(What follows was written before seeing “The Empty Hearse.” Viewing party got pushed back until 11 because of someone’s work schedule, so I still haven’t seen it. If you’re avoiding series three spoilers, you should be safe on that front, though it does rather give away the ending of “Reichenbach.”)
This is Sally Donovan. To paraphrase a meme I can’t seem to lay my hands on at the moment, the Sherlock fandom does not like her. In fact, disliking her takes on a bit of an artform, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about why people hate her so much and why the show portrays her so negatively. She’s not the only person who doesn’t get on well with Sherlock, after all, and the fact that she’s the only non-white character on the show (aside from bit parts in “The Blind Banker”) and really the only women who challenges rather than supports Sherlock, that reaction makes me a bit uncomfortable. Why does she react to Sherlock the way she does? And why does the Sherlock fandom hate her so thoroughly?
Let’s start with the facts.
1. We first meet Sally in the press conference at the beginning of “A Study in Pink,” where she and Lestrade are giving a press conference to journalists. She’s singled out, from the Scotland Yarders, as the person who will represent their department along with Lestrade. She clearly has some skill at being professional and only letting out the bits of information the police want to release. This is the press conference where Sherlock makes a mockery of Lestrade (and by extension her) by correcting their statements through texts. (video clip)