ByAnna Marie Kelsey, writer at
I love Sherlock, Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., and everything in-between.

As theories fly thick and fast concerning Steven Moffat’s Sherlock, a large amount of them concern the villain Moriarty. After all, how could they not? Between Sherlock’s fake death and speculation on whether or not his nemesis did the same and the final scene in season three, there are a lot of things to think about. A writer for the blog “No Sht Sherlock”, raeshelle, speculated that maybe the Jim Moriarty we have seen is not the real Moriarty, but a paid actor working for Sherlock’s own brother, Mycroft. Supriyo Mukherjee, an author on “Scoop Whoop” has a whole list on why Sherlock’s mother is Moriarty. And while there are dozens of similar theories on who the real Moriarty is floating around the internet, these people are only just scratching the surface of what it truly going on.

What if Moriarty was Moriarty—just not the only Moriarty? I propose that Moriarty is not just a name, but title. In the end of Sherlock’s season four episode, “The Abominable Bride”, the Victorian/high detective discovers a whole league of women, all of them taking upon the name and face of a dead bride in order to exact some revenge of their own. Then, in the end, Sherlock states that, “Moriarty is dead, no question. More importantly, I know exactly what he’s going to do next” (“The Abominable Bride” 2016). Connecting the two events, the clues obviously point to a secret society within the show, with the name Moriarty being as interchangeable as the title, “The Bride”.

Moriarty as the Abominable Bride
Moriarty as the Abominable Bride

So now that we know that there is a secret society of Moriarty’s, the next logical question is to ask who the members of this secret club could be. Considering the fact that the secret society of “The Bride” was based in England, and that all of its members sported familiar faces, it is likely that this newly discovered society will have similar qualities. Therefore, in order to identify them, we must look into the people that are close to Sherlock. After some research, and drawing on inspiration from other theorists, I have found a list of people most likely to be in this group. My choices are Mrs. Holmes (whose first name is never given), Mycroft Holmes, and the ever lovely Mrs. Hudson. Though some people may disagree that these people could never be tied to Jim Moriarty, the writers have left a multitude of hints and clues in the show that point to these conclusions, despite each character's seaming innocence.

1. Mrs. Holmes

Mrs. Holmes comes on as a seemingly docile, absent-minded woman. However, in Sherlock season three, episode three, we find out during a Christmas party that Mrs. Holmes is a brilliant mathematician. Not only is she extremely well versed in such a difficult field, but she even wrote her own book. The name of the book? “The Dynamics of Combustion”. Some of you may be asking, so what? Being a genius isn’t a crime, and it is not a reliable indicator of complicity with some secret society. But if you look back in the original Sherlock Holmes books, you can find that the original Moriarty was actually a Professor—a math professor. A math professor who wrote the book, “The Dynamics of an Asteroid”, and was unparalleled in his field (Supriyo Mukherjee, 2016). Once all the facts are laid out in such an organized manner, the uncanny similarities begin to unfold. Mrs. Holmes and the original Moriarty were both math experts. They both wrote books with titles that are nearly identical. Because of these similarities, she has earned her place on this list of people who bear the name Moriarty.

Mary holding Mrs. Holmes' book
Mary holding Mrs. Holmes' book

2. Mycroft Holmes

Another person who deserves a spot on this list is Mycroft Holmes. In fact, he is a stronger candidate than his lovely mother. No one can deny the obvious power that he holds. He is elegant, persuasive, and, as it has been hinted to and stated throughout the series, even smarter than Sherlock. Mycroft is in the perfect position to be part of the Moriarty organization, and he is already part of the Diogenes club, which thrives on silence and secrecy. He has the power and prestige to accomplish any of his goals, and his ability to manipulate and control everyone around him is unquestionable. He even shares undeniable similarities with the Jim Moriarty in the Sherlock series. Both Mycroft and Moriarty wear expensive suits, thrive on anonymity, are brilliant real-world chess players, and they have both kidnapped John Watson because of their interest in Sherlock Holmes. If there was anyone worthy of donning the name “Moriarty” besides Doyle’s original, Mycroft Holmes is that man. Because of all this, he has rightfully earned his place on this list.

3. Mrs. Hudson

The final person I believe to be a member of this group, and probably the most devious, is Mrs. Hudson. Many would argue that the grandmotherly Mrs. Hudson could hardly hurt a fly, let alone comprehend anything happening around her due to lack of intellect and the amount of “herbal soothers” she’s consumed during her lifetime. But that is her perfect cover. After all, how many people, both in the show and the real world, forget that Mrs. Hudson’s husband was the leader of a drug cartel in the Americas? It is easy to dismiss, given her seemingly doting and senile behavior. Though she has seemingly become a comedic relief character, that is exactly how “Jim from I.T.” (Sherlock, “The Great Game”) was introduced. So while she may claim that the only thing that she did for her husband was bookkeeping and exotic dancing, her connection with this mysterious group indicates a far more sinister explanation for what really happened with her husband, and how she have in the past and is currently manipulating Sherlock.

Despite Sherlock Holmes practically being a walking lie detector, the show’s fans have seen a few instances in which the self-proclaimed psychopath has ignored clues about the women in his life that he doesn’t want to see. First, he was blind to Irene Adler’s (A.KA. “The Woman”) duplicity when she tricked him and sold his deductions to Moriarty in “A Scandal in Belgravia”. A mistake for which he nearly suffered greatly. Then, in “His Last Vow”, Sherlock ignored the signs of deceit he clearly picked up on with Mary due to her importance to John, and therefore Sherlock. A mistake for which he did suffer. So what about Mrs. Hudson? What could he have possibly ignored or missed because of his attachment to her?

