By Laura Hertzfeld
January 05, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

It seems like Benedict Cumberbatch’s star has risen overnight, with two high profile movies out (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and War Horse) and today’s announcement that he’ll star in the new Star Trek flick. But fans of the BBC reboot of Sherlock on Masterpiece on PBS feel like an old friend is getting his due.

They won’t be disappointed — but they will have to wait until May, when the new season premieres. In the first episode, penned by Steven Moffat, we see more of Sherlock than ever before, as it opens with him wrapped only in a sheet, sitting on a bench inside Buckingham Palace. (Don’t worry, the sheet drops.) This season finds Sherlock, well, alive, which we weren’t clear on at the end of season 1, and at work on a new case, The Scandal in Belgravia (a sly take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original “A Scandal in Bohemia”). PBS showed a preview of the new season and the stars spoke at the annual Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. 

Cumberbatch was lambasted for comments he made last week about being typecast as rich, but his role as Sherlock is an opportunity to play one of the smartest characters on TV.

“It takes a lot of effort to play clever, it takes very little effort to look clever,” Cumberbatch said via satellite. “It’s a thrill to bring something to an audience that’s not patronizing.”

Sherlock meets his match this season, not just in his sidekick Watson, but in a woman, the dominatrix Irene Adler, played by British actress Lara Pulver. If the character sounds familiar to Sherlock fans, a different interpretation of Adler is, of course, played by Rachel McAdams on the big screen Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr.

A steamy scene in first episode (which recently aired in the UK), caused an uproar in the British press, but Pulver insists it’s just part of the job.

“Being naked for eight hours in nothing but Louboutin shoes was a challenge — and one that I’d never met before,” she said. Cumberbatch doted on his co-star’s abilities and added, “We’re a cultural talking point, that’s why it’s made headlines. It’s about the success we’ve had and in a skewed way it’s a good thing.”

Three new episodes of Sherlock are set to air on Masterpiece on PBS this May.