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Morland Holmes is the father of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes.

Biography

Morland Holmes is described as an international consultant, and an "influence peddler par excellence" by his son Sherlock. He owned the brownstone where Sherlock and Joan live and hired Joan Watson to take care of his son, Sherlock, after his release from rehab in New York City, after recovering from a descent into drug abuse. At one point in season one, he was supposed to come into town and have dinner with Sherlock and Joan, but missed it on account of business. His name appeared as "M. Holmes" on Joan's mobile phone when he responded to her request to be allowed to stay with Sherlock for a while longer as his sober companion. Morland denied the request, but Joan lied to Sherlock and told him his father had said yes. Later in season one, Sherlock called Morland to request financial assistance from him to help solve a case and rescue the daughter of a friend. In exchange for investigative assistance from his son, Morland granted this aide in the form of 2.2 million dollars, which Sherlock soon returned upon the case's conclusion. In the process, Sherlock found out about Joan's deceit and ultimately formed a partnership with her. In the season 3 finale, Morland hears that Sherlock relapsed on drugs after severely beating someone who kidnapped a friend, and calls Joan, telling her he plans to fly to New York that night. Although in the season 4 debut he again fails to arrive when he was originally supposed to on account of business, at the end of the episode Morland meets Sherlock on the rooftop of the brownstone, and says he's come to fix the mess Sherlock has made. Since Sherlock's aforementioned assault has gotten he and Joan dismissed as consultants to the NYPD, Morland offers to use his influence to see them reinstated, assuring Joan upon meeting her he wanted nothing in return. He points out how Sherlock's well-being had benefitted from their partnership and from working with the NYPD, and says he merely wishes for Sherlock to enjoy the benefit of both these things again.

Sherlock and Joan ultimately decide to accept his offer, but Joan discovers Morland indirectly brided the district attorney to not charge Sherlock with assault by underselling one of his estates to a buyer, who in turn funded a super-PAC that supported the district attorney on Morland's behalf, a legally shady action, which could be constituted as a violation of American campaign financing laws. They agree Sherlock shouldn't know this, but Joan warns Morland in turn that she won't let him hurt Sherlock if he chooses to be a part of Sherlock's life again. After having them reinstated to the NYPD, Morland is visited by Sherlock, who is displeased that he is still in New York and offers to hasten his departure by helping him solve a problem he's working on for a client. The client's wind farm plans were being opposed by woman looking to build a resort, but after they solve the situation, Morland reveals to Sherlock he has stayed in the city to be near him in case he needs him, wishing to make things better between them, and that he will remain in New York indefinitely with the hope of working with Sherlock again.

Some time later, after a sniper attack occurs in the city, Morland approaches Sherlock and reveals the identity of the man responsible, and how he knows it. Three years previously, the sniper had been hired by a former client of Morland's in India to kill an official delaying their efforts to acquire mining rights, with Morland learning his identity by developing a contact in the sniper's mercenary outfit. He offers to help Sherlock solve the case, using his vast resources and influence to ensure cooperation from different individuals. Morland knows Bill Wellstone, the boss of one of the victims, who they believe may have been the real target of the attack. After a visit with him, Wellstone supplies them with information about the project the victim was working on for the company after Morland threatens to destroy that project's chances of success otherwise. They ultimately end up on a false lead from this, and Holmes deduces from additional information provided by a friend at the police department that the true target of the sniper was a plumber, who was his first victim. Morland summons a helicopter to fly them to the area of the victim's home quickly as they may not have much time before the sniper flees the country, and Sherlock ultimately discovers the sniper tracked his target by planting a tracking program on his phone. The sniper's location was eventually discovered , but he died in the police's effort to capture him. Sherlock deduces from notes found among the sniper's belongings that he had a Swiss bank account, which Morland uses a contact in Interpol to acquire them information on. Though the the signature of who opened the account for the sniper is not present among the information provided, it shows a subsidiary of Wellstone's company paid the sniper 1.5 millions dollars to carry out the attack.

