‘Sherlock’ creator Steven Moffat teases Season 4′s ‘tears & devastation’


Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were both in attendance at Monday night’s Emmys. Moffat even picked up a Screenplay Emmy for Sherlock, His Last Vow, which… I mean, I’m a loonie but I think His Last Vow was the weakest of Season 3. If I was in charge of things, I would have made The Sign of Three the Emmy screener. But still, it worked. Sherlock won Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor. And Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch were no-shows. SADS. And then to make matters even worse, when Moffat was speaking to reporters after his win, he teased Season 4 of Sherlock even though we won’t even get to see one friggin’ episode (a Christmas special) until December 2015. Here’s what he had to say:

Sherlock was a big winner at the 66th Primetime Emmys, taking home three awards (to go with the four the show earned at last week’s Creative Arts ceremony), including trophies for stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. In celebrating his win for writing for a miniseries/movie or dramatic special, executive producer Steven Moffat dropped some hints backstage about the British drama’s anticipated fourth season, which begins production in January 2015… Moffat was confident that the new season would be even more gasp-inducing than the previous year, which ended with an unexpected resurrection of a character presumed dead.

“We have a plan to top it — and actually I do think our plan is devastating,” he teased. “We practically reduced our cast to tears by telling them the plan. Honestly, Mark [Gatiss] and myself are so excited with what we’ve got coming up, probably more excited than we’ve ever been about Sherlock. … Honestly I think we can [top the last season].”

Moffat spoke of the surge of Emmy recognition the show has received in its third year.

“We’ve won outside of America, which is a place,” Moffat deadpanned. “We were just starting to think that that phase of our lives was dying down because as shows get older they don’t win as often — just like people. We’re delighted that we’ve made it here and hopefully this gets more people watching. That’d be great.”

He remained mum on when the new episodes would be premiering. “When they go out is up to the BBC,” he said. “And I am their loyal servant. I simply do what they ask me.”

Moffat reassured that the creative team behind the show will continue returning to Sherlock, no matter how busy they may be with other projects. “What’s happening with Sherlock is unusual,” he admitted. “We will keep coming back to it.”

Moffat also joked about Cumberbatch’s Emmy no-show, saying he was “too big to come to the Emmys.”

“Give him hell for that,” he deadpanned.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Moffat’s words have some wondering if a major character is going to die in Season 4. Like, would they kill off John Watson? No. I don’t believe they would do that. As much as I have mixed feelings about Moffat, he respects Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon too much to deviate that drastically from the original stories. But! I wouldn’t rule out killing Lestrade or even Mrs. Hudson. But it will probably be Mary, right? Because – as I only recently learned – Mary dies in the books. Mary will die and John will be devastated.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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92 Responses to “‘Sherlock’ creator Steven Moffat teases Season 4′s ‘tears & devastation’”

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  1. Lindy79 says:

    Honestly, who cares unless they’re making them? The teasing is really tiresome.
    As you say, it’ll be Dec 2015 and then sometime in 2016 (maybe) so really…meh.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      So tiresome. This stretching out of shows makes me lose interest. Whatever.

    • Krista says:

      I think it’s taking so long because they have to coordinate schedules. Cumby takes any role he’s offered lately. Which I think is great because I love him in everything. But he and Martin are such big stars right now I’m sure they don’t have a lot of time.
      That said, I wish they were filming now. I don’t want to wait.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      I hate saying this, but it looks as though producing Sherlock has become something they do when they don’t have anything else cooking. It’s not in the foreground anymore. The Sherlock fans are out here and they’re devoted, but no one ought to be surprised when some of their audience lose interest and drift away.

      • Maggie says:

        I don’t get the “lose interest and drift away” thing.

        It is wonderful every few years to have another set of Sherlock episodes. I don’t get all miffy and tangled up in knots waiting I just get on with life, catch up with new programmes and shout with joy when the new series of Sherlock arrives.

        They fit Sherlock in when it suits everyone and they do it because they love it. They have no long term contracts so it is love that keeps them going. Also remember they are 3/4 90 minute high quality episodes and you could say it is like getting 3/4 films every couple of years and that is standard for movies.

