Murdoch Mysteries: Peter Mitchell on the premiere and previews Season 11 storylines

Spoiler warning: Do not continue reading unless you have watched Monday’s Season 11 episode, “Up from Ashes.”

If you’re still reading, it’s because you have either A) watched Monday’s premiere, or B) you love spoilers. After a Season 10 cliffhanger that saw Doctor Julia, Inspector Brackenreid and Constables Crabtree, Jackson and Higgins all in danger and Detective Murdoch in custody, “Up from Ashes” returned with an emotional thrill ride that not only exonerated Murdoch but collared Councilman Williams, Robert Graham and Chief Constable Davis. Unfortunately, Jackson passed away as a result of his gunshot wounds, leaving Station No. 4 in mourning. (But how great was it to see Hodge has landed back on his feet?)

In the first of our exclusive weekly discussions with the Murdoch Mysteries writing team, showrunner Peter Mitchell—we caught him scouting locations for an upcoming story about a white moose—explains the season premiere and what’s to come in Season 11, including the two-hour holiday special, which explains the Murdoch Takes Vancouver event!

Congratulations on a great season premiere. It was well-written and well-performed. You were able to bring all of the storylines together in an exciting way.
Peter Mitchell: I think we did a nice job. It was economical and worked.

It’s now official: Constable Jackson did not make it out of the church alive. Did Kristian Bruun want to leave Murdoch Mysteries?
When I decided to commit to doing a cliffhanger like that, someone couldn’t make it. It would have been dishonest if everybody was fine. I hadn’t even really decided who it was going to be when I wrote it.

How, then, did you decide who it was going to be?
Fan loyalty, number of years on the show, Kristian had some other opportunities … Daniel Maslany [Detective Watts] has a bigger presence on the show this year, our cast was starting to get large, large, large and I think we served Kristian well and he served us well. There were no hard feelings or anything like that, it’s just what happens.

Fans become so attached to characters and they don’t want to see anyone leave. But I think that becomes boring if you don’t shake things up. 
I think so. And, at the heart of it, this is a drama. Without conflict, without change and without loss … every jeopardy can’t be on just secondary characters. You have to have it happen to your primary characters to have any kind of impact.

Can you go into more detail about Detective Watts’ involvement in Station No. 4 this season?
He’s in at least half of the episodes, he’s kind of a gadabout detective and he comes and he goes. He is semi-permanently stationed in No. 4.

Is that a case of Daniel comes in and your plan was just to have him for a few episodes and then you change your mind because of what life he breathes in Watts?
I think so, yeah. Kristian was like that too. Kristian came in as Slugger Jackson a few years ago and I couldn’t help keeping him in my mind, and we decided to bring him along, much like we did with Lachlan Murdoch; his participation has increased with every season of the show and continues apace this year.

The scene where Murdoch realized Crabtree was really alive and working behind-the-scenes was pretty emotional.
The bromance between those two has been and will continue to be, a key element of our show. It just felt that natural way to play it. William had kind of given up hope on him; he had never really given up hope on Julia, and he kind of expected Brackenreid would be OK. And he saw Crabtree lying there, dead, in the season finale.

Are we going to revisit Murdoch’s house building this season?
We’re constantly riding that line between murder mystery and domestic drama and we have a whole new domestic drama for Murdoch and Ogden this year that is more important than houses.

When I spoke to you last season, you thought Teddy Roosevelt might be back this season. Can you confirm he does?
Well, somebody hunting the moose! [Laughs.]

What about Dr. William Osler?
Yes, he is in the early part of the season.

Helen Keller?
Yes, early part of the season.

Alexander Graham Bell?
Early part of the season.

Our friend Terrence Meyers will be back?
Yes, along with Pendrick. The nosy newspaper reporter we were all beginning to hate is back, and so is the burlesque dancer.

And Colin Mochrie is guest-starring this season as well.
With the number of incidents that have surrounded the Murdochs at their hotel, someone thought it was wise that we get a hotel detective. [Laughs.] He appears in the Helen Keller episode which is, I think, the third episode of the season.

The holiday movie this year is two hours, correct?
Yes, it’s two hours and it’s a slightly different spin on the holiday movie this year. It’s not so much a retelling of a straight-up Christmas story. There is a little extra in it. We’re going to shoot a little bit of it out in Victoria, B.C. We’re actually prepping it as we speak and are just doing the final casting decisions.

So, the west coast of the county is playing into the storyline?
Yeah, there are sort of two independent storylines. ‘Meanwhile, out on the west coast…’ and then, ‘Meanwhile, back in Toronto.’ It will have some elements of Indigenous culture, specifically the Haida. We’re going out to Victoria in nine days to shoot.

