Sherlock fans know they’re unlikely to receive a compliment about their intelligence from the genius detective – other people thinking annoys him. But Benedict Cumberbatch’s partner in crime-solving, Martin Freeman, is a different matter and reckons the show has respect for its clever viewers.
“The writers don’t bang the audience over the head with what they’re supposed to be feeling, they treat the audience like smart people,” Freeman tells RadioTimes.com. “The audience has to keep up with the show."
But it’s not only the twists and turns of Sherlock’s cases that require viewers to pay attention, according to the star, it’s also the relationships at the heart of the show.
"It's not just the deductions but the human interactions that are going on," says the man who plays Sherlock's best friend Dr John Watson. "It’s not all explicit – things are done with a look or non-verbally sometimes that are rather beautiful.”
Freeman remains reluctant to share much detail about the upcoming third series of the BBC1 drama but says that while the relationship between John and Sherlock may develop, even the detective's return after faking his own death will not radically alter the dynamic.
"The essential relationship can’t change that much because there needs to be that air of mutual admiration, and slight mutual antagonism, of friends who love each other but who wind each other up too."
Martin Freeman stars in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in cinemas from Friday 13 December