28. Sherlock: The Blind Banker (2010, TV)

IMDB score = 8.1/10

Holmes and Watson? = Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

Synopsis = Mysterious symbols and murders are showing up all over London, leading Sherlock and John to a secret Chinese crime syndicate called Black Lotus.

Defense by Paul Thomas Miller:

A Study in Pink is perfect. It was always going to be a difficult one to follow. As a result Blind Banker is often overlooked or derided. But look at it with fresh eyes and you can see just as much updated and examined Canon as Pink had to offer.

Most obviously, this is an homage to Code Breaker Holmes. Specifically we see strong elements of both dancing Men and Porlock’s cipher from Valley of Fear.

There are nods to the nimble Tonga entering buildings from unlikely angles. We see womaniser Watson in full flow with a work colleague. We see Baritsu Holmes battling masked assailants in the opening scenes. We see nods to Gloria Scott and Musgrave Ritual with Holmes being hired by Sebastian; an old school chum.

There are also scenes which examine questions often asked by Holmesian writings on the writings:

People have often examined the question of Baker Street’s finances. It is unclear how they scraped by in early days. This episode bothers to raise the question and we see Watson forced to return to general practice.

In A Study In Scarlet, Watson hints that he struggled to return to civilian life. In this episode we get to see that when John has a meltdown trying to deal with a self-serve checkout.

Like all of BBC Sherlock, the story is very much based on the question “What if Holmes were alive today?” It’s not an original question. It’s been done just about every decade since the 60s. It is, however, very well done in this series and Blind Banker is no exception.