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The Dying Detective 

A man dies of a mysterious tropical disease on which his cousin, his heir, is the sole authority.


Sarah Hellings


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), T.R. Bowen (screenplay) (as T.R.Bowen)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Doctor Watson
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
Jonathan Hyde ... Culverton Smith
Susannah Harker ... Adelaide Savage
Hugh Bonneville ... Victor Savage (as Richard Bonneville)
Roy Hudd ... John Gedgrave (aka Frank Carter)
T.R. Bowen T.R. Bowen ... Charles Damant (as Trevor Bowen)
John Labanowski John Labanowski ... Inspector Morton
Rowland Davies Rowland Davies ... Colonel Carnac
Caroline John ... Mrs Carnac
Shaughan Seymour Shaughan Seymour ... Penrose Fisher
Keiran Flynn Keiran Flynn ... Benson
Malcolm Hebden ... Staples
Mary Tenpow Mary Tenpow ... Chinese Lady (as Mary Ten Pow)


Sherlock Holmes is approached by Mrs. Adelaide Savage who is concerned about her husband, Victor. He is a successful and rich financier by profession but is a poet at heart. He has taken to using opium regularly and has been acting strangely, she believes, as a result. Holmes accepts to look into the case and soon spends a weekend at their country estate. There he finds that Culverton Smith, Savage's cousin, is also in residence. A bookish man, whose only accomplishment is to be known as the principal authority on a very rare tropical poison, Smith's behavior is odd from the outset. Savage is clearly a sick man and when he dies, Holmes surprises Watson - who is certain Smith responsible - by seeming somewhat nonchalant about it all. When Holmes himself becomes deathly ill, apparently with the same affliction that struck Savage, he summons him to Baker Street to close the case. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tropical disease | opium den | See All (2) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 March 1994 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Hugh Bonneville is listed in the credits as Richard Bonneville. Richard is the actor's middle name. See more »


[first lines]
Benson: Mister Savage, sir. I didn't know, sir. Sir, I didn't know.
Victor Savage: It's all right, Benson. Last minute decision.
See more »


Referenced in DuckTales: The 87 Cent Solution! (2019) See more »

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User Reviews

The best episode of "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"?
17 November 2011 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

I'd say yes! This is a simply amazing episode and not only my personal favourite of "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" but also of the entire Jeremy Brett adaptations. And I say this as a devout fan of Brett and of the Granada series.

As with the case of all the Brett Holmes adaptations, The Dying Detective is wonderfully made. The costumes, scenery and sets are beautiful and very evocative, and the atmosphere is suitably meticulous. For me, The Dying Detective also has some of the best camera work of the series.

The music always did have an ability to move and haunt me, and The Dying Detective without being too obtrusive or low key is no exception. The script is intelligently written and the story from start to finish is compelling and the most well paced in my opinion of the Memoirs adaptations.

Not only this, the final ten minutes manage to be both intense and moving, intense because of the atmosphere and the quality of Hyde's performance and moving because of simply knowing how ill Jeremy Brett was at the time. Regardless of this, the gritty baritone and commanding presence are still there and I'd go as far to say it is one of Brett's best performances of the entire series mainly due to its emotional weight.

Edward Hardwicke is an ideal and thoughtful contrast, and in support Jonathan Hyde's chilling turn stands out. Overall, a truly wonderful episode and one of my personal favourites of this great series. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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