Sherlock Holmes in Tang China!
That, in a nutshell, describes Young Sherlock (Chinese: 少年狄仁杰, Shao Nian Di Renjie, "Di Renjie as a Youth"). The series features Bosco Wong as a young Di Renjie, Ruby Lin as Wu Meiniang (the future Wu Zetian) and Yuan Hong as Li Zhi, also known to history as Tang Gaozong. The series is set during the first years of Gaozong's reign, where Di and his friends first found themselves in royal company, but soon discovered various conspiracies involving court officials and old feuds, which threatened not only their lives, but also the fate of the Tang empire...
This series contains examples of:
- Adapted Out: Li (Shi)Ji. note
- Artistic License History: The cases in the series were fictional; the biggest historical upheavals in the imperial court during this period were actually (harem-wise) Wu Meiniang's quest to become empress consort and (court-wise) Gaozong's struggle to reclaim power from the officials thrusted upon him by his father.
- Historically, by the start of the series, Li Zhi already had an empress (surnamed Wang), and it was Empress Wang who thought that it was a good idea to bring Wu Meiniang back from Ganye Temple, as Li Zhi was infatuated with Lady Xiao (holding the title of shufei). Historically, Wu was also never made "guifei"; her highest rank before becoming empress consort was "zhao yi".
- The masked head of the secret society and Big Bad of the series is Li Chengdao, Li Jiancheng's second son and heir, who historically died at the Xuan Wu Gate incident along with his father and younger brothers (His older brother Li Chengzong had died before the Xuan Wu Gate incident). His title was also the Prince of Anlu.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Big Bad was defeated but Mengyao was killed, Yuanfang went missing, while Wanqing left to live in a nunnery. The final scene of the series has Di riding out to find her.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
- Di Renjie is the Realist, as he strikes the balance between solving cases and the welfare of the team.
- Wang Yuanfang is the Cynic, as he has less qualms than Di when things have to be done.
- Tong Mengyao is the Optimist, as she often thinks that things will get better even in the most dire situations.
- Erbao is the Apathetic as he doesn't really care about the situation as long as he's helping his young master (Di).
- Historical In-Joke: The fengshan ceremony failing to take place could be a subtle hint to the historical (and successful) ceremony Gaozong took part in. His particular fengshan ceremony was noteworthy as it was the only ceremony in Chinese history where two emperors took part (the other emperor being Wu Meiniang, the future Wu Zetian).
- Red Herring: The series did accurately portray Zhangsun Wuji and Chu Suiliang as lording it over Gaozong, but ultimately, neither posed any threat to either him or Di Renjie's team.
- Roman à Clef: The names and titles of the two major concubines and Wang Youren had been changed. note
- Sins of Our Fathers: Wanqing, The Medic and Di's love interest, is a daughter of Li Jiancheng, the former crown prince of Tang Gaozu, who was killed by Gaozong's father Taizong during the coup at Xuan Wu Gate. The first case Di handles in-series was related to a conspiracy involving the deaths of Li Jiancheng's concubines.
- Two cases involve Li Chengdao's subordinates who were tasked to transport/gather funds for his rebellion. The perpetrators in both cases seek revenge for the wrongs said subordinantes did almost two decades ago.
- Young Future Famous People: Di Renjie and Wu Meiniang. Di would serve under Wu in his latter years as chancellor and confidante. Wu, of course, would be known as the only female emperor in Chinese history.