“They’re all pretty screwed up,” Amanda Abbington tells Zap2it about her character and those of her “Sherlock” co-stars. “She’s an assassin; he’s a sociopath; and John’s killed a psychopathic cabbie.”
In Sunday’s (Feb.2) Season 3 finale, Abbington’s character, pregnant Mrs. Mary Watson, wife of Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman
), best pal to Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch
), reveal herself to be a trained assassin just before popping a bullet from a serious-looking gun into Sherlock’s torso.
As it turned out she was being blackmailed by the real villain, Magnussen (Lars MIkkelsen) and didn’t shoot to kill, but it’s safe to say the revelation was a shock in an episode full of shocks.
The gun Abbington used in the scene now links “Sherlock” to another great British franchise.
“I was taught admirably by a firearms expert,” Abbington says. “I did really well, loved it. I was so frightened of it. He gave me this fun, apparently it was James Bond’s gun. It’s the same one that Daniel Craig uses in ‘Skyfall,’ the one that he held.
“So he gave it to me, and I was terrified, because I had to fire it as a practice shot, because I’m supposed to keep my hand very steady.”
It didn’t take long for Abbington, who has two children — 8-year-old Joe and 5 1/2-year-old Grace — with Freeman, her partner of 14 years, to get a taste for it.
“I fired it once,” she says, “and said, ‘This is great. I’m good at this.’ It was the first time I’d fired a gun, but I was surprisingly accurate, which was good. It was interesting. I don’t like guns, really, but A, you’re holding James Bond’s gun, and, B, I fired it really well. It ticked all the boxes for me.”
Abbington did, though, have to learn a bit about firearms safety.
“I’m like, ‘This is fun,’ and I’m waving it around. I got told off for waving it around like that. ‘No, no, keep it … let me hold it.’ I’m like, ‘Why?’ ‘Because you’re waving it frantically around.”
Along with shooting a gun, she actually got to shoot Sherlock.
“It was fascinating to do it,” Abbington says. “It was fascinating to do it, because I’d never done anything like that before. So, it was really fascinating to watch how, just the minutae of it and how you set stuff up, how you set someone up to fall, stuff like that.
“It was great to watch and good to do as well.”
Reminded that Helen Mirren
has had great success playing an assassin in the two “Red” movies, Abbington says, “Yeah, could do. That should be my next thing — that, and Miss Marple. I think I’d make a really good Miss Marple
, lot younger. Put it out there. We need a younger Poirot
and a younger Marple. Andrew Scott
would make a great Poirot.”
In Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes story “A Study in Scarlet,” when Watson first meets Holmes, he says he “keeps a bull pup.”
In the TV show, however, no mention of a dog, bulldog puppy or otherwise, has been made.
“I’ll mention it to Steven [Moffat]
and Mark [Gatiss]
,” says Abbington, referring to the “Sherlock” producers. ‘I’d love a little puppy in it.'”
After all, she and Freeman are dog owners in real life.
“We’ve got a mongrel-ly dachshund cross,” says Abbington. “We’ve got a standard longhaired dachshund puppy, and then a miniature longhaired dachshund. They’re all rescues. They’re amazing. I love them.”
In “His Last Vow,” a part of the story takes place at the home of Sherlock’s parents on Christmas Day. As for Freeman and Abbington’s real Christmas Day, it featured a broken bottle of booze (a gift from Freeman’s stepfather) and the puppy, 9-month-old Arthur.
“I came back into the kitchen,” Abbington recalls, “and Arthur was lying on the floor on his back, just going, ‘Aaaahhhh.” I picked him up, and his breath stunk of alcohol. I had him in my arms, and he was snoring like an old man.
“I went into the kitchen the next morning, and he literally looked up, like he went, ‘No, shhhh. Oh, that was rough.’ He was hung over.”