BBC’s Sherlock has done a masterful job in bringing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters to life in present day London. A big part of the show’s success is the rivalry between Sherlock and Moriarty. Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant as Holmes. However, Andrew Scott’s performances as Jim Moriarty are true scene stealers.
Moriarty is equal parts mastermind and madman in the hit television show. While physically unimposing, the sheer malevolence visible in the character’s eyes is frightening. Like many prior renditions of the character, Jim Moriarty has access to a vast criminal network. He is the intellectual equal of Holmes, but isn’t burdened with a conscience.
Jim Moriarty rules the underworld of London and controls those around him for one disturbing reason – he’s bored. Moriarty places no value on human life. He is constantly seeking distractions to occupy his brilliant and disturbed mind. Moriarty toys with the lives of innocent strangers to get Sherlock’s attention in the episode, The Great Game. When Sherlock informs Moriarty that innocent people have died, the villain angrily responds: “That’s what people do!”
I enjoy this modern rendition of the character. Jim Moriarty is aware of his own megalomania and takes great joy in embracing it. Though the character’s current status my seem in jeopardy, I cannot imagine BBC’s Sherlock continuing without such a dynamic villain.