Season 2 Episode 1

A Scandal in Belgravia

Aired Unknown Jan 01, 2012 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
500 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


The monarchy is threatened by some the emergence of some compromising photographs. Sherlock is soon on the case, and uncovers links with international terrorism and corruption in the British government. But to avert a royal scandal he must best Irene Adler, a woman every bit as brilliant as he is.


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  • Stayin' alive

    If you decide to resolve that big cliffhanger of your previous series simply by a phone call, normally, you ought to be prepared for a "witless use of cliches" tag on your work. But if it's Moriarty and his ringtone is the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, I just can't bring myself to hate it. In further compensating addition, the three of them staying alive also leads to the best one of the, as of then, four instalments of Sherlock.

    Before the actual crime story commences though, Sherlock and John's status quo gets re-established: despite the fact that his writings are fairly bland, the latter's blog has made the detective duo an internet phenomenon, giving rise to droves of paparazzi pursuing them (mysteriously only doing so for as long as the plot requires it). Yet as it happens, I've always enjoyed "A Scandal in Bohemia" more than "The Adventure of the Creeping Man", so I appreciate writer Steven Moffat putting that thought to the torch. Then, after some amusing minutes of Sherlock: The Sitcom, "A Scandal in Belgravia" arrives at its crux, Irene Adler. Portrayed erotically and rememberably by Lara Pulver, a very welcome addition to the first-class cast of Sherlock, "The Woman" quickly joins in breakneck fast tete-a-tetes with Benedict Cumberbatch's ever brilliant protagonist, even causing the poker-faced consulting detective to mumble (though I surmise that her words weren't the only constituting factor in that).

    The biggest plaudits here belong to Moffat, who has concocted the ingenious screenplay that lies at the heart of the episode and equips the cast with all the instances of quick-witted dialogue, while coming up with an intriguing plot and clever pieces of humour as well (the ambience of Sherlock: The Sitcom never quite melts away). Not once in the episode's 90 minutes does a scene feel artificial or incongruous and even if the adaption of Arthur Conan Doyle's works has become less serious as opposed to the first series, there is the needed suspense remaining in big scenes. The foremost aspect of "A Scandal in Belgravia" naturally comes in the shape of Sherlock Holmes: his mind at work is a delight to watch and so are his relationships with John, his housekeeper Mrs Hudson, his brother Mycroft, and the aforementioned Miss Adler.

    "A Scandal in Belgravia" further impresses with artful shots of London in the winter, skilful directing and editing, and a score that's particularly lovely with "Irene's Theme". Frankly, it's Sherlock at its highly enjoyable best.

    My detective scribblings:

    - During the slow-motion shooting at Irene Adler's residence, weren't you also expecting Sherlock to put on a pair of black sunglasses, jump in the air, and kick one of those Americans in the face?

    - Also: is Irene Adler Spiderwoman? How else would she possibly have left Sherlock's flat?

    - The scene with Sherlock in his bed is immeasurably funnier if you take it as him having had one over the eight for the first time.

    - Sherlock is the quintessential person to say "You must be fun at parties" to and, as seen in this episode, that statement is a 100% correct.

    - New in store: Sherlock Holmes playing your favourite holiday songs on the violin! "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Auld Lang Syne": they're all included in this huge one-time-offer compilation!

  • 2x01 - A Scandal

    This was brilliant. I liked Irene and how she's able to keep up with Sherlock. John's face at meeting her was hilarious.
  • BBC's Sherlock

    I love this episode...except for the silly ending...still I LOVE this episode! Great job, BBC!
  • Awestruck! A Holmes that makes me smile and cry

    Before I start, let's just say that I only signed up for this site to leave this single glowing review.

    After all those likes of American series, mostly uninspired and without any emotion whatsoever, Sherlock is a serie of the top shelf... And this episode was the tipping point that convinced me of its brilliance. What's there not to love : awesome actors, highly original story and those twists! And I am forgetting originality and a heap of other superlatives.