        Star Wars and Star Trek fans don’t drift away as they wait years for the next film.

      • EscapedConvent says:

        I assure you, I’m not tangled up in knots. But thanks!

    • Maria of MD says:

      If they make their audience wait too long, it’s going to go cold and people are going to move on to other shows.

  2. Eleonor says:

    Watson wife is going to die, no surprise for me. I hope before killing her we could have an episode with her history !

  3. Lolo-ology says:

    Uh oh. Moffat is well practiced at decimating the heart and scrambling all it’s feels like so many eggs. :/ But then again, sometimes his misses his aim too, judging by the last season of Doctor Who.

  4. allons-y alonso says:

    Ugh, classic Moffatt! As a side note, I will give it to him, Peter Capaldi’s premiere as The Doctor in ‘Deep Breath’ was wonderful to watch.

    Re Sherlock: I hate saying this because I quite like her character, but if you’re going to kill someone off a show like Sherlock but stick to the canon, Molly Hooper would be the most logical choice. Or Mary. And don’t bring back Irene Adler. Ever.

  5. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    Gaits was not at the Emmies.

  6. starrywonder says:

    I wish that they had won for Sign of Three too since that was the best episode for me besides the first one. And am I the only one that loved Sherlock and Irene Adler? I loved those two together.

  7. 'P'enny says:

    Congrats to the Sherlock award winners, so glad for all of them. Only problem is Moffat is going to get more big headed than before. gRRR. But well happy for Benny and Martin.
    And, I am now wishing my life away waiting Sherlock and Loki and all the rest…

    oh Well Moffatt at least Dr Who is looking good. Capaldi rocked it for me.

  8. Mia4S says:

    Yeah they’re going there with Mary I think (it’s canon) and it will HURT! However it’s written the actors will…well, back to the Emmys I imagine.

    As an aside, I was never big on Matt Smith’s Doctor but Peter Capaldi has brought me back. I love his voice!

  9. uninspired username says:

    “‘We have a plan to top it’”

    Wait, let me guess…ANOTHER character fakes their death?

    ” he respects Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon”

    No he doesn’t.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      I just have to say that I love your user name.

    • Beth says:

      I have to disagree. I think they do a great job of embracing the spirit of the original stories. For example, how Sherlock always gets Lestrade’s name wrong eludes to the fact that in the books he was only ever “G. Lestrade.” And Sherlock does, in fact, use drugs, fake his death, study tobacco ash, etc. I’m not crazy about Moffat’s “Doctor Who” writing, but I think they’ve done a good job with “Sherlock.”

      • uninspired username says:

        I’m not trying to suggest that NOTHING matches up, just that the supposed accuracy is exaggerated.

      • Maggie says:

        It is their take on ACD canon and of course it is altered, modernised but these are two fanboys who write this and they love the originals as well as most of the many iterations.

        I don’t want carbon copies of all the stories but I love the references and cheeky nods to canon and the clever interweaving of a variety of stories into an episode.

        “”"”"I think they do a great job of embracing the spirit of the original stories.”"”"”"
        i agree Beth.

  10. Lilacflowers says:

    Public Service Announcement for those of you who need a BC fix – HBO is airing “Parade’s End” each night this week at 7 PM on one of its channels.

  11. FCH says:


    In the books Mary dies after having a couple of children and if I’m remembering correctly once Watson returns to Sherlock they’re not really ever mentioned. Back then it probably wouldn’t be a big deal but I think today’s audiences would be disappointed if he just shipped his child(ren) off.

    So the options are not killing off Mary, having Mary and the baby go offscreen via a divorce or something or killing off Mary and/or killing off the baby.

