The Washington Post

‘Sherlock’ shocks everyone as the biggest winner at the Emmy Awards

Steven Moffat poses in the press room with the award for outstanding writing for a miniseries, movie or a dramatic special for “Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece).” (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

And the show with the most wins at the 2014 Emmy Awards goes to…”Sherlock”?

Indeed: “Sherlock: The Last Vow (Masterpiece)” which airs on BBC and PBS, shocked everyone at the awards ceremony on Monday as it steamrolled over big names in the TV movie/miniseries categories to win seven awards total — the most of any show this year. It’s also the first time that “Sherlock,” nominated many times before and 12 times this year, won any Emmys at all.

Star Benedict Cumberbatch picked up lead actor in a TV movie/miniseries (beating Billy Bob Thornton, Mark Ruffalo, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba) while Martin Freeman won the supporting actor prize (instead of Matt Bomer, Joe Mantello, Colin Hanks, Jim Parsons and Alfred Molina). Perhaps not expecting much, neither Cumberbatch or Freeman showed up for the ceremony.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson.(Colin Hutton/© Hartwood Films 2012)

It was a surprise to many in the industry, who expected HBO’s “The Normal Heart” to sweep up all the prizes. (It eventually won best TV movie.) “Sherlock” co-creator Stephen Moffatt — who won the writing trophy over “American Horror Story’s” Ryan Murphy, “The Normal Heart’s” Larry Kramer and others — told reporters backstage at the Emmys he was just as stunned as anyone. “I feel guilty about every award we took from them,” he said in reference to “The Normal Heart.”

As strange as it seemed, “Sherlock’s” domination at the Emmy Awards isn’t that crazy. The show is a massive hit in Britain, where it originally airs, and 4 million people tuned into PBS at the beginning of this year to watch the third season. Plus, Cumberbatch’s profile has risen steadily over the last couple of years from quirky niche favorite to international star, thanks to things like his role in J.J. Abrams’s “Star Trek.”

And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s never to underestimate the popularity of British television in the U.S. — examples range from “Downton Abbey” to the inescapable “Poirot.” Combine all of that with the obsession with “Sherlock” (another season will air in 2015) and it was only a matter of time before it collected all the awards.

Read more:

Three suggestions on how the Emmys can be fixed

Seth Meyers vs. Jimmy Kimmel: Who was the real Emmys host?

Robin Williams, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and more moments that you missed

Read the full list of winners

Givhan: Pushing products on the red carpet

Billy Crystal pays tribute to Robin Williams

Full recap of the 2014 Emmy Awards

Amy Poehler is Beyonce and everything is wonderful

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
Abby Ohlheiser · August 26, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.