"The Devil's Foot"
One of the most interesting stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon, "The Devil's Foot" finds the Great Detective's friend and ally, Dr. Watson (Edward Hardwicke), pressuring the exhausted sleuth (Jeremy Brett) into joining him on a vacation on the Cornish coast. Instead of relaxation, however, Holmes and Watson encounter one of the most horrifying multiple murders they have yet come across. Though our heroes nearly die from Holmes's effort to prove the cause of death, they carry on until Holmes finally unmasks the identity of the culprits--and then makes a controversial decision about the fate of one. Brett and Hardwicke excel as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous team, who are under more duress than usual in this fascinating tale.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle caught a fair amount of flak for getting a lot of details wrong in this story about the training and racing of horses. Nevertheless, it is one of his most popular yarns and makes a fine basis for this vigorous 1988 episode from the Granada Television series about Sherlock Holmes. The Great Detective and Dr. Watson hurry to Devonshire, following the murder of a trainer and the disappearance of Silver Blaze, a swift horse heavily favored to win the big-money Wessex Cup. Holmes takes some snarly barbs from Blaze's rich owner in stride--though he has his revenge on the arrogant fellow later. The mystery is a keen one and the solution is among Doyle's most inventive. Brett and Hardwicke are at their best as the dynamic duo.
"The Bruce Partington Plans"
A junior clerk working for Britain's defense planning dashes off in the middle of a date with his fiancée, and turns up dead along some railroad tracks--apparently having been pushed from a train while carrying several secret documents related to England's development of a submarine warship. Was he a traitor? If so, who killed him? The case is brought to the attention of Sherlock Holmes and his Dr. Watson, by none other than Mycroft Holmes (Charles Gray), brother of the Great Detective and indispensable repository of government business. Sherlock's conclusions, however, prove there is more to the truth than meets the eye. Brett, as always, is the perfect Holmes while Hardwicke is the ideal Watson for the latter years of their crime-fighting career. A strong story with some of the sleuth's most impressive investigatory work, "The Bruce-Partington Plans" is a worthy part of the long-running Granada Television series, based on Arthur Conan Doyle's famous character. --Tom Keogh