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Meta: A Timeline for Sherlock Series 3

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First things first, this is not definitive. In fact it’s very much a work in progress. Please, if you can see I’ve got something wrong, or you think I need to add something, leave a comment and I’ll update/amend as required. I will also continue to add things as they occur to me.

It is also important to say that this builds upon and is based around the epic Series 1 & 2 timeline produced by the amazing lyrical_sky. I doubt I’d even have attempted this if she hadn’t already proved it could be done

That said, the Series 3 timeline looks odd because it ends up in the future. I'd originally assumed that all the days and months on lyrical_sky's timeline were right but the year was one out and Sherlock jumped in 2010 and not 2011 - but then the lovely Kalypso pointed out that it is episode canon (from newspaper articles in TRF) that Sherlock jumped in 2011 and several other people pointed out that the dates of "death" for Sherlock in Magnussen's onscreen mind palace data were 2011-2013 and the date Lord Moran typed into the bomb setting was 051113, which firmly dates TEH in 2013. So weird as it is, Series 3 was definitely set in the future when it aired! 

Please also note that Joe Lidster (who writes John's blog) has confirmed that all the dates for Series 3 were agreed with the Sherlock team and thus are supposed to be the correct timings for the wedding etc! Make of that what you will.

I’ve also made much use of arianedevere’s transcripts of the episodes (find them here) which are amazing and she needs to be praised to infinity for them.

So, on to the actual timeline itself, with explanations as necessary. Or at least I hope they are explanations, not just random ramblings.


15th June – Sherlock Jumps

16th June – Blog post: “He was my best friend and I’ll always believe in him”

We get nothing more from John that year.


Radio silence from John on his blog.

We assume that Sherlock is pinging about the world (Tibet, New Delhi, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels and then Serbia, in that order, according to the minisode and the start of TEH) solving crimes from the shadows, getting tortured, tearing down Moriarty’s web and generally behaving like a 00 agent. Obviously he doesn’t cover all the places listed in 2011, he does the end three, if not four, in 2012.


February/March – Greg and Sally fail to get a conviction for the Walters family for the first time.  This is eighteen months before the date I think Greg went to Sherlock’s aid at the start of TSoT

March/April – Either John starts work at the clinic where Mary is a receptionist/part-time nurse or Mary starts work as a receptionist/part-time nurse at the clinic John is working at. There is not enough information to determine which. Based on John mentioning having met someone new in his first blog post since Sherlock died and Mary commenting on it, I’m inclined to assume it was March they first met, as I think it would take John time to notice that he had more emotions than “oh she’s pretty, I’d like to get off with her” and restart his blog because he’s decided he wants to move on.

20th April – Blog post: A new beginning

26th April – Blog post: A Few Pictures

12th May – Blog post: The Deadly Tealights

23rd May – Blog post: Death by Twitter

17th June – Blog post: Murder at ‘The Orient Express’

July/August – Greg and Sally fail to get a conviction for the Walters Family for the second time. This is twelve months before the date I think Greg went to Sherlock’s aid at the start of TSoT (and therefore working backwards from TSoT on screen "twelve months earlier")

3rd September – Blog post: The Inexplicable Matchbox

3rd October – Greg and Anderson discuss the “Sherlock sightings” across Europe and then Greg visits John and delivers the DVD of Sherlock’s message for John on his birthday. This date is based on John saying in his blog post about the DVD that “Greg came round the other day” (John doesn’t say today, so it can’t be on 5th itself) and so I’m assuming at some point in the few days before that. Given “The Game is back on” football headline on the paper Greg sees at the end of Many Happy Returns, I’m going to assume it was Wednesday 2 October as most midweek football fixtures happen on a Tuesday night.

5th October – Blog post: Many Happy Returns.

[The next set of timings is based on working backwards from the timing of the train carriage scene. I have to say, MG manages to fit a hell of a lot into the space of a few days and I’d welcome any thoughts about whether there is an extra day in there somewhere that I’ve just not worked out how to fit in properly.]

End of October/Very start of November – Mycroft, having lost an operative and discovered a terrorist plot that he can’t get to the bottom of, goes undercover in Serbia and finds Sherlock being tortured in a bunker.

3rd November – Sherlock’s name is cleared officially by the courts and we see Anderson telling Greg his latest theory on how Sherlock survived.

That afternoon John goes to visit Mrs Hudson and gets a spectacularly British bawling out from her about not visiting in the intervening years. Meanwhile Sherlock is back in Mycroft’s office getting kitted back out as “Sherlock Holmes” and showing an astonishingly arrogant and self-centred lack of awareness that John may, since he had no idea Sherlock was alive, moved on with his life.. 

