Allison Janney presents the award to Steven Moffat for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special for PBS "Sherlock: His Last Vow" onstage during the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 25, 2014. Photo: Reuters
BBC One drama Sherlock has won a hat-trick of awards at the US Primetime Emmys in Los Angeles.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman won best actor and best supporting actor in a miniseries, although neither was present to collect their awards.
Stephen Moffat also won best writing in a miniseries for the final episode of Sherlock's third season.
Writer Steven Moffat poses with his Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special award for the PBS/BBC miniseries "Sherlock" at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 25, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Drug drama Breaking Bad was the big winner on the night, winning five awards including best drama series.
It was the second consecutive year the show picked up the awards' highest honour, after ending in September last year after five seasons.
Its star Bryan Cranston was named best actor in a drama series for a fourth time as the teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White.
He beat a host of Hollywood heavyweights including Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson for their roles in the acclaimed crime drama True Detective.
"I have gratitude for everything that has happened," Cranston said.
His co-stars, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, were also honoured for best supporting actor and supporting actress in a drama series.
Collecting the award for best drama series, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said: "Holy cow! This is indeed a wonderful time to be working in television. Thank you for this wonderful farewell to our show."
Julianna Margulies, star of The Good Wife, won the Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series for her part as lawyer Alicia Florrick.
"I feel like this is the golden age of television, but it's also the time for women in television," said Margulies. "I feel very grateful to be here."
Sitcom Modern Family was named best comedy series for a fifth consecutive year, equalling the record set by 1990s show Frasier for most comedy wins.
Ty Burrell, also walked away with best supporting actor in a comedy, for his role on the show.
The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons won best actor in a comedy series, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, winning her third consecutive Emmy for her role as the foul-mouthed US Vice President Selina Meyer in political satire Veep.
Allison Janney won the best supporting actress in a comedy series for Mom. She also collected a second prize during the ceremony for best guest actress in a drama for her role in Masters of Sex.
The ceremony also paid a traditional tribute to industry members who died in the past year.
They included James Garner, Ruby Dee, Sid Caesar, Carmen Zapata, Elaine Stritch.
It concluded with a special tribute to Robin Williams by long-time friend Billy Crystal who remembered the actor as "the brightest star in a comedy galaxy".
"It is very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in our lives," Crystal said.
"While some of the brightest of our celestial bodies are actually extinct now, their energy long since cool, but miraculously, because they float in the heavens so far away from the sound, their beautiful life will continue to shine on us forever.
"And the glow will be so bright, it will warm your heart, it will make your eyes glisten, and you'll think to yourself, Robin Williams - what a concept."
Primetime Emmys 2014: Main winners
The winners at the 2014 Primetime Emmy awards have been announced in Los Angeles, with drug drama Breaking Bad winning five awards on the night.
Here is a list of the main category winners.
Outstanding comedy series
Winner: Modern Family
The Big Bang Theory
Orange is the New Black
Outstanding drama series
Winner: Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie and Clyde
The White Queen
Outstanding TV movie
Winner: The Normal Heart
Burton and Taylor
Return to Zero
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series
Winner: Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Louis CK - Louie
Don Cheadle - House of Lies
Ricky Gervais - Derek
Matt LeBlanc - Episodes
William H. Macy - Shameless
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series
Winner: Ty Burrell - Modern Family
Fred Armisen - Portlandia
Andre Braugher - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver - Girls
Tony Hale - Veep
Jessie Tyler-Ferguson - Modern Family
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series
Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
Lena Dunham - Girls
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Melissa McCarthy - Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling - Orange Is the New Black
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series
Winner: Allison Janney - Mom
Mayim Bialik - The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen - Modern Family
Anna Chlumsky - Veep
Kate McKinnon - Saturday Night Live
Kate Mulgrew - Orange is the New Black
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series
Winner: Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels - The Newsroom
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Woody Harrelson - True Detective
Matthew McConaughey - True Detective
Kevin Spacey - House of Cards
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series
Winner: Aaron Paul - Breaking Bad
Jim Carter - Downton Abbey
Josh Charles - The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin - Homeland
Jon Voight - Ray Donovan
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series
Winner: Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Lizzy Caplan - Masters of Sex
Claire Danes - Homeland
Michelle Dockery - Downton Abbey
Kerry Washington - Scandal
Robin Wright - House of Cards
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series
Winner:Anna Gunn - Breaking Bad
Christine Baranski - The Good Wife
Joanne Froggatt - Downton Abbey
Lena Headey - Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks - Mad Men
Dame Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie
Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock: His Last Vow
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba - Luther
Martin Freeman - Fargo
Mark Ruffalo - The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton - Fargo
Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie
Winner: Martin Freeman - Sherlock: His Last Vow
Matt Bomer - The Normal Heart
Colin Hanks - Fargo
Joe Mantello - The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina - The Normal Heart
Jim Parsons - The Normal Heart
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie
Winner: Jessica Lange - American Horror Story: Coven
Helena Bonham Carter - Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver - Return to Zero
Sarah Paulson - American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson - The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig - The Spoils of Babylon
Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie
Winner: Kathy Bates - American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett - American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn - Flowers in the Attic
Frances Conroy - American Horror Story: Coven
Julia Roberts - The Normal Heart
Alison Tolman - Fargo
Outstanding writing in a drama
Winner: Moira Walley-Beckett - Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan - Breaking Bad
David Benioff, DB Weiss - Game of Thrones
Beau Willimon - House of Cards
Nic Pizzolatto - True Detective
Outstanding writing in a comedy
Winner: Louis CK - Louie
David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik - Episodes
Liz Friedman, Jenji Kohan - Orange is the New Black
Alec Berg - Silicon Valley
Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, Armando Iannucci - Veep
Outstanding writing in a miniseries or movie
Winner: Steven Moffat - Sherlock: His Last Vow
Neil Cross - Luther
Noah Hawley - Fargo
Larry Kramer - The Normal Heart
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk - American Horror Story: Coven
David Simon, Eric Overmyer - Treme
A complete list of winners, including in the technical categories, is available on the Emmys website.