Jane Watson (Margaret Colin) owns and runs the “Watson and Company Detectives” Agency. She inherited the business from her father. The agency consists of her and her secretary Mrs. Houston (Lila Kaye). Business is slow and Jane is forced to sell her family home in England. The country estate had belonged to her great grandfather Dr. John Watson. No one has lived in the house since he died.
The agent from the bank gives Jane a metal box that they have been entrusted to pass on to the next Watson that entered the house. Inside the box is a ledger and instructions. Jane follows the instructions and finds a hidden room in the basement containing a mechanical device. The device turns out to be a primitive cryogenic chamber. Inside the chamber is a person. Jane follows the instructions and thaws out the man.
The man turns out to be Sherlock Holmes (Michael Pennington). Holmes was put in the chamber when he contracted bubonic plague. He was frozen in hopes of there being a cure developed sometime in the future. Jane brings Holmes to a local doctor who doesn’t believe that Holmes has the plague or that he is Sherlock Holmes. He calls the mental hospital. Jane steals the medicine needed and gives it to Holmes.
Having nowhere else to go, and in a world far removed from what he is used to, Holmes goes to America with Jane. In Boston Jane finds that, while she was gone, her office had been ransacked and a cryptic message left by someone named Small. Soon Jane gets a visit from Violet Morstan (Connie Booth). Having seen about the break-in in the paper she tells Jane about her father, Carter Morstan (Barry Morse) being killed and the name Small written in his calendar. She hires Jane and Holmes to investigate her father’s murder. She believes the cryptic note Jane got was meant for her since their addresses are similar.
Soon Jane and Holmes find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving counterfeit money, a high-jacking, a band of criminal FBI agents, murder and revenge.
“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” was released in 1987 and was directed by Kevin Connor. It is an American made for television mystery comedy. It was intended to be a pilot for CBS. The movie stars Michael Pennington as Sherlock Holmes and Margaret Colin as Jane Watson. The film is based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle and is reminiscent of his second novel “The Sign of the Four” written in 1890.
This movie ended up being kinda fun. The comedy isn’t overdone and the suspense is done fairly well. The rapport between Holmes and Watson is of mutual respect with a little tongue in cheek. If you are familiar with Doyle’s story of “The Sign of Four” you’ll see some similarities in the plot. There are also some nicely placed Sherlock Holmes tropes sprinkled in as well.
At one point Holmes ends up in Arizona at Lake Havasu City. He thinks he is hallucinating because he sees London Bridge. London Bridge was built in the 1830’s and went across the River Thames in London. In 1968 the bridge was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch from the city of London. McCulloch had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge cut and moved to the U.S. He used the blocks in the construction of the Lake Havasu City Bridge. Lake Havasu City is a planned community McCulloch created in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The bridge and a canal were completed in 1971. It links an island in the Colorado River with Lake Havasu City.
Michael Pennington, who plays Sherlock Holmes, also played Moff Jerjerrod in “Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi” 1983.