Murder Rooms: Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes: Season 1, Episode 4

The White Knight Stratagem (2 Oct. 2001)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 269 users  
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Dr. Joseph Bell helps the police investigate the murder of a money lender; but old animosity between him and the officer in charge leads to conflict.

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Title: The White Knight Stratagem (02 Oct 2001)

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Innes Doyle (as Ben McLeod)
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When Sir John Starr complains that the investigation into his son's murder is not producing results, the Chief Constable asks Dr. Joseph Bell to assist. Bell agrees but there is some animosity with the officer in charge of the case, Lt. Blaney, as they had recently clashed on a different case. Bell enlist the help of Dr. Doyle who is in Edinburgh to visit his father. The younger Starr was a money lender and he had recently foreclosed on a an account resulting in a young woman committing suicide. For the first time however, Bell and Doyle do not see eye to eye on the case and Doyle finds himself siding with Lt. Blaney. When a suspect is killed, Bell begins to question his own abilities and feels that his time may have passed. Written by garykmcd

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2 October 2001 (UK)  »

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The Best.
4 March 2002 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

When shown on television the series was called 'The dark beginnings of Sherlock Holmes' and had Edwards with a voice over, on video it's called 'The mysteries of the real Sherlock Holmes' and there is no such voice over, I say this as this is the only episode I don't have on video. I prefer the original title as the new one seems cheesy. However there is nothing cheesy about the programme itself. Like the first episode 'The patient's eyes' white knight stratagem borrows conventions from Sherlock Holmes stories, the middle two doing this much less. It doesn't matter as all are top of the range programmes, made so by EVERYTHING involved from props to the extras the show could almost be carried off without the scripts and actors (which are of the highest quality I've ever seen all in one programme).

As usual there is wit threaded in-between drama and it is as sharp as ever. Bell being worried Doyle will be remembered as a writer rather than a doctor (which is what has happened), Doyle asking the cricketers if they've seen any cricketers and the alcohol conversation. The best part for comedy is when Bell wants to buy a deer stalker hat. No, it really is funny.

Doyle works out a lot for himself in this episode as Bell is the one caught up in personal vengeances for once but Doyle still needs a guiding hand and is facing problems of his own. Doyle's turmoil comes from having his father locked away in a mentalinstitute and his own disgust at himself. He finds it more difficult to cope with as he has to put on a brave face for Innes his little brother and receives no sympathy from Bell as they are against each other. Easily explained if you watch the episode but not in a review that doesn't want to spoil it for you.

Rik Mayall is a main character in this episode, as Bell's advisory with a brilliant mind and dark secret. I am used to Mayall in 'the young ones', 'bottom', 'drop dead Fred' and 'blackadder' so was unsure what to expect from him in a straight role. Well, expect a lot, he was brilliant, utterly convincing and I wish to see more of him as a serious actor.

I really feel sorry for Doyle. So far in the series he has done very poorly as a doctor, had two close friends murdered, fancied two murderers, been nearly killed over four times, been hunted, had his writing badly criticised, his father go mad, his little brother dumped on him, his religion changed, witnessed many deaths, got into quite a few arguments and fist fights and been arrested a couple of times. And yet he is still a very clever and moral and caring and attractive (oops, sorry) man.

The ending of this episode is very poignant and thought provoking. (but I dislike the dissolve from Doyle to Bell as it is freaky to watch)

The end is done in such a way to definitely be the end of a series but suggest the possibility of more to come. I really hope this is so, I wait patiently.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has always been my favourite author and recently my hero. Charles Edwards and Murder Rooms are fast becoming a favourite actor and programme.


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