BBC One’s Sherlock Holmes may be one of televisions most misunderstood characters.

In the episode titled “The Great Game”, there is a telling seen between John and Sherlock.  The famous pair are chasing a serial bomber who ensnares victims and straps explosives to their bodies.  The bomber then contacts Sherlock through the victim.  

John accuses Sherlock of not caring about the victims.  Sherlock says, “Will caring about them keep them alive?”  John: “No.”  Sherlock: “Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.”

On the surface, this statement is terse and seems to indicate that Sherlock has absolutely no concern for the lives of the victims.  But I don’t think that’s true.  

I think one of the most misunderstood things about Sherlock is how much he really does care.  He just doesn’t show it.  Sherlock is a character of pure and almost unadulterated logic and rationality.  But he is still human.  When Sherlock says, “Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake,” I believe he does care.  He cares so much that he has made the conscious choice to squelch all emotions to make maximum space for his rational side.

Sherlock’s way of caring is to not care.

Sherlock doesn’t to waste time with appearances.  Instead, he focuses his energies on solving the crime.  

The solving of the crime is the ultimate gift to the victim.  Whether it is saving the victim’s life or providing answers for those left behind, Sherlock’s gift shows his humanity however veiled it might be.

So while Sherlock’s exterior is icy, there really is a heart of gold buried somewhere inside.


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