How Sherlock Managed To Fake His Death After Season 2 Of The BBC Show


Sherlock is on indefinite hiatus, with season 5 not ruled out but not on its way anytime soon, either. Though this is an extra-long and excruciating wait, fans of the BBC detective drama have always had to be patient in between seasons. After season 2 in 2012, for example, we had to sit tight a full two years before season 3 arrived in 2014 and we finally found out how the sleuth had faked his death in the last episode, “The Reichenbach Fall.”

In the final installment of season 2, it appeared that Moriarty had won, forcing Sherlock to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of St. Bart’s Hospital to save the life of his friends who were being threatened by the villain’s snipers. However, the last scene revealed that Sherlock was alive, as he was glimpsed standing in the shadows by his own grave. The season 3 opener then played with audiences by offering up lots of fake explanations, before the “real” one was delivered.

You see, Sherlock predicted Moriarty’s schemes and had prepared various different methods of faking his death. When the situation played out the way it did, he texted a codeword to his brother Mycroft to initiate one of their plans. In his farewell phone call, he warned John to stay back, where his view of the jump would be obstructed by an ambulance station, leaving Sherlock free to land on an airbag. A cyclist, one of Sherlock’s Homeless Network, then knocked over John to delay him. During this time, more of his agents removed the airbag and prepared the scene for Sherlock to lay on the ground and look like he had just fallen to his death

As for the body that was buried in his place, Sherlock and Mycroft tracked down the body of Moriarty’s lackey who resembled the detective – this had been set up in “TRF” when the kidnapped girl screamed upon seeing Sherlock. They knew Moriarty would have killed the man to tie up loose ends and so used him as Sherlock’s double. Molly Hooper, in her job as a pathologist, then covered all the official identification and paperwork, making her the only one of the 221B gang who was in on it.

Predicting that fans would find holes in this explanation, there are tongue-in-cheek hints in season 3’s premiere, “The Empty Hearse,” that this is actually another fakeout. However, just for the sake of our own sanity, this is generally considered to be the correct account of what happened. But if you’ve got an even smarter theory, then feel free to make it part of your own Sherlock headcanon.