“Sherlock,” Season 2, episode 1 transcript: ‘A Scandal in Belgravia,’ part 4
*channelling D.I. Lestrade* OK, everybody. Done here.
So finally it’s finished. (Collapses in an exhausted heap, giggling) It took way longer than I ever thought – I’ve been transcribing 42-minute episodes for the past eight years, and each one normally took about ten hours to complete and so I thought that this would take roughly double the time. Yeah, right – I wish!
At this rate, I’m afraid that I cannot promise that a transcript for The Hounds of Baskerville will even be finished by the time The Reichenbach Fall airs. I’ll try, but there’s a lot of stuff happening in Real Life, including the imminent arrival of Verityburns, Atlinmerrick and Anarion at my house, and I need to do some housework!
Anyway, onwards ... Oh, and thank you for all your kind words. It really has made the whole effort worthwhile.
And my thanks once again to the adorable verityburns, without whose patient and meticulous proof-reading (and extensive research into Brazilian knickers ...) this probably wouldn’t have been completed until the middle of next week.
Sherlock, Season 2, episode 1: A Scandal in Belgravia part 4
Transcript by Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan.
Polite request: If you take extracts from this transcript for use elsewhere, and especially if you repost my own words, it would be kind if you would acknowledge the source and/or give a link back to this transcript. Thanks.
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In the car, Sherlock gets out the plane ticket again, then tells Plummer what he has deduced.
SHERLOCK: There’s going to be a bomb on a passenger jet. The British and American governments know about it but rather than expose the source of that information they’re going to let it happen. The plane will blow up. Coventry all over again. The wheel turns. Nothing is ever new.
(Neither Plummer nor the driver respond to him in any way. Some time later the car arrives at Heathrow Airport and is driven past hangars to a 747 Jumbo Jet parked on the tarmac. The car stops near the plane and Sherlock gets out and walks over to the steps which lead up to the entry door. A familiar figure is standing at the bottom of the steps. It’s Neilson.)
SHERLOCK (nonchalantly, in a deliberately fake American accent): Well, you’re lookin’ all better. How ya feelin’?
NEILSON: Like putting a bullet in your brain ... sir.
(Sherlock lets out a quiet snigger and starts to walk up the steps.)
NEILSON: They’d pin a medal on me if I did ...
NEILSON (insincerely): ... sir.
(Sherlock half-turns back towards him, then apparently decides he can’t be bothered and continues up the steps. Inside, he pulls back the curtain obscuring the passenger seating and walks into the aisle. The lighting is very low and it’s hard to see. There are people sitting in almost all the seats but none of them is moving or speaking or showing any signs of life at all. Frowning, he walks forward and looks more closely at the nearest passengers. An overhead light shows more clearly the faces of two men sitting beside each other and Sherlock now realises the truth: they are dead. Although they’re not yet showing any signs of decomposition, their skin is very grey and they’ve clearly been dead for some time. He turns and looks to the passengers on the other side of the aisle, turning on another overhead light to get a better view. The man and woman sitting there are also long dead. As he straightens up, realising that everyone on board the plane must be in the same condition, his brother speaks from the other end of the section.)
MYCROFT: The Coventry conundrum.
(Sherlock turns as Mycroft pushes back the curtain and steps through into the cabin. For the first part of the ensuing conversation he talks softly, almost as if out of respect for the dead bodies in front of him.)
MYCROFT: What do you think of my solution?
(Sherlock gazes around the cabin, still taking it all in.)
MYCROFT: The flight of the dead.
SHERLOCK: The plane blows up mid-air. Mission accomplished for the terrorists. Hundreds of casualties, but nobody dies.
MYCROFT: Neat, don’t you think?
(Sherlock smiles humourlessly.)
MYCROFT: You’ve been stumbling round the fringes of this one for ages – or were you too bored to notice the pattern?
(Sherlock flashes back in his mind to the two little girls sitting in his living room.)
LITTLE GIRL: They wouldn’t let us see Granddad when he was dead.
(He lifts his head a little, remembering the creepy guy sitting in the same chair on a different occasion, holding a funeral urn.)