The tracking data from the victim's phone allow Sherlock and his friends to discover he had an affair with the wife of the chief counsel to Wellstone's company, who they suspect may have been the man behind the sniper, but don't have the evidence to charge. After another meeting with Wellstone, who this time refuses to help even in the face of Morland's threaten to destroy the aforementioned project, Morland realizes he was the one truly behind the sniper. He reveals he's aware of Wellstone's habit of pursuing the wives of his employees, but refuses to be bought off with good business offers, assuring Wellstone that it won't be long before someone trustworthy in business deals takes his place. Afterward, Morland informs Sherlock and Joan of what he learned, and later meets with his Interpol contact in person, who attempts to blackmail him by threatening to tell Sherlock of potential danger he could be in with regard to his father. Morland threatens him into submission by heavily implying that he had his previous Interpol contact murdered for a similar reason. 

Some time later, Morland comes to the brownstone to visit Joan and invites her to dinner at a restaurant opening he was invited to, which she accepts. At the dinner, he reveals he’s aware Mycroft is still alive after faking his death(Joan thought maybe that was why he wanted to mend his relationship with Sherlock) and asks her to evaluate a blood bank facility he was thinking of using for emergencies. She agrees, and later visits him in his office to recommend a better one and ask his assistance with a case she and Sherlock were working by identifying which of a number of arms dealers was making most money off of an on-going war Ukraine, which Morland does. During her interactions with him in this episode, Joan notices Morland eats in a peculiar way; small, infrequent bites which he takes his time chewing, with high doses of vitamins, including B12 which is usually absorbed through the stomach lining. As their case comes to a close, she discovers Morland had likely been the target of a failed assassination of attempt that resulted in the death of a woman he was dating, which may have damaged his stomach and been he was banking his blood, and informs Sherlock.

Sherlock confronts Morland with what Joan told him, angry that he hadn’t shared this and potentially endangered them, but Morland denies there is any danger, falsely claiming the assailant was dealt with. Knowing he was lying, Sherlock says he’ll look into the matter himself. After an unexpectedly hostile encounter with Morland Interpol contact a few weeks later, Sherlock deduces Morland didn’t tell him about the incident or ask him to help investigate it because his father believed he was the one responsible and perhaps means him harm. When confronted with the accusation, Morland admits to having previously suspected Sherlock, but says he no longer does and means him no harm. Sherlock says he no longer wants to try and rebuild their relationship and asks him to leave New York. Morland visits the brownstone later and sadly confesses that he was wrong to suspect his son, and that afterward he felt terrible that he had, saying the only reason he had ever come was to try and make things right between them after hearing about Sherlock’s relapse. He also informs him that a cabbie in Paris, where the attempt on his life occurred, had indentified Sherlock to his investigators, which Morland concluded was a false lead. His Interpol contact, however, refused to believe he had stopped suspecting Sherlock, leading to previous conversation in which Morland threatened him into silence with the lie about having his previous contact assassinated, explaining to Sherlock the reason why the Interpol agent had been so scared of and hostile to him when he met him. Morland agrees to return to London, and says he only wanted Sherlock to know the truth. As he leaves, Sherlock meets him and informs him that his previous Interpol contact was likely spying on him for whoever killed his girlfriend and tried to kill him, as in weeks prior he’d been following Morland everwhere, and was likely killed to tie up a loose end. Thanking him for the new clue, Morland is assured by his son that he will find whoever tried to kill him since in casting suspicion on Sherlock, they have affronted his reputation, an offense he finds intolerable.

Some time later, Morland is informed by his girlfriend’s daughter that her home was broken into, him realizing from what all she said that Sherlock and Joan were behind it. He returns to New York and angrily confronts Sherlock about it, with his son informing him his dead girlfriend, Sabine, may have been involved in the attempt on his life and died in the process. Morland denies this and says her death was his fault, that she would still be alive had she never knew him. Sherlock uses the moment to needle him by invoking the memory of dead mother and saying his sentiment was overdue. Angered further, Morland leaves and later provides Sherlock with Sabine’s emails so he can verify her innocence. He also informs him that his mother was also a drug addict, and that he divorced her after sending he and Mycroft to boarding school because she refused treatment. Admitting he made this decision and enforced their prenuptial agreement in anger, Morland decries this as the pettiest thing he ever did and says he’ll never forgive himself for it, but indicates he will no long stand for Sherlock using his mother’s seemingly squeaky clean memory to spite him. Later, Sherlock returns and says Sabine was indeed innocent, but that her emails were tapped by a Russian assassin current serving a life sentence in Russia, who was the man who made the attempt on his life on behalf of another employer. Before he leaves, Sherlock tells him to proceed with caution as wishing to avenge a lost love can lead to bad decisions.

