With a million thanks to verityburns, without whose meticulous cross-checking of the transcript against the recording I wouldn’t have got this done as quickly.
Episode written by Steven Moffat.
Transcript by Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan. (Last updated 16 April 2019)
Please note: Although complete, this is and will continue to be very much a work in progress. Amendments and additions will be made continually as I spot new clever stuff in the background or realise the subtlety of the way that a particular line of dialogue was delivered, or learn something new from commentaries, interviews etc. In the meantime, if you think that I’ve made any errors or have left anything out, do let me know, either in the Comments section below or by PM. N.B. If you’re unregistered with Livejournal, your comment may be automatically screened until I unlock it.
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.
Sherlock, Season 2, episode 1 transcript: A Scandal in Belgravia, part 1
Jump to part 2 / Jump to part 3 / Jump to part 4
The episode picks up precisely where “The Great Game” left off, with Sherlock aiming the pistol down at the bomb jacket. As he and Jim Moriarty stare at each other, the introduction to The Bee Gees’ song “Stayin’ Alive” begins to play tinnily. Sherlock and John look around, confused. Jim briefly closes his eyes and sighs in exasperation.
JIM: D’you mind if I get that?
SHERLOCK (nonchalantly): No, no, please. You’ve got the rest of your life.
(Jim takes his phone from his pocket and answers it.)
JIM: Hello? ... Yes, of course it is. What do you want?
(He mouths ‘Sorry’ at Sherlock, who sarcastically mouths ‘Oh, fine’ back at him. Jim rolls his eyes as he listens to the phone, turning away from Sherlock for a moment, then he spins back around, his face full of fury.)
JIM (loudly into phone): SAY THAT AGAIN!
JIM (venomously, into phone): Say that again, and know that if you’re lying to me, I will find you and I will ssssskin you.
(He hisses out the ‘s’ of ‘skin.’ Sherlock briefly looks round at John.)
JIM (into phone): Wait.
(Lowering the phone, he begins to walks forward. Sherlock looks at the bomb jacket and fretfully adjusts the grip on his pistol as Jim approaches. Jim stops at the jacket and gazes down at the floor thoughtfully before lifting his eyes to Sherlock.)
JIM: Sorry. Wrong day to die.
SHERLOCK (casually): Oh. Did you get a better offer?
(Jim looks down at the phone, then turns and slowly starts to walk away.)
JIM: You’ll be hearing from me, Sherlock.
(He strolls back around the pool towards the door through which he originally came, lifting the phone to his ear again.)
JIM (into phone): So if you have what you say you have, I will make you rich. If you don’t, I’ll make you into shoes.
(Reaching the door, he raises his free hand and clicks his fingers. Instantly all the lasers focused on Sherlock and John disappear. As Jim walks through the door and vanishes from sight, Sherlock looks around the gallery but apparently can see no sign of the retreating snipers. John sighs out a relieved breath.)
JOHN: What happened there?
SHERLOCK: Someone changed his mind. The question is: who?
(Elsewhere, a woman’s hand lowers her phone and switches it off. Wearing a pair of black Brazilian knickers under a sheer lace robe, she walks from the landing into a bedroom, lashing a riding crop against the door jamb as she speaks.)
IRENE: Well now. Have you been wicked, Your Highness?
(Inside the bedroom, a pair of naked legs can be seen lying on a bed. The person’s ankles appear to be tied to the foot of the bed.)
SULTRY FEMALE VOICE: Yes, Miss Adler.
NEW OPENING CREDITS!
221B BAKER STREET. MAY 30. John is sitting at the dining table in the living room updating his blog on his laptop. Sherlock, wearing a red dressing gown over his shirt and trousers, is standing at the other side of the table drinking from a mug while leafing through a newspaper.
SHERLOCK: What are you typing?
SHERLOCK: You mean me.
SHERLOCK: Well, you’re typing a lot.
(The doorbell rings.)
SHERLOCK: Right then. (He walks towards the door.) So, what have we got?
Over a period of many weeks, people are coming to 221B to consult with Sherlock. Each of them sits on a dining chair facing the fireplace as he or she speaks.
MAN: My wife seems to be spending a very long time at the office.
WOMAN: I think my husband might be having an affair.
CREEPY GUY (holding a funeral urn): She’s not my real aunt. She’s been replaced – I know she has. I know human ash.
SHERLOCK (pointing to the door): Leave.
BUSINESSMAN (sitting on the dining chair while two aides stand behind him): We are prepared to offer any sum of money you care to mention for the recovery of these files.
GEEKY YOUNG MAN (sitting on the dining chair while two other geeky young men stand behind him): We have this website. It explains the true meaning of comic books, ’cause people miss a lot of the themes.
(Sherlock is already walking away, disinterested.)
