Sherlock: A Study in Pink 2010

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Story: The British police are baffled by a series of suicides until DI Lestrade hires Sherlock Holmes who shows them that they have a serial killer on their hands.

Detective: Sherlock Holmes, the greatest detective the world has ever known, here interpreted as a modern man, but very faithful to Doyle’s original character.

Release Date: July 25, 2010

Writers: Steven Moffat

Source: Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet”


Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes, definitely.  He fills the screen and yet is true to the original character of Holmes.

Lani: Absolutely, although I think there might be some argument to be made that Watson and Holmes share the protagonist role in this one, although I’m not sure. More a question than a set theory.

Murderer as antagonist?

Jenny: Yes.  Once he knows Holmes is investigating, it becomes personal.

Lani: Absolutely. Holmes sees the murder as a puzzle, but the murderer is personally targeting Holmes, trying to get his attention.

Conflict created by murder?

Jenny: Yes.  Holmes is drawn into the story by the intellectual puzzle, and the rest of they mystery is played out almost as a chess match.

Lani: Yes. Holmes is already engaged in the murders right from the start, as evidenced in the taunting of the cops in the press conference.

Fair play with all the clues given?

Jenny: Yes.  In fact, the viewer may figure out who the murderer is before Holmes does because he’s particularly blind at one point in a way the original Holmes never would have been.

Lani: Moffat takes special care to add text clues on the screen for anything that might be vague; he is absolutely faithful to the viewer as participant.

Solved using deduction, not luck?

Jenny: Yes.  It’s Holmes’s specialty.

Lani: Absolutely. Although the cabbie got there and revealed himself, Holmes had him tracked down already with the phone GPS.


Jenny says: 5 Pops.  I’d give it 6 if I could.

Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, , Suspense: 5, Comic Relief: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops. I’m leaving the romance score in, because there’s a definite romance between these guys. It may be a just-friends romance, but it’s a romance all the same, and I’m loving it.

Mystery:5 , Craft: 5, , Suspense: 5, Romance: 5, Comic Relief: 5


8 responses to “Sherlock: A Study in Pink 2010”

  1. Oh, man, you guys aren’t kidding about this being perfect.
    When I watched this yesterday I was hopping around like a dork because I loved how they handled the clues, because I, too, was debating about which one was the protagonist, and because I realized I was going to have officially recant my defense of the emotional journey of Holmes in the Guy Ritchie film. *This* was an emotional journey, and a freaking amazing one, along with a really compelling mystery (although I didn’t guess the cabbie either, darn it).
    I’ve been going back and forth on who the protagonist is, though. I like Lani’s idea that they’re a team protagonist, because we see things from both of their POVs and they’re both necessary to destroy the immediate antagonist. I could be wrong though.
    Oh, this was gold. Pure awesome gold.

  2. I first found this because of the blog post about it on Argh, and you have my undying gratitude for that. I absolutely agree about how careful they are to give you everything, but I’d take it even further and say they give the viewer more than they give Sherlock (i.e., the opening scenes). Between a guy whose mistress keeps saying “Take a cab,” a drunk woman with no car keys, and a kid stuck in the pouring rain, there was no other conclusion to draw (or maybe that was just me). While I’m used to getting antagonist POV in thrillers (like some Prey books, or for TV, Criminal Minds), getting more info than the detective is rare in classic mysteries, at least in my experience, even if it’s not much more.

    I think Sherlock is absolutely the protagonist, but Watson plays a huge and important role because of how integral he is to Sherlock’s arc, and his help in solving the crimes. Also he’s just a great character. But I say this with my impression colored by having seen both seasons (I cheated and watched online because I couldn’t wait). I think it becomes clearer the farther into the series you get. Here, it really does feel like a toss-up sometimes. I think the best comparison in this regard is White Collar, where it’s certainly Neal’s story, but his relationship with Peter shapes his character arc and is essential to solving the crime in each episode. Similar dynamic to this show.

  3. The first time I saw this I got so into the story that I forgot about the taxis, but you’re right – all the facts are there and the writing is so good and so tight that I just wanted to hit myself on the head because I’d missed it. But then again I always miss it.

    This is so very perfect that it gives us such a treat to look at how the writers did everything so very right. What fun!

  4. I’ve become quite obsessed with these Sherlock episodes. Watched the new season too & they’re great. Not to get off track, but regarding Moffat & Doctor Who I find I love his episodes (Blink, The Girl in the Fireplace) from the RTD era, but haven’t enjoyed most of his tenure as show runner (I *hate* The Beast Below).

    Anyway, back on track, I’m very excited about noir being next. This little tool might help you for your post about what’s streaming & what’s for rent:

  5. So, I’ve been thinking about the question of the protagonist.
    I get that Holmes has to be the protagonist against the Cabbie as the Antagonist, but I do think there’s something to be said that we enter the story through Watson. That’s why Conan Doyle created the character. Watson was the voice for Holmes to the audience/ reader. And Of course at the end Holmes might have defeated the Cabbie on his own but we see Watson take the final solution into his own hands, which muddies the protag v. antag roles some more.

    I liked the comment y’all made about them bonded very much like you see the romantic characters in a RomCom. I think Mycroft sees this, too, because we he something like this at the end, “We need to increase their surveillance” — [the woman says ‘who’] — and he replies,”Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.” This kind of makes me thing that even he sees them as two peas in a pod functioning as one.

    Anyway, it’s all still moving around in my brain but these were just a few pieces that made sense to me for the 2 protag theory. Stay tuned while said brain works on the other side;)

  6. This is really super awesome. I don’t even feel more articulate about it than that. SUPER FREAKING AWESOME.

  7. These really are beautiful little jewels. If you start digging into it, yes, there are things that become apparent, such as the taxis, but the plotting is incredible and you’re right about things paying off later. There are bits from “A Study in Pink” that pay off in the last episode of the second series. Yes, I’ve seen it; the DVD is now available from Amazon UK and the Blu-Ray is region free, so it will play in our players. I have plans to spend the weekend curled up analyzing the episodes I’ve just had a chance to watch once so far.

    @Annie — I feel the same way. I’ve been a fan of Moffat’s work for years, and while I loved his scripts during the RTD era, much of what he’s written for his own era of DW doesn’t grab me.

  8. Caro said: … the plotting is incredible and you’re right about things paying off later. There are bits from “A Study in Pink” that pay off in the last episode of the second series.

    Oh, I love when plots turn and layer like that. Perfectly awesome!! That’s treating the audience like they’re smart as the writer.