Episode written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Transcript by Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan. (Last updated 3 October 2018)
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.
Thank you to those commentators who provided missing dialogue, the German spoken during one scene, and the phrase murmured at the beginning.
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 3, mini episode: Many Happy Returns
THE HIMALAYAS. In a monastery in the mountains, a Buddhist monk lights the last of many small white candles. Close by, several monks are kneeling side by side, their heads covered by cowls and their hands raised in front of them. Another monk, apparently the abbot, comes into the large tent, his head also hidden under a cowl, and hobbles towards them. He works his way along the row, running his hands quickly over each monk’s head, murmuring, “Tashi delek,” and then briefly clasping his hands. When he reaches the last monk in the row he reaches towards that monk’s head but pauses for a couple of seconds, then reaches towards the cowl and flips it up to reveal a blonde woman. She glares up at him.
WOMAN: You bastard!
(The other monks, all men, pull back their own cowls and stare in surprise at the abbot. He begins to raise his head, his face still in shadow.)
LONDON. Greg Lestrade and Doctor Anderson are sitting at a table in a corner of a pub. Greg is wearing a shirt and jacket, and Anderson has a beard and is wearing an oatmeal knitted jumper. Greg stares at Anderson in disbelief.
LESTRADE: A breakaway sect of Buddhist warrior monks infiltrated by a blonde drug smuggler?! That never really happened!
ANDERSON: A-A blonde drug smuggler who was exposed by an abbot with unusual powers of observation and deduction!
LESTRADE: A blonde woman hiding amongst bald monks? That wouldn’t exactly take Sherlock Holmes!
ANDERSON: Well, perhaps it did.
LESTRADE: He’s dead.
(Anderson looks at him with a hurt expression on his face.)
LESTRADE: I’m sorry. I wish he wasn’t, but he really is dead and gone.
(Anderson looks away.)
ANDERSON: Well, how d’you explain this?
(He pulls a map of the world towards himself and points at a red cross drawn above New Delhi.)
ANDERSON: Sighting number two: Incident at New Delhi.
(Greg looks at him, appalled.)
LESTRADE: You haven’t been titling these?
FLASHBACK. NEW DELHI. Photographers are taking pictures of a police inspector sitting at a table with a couple of his colleagues either side of him. Many microphones are set up on the table in front of him. He smiles smugly at his audience.
INSPECTOR PRAKESH: After that it was simply a matter of tracking down the killer, which I did by working out the depth to which the chocolate Flake had sunk into the victim’s ice-cream cone.
(He chuckles contentedly as the photographers and reporters crowd closer to the table.)
Shortly afterwards he leaves the room while the photographers continue trying to get one last picture. Closing the door behind him, he turns and looks at someone waiting a little way down the corridor.
PRAKESH: My friend!
(He looks over his shoulder as if to make sure that nobody is looking through the round glass window in the door, then turns back to the person in front of him.)
PRAKESH: Will you not take any of the credit? This was all down to you.
(We see who he’s looking at. A very familiar shape with curly hair and wearing a greatcoat is standing facing him. His face is obscured in shadow.)
THE PRESENT. PUB.
LESTRADE: Clever man, Inspector Prakesh.
ANDERSON: Oh, for ...! What police inspector could have made that deduction?
LESTRADE: Oh, thank you(!)
ANDERSON: You remember how Sherlock never took the credit when he solved all of your cases?
LESTRADE (indignantly): He didn’t solve all of my cases!
ANDERSON (gazing thoughtfully into the distance): He’s out there. He’s hiding. But he can’t stop himself from getting involved.
ANDERSON: It’s so obviously him, if you know how to spot the signs!
LESTRADE: The Klein Brothers, the Tower House thing, the Kensington Ripper – I solved all those myself!
ANDERSON: Well, you got Tower House wrong.
LESTRADE: No I didn’t!
ANDERSON: Yep, you did.
(He folds the map to another location.)
ANDERSON: Okay, sighting number three ... (he taps Hamburg on the map) ... the Mysterious Juror.
(Greg literally head-desks, leaning forward and thumping his forehead down onto the table.)
FLASHBACK. HAMBURG. In a jury room, the male foreman rubs his head tiredly before addressing the rest of the jury in German.
