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Heroes Wiki

Don't turn people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist, and if they did, I wouldn't be one of them.
~ Sherlock to John

William Sherlock Scott Holmes (known simply as Sherlock Holmes) is the titular protagonist of the BBC crime drama series Sherlock, a modernized take on the classic series of detective novels by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a manga adaptation with the same name. He is the world's only consulting detective, a profession he created for himself, and the younger brother of Mycroft Holmes. He is based in London and often consulted by Greg Lestrade of New Scotland Yard, often taking his best friend and former flatmate, John Watson, on cases. In the fourth series, Sherlock is revealed to have a younger sister, Eurus Holmes, and is the godfather of John's daughter, Rosie.

He is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, who also portrayed the title character in Doctor Strange.


The point I'm trying to make is that I am... the most unpleasant, rude, ignorant, and all-round obnoxious arsehole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful and uncomprehending in the face of the happy. So if I didn't understand I was being asked to be best man, it is because I never expected to be anybody's best friend... And certainly not the best friend... of the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. John, I am a ridiculous man. Redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship. But as I am apparently your best friend I can not congratulate you on your choice of companion.... Actually, now I can. Mary, when I say you deserve this man, it is the highest compliment of which I am capable. John, you have endured war, and injury, and tragic loss... So sorry again about that last one... So know this. Today, you sit between the woman you have made your wife and the man you have saved, in short, the two people who love you most in all this world, and I know I speak for Mary as well when I say we will never let you down and we have a lifetime to prove that.
~ Sherlock thanking John for making him a better person

Sherlock has a keen interest in unusual or bizarre crimes, without which he rapidly becomes bored, relying on nicotine to keep his brain active, although in the past he has dabbled in illegal drugs for entertainment, such as cocaine. Sherlock is a thinker and an observer; his notable ability to notice and draw deductions from seemingly trivial details is incredible and that is his main tool for solving crimes he investigates. He also often utilises his "mind palace", a tool for remembering the smallest of details and organising his memories in a visual way. However, his unusual and somewhat anti-social personality has led to many in the official police force distrusting and disliking him. Sherlock claims on more than one occasion to be a "high-functioning sociopath". However, according to Jim Moriarty, as well as Sherlock's own actions and displays of emotion and empathy, this may not be true. Sherlock does not seem to exhibit any of the symptoms of an anti-social personality disorder. John mentions once, in order to excuse Sherlock's behaviour, that he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum.

Sherlock has a profound aptitude for deductive reasoning. Upon meeting a person, he will often "scan" them, using elements of their appearance to arrive at astonishingly accurate conclusions about their past or personality. John Watson, his flatmate, while initially impressed by this skill, sometimes shows exasperation at this and berates him for showing off. However, Sherlock is not infallible as he admits "there is always something" that he misses or misinterprets (the first time he said this, the thing he missed was that Harry was short for Harriet, as he originally thought that Harry was John Watson's brother; in fact, she is his sister). Sherlock also has a manipulative streak, and in multiple instances has used this ability to his advantage. He uses his knowledge of people and their weaknesses to his advantage, such as flattering Molly, who has a crush on him, in order to let him see some bodies that she normally would not have the authority to take out. When he sees that his argument is a losing battle, he suddenly pauses and notices aloud that she changed her hair, saying, "it suits you better this way", which placates Molly enough to break the rules for him. In another situation, he needs to test out a drug and sneaks it into John's coffee. When John tries to say "I don't take sugar" Sherlock effectively uses the "kicked puppy" look to guilt John into finishing the drink.

Needless to say, because of his superior intellect, Sherlock does possess an arrogant demeanour. Though he does not do it intentionally, he has been none to put down others with his rudeness and inability to understand when he does something inappropriate or insulting in a social situation. He even wonders what it must be like in the minds of ordinary people such as John, Anderson and Lestrade's and normally risks his own life to prove how smart he is or show off his IQ. There are moments when Sherlock does not seem to realise that he occasionally upsets people with his accurate deductions about their personal lives, most often delivered quite tactlessly. When he pointed out to Molly that her boyfriend Jim (Moriarty) was gay (a disguise), he seemed surprised when she ran away upset, stating that he had just been saving her time, thinking it was kinder than letting her find out the hard way (which is true as it would save on deep emotional pain). Later, he apologised for embarrassing Molly after deducing that she was dressed up for a man she liked, only to discover that said man was himself (he also kissed her on the cheek – most likely an extension of the apology). Although most times Sherlock seems inhuman and cold, he does know how to appreciate or acknowledge. For instance, although he retorted to John that he did not care about astronomy, he later comments on the beauty of the night sky when investigating the whereabouts of the Golem.

His sense of humour is almost normal and very sarcastic. Sherlock seems to find having to run away from pursuers, ridiculous situations and the stupidity of others amusing. He often makes quips at the expense of his brother, Mycroft, often remarking something similar to "Try not to start a war before I get home; you know what it does for traffic", or John's question about meeting the Queen just as Mycroft enters, "Apparently yes" (which made both of them laugh). He dislikes the titles John gives the cases on his blog, finding "The Geek Interpreter" and "The Speckled Blonde" to be ridiculous. The most noticeable of his traits is the fact he is constantly bored by the lack of a case; he finds peace and quiet to be hateful. He has shot the wall of his flat repeatedly just to ease his boredom. Even if he is offered a case, he will not leave unless he rates it a seven out of ten, or finds it interesting. The way he counteracts this boredom is with cigarettes and while suffering from a lack of nicotine, he will even go for a missing pet case, to the point that he will even drag Lestrade into his moment of insanity.