CREEPY GUY: She’s not my real aunt. I know human ash.
MYCROFT: We ran a similar project with the Germans a while back, though I believe one of our passengers didn’t make the flight.
(Sherlock flashes back to the car with the body in the boot and the passport stamped in Berlin airport.)
MYCROFT: But that’s the deceased for you – late, in every sense of the word.
SHERLOCK: How’s the plane going to fly? (He answers himself immediately.) Of course: unmanned aircraft. Hardly new.
MYCROFT: It doesn’t fly. It will never fly. This entire project is cancelled. The terrorist cells have been informed that we know about the bomb. We can’t fool them now. We’ve lost everything. One fragment of one email, and months and years of planning finished.
SHERLOCK: Your MOD man.
MYCROFT: That’s all it takes: one lonely naïve man desperate to show off, and a woman clever enough to make him feel special.
SHERLOCK (quirking an eyebrow): Hmm. You should screen your defence people more carefully.
MYCROFT (loudly, furiously): I’m not talking about the MOD man, Sherlock; I’m talking about you.
(He slams the tip of his umbrella on the floor. Sherlock frowns, genuinely confused.)
MYCROFT (more softly): The damsel in distress. (He smiles ironically.) In the end, are you really so obvious? Because this was textbook: the promise of love, the pain of loss, the joy of redemption; then give him a puzzle ... (his voice drops to a whisper while he twirls the end of his umbrella in the air) ... and watch him dance.
SHERLOCK: Don’t be absurd.
MYCROFT: Absurd? How quickly did you decipher that email for her? Was it the full minute, or were you really eager to impress?
IRENE (from behind Sherlock): I think it was less than five seconds.
(Sherlock spins around to see her standing at the end of the cabin, dressed beautifully, fully made up and with her hair perfectly coiffured. This is The Woman at her immaculate best.)
MYCROFT (ruefully to Sherlock): I drove you into her path. (He pauses momentarily.) I’m sorry. (He lowers his eyes.) I didn’t know.
(Sherlock is still looking at Irene as she walks towards him.)
IRENE: Mr Holmes, I think we need to talk.
SHERLOCK: So do I. There are a number of aspects I’m still not quite clear on.
IRENE (walking past him): Not you, Junior. You’re done now.
(She continues down the aisle towards Mycroft. Sherlock turns and watches her go as she activates her phone and holds it up to show his brother.)
IRENE: There’s more ... loads more. On this phone I’ve got secrets, pictures and scandals that could topple your whole world. You have no idea how much havoc I can cause and exactly one way to stop me – unless you want to tell your masters that your biggest security leak is your own little brother.
(Mycroft can no longer hold her gaze and turns his head away, lowering his eyes.)
Some time later Mycroft has brought Irene and Sherlock to his residence/office. The older brother sits at the dining table with Irene seated opposite him. Sherlock is in the armchair near the fireplace a few yards away, half turned away from the pair of them. The fingers on his right hand are repeatedly clenching while he listens to the other two speak. Mycroft points down at the camera phone which is lying on the table in front of him. There is no aggression or threat in his voice as he speaks to Irene.
MYCROFT: We have people who can get into this.
IRENE: I tested that theory for you. I let Sherlock Holmes try it for six months.
(Sherlock closes his eyes briefly, grimacing slightly.)
IRENE: Sherlock, dear, tell him what you found when you X-rayed my camera phone.
SHERLOCK (flatly): There are four additional units wired inside the casing, I suspect containing acid or a small amount of explosive.
(Mycroft lowers his head into his hand.)
SHERLOCK: Any attempt to open the casing will burn the hard drive.
IRENE: Explosive. (She looks at Mycroft.) It’s more me.
MYCROFT (lifting his head and looking at her again): Some data is always recoverable.
IRENE: Take that risk?
MYCROFT: You have a passcode to open this. I deeply regret to say we have people who can extract it from you.
IRENE (calmly): Sherlock?
SHERLOCK: There will be two passcodes: one to open the phone, one to burn the drive. Even under duress you can’t know which one she’s given you and there will be no point in a second attempt.
IRENE: He’s good, isn’t he? I should have him on a leash – in fact, I might.
