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Meta: BBC Sherlock Timeline of Series 1 and 2 (condensed edition), revised 19 June 2012

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Sherlock Timeline of Series 1 and 2 (approx. 18-24 months) - condensed edition

Here is the timeline of Series 1 and 2 (based on entries from John’s blog, screen captions from the episodes, and various screenshots of dates [on mobile phones, newspaper articles, etc.] from Series 1 and 2):


12th October: first 'suicide' (screen caption from Ep 1)

26th November: second 'suicide' (screen caption from Ep 1)

14th December: John’s first blog entry, titled: “Nothing” (Blog text: nothing)

15th December: John’s blog entry, titled: “Pointless”  (Blog text: Nothing happens to me.)



20th January: John’s blog entry, titled: “How?” (Blog text: How do I delete this?)

21st January: John’s blog entry, titled: “Happy now?” (Blog text: Look Ella. I’m writing my blog.)

25th January: John’s blog entry, titled: “Drinks” (Blog text: Met up with some of the rugby lads from Blackheath last night. They haven’t changed. Still downing pints like they’re in the twenties. Still all taking the mick out of each other. None of them mentioned my leg.); in the comments, Ella Thompson (John’s therapist) mentions John missing his appointment the previous day. (Meta Note: assuming John went to therapy once a week - based on his missed appointment on 24 January, his next appointment would have been on 31 January; in the comments on John’s 31 January blog entry, Ella asks him to call her, so the implication is he missed that appointment too. So, two missed appointments in a row, the last one being after he met Sherlock, and no more comments from Ella after the one on 31 January - the conclusion: John did officially ‘fire her’ after that. If he had been going to therapy once a week, the last appointment with Ella that John actually went to would have presumably been on 17 January 2010. Looking at a calendar of January 2010, these appointments would have been on Sundays, which is a bit odd, but as I noted before, the writers have been very inconsistent with a number of details; thus, we could assume this is just another mistake - or John really did go to therapy on Sundays. I suppose it's possible. Who knows? Trying to do this timeline has been a very frustrating endeavour because so much doesn't match up. In any case, based on the blog entries and other evidence - i.e. screen captions and screenshots from mobile phones, newspaper articles, etc. - this is as close as we’re going to get in trying to pin down the actual dates of the events that took place over the course of Series 1 and 2)

27th January: third 'suicide'

28th January: Press conference with Lestrade and Donovan; John’s blog entry, titled: “Serial Suicides” (Blog text: There’s been another of those ‘serial suicides’. It’s weird. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the deceased. It doesn’t make sense.
Met up with Bill Murray. Not the film star. He was the nurse who saved my life when I was shot. He’s got married.
Stuff’s happening to other people.)

29th January: John’s blog entry, titled: “A strange meeting”; writes about John and Sherlock meeting at Bart’s.

30th January: the events of A Study in Pink

31st January: John blogs entry titled “My new flatmate”; writes short synopsis of the events of the previous day/night; in the comments, Ella Thompson (his therapist) writes: “Please answer your phone.” (Note: This presumably is because he missed his appointment and had decided to stop therapy with her; see Meta note from 25th January entry for further clarification)

1st February: John blogs entry, titled "Secret code"

7th February: John blogs entry, titled "A Study in Pink"

23rd March: the start of The Blind Banker case; the Bond night at 221B

26th March: the date with Sarah (and Sherlock) at the circus; kidnapped by Shan, rescued by Sherlock

27th March: the end of The Blind Banker case; John gets the cheque from Sebastian Wilkes while Sherlock tells the secretary about the value of the jade hairpin; John blogs entry, titled "FYI"

28th March: breakfast at 221B where John and Sherlock discuss the case. (Note: here's a detail they got right: Sherlock was reading the Sunday Telegraph while he and John had breakfast; in 2010, 28 March was on a Sunday); Sherlock goes to Minsk, and while he's gone, John blogs entry, titled "The Blind Banker" (Note: in the comments on John's blog entry, Molly mentions Jim for the first time). Later that night: Sherlock has returned from Minsk and John comes home to find him shooting up the wall; Sherlock mentions he read the 'Study in Pink' blog entry and he and John argue; John gets angry and leaves (saying, "I need some air") and goes to Sarah's (where he spends the night, sleeping on the sofa); shortly after John leaves, there's an explosion across from the flat which blows out the windows of 221B.

