Sherlock: Season 3, Episode 1

The Empty Hearse (19 Jan. 2014)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 9.1/10 from 16,801 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 30 critic

Mycroft calls Sherlock back to London to investigate an underground terrorist organization.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Howard Shilcott
Bonfire Dad
Trixiebell Harrowell ...
Lovelace Akpojaro ...
Reporter 1 (as Lace Akpojaro)


Two years after the devastating effects of The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons, romance and a comforting domestic future beckon; but, with London under threat of a huge terrorist attack, Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so naturally to him. It's what his best friend wanted more than anything, but for John Watson it might well be a case of 'be careful what you wish for'. If Sherlock thinks everything can be just as he left it though, he's in for a very big surprise. Written by BBC

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery



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Release Date:

19 January 2014 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In the Doyle Holmes stories, Mary Morstan was introduced in 'The Sign of the Four'. See more »


Sherlocke's tombstone appears to have changed locations between this episode and the series two finale. In the latter, the tombstone stands somewhat isolated, in front of a huge tree, with no more tombs around. In "The Empty Hearse", however, the tombstone stands behind the tree, in the middle of an opening, with several other tombstones around. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: London. It's like a great cesspool into which all kinds of criminals, agents and drifters are irresistibly drained. Sometimes it's not a question of who. It's a question of who knows. If this man cancels his papers, I need to know. If this woman leaves London without putting her dog into kennels, I need to know. Now, certain people, they are markers. If they start to move, I'll know something's up, like rats deserting a sinking ship.
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Crazy Credits

During the credits, individual letters are coloured red. Together they spell Weng Chiang. See more »


References Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Part One (1977) See more »


Opening Titles
Written by David Arnold and Michael Price
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User Reviews

Way too much style; way too little substance.
27 January 2014 | by (Middleburg, VA) – See all my reviews

I have re-watched Seasons 1 and 2 numerous times. I enjoy them each time. This episode however is wasteful of what has been built to date. I understand they are introducing a new villain, but less than 1/5 of the plot is about that. This episode is about the cult of personality, really, and if this is the new direction, I will be very, very sad because I have no interest in that; I can watch numerous other ...stuff to see celebrities enamored with themselves. The reason Spock/Sherlock Holmes (and yes, maybe even House) has been so successful is that even if/when elements of humanity emerged, it really was in service of something. Understand Spock not Holmes, but the reason people watch these guys is because they represent clarity in the face of adversity; a path to justice and ultimately a path to humanity based on service and loyalty aided by the gift of their respective "eccentricities". They are archetypes because they rise above. This Holmes is NOT Conan Doyle's Holmes. A sadistic Holmes torturing Watson about a bomb - gleefully - does not track, not even for this updated Holmes. It is spiteful, not fun or based on fundamental respect. It is not in service of the plot as are his usual misdirections, disguises, etc. The storyline with Anderson - Huh? I understand about saving face and religious conversions but this smacks of wanting to elevate the character that writers have already gone to lengths to discredit and viewers have come to disrespect. All I see in this episode is the writer and director; the manipulation too egregious for me.

Anyway, friends to whom I had recommended this series watched, then called perplexed when they viewed this episode. I had to back peddle and point them to starting at the beginning. The shortcomings of this episode are the writer's and director's. I have bought the season on iTunes and am downloading The Sign of Three now. Will see how this one goes but I truly hope The Empty Hearse is an aberration in this excellent - as in driven by excellence - series. I have nothing but respect for the creators' and participants' storytelling skills and will hang with them as long as I can, but to me this presentation has represented a cut below what has gone before. Please do not let Holmes sink into just another personality. He has survived for a long time because he is so clearly drawn, so ...elemental.

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