In "The Crooked Man," Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) fetches Dr. John Watson (David Burke) on an urgent mission: Colonel James Barclay (Denys Hawthorne) has been found dead in his home, with his comatose wife (Lisa Daniely) beside him. While Holmes and Watson work to clear the widow's name of any suspicion, a weird, badly stooped man (Norman Jones) holds onto the secret of the Barclays' misfortune. This episode in the long-running Granada Television series is a fascinating puzzle all around, highlighted by a long flashback into a grim tale of treachery and revenge.
One of the strongest entries in the series, "The Speckled Band" finds distraught Helen Stoner (Rosalyn Landor) coming to Holmes and Watson in fear for her life since announcing her betrothal. The reason: Helen's sister Julia (Denise Armon) died mysteriously and in apparent terror in her bedroom on the night before her own wedding, and her final words were a strange reference to a "speckled band." This episode has it all: a damsel in distress, a considerable villain, lots of suspense, and a solution worth waiting for. Brett and Burke are at the top of their game as Doyle's dynamic duo; this story was, in fact, Doyle's personal favorite from the Holmes canon. --Tom Keogh