    And this episode... I starts out with a bang, or doesn't it? Sherlock seems to be bored and suddenly there's "The Woman". I won't spoil the story but you'll be both moved and grinning from ear to ear seeing the story unfold. And the ending of this episode! An enormous grin re-appeared thinking about it.

    Seriously, I hope this goes on for a couple of seasons, addiction has a new name and it's called " Sherlock"...moreless
  • the best they could do for an intelligent powerful woman was to make her a dominatrix??

    Really? In this day & age the only way the writers could think to make a powerful/intelligent woman worthy of Sherlock's intellect & time was to make her a dominatrix?

    Or did you just want an excuse to show boobies & naked women - while pretending it was somehow empowering & ok?

    Furthermore, Sherlock claims that he knows she loves him because he measured the physiological changes that occured (increased pulse, widened pupils). Those are indications of arousal - but physical arousal does not necessarily equal love.

    I'm also pretty sure both of those symptoms could be faked by an experienced sex worker.

    I loved this series, but am seriously disappointed with this episode and Irene's portrayal!moreless
Lara Pulver

Lara Pulver

Irene Adler

Guest Star

Danny Webb

Danny Webb

DI Carter

Guest Star

Andrew Havill

Andrew Havill

The Equerry

Guest Star

Una Stubbs

Una Stubbs

Mrs Hudson

Recurring Role

Rupert Graves

Rupert Graves

DI Lestrade

Recurring Role

Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss

Mycroft Holmes

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The newspaper articles that show Sherlock in the deerstalker hat have errors. The first repeats the second paragraph twice, beginning mid-sentence. The same paragraphs appear again in the first column of the third article, even though they are clearly meant to be distinct.

  • QUOTES (25)

    • Moriarty: So if you have what you say you have, I'll make you rich. If you don't, I'll make you into shoes.

    • Sherlock: What are you typing?
      John: Blog.
      Sherlock: About?
      John: Us.
      Sherlock: You mean me.
      John: Why?
      Sherlock: Well you're typing a lot.

    • Sherlock: No, don't mention the unsolved ones.
      John: People want to know you're human.
      Sherlock: Why?
      John: Cause they're interested.
      Sherlock: No they're not. Why are they?
      John: Hmm. You know. One thousand eight hundred and ninety-five.
      Sherlock: So?
      John: I reset that counter last night. This blog has had has 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: Two hundred and forty-three.

    • Lestrade: Have you heard of Sherlock Holmes?
      Carter: Who?
      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 he has to say. And as far as possible, try not to punch him.

    • Sherlock: (about Phil) 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?
      DI Carter: He's trying to be clever. He's over-confident.
      Sherlock: 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? (turns to Phil) Don't worry, this is just stupid.
      Phil: What did you say? Heart what?

    • John: You wearing any pants?
      Sherlock: No.
      John: Okay.

    • John: What are we doing here? Sherlock, seriously, what?
      Sherlock: I don't know.
      John: Here to see the Queen?
      Sherlock: (as Mycroft comes in) Hmm. Apparently yes.

    • Mycroft: Just once can you two behave like adults?
      John: We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants. I wouldn't hold out too much hope.

    • Mycroft: (pouring tea) I'll be mother.
      Sherlock: And there is a whole childhood in a nutshell.

    • Sherlock: Dominatrix.
      Mycroft: Don't be alarmed. It's to do with sex.
      Sherlock: Sex doesn't alarm me.
      Mycroft: How would you know?

    • John: Punch you?
      Sherlock: Yes, punch me in the face. Didn't you hear me?
      John: I always hear "punch me in the face" when you're speaking, but it's usually subtext.

    • John: Don't you remember, I was a soldier. I killed people.
      Sherlock: You were a doctor!
      John: I had bad days!

    • Irene Adler: Brainy's the new sexy.

    • Irene: I don't understand.
      Sherlock: Oh, well, try to.
      Irene: Why?
      Sherlock: Because you cater to the whims of the pathetic and take your clothes off to make an impression. Stop boring me and think!