That evening, John is trying to propose to Mary at The Landmark Hotel on Marylebone Road. Sherlock does his “Martin du Crieff” French waiter impersonation with the aid of stolen glasses and an eyeliner pencil and gets strangled on the floor for his troubles. Having been thrown out of the restaurant John, Sherlock and Mary relocate to a café where John punches Sherlock in the mouth. They then relocate to a kebab shop where John head-butts Sherlock in the nose. The evening ends with Mary telling Sherlock she’ll talk John round, getting into a taxi with John and then telling John she likes Sherlock.

Sherlock then proceeds to visit Molly, Greg and Mrs Hudson to tell them he’s alive - once again showing an astonishing lack of thought as it's got to bloody late by that point. John spends the night stewing about what Sherlock did.

4th November – Anderson is hosting what we’ve to assume is a very early morning meeting of The Empty Hearse “I believe in Sherlock Holmes” group and we see the second theory of how Sherlock survived. At which point  the news of Sherlock’s return (probably started by the people in the kebab shop) really hits twitter and the group are proved right. At the same time John and Mary have a morning conversation in their bedroom during which John “shaves for Sherlock” and also sort of proposes to Mary.

During the course of the day, Mycroft visits Sherlock to discuss the case and they play operation followed by “deductions” about the hat of a client Sherlock hasn’t seen (who presumably called in very early in the morning when Sherlock was … god only knows where). John sees patients with various ailments, Sherlock invites Molly to help him solve crimes for an afternoon and they have a surprising amount of clients given that the world has only know he’s back for less than a day.

There are two cases for which Molly & Sherlock leave the flat; one is Lestrade’s skeleton mystery which Sherlock deduces is a set up and the other is the owner of the bobble hat that Mycroft and Sherlock deduced earlier. At the same time as Sherlock and Molly are in bobble hat's flat learning about the disappearing train car, John is ending his shift at the surgery and telling Mary he’s going to go and visit Sherlock. However he never reaches Baker Street because he’s drugged and grabbed from the pavement outside and stuffed into a bonfire (please make all your hedgehog jokes here).

Molly and Sherlock leave the train enthusiast’s house and part ways. It is at this point I assume Sherlock visits Anderson, tells him (apparently) how he survived the fall, calls him on being the one to set up the skeleton mystery to get him to come back and then leaves. I’m assuming this because it was show as a flash back in the train car and I don’t think Sherlock would have found time at any other point.

Later that evening Mary receives a text, from who we now know is Charles Augustus Magnusson, and told, via skip code, that John is in danger. She races over to Sherlock to tell him, he works out where John is and they [in a motorbike ride that makes me very hot under the collar] race to his rescue and drag him out of the flames. Their heroics are recorded by one of CAM’s people.

5th November – Sherlock’s parents visit Sherlock in the morning – clearly coming to London as soon as they could to see their wayward son. John turns up. Sherlock dismisses his parents immediately, and he and John reach an uneasy truce. At which point Sherlock’s brain kicks back in now he has John to bounce ideas off, he realises that the date is linked to the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament and drags John off to the train carriage and acts like a manipulative dickhead/gives John the space to voice his emotions (delete as appropriate for your preferences). At the same time, Lord Moran - not attending the debate in the house of commons, types the code 051113 into the bomb case to set the bomb off. Luckily there just happens to be an off switch, Sherlock stops the bomb, John forgives him to a degree, Moran is arrested and all is right with the world.

6th November – Mycroft is trapped at a matinee of Les Miserables with his parents whilst Sherlock and Mrs Hudson are hosting a party of sorts in 221B, to celebrate both Sherlock’s return and John & Mary’s engagement I presume. Sherlock and John together go outside to face the press together. I’m assuming this happened before John’s blog post because he says “you’ll have read all about it in the papers”.

7th November – Blog Post: The Empty Hearse

[And then John remains entirely quiet for the rest of the year and I can’t find anything else that gives us a clue to what the pair of them are up to.]


February/March – Greg and Sally fail to get a conviction for the Walters Family for the third time. This is six months before the date I think Greg went to Sherlock’s aid at the start of TSoT

April/May - Greg and Sally fail to get a conviction for the Walters Family for the fourth time. This is three months before the date I think Greg went to Sherlock’s aid at the start of TSoT.

