emmadelosnardos said: 

Very well said. I don’t know what to do about the mounting evidence that he really is a psychopath.

Actually, Emma, if he were, I think that’d be hella interesting.

Correct me if I’m wrong on any of the following, because between the two of us, you are the one with the expertise here.

We have this thing about psychopathy.  It’s stigmatized—reasonably so, to an extent—as a dangerous disorder.  And it is!  Pyschopaths are hard-wired in a way that makes it emotionally easy for them to manipulate, exploit, abuse and even kill.

But in real life, however unhealthy they often are for the people who share their lives, psychopaths ARE still people, not some post-modern version of a movie monster.  Does being a psychopath automatically make someone evil?  I don’t think so.  I think that, if they choose, a psychopath can work within the bounds of their personal psychology to adapt and use their particular personal package of gifts and shortcomings to the benefit of themselves and those around them.

This is not to say that such a psychopath would instantly become a sweetness-and-light bunny.  He (or less often, she) would probably misstep sometimes, hurt people with the unthinking cruelty that comes when you don’t have those natural internal empathy cues that would throw up a flag for most of us.  They would also, however, most likely be hellaciously observant of people and talented at mimicry, down to the emotional level (psychopaths do have emotions; its their ability to empathize with others that’s stunted), because these are skills a budding pyschopath learns early in order to blend in.  They could still form friendships, because even if a psychopath doesn’t feel the fuzzy warmth of another person’s love, friendship is based on a complex web of things we give and get.  Friends could still be emotionally satisfying and nurturing for them, and the psychopath, with their natural talents for manipulation kept under rein, could in his own way be a very rewarding person to know.

They might, in fact, look a great deal like Sherlock.

And if a TV show truly did choose to take its protagonist (not just any protagonist, but a name brand character!) and depict him as a heroic psychopath, with all the unique accomplishments and problems that might entail, that MIGHT just be something new under the sun.

(I don’t count Dexter.  Dexter is a movie-monster psychopath who chooses to take the worst route possible, and pretends it redeems him if he does it in the name of a higher cause.)

The issue is, of course: is that really what Sherlock is doing, or is any resemblance to this idea an accident on the part of the show?

I’ll add more to this idea later (and round 2 will get more specific and spoilery), but right now I need to head to work.

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