The character of Captain Thomas Gregson is a nod to the original character of Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade, whose first name was never divulged beyond the letter "G" in the original Sherlock Holmes canon by Arthur Conan Doyle, but who is fully named "Inspector GREG Lestrade" in the concurrent BBC TV series Sherlock (2010), as portrayed by Rupert Graves.
The recurring character of Mrs. Hudson, portrayed by Candis Cayne, and who is the occasional cleaning person for Sherlock's brownstone, is a nod to the original Arthur Conan Doyle character of the same name, who is the proprietress or landlady of 221 Baker Street, London, in the original canon, and in most Holmes screen incarnations.
Before creating the show, Robert Doherty studied psychological assessments of Sherlock Holmes written by real doctors over the years.
In the summer of 2011 Danny Boyle created a National Theatre production of 'Frankenstein' in which Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller played the creator and monster and alternately changed nightly. Both actors then went on to play another Victorian creation Sherlock Holmes, both set in the present day, albeit opposite side of the Atlantic.
Rooftop scenes, such as when Sherlock attends to his beehives, are filmed on the Silvercup studios roof in Long Island City.
Both Jonny Lee Miller who plays Sherlock and Lucy Liu who plays Watson had never read a Sherlock Holmes book before securing roles in the pilot.
The creators of this show reportedly went to great lengths to avoid comparisons or potential copyright issues with the British series Sherlock (2010), which also re-tells the story of Holmes in a contemporary setting. One visual cue that was included as a nod to the British series is Holmes' scarf, which is worn the same way as it is in "Sherlock".
Inspector Tobias Gregson actually appears in A Study in Scarlet and other short stories and is a different character to Lestrade.
Creator Robert Doherty said that one of his motivations in making Dr. Watson a woman was that he wanted to show that men and women can "work and live together and not end up romantically entangled".
Unlike many shows in which a character's tattoos play an important role in the storyline, Sherlock's tattoos are not added by a makeup artist but instead belong to the actor who portrays him, Jonny Lee Miller. Unlike Holmes's tattoos, however, Miller's are not self-administered.
Throughout the show, Sherlock is shown to keep and study bees as a hobby. In the original short story "His Last Bow", Sherlock Holmes has retired to the Sussex Downs to keep bees.