I hate crime shows but I LOVE Sherlock. The character of Sherlock never reacts the way you think he will. His character is what makes this show amazing. I loved the battle of wits with the killer. It was epic and I totally think Sherlock would have taken that pill! (If you’ve seen A Study in Pink then you know what I’m talking about). The cinematography is creative with text on the screen for what Sherlock is thinking, text messages, traffic signs while chasing down murderers etc.
The story line feels so completely modern that I was curious about how much inspiration they use from the original story. I read A Study in Scarlet before watching episode 1 of the first season of Sherlock which is called A Study in Pink. When I saw how much was actually in common between the two, I was blown away by what an amazing job they did of taking the story line and elements from the book and making them modern.
What Was The Same
After watching A Study in Pink I was surprised at how many details are straight from the book or as close as they could get it considering the modern time period.
- Watson fought in Afghanistan, just hundreds of years apart between the setting of the movie and the book. That still kind of blows my mind.
- Watson tells his friend that he is looking for a place to live. In the book his friend says that Sherlock is eccentric. In the movie the friend simply says, “Yep, he’s always like that.”
- Sherlock and Watson meet in a lab/morturary for the first time where Sherlock is doing experiments
- Sherlock and Watson’s first interaction is Sherlock asking about Afghanistan. However, in the book he politely says “I perceive” while in the movie he just bluntly asks “Afghanistan or Iraq?”
- Sherlock has a passion for definite and exact knowledge
- They live at 221B Baker Street
- Sherlock has a homeless network do spying for him. This shows up in the book A Study in Scarlet but isn’t in the show until later in the season.
- Two pills – one poison and one harmless
- The suicide happens in an old house in Brixton
- Sherlock says that he is a “consulting detective” which is a job he made up.
- Watson compliments Sherlock and you can tell that Sherlock revels in it.
- The cabbie breifly mentions that he’s survived because God just loves him – an allusion to the theme of religion in the original story where he asked them to pick a pill as revenge and let God decide their fate.
- The murderer was a cabbie. In the book it was a disguise and in the movie it was his real job.
- The murderer is dying of aneurism. In the movie it’s in his brain instead of his heart.
- Sherlock has the idea that a man’s brain is like a house and you stock it with things you choose – like a mind palace!! – which comes up later in the season. (page 12)
- Watson has a blog to document their crime solving which is an updated version of Watson documenting Sherlock in the books. As part of the marketing for the show, they have a real blog that looks like it’s written by John Watson! There are comments and everything and it’s hilarious.
What Was Different
Reading this list made me realize how clever of an adaption it really is. The things they changed were to add modern devices like the mobile phone instead of the ring.
- Sherlock’s character seems cheerful, eccentric, bluntly honest, sarcastic and loves flattery.
- Sherlock doesn’t learn things that he sees as irrelevant like the theory of the solar system.
- Sherlock asks Watson very politely to share their faults with each other to see if they can live together.
- Mr. Lestrade is described as rat faced in the book
- The wedding ring was held by the dead person
- The word “rache” is spelled in blood on the wall because it means “revenge” in German
- The motive for the killer is revenge for the death of the girl he loved who was forced into marriage
- I know from a special feature that Sherlock deducts information about Watson from a pocket watch from a short story in the Sherlock series.
- The girl’s name was Lucy
- Sherlock doesn’t want to help because the cops will get the credit.
- The murderer approahes crime scene pretending to be drunk.
- Sherlock puts an ad for a found ring and sees who claims it.
- Sherlock tests the pills on a dog so they know that one was poison and one was real. But the murderer is still alive and reveals it too. (Sad that they just killed the dog!)
- The revenge plot was removed. In the book a man named Ferrier adopts a girl named Lucy and they “join” the Mormons. Lucy loves Jefferson (the eventual murderer). Lucy dies from a broken heart after a forced marriage and her father is murdered by the Mormons. Jefferson uses a nose bleed to write on the wall.
- Sherlock has all the same characteristics as the character from the book except for the cheerful one I think. They had him be more of a high functioning sociopath.
- Sherlock learns everything and sees everything as relevant.
- Sherlock bluntly points out Watson’s faults when Watson says that they don’t know each other and don’t know if they can live together as roommates
- Mr. Lestrade looks normal and not like a rat.
- The wedding ring was worn by the dead person
- The word “rache” is scratched into the floor and was her daughter’s name and password to her phone. Sherlock says the word “revenge” in the floor is too obvious and lame. I love how it pokes fun at the original story.
- String of suicides is the case they are working on. Loved the question of how can you have serial suicides. Such an interesting twist on a crime! Nothing connects them that they know of until they find out later it’s they rode in the wrong cab.
- Sherlock deducts Watson’s family dynamics from looking at his mobile phone.
- The girl’s name is Jennifer Wilson.
- Sherlock wants to help because he enjoys the hunt and he’s so smart that he’s bored.
- The murderer approaches the cops as a cabbie confidnet that no one will notice him
- Sherlock has Watson text the murderer because he still has the phone to see what he’ll do.
- The murderer reveals the game to Sherlock but only if he’ll play along.
- Watson is kidnapped to meet Sherlock’s brother who calls himself Sherlock’s arch-enemy.
There were a few elements in the Sherlock series that I’m curious about if they are in the book or not. I wanted to write them here in case I come across any of these things as I finish reading the Sherlock series. And if you know the answer to any of them I’d love to know!
1. Watson has a real shoulder injury from the war and a psychosomatic leg injury with a limp and a cane. Is that in a later story?
2. Is Mrs. Hudson, the land lady in the book?
3. Is Sally Donovan or an equivalent character of a deputy or assistant to Lestrade anywhere in the books?
4. Why was the book called A Study in Scarlet?
5. How does Moriarty show up in the book? He’s not in A Study in Scarlet.
6. What does Sherlock mean that the killer’s mistake was “pink”?