The Return of Sherlock Holmes: Season 1, Episode 4

The Second Stain (30 Jul. 1986)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Holmes is asked by the country's Prime Minister to aid in the recovery of a stolen diplomatic letter, which, if published, might lead England into war.



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Title: The Second Stain (30 Jul 1986)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Colin Jeavons ...
Sean Scanlan ...
Constable MacPherson
Yves Beneyton ...
Yvonne Orengo ...
Rosalie Williams ...
Alan Bennion ...


Holmes receives a surprise visit from no less than the Prime Minister and the country's chief foreign diplomat, Lord Trelawney Hope. They ask his assistance in the recovery of a sensitive diplomatic letter stolen mysteriously from the Lord's home. Its contents are so incendiary that they might lead Great Britain into war if they were published. Holmes credits only three active criminals capable of masterminding so audacious a theft, and when one is found stabbed to death on the night in question, The Great Detective correctly surmises that it is not a coincidence. Matters are further complicated by a visit to Baker Street by Lady Trelawney Hope, a visit she wants kept from her husband. Written by Gabe Taverney (

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





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30 July 1986 (UK)  »

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[first lines]
Dr. Watson: [narration] One Tuesday morning in autumn at precisely half past eight, Sherlock Holmes received a mysterious message that two men of great public distinction would be visiting Baker Street in their private capacity and under circumstances of complete secrecy.
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Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Second Stain (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

These People Should Not Write to Each Other
11 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is another story about a document that has great political implications. It has disappeared and Holmes has been brought in as a last resort. The keeper of the document (as is nearly always the case) has been careless and overconfident in his own abilities to maintain secrecy, and falls victim to those who would feast on his carelessness. The second kicker is the young woman, who has fallen victim to blackmail because of exposing herself through correspondence. We are not let in on the specific details of her plight, but we know that she is implicated in some pretty serious business. A well known spy/thief has been murdered and during the investigation a blood stain is found on a carpet. Oddly, the blood has not seeped through to the floor, at least in the current position of the rug. However, there is a second stain at another corner. This leads Holmes to realize that a police detective has screwed things up, allowing the strong box which contained the important document to be compromised. The lady is involved but probably didn't know the gravity of the situation. The task is simple: Recover the document and save the lady's honor. Some are unsatisfied with the conclusion. I tend to applaud it as quite satisfying. We must remember that Holmes often plays by his own rules. What I really liked about this series is that as quirky as Jeremy Brett's portrayal was, he had a soft spot for some of the victims and felt he could set aside his indifference at times.

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