Susan Cushing asks Holmes' help in solving the disappearance of her sister Mary Browner, but it doesn't seem Holmes' type of case until he is told of a Christmas present's grisly contents.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (screenplay)


Episode complete credited cast:
Jim Browner (as Ciaran Hinds)
Susan Cushing
Sarah Cushing
Lucy Whybrow ...
Mary Browner
Thierry Harcourt ...
Marcel Jacottet
Richard Dixon ...
Mr Bradbrook
Renny Krupinski ...
Murdoch Gull
Ann Rye ...
Mrs Clyde
Rachel Smith ...
Andy Tomlinson ...


Sherlock Holmes is asked by Susan Cushing if he could attempt to locate her sister, Mary Browner, recently married to a seaman, Jim Browner. She's worried that something may have happened to her and refuses to accept that she may have run off with another man. Holmes isn't interested in the case and offers to refer her to a missing persons agency. He is drawn into a case by Scotland Yard when the same Susan Cushing who sought to engage him receives two human ears in a box. Susan is convinced that they were sent by a lodger, a medical student whom she recently evicted for dallying with another sister, Sarah. There's now been a falling out between those sisters and Sarah is running a local mission house. Holmes isn't so sure that the ears were sent by the medical student and as he looks more deeply into the case, determines there is a connection between that occurrence and the third missing sister, Mary. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

11 April 1994 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last episode of the series. See more »


Version of The Cardboard Box (1923) See more »


Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)
Written by Harry Dacre
Played by a Music Box
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User Reviews

Wonderful episode
3 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

While not my absolute favourite of the entire set of Granada adaptations, The Cardboard Box is up there as one of the better ones, and possibly my personal favourite of the series The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

The Cardboard Box is wonderful. The story is quite dark in tone sometimes, but there are a few parts such as Holmes' final words that are both very powerful and poignant, and it maintains the classic feel that the best episodes have.

The script is powerful and thoughtful, especially with what I spoke of above, and I think The Cardboard Box is one of the better-directed episodes of the series too. As always, the production values and music are wonderful, the period detail never takes you out of the setting and the photography and lighting are suitably atmospheric, while the music gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes too.

The acting is very good too. We have two fine actors, Joanna David and Ciaron Hinds, they are great in their roles, Hinds particularly for me is one of the series' more memorable guest stars alongside Jeremy Kemp(The Speckled Band), Norman Jones(The Crooked Man) and John Thaw(The Sign of Four). This episode is not one of Jeremy Brett's finest hours, but he still gives a very commanding and moving performance, and Edward Hardwicke proves himself an ideal contrast.

All in all, a wonderful episode. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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