FOREMAN: Nun, wie wir alle wissen, wurde diese Jury unter höchst ungewöhnlichen Umständen zusammengerufen. Aber ich muss Sie jetzt auf ein Urteil drängen. Ist Herr Trephoff schuldig oder nicht schuldig am Mord seiner Frau?
[Translation as subtitled: As we all know this jury was convened under highly unusual circumstances, but now I must press you for a judgment. Is Herr Trepoff guilty or not guilty of the murder of his wife?]
(One by one, the jurors answer in German.)
FEMALE JUROR 1: Nicht schuldig. [Not guilty.]
(At the end of the table, the fingers of a male juror wearing a shirt and dark coat drum impatiently on the table.)
FEMALE JUROR 2: Nicht schuldig.
MALE JUROR 1: Nicht schuldig.
(The juror’s fingers continue to drum ...)
MALE JUROR 2: Nicht schuldig.
(... and drum ...)
FEMALE JUROR 3: Nicht schuldig.
MALE JUROR 3: Nicht schuldig.
MALE JUROR 4: Nicht schuldig.
(... and drum ...)
FEMALE JUROR 4: Nicht schuldig.
MALE JUROR 5: Nicht schuldig.
FEMALE JUROR 5: Nicht schuldig.
(... and drum ... and then stop above the table. The foreman sighs wearily and looks at the last juror.)
FOREMAN (in an exasperated voice): Nun? [Well?]
(We see part of the juror from behind. He has dark curly hair and is wearing a dark greatcoat with the collar popped.)
Some time later, a man walks across a concourse towards to a display of newspapers. The “CAM Global News” front page headline reads “Trepoff ‘Guilty’ Sensation!” while a German newspaper beside it reads “TREPOFF SCHULDIG!” [Trepoff guilty!]
THE PRESENT. PUB.
ANDERSON: It had to be him! There’s no-one else it can be! Do you not see?
LESTRADE: I see that you lost a good job fantasising about a dead man coming back to life, and I know why you want that to happen. (He grimaces.) But it’s never gonna.
(Anderson shakes his head.)
LESTRADE: Okay ... (he finishes his pint) ... I’m gonna go and see an old friend.
(He picks up his coat and looks across to Anderson.)
LESTRADE: You take care, okay?
(He stands and picks up a white box from a nearby stool, then looks down at his former colleague sympathetically.)
LESTRADE: I’ll put a word in – see if they won’t review your case.
ANDERSON: Just look at the map, though.
(An imaginary dotted line works its way from New Delhi to Hamburg and then on to Amsterdam, and then Brussels.)
ANDERSON: He’s getting closer.
(He looks up at Greg.)
ANDERSON: It’s like he’s coming back.
(Greg looks thoughtful for a minute, then nods politely to Anderson and leaves the pub.)
JOHN WATSON’S HOME. John walks across the living room of his flat or house and puts the white box down on top of a filing cabinet. He turns and smiles at Greg.
JOHN: It’s good to see you, Greg.
LESTRADE: And you.
(They shake hands.)
JOHN: Have a seat.
LESTRADE (sitting down in an armchair): So, how’ve you been?
JOHN (sitting down on the sofa): Er, yeah, good. Yeah. Much better.
(Greg nods. John points towards the box.)
JOHN: Er, so what’s in the, er ...?
LESTRADE: Oh, that, yeah. That’s, er, that’s some stuff from my office – some stuff of Sherlock’s, actually. I probably should have thrown it out, but I didn’t know if ...
(He looks awkwardly at John.)
JOHN: No, fine, yeah.
(He smiles at Greg, who stands up and walks over to the box, smiling.)
LESTRADE: Yeah, there’s-there’s-there’s something here. Um, wasn’t sure whether I should have kept it in.
(He takes off the lid. Inside the box are a pink iPhone – perhaps the pink phone – together with a box of nicotine patches, a small sheet of paper with some writing on it, a toy train engine, a yellow mask of a face and a DVD in a case. He takes out the DVD.)
LESTRADE: You remember the video message he made for your birthday?
LESTRADE: Oh, I had to practically threaten him.
(John smiles a little.)
LESTRADE: This is the uncut version. It’s quite funny.
(Smiling, he hands the DVD to John.)