A few months later, Morland donates a quarter of a million dollars to a charity Joan supports, and when she comes to him to thank him and suspects he wants something in return, he reveals he needs the help of an outside investigator to verify whether or not there was a mole in his company who undermined him in a recent oil deal. He admits his competitor may indeed have just done a better job, and says he’d be happy to know his team could all be trusted. Joan returns later and questions him about the man who tried to kill him and whether he had broken him out of prison to get revenge. Morland denies he had, but refuses to answer all her questions and simply demands to know whether there was a mole in his company. Joan lies and says there isn’t, only to later recruit that same employee to spy on Morland herself. In the time that followed, Morland discovers the mole himself and reassigns him within the company to use him against his business rivals by spreading misinformation. He also visits the brownstone to look for an item he stored there, which frightens Joan when she finds him there. Morland leaves after the search fails. Later, the mole in his company is murdered in a café robbery.

After Joan informs Sherlock, to his anger, that she has been spying on Morland after they investigate the scene, Sherlock comes to his father to feel him as a suspect out under the guise of bearing bad news and asking for access to his employee’s work. Morland denies the request for the present time, promising to reconsider if the investigation reveals his employee was targeted. Later, Captain Gregson, Sherlock and Joan’s boss in the police department, comes to see him, Morland warmly welcoming the opportunity to meet him, but quickly becoming surprised when Gregson questions him like a suspect. Before leaving, Gregson openly threatened Morland not to harm Sherlock or Joan. Angered all this, Morland realizes Joan lied to him about not finding a mole previously and makes good on his promise to reconsider Sherlock’s request for access to the mole’s work by bringing it all to the brownstone. He also, to their humiliation, provides Sherlock and Joan with proof that, in fact, the people the mole spied for had had him killed in the form of an encrypted email they sent him from an account Joan discovered previously while looking into the mole. The next morning, Sherlock, somewhat apologetic, comes to Morland and says they verified his innocence and now need him to provide information on the competitor he lost the oil deal to, as they likely were behind the mole’s death. Morland does this, and explains to Sherlock when he asks that he was looking for an antique ring he stored in the brownstone when he last came there.

Not long after, two of his employees are murdered and his office is blown up by the same man who had tried to kill him, forcing Morland to go into hiding after his resources become all tied up in various things. Sherlock comes to him and says he has indentified the party behind the attempt on his life, a criminal organization previously run by nemesis, Jamie Moriarty. Agreeing to provide them with details he’d been keeping secret in exchange for being kept apprised of how the situation develops, Morland reveals the man that tried to kill him had come to New York the previous week with help from well-connected allies, as Morland found out through contacts he developed in Russia, and says he was the one the bombed his office. When Sherlock doesn’t keep him apprised as agreed, Morland comes to the brownstone and confronts him, with Sherlock indicating he knows the new leader of Moriarty’s group, but refusing to tell Morland the name. Morland has his head of security watch over them, but he is put in the hospital by a man he saw plant a bomb to kill Sherlock and Joan, and whom he kills in self-defense. Morland goes to the scene where this happened and is met there later by Sherlock, who he offers to help in bringing down the new head of Moriarty’s group in Sherlock’s way, no longer desiring to take revenge. Sherlock later accepts his help, and Morland sets up an audience with the woman second in command at the local Iranian UN mission, who they suspect is a member of Moriaty’s organization after discovering the man who intended to bomb the brownstone worked for her. During the meeting, she hides nothing about her involvement and admits they’re completely right about her, saying she opposes the organization’s current head, Joshua Vikner.