GEEKY YOUNG MAN: But then all the comic books started coming true.
(Sherlock comes back.)
SHERLOCK: Oh. Interesting.
Later, John is sitting in his armchair and updating his blog again. He has titled the entry “The Geek Interpreter.” Sherlock leans over his shoulder.
SHERLOCK: ‘Geek Interpreter.’ What’s that?
JOHN: It’s the title.
SHERLOCK: What does it need a title for?
(John smiles tightly. Sherlock straightens up and walks away.)
Later, they’re at the morgue at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Sherlock is using his magnifier to look at a woman’s body lying on the table. John is standing at the other side of the table and Detective Inspector Lestrade is nearby.
SHERLOCK: Do people actually read your blog?
JOHN: Where d’you think our clients come from?
SHERLOCK: I have a website.
JOHN: In which you enumerate two hundred and forty different types of tobacco ash. Nobody’s reading your website.
(Sherlock straightens up and glares at him, then pouts
JOHN: Right then: dyed blonde hair; no obvious cause of death except for these speckles, whatever they are.
(He points at the tiny red marks on the woman’s body but Sherlock has already turned and flounced out of the room.)
Later, back at the flat, John is updating his blog again. Sherlock walks past eating a piece of toast. He stops and looks at the title for this entry.
SHERLOCK (with his mouth full): Oh, for God’s sakes!
SHERLOCK: “The Speckled Blonde”?!
(John purses his lips as Sherlock walks away again.)
On another occasion, two little girls are sitting together on one of the dining chairs while Sherlock paces in front of the fireplace.
LITTLE GIRL: They wouldn’t let us see Granddad when he was dead. Is that ’cause he’d gone to heaven?
SHERLOCK: People don’t really go to heaven when they die. They’re taken to a special room and burned.
(The two girls look at each other in distress.)
JOHN (reprovingly): Sherlock ...
Lestrade is leading Sherlock and John across some open ground.
LESTRADE: There was a plane crash in Dusseldorf yesterday. Everyone dead.
SHERLOCK: Suspected terrorist bomb. We do watch the news.
JOHN: You said, “Boring,” and turned over.
[Transcriber’s note: Much as I would love to confirm that “You ... turned over” means that Sherlock turned over in bed, where he and John were watching the news, I reluctantly have to confirm that – in this context – it does sadly mean “You ... changed the channel.” Sorry.]
(Lestrade leads them to a car which has its boot opened. There’s a body inside the boot. While Lestrade continues to speak, Sherlock looks all around the rear of the car.)
LESTRADE (looking at a bag of evidence): Well, according to the flight details, this man was checked in on board. Inside his coat he’s got a stub from his boarding pass, napkins from the flight, even one of those special biscuits. Here’s his passport stamped in Berlin Airport. So this man should have died in a plane crash in Germany yesterday but instead he’s in a car boot in Southwark.
JOHN: Lucky escape(!)
LESTRADE (to Sherlock): Any ideas?
SHERLOCK (examining the man’s hand with his magnifier): Eight, so far.
(He straightens up and looks at the body again, then frowns momentarily.)
SHERLOCK: Okay, four ideas.
(He turns to Lestrade and looks down at the passport and the ticket stub of the passenger, John Coniston, who was meant to be travelling on Flyaway Airways [oh, good invented name, production guys(!)]. Straightening up again, he gazes up into the sky.)
SHERLOCK: Maybe two ideas.
(The shadow of a passenger jet passes overhead.)
Back at the flat, Sherlock – wearing heavy protective gloves and safety glasses and carrying a blowtorch in one hand and a glass container of green liquid in the other – has come to the living room table to look at John’s latest blog entry which is titled “Sherlock Holmes baffled.”
SHERLOCK (indignantly): No, no, no, don’t mention the unsolved ones.
JOHN: People want to know you’re human.
JOHN: ’Cause they’re interested.
SHERLOCK: No they’re not. Why are they?
(John smiles at his laptop.)
JOHN: Look at that.
(He’s looking at the hit counter on the front page of his blog. Its count is currently 1895.)
JOHN: One thousand, eight hundred and ninety-five.
SHERLOCK: Sorry, what?
JOHN: I re-set that counter last night. This blog has had nearly two thousand hits in the last eight hours. This is your living, Sherlock – not two hundred and forty different types of tobacco ash.
SHERLOCK (sulkily): Two hundred and forty-three.
(Firing up the blowtorch, he puts his safety glasses back on and heads back towards the kitchen.)
THEATRE. Sherlock and John are walking across the stage of a theatre while police officers mill around nearby.
SHERLOCK: So, what’s this one? “Belly Button Murders”?
JOHN: “The Navel Treatment”?
