Sherlock Holmes' (Jonny Lee Miller) greatest foe made his first appearance, sort of, last week after calling Sherlock for a long overdue chat — which is an understatement. Moriarty was apparently behind the death of Sherlock's only love Irene Adler (Natalie Dormer), which sent the private eye into a drug-induced downward spiral. Heading into Thursday's episode (10/9c, CBS) and the drama's first season finale next week, TVGuide.com hit up executive producer Rob Doherty to find out the ramifications of Moriarty's introduction and what this means for Irene Adler's arrival on the show.
We've finally (apparently) been introduced to Moriarty. What can you tell us about the final episodes?
Rob Doherty: It is a Moriarty-centric finale. The episodes that precede the finale tee up Moriarty. Again, he's not present, physically, but we're very much on his trail. It comes to our attention he may be operating in New York. The finale is really about a build to a showdown between Sherlock and Moriarty.
What kind of person is Moriarty?
Doherty: As Moriarty becomes more present in the last episodes, I feel like we're staying pretty close to the way Moriarty's depicted in the books, at least as a personality. Ours is not a professor, but he is the spider sitting at the center of this web of crime. He's a puppet master, he's frighteningly smart. In the books, Moriarty was not as concealed as he has been on our show. In the books, he worked out in the open, and as far as most people knew, he was a professor working at a university. And yet, on the side, he was also the mastermind of a criminal organization. Our Moriarty is absolutely involved in bad things, but I don't believe he has a day job.
Will we find out why he has targeted Sherlock in particular?
Doherty: Yes. We absolutely want to speak to his very specific interest in Sherlock.
What are we going to learn about Sherlock's past through the introduction of Irene Adler?
Doherty: For the first time, we're going to see actual moments from his past. We're going to see him outside of New York and in London. Seeing London isn't so much the point. It's really about how he came to meet and fall for Irene Adler. Our Sherlock is a very complicated guy, to say the least. He has issues with women and the notion of love, and yet, he did fall in love with Irene Adler. So we, the writers, have been itching for a long time to try to show what exactly he saw in her. How did they meet? What was so appealing about her to somebody like our Sherlock? We will tell the story of their courtship, and take the flashbacks all the way up to her demise in the UK.
What can you tell us about your incarnation of Irene Adler?
Doherty: I'd say she's pretty complex herself. She's a bit more left-brained than he is, but most people are. Our Irene made her living as a restorer of older paintings. She did work for museums and private collectors restoring paintings. When Sherlock first meets her, it's case-related. He'll often consult with experts depending on the case he's working. He happens to be doing something art-related, and it leads him to her door.
What will we see for Sherlock and Joan's (Lucy Liu) relationship as he's dealing with the possibility of hunting down Moriarty?
Doherty: Obviously, in London, Moriarty triggered Sherlock's descent into addiction. So for him to appear in New York and eventually face off against Sherlock, that's a lot to take on. You would imagine the stress of it would be trigger enough. But it's hard not to imagine that's something Moriarty would want. Moriarty engineered everything that happened to Sherlock the first time around. So to think he's looming once again, it's something Joan has to be very mindful of.
Sherlock went off the hinges when he first thought Sebastian Moran (Vinnie Jones) was Moriarty. Will we see him handle his rage in a different way this time around?
Doherty: If his reaction was exactly the same, if he went after Moriarty the way he went after Moran, I just fear the stories would feel too similar. He certainly wants to bring Moriarty to justice, and he certainly wants to exact some measure of revenge, but I don't believe we're going to see a Sherlock who's only seeing red.
Especially since Moran was more outwardly brutish, whereas Moriarty has always been described as strategically smart.
Doherty: Yeah. By the time Sherlock realizes Moriarty is around, he recognizes him for the brilliant foe that he is, and he knows he has to focus in a different kind of way.
With Sherlock on the hunt for Moriarty, what will his standing with the police department be like?
Doherty: It's funny. It's one of the challenges of the show. I mean, he's so helpful with the police, and he certainly has a handle on what they do day-to-day, professionally. It's hard for that to work the other way. Sometimes it's difficult for our police to really wrap their heads around everything Sherlock's been through and is going to go through. I can say for sure that he'll definitely have the support and understanding of his friends Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Bell (Jon Michael Hill).
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