(She gazes intensely at Sherlock but he remains turned away from her and can’t see her expression.)
MYCROFT: We destroy this, then. No-one has the information.
IRENE: Fine. Good idea ... unless there are lives of British citizens depending on the information you’re about to burn.
MYCROFT: Are there?
IRENE: Telling you would be playing fair. I’m not playing any more.
(She reaches into her handbag on the table in front of her and takes out an envelope which she pushes across the table to him.)
IRENE: A list of my requests; and some ideas about my protection once they’re granted.
(Mycroft takes the sheet of paper from the envelope and starts to unfold it.)
IRENE: I’d say it wouldn’t blow much of a hole in the wealth of the nation – but then I’d be lying.
(He raises his eyebrows in amazement as he reads through the demands she has listed.)
IRENE: I imagine you’d like to sleep on it.
MYCROFT (still reading): Thank you, yes.
IRENE: Too bad.
(He looks up at her. In the armchair, Sherlock snorts in almost silent amusement.)
IRENE (to Mycroft): Off you pop and talk to people.
(Sighing, Mycroft sinks back in his chair.)
MYCROFT: You’ve been very ... thorough. I wish our lot were half as good as you.
IRENE: I can’t take all the credit. Had a bit of help.
(She looks across to Sherlock.)
IRENE: Oh, Jim Moriarty sends his love.
(Sherlock raises his head.)
MYCROFT: Yes, he’s been in touch. Seems desperate for my attention ... (his voice becomes more ominous) ... which I’m sure can be arranged.
(Unseen by the others, Sherlock’s gaze begins to sharpen as Irene stands up and walks round the table to sit on its edge nearer Mycroft.)
IRENE: I had all this stuff, never knew what to do with it. Thank God for the consultant criminal. Gave me a lot of advice about how to play the Holmes boys. D’you know what he calls you? (Softly) The Ice Man ... (she looks across to Sherlock) ... and the Virgin.
(Sherlock’s eyes are starting to flicker back and forth, though it’s not yet clear whether in reaction to what Irene is saying or whether he’s working something out.)
IRENE: Didn’t even ask for anything. I think he just likes to cause trouble. Now that’s my kind of man.
(Sherlock closes his eyes, sighing softly.)
MYCROFT: And here you are, the dominatrix who brought a nation to its knees.
(Sherlock’s eyes snap open again. He is definitely working something out. Mycroft stands and appears to bow slightly to Irene.)
MYCROFT: Nicely played.
(He turns away, about to go and begin meeting her demands. Smiling in satisfaction, she stands up, confident that she has won.)
(They both turn to him.)
(Sherlock turns his head towards them.)
SHERLOCK: I said no. Very very close, but no.
(He stands and starts to walk towards her.)
SHERLOCK: You got carried away. The game was too elaborate. You were enjoying yourself too much.
IRENE: No such thing as too much.
SHERLOCK (walking closer and looking down at her): Oh, enjoying the thrill of the chase is fine, craving the distraction of the game – I sympathise entirely – but sentiment? Sentiment is a chemical defect found in the losing side.
(He bares his teeth slightly as he finishes the sentence.)
IRENE: Sentiment? What are you talking about?
IRENE (smiling calmly): Oh dear God. Look at the poor man. You don’t actually think I was interested in you? Why? Because you’re the great Sherlock Holmes, the clever detective in the funny hat?
(He steps even closer to her, their bodies almost touching.)
SHERLOCK (softly): No.
(He reaches out and slowly wraps the fingers of his right hand around her left wrist, then leans forward and brings his mouth close to her right ear.)
SHERLOCK (in a whisper): Because I took your pulse.
(Flashback to Irene kneeling in front of him at the flat and putting her hand on top of his, then him turning his hand over and resting his fingertips on the underside of her wrist. In the present, Irene frowns in confusion, while Sherlock tightens his grip a little around her wrist.)
SHERLOCK (softly into her ear): Elevated; your pupils dilated.
(Flashback to her kneeling in front of him, her pupils widening as she gazes at him. In the present, he releases her hand and leans past her to pick up the camera phone from the table.)
