Professor James Moriarty
It's not the man himself, but a clone -- as evil as the original,
-- Holmes, "The Crime Machine"
In the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Moriarty appears in only 3 stories
-- "The Final Problem", "The Adventure of the Empty House", and in a flashback
in the novel The Valley of Fear. But he makes quite an impression.
The original Professor James Moriarty was bad enough. He was a mathematical
genius who wrote papers which only his most distinguished colleagues were
able to understand. (From FALL, we learn that he was also a brilliant cryptographer.)
But for some reason, this was not enough. He began offering his services
to criminals, planning their operations for a commission. Holmes learned
of this and began to try to thwart him. Perhaps this is why Moriarty left
his university under a cloud and set up as a mathematics tutor, although
this was just a cover for continued nefarious activity. But Moriarty's
two brothers, a stationmaster and a colonel (the latter of which threatened
to sue Watson for libel) appear never to have realized the truth. Perhaps
the Professor was able to fool even his own family.
At any rate, once free of his academic obligations, Moriarty turned his brilliant
brain entirely to nefarious plots. He became the Napoleon of Crime, organizing
the criminals of London with an invisible hand. But "the Professor" was
also patient and only used violence when it fit his ends. He treated Holmes
with a strange courtesy, and cleared Watson out of the way before beginning
the battle at the Reichenbach Falls with his greatest rival.
Moriarty died that day. Holmes found his body and interred him (as we learned
from CRIM) in one of the ice caves nearby. The cold temperatures preserved
his corpse as perfectly as those of ill-fated Celtic and medieval miners
in other Swiss caves. With a touch of poetry and for added security, Holmes
placed the body behind a wall of ice and then rolled a stone across the
entrance. The unusual method of burial would eventually be regretted by
On an evil day for the world, rogue French geneticist Martin Fenwick found
Moriarty's tomb. The body's unusual state of preservation made it a perfect
source of DNA for Fenwick. Careful not to unduly disturb the place, Fenwick
drilled a tiny hole (perhaps more than one) through the wall of ice and
extracted DNA from Moriarty's body. Using the advanced science of the 22nd
century, he cloned himself a criminal genius and implanted it with the
memories of the original.
We know nothing about this new Moriarty's development. Did Fenwick raise
the clone from childhood, or was he somehow able to accelerate the clone's
development into adulthood? How long did the cloning process take? How
long has this new Moriarty lived, and when did his criminal operations
All we know is that Holmes deduced that Fenwick's original plan was to
use this new Moriarty as his slave, and that at some point slave became
master. (Neither Fenwick nor Moriarty denied this.)
The original Moriarty may have suffered in childhood (a lot of criminals
do) or may have been perfectly happy. One thing we know -- he never intended to be
a slave, and certainly not to such a chaotic and cruel villain as Fenwick.
Perhaps the clone's justified anger is behind Moriarty's current drive
to control the world openly instead of working from the shadows. Perhaps
that is also why such an intelligent creature clings to the belief that
he is the original Moriarty, despite knowing he is Fenwick's creation.
The parallels with Holmes' new faithful Watson are disturbing.
By May of 2103, Moriarty was ready. In what may have been a perverse tribute
to the day of the Reichenbach, Moriarty began a campaign of operations
designed to obtain the components he needed to control the Lunar defense
systems and turn them against Earth. And the plan would have worked --
but for a young New Scotland Yard detective named Beth Lestrade who saw
and recognized Moriarty, and thus came to call on a most unusual outside
Moriarty seemed to have learned his lesson about spectacular criminal activity.
No more obvious recidivism or unprecedented crime waves for him. Until
MUSG2, we had seen Moriarty only twice since HOUN2. The first time was
as bait for Holmes in EMPT2, as Moriarty took steps to eliminate Holmes;
the second time in SUSS2, as Moriarty acted to co-opt or eliminate a rival
criminal genius. On both occasions, Moriarty's emotions got the better
of him but his skills were still sufficient to allow him to escape. During
RESI2, we learned of a subtler plan for control of the world, but Moriarty
himself stuck to the shadows.
But then Moriarty discovered the secret of the Musgrave Sword, which seemed
to go to his head. At first he remained cautious, attempting to achieve
his goals without warning the police in any way. But soon he was proclaiming
the glories of destruction. When defeated, he soon surfaced with another
plan to take over the world with a secret weapon (in BLUE2) and then yet
another (in FIVE2).