(They walk backstage and meet up with Lestrade as they head for the exit.)
LESTRADE: There’s a lot of press outside, guys.
SHERLOCK: Well, they won’t be interested in us.
LESTRADE: Yeah, that was before you were an internet phenomenon. A couple of them specifically wanted photographs of you two.
SHERLOCK (exasperated, glaring round at John): For God’s sake!
(John quirks a smile as they walk on, then Sherlock spots some costumes on a rack just inside a nearby dressing room. He walks in and grabs a couple of items off the rack.)
(He tosses a cap at him.)
SHERLOCK: Cover your face and walk fast.
LESTRADE: Still, it’s good for the public image, a big case like this.
SHERLOCK: I’m a private detective. The last thing I need is a public image.
(He puts on the other hat that he had picked up – a deerstalker – and heads out the exit door pulling the hat as low as possible over his eyes and tugging up the collar of his coat. Outside, photographers start taking pictures of him and John.)
(Later, some of the pictures have been used in various newspapers, together with headlines such as “Hat-man and Robin: The web detectives”, “Sherlock Net ‘Tec”, “Sherlock & John: Blogger Detectives” and “Sherlock Holmes: net phenomenon”. [N.B. see the text of the newspaper articles in the Comments below (click here to jump to the articles).]
The last of these newspaper reports has caught the attention of Irene Adler, who slowly strokes her hand over the photograph of Sherlock, then runs her hand along her riding crop before laying it down on top of the photograph. She picks up her phone and dials.)
IRENE (into phone): Hello. I think it’s time, don’t you?
221B BAKER STREET. Mrs Hudson picks up a mug and an almost empty bottle of milk from the mantelpiece and walks into the kitchen, tutting in exasperation at the mess in there. Putting the mug onto the table she takes the milk across to the fridge door and opens it, recoiling from the smell emanating from inside. Putting the milk into the fridge door she picks up the offending smelly item and drops it into the bin, then pulls open the salad crisper at the bottom and takes out a clear plastic bag from it. Peering at the contents, she cringes when she realises what’s inside.
MRS HUDSON: Ooh dear! Thumbs!
(She drops the bag back into the salad crisper, then turns as an overweight man stumbles into the kitchen from the landing and stares at her wide-eyed and confused.)
MAN: The door was ... the door was ...
(He breathes heavily, then drops to the floor in a faint. Mrs Hudson stares at him in terror for a moment, then calls out.)
MRS HUDSON: Boys! You’ve got another one!
(She bends down to the unconscious man.)
MRS HUDSON: Ooh!
Later the man – whose name is Phil – has regained consciousness and is sitting on a dining chair facing the fireplace, staring rather blankly in front of himself. John is sitting on the sofa behind him and Sherlock is out of sight but presumably pacing.
SHERLOCK (sternly): Tell us from the start. Don’t be boring.
(Flashback to fourteen hours earlier. Somewhere out in the countryside Phil’s car has broken down in a quiet country lane. He tries to start the engine for what is apparently the umpteenth time but it just whines and refuses to start. Phil slams his hands angrily onto the steering wheel and gets out again to stare uselessly down under the open bonnet and tweak a few connections hopefully. He looks around but there is no sign of any other traffic. He looks into the field at the side of the road. The field stretches down to a river some distance away and a man wearing a red jacket is standing at the edge of a stream which leads down to the river. He has his back to the road. Phil peers at him for a moment but he’s too far away to have even noticed what’s happening on the road and eventually Phil gets back into the car again and tries once more to start the engine. It whines ferociously and then loudly backfires. Phil sighs, then looks across towards the river and realises that the man is now lying on the ground. He gets out of the car and stares.)
PHIL (calling out): Hey! Are you okay?
(The man doesn’t respond or react.)
PHIL (starting to walk towards him): Excuse me! Are you all right?
(As yet unseen by Phil, the man has fallen onto his back. There is a lot of blood underneath the back of his head.)
Many hours later a crime scene has been set up at the riverside. A young police officer brings a mobile phone over to Detective Inspector Carter.
POLICE OFFICER: Sir. Phone call for you.
CARTER (taking the phone and speaking into it): Carter.
(Lestrade is at the other end of the line, sitting in his car in Baker Street.)
LESTRADE: Have you heard of Sherlock Holmes?
LESTRADE: Well, you’re about to meet him now. This is your case. It’s entirely up to you. This is just friendly advice, but give Sherlock five minutes on your crime scene and listen to everything that he has to say. And as far as possible, try not to punch him.
(While Lestrade has been speaking, a car has driven up and stopped near the crime scene. Carter looks at the phone in bewilderment as Lestrade ends the call. The young police officer has been leaning into the car speaking to the person in the back seat.)
POLICE OFFICER: Okay.
