No Visible Means of Support

I’ve had this thought in the back of my head for a while. In light of Roger Moore’s passing, it seems like as good a time as any to write it down.


In his eponymous tv series, despite being almost invariably described as “the famous Simon Templar” it’s never explained how or why The Saint is so well known. Indeed, much about him goes mysteriously and conveniently unexplained: how does he afford his jet-setting lifestyle when he doesn’t appear to have any source of income? where did he learn his skills? and why does he have such a fractious relationship with the authorities wherever he goes?

One might suppose, given that the series was begun after the bulk of the printed works were published, that the Templar of the small screen has adopted much of the history of his written counterpart. However, the books kept pace with the times, and were originally published from 1928 to 1963, a period of over thirty years. The television version picks up in 1962, at which point Simon is far too young to have much in common with book-Templar, even if we take it as read that he is the same age as actor Roger Moore, then a very youthful 35 (this also fits with Templar’s claims to have worked with the French Resistance, if we assume he joined the army while underage, close to the end of WWII). We must therefore accept that he is a different person, with a separate history – although, given that The Saint’s history before the books is pretty much unknown, that should not take much effort.

We know that book-Templar, despite the vagueness, has a well-known and -established history as a thief. It’s openly implied, if not outright stated, that the television version has a similar history, which would certainly explain his skillset (lockpicking, safecracking, how to handle himself in a brawl etc), familiarity with the criminal element, and the generally hostile attitude of the police, but it seems likely that he’s no longer an active criminal. Templar’s interactions with the police generally have a comfortable air of “I’ve done nothing wrong this time”, and he is never shown stealing other than with altruistic intent, which he certainly doesn’t profit from except in extraordinary cases. We must therefore look elsewhere for his current source of income.

An important clue may be found in the many disparate details previously mentioned. The Saint is famous (or sometimes infamous) the world over, his name, face, and former profession well-known to the general public. The police, with very few exceptions, openly resent Templar: they are very much aware of his past, as well as his vigilante habits, and act as though they would love nothing better than to arrest him on sight, but are unable to do so (unless they can plausibly claim suspicion of some freshly-committed crime). It is clear that at some point, his criminal activities became public knowledge, and in such a way that the police can’t touch him for it.

The most likely answer is that he somehow obtained amnesty for his past crimes. Taken together with his propensity for “Robin Hood” crimes, where his victims are those The Saint has deemed “ungodly” and are generally guilty of crimes that the police can’t act on, it can be theorised that in the course of committing justice, Templar broke a huge scandal, which made the front page of every newspaper. The publicity would have doomed his criminal career, which by its nature often relies on being ignored, but the ever-charming Templar was able to parlay his new-found fame into an amnesty, earning the enmity of nearly every police officer he had ever met, and a book deal, which was wildly popular and solved the problem of his income.

In a final detail, the comments Templar addresses to the camera at the beginnings of episodes (or, in later seasons, the voiced-over narration) could be directed to an in-universe interviewer. Alternatively, given that shots filmed from other angles clearly show that there’s nobody there, it may instead be an older Templar, commenting on past events as he recounts them to a biographer, or even writes the next volume himself. After all, a follow-up to his first book would be in much demand, and the airline tickets don’t pay for themselves.


With thanks to a little bird who helped me thrash out the basic idea behind this.

Oh! Hi there!

Ok, so this is my new blog.

I always thought I would be starting with a standard introductory “about me” post, and what sort of things you can expect to read here, but I always get self-conscious talking about myself (who’d want to hear about me sounding egotistical, right?), and even I don’t entirely know what I’ll be writing about yet, although it’ll be kind of varied. Basically, if you’re not interested in my current topic, try again later, because the next one’ll probably be something different. And yes, I know it looks a little bland at the moment; I’ll fix that at some point. It’s just that I’m in a slight bit of a hurry to get this post up, because I wanted to get this theory out there before the new series of Sherlock started airing, although I hear that I’m just a little bit late for that.

Anyway. Here goes. First post. *deep breath*

 

Moriarty is not dead.

Yes, you read that right; that was actually supposed to be the title of this post, except I didn’t want to look like this is an exclusively Sherlock blog (hint: it isn’t). Also, SPOILER ALERT for anyone who’s further behind than I am (The Abominable Bride is the most recent episode I’ve seen).

Even though we saw Moriarty kill himself quite thoroughly, it is still possible that what we saw is not exactly what happened. After all, we know The Reichenbach Fall omitted several key details that turned what we thought we saw entirely on its head. Why not more?

The Abominable Bride was clearly meant to be a linking story between the ending of His Last Vow and the start of the next season, and to explain how Moriarty could be sending a message from beyond the grave, despite being quite definitively dead. But why is such an explanation necessary, when its already well known that Moriarty has a whole organisation set up to do his work without requiring his direct action? His having other people to carry on his work was an obvious solution, even without the tale of the Bride to inspire Sherlock to reach that conclusion.

My answer?

Jim Moriarty really was an actor named Richard Brook.

All of the information he gave to Kitty Reilly about his life and career, that was published in the papers to destroy Sherlock Holmes’s reputation? If there was any evidence that it was fake, Sherlock would have found it; it was so convincing because it was real. Richard Brook was paid to play the role of Jim Moriarty, master criminal. It was Richard Brook who was arrested in the Tower of London. It was Richard Brook who slipped Sherlock his number, who played the Game, who took John hostage at the pool. It was Richard Brook who fed Irene Adler information on the brothers Holmes and claimed to be obsessed with Sherlock, and it was Richard Brook who shot himself on the roof of St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

It wasn’t Sherlock who paid him.

The Moriarty we know was played by an actor all along, a devotee of the real Moriarty who was willing to give his life to maintain the charade. Just as another woman played out the death of the Bride, another man performed the death of the Mastermind. We already knew he is a master of staying behind the scenes, controlling events as he wishes.

We’ve never met the real Moriarty. He’s still out there. And he’s still playing everyone like puppets.