Holmes vs Reid

Some of the greatest mystery writers have kept us all on our toes through every page, movie, or episode. Two of the greatest examples are Sherlock Holmes and Spencer Reid.


Sherlock Holmes is a consulting detective in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. His deduction skills help him solve cases faster than the Scotland Yard–well, at least in the books. The books address told from Doctor John Watson’s point of view to further prove how ingenious Holmes really is; however, Sherlock is mostly depicted as being a sociopath and often best when he is on his own.


Doyle’s books have been turned into films and television series, such as BBC’s Sherlock-Holmes being portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch-or America’s version Elementary-having Jonny Lee Miller take over the role of Holmes. These shows make it easier to see Holmes as arrogant, lonely, and a literal know it all.


Criminal Minds holds a lot of characters-they barely reuse an actor-including the special Doctor Spencer Reid, played by Matthew Gray Gubler. Reid shares many of the same attributes as Sherlock Holmes but Reid is more contained than Sherlock. He can often be seen with his team and doesn’t highlight that he is literally a genius.


Here’s where sources come in. Since it wasn’t outright stated in the books, it has been estimated that Sherlock Holmes has an IQ of 190, but Spencer Reid-from actual statements on the show-has an IQ of 187. Reid can read 20,000 words a minute and eidetic memory. When reading the books, I didn’t see Holmes as someone who speed reads, but he loves to fill his brain with facts; he also doesn’t have an eidetic memory (at least in the books–he throws information aside when he doesn’t think he will need it).


Sherlock might have a lot of contacts but he only seems to be interested in his prodigy, Watson, as he trains him to look at all details. Spencer, on the other hand, has opened up to more than one person and deals with people better than Sherlock.


With both characters being fictional and very similar, it is hard to have any winner when the two are pinned against each other at least in the detective department. They both specialize in profiling others to the best of their abilities and have skills in helping to put criminals behind bars, but I have to say that Spencer Reid has won this round and not just because Matthew Gubler is delivering his dialogues.

Sherlock Holmes's IQ estimation.
Sherlock Holmes’s IQ estimation.
Sherlock Holmes strengths.
Sherlock Holmes strengths.
Spencer Reid states his IQ and strengths.
Spencer Reid states his IQ and strengths.
Spencer Reid's IQ.
Spencer Reid’s IQ.