(He turns to Carter as he approaches.)
POLICE OFFICER: Sir, this gentleman says he needs to speak to you.
CARTER: Yes, I know. (He walks closer to the car.) Sherlock Holmes.
JOHN (getting out of the car and shaking Carter’s hand): John Watson. Are you set up for Wi-Fi?
221B. Yawning, Sherlock wanders out from the hallway behind the kitchen and strolls into the kitchen wearing only a sheet wrapped around him.
JOHN (offscreen): You realise this is a tiny bit humiliating?
SHERLOCK (still yawning as he picks up a mug of tea from the side table): It’s okay, I’m fine.
(He walks over to an open laptop on the work surface, picks it up and looks into the screen as he carries the laptop into the living room.)
SHERLOCK: Now, show me to the stream.
JOHN (offscreen): I didn’t really mean for you.
SHERLOCK: Look, this is a six.
(He sits down at the table in the living room and puts the laptop onto the table. Just then the doorbell rings but he ignores it.)
SHERLOCK (adjusting the screen so that his face can be seen by the laptop’s camera): There’s no point in my leaving the flat for anything less than a seven. We agreed. Now, go back. Show me the grass.
(John is at the crime scene and has walked down to the stream while Skypeing with Sherlock. He points the camera on his own laptop towards the grass at the stream’s edge and squats down.)
JOHN: When did we agree that?
SHERLOCK: We agreed it yesterday. Stop!
(He leans closer to the screen and looks at the mud on the ground.)
(Instead of following his instructions, John swings the laptop around so that he can look into the camera.)
JOHN: I wasn’t even at home yesterday. I was in Dublin.
SHERLOCK: Well, it’s hardly my fault you weren’t listening.
(The doorbell rings more insistently. Sherlock briefly looks round in the direction of the stairs.)
SHERLOCK (angrily): SHUT UP!
JOHN: D’you just carry on talking when I’m away?
SHERLOCK (shrugging as he turns back to the camera): I don’t know. How often are you away? Now, show me the car that backfired.
(Sighing, John stands up and turns the laptop and its camera towards the road to show Phil’s car.)
JOHN: It’s there.
SHERLOCK: That’s the one that made the noise, yes?
JOHN (swinging the camera back around to look into it): Yeah. And if you’re thinking gunshot, there wasn’t one. He wasn’t shot; he was killed by a single blow to the back of the head from a blunt instrument which then magically disappeared along with the killer. That’s gotta be an eight at least.
(Sherlock has leaned back in his chair and is running his finger back and forth over his top lip while he thinks. Your humble transcriber melts into a puddle of goo. As John walks back towards the road, Carter follows along behind him.)
CARTER: You’ve got two more minutes, then I want to know more about the driver.
SHERLOCK (waving his hand dismissively): Oh, forget him. He’s an idiot. Why else would he think himself a suspect?
(Carter catches up to John and leans over to look into the camera.)
CARTER: I think he’s a suspect!
(Sherlock leans forward angrily.)
SHERLOCK: Pass me over.
JOHN: All right, but there’s a Mute button and I will use it.
(He tilts the laptop at an angle that Sherlock’s not happy with.)
SHERLOCK (irritated): Up a bit! I’m not talking from down ’ere!
(John has had enough and offers the laptop to Carter.)
JOHN: Okay, just take it, take it.
(Carter takes the laptop as Sherlock starts talking at double the usual speed.)
SHERLOCK (quick fire): Having driven to an isolated location and successfully committed a crime without a single witness, why would he then call the police and consult a detective? Fair play?(!)
CARTER: He’s trying to be clever. It’s over-confidence.
SHERLOCK (sighing in exasperation): Did you see him? Morbidly obese, the undisguised halitosis of a single man living on his own, the right sleeve of an internet porn addict and the breathing pattern of an untreated heart condition. Low self-esteem, tiny IQ and a limited life expectancy – and you think he’s an audacious criminal mastermind?!
(He turns around to John’s chair where – unseen by us until now – Phil has been sitting all the time.)
SHERLOCK: Don’t worry – this is just stupid.
PHIL (anxiously): What did you say? Heart what?
(Ignoring him, Sherlock turns back to the camera.)
SHERLOCK: Go to the stream.
CARTER: What’s in the stream?
SHERLOCK: Go and see.
(As Carter hands the laptop back to John, Mrs Hudson comes up the stairs and into the living room followed by two men wearing suits.)
MRS HUDSON: Sherlock! You weren’t answering your doorbell!
(One of the men, Plummer, looks at his colleague while pointing with his thumb in the direction of the kitchen.)
PLUMMER: His room’s through the back. Get him some clothes.
SHERLOCK: Who the hell are you?
PLUMMER: Sorry, Mr Holmes. You’re coming with us.
