After a few clunkers in the season preceding this, 'Sherlock Holmes (1984)' comes roaring back to life in a big way. The classic story of Holmes trying to prove Culverton Smith murdered his cousin is given a super makeover. I feel that producers of any form of literary work in recent years, (as opposed to 100 years earlier), have a distinct advantage. As our values about censorship and taboo subjects have relaxed and broadened, a story can be more colorfully presented, and more detail can be explored. Issues like sex and drugs in particular, are much less limited by social etiquette. This installment is a good example of that.
Jeremy Brett is at his energetic best here, boisterously arguing with Watson, Smith, and Mrs. Hudson, among others, and seemingly enjoying the role with renewed vigor. This side of Holmes was not as evident in the original story, which deals more with Watson's concern for his friend's sickly condition. Here, more time is given to the background of the victim and his wife, which nicely develops into Holmes vs. Smith. A very welcome return to form.