    I think they’re going to kill the baby at the very least. That would be pretty devastating. Not killing off Mary and the baby means that his family is something he’ll have to keep in mind before going off on an adventure with Sherlock. To be responsible he wouldn’t want to be as reckless. Not killing off Mary and/or the baby would act as a narrative restraint. I don’t think the divorce scenario is likely because she already shot Sherlock and completely lied about who she was and he forgave her. I don’t think he’ll leave her and I think audiences would react negatively if she left John because of his adventuring with Sherlock and John was like “whatever, laters”. I also don’t think they’ll just kill off Mary because being a single dad would put even more constraints on his ability to go adventuring. As amusing and adorable as watching John and Sherlock raise a little girl would be, I think that would pull too much narrative focus from the mystery solving. Hence, dead baby.

    • itzyblissi says:

      What i think will happen is that Mary’s past comes back to haunt her and she has to leave john to protect him or she disappears with a new identity. Or she fakes her death and moves to australia with the baby, lol.

      One of these, but i really don’t think they will kill her and the baby off.

    • Cloud&feather says:

      Watson doesn’t have any children in the books.

    • Chammy says:

      Mary is played by Amanda Abbington who is Martin “John Watson” Freeman’s real wife.
      I am not sure they will cut her out like that.

      Btw. how about an article about nepotism in the British BBC movie business?
      Parade’s End: Cumberbatch + Daddy Cumberbatch
      Sherlock: Cumberbatch + parents + friend Una Stubbs as landlady, Martin Freeman + wife, written by Moffat, produced by Moffat’s wife…

      • Maggie says:

        “”"”Parade’s End: Cumberbatch + Daddy Cumberbatch
        Sherlock: Cumberbatch + parents + friend Una Stubbs as landlady, Martin Freeman + wife, written by Moffat, produced by Moffat’s wife…”"”"”"

        Don’t forget Mark Gatiss’ husband was the lawyer in TRF. LOL

        Watch any British TV and you can do 3/4/5 degrees of separation very easily. It is a fairly small pool of acting talent.

        I find the nepotism amusing and in Sherlock it has worked very well. Who better to play Sherlock’s parents than the real thing.

    • FCH says:

      It’s been a good decade since I’ve read the books so the children could definitely be in my mind only. :-)

      I guess what it comes down to is I don’t trust Moffat to handle the baby situation…well, I guess, after what he did with the pregnancy plot in Doctor Who which is a similarly adventure type of narrative. I just hope however he resolves this is not as sloppy as it was on DW.

  12. kri says:

    Hisssss!! I happen to love Amanda as Mary, but if they go by canon, well…Mary gets it. She may not go quitely, as in the books, though. I see her taking a bullet (or a knife, or grenade, or an anvil) for john. Or wait-maybe for Sherlock. Hmmm.

  13. grabbyhands says:

    If he really respected Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon, last season would not have been such a soap opera mess and it sounds like it is just going to get worse.

    Although Moffat likes to troll the fans a lot-my guess is that they will go canon and kill off Mary. If they really ARE planning on making it devastating, the baby will die as well. Depending on how much time has passed, perhaps she dies why still pregnant? Or possibly they will kill Molly off. That WOULD be sad-she has been a surprisingly well written character.

    My big fear is that they will continue the downward decline into to fanfiction territory and they’ll kill off both women, leaving the baby behind to be raised by Sherlock and Watson, thereby bringing the creepy fetishistic slash fantasies of the Tumblr faction to life.

    Moriarty coming back could be a huge misdirect-it may be Irene Adler pretending to be him. This is a bad idea too-her character was already ruined once, we don’t need to see how an otherwise ruthless criminal is brought to her knees with sentiment for that Sherlock D.

    • pru says:

      Eeek! Now you have me worried S4 will be filled with Johnlock!

    • Maggie says:

      “”"”"”"My big fear is that they will continue the downward decline into to fanfiction territory and they’ll kill off both women, leaving the baby behind to be raised by Sherlock and Watson, thereby bringing the creepy fetishistic slash fantasies of the Tumblr faction to life.”"”"”"”"”"

      I just cannot see that happening at all.

