In the SHERLOCK episode "The Reichenbach Fall," Sherlock and John Watson ran into James (Jim) Moriarty in the home of a journalist determined to expose Sherlock as a fraud. Sherlock was furious and Moriarty acted cowardly and very un-James-Moriarty-like. He claimed to be an actor named Richard Brook whom Sherlock had hired to act as a nemesis in his adventures to bolster the public opinion/image of Sherlock. "Richard" claimed there was no Moriarty.

Is Richard really James, or is James really Richard? Did Sherlock actually pay an actor to be Moriarty? Is there a real Moriarty?

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    I'm confused about what you're even asking. Can you give us some additional context. There's no character in the entire show named "Richard".
    – Catija
    Mar 12, 2016 at 4:42
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    @Catija Yes, there is. I think he's asking about "Richard Brook," the "actor" in the show who claimed Moriarty was an invention that Sherlock payed him to portray (in the episode The Reichebach Fall). And if Moriarty exists at all, or is it as "Richard" claimed? Mar 12, 2016 at 7:20
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    @MeatTrademark ok... But the op hasn't clarified that. We have no way of knowing what's being asked. You even say "I think".
    – Catija
    Mar 12, 2016 at 14:59
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    This question could really use a little more context of what you're actually talking about, starting with the actual movie or TV show episode and the characters you mean specifically.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 12, 2016 at 21:25
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    @MeatTrademark If you understand the question so well, feel free to help the others do so, too, by editing the question a little. There's even a badge for editing questions you answered. (By the way, I have seen the episode, now that I have come to know which episode is actually talked about by reading the answer. I still have a hard time figuring out what this question is talking about.) But fine, if noone who understands the question wants to improve it, I guess I'll have to do so once I have the time to look into it...
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 12, 2016 at 23:14

2 Answers 2


No. Jim Moriarty is not Richard Brook. This is evident from the confrontation between Sherlock and Jim on the rooftop.

JIM: Did you almost start to wonder if I was real? Did I nearly get you?

SHERLOCK: Richard Brook.

JIM: Nobody seems to get the joke, but you do.

SHERLOCK: Of course.

JIM: Attaboy.

SHERLOCK: Rich Brook in German is Reichen Bach – the case that made my name.

JIM (in a fake American accent): Just tryin’ to have some fun.

Jim Moriarty wanted to kill Sherlock right from the very beginning (Season 1, Episode 3) but he got a better distraction and left him off. This time he weaved an intricate fairytale around Sherlock. He wanted Sherlock to die in disgrace henceforth he became Richard Brook so that he could falsify Sherlock's ingenuity.

Also, right in the next episode (Season 3, episode 1), the court verdict is out which goes like:

REPORTER 1 (into his crew’s camera): ... that after extensive police investigations, Richard Brook did indeed prove to be the creation of James Moriarty ...

REPORTER 2 (into a different camera): ... amidst unprecedented scenes, there was uproar in court as Sherlock Holmes was vindicated and cleared of all suspicion ...

REPORTER 3: ... but sadly, all this comes too late for the detective who became something of a celebrity two years ago ...

Source for transcript: Ariane DeVere

  • In season 2 episode 3, moriarty dies but in season 3 episode 3, moriarty appears from nowhere. can you tell me a possible explanation? Mar 17, 2016 at 3:57
  • Well that's a tough one. But some inference can be drawn from the Abominable Bride episode. The bride apparently shoots herself in public, then kills her husband and then Sir Eustace. Probably it's Moriarty's men who are trying to keep him alive.
    – Rippy
    Mar 17, 2016 at 13:40
  • Yes that may be one. But, I think Moriarty is dead. Those "Did you miss me?" on the TV can be broadcasted by Moriarty's men. Mar 18, 2016 at 3:23

Short answer, No. From the episode The Reichenbach Fall. Sherlock did not pay the actor "Richard Brook" to pretend to be an arch-nemesis to further his profile and create newsworthy exploits. James Moriarty was pretending to be an actor.


He makes faces at Sherlock during the confrontation in the apartment.

He shows up later in the episode, especially note the rooftop climax.

Later in the series he shows up on screens saying "Miss Me?"

There is nothing but Moriarty as Richard's word to go on. That, and an easily faked CV and headshots, etc.

Lastly, the fact that Sherlock, as a "high-functioning sociopath," shot a man in cold blood (in the same episode Moriarty makes his return via the aforementioned televised "Miss me?" stunt) hardly seems like the action of someone who needs to outsource for exploits and fame (or infamy).


Moriarty just did this just to screw with Sherlock, and to cast doubt on his veracity and integrity in the eyes of those around him. In short, Moriarty being a true nemesis.

  • I also think the cockiness of Moriarty waiting on the roof while listening to "Stayin' Alive" is further evidence that Moriarty is real. Mar 13, 2016 at 2:49

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