SHERLOCK (in a more normal voice): I imagine John Watson thinks love’s a mystery to me but the chemistry is incredibly simple, and very destructive.
(He turns and walks a few paces away from her. She follows behind him until he turns and faces her again.)
SHERLOCK: When we first met, you told me that disguise is always a self-portrait. How true of you: the combination to your safe – your measurements; but this ... (he tosses the phone into the air and catches it again) ... this is far more intimate.
(He pulls up the security lock with its “I AM ---- LOCKED” screen.)
SHERLOCK: This is your heart ...
(Without breaking his gaze into her eyes, he punches in the first of the four characters with his thumb.)
SHERLOCK: ... and you should never let it rule your head.
(She stares at him, trying to stay calm but the panic is beginning to show behind her eyes.)
SHERLOCK: You could have chosen any random number and walked out of here today with everything you’ve worked for ...
(He punches in the second character, his eyes still locked on hers.)
SHERLOCK: ... but you just couldn’t resist it, could you?
(Her breathing becomes heavier. Sherlock smiles briefly and triumphantly.)
SHERLOCK: I’ve always assumed that love is a dangerous disadvantage ...
(He hits the third character, still gazing at her.)
SHERLOCK: Thank you for the final proof.
(He lifts his thumb again but before he can type in the fourth character, she seizes his hand and gazes up at him intensely.)
IRENE (softly): Everything I said: it’s not real. (In a whisper) I was just playing the game.
SHERLOCK (in a whisper): I know.
(Gently pulling his hand free, he types in the final character.)
SHERLOCK: And this is just losing.
(Slowly he turns the phone towards her and shows her the screen. She looks down at it, tears spilling from her eyes as she reads the sequence which says:
She gazes down at the screen in despair for a few seconds, then Sherlock lifts the phone away and holds it out towards Mycroft even as the phone unlocks and presents its menu.)
SHERLOCK (his eyes still fixed on Irene’s): There you are, brother. I hope the contents make up for any inconvenience I may have caused you tonight.
MYCROFT: I’m certain they will.
(He takes the phone and Sherlock turns and begins to walk towards the door.)
SHERLOCK: If you’re feeling kind, lock her up; otherwise let her go. I doubt she’ll survive long without her protection.
(Irene stares after him, her eyes wide with dread.)
IRENE: Are you expecting me to beg?
SHERLOCK (flatly, calmly): Yes.
(He stops near the door, his face in profile to her. She stares at him in anguish for several seconds, then realises that she has no choice.)
(He doesn’t move.)
IRENE: You’re right.
(Now he turns to look at her.)
IRENE (staring at him pleadingly): I won’t even last six months.
SHERLOCK: Sorry about dinner.
(He turns away and walks to the door, opening it and walking through. She watches him go, her eyes full of horror as the door closes behind him.)
BAKER STREET. DAY TIME. It is pouring with rain. Outside Speedy’s café, Mycroft is standing under the protection of his umbrella, smoking a cigarette. He has a clear plastic wallet tucked under one arm and his briefcase is at his feet. John hurries towards home, hunched over and soaking wet because macho BAMFs like John Watson don’t take umbrellas with them. He sees Mycroft standing there and stops in surprise, then walks over to him.
JOHN: You don’t smoke.
MYCROFT: I also don’t frequent cafés.
(Dropping the cigarette on the ground and treading it out [apparently not bothered about incurring a set fine for littering], he closes his umbrella, picks up his briefcase and turns and walks into Speedy’s. John follows him.
Not long afterwards they are sitting opposite each other at one of the tables. John picks up his mug and looks at the plastic wallet which Mycroft has put on the table in front of himself. There is a sticker on the wallet saying “RESTRICTED ACCESS – CONFIDENTIAL”. The camera phone is inside the wallet on top of various documents.)
JOHN: This the file on Irene Adler?
MYCROFT: Closed forever. I am about to go and inform my brother – or, if you prefer, you are – that she somehow got herself into a witness protection scheme in America. New name, new identity. She will survive – and thrive – but he will never see her again.
JOHN: Why would he care? He despised her at the end. Won’t even mention her by name – just “the Woman.”
