Irene Adler was a prominent American adventuress, thief, and love interest of Sherlock Holmes. She was Holmes' adversary on numerous occasions, even working for his nemesis Professor James Moriarty, who murdered her in 1891 when he no longer needed her assistance.
Adler was born in New Jersey in the United States of America. She has already caught the attention of Sherlock, who has the picture he received from the King of Bohemia as a reward for solving the case in his office, and attempts to hide it from her. At the time of contacting Sherlock, she has already divorced her husband, whom she describes as boring, jealous, and prone to snoring.
By the time Holmes re-encounters Irene, she has made a name for herself with a number of thefts and at least one instance of blackmail. Holmes has been tracking her for some time: despite being unable to prove anything, he recognised her hand various scandals and affairs, which he kept in a special file. These included the theft of a Velázquez portrait from the king of Spain, naval documents that led to the resignation of the prime minister of Bulgaria, and a large diamond from an Indian maharaja. She was also allegedly behind the breakup of a marriage between a Habsburg prince and a Romanov princess.
Adler is also comfortable at appearing naked in front of Holmes. When he visited her in her hotel room, she was covered only by a towel, which she dropped in front of him, exposing her entire body, before she went behind a screen to get dressed.
After Blackwood's defeat, Holmes continued to track Moriarty's actions across Europe. Shortly after the bombing of Straßburg, Holmes again found himself tailing Irene. In disguise as a Chinese opium addict, he trailed her through a busy market with a package from Moriarty to an unknown recipient. Holmes took the package from Irene without her noticing, replacing it with a loaf of bread, before beginning to question her. They exchanged some playful banter, including planning a dinner date that night at the Savoy, and Holmes warned Irene that she was in fact being followed by three suspicious men. To escape them, they make an immediate detour into a narrow alley. There they found their way blocked by a fourth man, and Irene revealed to Holmes that in fact the three men following her escorts, not assailants. She retrieved the package from Holmes, and, instructing her escorts not to aim for the face because of their dinner date, left Holmes by himself to fight them.
Irene, meanwhile, continued to Cromwell & Griff, an auction house, where she was to meet with Dr Karl Hoffmanstahl to deliver his payment from Moriarty. In return, Hoffmanstahl gave Irene a letter for Moriarty from René Heron to his sister Sim, which René believed had been delivered. Holmes is able to track down Hoffmanstahl's 'payment'- which was in reality a bomb- and disarm it, but Hoffmanstahl is assassinated by other means moments later, while Irene is poisoned by Moriarty in a later meeting as he has concluded that her affection for Holmes has clouded her judgement and effectiveness as an agent.
- The "scandalous affair" that ended the engagement between a Habsburg prince and Romanov princess may be a reference to in "A Scandal in Bohemia", where the King of Bohemia was afraid that knowledge of his affair with Irene would end his engagement to a Scandinavian princess.
- Irene Adler was initially meant to suggest Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most popular actresses of the time and frequently linked romantically in the popular press with nobility and other prominent men.
- In the trailer for Sherlock Holmes (2009), McAdams' Adler defeats Holmes with a powerful knee to the testicles, but the scene was changed for the final cut [http://matthewslikelystory.blogspot.ie/2010/01/lock-stock-and-two-smoking-victorians.html].
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Downey, Susan, Lin, Dan, Silver, Joel, Wigram, Lionel. (Producers). Ritchie, Guy. (Director). (25 December, 2009 (US)). "Sherlock Holmes". United States of America, Warner Bros. Studios.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Downey, Susan, Lin, Dan, Silver, Joel, Wigram, Lionel. (Producers). Ritchie, Guy. (Director). (16 December, 2011 (US)). "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows". United States of America, Warner Bros. Studios.