Fans of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ will not be disappointed!
On September 1st, HBO premiered its new series, Miss Sherlock, which is its first Asian production. When surgeon Wato (Shihori Kanjiya) returns home to Japan after volunteering in Syria, she meets up with her mentor, only to see him spontaneously combust in front of her. Afterwards, when being questioned by police, she is introduced to the cold-mannered, yet intelligent, consulting detective Miss Sherlock (Yuko Takeuchi). Sherlock has the ability to solve the toughest cases that come her way, using deductive reasoning, observation, and even her sense of smell.
Wanting to seek justice for her mentor’s death, Wato tags along with Sherlock, while she tracks down the people responsible. Along the way, the two get to know each other, despite Sherlock’s unenthusiastic and enigmatic behavior. (She constantly claims that the two are not friends.) Though they uncover the person responsible, they also find that this crime is only part of a much more elaborate scheme. And thus, it is up to the two of them, along with officers Gentaro (Kenichi Takito) and Tatsuya (Tomoya Nakamura) to solve this crime, along with several local crimes, before the unspeakable happens.
There are plenty of homages to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, from the premise of each episode to the names. Some more direct references include a password being “Baskerville,” and Miss Sherlock’s home address being number 221B. These seems like silly creative choices, and they are for a modern-day setting, but something about this show’s nature makes it undeniably entertaining. It successfully juggles different tones, from light and witty to dramatic and dark, without feeling too jarring. It admittedly becomes confusing in spots when one episode revolves around a small case, and the next episode does the same while bringing focus back to the central case. Thankfully, Sherlock’s ways of deducing the identities of criminals helps keep things from being too confusing.
Most of the show’s appeal comes from the performances, because Yuko Takeuchi as Sherlock is pitch perfect, as is Shihori Kanjiya as Wato. You can feel their chemistry, or in their case, anti-chemistry, as one succeeds where the other fails, and they gradually learn to appreciate each other along the way—even though Sherlock herself won’t admit it. While we have had plenty of female-led mystery shows before, it’s nice to see that this series manages to push the envelope, while telling a compelling story with complex characters. I will dare not spoil the ending, but let’s just say that it will make you anticipate a second season!
The show is now available on HBO.