Hot on the heels of an Emmy nomination for his Abominable Bride, Sherlock has an even better companion by his side for Season 4. The first new photo has arrived, as Sherlock appears to have replaced Dr. Watson with a bloodhound, but is there a deeper significance?

Via The Telegraph, our first official look at Sherlock Season 4 just might point to a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story on deck for the fourth season, The Adventure of the Creeping Man, the only one to mention a bloodhound. There, our beloved detective attempts discover the reason behind a university professor’s strange behavior, but mind you, there’s any number of explanations for the pooch.

That said, Steven Moffat had some troubling, if ultimately optimistic suggestions about Season 4 as the last we see of Sherlock for a bit, given movie-stardom for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman:

I don’t know how long we can keep it going. I’m personally willing but I’m hardly the main draw. I would be moderately surprised if this was the last time we ever made this show. But it absolutely could be.

Set to premiere sometime in 2017, with Toby Jones as its villain, and the first of three new feature-length episodes to be helmed by Doctor Who and The Flash director Rachel Talalay, so reads the first synopsis:

Sherlock will return to screens with three brand-new episodes promising laughter, tears, shocks, surprises and extraordinary cases…

Series four begins with the nation’s favourite detective, the mercurial Sherlock Holmes, back once more on British soil, as Doctor Watson and his wife, Mary, prepare for their biggest ever challenge - becoming parents for the first time.

When last we heard, showrunner Steven Moffat had plotted through a potential fifth season of the series, to say nothing of additional specials in the vein of The Abominable Bride. Along with the surprise resurrection of Season 3 finale “His Last Vow,” Moffat also specified that Sherlock Season 4 would likely see increased roles for the women of the series, particularly Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs).

In the meantime, stay tuned for the latest Sherlock Season 4 updates as they arrive.

More From 96.9 Zoo FM