Mrs. Hudson didn’t help her husband with the cartel. She ran it. What really happened in Florida? Mrs. Hudson could have simply gotten bored of her husband, as the show points out that geniuses often fall victim to boredom. She could also have reacted in retaliation if her husband had attempted to take over her business. It is also possible that Mr. Hudson got caught by the police due to his own ineptitude. Whatever happened, the result is the same. Mrs. Hudson covered up her own role in the business, and employed and manipulated Sherlock to ensure that her husband received the death penalty for whatever she took offence to. Afterwards, she was free to move back to England and retire, taking her drug money with her. With her clever and ruthless cunning, manipulation, and excellent planning, Mrs. Hudson is a very worthy candidate to bear the name Moriarty.

Mrs Hudson from BBC's Sherlock
Mrs Hudson from BBC's Sherlock

What is Their Purpose?

Now that three of its members have been identified, the focus should be shifted to the actual group itself. After all, why would an organization choose the name Moriarty? While it is possible that the group could have a different name, or no name at all, the name Moriarty has an intriguing and telling definition. The name Moriarty in and of itself is Irish in origin, and one of its translations means “navigator” (Wikipedia 2016), or guide. The reason this definition would be so important to this group is due the member’s perceived calling, or mission. Their goal or motto is to find their own way of fulfilling the call to guide or “navigate” those around them.

This would logically lead people to ask what kind of guiding Jim Moriarty could have possibly done during his deranged life time. The answer lies in his own job description: consulting criminal. Though an obviously deranged member of the group, this Moriarty undoubtedly took on his own definition of what it meant to guide his fellow man. he guided his criminal charges through violence, lies, manipulation, and any and every kind of criminal act imaginable. His games could also have been some mad interpretation in which he lead and challenged Sherlock. Obviously, at least one other member disagreed with Jim. Mycroft Holmes’ actions led, or perhaps even guided, Moriarty’s to his demise at the end of his own game. Because of this, there is a question to whether or not there will be repercussions for interfering with another member of the groups plans, and whether or not the “miss me” signs may be a part of it. Now that we have established that Jim has definitely guided those around him, however, it is time to explain how the others on this list guide those around them.

In “His Last Vow”, Mrs. Holmes is revealed to be not only a mathematical genius, but that she gave up her career in order to raise her sons. Though she would have been able to do a lot of guiding with her fellow colleagues and possible students, it cannot be denied that mothers have a lot of influence on their children and their lives. Considering the fact that at least one of her children is already on the membership list (though the mysterious third brother might be as well), it cannot be said that her guidance has gone to waste. She undoubtedly encouraged Mycroft in his pursuit of position in both the government and membership in the Moriarty group. She raised Sherlock and, though she may have wanted him to join the group as well, obviously supported him in his chosen career as consulting detective. She undoutably understood that Sherlock would not be one of her children added to the prestigious ranks due to his own rebellious personality, and helped him arrive to where she felt he needed to go.

Mycroft is a different matter altogether. He likely took up duties of the group when he was still a child, helping his mother guide Sherlock while they were growing up. This is likely the reason the brothers are so acidic with each other, Sherlock because he felt Mycroft was controlling, and Mycroft because he could never quite guide his brother where he thought he should be. Because of this, Mycroft’s field in which he works to guide people changed drastically once he established his career. After all, his control of the British Government doesn’t normally end with casual insults. And as we are told in “The Great Game”, his control expands beyond borders when he mentions his need to oversee and control the Korean elections. With this much power and influence, it is undeniable that Mycroft is more than capable of manipulating and guiding thousands, if not millions of people’s lives. A position that offers that kind of power and would be a perfect and envious career for anyone in the Moriarty group.

Mycroft Holmes from BBC's Sherlock
Mycroft Holmes from BBC's Sherlock

The remaining member on this list may not seem to do much guiding at all at the moment besides subtle manipulation, but she most assuredly has in the past, and continues to do so with Sherlock. After all, Mrs. Hudson was the leader of a drug cartel. Though her kind of guidance correlates more with Jim Moriarty’s interpretation than the other two members in this article, Mrs. Hudson was most definitely in a position of power. This power allowed her to influence and guide those around her. In fact, it is likely that she allowed her husband and those around her to believe that her husband was in control of the operation. In her personalized role as a member of the Moriarty group, Mrs. Hudson would have been perfectly happy to let her husband take credit for her ideas while she continued on with her perceived calling.

What Does this Mean?

Now that at least three members of the group have been identified (outside of Jim himself), one must ask why so many members of this exclusive and secretive organization have gathered themselves around Sherlock Holmes. Mrs. Holmes and Mycroft are his mother and brother, respectively, so they obviously have a good reason for being around him. But Sherlock then goes on to rent a flat from another member, and draws the murderous attention of yet another. Is it coincidence? Does his intellect naturally draw them to him? Or is there something else going on? It is doubtful that Sherlock will ever be offered membership, since his goals in life tend to focus on his own interests rather than guiding others. This does not exclude the possibility that the group may have plans to use him to their advantage. After all, Mycroft and/or another Moriarty group member could have been behind the “Miss Me” message that saves Sherlock from going on a mission that would, according to Mycroft, get him killed in six months. If that is the case, then was it just to protect Sherlock out of sentiment, or do they have bigger plans for the consulting detective? And how many more will Sherlock meet in the future?

In the upcoming season there will likely be more and more possible Moriarty’s coming into play. Because of this, the question is becomes, how many others are there? How many people in that world manipulate and push people into taking actions that they think they made themselves? How have they affected the lives of Sherlock, John, Mary, and the rest of the country? What do are these people have planned for Sherlock? Though the writers may never expound on this theory, or even admit that it exists, any fan looking for the right clues are bound to be able to find answers in the upcoming episodes.

Moriarty acting surprised in "The Great Game"
Moriarty acting surprised in "The Great Game"

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