[first broadcast 11/09/05]
While the BAU team was temporarily stumped over why someone was killing families who were supposed to be on vacation, Special Agent Jason Gideon said:
"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
(Or at least a near paraphrasing of that original quote.)
Special Agent Derek Morgan understood the origin of the quote, but dismissed it:
"Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character."
I don't know if they cut back to show Gideon's reaction or not, but I can picture him with a quiet, knowing smile about Morgan's claim. No matter which world you're in, even the Trueniverse, people make that assumption all the time - that Holmes was a literary creation of Arthur Conan Doyle who lived only in the pages of the Strand.
Here in the Real World, the organization known as the Baker Street Irregulars knows the Truth - Holmes lived; Dr. Watson wrote the stories based on their true-life adventures; and Conan Doyle served merely as their literary agent, but for which he eventually became linked to the authorship of the stories. After about 120 years of this view holding sway, most of the world thinks of Holmes as being fictional (even if many still write to him at 221B Baker Street, hoping he might solve their problems).
And that's just the way Sherlock Holmes most likely preferred it.
He tried on his own in the past to just disappear from the public stage several times, usually in connection with a case of high import like the destruction of Professor Moriarty's web of a criminal empire. But somehow, despite extensive globe-trotting under the assumed name of Sigerson, no matter where he went his fame was always close behind. He could never escape it. It hindered him; hobbled his pursuits and he tired of it all.
There would have been only one person capable of helping Sherlock Holmes to completely erase the notoriety of his life so that he might pass among the populace undeterred by his preceding fame - and that would be his older brother with a far greater intelligence, Mycroft Holmes.
Although his position was never fully revealed, Mycroft served as some kind of advisor to the Crown. More than likely he was truly the "power behind the throne", an entire National Security Agency all rolled into one man.
And he had been successful in keeping his contributions to the world a secret from almost everyone. To the public eye, he was a retired gentleman of means who spent his days idling at the Diogenes Club in Pall Mall. But in fact, his massive intellect was trained on the kingdom's safety in the face of a looming threat as Europe grew ever more like a powderkeg with the dawn of the 20th Century fast approaching.
Mycroft's analytical mind foresaw that war would be inevitable, and if the entire world was a giant chessboard, Mycroft meant to stay many moves ahead in planning. He saw the need for his brother's services decades into the future, but for which Sherlock would have to go undercover to establish a new identity.
For that, Sherlock Holmes would have to be "disappeared", as if he had never even existed, in fact. And so Sherlock became the Victorian version of 'The Nowhere Man'.
The groundwork had already been laid. Even though the stories chronicling his cases had been written by his friend John Watson in the first person, they always were presented in the Strand Magazine with the name of Arthur Conan Doyle affixed as the author. In fact, he only served as the go-between the publisher and his aquaintance, a fellow doctor.
Mycroft built on this; feeding the public image of his brother as just a fictional character while Sherlock weaned himself from society. He stopped working cases, moved away to Sussex, and used the time in preparation for his work to prevent a world-wide war. To keep his mind clear and to avoid the boredom that might have led him back to the seven percent solution of cocaine, Sherlock studied bees and learned the longevity secrets of the royal jelly.
And all the while, he quickly faded from the memory of the people of London as having lived there at all. As for those whose lives touched upon his (Watson, Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson, Inspector Lestrade), their fame had always been reflected in that of Holmes. So while his fame diminished over time, theirs faded even more quickly. In some cases, it was completely snuffed out. And none of them saw anything untoward in their blending back into the anonymity of the general populace.
So that's why there is no Zonk! in the statement made by Special Agent Morgan. As far as he was concerned, Sherlock Holmes had been fictional and yet the Great Detective actually existed back in the 19th Century and well into the early decades of the 20th.
Is Holmes still alive? Well, in some alternate dimensions of Toobworld, yes. In at least two of those worlds, Holmes found himself cryogenically preserved, only to be revived in the latter part of the 20th Century. Over in the Tooniverse, he didn't come back into play until the 22nd Century!
But I think reality has to be observed when it comes to Earth Prime-Time. Despite the amazing extensions made to his lifespan by the royal jelly, eventually (as it does for all men) Death came for Charles Fost- er, Sherlock Holmes.
And how can we be certain of this? Because for the main TV Universe, Jeremy Brett WAS Sherlock Holmes, despite the fact that others before him - like Ronald Howard and Peter Cushing, - assayed the role on Television. And with the death of Brett, we should consider Holmes to have eventually passed away as well.....
"It's not who you are, it's who people think you are."
Sheriff Lucas Buck
Sheriff Lucas Buck