'Sherlock': Amanda Abbington, EP Steven Moffat discuss Mary's place on the show
"There was a lot of, 'How could you bring her in, she's such a non-character, I hate her already,'" Amanda Abbington, who plays Mary, said Monday (Jan. 20) at the TCA winter press tour. "[I thought] give it a minute, let them see what I'm doing."
What she's not doing, both Abbington and executive producer Steven Moffat say, is trying to break up the bromance between Watson ( Martin Freeman) and Holmes ( Benedict Cumberbatch).
"I think she's just very confident in her own skin," Abbington says. "She likes Sherlock, she loves John, she wants him to get back together with his friend. She just doesn't take any nonsense, and I kind of like that she's a very strong character. You see that in the rest of the series."
Moffat says he was aware of "a danger" in bringing Mary into the show, in that "people might think they'll get in the way of the fun. They might be a drag." That's not what he and fellow executive producer Mark Gatiss are doing with this version of Mary, however -- nor was it what Arthur Conan Doyle featured the character in Sherlock Holmes stories.
"The original Mary always liked Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes always liked her," Moffat says. Doyle didn't feature Mary as much as Moffat and Gatiss plan to do, but the show wants to stay true to the spirit of the character's original conception.
"I just think if you get it right, which we did, and we cast the right person, which we certainly did, then why wouldn't you write her another lovely person to have fun with?" Moffat says. "She must be up for the adventure, and that's what it's about."
Neither the BBC nor "Masterpiece Mystery" has officially said a fourth "Sherlock" season is on the way, although it seems a very good bet given the show's strong ratings both here and in the U.K. Mary will remain part of the show in the future, Moffat says.
"Mary's absolutely there, yeah," he says. "... How would that be at the start of the next series? 'Where's Mary?' 'Dead.'"
"Sherlock" airs at 10 p.m. ET Sundays on PBS.