Benedict Cumberbatch: “Sherlock shouldn’t be someone you want to cosy up with”

The detective is "dangerous" with a "dark edge" says the actor – especially when he's been beaten

There were kisses and cuddles, pet names and even some bath-time fun for Sherlock during the series three finale. But fans who fancy emulating the detective’s relationship with his short-lived “girlfriend” Janine definitely have the wrong idea, says Benedict Cumberbatch.


“He shouldn’t be someone you want to cosy up with,” Cumberbatch warned an audience of devotees recently. “You should feel compelled by his company, but you should really know how dangerous he is.”

That dangerous streak was particularly evident at the end of that episode, His Last Vow, when the seemingly infallible detective shot dead his nemesis Charles Augustus Magnussen after being intellectually out-manoeuvred.

Cumberbatch acknowledges that his character was forced into such drastic actions in order to protect his friend John, who was at Magnussen’s mercy, but he also points out that it’s a situation that resulted from the detective’s own failings – that Sherlock had been beaten.

“He loses, that’s what happens, and that’s why he does horrible things,” said Cumberbatch. “It is a form of self-sacrifice but its because he’s out-played. And I really wanted to do that – I wanted him to turn into something that was unforgivable really, in a sense, and [show] that it was his responsibility rather than external circumstances [that had caused it]. He was left with no choice because he had trapped himself into a corner.”

Cumberbatch said he had been keen to explore the sinister side of Sherlock that he had always known was there.

“I’m really happy that there was that dark edge brought back in because there is that within the character,” he said, also revealing that he had become rather deeply invested in exactly how Sherlock would dispatch the one man who he truly despised.

“I was thrilled with the episode, I thought it was fantastic,” sad Cumberbatch. “I dreamt up other ways that I wanted to kill him…” 

Sherlock Series 1–3 Deluxe Edition on iTunes