MYCROFT: Is that loathing, or a salute? One of a kind; the one woman who matters.
JOHN: He’s not like that. He doesn’t feel things that way ... I don’t think.
MYCROFT: My brother has the brain of a scientist or a philosopher, yet he elects to be a detective. What might we deduce about his heart?
JOHN: I don’t know.
MYCROFT: Neither do I ... but initially he wanted to be a pirate.
(He smiles briefly at John, then his gaze becomes distant and reflective.)
JOHN: He’ll be okay with this witness protection, never seeing her again. He’ll be fine.
MYCROFT: I agree. (He breathes in sharply.) That’s why I decided to tell him that.
JOHN: Instead of what?
MYCROFT: She’s dead. She was captured by a terrorist cell in Karachi two months ago and beheaded.
(John looks at him silently for several seconds, then quietly clears his throat.)
JOHN: It’s definitely her? She’s done this before.
MYCROFT: I was thorough – this time. It would take Sherlock Holmes to fool me, and I don’t think he was on hand, do you?
(They look at each other for a moment.)
MYCROFT: So ... (he pushes the wallet across the table towards John, then puts his elbows on the table, clasps his hands in front of him and rests his chin on them) ... what should we tell Sherlock?
221B. Sherlock is sitting at the kitchen table looking into his microscope. Footsteps can be heard coming up the stairs and he speaks before John even comes into view.
SHERLOCK: Clearly you’ve got news.
(John stops in the doorway with the wallet in his hand. Sherlock doesn’t lift his head.)
SHERLOCK: If it’s about the Leeds triple murder, it was the gardener. Nobody noticed the earring.
JOHN: Hi. Er, no, it’s, um ... (he takes a couple of steps into the kitchen) ... it’s about Irene Adler.
(Sherlock looks up, his face unreadable.)
SHERLOCK: Oh? Something happened? Has she come back?
JOHN: No, she’s, er ... I just bumped into Mycroft downstairs. He had to take a call.
SHERLOCK (standing up and walking around the table towards John): Is she back in London?
JOHN: No. She’s, er ...
(He gazes at the table for a long moment, then drags in a sharp breath and raises his eyes to Sherlock’s as his flatmate steps closer, frowning.)
JOHN: She’s in America.
JOHN: Mmm-hmm. Got herself on a witness protection scheme, apparently. Dunno how she swung it, but, er, well, you know.
SHERLOCK: I know what?
JOHN: Well, you won’t be able to see her again.
SHERLOCK: Why would I want to see her again?
JOHN (smiling ruefully as Sherlock turns away and walks back around the table): Didn’t say you did.
SHERLOCK: Is that her file?
JOHN: Yes. I was just gonna take it back to Mycroft.
(He offers the wallet to Sherlock.)
JOHN: Do you want to ...?
SHERLOCK (sitting down): No.
(He looks into his microscope again.)
(He looks at his friend for a long while, considering his options. Eventually he steps forward again.)
JOHN: Listen, actually ...
SHERLOCK: Oh, but I will have the camera phone, though.
(He holds out his hand towards John, not lifting his gaze from his work.)
JOHN: There’s nothing on it any more. It’s been stripped.
SHERLOCK: I know, but I ...
(He pauses for a long moment before continuing.)
SHERLOCK: ... I’ll still have it.
JOHN: I’ve gotta give this back to Mycroft. You can’t keep it.
(Sherlock keeps his hand extended and his eyes fixed on the microscope.)
JOHN: Sherlock, I have to give this to Mycroft. It’s the government’s now. I couldn’t even give ...
(He extends his hand a little further. John looks at him, clearly wondering what to do, then finally he reaches into the wallet, takes out the phone and lays it gently into Sherlock’s hand. Sherlock closes his fingers around it, draws his hand back and puts the phone into his trouser pocket before returning his hand to the microscope.)
SHERLOCK: Thank you.
JOHN (raising the wallet): Well, I’d better take this back.
(John turns and walks out onto the landing, then pauses as if wondering whether to ask the question that has now come into his mind. After several seconds he turns round and comes back into the kitchen. Sherlock still doesn’t lift his eyes from his microscope.)
