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The Empty House 

Believed dead after his fatal encounter with Professor Moriarity three years earlier, Sherlock Holmes returns to England to foil a plot to murder him by a former Moriarity gang member.


Howard Baker


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), John Hawkesworth (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr. Watson
Eric Porter ... Professor Moriarty
Patrick Allen ... Colonel Sebastian Moran
James Bree ... Coroner
Colin Jeavons ... Inspector Lestrade
Richard Bebb Richard Bebb ... Sir John Hardy
Robert Addie Robert Addie ... Mr Murray
Naomi Buch Naomi Buch ... The Countess of Maynooth
Paul Lacoux Paul Lacoux ... The Hon. Ronald Adair
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
Elizabeth Ritson Elizabeth Ritson ... Ivy
Roger Rowland ... Butler
John Palmer John Palmer ... Policeman


After Dr. Watson testifies at the inquest of the Honourable Ronald Adair, shot to death after returning home from his gambling club, he is followed back to his office by an eccentric bookseller who reveals himself to be Holmes in disguise. After the initial shock wears off, Holmes explains that he did not die in the fall that killed Professor Moriarity in their famous encounter at Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland three years earlier. Holmes has remained out of England to avoid Colonel Sebastian Moran, a Moriarity associate who witnessed Holmes' escape death and has vowed to kill Holmes in revenge. Holmes will try to foil Moran and solve the Adair murder. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 July 1986 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Uses the same music as the episode "The Final Problem." See more »


The exact same painting of a tree can be seen on the wall of the murder victim's room at 03:31 and again on the wall of Dr. Watson's consulting room at 21:33. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. John Watson: [voiceover] In 1891 at the Reichenbach Falls near Meiringen in Switzerland, Sherlock Holmes finally closed his account with Professor Moriarty, the most dangerous criminal of his generation. The two men were alone in that dreadful place, but the outcome of their struggle was obvious to a trained observer. Holmes had achieved the destruction of his arch-enemy only at the cost of his own life.
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Crazy Credits

The sketch of three hands holding champagne flutes over credits. See more »

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User Reviews

He's Baaaack!!!!
8 June 2018 | by standardmetalSee all my reviews

This is Conan Doyle's ingenious way of bringing back Sherlock Holmes "from the dead" due to public pressure after the scene where both he and his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty are swept hand in hand in mortal combat over the Reichenbach Falls in "The Final Problem".

Interestingly enough, when the "resurrected" Holmes reveals himself to his landlady Mrs. Hudson (Rosalie Williams, as usual), she has her hysterics but Watson himself faints dead away. Holmes' reaction is "I had no idea you'd be so affected." Well duh! Showing that even Sherlock could be dense at times.

With Edward Hardwick taking over for David Burke as Dr. Watson, I find that he is, in my opinion, a livelier Watson than Burke and I much prefer him.

Very interesting as well as rather touching.

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