27th May – Blog Post: The Poison Giant

End May/Start June – John askes Sherlock to be his best man. I’m giving this timing from John’s comment about Sherlock softening due to his approaching wedding in the next blog post.

3rd June – Blog Post: Happily Ever After

10th June – Blog Post: The Elephant in the Room

29th June – Blog Post: The Bloody Guardsman

2nd July – Blog Post: The Hollow Client

13th July – John’s stag do with Sherlock. I’m picking this date (which is a Saturday) because I think it would have taken John at least a week to blog about it (recovery time) and the fact that we know from HLV that he’s still been working at the clinic all this time, so he would have gone for his stag do at a weekend and I assume that Sherlock would have picked Saturday rather than Friday on the basis that he wanted John fresh, not tired from work.

21st July – Blog Post: The Mayfly Man

End July/Start August – Greg leaves the take down of the Walters Family bank robbers to Sally and scrambles an entire SWAT team to 221B because Sherlock texted him asking for help. It transpires he needs help with the best man speech, rather than being attacked by some random terrorist. I’m assuming this is after the stag do but before the wedding simply due to the fact that after we see this, the next thing we see on screen is the morning of the wedding. I could be completely wrong on the timing.

10th August – The Wedding.

John marries Mary. Sherlock meets the lovely Janine, Mary’s bridesmaid who just happens to work for Charles Augustus Magnussen. He also gives the most brilliant best man speech known to humankind, prevents Major Sholto dying and deduces Mary is pregnant before leaving the reception early.

Please note (thank you ladyprydian) that there is a glimpse of the full wedding invitation that has been screen capped here and it says 18th May. This, per what is happening in the scene, is a draft of the invitation and not the final one. Given that both Joe Lidster (who writes the blog) and Hartswood have confirmed that the blog timings are correct, I can only assume that when they filmed TSoT, they still thought a May wedding would work (HLV hadn't been written at this point) and then had to change the timings to get the Xmas scene into HLV (again, I feel myself wishing someone would explain the concept of "killing your darlings" to Mr Moffat). The date on the invite on screen works better with Mary saying "we thought a spring wedding" in TEH, this date works better with everything in HLV. Pick whichever you prefer! 

[We also get to meet mini!Sherlock, otherwise known as Archie, with whom I am now besotted and wish to write Sherlock and Archie fics about]

11th August – Blog Post: The Sign of Three.

Sherlock’s blog post on the Wedding. I’m assuming it took him less than 24 hours to make the photo collage and put the post up because, well … what else did he have to do with John and Mary off on honeymoon? He does say that he is posting because John and Mary are away.

[And past here is where it gets messy, because we don’t have any further blog posts to work the timeline round.  So you’re getting educated guesses with explanations.]

Between 11th August and 23rd August – Lady Smallwood visits Sherlock re Magnusson and the stolen letters. Sherlock takes the case and in order to pursue it starts a relationship with Janine and restarts his drug addiction.

I believe that he received the case before John and Mary returned from their honeymoon (which I’m assuming was two weeks long – two weeks is sort of traditional and they seem to have been trying to do things by the book) and threw himself into it as a distraction. He would have had Janine’s details from doing the background check on her for the wedding and would have known she worked for Magnusson because he seems to have background checked everyone at the wedding (unless it was only the men). Plus, after her comment about “wishing he wasn’t … whatever he was” he would have known his advances wouldn’t be rejected. I’m assuming that he chose not to contact John and Mary when they returned because he knew that a) John wouldn’t approve of him getting high just to get Magnusson’s attention and b) he doubted if he could keep up the “happy couple” act with Janine in front of John and Mary for long.

September 10th – Early in the morning Kate knocks on John’s door, crying about her druggie son. John behaves incredibly like Sherlock, Mary fills John’s role and they end up at a crack den. Date based on John saying “One month” about the time he’s been apart from Sherlock as they leave the crack den after Sherlock kicks the door out

[at which point my heart, which was already pounding madly after John’s moment of BAMFitude with Wiggins, revs up to such a speed it cannot be healthy]

Sherlock pees in a pot at Bart’s and Molly slaps Sherlock when it confirms he’s high. Wiggins elucidates on Sherlock’s deductions about John having started cycling to work, Sherlock takes a call from CAM and then John takes Sherlock back to 221B, where Mycroft, Anderson and his friend Benji are waiting. Mycroft, on hearing CAM’s name, orders Anderson and Benji to leave and then tells Sherlock to back off. Sherlock orders him out and, when Mycroft annoys him, pins him to a wall [be still my continually revving heart!]. Once Mycroft is gone, John’s brain gets fried by the appearance of Janine and apparently witnessing Sherlock in a loving relationship with her. He also notices his chair is gone.