(He reaches forward to close down the lid of the laptop. John calls out in alarm.)
JOHN: Sherlock, what’s going on? What’s happening?
(As his screen goes black, he pokes at the keyboard frantically.)
JOHN: I’ve lost him. I don’t know what ...
(The young police officer hurries over to him with a phone pressed to his ear.)
POLICE OFFICER: Doctor Watson?
POLICE OFFICER: It’s for you.
JOHN: Okay, thanks.
(Still looking at the screen, he holds out his hand for the phone.)
POLICE OFFICER: Uh, no, sir. The helicopter.
(They both turn and look at the helicopter which is just coming in to land at the edge of the river.)
Back at 221B, Plummer’s colleague has collected a pile of clothes and a pair of shoes and puts them down onto the table in front of Sherlock, who raises his eyebrows and shrugs disinterestedly.
PLUMMER: Please, Mr Holmes. Where you’re going, you’ll want to be dressed.
(Sherlock turns his head, gazes at the man and begins to deduce the hell out of him:
Looking at his clothes: Suit £700
Glancing at his breast pocket and the area where a pistol would be if Plummer was carrying one: Unarmed
Forehead: Office worker
The way his hands are folded in front of him: Right handed
Looking down to his shoes: Indoor worker
Seeing some wiry hairs on the cuff of his trouser leg, and imagining a high-pitched yapping sound: Small dog
Seeing a mark higher up the same trouser leg and imagining two yapping sounds: Two small dogs
Seeing more hairs on the other trouser leg and imagining more yapping: Three small dogs
Back at the crime scene, the helicopter takes off.
At 221B, Sherlock smiles smugly and looks up into Plummer’s face.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, I know exactly where I’m going.
Some time later, sitting beside the pilot, John frowns and looks down as the helicopter flies over London. As it approaches Buckingham Palace the pilot begins to speak into his comms.
Not long afterwards, John has been shown into an enormous ornate hall with massive crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. He looks around for a moment, then follows his escort who gestures him to a nearby room before walking away. John stops in the doorway. On a small round table in the middle of the room is the pile of clothes and shoes which had been put down in front of Sherlock earlier. There is a sofa either side of the table and sitting on the left-hand one is Sherlock, still wrapped in his sheet. He calmly looks across to John. John holds out his hands in a “What the hell?!” gesture. Sherlock shrugs disinterestedly and looks away again. Nodding in a resigned way, John walks slowly into the room, then sits down on the sofa beside his friend. He gazes in front of himself for a moment, chewing back a giggle, looks around the room again and then looks at Sherlock, peering closely at his sheet and particularly the section wrapped around his backside. He turns his head away again.
JOHN: Are you wearing any pants?
(He sighs quietly. A moment later Sherlock turns and looks at him just as John also turns to look. Their eyes meet and they promptly burst out laughing.)
JOHN (gesturing around the building): At Buckingham Palace, fine. (He tries to get himself under control.) Oh, I’m seriously fighting an impulse to steal an ashtray.
(Sherlock chuckles again.)
JOHN: What are we doing here, Sherlock? Seriously, what?
SHERLOCK (still smiling): I don’t know.
JOHN: Here to see the Queen?
(At that moment Mycroft walks in from the next room.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, apparently yes.
(John cracks up again and Sherlock promptly joins in. The two of them continue to giggle as Mycroft looks at them in exasperation.)
MYCROFT: Just once, can you two behave like grown-ups?
JOHN: We solve crimes, I blog about it and he forgets his pants, so I wouldn’t hold out too much hope.
(Sherlock looks up at his brother as he walks into the room, all humour gone from his face.)
SHERLOCK: I was in the middle of a case, Mycroft.
MYCROFT: What, the hiker and the backfire? I glanced at the police report. Bit obvious, surely?
(John looks startled.)
MYCROFT: Time to move on, then.
(He bends down and picks up the clothes and shoes from the table, turning to offer them to Sherlock. His brother gazes at them uninterestedly. Mycroft sighs.)
MYCROFT: We are in Buckingham Palace, the very heart of the British nation. (Sternly) Sherlock Holmes, put your trousers on.
SHERLOCK (shrugging): What for?
MYCROFT: Your client.
SHERLOCK (standing up): And my client is?
EQUERRY: Illustrious ...
(Sherlock turns to look at the man who has just walked into the room.)
EQUERRY: ... in the extreme.
(John stands up respectfully.)
EQUERRY: And remaining – I have to inform you – entirely anonymous.
(He looks across to Mycroft.)
(Smiling, he walks over and shakes the equerry’s hand.)
MYCROFT: May I just apologise for the state of my little brother?
EQUERRY: Full-time occupation, I imagine.
