Sherlock: Season 3, Episode 1

The Empty Hearse (19 Jan. 2014)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 9.1/10 from 13,923 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 17 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 will 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






Release Date:

19 January 2014 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Some of the scenes revealing how Sherlock faked his own death were filmed during production of Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall (2012). Still, according to an interview with Benedict Cumberbatch on The Graham Norton Show (2007), much of it was re-shot for this episode. And as before, Benedict Cumberbatch performed the rooftop jump stunts himself. See more »


The train shown on security footage is 1996 Stock train for Jubilee line. The wagon found by Sherlock and John is 1972 Stock for Bakerloo line. And the interior for that wagon was borrowed from D78 Stock for District line. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: But you've missed his isolation.
Mycroft Holmes: I don't see it.
Sherlock Holmes: Plain as day.
Mycroft Holmes: Where?
Sherlock Holmes: There for all to see.
Mycroft Holmes: Tell me.
Sherlock Holmes: Plain as the nose on your...
Mycroft Holmes: Tell me!
Sherlock Holmes: Well anybody who wears a hat as stupid as this isn't in the habit of hanging around other people, is he?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References V for Vendetta (2005) See more »


¿Dónde Estás, Yolanda?
Written by Pink Martini
Performed by Pink Martini
[Played when John and Mary dine together]
See more »

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User Reviews

Sherlock and key
16 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Cleverly altering the title of Conan-Doyle's original "comeback" story after his death" at the Reichenbach Falls ("The Empty House"), while it was great to have Benedict Cumberbatch in the role he's made his own, nevertheless I had some issues with this Mark Gatiss-penned story.

Firstly, mystifying as it was, I didn't think that the explanation of Sherlock's death-defying plunge of the previous series' almost literal cliff-hanger had to be stretched out as much as it was. Nor, come to that, did the reunion between Holmes and Watson, have to run on so long too, not only providing some fairly feeble humour with Sherlock adopting the guise of a French waiter, but also holding up the plot here by about thirty minutes. The climactic ending was a bit pat too and again seemed unoriginal to me.

The real lack of a master-villain for Sherlock to pit his wits against didn't help either, leaving the narrative somewhat nebulous and unfocused, while the less said about Watson's death's-eve speech the better. There were some nice humorous touches, particularly the cut-away last-word vulgarity scene, (borrowed I think from a recent TV advert for a soft drink) mixing in Watson's GP consultations with Holmes' new-client interviews.

The isolated mystery and detection scenes, like the disappearing passenger on the subway and Sherlock tracking Watson to the bottom of a bonfire I also liked, but this episode seemed a little smug to me and unwisely sacrificed plot to characterisation, detection to sentimentality. Curiously I rather liked Martin Freeman's new 'tache with T's echoes of Nigel Bruce, but it too didn't last long either.

I do hope that the next two episodes in its new short run remembers to give Sherlock some proper detecting to do and concentrates less on the rather played-out bromance between the leads..

6 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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