In the summer of 2011 Danny Boyle created a National Theatre production of 'Frankenstein' in which Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller played the creator and monster and alternately changed nightly. Both actors then went on to play another Victorian creation Sherlock Holmes, both set in the present day, albeit opposite side of the Atlantic.
The creators of this show reportedly went to great lengths to avoid comparisons or potential copyright issues with the British series Sherlock (UK), which also re-tells the story of Holmes in a contemporary setting. One visual cue that was included as a nod to the British series is Holmes' scarf, which is worn the same way as it is in "Sherlock".
Both Jonny Lee Miller who plays Sherlock and Lucy Liu who plays Watson had never read a Sherlock Holmes book before securing roles in the pilot.
Creator Robert Doherty said that one of his motivations in making Dr. Watson a woman was that he wanted to show that men and women can "work and live together and not end up romantically entangled".
Before creating the show, Robert Doherty studied psychological assessments of Sherlock Holmes written by real doctors over the years.
The character Dectective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) is a nod to Author Arthur Conan Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. In 1877 Conan Doyle met Dr. Joseph Bell and served as his clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
The Malbolge program in the show is almost the real thing. It is the same program given in the Wikipedia article on Malbolge except for three or four altered characters about 30 characters missing from the end. The program in the Wikipedia article just displays "Hello World!".
The Malboge code that is written on the back of the Coffee order creates the phrase 'Hello World', not a number generator.
SPOILER: The premise of this episode is partly based on the true story that broke in 2010 of a cell of Russian Sleeper agents who had been "hiding in plain sight" in the United States for decades. Several of them had had children, coworkers, friends, and neighbors who all had no idea that they were spies. These agents were ultimately returned to Russia in a trade for some Americans who were being held by Russia. See also the trivia section for the TV series "The Americans."
The initial "M" is used as a false lead to Moriarty. It may also be a reference to James Bond's boss, also nicknamed "M." The first person to play M on screen was Bernard Lee, who was Jonny Lee Miller's grandfather.
When Sherlock is listing the members of the Red Team, he mentions a "Harold Dresden, Mathemetician." It is quite possible this is a private nod by the writers to the fictitious book character Harry Dresden, Professional Wizard (aka "Magician").
On the napkin Holmes retrieves from the rubbish bin after gathering the remains of The Red Team at the police station, it states that he should find a captain, code name Yossarian. Captain Yossarian is of course the name of the main character in Joseph Heller's 1961 classic 'Catch 22'.
This episode was the lead-out program for Super Bowl XLVII.
The case involving a ferret that Sherlock describes to his addiction group is Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short story "The Adventure Of The Crooked Man".
Holmes claims to be able to identify 140 different brands of cigarettes and cigars by their ash alone, which he says Watson would know if she read his monographs. This is a reference to the original novels, where this is used to show the methodical and focused nature of Sherlock Holmes.
Jonny Lee Miller improvised Sherlock giving the homeless man cash so that he could find shelter.
Sherlock tells Watson that Captain Gregson played Sky Masterson in his high school production of Guys and Dolls. In real life Jon Michael Hill who plays detective Bell played Sky Masterson in high school.
"Verzia" is Slovak for "version". So, the stolen phones were named Toshiwo "Version 8".
This episode marks the beginning of a four episode story arc that ultimately ends with Holmes' confrontation with Moriarty at season's end.
On the phone, Moriarty tells Sherlock to "consider me a spider, I sit motionless at the center of my web. That web has a thousand radiations I know well every quiver of each of them." This is a reference to Sherlock Holmes's description of Moriarty in Arthur Conan Doyle's intended final short story for the character, "The Final Problem".
In the episode 1.17 "Possibility Two," Sherlock mispronounces the name of the bee "osmia avosetta" as "omnia avoseta." In the season finale, he pronounces "osmia" correctly.
In Greek the word ALETHEA means truth.
The P versus NP problem is a major unsolved problem in mathematics and computer science. Informally, it posits whether every problem with a solution which can be quickly verified by a computer can also be quickly solved by a computer. In other words, just because a computer can verify a solution is correct, can that same computer also come up with a solution on it's own? It was introduced in 1971 by Stephen Cook in his seminal paper "The complexity of theorem proving procedures" and is considered by most mathematicians and computer scientists to be the pre-eminent open problem in the mathematics. As the characters suggest, it is actually one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems offered by Clay Mathematics Institute to carry a US $1,000,000 prize for the first correct solution.
Sherlock's screen name in the chat rooms is SHolmes221B. This is a reference to 221B Baker Street, which is Sherlock's home in London and in the original book series.
Actress Margaret Colin, who plays Natalie Gale, played Jane Watson in the TV movie The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987) (TV).