Morland offers to keep her safe if she helps them take Vikner down, with Sherlock adding they intend to dismantle Moriarty’s entire network. She reveals the precise size of the group, which is too huge to just easily expect to be able to do so, and points out she and others had wanted Morland to be the new head after Moriarty’s capture, explaining why Vikner had tried to have Morland killed previously. To ensure he would be able to take over the group. The Iranian delegate had tried to kill Sherlock and Joan to provoke Moriarty herself to bring about Vikner’s removal, as Moriarty had only allowed him to run her group on the condition that no harm come to Sherlock and Joan, whom she respects. Morland, Sherlock, and Joan depart after the delegate refuses to help them, but he is later contacted by her and she agrees to arrange Vikner’s death if Morland takes his place. Morland cooperates with a plan Sherlock and Joan concoct to frame Vikner for murder in a federal case, which involves him talking with Vikner over the phone. While doing so, Vikner offers Morland the chance to surrender himself to guarantee a peaceful resolution to their conflict. The plan fails to go smoothly, however, and Vikner goes on the run. Afterwards, Morland calls the delegate and accepts her offer, and contacts Vikner and pretends to accept his. The next morning, he terminates his security team, with the head of security receiving a generous severance package and informing Sherlock and Joan of what Morland has done. He meets with Vikner in an abandoned warehouse, where the delegate’s fellow dissenters in Vikner’s ranks kill Vikner and install Morland as the new head of the network. Sherlock and Joan later come to the scene after their FBI contact tracks it down, and Morland texts Sherlock to meet him on the roof of the brownstone. There he informs him of what all has happened and says he will work to dismantle Moriarty’s network himself from within to guarantee Sherlock and Joan will never be hurt by them. Before he leaves New York, Morland ponders what it is about he and Sherlock that seems to make them a danger to those they love, cautions Sherlock with regard to Joan, and gives up several of his properties in the city, leaving his penthouse to Sherlock.

In season 6, about two years later, Morland is informed by Sherlock that Mycroft has been dead nearly a year after discovering this, and Morland returns to New York heartbroken, and wishing to see Sherlock again. He reveals he has made steady progress in dismantling Moriarty’s network, albeit not managing to foil all of its plots and having to drain some of the family fortune to pay off Moriarty’s shareholders so they wouldn’t become suspicious. He also says he needs to alter his will to make Sherlock his new heir(as Mycroft had been so previously). Sherlock reveals he now forgive Morland’s past misdeeds as a parent and not longer holds a grudge against him, having come to realize grudges are meaningless after not being able to reconcile with Mycroft for reason of them. They attend a meeting with Morland’s attorney, in which Sherlock says he wants all his father would leave him to go to charity, to Morland’s disappointment. As they leave, Sherlock notices a man watching his father and believes he intends to hurt him. After Sherlock identifies the assassin and he commits suicide rather than be caught, he informs Morland of what has happened, and Morland informs him that Moriarty has escaped federal custody and is the one now targeting him. As they discuss this, Morland informs him that the FBI has kept a tight lid on the investigation and that he only found out recently that Moriarty had escaped when Sherlock wonders why he wasn’t told. He asks Sherlock to help him kill Moriarty first to prevent her from ever regaining command of her network and the disaster that could result from such. Sherlock makes contact with Moriarty through an agent of hers that he meets in one of her front businesses, which he tracks down through the personal belongings of the assassin she hired. He brokers a cease fire between she and Morland by threatening to replace him as head of network if she kills him, after which Moriarty agrees to let Morland continue his work of dismantling her network until he dies. Sherlock informs Morland of this before he leaves New York again, and he accepts this solution to the problem, wishing to hear from Sherlock again soon.