At what point did you decide that going west to film was a good idea?
It’s always been a part of this show, and particularly with Christina Jennings, that when we have the opportunity we try to travel the show. We do have fans across the country and it’s an opportunity for the fans to say Hi. In formulating the Christmas movie this year, and in an attempt to not start spinning our wheels, it was a natural part of our growth to say, ‘Let’s get out a map … where do we want to go? Is there a story we can tell here? Yup.’ We were able to come up with a story that has a bit of resonance with Canada being 150.

What did you think of the season premiere? Do you have a message for Kristian Bruun? Are you excited for the holiday movie? Let me know in the comments section below!

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

 

 

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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34 thoughts on “Murdoch Mysteries: Peter Mitchell on the premiere and previews Season 11 storylines”

  1. I knew someone had to…go. I wanted them all to stay naturally! I will sorely mis Jackson! Kristian Bruun. You were fantastic has Jackson and brought a sweet gentleness to the character…what’s the saying…only the good die young! Wow…you are already missed and I haven’t even seen the show…I’m in the US! Best wishes for you future endeavors…we will be watching for you! “Merry Christmas Jackson😉💐❤️💐!”

  2. I am so eager to know who survives into the next season thus I broke down and read the spoiler. I am disappointed that Jackson doesn’t make it. If someone had to go, I wanted it to be Higgins (nothing personal for the actor himself), but Jackson was showing himself to be more helpful in the show. Thought it was ridiculous that at the end of Season 10 they kept standing up when being fired at! Glad Crabtree and Brackenreid stay on, of course. Having to wait for us in the U.S. to see the new season until 2018 will be tough!

    1. Im pissed. Jackson had become a strong character on the show. They should have taken huggins off the show. HIS CHARACTER IS UNLIKEABLE, I DONT LIKE HOW BACK STABBING HIS PART HAS BECOME. TAKE HUGGINS—-LEAVE JACKSON ON THE SHOW

  3. I jumped for joy when Crabtree showed up with Brackenread. I was sure he was going on to his own show. Whoopee. Great start to another season.

  4. Loved this episode! Will definitely miss Constable Jackson, it felt like we were just really getting to know him in Season 10! Wishing Kristian Bruun all the best in his future roles and will certainly be on the lookout for him in other productions!

  5. A Murdoch Mysteries Fan from the beginning-tears of joy flowed when Crabtree is reunited with Murdoch!! The season opener was fantastic and I cannot wait for the rest of the season to unfold! Sad to lose Kristian Brunn who really shone last season. Well done!

  6. Awesome awesome season opener absolutely loved it. Cried when George appeared. Great drama and story telling kept my wife and I on the edge the whole time. In this age of moral ambiguity it was great to see the bad guys get what they had coming to them. Looking forward to the rest of the season. 11 seasons of amazing TV keep up the good work.

  7. Will miss you terribly Jackson! Your kindness and warmth came thru in every episode, a great actor. Christmas on MM will never be the same😘😘

  8. Will miss you Kristian Brunn! If we’re not getting the house that William promised, MUST get the baby promised!! Love the Christmas specials, second more than first. Seems I’ll love the third more yet! Wonderful show!! Brilliant cast and crew, locations, etc!! Keep up the great work!!

  9. I was almost ready to abandon the show without Crabtree in it! The plot kept us guessing and on the edge of our seats, hoping things would work out favourably. So sorry to lose Constable Jackson (Kristian Bruun), who had more storyline last season, and became more interesting – wishing you continued success in your career. Maybe you can return and haunt Murdoch! Hard to explain why we become so attached to people in the show; perhaps it’s the great acting which makes it seem so real. Looking forward to the rest of the season, but my heart can’t stand too many more cliffhangers!!

  10. I could not stop laughing when Julia reappeared (again!) dressed as a man. Brilliant. I felt sad believing Crabtree was really dead, he is such an important part of the show and then relieved of course. And Watts is growing on me. A really brilliant episode all around to tidy up the mess of the season 10 finale. Kristian was a fine addition but not as essential as the original cast.

  11. Phenominal writing and acting by all involved!! Insp B. should be promoted to Chief Constable… Det. M. should be elevated to Inspector…. and Crabtree can be Det-in-training with Det. Watts.

    1. No offense, but then we wouldnt see murdoch work with his awesome gadgets as much.also after crabtrees incident with edna brooks, he went from detective to 3rd class constable, so cant see him being promoted

  12. It s such a long long time to wait until we get season 11 in the UK. But had to read the spoilers! Sad to see Jackson doesn’t return. But glad to see everyone else somehow survives. Please don’t fill in the details for me! Anne Berry

  13. I cried when george came back, my favorite charactor of all time, they couldnt of finished the cliffhanger any better either. The seond best ( 1st-hell to pay) episode of all time and seems to be constantly getting better.

