Philip Anderson
Anderson at brixton
Vital statistics
Affiliation Metropolitan Police Service (formerly)
Empty Hearse fan group
Occupation Unemployed
Family Wife
Appearances A Study in Pink
The Great Game
The Reichenbach Fall
Many Happy Returns
The Empty Hearse
Main actor Jonathan Aris
"I believe in Sherlock Holmes."
—Philip Anderson to DI Greg Lestrade.[src]

Philip Anderson is a former member of the Metropolitan Police's forensics team based at New Scotland Yard. He is married, though had an affair with fellow police officer Sally Donovan.

After Sherlock Holmes' fall, he blamed himself for Sherlock's apparent death. He lost his job and created a fan group called The Empty Hearse, a group of believers in Sherlock Holmes.


Police careerEdit

In early February 2010, Philip had an affair with his colleague Sally Donovan, as his wife was away. She went around to his house on at least one occasion.

He was put on forensics at the crime scene containing the body of Jennifer Wilson. When consulting detective Sherlock Holmes arrived, Philip was very hostile towards him and said he didn't want the crime scene contaminated. Sherlock revealed Philip's affair with Sally, much to their horror.

Philip later entered the room containing the corpse and Sherlock, before Sherlock harshly shut the door in his face. He was only allowed into the room when Sherlock had left the crime scene.

Anderson at 221b

Philip Anderson at 221B Baker Street

When DI Greg Lestrade called for police to go on a drugs bust at 221B Baker Street, Philip volunteered, despite not actually being on the drugs squad. He goaded Sherlock about possessing the case, hinting that Sherlock might be the killer. When Sherlock later had an inspiration, he required Philip to turn his back so that his face didn't put Sherlock off.[1]

Disbelief in Sherlock HolmesEdit

When Sherlock's popularity grew and he was presented with a deerstalker hat, Philip and Sally Donovan smiled at him smugly from the back of the room.

Anderson at st aldate's school

Philip Anderson at St Aldate's School.

Sherlock asked for Philip to come to St Aldate's School, though his input did not seem to aid Sherlock in any way.

When the Police Chief Superintendent talked to DI Greg Lestrade about Sherlock, Anderson was also there. He then started to believe that Sherlock was a fraud, asking if Sherlock had faked all of his cases.[2]

After Sherlock's fallEdit

Philip was full of guilt after Sherlock Holmes jumped from the roof of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, believing that his belief about Sherlock being a fraud led to the fall. Philip eventually lost his job after he began theorizing Sherlock's survival, also growing a beard. He tracked what he believed to be Sherlock's travel across Asia and Europe, from cases in the Himalayas and New Delhi to closer ones in Continental Europe.[3]

Anderson and greg lestrade

Anderson with Greg Lestrade.

In the episode, 'The Empty Hearse', he told his theories to ex-boss DI Greg Lestrade, who ignored them all, voicing that he believed Sherlock to be dead. Philip was unperturbed by Greg's denials and continued believing in Sherlock's survival.[3]

His main theory about Sherlock's survival involved Sherlock bungee jumping off the hospital roof and rebounding back up into a window. Jim Moriarty's dead body was thrown off the roof after having a mask of Sherlock's face put on. This was the body John Watson saw after he witnessed Sherlock's 'suicide'.[4]


Sherlock HolmesEdit

"Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You'll lower the I.Q. of the whole street."
—Sherlock's attack on Anderson's intelligence[src]
Anderson and sherlock

Philip Anderson and Sherlock Holmes.

Philip Anderson and Sherlock Holmes have a testing acquaintanceship, with bickering from both sides. Philip viewed Sherlock as the police's "favourite psychopath" until Sherlock corrected him, labeling himself as a 'high functioning sociopath'.

When DI Greg Lestrade called upon Sherlock Holmes to investigate the murder of Jennifer Wilson, Sherlock nearly missed the case, seeing as Philip was working on forensics. When Philip put forward his views on Jennifer Wilson's note, Sherlock slammed the door in his face.

Their relationship was not helped by Sherlock's public reveal of Philip's affair with his colleague Sally Donovan.

When Greg Lestrade ordered a drug bust on 221B Baker Street, Philip volunteered despite not actually being on the drug squad. Sherlock was angry at Philip's appearance, especially due to his venomous hints that Sherlock was Jennifer's killer.[1]

Greg LestradeEdit

Philip Anderson: "I believe in Sherlock Holmes."
Greg Lestrade: "Yeah well, that won’t bring him back."
―Philip and Greg Lestrade discuss Sherlock Holmes' survival.[src]
Anderson and greg lestrade

Philip with Greg Lestrade.

While Anderson worked at New Scotland Yard, he worked under DI Greg Lestrade. The pair had a cordial relationship, though Philip was often annoyed at Lestrade's continual consulting with Sherlock Holmes.[1]

After Anderson was removed from the police force, the pair remained in contact with each other. They met up at least once during Sherlock's absence. At that meeting, Anderson shared with Lestrade his belief in Sherlock's survival. Lestrade dismissed the idea.

Sally DonovanEdit

Philip is very close with his colleague Sally Donovan, considering that, when Philip's wife was away in January of 2010, he engaged in sexual activities with Donovan. Sherlock Holmes deduced these activities and revealed them at the crime scene containing Jennifer Wilson's body.[1]


Philip Anderson appeared in the Sherlock episodes:

He also appeared in the unaired Sherlock pilot.

Behind the scenesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 From the Sherlock episode A Study in Pink.
  2. From the Sherlock episode The Reichenbach Fall.
  3. 3.0 3.1 From the Sherlock episode Many Happy Returns.
  4. From the Sherlock episode The Empty Hearse.
  5. From the commentary about the episode A Study in Pink.