CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert deal-hunting staff showcases the best price drops and discounts from reputable sellers daily. If you make a purchase using our links, CNET may earn a commission.

Enola Holmes on Netflix: Everything you need to know about Sherlock's sister

What's the Phoebe Waller-Bridge connection? Why's Sherlock's sister being sued? All your questions answered about the new movie starring Millie Bobby Brown.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films | TV | Movies | Television | Technology
Richard Trenholm
5 min read

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown targets a new role as youthful sleuth Enola Holmes.


There's nothing elementary about Enola Holmes, the youthful sleuth chasing clues and solving crimes in a new Netflix  movie that also finds space for her famous brother Sherlock Holmes.

Streaming now and already spawning memes galore, the film's cast is led by Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, along with Helena Bonham CarterHenry CavillLouis Partridge and Killing Eve star Fiona Shaw. Brown and her sister Paige Brown also produced the movie after Paige spotted the original books.

Released on Netflix Sept. 23, Enola Holmes is based on a series of books by Nancy Springer, featuring the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes created by Victorian author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Fans are already loving the feisty young detective, although Conan Doyle's estate is less enamored and is suing the filmmakers. Read on for answers to all your questions about the cast, the locations where the movie was filmed, a connection to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and the real-life feminist background to Enola Holmes' adventures.

Here's the trailer:

Who plays Sherlock Holmes?

None other than Henry Cavill, already known for playing square-jawed pop culture icons like Superman, Napoleon Solo, The Witcher and the mustache in that Mission: Impossible movie

Who plays Lord Tewkesbury? 


Millie Bobby Brown and Louis Partridge in Enola Holmes.


British actor Louis Partridge, 17, plays the finely coiffed vegetarian Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether. He's previously appeared (briefly) in Paddington 2 and will be seen in Lost Girls, a new take on Peter Pan. 

Who wrote Enola Holmes?

The Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer are a series of young adult fiction books cluing you in to Enola's continuing adventures. There are six books in the series:

The film version is written by Jack Thorne, writer of The Aeronauts and various TV shows and plays. He wrote the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and adapted Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials fantasy novels for HBO and the BBC. 

Is Enola Holmes in the original Sherlock Holmes novels?

Springer created Enola as a new way of looking at the well-known world of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes doesn't have a sister in the classic stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, although he does have a brother, Mycroft. The classic stories don't actually offer much information about the Holmes family, except they have country gentry and a French artist somewhere in their family tree.

Why does Enola talk to the camera?


Enola Holmes: The clue is in the name.


Because it's fun, mainly. But it's worth noting that director Harry Bradbeer directed most of Emmy-winning series Fleabag, in which writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge continually breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the audience. And guess who gets thanked in the credits of Enola Holmes? None other than Waller-Bridge herself. 

Who plays Enola's mother?

That's delightfully singular British actor Helena Bonham Carter, the Oscar-winning star of Fight Club and The Crown also known for her stylishly gothic collaborations with director (and former partner) Tim Burton

Who plays Mycroft Holmes?


Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin join Millie Bobby Brown in the Holmes family home.


The rather handsome Sam Claflin, a British actor known for playing Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games film series and real-life 1930s fascist Oswald Mosley in recent episodes of Peaky Blinders. The role of Mycroft has previously been played by Mark Gatiss in Sherlock, Rhys Ifans in Elementary and Christopher Lee and Stephen Fry on the big screen.

What's with the martial arts?

Enola visits a jiu-jitsu class, which is more historically accurate than you might think. Women campaigning for the vote often faced violent encounters with the police and male vigilantes, so suffragettes learned the Japanese martial art jiu-jitsu, which turns an attacker's force against them. They were taught by a jiu-jitsu martial arts expert named Edith Garrud, inspiring the character played by Susan Wokoma. In real life, a group of women dubbed The Bodyguard wrapped themselves in cardboard armor and used "Suffrajitsu" to defend speakers and campaigners in confrontations like 1914's "Battle of Glasgow."

What's the story behind the film's feminist themes?

The film has a strong theme of women teaching and supporting each other as they campaign for gender equality. That draws on the very real struggles of the time, as campaigners protested, fought and died for women's suffrage. 

Set in 1884, the film nods to real-life suffragists and proto-feminists. We see a flyer for a suffragette meeting that mentions real-life trade unionist Amie Hicks, author Gwyneth Vaughan, and campaigner for the rights and eduction of children Margaret McMillan. Enola's mother also reads The Subjection of Women by philosopher, economist and member of Parliament John Stuart Mill, who along with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill demanded votes for women. He led the first debate on women's suffrage in parliament in 1867. The film portrays a narrow victory in the parliamentary vote, although 1884's Third Reform Act actually didn't include women. Women wouldn't vote for the first time until 1918, and then only a limited elite -- only in 1928 would the vote be granted to all women.

Why is Arthur Conan Doyle's estate suing Netflix?

In June 2020 the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle brought a lawsuit against Nancy Springer, Netflix and the producers of the Enola Holmes film. Having begun in 1887, most of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories have now passed into the public domain -- which is why there are so many films about the character -- but he returned to the character in the 1920s, so the final story won't be in the public domain until 95 years after it was published in 1927. The lawsuit claims the Enola Holmes series infringes copyright on the more emotional and human version of Sherlock Holmes that Conan Doyle depicted in these later stories.

Where have I seen the villainous Linthorn before?

The "totally unmemorable" face of the bowler-hatted assassin belongs to Burn Gorman, a British character actor you may recognize from TorchwoodPacific Rim and The Dark Knight Rises.

Where was Enola Holmes filmed?

Assisted by green screen and digital visual effects used in all period movies and TV shows these days, the film involves locations around Britain.

The overgrown Holmes home, Ferndell Hall, is represented by Benthall Hall in Shropshire, while West Horsley Place in East Sussex provided the interiors. Early in the film Enola meets and then boards trains at Arley and Kidderminster railway stations.

London locations include the Treasury Building in Westminster and the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, a sprawling and beautiful example of period architecture seen in countless films like Les Miserables, Sleepy Hollow and, er, Thor 2. It was also used in Guy Ritchie's films starring Robert Downey Jr as, you guessed it, Sherlock Holmes.

The Tewkesbury family's estate was filmed at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, also seen in Oscar-winning film The Favourite and the music video for Jonas Brothers song Sucker.

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

See all photos