JOHN: Oh, right.
(He takes it and looks at it.)
LESTRADE: Maybe I shouldn’t have brought it.
JOHN: Don’t worry. It’s okay. Probably won’t even watch it.
(They smile awkwardly at each other, then John looks down at the DVD again.)
LATER. Greg has gone. John is sitting in the armchair pouring himself a glass of whisky. Screwing the lid back onto the bottle, he stands up and puts it into a nearby cupboard, then sits down again, picks up the glass and takes a drink. Gazing at the DVD on the table in front of him for a while, he eventually picks it up, looks thoughtfully across to the TV, then gets up and walks across the room to put the disc into the player. It loads and he walks back to get his glass. On the TV screen is the very familiar sight of the sofa in 221B Baker Street, with the smiley face sprayed on the wall behind it. John sits down on the sofa opposite the TV and takes another drink.
SHERLOCK’s VOICE: Was that supposed to happen – the light going down? Yeah, okay.
(On the TV screen, Sherlock paces across the living room in front of the sofa.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, er, mmm. So, what do I, what do I, what d’you want me to do at the end?
(He stops and looks at Greg who is presumably behind the camera.)
SHERLOCK: Shall I, um ...? Smile and wink. I do that sometimes. I’ve no idea why. People seem to like it – humanises me.
(He turns away.)
LESTRADE: Fine. Whatever.
SHERLOCK (turning back around): Why am I doing this, again?
LESTRADE: You’re gonna miss the dinner.
SHERLOCK: Of course I’m gonna miss dinner. There’ll be people.
(He starts to turn away, then turns back.)
SHERLOCK: How can John be having a birthday dinner? All his friends hate him.
(John smiles very briefly.)
SHERLOCK: You only have to look at their faces. I wrote an essay on suppressed hatred in close proximity based entirely on his friends.
(John smiles again. Sherlock looks away thoughtfully.)
SHERLOCK: On reflection, it probably wasn’t a very good choice of gift.
(He pulls himself together and looks into the camera for a moment before looking past it to Greg.)
SHERLOCK: What was my excuse again?
LESTRADE: You said you had a thing.
SHERLOCK: Ah, right, yes! That’s right. A thing.
LESTRADE: You might wanna elaborate.
SHERLOCK: No, no, no. Only lies have detail.
(John closes his eyes and shakes his head minutely. Sherlock stares intensely into the camera for a couple of seconds.)
SHERLOCK: Right, I just ... I need a moment to, um, figure out what I’m going to do.
(He walks offscreen towards the window. John looks down at his glass.)
JOHN: I can tell you what you can do. You can stop being dead. (He drinks.)
(He was momentarily back in front of the camera and looking straight into it while he said that. John looks at the screen, startled, but Sherlock has already walked away again.)
SHERLOCK: Okay, I’m ready now.
(He sits down in his armchair, settles into it, then looks into the camera.)
SHERLOCK: Hallo, John. (He smiles.) I’m sorry I’m not there at the moment. I’m very busy. However, many happy returns.
(John looks at the screen, his face hard to read.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, and don’t worry. I’m going to be with you again very soon.
(John’s doorbell rings. He looks round, then sits forward, putting his glass on the table and pressing the Pause button on the remote control. The picture freezes on Sherlock looking intensely into the camera. John stands up and walks out of the room.)
ANDERSON: He’s coming back.
(In the pub, he looks up and smiles to himself, then laughs quietly and looks down at the map, chuckling with delight.)
Greg is walking along a road, intermittently looking down at his phone, but then stops and stares at a man with a white beard standing nearby. The man is reading a copy of the Daily Express and the back page of the newspaper is facing towards Greg. It shows three footballers in the middle of a match, and the headline reads, “THE GAME IS BACK ON!” Greg stares at the headline for a few seconds, then smiles cynically and walks into a nearby shop.
Back in John’s living room, the Pause button shifts to Play on its own. Sherlock smiles widely into the camera and winks.
Footnote: I’ve read on Tumblr (so it must be true! *wink*) that the steam locomotive in the box of Sherlock’s things was introduced in 1895.
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
The Six Thatchers / The Lying Detective / The Final Problem
Or, to download the Episode Transcripts in Word or PDF, click here.