not just what we're compelled to give him. The time is coming, Watson, when we cannot fill our bellies in comfort while the other fellow goes hungry, or sleep in warm beds while others shiver in the cold. And we shan't be able to kneel and thank God for blessings before our shining altars while men anywhere are kneeling in either physical or spiritual subjection.
    Watson: You may be right, Holmes... I hope you are.
    Holmes: And, God willing, we'll live to see that day, Watson.

Granada TV series

     "The Solitary Cyclist" 
  • The initial interview with the young lady. Her story seems odd, but seemingly frivolous, to Holmes and he is about to dismiss her until this very frightened lady finally spits out why ultimately she came to the detective. Namely, she is being followed by a mysterious and threatening stranger in an isolated road. Suddenly, Holmes is all business and intently listening to every detail with the woman finally getting the load off her mind knowing the greatest of the detectives is on the case.
  • The ending reveals that Violet and Cyril, newly married, are taking care of little Sarah Carruthers until her father is released, implying that Violet has forgiven him for his part in the affair; especially heart warming concerning Cyril, who hasn't even met the girl before and yet agrees to take her in right after the wedding. And thanks to Holmes making a speech on his behalf at the trial, Carruthers only gets six months in prison for shooting Woodley.
     "The Speckled Band" 
  • Helen Stoner's stepfather comes in, demanding to know what she told Holmes. When Holmes doesn't say, he picks up a fire poker. Watson immediately stands up, ready to defend Holmes if need be.
     "The Blue Carbuncle'' 
  • Watson returns Holmes's money from their fake bet after smugly demanding the money.
  • The Running Gag of Watson never getting a chance to sit down and eat while Holmes is working a case has been well established. They just solved the mystery and are about to sit down to eat at midnight, having not eaten all day, when Watson refuses to eat - he cannot in good conscience sit down for Christmas Dinner when he knows that there is an innocent man in prison they have the means to clear. The final scene of the episode of John Horner being released from prison and reunited with his family.
     "The Greek Interpreter" 
  • It's just a small one, but the look on Holmes' face when he's talking with his brother Mycroft is really sweet. It's one of the few times he shows open fondness for anybody besides Watson.
    • For that matter, look at Watson's face as he watches the two engage in a joint Sherlock Scan for fun on a few random people outside Mycroft's window. Watson is positively, adorably star-struck.
     "The Resident Patient" 
  • The cute little moment at the end of the episode - Watson's scribbling of three squiggly lines under the heading of his write-up matches exactly with Holmes' violin music! It's a tiny, adorable detail that shows just how matched these two men are.
     "The Empty House" 
  • As soon as Holmes reveals himself to be alive after three years, Holmes - the cold, calculating machine who abhors all emotion and never loved - holds his arms out to Watson for a hug.
  • After his dramatic reappearance, Holmes stretches out on Watson's exam table for a nap and, completely exhausted from his long flight, is asleep in seconds. Watson looks down at him for a moment, shakes his head, then pulls the blanket over his friend.
  • Shortly before that there's Watson revealing he had Holmes' final letter framed and hanging on a wall. Holmes is touched to the point of speechlessness.
  • In Holmes's flashback, he almost calls out to Watson, but — with obvious effort — forces himself to stop. Even knowing what must be done to fake his death convincingly, he was on the point of blowing the whole thing just to put Watson at ease.
  • Meta: More of a tearjerker really, but knowing that Jeremy Brett's wife really died before filming, makes his in universe advice to Watson after the death of Watson's wife, "Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson.", guaranteed to see even the stiffest lip reduced to a quiver. note 
     "The Six Napoleons" 
  • There's an adorable moment even during the opening scene. We're treated to a quiet moment between Lestrade, Watson and Holmes, relaxing on the sofa in Holmes's apartment and sharing a leisurely smoke and idle conversation. It's nothing much, but considering Lestrade is constantly set up as an arrogant thorn in Holmes's side (and vice versa), it's rather endearing to see the three getting along so well.
  • The exchange between Holmes and Lestrade at the end, played pitch-perfect between Jeremy Brett and Colin Jeavons.
    Lestrade: Well, Mr. Holmes,I've seen you handle a good many cases in my time, but I don't know a more workman-like one than this. We're not jealous of you, you know, in Scotland Yard. No, sir, we're proud of you, and if you come down tomorrow there's not a man from the oldest inspector to the youngest constable who wouldn't be glad to shake you by the hand.
    Holmes: Thank you...(softly) thank you.
     "The Devil's Foot" 
  • When Watson saves himself and Holmes from the titular drug, Holmes, having lost any composure he had, calls Watson 'John' for the first and only time.
  • After discovering that Dr. Leon Sterndale poisoned Mortimer Tregennis to avenge the murder of Brenda Tregennis, Mortimer's sister and the love of Dr. Sterndale's life, Sherlock Holmes lets Dr. Sterndale go out of sympathy.
     "The Master Blackmailer" 
  • The exchange (and kiss) between a disguised Holmes and the Milverton housemaid. Sure, Holmes is only going along with the romance for espionage purposes, but judging from his reaction it's hard to believe he's completely faking it in that scene.