29th March: the start of the Great Game: John watches the news on Sarah's television (about the explosion) (Note: clock on Sarah's wall read 8:40 am when John left) and rushes back to the flat to find Mycroft at 221B; Mycroft gives Sherlock/John the case files on Andrew West, whose body was found the night before. Mycroft gives a little background on the case then says they need to recover the memory stick containing the Bruce Partington plans; later: Sherlock is called to Lestrade's office, where he gets the pink phone (which was made to look like the one from the "Study in Pink' case) and receives the audio message of the 5 pips, followed by the first clue (a picture of what turns out to be 221C) (Note: clock on the wall outside Lestrade's office says 10:30 am); trainers found in 221C. As he's looking at the trainers, Sherlock gets the phone call from the 1st hostage (which he puts on speakerphone), telling him he has 12 hours to solve the puzzle; later: Sherlock and John at the lab at Bart's. While Sherlock is looking through a microscope and examining mud found on the trainers, Jim comes in (as Jim from IT) and meets Sherlock and John. After the "he's not gay!" scene with Molly, Sherlock asks John to examine the trainers and tell Sherlock what he can deduce from them. After John does it, Sherlock reveals the trainers are British made, 20 years old, limited edition - 2 blue stripes - 1989, analysis shows mud is from Sussex with London mud overlaying it. As he's talking, Sherlock suddenly has an epiphany and realises they're the trainers that belonged to Carl Powers. He tells John, "Carl Powers. It's where I began."; In the taxi, after leaving Bart's:
Sherlock: "1989, young kid, champion swimmer, came up from Brighton for a school sports tournament, drowned in the pool, tragic accident - you wouldn't remember it, why should you?"
John: "But you remember?"
Sherlock: "Yes."
John: "Something fishy about it?"
Sherlock: "Nobody thought so, nobody except me. I was only a kid myself - I read about it in the papers - "
John: "Started young, didn't you?"
Sherlock: "The boy, Carl Powers, had some kind of fit in the water but by the time they got him out it was too late...but it was - something wrong, something I couldn't get out of my head."
John: "What?"
Sherlock: "His shoes."
John: "What about them?"
Sherlock: "They weren't there. I made a fuss. I tried to get the police interested but nobody seemed to think it was important. He'd left all the rest of his clothes in his locker but there was no sign of his shoes." He picks up the bag containing the trainers. "Til now."
Taxi scene suddenly superimposed with image of hostage and a countdown caption: 6 hours
An hour later: Sherlock and John at 221B - John mentions they only have 5 hours left and asks if he can help. As he's saying that, John gets a text from Mycroft (Any developments? [signed] Mycroft Holmes), then John confronts Sherlock about the case being of national importance, and when Sherlock scoffs at John for being so quaint ("Queen and country"), John says in a steely voice, "You can't just ignore it." Sherlock tells him he's not ignoring it - he's putting his best man on to it right now (then makes it clear that it's John who he's referring to); John meets Mycroft at Mycroft's office and gets further details about Andrew West and the mystery surrounding his death; scene ends and switches to countdown: 3 hours; John returns to 221B just as Sherlock has figured out the case. Sherlock posts on his Science of Deduction blog:  FOUND! Pair of trainers belonging to Carl Powers (1978-1989). Botulinim toxin still present. Apply 221b Baker St.; the phone rings moments after he posts, which Sherlock answers and again puts on speakerphone - it's the hostage, who recites: "Well done, you. Come and get me." Sherlock asks her, "Where are you? Tell us where you are!"; she's rescued.

1st April: John blogs about The Great Game (meta note: the BBC writers changed the blog, including the dates - originally the Pool confrontation happened on the 6th of April [based on comments by Harry, Sarah, and Molly on John’s original {but now deleted} blog entry], so the timeline on this is unclear… but according to the new blog entry, The Great Game and the Pool confrontation had come to its conclusion by the 1st of April.)

1st May: John blogs about having been to New Zealand for a couple of weeks to get away from everything; mentions he and Sarah broke up shortly after the trip to NZ.

30th May: John writes two blog entries - the first: mentioning he was writing a forthcoming entry about a couple of the smaller cases they’d been involved in (Tilly Briggs pleasure cruise, the case with the melting laptop, and the time Sherlock stole a bus), and the second: entry titled “Tilly Briggs Cruise of Terror” (the text of which had been taken down due to the ships’ owners launching an appeal).

