What seems at first to be a harmless prank played upon a red-headed man is soon revealed to be much more: a sinister scheme devised by the Napoleon of Crime.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »


Episode complete credited cast:
Bruce Dukov ...
John Labanowski ...
Reginald Stewart ...
Doorman (as Reg Stewart)
Ian Bleasdale ...
Malcolm Weaver ...


Sherlock Holmes in investigates the strange case of Jabez Wilson. The man was recently offered employment by an organization known as the Red Headed League. For the grand sum of 4 pounds per week, he was to sit in an office and copy out entries fro an encyclopedia, starting with the letter A. He had responded to an advertisement and while there were many applicants, he has no idea why he was selected as the League's beneficiary. When after several weeks his employment is suddenly terminated, Mr. Wilson doesn't know what think. Holmes quickly deduces however that it was the location of his office as much as his red hair that resulted in him getting the employment in the first place. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

22 September 1985 (UK)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the end, Holmes slightly misquotes Gustave Flaubert (the author of Madame Bovary). The actual quotation is "L'homme n'est rien, l'oeuvre - tout", but Holmes' version essentially means the same thing. It translates as "The individual is nothing, the work is everything." See more »


After Jabez Wilson tells Holmes of his situation, Dr. Watson shows Wilson out and shuts the door after him. Holmes then muses on Wilson's case with Watson sitting opposite him. The scene cuts to Prof. Moriarty for a moment. The scene returns to Holmes and Watson who both hurry out of Holmes's apartment through the front door, which is now wide open.

After Holmes gets up and prods Watson, he goes out of camera range for a full 3 seconds, crossing the short span of the room (perhaps 10-12 feet) while Watson closes his book and gets up. As the camera pans with Watson, the door is quite visibly moving (very briefly) with Holmes' left hand swung back behind him as he had just released his hand from the door handle after opening it in a rush. See more »


[first lines]
Sherlock Holmes: Hm!
Dr. John Watson: [entering] Oh. Sorry, Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes: No no. You couldn't have come at a better time.
Dr. John Watson: Well, I was, I was afraid you were engaged.
Sherlock Holmes: I am. Very much so.
See more »

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User Reviews

Creative Criminals
6 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is perhaps the best known Holmes story next to "The Hound of the Baskervilles." It involves a man, Jabez Wilson, who has been given a strange job, copying pages from the Encyclopedia Britannica in longhand. He sits at a desk in a stark room and receives payment beyond that fitting the job. Not only that, he has gotten the job because he passed muster, competing against other men with red hair. He actually went to interviews where the authenticity of the red-headed gentlemen was checked. Now, something has changed and he decides to bring his case to Holmes and Watson. One has to accept that the potential criminal enterprise has become so convoluted as to draw attention. Still, it is a delightful story which has stood the test of time. Like "The Blue Carbuncle," we are never to take anything as a life or death situation. Conan Doyle had a sense of humor. Jeremy Brett coolly investigates this with his deep tones filling the room at 221B. Well acted and portrayed with relish.

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