JOHN: Did she ever text you again, after ... all that?
SHERLOCK: Once, a few months ago.
JOHN: What did she say?
SHERLOCK: “Goodbye, Mr Holmes.”
(John looks at him thoughtfully.)
JOHN (softly): Huh.
(He paces around in front of the kitchen door for a few seconds, wondering if there’s anything more he can say, then eventually turns and heads off down the stairs. As soon as he’s out of sight Sherlock raises his head and gazes across the room for a moment, then he reaches down to his own phone which is on the table and picks it up, calling up his saved messages. Getting up and walking into the living room, he scrolls through the messages sent by “The Woman,” all of which he has kept. They go on for a long time:
I’m not hungry, let’s have dinner.
Bored in a hotel. Join me. Let’s have dinner.
John’s blog is HILARIOUS. I think he likes you more than I do. Let’s have dinner.
I can see tower bridge and the moon from my room. Work out where I am and join me.
I saw you in the street today. You didn’t see me.
You do know that hat actually suits you, don’t you?
Oh for God’s sake. Let’s have dinner.
I like your funny hat.
I’m in Egypt talking to an idiot. Get on a plane, let’s have dinner.
You looked sexy on Crimewatch.
Even you have got to eat. Let’s have dinner.
BBC1 right now. You’ll laugh.
I’m thinking of sending you a Christmas present.
I’m not dead. Let’s have dinner.
Then comes the one reply he sent to her:
Happy New Year
And at the bottom of the list is her last message to him:
Goodbye Mr Holmes
Reaching the living room window, he looks down at the final message for a long time before lifting his eyes and gazing out at the pouring rain.)
Flashback to (presumably) two months earlier in Karachi. It is night time and there is background noise of male voices shouting in a foreign language. Shaky camera footage eventually resolves into clearer resolution, revealing Irene kneeling on the ground in front of a military vehicle. She is dressed in black robes, her hair covered by a black headscarf, and is typing one-handed onto her phone. Standing to her right is a man holding a rifle with one hand while he repeatedly gestures for her phone with the other. She ignores him, refusing to hand it over until she has finished her message, which reads:
Goodbye Mr Holmes
She presses Send and then gives the phone to the man. To her left, a second man walks over and raises a wide-bladed curved sword above her head, bringing it slowly down towards the back of her neck while he checks that his aim will be correct. Irene stares ahead of herself, fighting her tears, then the screen fades to black as she slowly closes her eyes.
A couple of seconds later, an orgasmic female sigh fills the air. Irene’s eyes snap open and fill with hope as she turns her head to look at her executioner. His face is completely shrouded apart from his eyes, but a very recognisable blue-grey gaze meets her own.
SHERLOCK (quietly): When I say run, run!
(She turns her head to the front again. Sherlock pulls back the sword as if he’s about to strike the death blow, then he spins and begins to strike out at the nearby militia. Irene stares ahead of herself, her eyes wide with disbelief that she is going to live. Slowly she begins to smile.)
In London in the present, Sherlock smiles at the memory, then chuckles to himself as he takes Irene’s camera phone from his pocket. Tossing it into the air and catching it again, he looks at it for a couple of seconds.
SHERLOCK: The Woman.
(Opening the top drawer of a nearby cabinet, he puts the phone into it and is about to withdraw his hand when he pauses, then puts his fingers onto the phone again and looks at it thoughtfully.)
SHERLOCK: The Woman.
(He lifts his head and gazes out at the rainy city for a while, then turns and walks away.)
For a summary and partial transcript of the DVD commentary to this episode, click here.
A full list of episode transcripts, DVD commentary summaries/transcripts, and transcripts of the DVD special features can be found here.
Direct links to episode transcripts:
A Study in Pink (pilot) / A Study in Pink (broadcast) / The Blind Banker / The Great Game
A Scandal in Belgravia / The Hounds of Baskerville / The Reichenbach Fall
Many Happy Returns / The Empty Hearse / The Sign of Three / His Last Vow
The Abominable Bride
Or, to download the Episode Transcripts in Word or PDF, click here.