Unit 10.2: Research: Sherlock- Moriarty character analysis.

Moriarty is played by Irish actor Andrew Scott and as a modernsation of the original character, Moriarty is as villainous as ever, he’s witty and knows exactly what he’s doing from start to finish, he’s strangely charming with the way he talks and conducts himself, its not in a classic Bond film sense of “I’ve been expecting you Mr.Bond”  but more so of villain who has already devised his plan and quietly watches it all unfold in front of him in a “I knew you were coming so here’s what I have in store for you” way and I like that a lot as it makes him look less like a classic villain who always has his plans foiled by the hero and is always almost surprised by this, whereas Moriarty seems disappointed in Sherlock to want to end things so early as in the very first episode, the two meet at a swimming pool after Sherlock solved Moriarty’s puzzle, and then threatens Sherlock through his friend John who comes out wearing a jacket with a bomb strapped to him he then relays what Moriarty wants to say to Sherlock before the man himself steps through the door and introducing himself and after a tense confrontation Sherlock questions what would happen if he shot Moriarty there and then and Moriarty responds with “Well then you could cherish the look of surprise on my face, cause I’d be surprised Sherlock, really I would and just a teensy bit disappointed”. The quote itself suggests that Moriarty would be disappointed in Sherlock for killing him so early on and it seems as though Moriarty wants to watch Sherlock jumping through the hoops of Moriarty’s little game.

He then leaves only to return which instantly raises alarms again in the audience’s minds and the audience are made aware that this villain isn’t going to give up so easily and will maybe keep his promise of burning the heart out of the consulting detective, the episode ends on a tense shot between the two of Sherlock aiming the gun he had earlier at the bomb that John had on him and Moriarty standing watching with tense strings playing in the background.

From a character archetype point of view Moriarty is a mixture of characters he is mostly a villain as he has opposite goals to Sherlock as whilst Sherlock’s goal is to stop crime and solve cases that the police cannot so that justice is served to the crime committer, Moriarty’s goals are 180° from Sherlock’s as he wants to get others to commit crimes for him as well as to cause havok and make Sherlock’s life difficult by putting those that are near to him in danger. Moriarty is also the jester as he often tries to crack jokes for example in the scene that I discussed above as Moriarty enters the room he says to Sherlock “I gave you my number, I thought you might call”which suggests he has a sense of humor even if he is a criminal.

I think its his sense of humor that make him so likeable as a villain or at least that’s why I personally like him as  a character because he’s not boring or doesn’t make his plans obviously laid out in front of the hero, when he was first introduced to him, no one could guess what his plan was or where it would take us as an audience and the characters who were sucked into his plan and also Andrew does a fantastic job of portraying him for a modern day audience, his performance is wonderful to watch as he turns Moriarty into a puzzle loving criminal to making him into a crazed psychopath the next and it’s wonderful to watch someone bounce around with the character changing them to make the audience think that just as they’ve gotten comfortable Andrew changes Moriarty’s personality to making him slightly twisted and dark which makes him a likeable villain because he is so unpredictable.

Noticing his sense of clothing, he always seems to wear a suit


and almost hardly ever dresses casually, except when trying to blend into society which can be seen by example in the same episode as the pool scene mentioned above, in the scene he dresses in some


jogging bottoms and a plain t-shirt as it is reveled that he began dating Molly Hooper (morgue assistant and friend to Sherlock) but it was only so that he could get closer to Sherlock and learn more about him and then he dresses casually in the Reichenbach Fall episode where he steals the crown jewels from Buckingham palace he is dressed casually to blend in with society but other than those two times he is seen as wearing a suit which makes him look like a classic villain  and also I think it alludes to him trying to seem sophisticated as well as trying to assert his dominance within the criminal world (as he gets everyone else around him to do his dirty work, he even states in the first episode that he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty this instantly shows that he is an authoritative figure in the world of criminals), notice how Sherlock also wears a suit and is rarely seen in casual clothing? It’s almost as if they are two halves of the same coin of different ends of the spectrum.

His weakness seems to be with him having an un-healthy obsessed with Sherlock and this could be because he sees Sherlock as an equal to his intellect and is fascinated by Sherlock’s intelligence and wants to play games with him to see how far his intelligence as well as his emotions go and whether he truly cares about the people around him, I think Moriarty’s role in Sherlock is to obviously be someone for Sherlock to compete against in terms of intellect as well as to just be the person who first (first in the line of many other villains in the show) to tear Sherlock’s life up around him but in the end through all his efforts to break Sherlock and ‘Burn the heart of out him’ he ultimately fails and is seen to kill himself, ultimately ending his time as the first villain that was introduced into Sherlock.