EQUERRY: And this must be Doctor John Watson, formerly of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers.
JOHN: Hello, yes.
(They shake hands.)
EQUERRY: My employer is a tremendous fan of your blog.
JOHN (looking startled): Your employer?
EQUERRY: Particularly enjoyed the one about the aluminium crutch.
JOHN: Thank you!
(He looks round at Sherlock, clearing his throat smugly.)
EQUERRY (walking closer to Sherlock): And Mr Holmes the younger. You look taller in your photographs.
SHERLOCK: I take the precaution of a good coat and a short friend.
(He walks abruptly past John, forcing him to step back, and approaches his brother.)
SHERLOCK: Mycroft, I don’t do anonymous clients. I’m used to mystery at one end of my cases. Both ends is too much work.
(He looks round to the equerry.)
SHERLOCK: Good morning.
(He starts to walk out of the room but Mycroft steps onto the trailing edge of the sheet behind him. Sherlock’s impetus carries him forward while pulling the sheet off his body. He stops and grabs at it before he’s completely naked and tries to tug it back around himself, looking furious.)
MYCROFT: This is a matter of national importance. Grow up.
(With his back still turned to his brother, Sherlock speaks through gritted teeth.)
SHERLOCK: Get off my sheet!
MYCROFT: Or what?
SHERLOCK: Or I’ll just walk away.
MYCROFT: I’ll let you.
JOHN: Boys, please. Not here.
SHERLOCK (almost incandescent with rage): Who. Is. My. Client?
MYCROFT: Take a look at where you’re standing and make a deduction. You are to be engaged by the highest in the land. Now for God’s sake ...
(He breaks off and glances at the equerry briefly, trying to get his anger under control before he turns back to his brother again.)
MYCROFT (exasperated): ... put your clothes on!
(Sherlock closes his eyes furiously, then pulls in a sharp breath.)
Some time later, Sherlock has dressed and is sitting on the sofa beside John. Mycroft and the equerry sit on the opposite sofa. Mycroft is pouring tea from a teapot. Following the old-fashioned superstition that only one person in the household – usually the mother of the family – should pour the tea, and so any person pouring tea is “being mother,” he looks at the equerry and smiles.
MYCROFT: I’ll be mother.
SHERLOCK (pointedly): And there is a whole childhood in a nutshell.
(Mycroft glowers at him, then puts down the teapot. The equerry looks at Sherlock.)
EQUERRY: My employer has a problem.
MYCROFT: A matter has come to light of an extremely delicate and potentially criminal nature, and in this hour of need, dear brother, your name has arisen.
SHERLOCK: Why? You have a police force of sorts, even a marginally Secret Service. Why come to me?
EQUERRY: People do come to you for help, don’t they, Mr Holmes?
SHERLOCK: Not, to date, anyone with a Navy.
MYCROFT: This is a matter of the highest security, and therefore of trust.
JOHN: You don’t trust your own Secret Service?
MYCROFT: Naturally not. They all spy on people for money.
(John bites back a smile.)
EQUERRY: I do think we have a timetable.
MYCROFT: Yes, of course. Um ...
(He opens his briefcase, takes out a glossy photograph and hands it to Sherlock who looks at the picture of Irene Adler.)
MYCROFT: What do you know about this woman?
SHERLOCK: Nothing whatsoever.
MYCROFT: Then you should be paying more attention.
(As he continues to speak, we switch between the palace and footage of Irene who is being driven through London. Her phone trills a text alert and she looks at the message which reads “I’m sending you a treat”.)
MYCROFT: She’s been at the centre of two political scandals in the last year, and recently ended the marriage of a prominent novelist by having an affair with both participants separately.
SHERLOCK: You know I don’t concern myself with trivia. Who is she?
MYCROFT: Irene Adler, professionally known as The Woman.
(Arriving at an elegant house in London, Irene’s female chauffeur opens the car door for her and then precedes her into the house. Irene’s phone shows that it is downloading an image as she walks indoors.)
MYCROFT: There are many names for what she does. She prefers ‘dominatrix.’
SHERLOCK (thoughtfully): Dominatrix.
MYCROFT: Don’t be alarmed. It’s to do with sex.
SHERLOCK: Sex doesn’t alarm me.
MYCROFT (smiling snidely at him): How would you know?
(Sherlock raises his head and stares at his brother.)
MYCROFT: She provides – shall we say – recreational scolding for those who enjoy that sort of thing and are prepared to pay for it. (He takes more photographs from his briefcase and hands them to Sherlock.) These are all from her website.
(Sherlock takes the photographs and leafs through them. They are professional-looking publicity shots for her ‘services’ and show Irene at her glamorous and sexy best. At the same time, walking up the stairs at her house, Irene looks down at her phone and flicks through shots which someone has taken of Sherlock wrapped in his sheet as he left 221B and got into Plummer’s car.)
