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The Illustrious Client 

Violet Merville is determined to marry the man she loves, who Holmes knows has already murdered one wife.


Tim Sullivan


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Robin Chapman (dramatised by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr. Watson
Anthony Valentine ... Baron Gruner
Carol Noakes Carol Noakes ... Baroness Gruner
David Langton ... Sir James Damery
Abigail Cruttenden Abigail Cruttenden ... Miss Violet Merville
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs. Hudson
John Pickles John Pickles ... Jarvis
Kim Thomson ... Kitty Winter
Roy Holder ... Shinwell Johnson
Andy Bradford ... First Thug


Holmes is hired by Sir James Damery to do anything he can to stop the forthcoming marriage of Violet Merville, daughter of a famed General, to Baron Gruner, a known philanderer and womanizer who has been known to seduce - and perhaps even dispose of - well-to-do women on the Continent. The young woman is madly in love with him and will hear nothing against him. It's also apparent that Sir James is acting as an intermediary for someone else, whom he refuses to reveal. The Baron is soon onto Holmes' attempt to discredit him and he is not above hiring ruffians to get rid of troublemakers. Homes recruits one of the Baron's discarded women to try and convince Miss Merville of her ill-advised romance but it is only when he learns that Gruner has a diary does he find the weapon he needs. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 March 1991 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Repeated references are made to "oil of vitriol." This is the old name for sulfuric acid, in this case thrown in the faces of women to disfigure them. See more »


In one scene, Baron Gruner is listening to a recording of a baritone singing the "Madamina" aria from Mozart's "Don Giovanni", and the singer is backed by a full orchestra. Such recordings were impossible to make in the nineteenth century, when the story takes place. Until the advent of electrical recording (i.e., using microphones) in 1925, singers and instrumentalists had to stand around a large horn to make recordings, and the use of a large orchestra would have distorted the sound. Special "chamber music" arrangements had to be made of orchestral pieces to prevent distortion and overload. Recordings were made on wax cylinders then, not discs, and the quality of sound was far worse than demonstrated in this episode. See more »


[first lines]
Baron Gruner: Oh. Oh, my dear. My dearest. I warned you; I said, "Do not go too near the edge."
Baroness Gruner: Why did you push me, Baron?
Baron Gruner: My dear wife... you, you're dreaming.
Baroness Gruner: No. Dying. Dying.
Baron Gruner: Oh, my darling.
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Illustrious Client (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

A caring Sherlock Holmes
29 April 2009 | by agni0504See all my reviews

The Illustrious Client is my favorite from the Casebook series. I love it particularly because of the fact that it shows a new side of Holmes. During the episode he is more caring and sympathetic than ever. He really wants to help preventing the new marriage of Baron Gruner only after hearing Kitty's sad story. Holmes is very emotive and understanding with her. She is a very likable character.

The story allowed Jeremy to show some of his own characteristics - in other episodes he has to hide almost everything from himself to play the master detective who is a brain without a heart.Jeremy was such a wonderfully versatile actor, who added so much to the character of Holmes and played him faithful to the Canon at the same time. The scenes with Watson and the ailing Holmes are fantastic, and Rosalie Williams is just lovely as the motherly landlady.

The Illustrious Client is another great addition to the masterpieces of Granada. A must see for all Holmes fans!

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