In the three part series finale in season seven, Morland returns to New York again to respond in person to a request from Sherlock to help him bring to justice billionaire tech mogul Odin Reichenbach, a businessman who uses his software to identify people who plan to commit violent acts and recruits vigilantes to murder them before they can. Reichenbach had tried to recruit them to help improve the system he uses to do this, seeing himself as similar to Sherlock and Joan, which is how they know about what he does. Morland agrees to help and is briefed on the particulars of the case, believing his contacts in various law enforcement agencies are higher up in the agencies than those Reichenbach claims to have. For his part in their joint efforts, Morland enlists help from some of his more powerful contacts around the world and successfully entices the countries where Reichenbach gets most, if not all of his business to ban his technology, causing the stock of his company, Odker to go into free fall as it plummets in value. This effectively cripples Reichenbach's company, and Morland ensures Odker's board receives an ultimatum; if Odker wants to do business with half the world's population, Reichenbach must resign as CEO. Informed later by Sherlock that his efforts seem to be working, Morland tells Sherlock that he is having his security details watch Sherlock’s loved ones since Reichenbach had threatened them all. Sherlock thanks him for his help and says he wasn’t sure if Morland would come at first. Morland simply replies that he always does come to Sherlock’s aid, as he leaves to meet one of his contacts, who informs him that Reichenbach has turned their efforts against them by getting to the people above her and leading them to her government more elusive enemies. She informs him that the power Reichenbach has through his software makes people like them obsolete. Realizing he will likely be murdered, Morland asks what will happen to Sherlock, before his contact leaves the room and two assassins enter it. Morland’s body is later found by a friend of Sherlock’s colleague, Detective Bell, and he informs Sherlock, who is heartbroken upon his father’s death. This sets the stage for the final showdown with Reichenbach, in which Sherlock guarantees his downfall through extreme measures.

Personality

As the only testament of Morland’s personality came from Sherlock until his appearance, he was portrayed in a very negative way given Sherlock’s despise of him throughout most of his life. Morland was known to have been very negligent towards Sherlock, as he stated that his father never kept appointments, and often sent representatives in his place, even in cases of family. This has apparently always been the case, as Sherlock has memories of it going back to childhood. Morland visited 221B Baker street only once, where he "excoriated" Sherlock for not having any of his favourite tea. Morland apparently had no patience for weakness, real or imagined, and sent Sherlock away from London after becoming an addict because he lost faith in him, wanting him out of sight and mind. He was duly surprised when this move proved to be more fortunate than he had anticipated, and expressed pride at Sherlock's work in New York, and thus did not hold his relapse against him. (Evidence of Things Not Seen).

In spite of his perceived shortcomings, Morland truly did care for and love his family. While their relationship was strained, he always looked out for Sherlock’s well-being when he needed it. He paid for Sherlock's rehabilitation and set him up in a brownstone in Brooklyn (albeit it is the least impressive property of his five properties in New York). He also provided aftercare for Sherlock by employing a sober companion, although he never met with Joan before hiring her. He has stated that he "was always willing to go lengths" to help and protect Sherlock, as proven by his less-than-legal methods to benefit his son, such as bribing the district attorney of New York City to have charges against Sherlock dropped, and likely illegally influencing the New York Chief of Detectives to reinstate him and Joan to being consultants. Despite Joan’s general disrespectfulness to him and lack of apparent appreciation for all he did for them, Morland also cared for her well-being, as his primary motivation in agreeing to take over Jamie Moriarty’s network was to dismantle it to keep she and Sherlock safe from harm, along with other innocents. Morland was heartbroken by the death of Mycroft, and before he was murdered by Odin Reichenbach’s mercenries, he asked his associate whom they had used to trap him what would happen to Sherlock, showing how much he truly cared about his sons.

As a businessman, Morland was largely ruthless and amoral, and even corrupt to a degree, not bothering to consider the moral implications and potential results of the assistance he gave to his clients, as Sherlock says that he had provided aid to clients in noble and ignoble ventures. For example, Sherlock implied that his father had a direct hand in starting the Falklands war in 1982. He was also not above acts such a smuggling and, as aforementioned, bribery. However, Morland was not completely without moral principles either, as he showed total regard for the sanctity of life, being unwilling to assassinate an official from Mumbai for delaying a deal he was engineering, and thus was replaced by a mercenary outfit that carried out the deed for his client. When the same sniper acts with similar methods to hide another assassination, he was disgusted by the cavalier attitude of the suspect, who "[compared] a massacre to inclement weather" in Morland’s opinion (The Cost Of Doing Business). He also, despite how dangerous she was, hoped the day wouldn’t come when he’d have to ask Sherlock to help him kill Moriarty after her escape from prison, and in the end Morland only reluctantly did so when she began targeting him so that she wouldn’t be able to take control of her network again and become an even greater threat to innocent lives.

