Spoilers follow for those who have not read the original Sherlock Holmes books
It may be a long way off, it may never happen, but Martin Freeman suspects that a major Sherlock character will meet their end before the series reaches its conclusion.
Freeman, who plays Dr John Watson in the BBC1 detective drama, has good and bad news for fans of the show, confirming that his real-life partner Amanda Abbington will continue as his onscreen wife Mary Morstan “for the foreseeable future”, but adding that “at some point presumably she’ll die.”
Mary passes away in the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and while Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat tend to pick and choose which elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s adventures they incorporate into the drama they have stayed true to the central developments, such as the detective’s death-defying plunge and John’s marriage to Mary.
“While we play fast and loose with the original stories, we generally follow the trajectory of what Conan Doyle did,” Freeman told The Telegraph. “So he gets married, and then Mary dies – so at some point presumably she’ll die.”
According to canonical chronology, Abbington’s character has already outlived her literary counterpart. In the original stories, Mary Morstan dies sometime during the period between Holmes’s apparent death at the Reichenbach Falls and his return three years later, both of which have already taken place in Sherlock.
But while we assume the 19th-century Mary died of natural causes, Abbington’s kick-ass former assassin could well meet her end in a more spectacular way. And if and when that happens, there’s one bright side for fans… the original stories see Dr Waston and Sherlock Holmes back where they belong following Mary’s death – having adventures together in their Baker Street rooms…