ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

When you stop and do the math, and consider the fact that the BBC intend to begin filming Sherlock Season 4 in spring next year, you come to realize that the show will be premiering in 2017! I don't even know what the world will be like in 2017! All I know is that we'll have more Marvel movies, and we'll have Sherlock Season 4! It's a strange and frightening future, that's for sure!

Sherlock Season 4 in 2017

Such a long wait does however mean that we can guess and speculate to no end as to the show's content, and nothing will be deemed truly wrong. Obviously we shouldn't do it too loudly, or Steven Moffat might hear, crossing off every idea we cotton on to so he can still surprise his audience. The reason so many fans feel the pain of these giant gaps is that Sherlock is such a short and fleeting experience as it is.

We take whatever we can get, and have so far managed to stretch a response to nine episodes into an entire fandom. An example of this fan thirst is with the reaction to Irene Adler, who has appeared in a total of two episodes. Could Irene Adler make an appearance in Sherlock Season 4, and what would be the fan reaction to it?

Why was Irene Adler popular?

What was it about this character that made viewers want her as a mainstay of the series? Short answer? This scene. Long answer? This scene.

While yes, it is a little rote that the scene most people latch on to is one where the female lead is introduced naked, the real core of this introduction involves the male hero being corrupted. We as an audience like the idea of someone as infallible as Sherlock Holmes being reduced to a sexually-minded dullard, y'know... just like the rest of us!

What could Adler do in Sherlock Season 4?

Though the obvious possibility for Irene Adler's implementation in Sherlock Season 4 would be to develop a potential relationship of any kind with Sherlock himself, both show runners and fans seem to enjoy her more as an antagonistic figure. As for any other use in the show, Irene Adler could of course embark on her own subplot aside from Sherlock and Watson. I will always take a "more the merrier" approach to these kinds of shows, but it seems I am being contested by the very people who make Sherlock happen.

Mark Gatiss

Pictured: Not Mark Gatiss
Pictured: Not Mark Gatiss

Co-creator, and Moffat conspirator, Mark Gatiss had a very particular take on the potential of Irene Adler's return in Sherlock Season 4, in that he basically doesn't agree with the fans who want her back.

I understand what Gatiss is getting at here, essentially positing that if you subsume fan favorites into the status quo of the show, then you rob the character of any weight they had in their own respective stories. It would make Irene Adler the Green Ranger of Sherlock. Suddenly the thrust of the character isn't there, and everyone's a bit too pally. I suppose that's the backlash you get when your show is so fleeting that fans will grab for the slightest detail and make it a vital component of future endeavors. Should Sherlock ultimately side with fan desires, or with Mark Gatiss' narrative sensibilities? I'm of the opinion that stories only get too cosy if you let them get that way, but perhaps it's that callousness that stops me writing for the BBC... yep. That is definitely the only reason!

You can check out more of my coverage on Sherlock Season 4 here!


Is it worth bringing back Irene Adler for Sherlock Season 4?


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