  14. I don’t know when I’ll get to see season 11 for real, so just had to sneak a look at some of these spoilers. I agree with most of the post I saw that I wish Jackson could still be on the show.

  15. I loved the show like most of the other posts I am sad that Jackson did not live but over all loved it and have watched it at least 6 times already so good

  16. I sure would like to see another face-to-face with Crabtree and his (now ex) reporter girlfriend. I would like to know her reason for not helping George. We don’t know if she was threatened or paid-off. This has been bugging me since the season 10 ender.

  17. Why oh why wasn’t it Higgins that died instead of Jackson – his character is so irritating and pretty thick to boot! All the best Kristian. Love fron Anne all the way from England X X

    1. Hi Anne
      I live in Canada. It makes me feel happy that Murdoch is slowly making it’s way around the world! I am currently recruiting some people in the USA in order to give Murdoch a bigger fan base there.
      CHEERS!!!!

  18. I agree with Anne. I wish Higgins had died for the same reasons. He acts like a little kid and never wants to do anything. He always argues with George and it gets irritating after awhile. Jackson was a fresh new cast member who should have stayed on the program. Best of luck to you.

  19. Loved the season opener! So excited that George and Brackenreid are both alive!! Really enjoyed his reaction when Murdoch saw that George was alive and Brackenreid says I didn’t get that kind of greeting!! and then Julia says neither did I! LOL Great story line to bring it all together from the season ending! Sad that Jackson had to go as we were just starting to really get to know who he was, perhaps he can visit Higgins as a ghost when Higgins does something stupid (as he always does) and tell him to smarten up! Although Higgins drives me crazy I think we need him just for times when you just have to roll your eyes!! Love the show!

  20. A cliffhanger ending to season 10. A full range of emotions in the season opener as we went from near tears to jumping out of our seats when Crabtree appeared. Sad to see Jackson go and hope to see Kristian Bruun in other roles soon.
    Murdock Mysteries is without doubt the best production anywhere and so proud it’s Canadian and promoting our accomplished home grown actors.

  21. Season 10 cliffhanger ending, and the opening of Season 11 were very well done. Political corruption has its roots at the very foundation of this country. As for the death of Slugger Jackson, I suppose it was the choice of Kristian Bruun since he wanted to leave the show. But if I had a choice it would have been Higgins. He has been a thorn in my side almost from day one. But the break came when he allowed a prisoner he was watching to go out and get killed. All because of his stupidity. Being stupid can only last so long. He isnt funny, but unfortunately just reading his lines. Shame about Bruun as he will be missed. Ive met him on various Murdoch events and found him to be a great guy with a nice personality. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

  22. I live in the US and watch Murdoch Mysteries on ACORN – – I can’t wait for Season 11 on ACORN!!! My whole family LOVES MM and have watched all the episodes many times. I agree with the above comments about Higgins; we can’t believe that anyone that inept and lazy, could survive as long as he does!!!

  23. Kristian Bruun you were amazing and will be sorely missed!💗 I kind of hoped maybe the three of them were trying out a new gadget of Murdoch’s (bullet proof vest perhaps?) and all would be well. Sigh, a girl can dream. I felt if anyone was likely to be gone, it would sadly be Jackson😔. The episode otherwise was excellently written with tons of suspense. I love the last line Murdoch gives Graham!

  24. I watch from the US! I LOVE this show. Very good acting all around. I will miss Jackson very much, what a great actor. So sad to see him go. Best of everything to Kristian Bruun in all your future endeavors. Looking forward to season 11.

  25. Not that anything I say is going to matter, but I really dont see the reason for the new goofy detective working with Murdoch. He doesnt really offer anything including light humor. Id prefer to see more of George, or an expansion of Brackenreid’s son. I was sorry to see Slugger Jackson leave, but it was his choice. Finally this season is, so far the best yet in spite of what I have already mentioned. Keep it up and give us more seasonS.

  26. loved the season premiere very good writing
    cant wait for xmas special
    why dont you come to Montreal
    so much history here
    do something around Lily st Cyr the famous stripper
    montreal was sin city
    in those days
    if you come to Montreal let me know would be so nice to meet you all my sister and I are avid fans
    would love to be an extra on your set
    my company i am with is total casting Helen Rousse

  27. the Redpath Mansion Montreal has a murder mystery
    worth looking into
    it has been torn down but the street is still very spooky
    on the street
    buildings across the street still up and spooky

  28. Just as Murdoch is really getting its stride, you introduce and keep this goofy detective to the mix. Totally distracting with his overacting. He is killing the show. One might have been ok for some light comedy. But not for the whole season.

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