Beyond Heroes and Villains

Investigating the nature of good guys and bad guys in fiction and real life

Freud: The Secret Casebook, Tell Me About Your Profiler

Freud treats cocaine addict Sherlock Holmes, becomes the first criminal profiler

Watson (Robert Duvall) watches as Freud (Alan Arkin) hypnotizes Holmes (Nicol Williamson) in The Seven Per-Cent Solution (1976).

Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) and author Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) are teaming up to develop the UK television series Freud: The Secret Casebook for NBC Universal-owned Downton Abbey company Carnival Films and Big Light. "Set in early 20th century Vienna, the series will focus on Freud as he uses his startling new theories about psychology to help solve crimes, and will blend episodic murder mysteries with the on-going tale of the psychoanalyst-cum-detective’s tangled and provocative personal life. The project is out to cast and directors." 

While Meyer might be best known for his Star Trek work, he has written Freud's fictional adventures before. Much as The Wrath of Khan became the standard by which other Trek films would be judged for years to come, The Seven Per-Cent Solution became, in many people's minds, the standard of measurement for Sherlock Holmes pastiches. One of 1974's ten best-selling novels, its story depicted a cocaine-addicted Holmes as the Great Detective developed delusions, paranoid fantasies in which he saw his math tutor, frail old Professor Moriarty, as the Napoleon of Crime. Dr. John Watson brings Holmes to Sigmund Freud to get the Viennese psychiatrist's help in treating Sherlock's cocaine addiction. They spend the book's latter half drawn into a different adventure, after which the good doctors learn, via hypnosis, the secret that drove Holmes to investigate crime and pursue justice relentlessly.

The Seven Per-Cent Solution became a 1976 motion picture starring Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, and Alan Arkin, and Meyer went on to write a total of three Sherlock Holmes novels. Whether Meyer is now merging Freud and Holmes, both known for analysis and both associated with cocaine, remains to be seen. Executive producers for Freud: The Secret Casebook are Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant of Carnival Films, Alan Gasmer (Vikings), Matt Baer (Unbroken), and Christian Popp and Alexander Keil of Producers at Work. 

You can follow me on Twitter as @Superherologist or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BatmanBelfry. I'd love to hear from you!

Travis Langley, Ph.D. is the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight.

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