In terms of general nature and disposition to others, Morland was generally very polite, pleasant, and well-mannered, much more so as a whole than Sherlock is, though he could be quite frightening and intimidating when he had to be, as can be surmised from what is written above, and worked much like Sherlock in how he would strong-arm people into doing what he wanted should the need arise. He was also very brave, risking his life to dismantle Moriarty’s network and, at the cost of his own life, attempting to aid Sherlock and Joan in bringing down billionaire tech mogul Odin’s Reichenbach and his crime prevention system.

Abilities and Skills

Genius Intellect: Morland Holmes was vastly intelligent, proven by His ability to set up and/or run an international consulting business. The vast wealth and power he accumulated through his business(Sherlock said his father held the wealth and power of a small nation state) further attested to Morlands ingenuity. Through his vast international connections, he could solve most any problem for any client, and make them able to succeed in their ventures, being a master businessman.

  • Master Manipulator: Morland was incredibly adept at manipulation, able to uncover people's darkest secrets through covert investigators and strong-arm and intimidate them into submission for the sake of a client succeeding in their business. He would often use the dark secrets of a client's opposition or the threat of crippling another valuable business venture of theirs to entice them to submit. Most notably, though it didn't fully succeed, Morland was able to cripple the company of billionaire tech mogul Odin Reichenbach and deprive it of most, if not all it's business in effort to get Reichenbach ousted as CEO and assist Sherlock in bringing the ruthless international criminal to justice.
    • Master Deceptor: Though he usually preferred truthfulness, Morland was a master of deception. Morland fooled his Interpol contact, Lukas Muller, into believing Morland was responsible for the death of his previous Interpol contact to frighten Muller into submission when the latter tried to blackmail him. He also successfully tricked Zoya Hashemi, a member of Moritarty's network, into believing he intended to take over their group with her help, despite having intention only to dismantle it.
      • Master Strategist and Covert Agent: Additionally, Morland was a master strategist and covert agent, demonstrated not only in his ability to do all that is written above, but also to successfully work under cover for over three years, and steadily make progress in dismantling Moriarty's network, doing so so skillfully that none of them ever caught on that Morland was behind the group's weakening enterprise, though he failed to fully achieve this goal before he was murdered, and Moriarty ultimately took over the network again.

Relationships

Sherlock Holmes

Judging by how Sherlock spoke of his father, their relationship was stormy for much of his life. Sherlock was sent to a boarding school at the age of eight and told someone that he would "trade his father for a Tic-Tac". He described his father to relative strangers as a "Lovecraftian horror", and to Watson as having the moral neutrality of the plague. Slowly but gradually, Sherlock feelings about his father changed starting in season 4 and on given all that occurred with Morland. He developed greater respect of him, bragging on him occasionally in season 5, fully reconciling with Morland in season 6 after Mycroft died, and tearing up with Morland was murdered, showing Sherlock did love his father deep down.

Mycroft Holmes

According to Joan, Mycroft was closer to their father than Sherlock. Indeed, it appeared that Morland favored the elder brother. After Sherlock fled to America, his rooms at 221B were given to Mycroft, who put all of Sherlock's belongings in storage. He also granted Mycroft his trust-fund early in order to open several restaurants in London, and named him his sole heir, though at the time perhaps Sherlock wanted it like that. Mycroft, however, was entirely willing to use the breach between his father and brother in his own schemes to get Sherlock out of New York. Similarly, Mycroft's name comes up rarely in conversation between the other two Holmes.

Trivia

  • Sherlock tells Joan (in the Pilot) that his father owns five properties in New York and that the brownstone is the "shoddiest and the least renovated".

References

  1. John Noble To Play Sherlock Holmes’ Dad In ‘Elementary’, Denise Petski, Deadline.com, 3 June, 2015.
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