|Professor James Moriarty|
|Died||4 May 1891|
|Occupation||Mathematician, professor, criminal|
|Family||Colonel James Moriarty, brother|
|Appearances|| The Valley of Fear|
The Final Problem
- "He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them.
Professor James Moriarty, the archenemy of the famous Detective Sherlock Holmes, a mathematics professor turned the world's only consulting criminal. His genius is equal to, if not perhaps greater than, Holmes himself.
Despite only appearing in two stories, Moriarty has been proven to be the most dangerous of all criminals that Holmes has ever encountered. In the short story "The Adventure of the Final Problem", during a fight with Holmes above the Reichenbach Falls, Moriarty fell to his death.
Professor Moriarty's first appearance and his ultimate end occurred in Doyle's story "The Final Problem", in which Holmes, on the verge of delivering a fatal blow to Moriarty's criminal ring, is forced to flee to the Continent to escape retribution. The criminal mastermind follows, and the pursuit ends atop the Reichenbach Falls, during which, Moriarty fell to his death while fighting with Holmes. During this story, Moriarty is something of a Mafia Godfather: he protects nearly all of the criminals of England in exchange for their obedience and a share in their profits. Holmes, by his own account, was originally led to Moriarty by the suggestion that many of the crimes he perceived were not the spontaneous work of random criminals, but the machinations of a vast and subtle criminal ring. In such a way, is in described as a Consulting Criminal, the opposite of Holmes, a Consulting Detective.
Moriarty plays a direct role in only one other of Doyle's Holmes stories: "The Valley of Fear", which was set before "The Final Problem," but published afterwards. In "The Valley of Fear", Holmes attempts to prevent Moriarty's agents from committing a murder. Moriarty does not meet Holmes in this story. In an episode where Moriarty is interviewed by a policeman, a painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze is described as hanging on the wall; Holmes remarks on another work by the same painter to show it could not have been purchased on a professor's salary. The work referred to is La jeune fille à l'agneau; some commentators have described this as a pun by Doyle upon the name of Thomas Agnew of the gallery Thomas Agnew and Sons, who had a famous painting stolen by Adam Worth, but was unable to prove the fact.
Moriarty's Family And First NameEdit
The stories give a number of contradictory indications about the Professor's family. In his first appearance in "The Adventure of the Final Problem", Moriarty is only referred to as Professor Moriarty – with no first name is mentioned. Watson does, however, refer to the name of another family member when he writes of "the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother."
Sherlock Holmes described him as The Napoleon of Crime. Moriarty was a criminal genius, very nearly as smart as Holmes himself. While an older man and given to dealing with problems using his brains rather than brawn, he was clearly a good hand-to-hand fighter when pushed, as he was able to give the extremely strong, martial arts knowledgeable Holmes a run for his money when they fought atop the Reichenbach Falls.
Moriarty has been portrayed in several adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, including novels, movies, and TV shows. He is often considered Holmes' worst enemy, even though he is not as major a character in the originals. He is in a handful of Basil Rathbone movies, along with a large role in BBC's "Sherlock". One could argue that the antagonist in "The Great Mouse Detective," Ratigan, is loosely based off Moriarty as well. In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Moriarty is played by Jared Harris. In A Game of Shadows, Moriarty is still seen as the "Napoleon of Crime". At the end both he and Holmes plummet to their apparent deaths near a waterfall.
In Other WorksEdit
Professor Moriarty is portrayed twice in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Once in the episode "Elementary, Dear Data" and again in "Ship in a Bottle". He is created as the only fitting enemy for Data, an android, while he is pretending to be Sherlock Holmes on the Holodeck, a kind of virtual reality recreation area. The computer accidentally makes the character sentient, and in doing so chaos ensues. Moriarty was also seen in the PC game Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, in which Moriarty had survived falling down Reichenbach and is in weak condition in a Swiss hospital.