Mysterious symbols and murders are showing up all over London, leading Sherlock and John to a secret Chinese crime syndicate called Black Lotus.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Percival ...
Eddie Van Coon (as Dan Percival)
Paul Chequer ...
Howard Coggins ...
Janice Acquah ...


Banker Eddie Van Coon and reporter Brian Lukis are both shot dead in identical slayings, in rooms locked from the inside. Chinese museum employee Soo Lin tells Sherlock Holmes that, as a teenaged orphan in China, she ran drugs for the Black Lotus crime syndicate, for whom the two dead men also worked. She too is then murdered, the killer being a human fly who can scale buildings. The gang mistake Watson for Holmes and capture him and his new girl-friend, requiring Holmes to come to the rescue. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 October 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Early in this episode, in the first crime scene, a book by Dan Brown is clearly in Van Coon's apartment, "The Lost Symbol". Like in many of Brown's books - and especially this one - he deals with codes. This episode's main clue to find the killer are the codes he leaves in the crime scenes. See more »


Several times Sherlock refers to the ancient (fictional) Chinese writing style as a dialect, but Chinese dialects are restricted to how the language is spoken, not written. It would have been more correct to indicate that was an obsolete version of the characters. See more »


[first lines]
Soo Lin Yao: The great artisans say, the more a teapot is used, the more beautiful it becomes.
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References Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1998) See more »


Opening Titles
Written by David Arnold and Michael Price
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Oriental express
27 June 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The second outing for the modern-day Holmes and Watson proved entertaining enough but just lacking in key areas to take it below the standard of some of the other episodes I've seen (from both series).

For once, the episode title bears no direct reference to a Conan Doyle original, although some of the plot devices were familiar, like the murders occurring in locked rooms and the importance of deciphering codes as clues to solving the case. While the programme was satisfactory enough, the Holmes and Watson partnership didn't seem to develop much, with less of the sharp banter between them you'd expect from say, a Stephen Moffat written story. In addition, for some reason Inspector Lestrade and his team are conspicuous by their absence, upsetting continuity and even Mrs Hudson only manages about a minute of screen time.

As for the story itself, the background plot of smuggling ancient Chinese artifacts into the country resonated with topicality even if the ideas of a "Thuggee" gang with a female Manchu as its head and the mystery assassin being a circus performer seemed somewhat anachronistic. The encounter with a "Banksy" type street artist seemed a bit contrived too, although I enjoyed the museum settings used for a large part of the story. While it was good to see Watson hook up with a woman, although Sherlock naturally plays gooseberry, I felt the direction lacked a little of the sharpness and crispness of what I'd seen in others, even omitting the minor, showy demonstrations of Holmes' deductive skills which add to his personality as well as conveying humour.

Cumberbatch and Freeman are very good together, the latter now overcoming my initial reservations about his over-familiarity and unsuitability for his part. For me though this episode seemed to cater too much to the Dan Brown crowd and with Sherlock resorting too often to conventional fisticuffs, just seemed lacking in the flair and nuance of other superior episodes in the two series.

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