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Jim Moriarty (BBC series)

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No such thing as secrecy. I OWN secrecy. Nuclear codes? I could blow up NATO in alphabetical order. In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king. And, honey, you should see me in a crown.
~ Jim Moriarty

James "Jim" Moriarty is the main antagonist of Series 1 and 2 of the BBC drama Sherlock, and later the posthumous true main antagonist of the 2015 special "The Abominable Bride". He is a consulting criminal and the archenemy of Sherlock Holmes, and can be considered as the primary antagonist of the whole series.

He is portrayed by Andrew Scott, who also portrays Max Denbigh in Spectre.

Sherlock

Background

Prior to the events of Sherlock Moriarty's earliest known crime was when he killed a school boy in his year known as Carl Powers, who Moriarty claimed "laughed at him" so stopped him laughing. Putting a poison in Carl's medication this caused the lad to drown in a swimming pool. This occurred in 1989, and this case got Sherlock Holmes interested in crime solving, a man Moriarty would become the arch nemesis of nearly 20 years later.

The Consulting Criminal

Moriarty was first mentioned in the first episode of series 1 A Study in Pink when the murderer - a taxi driver - revealed he had a sponsor to Sherlock Holmes and that the person in question was a huge fan. When the taxi driver was shot, Sherlock got him to give a name, which the driver screamed "MORIARTY" before dying. In the second episode The Blind Banker Moriarty saw the safe entrance into Britain for an ancient Chinese gang. In the end Moriarty had the leader of the gang killed when the others where arrested, not wanting to risk his identity getting out.

The Great Game

Moriarty made his first appearance in the third episode of series 1 as Jim from I.T. dating Molly Hooper at the hospital. On first glance Sherlock didn't deduce Jim as being Moriarty, due to him posing as being a possible repressed homosexual. After a series of tasks, Sherlock and Moriarty came face to face at the swimming pool where Moriarty killed Carl Powers. Moriarty had snipers point at both Sherlock and John Watson, telling them they wouldn't be allowed to continue. Sherlock then pointed his gun at an explosive device between him and Moriarty, which ended on a cliffhanger. In the first episode of Series 2, it was resolved when Moriarty got a better offer from Irene Adler and called off the snipers. At the end of the second episode The Hounds of Baskerville Moriarty was seen being released by Mycroft Holmes from custody, and in his cell Sherlock's name could be seen scrawled all over the walls.

The Final Problem

In the third episode of series 2 "The Reichenbach Fall" Moriarty appeared to be seen trying to steal the crown jewels but gave himself up. After threatening the jury at his trial for a no guilty verdict, Moriarty began setting up Sherlock as a fraud and tore apart his life over a 24 hour period, and even posed as an actor named Richard Brook in order to fool everyone into thinking Sherlock created Moriarty. Both of the men had a stand off on a rooftop in which Moriarty wanted Sherlock to jump to his death or he will have his friend's killed. Moriarty shot himself in the head in order to make sure he wouldn't have to call off his snipers.

Aftermath

Regardless of this, Sherlock managed to fake his death, and spent the next two years taking down Moriarty's operation.

In the final scene of Series 3 episode His Last Vow its implied Moriarty may of faked his death as well when pictures of his face began appearing over London with a high pitched voice saying "Did you missed me?". In an after credits seen Andrew Scott as Moriarty turns to look at the audience say "Miss me?"

Personality

A genius criminal mastermind, cunningly resourceful and remorseless, the only possible rival to Sherlock Holmes' intellect, Moriarty was the first "consulting criminal" in the world and Sherlock's archenemy. Moriarty was clearly a psychopathic and sadistic individual; his psychotic behavior was easily seen by the following traits: intense egomania, grandiosity, extreme self-importance and incapacity for remorse of mercy. Moriarty possessed a cynical, sarcastic and childish sense of humor which was similar to Sherlock but much more darker and at the expense of others' pain or misery. He spoke very softly but normally changed the pitch of his voice during sentences for effect.