In the first two series, Sherlock displayed textbook antagonism towards individuals such as Anderson and Sally Donovan, which is often relayed with a cutting remark from the latter. Although Anderson eventually comes to admire Sherlock, as of Series Three, beforehand they shared a tenaciously antagonistic relationship. This is possibly because whenever Anderson or Donovan tries to solve a case, Sherlock always steals the show. Despite the fact that his primary motivation for solving crimes is to entertain himself and relieve boredom, to the point that he tells John that heroes don't exist and if they did, he wouldn't be one, Sherlock does indeed care about the well-being of others and that he is far from the psychopath many (Donovan in particular) think he is. During his first meeting with Moriarty, Sherlock was disgusted by how he had callously killed innocent people to lure Sherlock to him and when Sherlock claimed that he didn't have a heart, Moriarty replied 'But we both know that's not quite true.'

Although he seems to be a cold-hearted intellectual, Sherlock does have a kind, caring side, and although barely shown, it wins over many people. For example, when John's girlfriend Sarah was kidnapped by Chinese smugglers, Sherlock focused on saving her rather than catching the smugglers themselves, and comforted her gently while untying her, even though he had not seemed to like her much previously. This ability extends to being able to comfortingly and successfully dissuading a man who was trying to commit suicide.

He is also very protective of those he cares about; when he deduces that an American operative punched the defenceless Mrs Hudson, Sherlock ties him up and throws him out of the window (several times; so many he lost count) – "An American attacked Mrs Hudson; I'm restoring balance to the universe." He also says that if Mrs Hudson was to leave, "England would fall". This shows he does not take her for granted as is often thought, and does, in fact, care deeply for her. However, he does seem to manipulate her into doing housekeeping despite her repeated protests. In the case of John, he could be considered even more protective, though he does drag John into many dangerous situations.

John and Sherlock share a unique relationship. Sherlock, clearly, cannot be considered a man with many friends. His attitude and cutting words often ward people away, but with John, he makes an effort, and when upsetting him, apologises. John is intelligent, though not as intelligent as Sherlock, lacking Holmes' observational skills and his unique insight into crime. John, however, does have great insight in his analysis of relationships, which Sherlock may dismiss – especially between Sherlock and Irene Adler. He pipes up that Sherlock and Irene might be "looking for baby names". He protects Sherlock as much as he can. Sherlock does generally appear to appreciate John's risks, and confesses to John that he "doesn't have friends, just one". He never denies it when people assume incorrectly that they are romantic partners.

Over the course of their friendship, Sherlock becomes more caring about John and develops a slight sense of humor. He became very worried when he rescued John from a bonfire. When he and John were going to die in a bomb-rigged train, he tearfully pleaded with John to forgive for him the pain he caused him by faking his death, and was touched when he granted it, and roared with laughter when he revealed he had switched the bomb off. At John's wedding, Sherlock gave a very long and touching best man's speech about their past cases, how much he valued John's friendship, how proud he was to be John's best man, and good he wanted to do it (although he went into shock when John first told him). He also stated that he would never hurt John on his wedding day. He also seemed extremely reluctant to hurt John when he found out about his wife and joked with him before leaving for Switzerland and then returning.

Sherlock shares a somewhat complex relationship with his older brother, Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft does seem to worry a great deal about Sherlock, often rallying his younger brother's friends in order to ensure his safety (specifically to prevent an implied relapse) and comforting Sherlock when they thought Irene Adler had died. While he does show, at times, childlike frustration with his elder brother, Sherlock never dismisses him as he does with clients or police officers he finds truly annoying or tedious. Mycroft also seems comfortable with the idea of going to Sherlock for help with issues of national security, showing once again an innate sense of trust in his younger sibling. Though strained at times, Mycroft and Sherlock still remain quite friendly, their relationship being tactile enough to play a game of Operation. His relationship with his parents is unknown however it's hinted that both he and Mycroft are embarrassed by them because they're "ordinary".

Irene Adler deduces that he believes in a higher power which is himself, an assertion that Sherlock neither confirmed or denied.

Sherlock runs his own website, The Science of Deduction.

Skills & Abilities

Sherlock has many well-developed abilities that aid him with his detective work, including a profound aptitude for deductive reasoning. Upon meeting a person, he will often "scan" them, using elements of their appearance to arrive at astonishingly accurate conclusions about their past or personality. However, Sherlock is not infallible, as he admits "there is always something" that he misses or misinterprets.

Sherlock uses a memory retrieval technique called the "method of loci". He refers to this system as his "mind palace". John explains this technique as the storing of memories by plotting them on a map of a familiar location, and retrieving those memories by finding the way back to them, so as to theoretically never forget anything. To use this skill, Sherlock requires silence and space to himself to reduce outside interference.

Sherlock has also proven incredible espionage talents. Despite not having spoken to Irene Adler for months, Sherlock was able to follow her to Pakistan, pose as her executioner and save her life, keeping this a secret from (possibly) everyone.

Sherlock shows skill in unarmed and armed combat. In reference to his Conan Doyle counterpart, the rules of the combat discipline Baritsu hang over his bed. He can use deductive reasoning to identify weaknesses of his opponents before he strikes them. He demonstrates his prowess in bringing down an assassin with one blow, successfully disarming an American operative with a gun, and fighting off a group of terrorists with a sword. However, he lost in a fight to John, but that was also because he was taken surprise and John was angry at the time.


  • Sherlock cares little for the emotional processing phase of life; so he just moves on to the next part