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I’ve been watching the new BBC series ‘Sherlock,’ a fantastic contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s astute detective. I highly recommend it, and though it’s not rated, I think it’s fine for kids 11 and older. There are a few crime scenes, though nothing particularly bloody so far. I’ve watched the first episode, ‘A Study in Pink,’ and I’m part-way into the second episode, ‘The Blind Banker.’

sherlock-bbc-1It’s written by ‘Doctor Who’ scribes Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and Sherlock is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, while Martin Freeman brings the character of Dr. John Watson to life.

It’s contemporary, because the story takes place in modern times. In fact, Watson returns to London after being wounded while fighting in Afghanistan, and his therapist counsels him to write a blog to help him get back into society. Only nothing ever happens to Watson – until he meets and moves in with Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street.

Sherlock has this amazing ability to accurately re-create stories and lives based on his own keen observations, and he’s often hired as a consultant in criminal cases. It got me thinking that maybe he has Asperger Syndrome, because he’s not particularly adept at social interactions and tends to monologue on and on, much to the chagrin of whomever’s trying to have a conversation with him.

He’s also like a dog with a bone when it comes to solving cases – he’s laser focused and simply won’t give up until he’s cracked the case. And whereas Watson may be a little more physical, Sherlock uses his brain power. So far, he’s nearly been run down by a car and choked by a bad guy, among other life-threatening things.

I do know people with Asperger Syndrome, so I’m not just talking off the top of my head here, but what do you think? Am I off-base, or do you think there’s a possibility that Sherlock Holmes has Asperger’s?

Below is a short video of Benedict Cumberbatch talking about the characters of Sherlock and Watson. ‘Sherlock’ was released on DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 9, 2010, from BBC Warner. It features some nice extras, including:

  • Episode 1 Commentary featuring: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue
  • Episode 3 Commentary featuring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss I loved this)
  • Exclusive Pilot Episode: Sherlock – A Study in Pink
  • Unlocking Sherlock – The making of ‘Sherlock’

I can’t wait for season two, and I have no idea when that’s going to happen, so post below if you know!

Image: BBC Warner

21 COMMENTS

  1. The first thing that springs to mind with Sherlock is Bipolar DIsorder. He certainly has wildly swinging manic and depressive phases. But maybe some autism thrown in as well for good measure.

  2. Jane-
    Does Sherlock Holmes avoid eye contact, love planes, trains and automobiles and would much rather spend time disarming a bomb than interacting with people?

    Then, yes, he probably does have Asbergers Syndrome or also called Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Judy

  3. Funny that you would reach this conclusion. My husband said exactly the same thing. I really like this show. Happened to watch and got hooked. I think the actor is brilliant, and really enjoy the scripts, as well as the way the whole thing was transported into modern times. Have been recommending this to everyone!

  4. Um. No. Sherlock doesn’t have Asperger’s, or any form of Autism.

    In A Study in Pink, Anderson calls Sherlock a “psychopath”. He responds with “I’m not a psychopath Anderson, I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research!”

    Many forms of Autism are becoming over-diagnosed, in a similar fashion to the overdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD. Not all sociopaths lack ethics, they just don’t innately connect with morals.

      • Yeah, it is possible (Autism being axis 1, Anti-social personality disorder/sociopathy being axis 2) but that would probably be very complicated to diagnose. He also has no problem understanding how people function as complex machines (enough to manipulate them), he just doesn’t often respect people enough to be nice to them.

  5. I think it’s highly likely. If you look at Sherlock’s character he displays a lot of tell-tale traits:
    -Intensely focused interested
    -Lack of knowledge outside of his little ‘bubble’
    -Little interest in socialising. Poor social skills. Note that almost every time he offends someone he’s not actually trying to be unkind. He either thinks he’s giving them advice, or harmlessly observing them.
    -Is fiercely loyal and protective of his friends. It takes a lot for an Autist to allow anyone into their world, therefore we guard our friends with our lives.

  6. Thanks for the mention, Jane. I think we have not advanced one iota. In fact, judging from the clips in the video, the media has taken several giant steps backwards. Thank you for bringing this worthwhile documentary to the attention of your readers. Thanks

  7. Nah I don’t think so. He can have great social skills, he just sees them as unnecessary and annoying. He can be really charming when he wants to, like when he complimented Molly on her hair. He can be really socially skilled when it helps him get what he wants. This is really difficult for someone with AS, we try to be socially skilled but we’re really bad at it.

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