Moriarty seemed to enjoy the anonymity he surrounded himself with. He would never kill a target himself, instead he hired a taxi driver to become a serial killer and murder three people to get Sherlock's attention. He also murdered a Chinese gang leader as to not risk his identity being compromised. He was also clever enough to not use his real voice while forcing Sherlock to complete his tasks, instead he strapped explosives to his hostages and made them read from a manuscript, he actually murdered one of them when she described his voice as "soft" indicating he was massively paranoid. Moriarty was a master of blackmail and a skilled actor. He was aware of people's weak points and used this to his advantage, to the point where he strapped an explosive device to John Watson during his confrontation with Sherlock at the swimming pool. He was also able to pretend to be gay while acting as Jim from IT.

At a young age, Moriarty proved that he was incredibly calculating. He was able to poison his schoolmate Carl Powers, but make it look like he was having a fit and use a nearly untraceable poison. He obviously had no value of human life, and when brought up by Sherlock that people had died he replies "that's what people do!". Moriarty also appeared to be sadistically wrathful, claiming that he had murdered Carl because he "laughed at (him), so (he) stopped him from laughing.".

Moriarty was easily bored by life, and he entertained himself with distractions, which involved the callous, chaotic and sadistic disasters that he created globally, considering the destruction he caused and the effort to keep himself anonymous to be thrilling. He was instantly attracted to Sherlock, claiming that he was the best distraction; however he could easily kill him if he was bored with him. Moriarty saw him as an equal to match his own startling intellect, he later began to see himself as "an old fashioned villain" and that without either one of them they were nothing. In this sense, unlike most villains, Moriarty embraces his status as an antagonist to Sherlock's life.

Moriarty's lack of morality or ethics makes him vastly unpredictable, even for Sherlock and Mycroft (The most intelligent characters in the series). Moriarty was extremely intelligent and this made him practically impossible to pin down without anyone questioning whether or not he wanted to be pinned down so that he could inflict the next stage of his plan. Even after he was arrested and caught red-handed with all evidence screaming his name, Moriarty managed to create a web of corruption within the court so that the result made him a free man.

Episode appearances

Series 1

  • "The Great Game"

Series 2

  • "A Scandal in Belgravia"
  • "The Hounds of Baskerville"
  • "The Reichenbach Fall"

Series 3

  • "The Empty Hearse" (flashbacks)
  • "His Last Vow" (Sherlock's mind palace & television screen)

Special

  • "The Abominable Bride" (Sherlock's mind palace)

Trivia

  • James Moriarty is based upon Professor Moriarty who had first appeared in the short story The Final Problem which was to originally mark the end of Sherlock Holmes (the episode The Reichenbach Fall is based upon this story). He also appeared in the fourth novel The Valley of Fear which took place before The Final Problem.
  • Moriarty appeared in The Empty Hearse in flashback and imaginary sequences when some members of the Empty Hearse club came up with theories Moriarty was somewhat involved in Sherlock faking his death. Anderson's theory is that Moriarty was placed at the bottom of the building where Sherlock jumped from wearing a face mask with the likeness of Sherlock. In a fan girl's (obviously dismissed) theory, Moriarty and Sherlock threw a dummy off the roof and proceeded to have a gay affair.
  • In His Last Vow after Sherlock is shot, we see inside his mind palace which shows Moriarty in a cell, bound in a straight jacket. He attempts to taunt Sherlock and tells him to just die, but when Moriarty mentions John being in danger, this causes Sherlock to fight to survive his injury.
  • James Moriarty shares some similarities with some other villains:
    • Ernst Stavro Blofeld: They are both highly intelligent criminal masterminds who command vast criminal empires and possess a warped obsession with their arch-enemy.
    • Isaac Ray Peram Westcott: They are both brilliant and insane criminal masterminds who also happen to be Complete Monsters. They are also very immature.
    • Johan Liebert: They are criminal masterminds who are Complete Monsters and are mostly enjoying the anonymity they surrounded themselves with, so they mostly have others kill for them.

Gallery

Promo material

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Special

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