Sherlock (2010– )
48 user 36 critic

The Empty Hearse 

Mycroft calls Sherlock back to London to investigate an underground terrorist organization.


Jeremy Lovering


Mark Gatiss, Arthur Conan Doyle (based on the works of) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Sherlock Holmes
Martin Freeman ... Dr. John Watson
Una Stubbs ... Mrs. Hudson
Rupert Graves ... DI Lestrade
Mark Gatiss ... Mycroft Holmes
Andrew Scott ... Jim Moriarty
Louise Brealey ... Molly Hooper
Amanda Abbington ... Mary Morstan
Jonathan Aris ... Anderson
David Fynn ... Howard Shilcott
Sharon Rooney ... Laura
Tomi May ... Torturer
Rick Warden ... Bonfire Dad
Trixiebell Harrowell Trixiebell Harrowell ... Zoe (as Trixiebelle Harrowell)
Lovelace Akpojaro 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 can be just as he left it though, he's in for a very big surprise. Written by BBC

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

19 January 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hartswood Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Two of the clients that come to visit Sherlock Holmes are a stepfather and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter is concerned about the sudden disappearance of her online admirer with whom she had regular contact. Sherlock deduces that the stepfather had been using an avatar on the internet to keep tabs on his stepdaughter's actions. This is a reference to Arthur Conan Doyle's short story 'A Case of Identity'. See more »


Sherlock goes to great lengths to examine the skeleton, supposedly of Jack the Ripper in the hidden room. However, Sherlock should have spotted it was a fake immediately as the skeleton was in a sitting position, fully articulated. Without any ligature tissue to support the bones, the skeleton would be a pile of bones on the chair and floor. Molly, as a doctor, should also have known this. See more »


Torturer: [speaking in Serbian] You broke in here for a reason. Just tell us why and you can sleep. Remember sleep? Huh?... What?
[the captive whispers in his ear]
Mycroft Holmes: [In disguise] Well? What did he say?
Torturer: He said that I used to work in the Navy, where I had an unhappy love affair.
Mycroft Holmes: What?
Torturer: That the electricity isn't working in my bathroom... and that my wife is sleeping with our next door neighbor. The coffin maker... and... if I go home now, I'll catch them at it. I knew it! I knew there was something going on!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References BioShock Infinite (2013) See more »


Opening Titles
Written by David Arnold and Michael Price
See more »

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User Reviews

"The Empty Hearse" is indeed the best Sherlock episode till date.
2 January 2014 | by mayankjamesSee all my reviews

DISCLAIMER- Yes, you are reading this article as a movie review. It is so because I believe these episodes are more like a series of TV films; 90 minutes long TV films, and not a TV-Series! That being said, now you continue with the review. So it has been a little under two years since we last saw Sherlock Holmes fake his death. But the painful 717 days wait finally came to an end with the splendid "The Empty Hearse". Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have found fame in Hollywood with movies like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hobbit. But it is indeed a huge relief that the series has returned; even though if it's only for another three episodes. With no more Moriarty in the picture, the opening instalment of Sherlock teased a new foe for the Baker Street detective and explained just how and why the lead character vanished from London for two years… well almost! "The Empty Hearse" then tells us the reason of detective's return which involves an underground terrorist cell planning an attack on London. It also shows the two year old John Watson preparing for his marital life whilst trying to move on with the grief of his best friend's death.

Like the rest of the Sherlock episodes, this Season 3 opener is brilliantly shot, astoundingly edited and stunningly directed by Jeremy Lovering and team. Though "The Empty Hearse" is a little more about the Watson-Holmes reunion; throughout the episode, there are plenty of intriguing moments that we've come to love about this series, both with certain visual and stylistic cues. Although it still feels surprisingly new and viewer friendly.

PS: There are some interesting new wrinkles added to the Sherlock Holmes myths – his parents – as well as some genuinely very funny moments for fans (Molly's fiancée). But to conclude it all, "The Empty Hearse" is indeed the best Sherlock episode till date. I would undoubtedly rate the entire series a flawless 10, but for once I just wish if there was something beyond 10 reserved for this masterpiece.

"The holiday is over… Back to Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes…"

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