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Return of Sherlock Holmes, The

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Made-for-tv film (1987). CBS Entertainment Productions for CBS-TV. Produced by Nick Gillott. Directed by Kevin Connor. Written by Bob Shayne. Based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Cast includes Margaret Colin, Barry Morse and Michael Pennington. 100 minutes. Colour.

Modern-day private detective Jane Watson (Colin) must sell the UK estate that belonged to her ancestor Dr Watson. On her final visit, a lawyer gives her an old letter with instructions leading to a hidden basement with a crude Cryonics capsule in which a man is frozen in Suspended Animation. Jane is able to revive the man: Sherlock Holmes himself (Pennington), suffering from bubonic plague after being infected by his late nemesis Professor Moriarty's brother. Watson helped devise the capsule to preserve Holmes until a cure was available (see Sleeper Awakes). Soon cured, Holmes accompanies Jane on her return flight to the US, which makes him airsick.

They are almost immediately involved in investigation of the supposed murder of Carter Morstan (Morse), former FBI agent. Holmes, discovering how famous he has now become, adopts one of his old aliases: Holmes Sigerson. Morstan and three other agents had broken up a massive currency counterfeiting scheme, during which millions of dollars in counterfeit money had vanished; Morstan and his colleagues quit the agency soon afterwards. Now the other three are turning up dead; Holmes suspects a plot involving the agents and counterfeiter Peter Small, with Small is exacting revenge upon his former partners for his betrayal in the currency theft plot. It proves, however, that Small himself is deceased and Morstan is not only alive but responsible for the murders. After Morstan's capture, Holmes and Jane prepare for new cases as Holmes continues to adjust to the twentieth century.

This is one of the better Holmes pastiches, and served as pilot for a Television series which was unfortunately not picked up,. Much of the plot is loosely based on Doyle's The Sign of the Four (1890; vt The Sign of Four). Considerable Humour is derived from Holmes's attempts to adapt to the late twentieth century: his efforts to drive an automobile and his discovery of the modern meaning of "adult bookstore" are two highlights, though he remains the same master detective. [GSt]


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