SHERLOCK (BBC) “A Study in Pink” Review

SHERLOCK (BBC)

Who can solve four separate and mysterious suicides with the same MO and no apparently clues? Sherlock, of course.

The first episode of SHERLOCK, a BBC re-imagining of the currently ubiquitous Sherlock Holmes, entitled “A Study in Pink” – a reference to the first Holmes novel ‘A Study in Scarlet’ – finds our titular hero (and sidekick Dr Watson) in the modern day.

When people start committing suicide all over London using the same type of pill, the police are sure there’s a link – they just can’t find it. There’s only one man that can help, the world’s first consulting detective. (The world’s first because he created the job position.)

The feature length episode (90 minutes total) expertly combines forwarding the episode plot and building the characters of Holmes, Watson, and those around them.

We first meet Watson (played by Martin Freeman, ‘The Office’, ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’), a traumatised and invalided army veteran, who needs therapy – and a flatmate. We’re then introduced to the infamous Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch, ‘The Last Enemy’, ‘Atonement’), who decides to whip a dead body in the morgue with a riding crop, because, it seems, that’s just how he rolls in 2010.

Although updated and featuring more SFX than you can shake a stick at, producer Mark Gatiss and writer/producer Steven Moffat (better known for Doctor Who) have stayed true to many of the canon facets of Sherlock: his disinterest in woman (which, thanks to a seeming misunderstanding, have led some to believe Sherlock in 2010 is gay), his drug addiction (he gets a high from nicotine patches and it’s implied he has harder stuff hidden in his flat), and his arrogance and eccentricity.

For me, most of the appeal of this episode lay in the character dynamics. The mysterious suicide plot was interesting but not too hard to solve, even without Sherlock’s unique perception of the world. More intriguing was the introduction of Sherlock’s self-professed ‘arch-enemy’, the identity of whom surprises Watson only a little more than the viewer.

Overall, it was a great start. There are only two more episodes in series one of Sherlock, but hopefully the BBC will pick it up for a longer second series run. It has the appeal to be the new Doctor Who, a modern series based on a classic that has worldwide appeal and an almost limitless potential.