Sherlock: Season 1, Episode 1

A Study in Pink (24 Oct. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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War vet Dr. John Watson returns to London in need of a place to stay. He meets Sherlock Holmes, a consulting detective, and the two soon find themselves digging into a string of serial "suicides."



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Helen (as Siobhán Hewlett)
William Scott-Masson ...
Sean Joseph Young ...
Gary (as Sean Young)
James Duncan ...
Ruth Everett ...
Syrus Lowe ...
Katy Maw ...


Wounded in Afghanistan while in the Army, Dr. John Watson returns to contemporary London and, through a mutual acquaintance, becomes a flatmate at Mrs. Hudson's 221B Baker Street apartment with brilliant if eccentric private investigator Sherlock Holmes. There have been three identical apparent suicides, and Inspector Lestrade asks for Sherlock's intervention over the fourth, the suspicious death of Jennifer Wilson. As she lay dying she wrote 'Rache' upon the floor and Sherlock deduces that this is not just the incomplete name of her stillborn daughter "Rachel" of many years earlier but the password of her mobile phone. This leads Sherlock to confront a terminally ill serial killer who slays people, in part, to show superiority over the rest of society, and who is determined to make Sherlock his next victim. Written by don @ minifie-1 / edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 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?


The house portrayed as 221B Baker Street is actually 187 North Gower Street; the physical address of 221B does not exist, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum is housed in 237-241 Baker Street. See more »


Sherlock deduces that Jennifer Wilson is left handed, but when she reaches to the floor for the pill bottle, she is using her right hand. See more »


[first lines]
Ella: How's your blog going?
Dr John Watson: Yeah, good. Very good.
Ella: You haven't written a word, have you?
Dr John Watson: You just wrote, "still has trust issues".
Ella: And you read my writing upside down. You see what I mean? John, you're a soldier. It's going to take you a while to adjust to civilian life. And writing a blog about everything that happens to you will honestly help you.
Dr John Watson: Nothing happens to me.
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References Apollo 13 (1995) See more »


Opening Titles
Written by David Arnold & Michael Price
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User Reviews

The very best Sherlock Holmes adaptation there is
3 May 2014 | by (Austria) – See all my reviews

Sherlock Holmes has lived on to the 21st century: adapting to its technology, but not its society, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic conception gets refurbished all around by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat and is solving the same crimes he has already been solving more than a hundred years earlier in just a slightly altered fashion in Sherlock, a superb BBC series.

The three-part first series commences with "A Study in Pink" and introduces its titular sleuth in what is easily the most peculiar way of all Sherlock Holmes adaptations: flogging a corpse. Of course, that slightly disturbing start fulfils the mere purpose of solving a death and the next scene reveals that Benedict Cumberbatch's rather young Holmes is not that big of a sociopath. In any case, we have yet to see a more spellbinding and distinctive on-screen portrayal of SH (as he signs his text messages) than the charismatic Briton's and because of that, the changes of character traits in comparison to the novels don't concern me at all. His colleague Dr Watson, often narrowed down to a simple right-hand man in adaptations of lesser quality, is equally uniquely and lovably portrayed by Martin Freeman and the two are the perfect match for each other, delivering amusing pieces of black humour, exchanging small insults, and sharing homoerotic dinners. More first- class acting is to be found in supporting roles, with unexceptionally all cast members making the most out of a witty, funny, and not once boring screenplay written by series creator Moffat himself. Especially Phil Davis as the episode's memorable antagonist and series creator Moffat himself as Holmes's brother Mycroft are dazzling additions to the cast and impress as they are conversationally facing Sherlock's two protagonists.

This particular detective story itself is not among the greatest Sherlock Holmes adventures of all time, but is gripping until the end and expertly interwoven with the exposition and establishment part the series pilot logically brings with it. The cream of the crop is the dialogue though, trotted out at a breakneck pace and ever quotable. "A Study in Pink" is then topped off by technical grandeur, in beautiful captures of London and the characters, properly timed editing with not one scene being either too long or too short, a catchy score blending mysterious and funny musical aspects together, and wonderful set design for 221B Baker Street especially. My only issues with Sherlock are the opposite of grave and can be easily dismissed: for one, Sherlock's inner map of London and some of his deductions fly in the face of reason and for the other, his written thought bubbles shown on screen are fully unnecessary when explained just a moment later.

Otherwise, "A Study in Pink" is outstanding filmmaking on every level and brilliant at transferring the original story into this day and age, with Holmes an avid mobile phone user and Watson a veteran of the Afghanistan war. From this pilot onwards, I've considered Sherlock to be the very best adaptation of the Conan Doyle novels there is and one of the most entertaining TV series into the bargain.

My detective scribblings: • "How can people keep themselves safe from these serial suicides?" – "Don't commit suicide." Inspector Lestrade, brimming with useful advice. • I was quite surprised about not seeing Sherlock reacting to John's two different ways of pronouncing the word 'assume' within a matter of minutes. • "I'm not his date!" More serious shows could profit from running gags. • Sherlock Holmes receives almost universal disdain in this series and, as he casually mentions to pickpocket from Lestrade when he's annoying, one can somehow relate to that. • What an absolutely magnetic sequence of Sherlock discovering the story behind the pink phone that is: flashbacks, cross-cutting, camera movement, and all the brilliant facial expressions by Benedict Cumberbatch make it by far the pilot's most impressing. • Best line of dialogue: "I could be wrong, but I think that's really none of your business." John Watson, teaching kids how to courteously tell someone to bugger off.

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