Sherlock: Season 2, Episode 1

A Scandal in Belgravia (6 May 2012)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 9.5/10 from 14,173 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 15 critic

The government hires Sherlock and John to confiscate something of importance from a mysterious woman, named Irene Adler. But she may be more than Sherlock can handle.


(as Paul Mcguigan)


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Title: A Scandal in Belgravia (06 May 2012)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
DI Carter
The Equerry
Timid Man
Rosemary Smith ...
Married Woman
Simon Thorp ...
Anthony Cozens ...
Geeky Young Man


Following a bizarre stand-off with master criminal Moriarty, ended when the villain responds to a phone call, Sherlock interrupts his investigation of a rural slaying when summoned to Buckingham Palace. Dominatrix Irene Adler has incriminating photos of a royal princess which Sherlock is engaged to retrieve. However, having engineered a meeting with Irene, Sherlock realizes that she has far more dangerous evidence in her possession, sought by rogue CIA agents, and which cause her to fake her death and pass the facts, encrypted in her camera phone, to Sherlock. Having deciphered the explosive result and discovered a government plot, Sherlock has to consider if Irene can be trusted and indeed if she is in league with Moriarty. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

6 May 2012 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


On the wall in Baker Street while Mycroft is visiting, Holmes has a copy of the board from the game "Cluedo" (called 'Clue' in the US), with a dagger stuck where the solution would rest. See more »


When Sherlock leaves his apartment with the government guy who takes him to the airport to see the "Coventry" plane, a shot of Baker street in London (the street Sherlock's apartment is on) shows it as a two-way street. Baker street is a one-way street. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: Oh for God's sake! The Speckled Blonde?
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia (1951) See more »


We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Performed by Benedict Cumberbatch
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User Reviews

Not just a superb Sherlock episode, it's one of the best 'films' this year!
23 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Yes, it may be a slight bit premature, but I'll already call it based on my own arbitrary rules: A Scandal in Belgravia, despite being released on TV and now on DVD, is one of the best films I've seen this year. It is film length, we can agree on that, at 90 minutes it feels and is plotted out to be a feature film (albeit still in line with the continuity of the show due to it taking off the cliffhanger from the end of season 1, and a damn good one at that with Moriarty in the swimming pool). Within its own dimensions it works as a film, and writer Steven Moffat fleshes out the emotional stakes of the hero (or as much as can be with Sherlock Holmes) as he is up against a new and surprisingly dangerous adversary: "The Woman" Irene Adler.

How he comes upon Miss Adler is a mystery unto itself, except when we discover (though only later does the hero) what her connection is within the world of Sherlock. But not too much on that, that would spoil the fun. In this story, Sherlock, after getting out by chance/luck/huh from Moriarty's grasp, he takes on - or tries to take on - new cases, and all mostly for naught. While on a potential new case he is plucked out by secret service (and in just a sheet no less!) and is given the new case with shady intonations by his brother Mycroft at the palace: Miss Adler, a dominatrix (which Holmes needs a moment to process what that is), is behind some kind of secret with photographs, and Sherlock is only told so much. When he goes to see her, and following a very funny 'disguise' by having Watson hit him so he looks like he was just beaten up to be taken in for a moment, she appears "ready for battle" as she puts it to her assistant. How is this, you might ask?

Naked. Stark naked. When Holmes looks at her - another big laugh via Moffat's script - it's all question marks, which is unusual for Sherlock's super-incredible keen sense of seeing everything on a person like a computer. But the s*** gets deeper when a burglar comes about to get something from her safe, fight ensues, and then... well, all I'll say from here is that a certain ring-tone is put in Sherlock's phone of a female's 'pleasure' sound, and a game ensues over months between Sherlock and Irene. To put it bluntly about how good this episode is - if Sherlock is Batman (ala Moriarty's Joker or possible Riddler), then Irene Adler is Catwoman. She is an adversary, yet while she is a villain she can use her sexuality as a powerful tool against a man who may have intellectual prowess, but emotionally is not really all there.

Indeed this Batman/Catwoman dynamic is far different in this sort of case since Sherlock, or how Benedict Cumberbatch plays him and how Moffat writes him and Paul McGuigan (brilliantly) directs him, is with a big touch of asperger's. Or, rather, his genius comes with a sort of personal-emotional price with it. There are some twists along the way that Moffat lays out with the characters - some, frankly, will leave you slack-jawed in the best possible way - but it's really about this unlikely bond, this chess game that is played out in (not) dinner-time, and who wins will really be based on who loses control. We don't see much of Adler doing her 'dominatrix' thing (frankly, one scene where she is whipping a character is enough to get the point across, and it's very funny to see it), and really it's all on Lara Pulver's eyes, connecting (or trying to) with Cumberbatch, that gives the episode its edge and spark. Already the show is fantastic with its lead and Martin Freeman. With Pulver, it's another big notch on to the quality of the acting and electricity in the air, so to speak.

It's just sharp storytelling, some great twists and turns (some may or may not be surprises to those who've read A Scandal in Bohemia, which this is based upon), and that the story not so much takes a backseat but plays so well concurrently with it as a character piece that makes it such a smashing success (not just Holmes and Adler but little things between Holmes and Mycroft or Watson and his, uh, what's her name, the latest girlfriend, y'know). On top of this, because it's a sort of romantic piece, Moffat gets to have a lot of fun with little beats in the dialog, it's more than amusing about an emotionally-stunted man finding a romantic bond, and we have fun seeing where it could go. It's a lot of fun, but the filmmakers also never lose sight of making these characters matter deeply. The end is especially moving (albeit, yes, with one more twist, but hey why not).

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