The Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland play a prominent role in the original Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s the place where it comes to the final confrontation with his archenemy James Moriarty. ‘The greatest crisis of my career’ Holmes writes in his farewell letter to Dr. Watson in the story titled ‘The Final Problem’. One of the most interesting deviations from ACD canon in the modern Sherlock BBC adaptation lies in the considerable time difference between the first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and the introduction of James Moriarty, which ultimately leads to the dramatic events at the Reichenbach Falls and Holmes’ hiatus after his faked death.
While in canon Holmes and Watson know each other for 10 years before Moriarty enters the story (X), Sherlock BBC introduces that famous antagonist of the great detective already in the first episode and sets the Reichenbach Fall only eighteen months later, thereby replacing the Swiss waterfall with Bart’s roof. Jim Moriarty compares falling to flying … ‘falling’s
just like flying except there’s a more permanent destination’ … and indeed, both topics play a major role throughout the story told so far and are constantly repeated in the series and episodes. Appart from S1, each series ends or starts with a ‘fall’ or ‘flight’.
However, whereas strangeness, improbability, drama and violence increase in a lot of other repeated scenes, the outcome of the ‘fall’ seems to decrease.