    Holmes: (voice breaking) Oh, Aggie... you've touched my heart.
    Aggie: (tenderly) Oh? I can make you a gift of mine.
     "The Eligible Bachelor" 
  • Henrietta Doran wants so badly for her future in-laws to like her, but overhearing them speculating negatively about her, she runs to her room and despairs to her friend Alice that they do not like her. Alice reminds Henrietta about how she faced down a bear two years ago despite her fear because she "believed in [herself] and [she] did it." Alice then encourages Henrietta to do the same with her future in-laws. Henrietta does just that, and they end up liking her!
  • Sherlock Holmes's entire interactions with Lady Helena. After Helena kills Robert, she climbs up the ruins of a chapel wall she made collapse on Robert to where Holmes is sitting. Holmes hoists her up and holds her in a comforting embrace, even letting her cry into his shoulder. They share this small exchange:
    Agnes: How I've waited. How I cried again and again in the darkness for this moment.
    Holmes: (softly and comforting) I know...I know.
    • Then as Holmes and Agnes are later sitting in a carriage together, Agnes tells him that for seven years she slowly made the walls of the chapel imprisoning her unstable so she could one day kill Robert by collapsing it on top of him. Holmes reacts that it's unique in his experience for someone to serve a sentence before the crime. Agnes closes her eyes and rests her head on Holmes's shoulder. The entire time, Holmes is completely gentle with Lady Helena as opposed to his normal coldness or boisterousness around previous clients. Even when he is uncomfortable having Lady Helena resting on his shoulder, he softly calls for a nurse as so not to disturb her. It should also be noted that while Lady Helena tells her story, her blanket falls off and Holmes readjusts it for her.
    • Because of Lady Helena's ingenious escape plan, Holmes later calls her "one of the finest minds he had ever encountered" a sentiment only shared by Irene Adler, Mycroft Holmes, and James Moriarty. Even more notable considering Holmes's low opinions on women, Lady Helena is one of two women Holmes bestows this honor.
  • The ending: Lady Helena St. Simon escapes from seven years of captivity and is reunited with her sister Agnes Northcott. Despite her poor physical appearance and trauma, she makes a full recovery and lives with her sister. She and Agnes even attend an opera with Holmes and Watson. Lady Helena St. Simon becomes the new owner of Clavin and restores and sells it to Henrietta Doran. Henrietta who secretly married Francis H. Moulton and then lived several years believing he was dead, now lives openly married in the castle to Francis.
    • A small note: Agnes always wore a veil to cover her disfigured face, but since getting her sister back, she now shows her face even in public.
     "The Three Gables" 
  • Dr. Watson spends and evening with Mrs. Mary Maberley laughing and listening to old tales of Mr. Maberley over his old hat and family photos. It is very clear the Maberleys were very much in love.
  • Holmes is sprawled out on the couch at 221B, slowly getting up, after Mrs. Hudson wakened him. However, as soon as Mrs. Hudson tells him Watson has been severely injured, he immediately bolts up and attentively listens to Mrs. Hudson's report. Then he immediately heads down to Three Gables to check on Watson
    • As Mrs. Hudson breaks the news, Sherlock Holmes drapes a blanket over Mrs. Hudson to keep her from going into shock.
  • As Holmes goes up the stairs to see Mrs. Maberley about the attack on her and Watson, he gives an injured Watson a friendly pat on the shoulder - a rare display of physical affection on Holmes's part.
  • Holmes calls out Isadora for nearly killing Watson.
  • In return for keeping Isadora Klein's crimes a secret, Holmes forces her to write Mrs. Maberley a £5000 check for for a first-class trip round the world, fulfilling Mrs. Maberley's dreams of world travel.
     “The Dying Detective” 
  • After being gone for ten days, Dr. Watson and Mrs. Hudson happily greet each other. Mrs. Hudson even helps Watson out of his coat.
    Mrs. Hudson: Dr. Watson, we have been missing you!
  • Holmes affectionately cuffs one of his Irregulars Harry on the back of his neck after paying him.
  • Much like in the original source material, Holmes would not let Watson examine him while faking his illness. At the end of the episode long after the ruse is up, Watson asks why, Holmes gives this answer:
    “Can you imagine that I have no respect for your medical talents? At six feet I could deceive you, but any closer with your astute judgement, no no no no no. No, it was essential that you and Mrs. Hudson believed me me to be at death’s door. Otherwise Smith would have smelt a rat.”
  • Marina Savage, the young daughter of Adelaide and Victor Savage, hugs Dr. Watson and thanks him for saving her home. Watson, instead, replies that the credit goes to Holmes so Marina shakes Holmes’s hand and thanks him.
     “The Golden Pince-Nez" 
  • Watson has been exceedingly busy at the surgery, leaving him absent during the entire episode. Although Holmes neither admits it nor likes others to point it out, he does miss Watson.
    Inspector Hopkins: Where is Dr. Watson?
    Mrs. Hudson: Oh in his surgery. This dreadful weather has produced a cue into the street I’m told.
    Sherlock Holmes: Well, they’re wasting their time. Watson’s only cure for any ailment is a linus powder and a grated apple.
    Mrs. Hudson: Mr. Holmes, you know you only say that because you miss the doctor.
    Sherlock Holmes: Huffs from annoyance at his secret being made public
  • As a small gesture of comfort, Holmes covers the bloodstain for Susan Tarlton who is traumatized by it due to witnessing Willoughby Smith‘s death.

