joins the cast as Mary Morstan, John Watson’s fiancee. But the role
isn’t Abbington’s first connection to the show. Rather, she and Martin Freeman have been real-life romantic partners for years.
are some big differences between truth and fiction, of course. While
Mary is new on the “Sherlock” scene, Abbington and Freeman have been in a
committed relationship for over a decade. The two actors also have two
children together and have worked on multiple acting projects over the
years: “Men Only” (where they met), “The Debt,” “The Robinsons” and “The Good Night.”
all that, the “Sherlock” wedding of John and Mary will be the couple’s
first — the longtime partners have never tied the knot in real life.
A veteran of British television, American audiences are most likely to recognize Abbington for her recent role in “Mr. Selfridge.” She plays a department-store head of accessories, Miss Josie Mardle, in the Jeremy Piven-led period program. The second season of the Masterpiece drama will return in Feb. 2014.
Other roles include parts in “Coupling,” “Being Human” and “Agatha Christie: Poirot.”
Considering her history with Freeman, it shouldn’t have been a shock for Abbington to be
cast as Mary. That, however, was not the case. “I thought they were
going to ask me, ‘Do you have any ideas for this part? Which actress do
you think works well with Martin?'” Abbington told The Independent on her meeting with “Sherlock” producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
When they offered her the part, “I immediately started to talk myself
out of the job, saying ‘Are you sure? Don’t we have millions of
actresses who could do this job better than I could?'”
refers to her partner as “one of my favorite actors” but still found
some of her “Sherlock” scenes intimidating. After all, Mary has to
somehow relate to Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)
without alienating Watson. “That was quite a bit of pressure,”
Abbington said in the same interview. “In the scene where Sherlock
‘comes back from the dead’ and reveals himself to John, I really had to
up my game.”
It should be interesting to see what happens next when an on- and off-screen couple interacts in “Sherlock.”