    • Irene: Do you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes? However hard you try, it's always a self-portrait.
      Sherlock: You think I'm a vicar with a bleeding face?
      Irene: No, I think you're damaged, delusional, and believe in a higher power. In your case, it's yourself.

    • Sherlock: If I was to look at naked women, I'd borrow John's laptop.
      John: You do borrow my laptop.
      Sherlock: I confiscate it.

    • Sherlock: Look at them. They all care so much. Do you ever wonder if there's something wrong with us?
      Mycroft: All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage... Sherlock.

    • John: Listen, has he ever had any kind of, um, girlfriend, boyfriend, a relationship, ever?
      Mrs. Hudson: I don't know.
      John: How could we not know?
      Mrs. Hudson: He's Sherlock. How will we ever know what goes on in that funny old head?

    • John: You... flirted with Sherlock Holmes?
      Irene: At him. He never replies.
      John: Sherlock always replies. To... everything. He's Mr. Punchline. He will outlive God trying to have the last word.

    • Sherlock: Don't snivel, Mrs. Hudson. It will do nothing to impede the flight of a bullet. What a tender world that would be.

    • Sherlock: First get rid of your boys.
      Neilson: Why?
      Sherlock: I dislike being outnumbered. It makes for too much stupidity in the room.
      Neilson: You two go to the car.
      Sherlock: And then get into the car and drive away. Don't try to trick me. You know who I am--it doesn't work.

    • Sherlock: Oh, you're rather good.
      Irene: You're not not so bad.
      John: Hamish. John Hamish Watson. Just if you're looking for baby names.

    • Sherlock: Please don't feel obliged to tell me that was remarkable or amazing. John has expressed that thought in every possible variant available to the English language.
      Irene: I would have you right here on this desk until you begged for mercy twice.
      Sherlock: (after a long pause) John, please could you check those flight schedules, see if I'm right?
      John: Oh... ummm. I'm on it, yeah.
      Sherlock: I never begged for mercy in my life.
      Irene: Twice.

    • Sherlock: You could have chosen any random number and walked out of here today with everything you've worked for. But you just couldn't resist it, could you? I've always assumed that love is a dangerous disadvantage. Thank you for the final proof.
      Irene: Everything I said, it's not real. I was just playing the game.
      Sherlock: I know. And this is just losing.

    • Mycroft: My brother has the brain of a scientist or a philosopher, yet he elects to be a detective. What might we deduce about his heart?
      John: I don't know.
      Mycroft: Neither do I. But initially he wanted to be a pirate.

  • NOTES (6)

    • This story was adapted from the short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia", first published in The Strand Magazine dated July 1891 and collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892).

    • On its premiere, the episode aired at 8:10 p.m., ten minutes late.

    • Injoke: The title of John's blog, "The Geek Interpreter," is a play on the Holmes short story, "The Greek Interpreter." "The Speckled Blonde" is a reference to "The Speckled Band," and "The Adamantium Crutch" is one of Holmes' undocumented cases, "the singular affair of the aluminum crutch."

    • Injoke: Sherlock donning a deerstalker hat, and his evident distaste for it, is a reference to the deerstalker in the Holmes stories. Doyle never described the character as wearing a deerstalker. The closest he comes is mentioning Holmes wearing a "ear-flapped traveling cap." Artist Sidney Paget, illustrator for The Strand, first drew Holmes with a deerstalker in 1891. It has since become a common piece of headware for the detective in movies, TV, and comics.

    • Injoke: One of Irene Adler's texts says "BBC1 right now. You'll laugh." referring, obviously to the station on which Sherlock airs in the UK.

    • International Airdates:
      Sweden: February 4, 2012 on SVT1
      US: May 6, 2012 on PBS
      Slovakia: January 23, 2013 on STV1


    • Headline: Hat-man and Robin.
      Referencing the famous Dynamic Duo Batman and Robin, who also solve crimes in an out-of-the-ordinary fashion.