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The Cardboard Box 

Susan Cushing asks Holmes' help in solving the disappearance of her sister Mary Browner, but it doesn't seem Holmes' type of case until he is told of a Christmas present's grisly contents.


Sarah Hellings


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), T.R. Bowen (screenplay)




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Doctor Watson
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
Ciarán Hinds ... Jim Browner (as Ciaran Hinds)
Joanna David ... Susan Cushing
Deborah Findlay ... Sarah Cushing
Lucy Whybrow Lucy Whybrow ... Mary Browner
Tom Chadbon ... Inspector Hawkins
Thierry Harcourt Thierry Harcourt ... Marcel Jacottet
Richard Dixon ... Mr Bradbrook
Renny Krupinski ... Murdoch Gull
Andrew Readman ... Postman
Ann Rye Ann Rye ... Mrs Clyde
Rachel Smith Rachel Smith ... Lucy
Andy Tomlinson Andy Tomlinson ... Policeman


Sherlock Holmes is asked by Susan Cushing if he could attempt to locate her sister, Mary Browner, recently married to a seaman, Jim Browner. She's worried that something may have happened to her and refuses to accept that she may have run off with another man. Holmes isn't interested in the case and offers to refer her to a missing persons agency. He is drawn into a case by Scotland Yard when the same Susan Cushing who sought to engage him receives two human ears in a box. Susan is convinced that they were sent by a lodger, a medical student whom she recently evicted for dallying with another sister, Sarah. There's now been a falling out between those sisters and Sarah is running a local mission house. Holmes isn't so sure that the ears were sent by the medical student and as he looks more deeply into the case, determines there is a connection between that occurrence and the third missing sister, Mary. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 April 1994 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last episode of the series. See more »


[last lines]
Sherlock Holmes: What is the meaning of it, Watson? What is the object of this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must have a purpose. Or our universe has no meaning and that is unthinkable. But what purpose?
Sherlock Holmes: That...
Sherlock Holmes: is humanity's great problem to which reason, so far, has no answer.
See more »


Version of The Cardboard Box (1923) See more »


Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)
Written by Harry Dacre
Played by a Music Box
See more »

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User Reviews

Good but Problematic
5 October 2011 | by ericksonsam60See all my reviews

This adaptation is a fine last episode for the Granada Holmes series. The story is well-written and complex, with very strong elements which include adultery, jealousy, and alcoholism. The production values are still lavish, as is the photography, musical score, and direction. Not to mention that Ciran Hinds gives a memorable performance as Jim Browner. However, the episode's major weakness is that Jeremy Brett's illness is becoming more apparent and is reflected in his performance. His energy and dynamics in portraying Holmes are noticeably diminished due to his health issues, and at times he mumbles his lines. Still, even with his illness, Brett delivered an unforgettable performance as the definitive Sherlock Holmes, and Jeremy Brett fans are grateful that he played the role as long as he did. His extraordinary talent and captivating portrayal of the super sleuth will be missed.

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