CAM turns up, pees in Sherlock’s fireplace and then leaves. Sherlock thinks he can steal the letters back for Lady Smallwood and tells John to meet him at 7pm that evening.

At 7pm Sherlock gets engaged to Janine in order to break into Magnusson’s office and then gets shot. By Mary. Who is an assassin who tried to leave her past behind. Sherlock manages not to die by utilising his mind palace and his love for John. Looking at Mary in her black outfit, there is absolutely no sign of a baby bump. Therefore I assume she was barely a month pregnant when Sherlock deduced it at the wedding (which would explain why neither she nor John had figured it out, she was only just starting to get the initial signs) and only two months gone here.

September 11th – Sherlock regains consciousness the next day, his first word is Mary. Mary visits him and tells him not to tell John what happened whilst Sherlock’s only barely awake.

September 18th – Sherlock regains full consciousness in hospital for what appears to the first time and Janine visits Sherlock in hospital and gives him a bit of a telling off for tricking her and then, as she’s leaving, mentions John and Mary. Sherlock turns his morphine down and thinks about just who Mary is and how much danger John might be in. John and Greg turn up to visit him after that and find him gone.

[Date based on Sherlock saying, when the paramedics turn up in 221B after Mary has given John the memory stick, that there was a shooting last week]

Greg, John, Mycroft and Mary spend the evening trying to find him. John realises that Sherlock has been protecting Mary when he finds his chair has been moved back into the living room of 221B and a bottle of Claire-de-la-Lune perfume has been set on the table next to it. He then takes a call from Sherlock.

Later on, Mary is walking into Leinster Gardens when she’s hailed by Wiggins and given a phone to talk to Sherlock. She finds the “empty house” and enters and Sherlock, by means of fluffing up John’s hair and popping his collar, make him look enough like Sherlock in deep shadow to fool Mary into displaying her assassin’s skills and then confirming she shot Sherlock and why so that John could hear. Sherlock, visibly very ill, then tells them to sort their relationship out and come back to Baker Street.

September 19th– I’m assuming it was after midnight by the time they got back from Leinster Gardens. Sherlock, whilst trying to calm a justifiably irate John down, announces Mrs Hudson was an exotic dancer. John agrees to treat Mary as a client, tells her he and Sherlock will decide if she’s worth bothering with and then she gives him a memory stick with A.G.R.A written on it and asks him not to read it whilst she’s there. Sherlock explains he thinks she saved his life and then the ambulance crew turn up – just in the nick of time, given that Sherlock collapses.

25th December – Christmas Day at Mummy and Daddy Holmes’s house. John and Mary (who is now visibly pregnant, about five and a half months gone I think) reconcile, John throwing the memory stick into the fire without having looked at it. Mycroft announces that Sherlock’s death would break his heart having had some of Wiggins’s special punch that’s been drugged to ensure everyone but Sherlock, John and Wiggins are unconscious. The punch and Mary’s tea having worked, Sherlock and John go to Appledore and confront CAM. After it transpires that CAM does not have any physical evidence in the house and there is only one thing that will actually stop him, Sherlock shoots Magnusson; giving up his life as he knows it to ensure John and Mary can live theirs in safety.

Sometime between Christmas Day and the middle of January – Mycroft arranges for Sherlock not to be jailed but to be sent on a suicide mission to Eastern Europe.


12th January – John and a slightly more pregnant Mary arrive at an airstrip to see Sherlock off. Sherlock and John have one of the most emotionally constipated, British male goodbye scenes ever filmed in the history of television, during which we find out that John and Mary think they’re having a girl and that Sherlock’s full name is William Sherlock Scott Holmes.

The plane leaves and, apparently simultaneously, Moriarty’s image is flashed up on every TV screen in the UK. This prompts Mycroft to call Sherlock, who has been exiled for all of 4 minutes, and order him to return.

I had originally chosen 12th January as the date for this because I’d assuming the bit at the end of the credits (where Moriarty flashes up on our TV screens) to mean that the viewers of the show were being included in the “every TV in the UK” and thus it happened the day the episode aired in the UK. That was before I realised that the episode was definitely happening in 2015 not 2014. I've left it as 12th January because I wanted to keep this thought in.  

I have no doubt at all that Series 4 will prove a significant portion of all this wrong anyway. Still, it keeps me out of trouble. Hope you find it useful!