The Return of Sherlock Holmes: Season 1, Episode 1

The Empty House (9 Jul. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 296 users  
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Believed dead after his fatal encounter with Professor Moriarity three years earlier, Sherlock Holmes returns to England to foil a plot to murder him by a former Moriarity gang member.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) , (developed for television by), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Empty House (09 Jul 1986)

The Empty House (09 Jul 1986) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Eric Porter ...
Patrick Allen ...
James Bree ...
Colin Jeavons ...
Richard Bebb ...
Sir John Hardy
Robert Addie ...
Mr Murray
Naomi Buch ...
The Countess of Maynooth
Paul Lacoux ...
Rosalie Williams ...
Elizabeth Ritson ...
Roger Rowland ...
John Palmer ...


After Dr. Watson testifies at the inquest of the Honourable Ronald Adair, shot to death after returning home from his gambling club, he is followed back to his office by an eccentric bookseller who reveals himself to be Holmes in disguise. After the initial shock wears off, Holmes explains that he did not die in the fall that killed Professor Moriarity in their famous encounter at Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland three years earlier. Holmes has remained out of England to avoid Colonel Sebastian Moran, a Moriarity associate who witnessed Holmes' escape death and has vowed to kill Holmes in revenge. Holmes will try to foil Moran and solve the Adair murder. Written by Gabe Taverney (

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

9 July 1986 (UK)  »

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One of the few episodes with genuine narration. See more »


When we see Colonel Sebastian Moran firing his rifle from the empty house at what he thinks is Sherlock Holmes, the rifle has a traditional flintlock firing mechanism which we see operating at close range, albeit without generating a spark. As the rifle in question is revealed by Holmes to be an air-rifle and is indeed pressurized by Moran beforehand by use of a crank, such a mechanism would be useless. It seems unlikely that Moran, a master marksman, would have the lock on the weapon purely for show as its operation would impair his aim. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. John Watson: [voiceover] In 1891 at the Reichenbach Falls near Meiringen in Switzerland, Sherlock Holmes finally closed his account with Professor Moriarty, the most dangerous criminal of his generation. The two men were alone in that dreadful place, but the outcome of their struggle was obvious to a trained observer. Holmes had achieved the destruction of his arch-enemy only at the cost of his own life.
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User Reviews

Holmes and Watson are again a team.
25 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode did have a small mystery of its own but the main story of this tale is the return of Sherlock Holmes that was presumed dead by the hands of Doctor Moriarty. It has been three years and Doctor Watson has been carrying on without his friend and the writings that he so loved. Watson is now working for the police and is helping out in a death of a respectable man on the outside of London. When all of the sudden he gets a visit by an old man bearing books to sale.

The old man turns out to be Sherlock Holmes which has been living 'The life of Riley' for the last few years. And without ruining anymore, Sherlock will go into detail about the reasons he kept away from the public eye and the reasons he has for returning after these many years.

Not only do we get the narration provided by Jeremy Brett's character but the entire matter will also be tied into the mystery of the death that Watson is involved. And it will be the incredible Sherlock Holmes that will again provide guidance to the police to bring this case to a close.

We can look forward to many more tales and many more arrests all due to the fact of the return of Sherlock Holmes.

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