      • grabbyhands says:

        I would like to think that they wouldn’t but last season was filled with way too many Johnlock fan service nods and the Tumblr crowd in the Sherlock fandom seem to think that Moffat can do no wrong because he indulges that mess and winning an award for it is just going to stoke his ego problem and confirm that all he has to do is continue to gaybait the audience and they will tune in in hopes of getting confirmation. The other faction of fan fiction enthusiasts who seem to want the show to veer off into Rom com land also think he can do no wrong, so the rest of us who just want to see a return to the quality of the first season are left hanging. Like I said to pru, I am pessimistic. I will still tune in two years from now when S4 appears, but I’m not as excited about it as I I used to be.-

  14. sigh((s)) says:

    I thought, based on previous interviews, that they were just going to be shooting the Xmas special in January, and that the 4th series would be shot later in the year?
    I do think they’ll kill off Mary and baby. Like FCH said, there’s just no room in that show for a baby, or even the implications of a baby. I hope they don’t use baby as a plot device though, i.e. For ransom or what have you. That would be crushing, wouldn’t it? Since I’ve said it out loud they probably will.

    • Chammy says:

      Imagine Sherlock holding a baby… *LOL*
      Sherlock: “John??!! John!! It is squeaking? What do I do?”

      Cumberbatch holding a baby – fandom explodes.

      Btw how do they intend to avoid “baby”? Mary Watson was pregnant when Sherlock had to leave…
      Also Mary’s shady past offers too many possibilities for interesting stories.
      I would really like to see how Moffat/Gatiss string together the next one(s).

  15. Elyse says:

    If they wanted to kill of someone to make it devastating, I think the best choices would be Mary or Molly. Since Mary dies in the books she would the most logical choice, though she does have a lot of value as a character. Molly on the other hand never even felt like a real character, she feels like a fanfic shoehorned into the show to appeal to the fan girls. I know Louise Brealey was apart of the cast since the beginning and a lot of people like her, but if they wanted to diverge away from the fan wank that almost ruined series 3, I think she would be the one to go. Or you could kill them both off, to make it even more devastating

    • Marcy says:

      I agree about the Mary scenario based on the books, but I wonder if the out for Moffat/Gatiss is that she is not truly Mary—she stole that name. Who is she really? What is her true first name? Maybe that buys her another season raising the kid…off camera.

      I know in my bones that Sherlock saw what was on that memory stick–John may have think he destroyed it, but no way Sherlock didn’t see it first. He wouldn’t be able to honor his vow to protect them without knowing everything about her past.

  16. Kazlock 1307 says:

    I’m sort of hoping they stick to canon and get rid of Mary.Although I like the character I just don’t see it working out.Gatiss said several times that although they tweak with ACD original novels,they try to never stray too far.

    Hopefully they will develop Molly’s part and not bump her off.I love how she started to grow in series 3.

  17. Aly says:

    I know I’m probably alone in this, but I can’t stand Mary. And adding a baby in the mix was the worst idea ever. Get rid of that crap ASAP please and let’s get back to the way things were. I’m tired over all the over dramatics.

    • MissMary says:

      I wanted to like Mary. I like the *idea* of her. I like what AA did with what she had in terms of a script and material. I just flat don’t like how Moffat writes women and no matter how much “good” he puts in, he always heaps in some mega problematic crap.

  18. pru says:

    Giving Moffat an Emmy was like feeding a troll. I’m sure that he’s going to now think S3 was exceptional and give us more of the same mess in S4. I would have been on board for giving him an Emmy for S1 or 2, but not s3. Ugh. Preparing to be “devastated”, but not in a good way.
    BC and MF, on the other hand, were so deserving of their awards.

    • Elyse says:

      I agree. I love benedict and I’m glad he’s getting awarded for his magnificent work on Sherlock. Same goes for Martin. But series 3 was not praiseworthy at all. It was good and I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t well written, had too many plot-holes (I don’t even think The Empty Hearse had a plot), Sherlock’s fake death explanation was half-assed, Sherlock was way out of character (not even because of development), the mysteries weren’t very engaging, the plot twists were stupid and my god there was way way way too much blatant fanservice. Everything about this series felt like something you’d read out of a fanfic. From the Sherlock/Molly kiss to even making Mary an assassin. I mean I’ll give them this, if they were INTENTIONALLYY trying to make a parody of Sherlock in the entire series 3 by using fanservice I would have been fine with it. It wouldn’t have deserved an Emmy, but it wouldn’t have been as problematic. But they didn’t. They made a legit series out of that and it brought down the quality of the show. Series 1 & 2 were far superior and far more deserving.

