"That's not what Benedict said. That's what someone edited his words into the meaning of," Moffat says. "He was quite specific about being keen to carry on. He went on to say he's hard to get us all together. We want to keep the quality up. We haven't even seen this [season air] yet. We don't know. We haven't sat down with the intent to anything yet."
Cumberbatch's full quote is as follows: "[Season 4] goes to a place where it will be pretty hard to follow on immediately. We never say never on the show. I'd love to revisit it. ...But in the immediate future, we all have things that we we want to crack on with and we've made something very complete as it is, so I think we'll just wait and see."
That does sound very much like a eulogy for the series, and certainly with the success of Doctor Strange Cumberbatch must be up to his neck in juicy script offers.
And, despite Moffat's objections there's a new clue to the curious case of The Mystery Of Sherlock's Season 4: Cumberbatch's co-star Martin Freeman also hinted this will be the closing chapter of the series during a radio interview with Jim Norton and Sam Roberts.
"Life does sometimes have a way of telling you. 'This is probably it now.' This last [season] did have a feeling of... I don't know whether it has a finality to it, but certainly had a feeling of a pause," Freedman said. "And I am never, ever afraid of things ending. I mean I am not looking forward to life ending or love ending, but things that we make should end."
What's a fan to do? Savor Season 4 like it's your last, and keep your fingers crossed.
Sherlock Season 4 premieres Jan. 1 on PBS Masterpiece.