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The off-screen cases of Sherlock are the various cases of Sherlock Holmes that are mentioned in episodes but not fully detailed, or are presented as blog posts on Sherlock tie-in websites. They are comparable to the unpublished cases referenced throughout the original Sherlock Holmes Short Stories and Novels.

The Aluminium Crutch

In "A Scandal in Belgravia", Harry the Buckingham Palace equerry tells John "My employer is a tremendous fan of your blog...  Particularly enjoyed the one about the aluminium crutch."[1] In "The Hounds of Baskerville", Dr Bob Frankland also gushes "I love the blog, too, Dr Watson...  And that one about the aluminium crutch!"[2]

This is expanded in John's blog, in which Sherlock witnesses an actor killed on stage when he is struck by a real metal crutch instead of the rubber prop his costar was supposed to swing. After identifying the six people who had opportunity to make the switch, Sherlock sorts through their tangled motivations and eliminates most of them as suspects. He determines that the victim himself, fed up with a drunken costar whose bad aim left him bruised night after night, made the switch expecting a modest injury over which he could sue or demand the costar's sacking, but instead received a fatal blow.[3]

The title comes from a reference to an unpublished case mentioned in "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual".

Angelo

In "A Study in Pink", a restaurant owner named Angelo offers Sherlock and John anything they want on the house, explaining "This man got me off a murder charge."  Sherlock adds "Three years ago I successfully proved to Lestrade at the time of a particularly vicious triple murder that Angelo was in a completely different part of town housebreaking."

Billy Kincaid, the Camden Garroter

When John asks Sherlock to be his best man in "The Sign of Three", Sherlock initially misunderstands and begins rambling about "Billy Kincaid, the Camden garroter.  Best man I ever knew.  Vast contributions to charity never disclosed.  Personally managed to save three hospitals from closure, and ran the best and safest children's homes in North England.  Yes, every now and again there would be some garrotings, but stacking up the lives saved against the garrotings, on balance I'd say...", at which point John cuts him short.

Dismantling Moriarty's network

Upon retrieving his brother from Serbia and presumed death in "The Empty Hearse", Mycroft says "You have been busy, haven't you?  Quite the busy little bee." Sherlock replies "Moriarty's network.  Took me two years to dismantle it." "And you're confident you have?" "The Serbian side was the last piece of the puzzle", Sherlock answers. Adds Mycroft: "Yes.  You got yourself in deep there with Baron Maupertuis.  Quite a scheme." "Colossal" agrees Sherlock.

"The colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis" were mentioned as an unpublished case in "The Adventure of the Reigate Squire".

"Falls of the Reichenbach"

As "The Reichenbach Fall" begins, Sherlock has recovered the J.M.W. Turner painting "Falls of the Reichenbach". A newspaper article shown on screen adds some detail: "A Turner masterpiece worth £1.7 million that was stolen from an auction house ten days ago has been recovered by an amateur detective from North London.  Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street has been investigating the art crime simply as a hobby, and yet he was able to follow the trail that led him to the famous work - a trail that Scotland Yard missed completely."

The Geek Interpreter

In "A Scandal in Belgravia", a montage of prospective clients concludes with a trio of young men, one of whom is explaining "We have this website.  It explains the true meaning of comic books, 'cause people miss a lot of the themes.  But then all the comic books started coming true!", a statement piques Sherlock's interest.

This is expanded in John's blog, in which the client has seen and even photographed characters from a certain graphic novel series around London enacting events that had taken place in recent issues.  With the help of a hacker from the Homeless Network, Sherlock determines that the sightings are being staged for their client, while an agent of the comic publishers encouraged him to post about them on social media as an advertising ploy, one without regard for the ridicule and mental anguish it was causing.  Sherlock, John, and the client stage a comics scene themselves and expose the publishers' callous tactics, causing the title's cancellation.[4]

This case is a play on "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter".

The Green Ladder

Immediately upon their introduction in "A Study in Pink", Sherlock borrows John's phone to send a text as his own doesn't get a signal in the St Bart's lab.  Reviewing it later, John finds that the text read "If brother has green ladder arrest brother."

