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Mycroft Holmes (Gatiss)

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Mycroft Holmes
Sherlock (2010)
Vital statistics
Sex Male
Occupation Government Official, "the British Government"
Family Sherlock Holmes (brother)
Mr Holmes (father)
Mrs Holmes (mother)
Behind the scenes
Appearances Sherlock (2010)
Portrayed by Mark Gatiss
Mycroft: "For goodness' sake! I occupy a minor position in the British Government."
Sherlock: "He is the British Government - when he's not too busy being the British Secret Service or the CIA on a freelance basis. Good evening, Mycroft. Try not to start a war before I get home, you know what it does for the traffic."
―Mycroft and Sherlock [src]

Mycroft Holmes is the brother of Sherlock Holmes, and is seven years his senior.

Biography Edit

Mycroft claims to merely "occupy a minor position in the government". However, according to Sherlock, he occasionally is the British Government, functioning as the control center or "clearing house" for all government actions and decisions. Mycroft tells John that Sherlock may even consider him his "arch enemy". Sherlock neither confirms nor denies this.

There are signs throughout the series that Sherlock Holmes is right about Mycroft's high position in the UK Government, such as his ability to control CCTV cameras at will. In "The Reichenbach Fall", he also is shown to have the ability to hack into cash machines and make them display messages he wants the user to see.

Mycroft has a habit of kidnapping people to talk to them, instead of using more conventional methods. He has very good connections; in A Scandal in Belgravia, it is implied by Sherlock that he knows the Queen, when Sherlock starts to play "God Save the Queen" on his violin, and he is able to pull strings to allow Sherlock access into a top secret military base in The Hounds of Baskerville. In this episode, it is also asserted that his priority level is "Ultra". Unlike his brother, Mycroft is also known to only text when he cannot talk, as mentioned in The Great Game.

Mycroft occasionally warns John when he thinks that it is a "danger night" with Sherlock (A Scandal in Belgravia), and has John search the house. On those nights, he needs John to stay at home with Sherlock (and look out for him). However, Sherlock knows that John has been searching his stuff, and may be aware of what Mycroft has done (and asked John to do).


"Balance of probability, little brother."
―Mycroft to young Sherlock Holmes [src]

Despite the hostility/rivalry between them, Mycroft cares greatly for his brother, although his ways of watching out for his brother are unorthodox in the extreme. He is an almost entirely cynical, socially detached, and calculating individual with an exceptional degree of self-control. His analytic abilities are incredible, beyond the standards of Charles Augustus Magnussen himself, despite the fact that Mycroft relied on the latter most heavily.

His powers of deduction surpass that of his younger brother Sherlock, as shown in "A Scandal In Belgravia", where he has discovered what had happened to the hiker by simply 'glancing over the police reports'. Also, in "The Empty Hearse" he and Sherlock have a deduction battle and, as always apparently, he wins. He has always been 'the smart one' according to them both, which caused Sherlock to believe that he was an idiot, until they met other children. Again, in "The Great Game", Mycroft corrects Sherlock's deduction of John and the lilo, by saying it was the sofa, instead.

Even though he is more intelligent, he is also lazier and, as he said in "The Great Game", he could do the investigations himself, but that would require 'legwork' which he wasn't very keen on. He is exceptionally cunning and has outstanding deductive abilities. He is sometimes cold, arrogant and egotistical, sometimes even sycophantic. Believing he is above and beyond everyone else, he sometimes treats people cruelly and ruthlessly.

In "A Study in Pink," he tells his assistant to update Sherlock and John's security status to level 3, implying that he already had governmental surveillance on Sherlock. In tandem with his high intelligence, his self-confidence and mental resilience are almost inhuman, as he is practically immune to even his own brother's probing.

Mycroft is shown to be much more capable of faking normalcy than his brother, and where as Sherlock is ostracised for his behaviour, Mycroft is highly respected by his (seeming) peers. However, he is apparently just as cold and arrogant as his brother, once informing him categorically that caring was not an advantage.

He is thought to be very lonely and isolated. Sherlock has said this to him too, in "The Empty Hearse", as even Sherlock has friends but Mycroft has none. Mycroft thinks that he is 'living in a world of goldfish'.


"Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity, don't you think?"
―Mycroft to John [src]
"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?"
―Mycroft to John [src]
"Too much history between us, John. Old scores. Resentments."
―Mycroft to John [src]
"Nicked all his Smurfs? Broke his Action Man?"
―John to Mycroft [src]
"I am the smart one."
―Mycroft to Sherlock [src]


  • He is on a diet, which Sherlock comments about frequently.  But he is also made fun of for his working-out, which Sherlock highlights in The Sign of Three.
  • He wears a ring on the ring finger of his right hand. It is unknown if this is symbolic of anything. Show co-creator and actor of Mycroft Mark Gatiss has stated that it is not a wedding ring, but that he likes to think there is a story behind it.
  • He does not appear during the Unaired Pilot, and his lines during the ending scene are given to DI Greg Lestrade.
  • Mycroft is a member of the Diogenes Club, a private establishment that requires silence at all times, as in the canon.
  • Irene Adler revealed that Jim Moriarty's nickname for him was "The Iceman."
  • He and Sherlock may have had another brother, as hinted at by Mycroft in His Last Vow, as he was speaking to another government official about the country needing Sherlock Holmes. As he dismissed the official about feeling sentiment for Sherlock, he briefly told the official "you know what happened to the other one".
  • It is heavily suggested that Mycroft might just be smarter than Sherlock in many respects, his presence in Sherlock's Mind Palace in The Sign of Three corroborates this even further.
  • He is considered (by those in his rarefied circle) the most powerful person in England, as Charles Augustus Magnussen makes clear in His Last Vow.


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