Sherlock/BBC/PBS/2010-2017 (Limp)

Dr. John Hamish Watson (Martin Freeman), British physician who shares an upstairs flat at 221B Baker Street in present day London with eccentric genius Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch). John walks with a limp and uses a cane.


John went to King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, studied medicine at King’s College, received a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 2004, worked at the Broomfield Hospital Chelmsford and the University College Hospital London, and trained at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital as a British Army doctor.

Later, Watson was deployed to Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was a Captain in the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers until he was shot in the shoulder. His wound left Watson with a psychosomatic limp and an intermittent tremor in his dominant hand. John’s limp disappears in situations requiring him to move quickly.

“Listen, what I said before, John, I meant it. I don’t have friends. I’ve just got one.” ―Sherlock to John H. Watson

Watson accompanies Sherlock Holmes to crime scenes overseen by Detective Inspector Greg LeStrade (Rupert Graves) of Scotland Yard where Holmes uses his uncanny deductive ability to find clues to solve each of his cases.


John records his adventures with Holmes on an Internet Blog which becomes popular with members of Scotland Yard.  His blog helps Watson earn a living and inspires a widespread interest of Holmes among the general public and the media.

Watson is adept at firearms (being an excellent marksman), unarmed combat and reading people through facial expressions. Once in a while, John’s observations or remarks inspire Holmes to come up with answer that will solve a crime.

Eventually, Watson marries Mary Morstan whom Watson later learns was a former CIA agent.

Note: The television series was based on the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The series was filmed in Cardiff, Wales, with North Gower Street in London used for exterior shots of Holmes and Watson’s 221B Baker Street residence.

Other TV actors to portray the character of Doctor John H. Watson include:

  • Howard Marion-Crawford – Sherlock Holmes/SYN/1954
  • David Burke – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/The Return of Sherlock Holmes/Granada TV/1984-1986
  • Edward Hardwicke – The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes/The Memoirs of Sherlock Homes/Granada TV/1986-94
  • Lucy Liu (as Dr. Joan H. Watson) – Elementary/CBS/2012-2016+

On the TV crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent actress Kathryn Erbe played the part of Alexandra Eames, who was loosely based on the fictional physician Dr. John Watson.


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