SHERLOCK: And I assume this Adler woman has some compromising photographs.
EQUERRY: You’re very quick, Mr Holmes.
SHERLOCK: Hardly a difficult deduction. Photographs of whom?
EQUERRY: A person of significance to my employer. We’d prefer not to say any more at this time.
(Glaring angrily at him, Sherlock puts the photographs down on the table.)
JOHN: You can’t tell us anything?
MYCROFT: I can tell you it’s a young person.
(John drinks from his teacup.)
MYCROFT: A young female person.
(John’s eyes widen. Sherlock smirks.)
SHERLOCK: How many photographs?
MYCROFT: A considerable number, apparently.
SHERLOCK: Do Miss Adler and this young female person appear in these photographs together?
MYCROFT: Yes, they do.
SHERLOCK: And I assume in a number of compromising scenarios.
MYCROFT: An imaginative range, we are assured.
(Without looking round at him, Sherlock realises that John is staring blankly at Mycroft with his teacup still half raised.)
SHERLOCK: John, you might want to put that cup back in your saucer now.
(John quickly does as advised.)
EQUERRY: Can you help us, Mr Holmes?
EQUERRY: Will you take the case?
SHERLOCK: What case? Pay her, now and in full. As Miss Adler remarks in her masthead, “Know when you are beaten.”
(He turns and reaches for his overcoat which is draped on the back of the sofa.)
MYCROFT: She doesn’t want anything.
(Sherlock turns back towards him.)
MYCROFT: She got in touch, she informed us that the photographs existed, she indicated that she had no intention to use them to extort either money or favour.
SHERLOCK (finally interested for the first time): Oh, a power play. A power play with the most powerful family in Britain. Now that is a dominatrix. Ooh, this is getting rather fun, isn’t it?
JOHN: Sherlock ...
(He turns around and reaches for his coat again.)
SHERLOCK: Where is she?
MYCROFT: Uh, in London currently. She’s staying ...
(Not waiting for him to finish, Sherlock picks up his coat, stands and starts to walk away.)
SHERLOCK: Text me the details. I’ll be in touch by the end of the day.
(The other three men get to their feet.)
EQUERRY: Do you really think you’ll have news by then?
SHERLOCK (turning back to him): No, I think I’ll have the photographs.
EQUERRY: One can only hope you’re as good as you seem to think.
(Sherlock looks at him sharply, apparently indignant that he should doubt him. We see a stream of deductions as Sherlock glances down his body.
Left Side Of Bed
Sherlock’s eyes begin to rise up the man’s body again as his deductions continue.
Father Half Welsh
Sherlock looks across to Mycroft.)
SHERLOCK: I’ll need some equipment, of course.
MYCROFT: Anything you require. I’ll have it sent to ...
SHERLOCK (interrupting): Can I have a box of matches?
(He’s looking at the equerry as he speaks.)
EQUERRY: I’m sorry?
SHERLOCK: Or your cigarette lighter. Either will do.
(He holds out his hand expectantly.)
EQUERRY: I don’t smoke.
SHERLOCK: No, I know you don’t, but your employer does.
(After a pause during which John frowns in puzzlement, the equerry reaches into his pocket and takes out a lighter which he hands to Sherlock.)
EQUERRY: We have kept a lot of people successfully in the dark about this little fact, Mr Holmes.
SHERLOCK: I’m not the Commonwealth.
(Taking the lighter and putting it into his trouser pocket, he turns away.)
JOHN (to the equerry): And that’s as modest as he gets. Pleasure to meet you.
(He follows after Sherlock as he strolls out of the room.)
SHERLOCK (in an Estuary English accent, not sounding the ‘t’ in the word): Laters!
(John throws an apologetic glance over his shoulder as they leave.)
Not long afterwards, the boys are in a taxi.
JOHN: Okay, the smoking. How did you know?
(Sherlock smiles briefly, then shakes his head.)
SHERLOCK: The evidence was right under your nose, John. As ever, you see but do not observe.
JOHN: Observe what?
(Sherlock reaches into his coat.)
SHERLOCK: The ashtray.
(He pulls out a glass ashtray. John laughs with delight as Sherlock tosses the ashtray into the air, catches it and tucks it back into his coat, chuckling. They are both unaware that someone – presumably in a car driving alongside theirs – is photographing them.)
(Some time later, the photos have been sent to Irene’s phone. Sitting on the side of her bed, she looks through them, smiling, then calls out.)
(Kate, the woman who drove her earlier, comes into the room.)
IRENE: We’re going to have a visitor. I’ll need a bit of time to get ready.
(She walks over to her dressing table while Kate bends down to pick up a discarded stocking from the floor.)