This is expanded in Sherlock's Science of Deduction blog, in which two traces of green paint a metre apart in a gravel bed lead him to deduce that a man who drowned in his garden pond was killed from afar by his brother (who stood to inherit the house) through the strategic placement of a ladder and a timely gift of whisky, preying on his superstitions and light tolerance for alcohol.[5]

Harpoon experiment

Sherlock blood pig

At the start of "The Hounds of Baskerville", Sherlock returns home covered in blood and carrying a harpoon. "Well that was tedious" he announces. "You went on the Tube like that?" John asks, to which Sherlock replies "None of the cabs would take me." Later he is desperate for a case, prompting John to exclaim "You've just solved one! By harpooning a dead pig, apparently." Sherlock exclaims "Ah, that was this morning! When's the next one?"

This scene echoes Holmes's experimentation in a butcher shop to solve a harpoon murder in "The Adventure of Black Peter".

Henry Fishguard

After John advises Sherlock to take a less public case in "The Reichenbach Fall", they are shown at their flat while a mannequin dangles from a noose. Sherlock slams shut a dusty book, exclaiming "Henry Fishguard never committed suicide.  Bow Street Runners missed everything!"

The Bow Street Runners were London's first professional police force, active 1749–1839, implying that Sherlock has taken on a very cold case. John needles him about it being a pressing case, to which Sherlock replies "All cases are pressing till they're solved".

The Hollow Client

A montage of cases in "The Sign of Three" includes this one, which Sherlock categorises as "strange".  He and John are shown returning to their flat to find a man's empty suit draped in one of their armchairs.

This is expanded in John's blog, in which a university student asks Sherlock to find out why his flatmate suddenly acts as if he can't see him.  Upon seeing the suit in their chair, Sherlock spins a number of increasingly ridiculous theories, from the client being wrapped in mirrors to holograms and ninjas.  John posits that the two students are just pranking them, and confirms that the suit is merely an empty suit.[6]

The Jaria Diamond

As "The Blind Banker" begins, Sherlock fights with a robed and turbaned swordsman while John is out of the flat. When John returns and sees no indication that Sherlock has moved from his chair, he asks "What about that case you were offered, the Jaria Diamond?" Sherlock smiles to himself and kicks his opponent's dropped sword farther out of sight, saying "Not interested.  I sent them a message."

John's resulting blog entry is titled "Diamonds are forever" and reads "Except they're not. No story here because Sherlock decided not to take the case. Apparently a missing diamond isn't 'interesting' enough."[7]

Leeds triple murder

Near the end of "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock says as John walks up the stairs "Clearly you've got news.  If it's about the Leeds triple murder, it was the gardener.  Did nobody notice the earring?"

The melting laptop

In "A Scandal in Belgravia", John is seen composing a blog post on "a couple of the smaller cases we've been involved in", including "that really odd case with the melting laptop".

Mr Hudson

In "A Study in Pink", Sherlock explains that they've been given a special deal on the rent at 221B Baker Street because Mrs Hudson "owes me a favour.  A few years back her husband got himself sentenced to death in Florida.  I was able to help out" by ensuring that he was executed.

The Navel Treatment

During a montage of cases in "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock and John are seen walking through a theatre with a taped-off crime scene on the stage.  Sherlock needles John about his blog post titles, saying "So what's this one?  'Belly Button Murders'?"  John suggests "'The Navel Treatment'".  Lestrade joins them, stating "There's a lot of press outside, guys...  Good for the public image, big case like this."

John's title is a play on "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty".

The Poison Giant

A montage of cases in "The Sign of Three" includes this one, which Sherlock categorises as "strange".  He and John are shown on a rooftop dodging a dart from a little person's blowgun, then giving chase.

This is expanded in John's blog, in which a series of emails lead Sherlock and John to a warehouse with a dead man killed by a poison dart and the laptop of a jewel thief known for using his short stature to infiltrate his targets.  Files on the laptop reveal his next heist.  Expecting a trap but unable to resist a game, Sherlock and John conduct a rooftop stakeout.  There they encounter not only the thief with the blowgun but his accomplice, a giant nicknamed "The Headcrusher".  Armed with a gun and a sword, John and Sherlock win the fight, sending one thief over the edge and capturing the other.  They surmise this was a setup by someone who wanted them dead, but Sherlock is uninterested in determining who.[8]

The diminutive killer with a blowgun is a nod to Tonga from The Sign of the Four.

Ricoletti

A montage of successful cases in "The Reichenbach Fall" includes a scene of Lestrade in a press conference saying "Peter Ricoletti.  Number one on Interpol's most wanted list since 1982.  But we got him.  And there's one person we have to thank for giving us the decisive leads, with all his customary diplomacy and tact."

The name Ricoletti comes from an unpublished case mentioned in "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual".