The humiliating end of all three plans seemed to have forced patience upon
him; his next venture (in REDH2) was probably intended to make up the losses
from those operations. Despite his lack of success, Moriarty must
have been cheered by the neat way he escaped Holmes' clutches. He who steals
and runs away lives to steal another day.... Moriarty's project in ENGN2 was
another moneymaker. But SECR and MAZA2 seem to have been planned to include
both world domination and revenge (on Grayson in one, and on Holmes and England
in the other).
When it comes to Holmes, Moriarty seems to be torn. On the one hand, Holmes
is one of the few people who are his intellectual equal. They share professional
interests in crime and science, have an eye for art, and have similar skills
in the martial and theatrical arts. But Moriarty's lust for power and Holmes' will for
justice can never meet. Still, Moriarty may wish on some deeply buried
level that it could be otherwise, particularly since neither the original
nor the clone Moriarty seem to have ever had a friend in the world.
Moriarty does not seem to consider Watson an obstacle of any kind -- in
fact, he doesn't seem to consider the new Watson much at all, except as
a leverage point.
He does seem to feel strongly about Beth Lestrade, however. During their
first conversation, Lestrade was able to sum up Moriarty's plans with enough
accuracy that, like Holmes before him, Moriarty could see Lestrade's potential
as a reasoner. There are few humans even close to Moriarty's league. The
original Moriarty could have met very few women who were both intelligent
and willing to speak to him; the new Moriarty may have met none, so he
was doubtless intrigued. He sarcastically professed himself glad to meet
Lestrade and kissed her hand, only to be flung off by the offended inspector.
Moriarty was visibly hurt by this treatment, so it is not surprising that
when Moriarty captured Lestrade during SUSS2 he attempted to humiliate
her. He abused her intelligence with great venom and honored the occasion
with all the overdramatics he could produce; nor was he happy when Lestrade
turned the tables on him. But by MUSG2, Moriarty dispassionately describes
her police work as 'admirable', as he expected from her, and proceeds to
attempt to kill her with the detachment appropriate to a master criminal.
One must be professional about such things. Later, he appeared to find
Lestrade's defiance in BLUE2 funny (Ioniser vs laser cannon?), and was
downright hostile toward the inspector when he briefly took her hostage
in FIVE2. One wonders if there is some story behind his bitter description
of Lestrade as a "Scotland Yard zealot"!
Moriarty feels no particular hostility toward the Baker Street Irregulars.
They are useful to him since any threat to them will be taken seriously
by Holmes; therefore, he has no need to threaten the young people or even
speak to them directly. They are mere agents, it seems.
Moriarty, in keeping with his interest in astronomy, pays attention to
science fiction. After sarcastically suggesting in MAZA2 that he make a
transporter and beam out, he tells the clueless Fenwick that he ought to
watch the classics.
Moriarty's future plans are unknown. It seems likely that he will continue
trying to realize his ambition to rule the world. However, it seems equally
likely that Holmes will continue trying to stop him. Unless something changes,
they are both headed for another Reichenbach.
From the Fox press releases:
Professor James Moriarty:
A genius, a philosopher and an abstract
thinker, Professor James Moriarty was brought back to life by 22nd
Century technology as a clone of his former evil self, with the same
intention - power. His knowledge of mathematics and philosophy
prepared him for life in the future and he has easily adapted to the
22nd Century. He has mastered the 22nd Century computers, gaining
access to the industrial systems, including Scotland Yard's crime
computer, where he erases clues that may help in his capture. He had
a tremendous amount of influence on London crime in the 19th
Century, so the 22nd Century won't be much different.
From the Study Guide:
Professor James Moriarty
With his extensive knowledge of mathematics and philosophy, Moriarty's
brilliance is undeniable. Just as in the 19th century, however, Holmes'
evil enemy uses his profound intellect to pursue power and wreak havoc.
He has mastered 22nd century computers, and his access to industrial
systems allows him to control his futuristic crime wave over cyberspace.
Only partially restored, Professor Moriarty has become a twisted half-man,
half-machine bent on world domination and the final defeat of his arch-
nemesis, Sherlock Holmes.
The Study Guide is obviously referring to an earlier concept of
Moriarty. Sounds muchly cool, though, doesn't it?
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