Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘Sherlock is a sociopath’

The actor gives his take on his iconic detective character

Benedict Cumberbatch has described his character Sherlock Holmes as a sociopath.

The actor, who plays the lead in the BBC’s Sherlock, said that the detective is unique among fictional heroes because he does not rely on any personal charm to get things done.

He told the LA Times:

If he’s charismatic, it’s an accident of who he is. He’s an odd entity. He’s sociopathic and there is a vicarious thrill you get watching someone who carves his way through bureaucracy and mediocrity like a hot knife through butter.

However, Cumberbatch added that the second series digs deeper into Holmes’ character: “He’s a deconstructed and more vulnerable character who is easier to relate to and care about. But it’s a slow learning curve. He’s still staggeringly smart, violent, physically capable, irreverent, comically rude – to idiots or even anyone vaguely in his way – and dangerous.”

Of taking on such an iconic role, he said: “I view it like any of the classical characters in the canon of Shakespeare or Chekov, there will always be new interpretations. I think Holmes is the fictional character who has been [on screen in different versions] the most. I’m 76th or something? People compare you to others and that’s fine, I can deal with that.”

Sherlock is currently airing its second series in the US on PBS Masterpiece. New episodes will shoot in early 2013.