16th June: John blogs about “The Geek Interpreter”

13th July: John blogs about “The Speckled Blonde”

1st August: John blogs entry titled “Sherlock Holmes Baffled”; writes about Sherlock being baffled about a case (the dead man found in the boot of a car in Surrey, which according to evidence - flight details, passport stamped in Berlin airport, boarding pass and napkins from the plane found in his pocket - should have been found on the plane that crashed outside Dusseldorf).

12th August: John blogs entry titled “Hat-man and Robin”; writes about them being an internet phenomenon and being in the newspapers.

2nd September: John blogs about “The Aluminium Crutch” (Note: during the scene at Buckingham Palace, the equerry (Harry) tells John that his employer [the Queen] is "a tremendous fan of your blog" and goes on to say that his employer "Particularly enjoyed the one about the aluminium crutch". That means it had to be some time after the 2nd of September when John was taken from the site of the crime scene in the countryside [where he and Sherlock were Skyping about the case] and transported to Buckingham Palace by helicopter, which is also the same day Sherlock and John met Irene, got ambushed by the Americans, then outwitted by Irene, who drugged Sherlock and got her phone back before escaping through the window of her flat.)

Undetermined date, presumably between 2nd September and 15th September): the case where John is on location at the crime site where he skypes with Sherlock, who's home at 221B dressed in nothing but the infamous bedsheet; later that same day: the scene at Buckingham Palace, the staged fight outside Irene's flat, meeting Irene, ambush by the Americans. Sherlock ultimately gets hold of the phone but Irene drugs him and gets it back. Later, while Sherlock is still under the influence of the drug Irene injected him with, she secretly sneaks into 221B and returns his coat, leaving a lipstick-shaped kiss not quite on his mouth, but close, on the left side of it. In returning the coat, she also returns Sherlock's own phone and he gets his first text from her: Till the next time, Mr. Holmes. (see Note from 2nd September entry for more details)

15th September: John blogs entry titled “By Royal Appointment”; writes about the meeting at Buckingham Palace and about Irene Adler. (Note: this blog entry was obviously written after the actual events, some time before the 15th, as John mentions that he’s pretty certain Sherlock’s been getting texts from Irene.)

19th December: John blogs about “The Six Thatchers”

25th December: John blogs entry, titled “Christmas”; Christmas party at 221B; Sherlock gets a text from Irene directing him to a mysterious gift left on the mantle for him - he goes to his bedroom and unwraps the box and sees it’s Irene’s phone. Later, Sherlock identifies Irene’s dead body; scene at the morgue with Sherlock and Mycroft; John’s girlfriend dumps him when he opts to stay at 221B to look after Sherlock instead of going out with her.

31st December: John blogs entry, titled “Happy New Year”; Sherlock notices the blog counter is still stuck at 1895 and takes out Irene's phone, punching in 1895 for the passcode. He gets the pop-up message: “WRONG PASSCODE. 3 ATTEMPTS REMAINING”. Later, John is whisked off for his confrontation with (the still alive) Irene at Battersea Power Station earlier that day; later, Mrs Hudson is attacked, and Sherlock beats up and throws the American agent out the window in retaliation. * In John’s blog, he mentions his plans for New Year’s Eve being cancelled (alluding that it’s because he needs to look after Sherlock).



1st January: John blogs about Sherlock being at Barts to x-ray (Irene’s) phone, posts video of Jacob Sowersby, writing, “Before I go, though, look what I found on the Internet. It’s mad but lovely. Thanks Jacob, you’ve cheered me up!” While at Bart's x-raying Irene's phone, Sherlock and Molly chat. Molly asks if the phone belongs to Sherlock's girlfriend and when he questions her about why she would assume that because he was x-raying a woman's phone, it meant it was his girlfriend's, she says, "Well, we all do silly things." He gets her meaning and replies, "Yes. They do, don't they? Very silly." He takes the phone and punches in 221B for the passcode and gets the message: “WRONG PASSCODE. 2 ATTEMPTS REMAINING”

