Did Amanda Abbington tweet a cryptic Sherlock clue?

Or are we reading far too much into a throwaway picture...?

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**SPOILER ALERT – do NOT keep reading if you haven’t watched the first episode of Sherlock series four**

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So, anyone who’s seen last Sunday’s Sherlock series opener will know that the final portion of the episode delivered a major shock for fans.

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The twist in question saw the demise of Amanda Abbington’s character Mary Watson (née Morstan) who leapt in the path of a bullet aimed at Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. 

The last time we saw Holmes and Mary’s husband, John Watson, they were estranged with the latter blaming the detective for the death of his wife and Mary pleading with Sherlock, via a pre-recorded video, to “save” her spouse. 

We all know the cast and creators of Sherlock love to tease and toy with fans. That being said, a tweet sent by Abbington has caught our eye. Why? Because she’s sporting a striking red wig…

Now, there are two things to note here. 1) Abbington spent a chunk of the opening episode in a wig as her character went on the run from Sacha Dhawan’s vengeful assassin. She donned a number of different hairstyles, but none saw her appear as a redhead. Of course, the wig above could have been used in a scene cut from the episode, or…

2) There’s a significance in the resemblance she bears to the mysterious E – the woman John Watson enjoys a dalliance with after their encounter on the bus.  

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OK, the hair colour’s a bit different – and yes, we’re probably clutching at straws here – but hey, what’s a fan to do when a main character is killed off in such dramatic fashion?

We weren’t the only ones to point out the follicle similarities between the pair…

And some fans continue to live in hope: 

It’s also worth pointing out that one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories is titled The Red-Headed League, although even our brightest Sherlock minds couldn’t draw a connection between the wig and that particular tale. 

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What do you think? A throwaway tweet or a significant hint dropped ahead of next week’s episode? We’ll let you be the judge.