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Moriarty vs. Magnussen: ‘Sherlock’ Villain Showdown

Feb 12, 2014 | 9:39am EST

Andrew Scott, SherlockBBC

The Sherlock Season 3 finale saw the introduction of an entirely new criminal mastermind: Charles Augustus Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen)... although technically he was around all season, and was responsible for almost burning John Watson alive in “The Empty Hearse.” But how does Magnussen compare to the fans’ favorite consulting criminal, James Moriarty (Andrew Scott)? Warning: Big Season 3 spoilers follow.

Well, Moriarty stuck it out through Seasons 1 and 2 (and might return for the fourth season) while Magnussen was only around for Season 3. Given that Moriarty might have survived his supposed death (I can’t trust anything anymore!) he will have outlived Magnussen.
Moriarty 1, Magnussen 0

Criminal Network
It took two years for Sherlock to take down Moriarty’s network of fellow criminals, so it must have been expansive. However, we have no idea how many people Magnussen was blackmailing or had blackmailed in the past. It could be in the hundreds or thousands.
Moriarty 1, Magnussen 1

Difficulty to Defeat
There was a moment for Sherlock when it seemed each villain would be undefeatable, but when we get down to it, Sherlock merely needed to kill Magnussen (which he did fairly easily) while the detective needed to plan an elaborate fake death in order to beat Moriarty.
Moriarty 2, Magnussen 1

Fan Response
Given the fan reactions on social media to the last minute twist of “His Last Vow,” the majority of the fandom is beyond excited for the return of Moriarty. Meanwhile, everyone was glad to see Magnussen go. The fans have a clear favorite.
Moriarty 3, Magnussen 1

Moriarty had tea with Sherlock, while Magnussen relieved himself in Sherlock’s fireplace. His finishing school teachers would have been appalled (we were certainly horrified). 
Moriarty 4, Magnussen 1

Winner: Jim Moriarty!

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