Undetermined date between 1st January and 12th March: Irene shows up at 221B, asleep in Sherlock's bed. Later, when she wakes up, Sherlock and John question her about the phone. Sherlock takes out the phone. * Special thanks for the following excerpt from Ariane DeVere's transcript of the episode (
SHERLOCK: But you’ve acquired something that’s more danger than protection. Do you know what it is?
IRENE: Yes, but I don’t understand it.
SHERLOCK: I assumed. Show me.
(Irene holds out her hand for the phone. Sherlock holds it up out of her reach.)
SHERLOCK: The passcode.
(She continues to hold her hand out, and eventually Sherlock sits forward and hands her the phone. Activating it and holding it so he can’t see the screen or the keypad, she types in four characters. The phone beeps warningly.)
IRENE: It’s not working.
SHERLOCK (standing up and taking the phone from her): No, because it’s a duplicate that I had made, into which you’ve just entered the numbers one oh five eight.
(He walks over to his chair in which she was just sitting and retrieves the real camera phone from under the cushion.)
SHERLOCK: I assumed you’d choose something more specific than that but, um, thanks anyway.
(He pulls up the “I AM ---- LOCKED” screen and types “1058” into the phone. He looks at her smugly but then the phone beeps warningly and a message comes up reading: “WRONG PASSCODE. 1 ATTEMPT REMAINING”. He stares in disbelief.)

Undetermined date between 1st January and 12th March: Sherlock taken to plane of the dead, ending with Sherlock/Mycroft/Irene confrontation. (Note: During the confrontation, after leaving the plane and adjourning to Mycroft's home or office (?), Irene mentions that Sherlock had 6 months to figure out the passcode and failed. So, on the day Sherlock and John met Irene [which, as previously noted, was an undetermined date between 2 September and 15 September], Sherlock got hold of the phone after recovering it from the safe. If she counts that as the start of him having the phone (or access to it and the passcode), 6 months later would be some time in March, which means the dates kind of match up. If she counts the 6 months from when she actually gave him the phone [on Christmas, during the party when he finds it on the mantelpiece], then this is just another HUGE mistake/discrepancy on the writers' parts.) By the end of the confrontation, Sherlock gets the passcode right: I AM SHERLOCKED.

12th March: John blogs entry, titled “The Woman” (this may or may not be the actual day he lied and told Sherlock that Irene was under a witness protection scheme, and gave Sherlock her phone)

16th March: two blog entries - the first about “The Hounds of Baskerville” case; the second (hacked and posted by Moriarty): video of Moriarty breaking into 221B.

16th June: John’s last blog entry, untitled; blog entry contains video of a television news report about Sherlock’s mysterious death/suicide and how he was a fake (Note: the reporter mentions that it’s been just a little after 2 months since Moriarty’s trial - “the trial of the century”); John writes one sentence: “He was my best friend and I’ll always believe in him.”


Note: At the start of The Reichenbach Fall, John’s therapist [Ella] mentions that it’s been 18 months since their last appointment [this appointment takes place after Sherlock’s “death”]; according to John’s blog, it appears the last time he saw her was sometime before the 31st of January 2010


Note: As I stated in my author's note, there are many inconsistencies and discrepancies between the blog dates [both John’s and Molly’s, which are very out of sync] and things that happened in the episodes. I can only work with what the writers have put out there, so please keep in mind that this timeline is inherently flawed as a result, though I'm doing the best I can to at least gather up the info that we've been given, flawed as it may be.


Note: The date of Sherlock's suicide is probably 15 June, based on John's final blog entry (which was posted on 16 June)

Note: At the start of The Reichenbach Fall episode, John is in Ella's office and she mentions it's been 18 months since he last saw her (which, as I noted in the 25 January 2010 meta note, was some time before 31 January - probably on 17 January 2010; thus, 18 months later would be around 17 July 2011). Then the episode flashes back to 3 months earlier (so, mid-April 2011?), where Sherlock is getting all that press for solving the case called The Reichenbach Fall, followed by his and John's conversation at 221B about their public reputations (the deerstalker, 'Boffin' Sherlock Holmes and 'confirmed bachelor' John Watson); after that, on an undetermined date, Moriarty breaks into the Tower of London and then 'The Trial of the Century' starts. (Before that, the only contact they had with Moriarty between the pool confrontation and the triple crime spree where Moriarty texted Sherlock [Come and play. Tower Hill. Jim Moriarty x.] was on 16 March, when Moriarty broke into 221B and filmed himself going through the flat, then hacked into John's blog and posted the video, along with the message: See you soon, boys! xxxx)