  19. Tippet says:

    I think Mary’s gonna die, John is going to need comfort, and Sherlock is finally going to hug him.

  20. Kazlock 1307 says:

    If anyone is going to the Telluride Festival,Benedict is doing a Q&A in Sunday(I think)…
    Who wants to bet he gets asked what Moffatt has in store for Series 4?

  21. Encumbered says:

    That may have to be a super fast flight if this is correct re: Telluride:


    Seems that Benedict was at Richard III tonight with Andrew Scott.

  22. Encumbered says:

    Here we go! Critic Scott Feinberg promises a review of TIG later this evening from Telluride. Viewing is about to begin. Weinstein is present.


    • blended says:

      sounds like feinberg likes it, and ben and keira’s performances too.

    • Maggie says:

      Wonderful reactions to The Imitation Game.

      Check out Reddit


    • Innie Outie says:

      According to Indiewire’s The Playlist twitter, “Imitation Game; classically told British suspense drama. Fairly conventional, and occasionally flawed but absorbs in its winning last act. And Cumberbatch is reliably great. Should be a big crowd pleaser/legit contender.”

      • Maggie says:

        “”"”"”"But dominating it all is Cumberbatch, whose charisma, tellingly modulated and naturalistic array of eccentricities, Sherlockian talent at indicating a mind never at rest and knack for simultaneously portraying physical oddness and attractiveness combine to create an entirely credible portrait of genius at work.

        “”"”"”Colin Kirby @colinjameskirby

        Big ups @tigmovie–incredibly riveting story told thru beautifully acted performances. Will be among absolute best at #tff41 #ImitationGame”"”"”"”

        There are many reviews to come but it had a very positive response and Benedict was widely praised.

      • Innie Outie says:

        @Maggie: yes, I’m also seeing positive to excellent reviews, particularly of Ben’s performance (although I’d really love to read more impressions on Kinnear, Goode, Dance et al, but probably TIG is more of a Cumberbatch star vehicle?). Really looking forward to watching the film when it arrives to theatres!

      • From North of Boston says:

        I/O – some of the reviewers are praising them as well, noting that Cumberbatch is supported by some really good performances, including KK, Dance, Goode, Kinnear, etc. So it sounds like, acting-wise, this film is really solid.

        I’m really eager to see it too!

      • MissMary says:

        I read a review or two that was unhappy w/the ending but I wonder how much of that was b/c it wasn’t a “hollywood happy” ending? Well, guess I’ll have to wait and see when the movie comes out, lol. All the reviews, even the ones not liking the ending, were overall very good to great not just for BC but for the rest of the cast, and the writing, as well.

      • blended says:

        i’m seeing it at TIFF so i’ll let you guys know what i think.

  23. Kazlock 1307 says:

    If anyone is heading to Telluride, please update us on BC’s Q&A tomorrow… Particularly if his secret gf makes an appearance. You’ll recognise her instantly, she’s a blonde brunette with chunky thin ankles wearing a tube top lace dress…and measuring 6 “in height so she fits in his pocket !

  24. Lea says:

    Benedict has really great reviews for Turing, even from critics who didn’t like the movie.
    It’s still very early but he could get a nom at the Oscars.

    • MissMary says:

      I’d love to see him get a nomination (and ngl, I’d love to see him bring his parents because how adorable and great would that be, esp as he talks so much about how they supported his dreams and how they encouraged him even though they knew how hard it could be, etc). I hear Steve Carrell is competition which is surprising but he’s also a very underrated actor so… *crossing fingers*

  25. Kazlock 1307 says:

    Hello my lovelies.
    Has BC arrived at Tulleride yet?

    • MissMary says:

      He’s not going to Telluride if he’s doing filming/recording for Jungle Book and rehearsing for Richard III. They did a Q&A with the director though. he’s definitely scheduled for TIFF next week (I think it’s next week?) though.

