Sherlock Holmes: The Lying Detective. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, Louise Brealey, Toby Jones, Lindsay Duncan, Sian Brooke, Asheq Akhtar, Usman Akram, Sharon Cherry Ballard, Miranda Hennessy, Lee Kemp, David Kirkbride, Tom Williams, Chris Wilson.

The rich and powerful can always be counted upon to act how they like, that in cases of responsibility, of holding back and restraint of acts of cruelty, they believe they are untouchable, above the law, both physically and morally; it is how corruption breeds, how money will always look after money and in the end how everybody lies just to keep in line, to toe the official version.

To be rich, powerful and to act with impunity, no possible chance of punishment, is something that some seem to think is the greatest act of being human, that their words alone can stand up to the gallery without scrutiny, let alone being able to murder at will, not just someone but anyone.

It is a concept explored brilliantly in the story The Lying Detective, the second of the new series of Mark Gatiss’ and Steven Moffat’s enduring 21st Century adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes detective. It is though down to the sheer egotistic and self –absorbed nature of the man in question that sees this particular episode join the ranks of the absolute great, narcissism is all well and good if you have the guts to carry it off but it is in the downfall of others that makes it an evil to be around and in a state of being high, Sherlock Holmes is a master of the art of narcissism and one that is beautifully captured by Benedict Cumberbatch.

It is also in the act of lying that the truth eventually comes and as the episode is at pains to point out, one person’s lie through a smile sells a lot more confidence than the cry of the broken hearted and lonely integrity and silent candour. For all the disguises, for all the masks we wear, the unconcealed face, the one with no make-up and veil is the one to be wary of the most.

The Lying Detective is a very clever episode that a few might mistake for arrogance of personal writing but it should be seen as the reveal of the long game, of rivalry between friends and family and in the end, the powerful it seems always get their own way.

Ian D. Hall