KATE: A long time?
Later, wearing a see-through negligee over her knickers and stockings, Irene opens the doors to her enormous walk-in wardrobe and walks inside, running her fingers along her outfits as she decides what to wear.
At 221B, John is sitting at the table in the kitchen while Sherlock hurls clothes around his bedroom. With the door open, the noise is distracting and finally John looks up from what he’s reading.
JOHN: What are you doing?
SHERLOCK: Going into battle, John. I need the right armour.
(He walks into view, wearing a large yellow hi-vis jacket.)
(He rips it off again.)
At her house, Irene is looking at herself in a full-length mirror, turning side-on to look at the glittery dark purple cocktail dress she’s wearing.
KATE (leaning against the door jamb): Works for me.
IRENE: Everything works on you.
TAXI. Sherlock and John are on the move. Sherlock is wearing his usual coat and scarf.
JOHN: So, what’s the plan?
SHERLOCK: We know her address.
JOHN: What, just ring her doorbell?
(He calls out to the cab driver.)
SHERLOCK: Just here, please.
JOHN: You didn’t even change your clothes.
SHERLOCK: Then it’s time to add a splash of colour.
At her house, Irene is doing the same thing as Kate carefully applies make-up to her eyes.
Nearby, the boys have got out of the taxi and Sherlock leads John down a narrow street, pulling his scarf off as he goes. Eventually he stops and turns around to face John.
JOHN: Are we here?
SHERLOCK: Two streets away, but this’ll do.
JOHN: For what?
SHERLOCK (gesturing to his own left cheek): Punch me in the face.
Kate runs her thumb over Irene’s mouth, wondering what colour lipstick to apply.
JOHN: Punch you?
SHERLOCK: Yes. Punch me, in the face. (He gestures to his left cheek again.) Didn’t you hear me?
JOHN: I always hear ‘punch me in the face’ when you’re speaking, but it’s usually sub-text.
SHERLOCK (exasperated): Oh, for God’s sakes.
(He punches John in the face. As John grunts in pain and reels from the blow, Sherlock shakes out his hand and then blows out a breath, bracing himself. John straightens up and immediately punches Sherlock. However, despite his anger – and his left-handedness – he does so right-handed and therefore strikes him on the left cheek just as Sherlock had indicated.)
(Turning away as Sherlock picks himself up, he flexes his hand painfully and examines his knuckles. Sherlock finally straightens up, holding his fingers to the cut on his cheek.)
SHERLOCK: Thank you. That was – that was ...
(Still fighting right-handed, John punches him in the stomach, sending him crashing to the ground.)
Slowly Kate paints blood-red lipstick onto Irene’s mouth.
In the street, Sherlock is doubled over with John on his back half–strangling him. John’s face is contorted with pent-up anger and frustration, and Sherlock is struggling to pull his hands off him.
SHERLOCK (half-choking): Okay! I think we’re done now, John.
JOHN (savagely): You wanna remember, Sherlock: I was a soldier. I killed people.
SHERLOCK: You were a doctor!
JOHN: I had bad days!
Kate finishes painting Irene’s lips.
KATE: What are you gonna wear?
IRENE: My battle dress.
KATE: Ooh! Lucky boy!
(Downstairs, the intercom buzzes. Kate goes downstairs and activates it, looking at the camera footage from the front door.)
KATE (into intercom): Hello?
(Sherlock stares into the camera wide-eyed and flustered. He talks in an anxious, tearful, posh voice and keeps looking around behind him as he speaks.)
SHERLOCK: Ooh! Um, sorry to disturb you. Um, I’ve just been attacked, um, and, um, I think they ... they took my wallet and, um, and my phone. Umm, please could you help me?
(Kate has been holding back her laughter while listening to him.)
KATE: I can phone the police if you want.
SHERLOCK (tearfully): Thank you, thank you! Could you, please?
(He takes a step back and the camera now shows that his shirt is buttoned right up to the top and there is a piece of white plastic under the collar which makes him look like he is wearing the ‘dog collar’ of a vicar.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, would you ... would you mind if I just waited here, just until they come? Thank you. Thank you so much.
(Holding a handkerchief to his cheek, he starts to grizzle pathetically. Grinning, Kate buzzes him in. Sherlock comes in, followed by John.)
SHERLOCK (still in character): Thank you. (He briefly looks around the large entrance hall.) Er, ooh!
JOHN (closing the door): I – I saw it all happen. It’s okay, I’m a doctor.
JOHN: Now, have you got a first aid kit?
KATE: In the kitchen.
(She gestures for Sherlock to go into the front room.)
SHERLOCK: Oh! Thank you!
JOHN: Thank you. (He follows Kate towards the kitchen.)
On to Part 2