BBC radio series

     "The Empty House 
  • At the end, Holmes observes that he remembers the first time they stood at the Baker Street door, and quotes Watson from "A Scandal in Bohemia".
    Watson: I thought you didn't bother with worthless rubbish.
    Holmes: Quite right, quite right.


     "The Doctor's Case" by Stephen King 
  • Holmes is investigating the murder of an Asshole Victim who was also a devoted cat-lover — which, as Holmes is unfortunately allergic to cats, means he's somewhat off his game. This leads to Watson eventually discovering the critical clue which blows the case wide open, leading him to deliver The Summation. However, a chance comment from Holmes after he's finished leads Watson to realize that Holmes had, if not solved the case first, at least figured it out not long after Watson had started explaining — but deliberately kept quiet so that Watson could have a turn to shine for once.
  • As Watson is about to deliver The Summation, Lestrade expresses his disbelief that Watson successfully solved the case, pointing out how Watson has always ben wrong in the past. Holmes angrily comes to Watson’s defense and affirms that Watson has indeed solved it.
    Lestrade: Watson's solved the case?...Bah! Watson's offered a thousand solutions to a hundred cases before this, Holmes, as you very well know, and all of them wrong. It's his bête noire. Why, I remember just this last summer —
    Holmes: I know more about Watson than you ever shall...and this time he has hit upon it. I know the look.
     "The Case Of Death And Honey" by Neil Gaiman 
  • An aged Holmes creates a honey that serves as a Fountain of Youth. His first thought is to seek out Watson and give him the honey at a friendly dinner. Even restored to his prime, Holmes still needs his "Boswell".

"If the detective should suffer overmuch from the artistic temperament, and his fellow lodger should dwell overlong upon the fairness of a wrist or the timber of a feminine voice, so much the better for us. Literature never produced a relationship more symbiotic nor a warmer and more timeless friendship." — Loren D. Estleman

Alternative Title(s): The Baker Street Dozen


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: