A recurring character in the show is detective Bell, a brilliant policeman with deductive powers of his own. This is a nod to Dr. Joseph Bell, a Scottish physician and professor, acquaintance of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the real life model for Sherlock Holmes.
Unlike many shows in which a character's tattoos play an important role in the storyline, Sherlock's tattoos are not added by a makeup artist but instead belong to the actor who portrays him, Jonny Lee Miller. Unlike Holmes's tattoos, however, Miller's are not self-administered.
In the summer of 2011 Danny Boyle created a National Theatre production of 'Frankenstein' in which Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller played the creator and monster and alternately changed nightly. Both actors then went on to play another Victorian creation Sherlock Holmes, both set in the present day, albeit opposite side of the Atlantic.
The creators of this show reportedly went to great lengths to avoid comparisons or potential copyright issues with the British series Sherlock (2010), which also re-tells the story of Holmes in a contemporary setting. One visual cue that was included as a nod to the British series is Holmes' scarf, which is worn the same way as it is in "Sherlock".
Mycroft opens a new restaurant called Diogenes in New York. This name was deliberately chosen to fit into the theme of the show. Diogenes was an ancient Greek philosopher associated with a group called the Cynics and was often pictured as a man carrying a lantern searching for just one honest man. He never found one and his search is not unlike Sherlock's.
The recurring character of Mrs. Hudson, portrayed by Candis Cayne, the occasional cleaning woman for Sherlock's brownstone, is a nod to the original Arthur Conan Doyle character of the same name, who is the proprietress or landlady of 221b Baker Street, London, in the original canon, and in most Holmes screen incarnations.
The role of Sherlock Holmes has also been played by David Arquette in a Los Angeles theatrical production. Arquette appeared with Jonny Lee Miller in "Dead Man's Walk (1996)(TV)'. Arquette played Augustus McCrae, a role previously played by Robert Duvall, who played Doctor Watson in _The Seven Per Cent Solution (1976)_(Qv).
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Vinnie Jones, the actor who portays the rabid football supporter 'M.' in season 1 episode 12, has in fact played football professionally prior to becoming an actor. He played in Chelsea for a period, which happens to be Johnny Lee Miller's (Sherlock) favourite team.