Jul. 25, 2010
Returning Series
90 min.
BBC One TV Network

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Sherlock (UK) » Season 3
Sherlock (UK) - 03x01 The Empty Hearse

3x01 The Empty Hearse

4.59/5 (44 votes)
First Aired: Jan. 01, 2014 on BBC One
Summary: A couple of years after the shocking effects of The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has managed to move on with his life. London is under threat of a huge terrorist attack and Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so easily to him.

Watch Episode On:

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Main Characters in this Episode

Guest Stars

DI Lestrade played by Rupert Graves (II)
Anderson played by Jonathan Aris
Howard Shilcott played by David Fynn
Laura played by Sharon Rooney
Torturer played by Tomi May
Bonfire Dad played by Rick Warden
Zoe played by Trixiebell Harrowell
Reporter 1 played by Lovelace Akpojaro

Episode Quotes

Sherlock Holmes: I calculated that there were thirteen possibilities once I'd invited Moriarty onto the roof. I wanted to avoid dying, if at all possible. The first scenario involved hurling myself into a parked hospital van filled with body bags. Impossible. The angle was too steep. Secondly, a system of Japanese wrestling...
Dr. John Watson: You know, for a genius, you can be unbelievably thick.
Sherlock Holmes: What?
Dr. John Watson: I don't care HOW you did it. I want to know WHY.
Mrs. Hudson: Oh, I'm really pleased, Mary. Have you set a date?
Mary Morstan: Uh, well, we thought May.
Mrs. Hudson: Ah, a spring wedding.
Mary Morstan: Yeah. Well, once we've actually got engaged.
Dr. John Watson: Yeah.
Mary Morstan: We were interrupted last time.
Dr. John Watson: Yeah.
DI Lestrade: Well, I can't wait.
Mary Morstan: You will be there, Sherlock?
Sherlock Holmes: Weddings - not really my thing.
Sherlock Holmes: I can't be seen working with an old man.


  • Goof (errors made by characters, possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When discussing the missing part of the underground-train Sherlock refers to them as 'carriages' while just moments ago they learned from the train enthusiast that they are called 'cars'. Sherlock would have integrated this information immediately after learning this (if in fact he didn't already knew it before) and would not keep referring to it by the wrong name.
  • Goof (crew or equipment visible): Towards the end, when Sherlock and Mary are driving to save John, a brief scene before they arrive at the police barricade clearly shows a shadow of the camera/crew on the ground.
  • Goof (continuity error): The train shown on security footage is 1996 Stock train for Jubilee line. The wagon found by Sherlock and John is 1972 Stock for Bakerloo line. And the interior for that wagon was borrowed from D78 Stock for District line.
  • Goof (continuity error): Sherlocke's tombstone appears to have changed locations between this episode and the series two finale. In the latter, the tombstone stands somewhat isolated, in front of a huge tree, with no more tombs around. In "The Empty Hearse", however, the tombstone stands behind the tree, in the middle of an opening, with several other tombstones around.


  • Two of the clients that come to visit Sherlock Holmes are a stepfather and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter is concerned about the sudden disappearance of her on-line admirer with whom she had regular contact. Sherlock deduces that the stepfather had been using an avatar on the internet to keep tabs on his stepdaughter's actions. This is a reference to Arthur Conan Doyle's short story 'A Case Of Identity'.
  • Some of the scenes revealing how Sherlock faked his own death were filmed during production of "Sherlock" (2010) {The Reichenbach Fall (#2.3)}. Still, according to an interview with Benedict Cumberbatch on The Graham Norton Show (UK), much of it was re-shot for this episode. And as before, Benedict Cumberbatch performed the rooftop jump stunts himself.
  • SPOILER: Sherlock tells Anderson that he and Mycroft had anticipated thirteen possible scenarios that could happen on the roof. Each possibility had a code name and a plan of action attached to it. Sherlock texts his brother one of the code names ('LAZARUS'), a direct reference to the biblical Lazarus, who was resurrected by Jesus. Previously, Mark Gatiss - this episode's writer (as well as portraying Sherlock's brother, Mycroft) - appeared in "Doctor Who" (2005) {The Lazarus Experiment (#3.6)} playing the character of Professor Richard Lazarus.
  • The multiple alternate explanations for Holmes surviving the fall within this episode are, in part, based upon viable alternate fan theories discussed online.
  • SPOILER: Showrunner Mark Gatiss has said that they changed the solution to how Sherlock survived the fall from Series 2 due to the layout of St. Bart's Hospital. "We were going to do it as a two-stage trick. There was going to be a platform, like a window-cleaning platform, which Sherlock would hit, then another body would drop out of it. That's why there's a reference in the newspaper to the refit of a historic hospital, then we changed our minds because Toby Haynes, the director of Reichenbach, noticed that the ambulance station was at exactly the right point."
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