Moriarty doesn’t have a moral compass, he doesn’t seem to care about what’s right and what is wrong, as again in the very first episode and the first time Sherlock and the audience are introduced to Moriarty it is revealed that because a child (his name was Karl Powers) that knew Moriarty (maybe he went to the same school? or knew Moriarty in another way) laughed at Moriarty and so he put poison in the child’s medication (he had eczema) which caused the poison to make the boy paralyzed which caused him to drown, something this heartless and disgusting shows that Moriarty has no moral compass and does not know between right and wrong and the audience can see this through the methods he uses to lead Sherlock through his puzzles in the same episode he uses ordinary people with bombs strapped to them to tell Sherlock what he wants him to hear, Sherlock then has to solve the case to save the person, in one account the victim Moriarty used was an elderly lady


who was blind and when Sherlock asked her to tell him where he was and she began describing him something which Sherlock pleaded her not to do, she continued to describe his voice and was killed instantly, the bomb that was strapped to her, killed 12 other people and that alone is enough to show the audience that Moriarty has no regard for human life and proves that he has no moral compass or no regard for putting innocent people in the firing line if by doing so he can get what he wants.


Looking at Moriarty from his text to Sherlock, it seems he writes in short bursts and also doesn’t write in full sentences, they’re short straight to the point messages that enable the viewer to see that he doesn’t play around with his wording, I’ve also noticed that he signs his text with his full name rather than just ‘M’ like he had done in — I think that he does this to seem egotistical almost saying “Come and look at what I’ve done and I want you to know exactly who did it” as Moriarty seems to like to play games (a lot of the things he does seems like games to him from my perspective) and by him texting Sherlock what he did it re-starts that game for him (this time his game is to destroy Sherlock’s public image and reduce him to nothing), also I think the kiss at the end of the text also mocks Sherlock in a sense that kiss the at the end isn’t supposed to be serious and adds to the message of “come and look what I’ve done” and mocks Sherlock to go and see for himself which he does.

As an overall sum up of Moriarty I think he’s an excellent villain and is made to be both likeable and unlikable, he’s likeable in the sense that he’s an interesting villain as he let’s the viewers guess what his plans are, rather than telling them, I know I’ve used this episode a lot but it works as an introduction to his character and really shows the audience who he is from the get go but within the third episode of the first series no one knows what Moriarty’s plan is, he doesn’t explain it and Sherlock along with the audience have to guess his moves and we get to watch Sherlock take down his cases one by one until they finally meet at the swimming pool and even them Moriarty still doesn’t tell Sherlock his plan and leaves the audience guessing. His entrances and little jokes are quite humorous its almost as if he’s a mixture of comedy relief, his entrances are spectacular in his own way as when he broke into Buckingham Palace to steal the crown jewels he did so to the music of ‘La gazza ladra’ by Gioachino Rossini the song title translates to thieving magpie, which was humorous that he would decide to even steal the crown jewels but to that song is quite fitting for his character as he’s literally stealing the crown jewels but then Moriarty likes to make an entrance.

Moriarty is unlikable in the things he does, he has no moral compass and so does things without caring about the consequences as he knows he can get away with it so easily, when he stole the crown jewels, broke into the bank of England and then Freed the prisoners from a prison all the evidence was pointing to him but because he told the judge to keep quiet he got away with it all and its things like that along with the Carl Powers murder and his little puzzle that he gave Sherlock in the third episode of the first series that make him an unlikable person but then again he’s a villain and villains are generally disliked.

I feel that having done this character analysis I’ve learned more about Moriarty not only as  a character but as a villain I feel as though I know more about him on a more personal level than just as what I would just watching a few episodes of the show and then writing what I see, I think that by trying to suss out his personality and things such as whether he has a moral compass or his weaknesses I’ve gotten to learn more about him and by doing this research it will help me when it comes to making my advert as well as my advert campaign materials/merchandise as I now have more knowledge on Moriarty and can hopefully accurately depict his personality on screen enough so that people can recognize that it’s him.

Harvard referencing:

Hunters writings. (2016). Character archetypes A to Z series [Index] . Available from: https://hunterswritings.com/2016/03/02/character-archetypes-a-to-z-series/ . [Date accessed: 24/02/17]

Wikia. (N.D). Jim Moriarty. Available from: http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Jim_Moriarty_(BBC_series) . [Date accessed: 24/02/17]

Teaching  college English. (2008). How to write a character analysis. Available from: http://www.teachingcollegeenglish.com/2008/02/28/how-to-write-a-character-analysis-and-a-personnel-review/ . [Date accessed: 24/02/17]

Teaching  college English. (2008). Describing a character for a character analysis. Available from: http://www.teachingcollegeenglish.com/2008/05/25/describing-a-character-for-a-character-analysis/  . [Date accessed: 24/02/17]

Teaching  college English. (2008). Discussing the conflict in the story for the character analysis. Available from:http://www.teachingcollegeenglish.com/2008/06/05/discussing-the-conflict-in-the-story-for-a-character-analysis/  . [Date accessed: 24/02/17]

Tumblr. (2012). Sherlock BBC. Available from: http://bbcsherlockftw.tumblr.com/post/17751982564/do-you-know-what-bach-song-is-playing-when . [Date accessed: 24/02/17]


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