  26. Kazlock 1307 says:

    Someone posted the Telluride programm on a FB page and it said personal appearance at Q&A. I asked the page owner and she said it was confirmed he would be there.

    • MissMary says:

      Oh, well… never mind, lol. Now I’m curious! Well, I was before but now moreso. I know he’s supposedly confirmed to be at the Austin Film Fest in October and I’m sorely tempted to go as i live within a very short drive, but I just know I’d either say something dumb (“I really enjoy your work” would be “Work more damn it!” or something lol) or end up on a “what NOT to wear” thing in a tabloid because I’m standing near pretty-dressed people while wearing a weird t-shirt and holey jeans or something.

      • Kazlock 1307 says:

        Lol! Love the way you think!!
        Someone really needs to go to Telluride and report back.Now that Daily Fail and Mirror have jumped on secret gf bandwagon it may smoke her out…

      • MissMary says:

        It amuses me that the “sighting” of him at the movie went from “He was with Loo and some other friends” to “omg he was with a girl! and they were dancing!” to the lady at the Fail saying she saw them kissing and cuddling. And it all stems from that one blog *eye roll*. Esp funny b/c people are swearing they saw him there Friday when Loo was there earlier in the week, and he was apparently with her and another friend or two. I’m classing it in the same arena as the garlic bread story, ngl. I don’t think he’s making the Telluride junket esp as it’s after 4 pm there now and no reports of him (that I’ve seen). Where did the OP get their confirmation of his attendance? Sometimes folks who confirm early end up having to retract later because of filming or other committments.

        ETA: I checked Cumberbatchweb’s page and she has no notice of him appearing at Telluride so… maybe he cancelled if he confirmed?

      • Kazlock 1307 says:

        MissMary. OP had a magazine programm posted that said it.But non of the other fan pages knew about it. So not sure how reliable it is.
        Secret Cinema outing has a few different stories I think.One said it was Ben and brunette with Loo and her partner.Another said there was a group of people(to me that means more than 4)
        An instagram user put on that she’d seen BC with his gf,but then wouldn’t answer how she knew it was s gf and not just a friend,because she didn’t want to invade his privacy!Why post it on social media in first place then?
        Loo confirmed she was there at same time as BC.
        Trip to National theatre made the Mirror.Still can’t make sense of pucs.Reporter there said he had a protective arm around his date as they left through the bar.T analysed that pic and concluded hisbsrms were at his front and side.And by the angles he was walking behind her not at her side.
        All in all I think it must have been a slow entrainment news day. Neither column is reliable.

      • MissMary says:

        The Fail is notoriously snarky about/with him because he refuses to be baited (more like I think his PR refuses to be baited) and are always looking for dirt on him. The Mirror is just about as bad, if not worse (they’ve won some awards but if you look up their history, see how many lawsuits they’ve had against them for printing lies and sometimes things that got people seriously harmed). It’s more of the tempest in a teapot situation and they wanted to jump on the train of the last gasps of the IG brouhaha from the theatre (Fail didn’t even get the name of the play right). Any time a celeb is spotted with someone of another gender, someone who says they’re a fan will swear it’s their gf/bf and then play coy. “See, aren’t I a good fan? I know SECRETS but won’t say how!” Fosters a sense of intimacy, feeds their gossip (“their” meaning anyone into that gossip scene hardcore) and since the celebs usually ignore the small rumors, it looks true and no one ever really knows one way or another.

        I’m still sticking with the “he’s casually dating but too busy for a secret gf” train.

        I saw the pic of the program for Telluride and it looks like BC was supposed to be part of the Q&A they had with the director earlier today so maybe he had to cancel due to his filming schedule? Hmmmm.

      • Kazlock 1307 says:

        I’m sticking with the girlfriend in his pocket idea!Lol x

    • MissMary says:

      @Kazlock: lol, it makes the most sense, really!

      And now some third tier tabs are reporting the “story” and apparently, Loo’s name is Molly Harper. 0_o Nice reportin’ there, folks.