The pompous King of Bohemia consults Holmes about a recent affair of the heart which he has conducted with Irene Adler, a beautiful opera singer with whom the King was foolish enough to allow himself to be photographed.
The King is now betrothed to a member of another Royal House and is afraid that the photograph, which is in Irene Adler's possession, may compromise his new arrangements. Holmes agrees to find the photograph for the sake of the future security of the House of Bohemia.
Irene Adler is not at all the sort of person whom Holmes had expected however, and he finds himself quite smitten with the lady who turns out to be more than a match for Holmes's subtlest and imaginative plans.
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Warning: Sherlock Holmes season 1 episode 1 guide may contain spoilers