The riding crop

In "A Study in Pink", Sherlock experimentally beats a corpse with a riding crop, telling Molly Hooper "I need to know what bruises form in the next 20 minutes.  A man's alibi depends on it."

Sherlock steals a bus

John's blog post on "a couple of the smaller cases we've been involved in"—partially seen in "A Scandal in Belgravia" and completed on his blog website—includes "the time Sherlock stole a bus".  A comment by Sherlock reads "I didn't steal the bus. I borrowed it. And it's not as if the tourists seemed to mind."[9]

The Six Thatchers

During series four's The Six Thatchers, there is a montage of Sherlock solving cases whilst he waits for Jim Moriarty to make his move after the "Do you miss me?" message. These case are largely unknown as we only see fractions of them and John's blog has stopped being updated (In real life). We see part of the entries that John writes for the blog (in universe) on screen and know that the cases involve Greg Lestrade, DI Dimmock and DI Hopkins.

The Circus Toro
A limbless body decomposing inside a trunk is left luggage office in Waterloo station couldn't be identified...

The Canary Trainer
Andrew Wilson was an unusual man with an unusual hobby. He seem to have no connection with the man whose liffe was abruptly ended one freezing night in November.

The Cardiac Arrest
Joel Fentiman was found strangled in the bedsit he shared with his brother. They had alway got on well and there was no signs this situation had changed...

The Speckled Blonde

During a montage of cases in "A Scandal in Belgravia", Sherlock and John are seen examining a body in a morgue as John says "Dyed blonde hair, no obvious cause of death, except for these speckles, whatever they are."

This is expanded in John's blog, in which his autopsy uncovers a snakebite and traces of poison in her blood.  Her snake-collecting fiancé seems an obvious suspect, but then her sister begins feeling unwell, and Sherlock determines that their cosmetician stepfather was poisoning them with tainted bubble bath.  The stepfather hangs himself without revealing his motivations.[10]

This case is a play on "The Adventure of the Speckled Band".

Tilly Briggs Cruise of Terror

In "A Scandal in Belgravia", John is seen composing a blog post on "a couple of the smaller cases we've been involved in", including "what really happened on the Tilly Briggs pleasure cruise".  However the individual blog post entitled "Tilly Briggs Cruise of Terror" merely reads "I've had to take this post down for a while as the ship's owners are launching an appeal".[11]

This echoes an unpublished case mentioned in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", which involved a ship named the Matilda Briggs and "the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared", according to Holmes.

Top Banker Kidnapped

A montage of successful cases in "The Reichenbach Fall" includes a banker thanking Sherlock for rescuing him from a kidnapping. The accompanying image of a newspaper article provides further detail: "The top banker was kidnapped at gunpoint and described the whole ordeal as utterly terrifying.  He had been missing for over a week and all hope had gone when his empty briefcase and clothes were found on the banks of the River Thames.  In this most remarkable case, it was revealed by Scotland Yard that the case was planted by Mr Holmes himself as part of his grand master plan to discover where the man was being held.  Incredibly, the whole case bore similarities to the Reichenbach [...] which made Sherlock a household name.  A Scotland Yard insider said there was no way the man would have been found alive without the help of Holmes and his sidekick - confirmed bachelor John Watson." The partial text of another article reads "Sherlock Homes was last night being hailed a hero yet again for masterminding the daring escape of the kidnapped man.  Scotland Yard had to secretly bring in their special weapon (in the form of Mr Holmes) yet again.  The case has drawn a huge amount of attention as the nation..."

References

  1. Moffat, Steven (writer) & McGuigan, Paul (director). (1 January, 2012). "A Scandal in Belgravia". Sherlock (2010). Series 2. Episode 1. BBC One.
  2. Gatiss, Mark (writer) & McGuigan, Paul (director). (8 January, 2012). "The Hounds of Baskerville". Sherlock (2010). Series 2. Episode 2. BBC One.
  3. Lidster, Joseph. "The Aluminium Crutch". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  4. Lidster, Joseph. "The Geek Interpreter". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  5. Lidster, Joseph. "The Green Ladder". The Science of Deduction. BBC.
  6. Lidster, Joseph. "The Hollow Client". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  7. Lidster, Joseph. "Diamonds are forever". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  8. Lidster, Joseph. "The Poison Giant". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  9. Lidster, Joseph. "Life Goes On". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  10. Lidster, Joseph. "The Speckled Blonde". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.
  11. Lidster, Joseph. "Tilly Briggs Cruise of Terror". The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. BBC.

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