The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes: Season 2, Episode 1

The Master Blackmailer (6 May 1993)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Horror
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 569 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 3 critic

Holmes and Watson attempt to break the grip of a ruthless blackmailer of their clients.



(screenplay), (based on "Charles Augustas Milverton")
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Norma West ...
Gwen Ffrangcon Davies ...
The Dowager (as Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies)
Colin Jeavons ...
Nickolas Grace ...
Serena Gordon ...
Sarah McVicar ...
The Hon. Charlotte Miles
David Mallinson ...
Colonel Dorking
Brian Mitchell ...
Harry, Earl of Dovercourt
Hans Meyer ...
Hebworth (Alias Veitch)
Stephen Simms ...
Rosalie Williams ...


The master sleuth must deal with the menace of Charles Augustus Milverton, an art dealer who has a profitable sideline as a blackmailer with much of London's high society in his grip. Unfortunately, he is no amateur at his line of work and Holmes must use all his cunning and skill in some risky operations to foil this criminal. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

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Release Date:

6 May 1993 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This story features scenes from an all-male production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado. See more »


A Scotland Yard police detective is seen picking up a discarded weapon with a handkerchief which was not a common practice in 1894, when the film was set. Fingerprint detection was not adopted in Britain until 1901, if that was his reason. Actually, the gun was covered in blood and the policeman would seem to desire keeping his hands clean of blood. See more »


Doctor Watson: [reading] "Man who prays upon weakness with a smiling face and a heart of marble."
Sherlock Holmes: A master blackmailer.
See more »


Beau Soir
Music by Claude Debussy
Lyrics by Paul Bourget
Henry G. Chapman (translation)
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User Reviews

A Downbeat and Entertaining Holmes Film
30 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This third Sherlock Holmes film from Granada is not as good as "The Sign of Four" or "The Hound of the Baskervilles". However, it is a very enjoyable and well-made production nevertheless. It is an overextended version of what was originally only a short story but making it into a feature-length film only improves it rather ruining it. This Peter Hammond directed- Jeremy Paul scripted adaptation is one of the darkest entries in the Granada series.

It's plot is compelling and dramatic. It does not have much mystery, as we know who the perpetrator clearly is but the drama comes from Holmes's effort to bring down Charles Augustus Milverton from his ruthless blackmailing. Like so many Holmes stories, it exposes the hypocrisy of Victorian society where these so-called "Noblemen" carry their own flaws and dirty secrets. This film is dark and mournful but it has a good share of humor and humanity as well. The most amusing scenes are between Holmes (in disguise) and Agatha (Milverton's housemaid) suggesting a possible romance. I think she loved Holmes but I don't think Holmes cared for her. As Holmes himself is rather asexual, the only true love for him is his work.

The acting by its cast is solid. Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke continue to be perfect as the classic duo of Holmes and Watson. Serena Gordon and Sophie Thompson are good as well. However, it is Robert Hardy performance as Charles Augustus Milverton that steals the show. C.A.M. manages to be a villain far more chilling and despicable than Professor Moriarty. Holmes always had admiration for his former arch-nemesis yet with Milverton he brings out nothing but pure disdain.

Riveting from start to finish with superb cinematography, costumes, music, and attention to periodic detail. If "The Master Blackmailer" isn't one of the best Sherlock Holmes films ever made, it is certainly among the better ones.

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