A Celebration of John Watson’s Five Greatest Moments in ‘Sherlock’

The character John Watson was born on July 7. Or was he? Discover this and more about John Watson, the faithful companion of Sherlock Holmes.

Adaptations Book Culture On This Day Pop Culture TV & Movies

Sherlock Holmes is the famed name from the renowned mystery series authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Even though this was all a long time ago and doesn’t seem to have any relevance today, Sherlock Holmes and his esteemed companion John Watson are still very much alive and important, especially considering the modernization of the series in the BBC’s TV show Sherlock.

One of the most significant characters in the Sherlock Holmes series is the clever detective’s dearest friend and companion, Dr. John Watson. There (arguably) wouldn’t be much of a compelling throughline in the numerous mysteries without Watson. The doctor is heroic, compassionate, and loyal, and their partnership is best described by Sherlock in the popular BBC show:

“I will solve your murder, but it takes John Watson to save your life.”

Sherlock Holmes, from BBC’s Sherlock

John Watson’s Birthday . . . Maybe?


July 7 marks the (possible) day of Dr. Watson’s birthday in the Sherlock Holmes series, at least according to American fans. However, since Arthur Conan Doyle never explicitly stated in the series when his characters were born, this date and others are speculated based on details discovered by scholars and fans. And coincidentally, July 7 is also the date of Arthur Conan Doyle’s death in 1930 at the age of 71. If interested, please click here to learn more about Watson’s birthday!

In a timely celebration of John Watson, here is a countdown list of his best moments in BBC’s Sherlock.

5. The Sass of John Watson


John might be a sweetheart deep down, but on the surface he is a master of sass, especially in the presence of Sherlock. There are truly too many sass-infused moments in the show to count, but my personal favorite takes place in the Season Two premiere, “A Scandal in Belgravia,” when Sherlock asks John to punch him for a ruse. John’s response:

“I always hear ‘punch me in the face’ when you’re speaking, but it’s usually subtext.”

John Watson, from BBC’s Sherlock

4. In Defense of Sherlock

Speaking of punching people in the face, another shining moment for John is in the Season Two finale, “The Reichenbach Fall.” While I don’t normally condone violence, the chief superintendent had it coming because he called Sherlock a weirdo. John was not a fan of hearing his favorite person in the world being disrespected, so he wound up and punched the guy in the face.

3. An Insult? Or a Compliment??


John tries to make fun of Sherlock for how he conducts his detective work, but then he just ends up complimenting his pretty face:

“You being all mysterious with your cheekbones.”

John Watson, BBC’s Sherlock

He literally says this. In the show. To Sherlock. So I believe that everything is open to interpretation, but that was pretty romantic of John. Just saying. Also . . . can you blame him?

2. When John Watson Forgave

The Season Three finale of Sherlock is a wild ride for many reasons, but one of the greatest moments from that high-stakes episode is when John forgives his wife, Mary, for lying to him the whole time they knew each other about her identity. John says the following to her after he tells her that he didn’t look at the drive with all of her past missions as an assassin:

“The problems of your past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege.”

John Watson, from BBC’s Sherlock

1. When John Watson Forgave (Reprise)

The fandom can argue all day and night whether John and Sherlock were in a romantic relationship or if John’s true romantic partner was Mary, but an undeniable truth at the heart of the story is that John and Sherlock love each other very much, more than anyone else either of them encounters. No matter what form that love takes, it is strong and devoted.

Sherlock does the unthinkable to his most beloved companion: he fakes his own death and lets John grieve for two years. John had every right to be furious, and he was for a while, but ultimately, he couldn’t be angry with his favorite person in the world forever.

“Of course I forgive you.”

John Watson, from BBC’s Sherlock

One of the sweetest moments in the show revealed the best part of John Watson: his good heart.

For more info about John Watson, click here!