Everything about Murdoch Mysteries, eh?

This holiday season, see Murdoch Mysteries on the big screen

From a media release:

Shaftesbury, CBC, and Cineplex Events today announced advance screenings of Murdoch Mysteries’ third annual holiday special, “Home for the Holidays”, on Saturday, December 16 across Canada. Free tickets for the special event screenings, taking place in 11 cities across Canada including Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Victoria, Winnipeg, and Halifax, will be available Tuesday, December 5 at 12 p.m. ET via Eventbrite. As a Cineplex Events exclusive, screenings of “Home for the Holidays” will feature additional behind-the-scenes footage with cast.

Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays premieres Monday December 18 at 8/8:30 NT on CBC. On Christmas Day, CBC will air a marathon of the three Murdoch Mysteries holiday specials back-to-back with “A Merry Murdoch Christmas” at 2/2:30 NT, “Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas” at 4/4:30 NT, and a re-broadcast of “Home for the Holidays” at 6/6:30 NT.

In “Home for the Holidays,” Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and Dr. Ogden (Hélène Joy) travel to Victoria to visit Murdoch’s brother, RCMP officer Jasper Linney (Dylan Neal, Arrow, Cedar Cove). There, they investigate a murder connected to an archaeologist (Megan Follows, Reign, Heartland, World Without End) who has uncovered an ancient Indigenous settlement, leading to a trek through the rugged beauty of British Columbia and encounters with the Songhees and Haida nations. Meanwhile, Inspector and Mrs. Brackenreid (Thomas Craig, Arwen Humphreys) are offered a surefire investment opportunity that may not be all it seems, and Constables Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and Higgins (Lachlan Murdoch) plan a ski chalet holiday with their gal pals Nina Bloom (Erin Agostino) and Ruth Newsome (Siobhan Murphy), but learn it may be more dangerous than expected. Also guest starring Wayne Baker (Indian Horse, Blackstone), Trevor Carroll (Strange Empire, Blackstone), Simon R. Baker (Strange Empire, Into the West), Jake Epstein (Designated Survivor, Degrassi: The Next Generation), and featuring cameos by Jim Treliving (Dragon’s Den), Julie Nesrallah (Tempo), and Sangita Patel (ET Canada). Haida/Cree artist Kristi Lane Sinclair served as consulting producer.

One of Canada’s most successful and longest-running dramas, Murdoch Mysteries (11 seasons; 168 x one-hour episodes) has become a staple for CBC and broadcasters around the world with its winning formula that brings together compelling mysteries, unique slices of turn-of-the-century history, ingenious inventions and personal moments for each character. The series is licensed to broadcasters in 110 countries and territories including the U.S., U.K., France, Finland and China.

With millions of fans worldwide, Murdoch Mysteries also boasts one of the most engaged fan communities in the world, including almost 130,000 likes on Facebook and 146,000 followers for the series and its cast on Twitter.

The Murdoch Mysteries brand continues to grow and evolve. Brand licensing deals include an all-ages immersive game experience, The Murdoch Mysteries Escape Series, a collaboration between Shaftesbury and Company & Co. that launched in early 2017 in Toronto, as well as a collection of customizable pendants and rings inspired by the series and its characters from Jewlr.com. Series companion book Investigating Murdoch Mysteries was published in Canada, the U.S. and the UK by Titan Books in October 2015. Shaftesbury has also partnered with Segal on an exclusive line of series merchandise including a Murdoch Mysteries holiday ornament, beer stein, mugs, police notepad and chalkboard, and a global online store, www.murdochworld.com, launched in April 2016.

Murdoch Mysteries has brought dozens of historical figures to life including Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Harry Houdini, Winston Churchill, Bat Masterson, and H.P Lovecraft, and featured more than 100 guest stars including William Shatner, Brendan Coyle, Ed Asner, Victor Garber, Colin Mochrie, Rémy Girard, David Hewlett, Tom McCamus, Mary Walsh, musician Alan Doyle, Samantha Bond, Leah Pinsent, Nicholas Campbell, Steven Ogg, former WWE star Jay Reso, Dragons’ Den judges Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton, Canadian opera singer Measha Brueggergosman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David C. Onley, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Murdoch Mysteries is based on Maureen Jennings’s popular Detective Murdoch series of novels and premiered in Canada in January 2008.

Murdoch Mysteries is developed and produced by Shaftesbury, in association with CBC, ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment and UKTV, and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the COGECO Program Development Fund. Shaftesbury Sales Company and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment hold worldwide distribution rights for the series. The series is executive produced by Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Yannick Bisson and Peter Mitchell, who also serves as showrunner, and produced by Stephen Montgomery and Julie Lacey.




Preview: Brackenreid gets arty in Monday’s Murdoch Mysteries

It was pretty cruel of the CBC scheduling team to have such a heartbreaking Murdoch Mysteries episode like “The Accident” air and then make fans wait weeks until the new episode. Still, we knew there would be breaks between new episodes and hey, the Christmas special “Home for the Holidays” is just around the corner!

As for this Monday’s new instalment, “Brackenreid of the Boudoir,” the CBC has issued the following official information:

To investigate an artist’s murder, Brackenreid picks up his paintbrush again and attracts a wealthy patron’s very personal attention.

And here are some more tidbits we gleaned after watching a screener of the episode written by showrunner Peter Mitchell and directed by Harvey Crossland.

Julia and William go camping
I don’t think enough is said about the comedic talents of Yannick Bisson and Hélène Joy, so I’ll do it now. The two can be flat-out hilarious without the use of scripted words. That is showcased in the first few moments of Monday’s episode as the two use physical comedy to great effect. Also? Julia utters a saying I had to Google to understand and it’s a pretty interesting term.

Brackenreid goes undercover
I’ve been waiting for Brackenreid’s skills as an artist to be utilized in another storyline, so this got me giddy. Monday’s victim seems to have ties to the famous troupe of artists, in particular, one fellow who once bought Brackenreid’s painting. Like his son John did a few weeks ago, Thomas goes undercover to catch a killer. As always, it’s a pleasure to see our favourite cops outside of the station house and this is no different. I got a particular kick seeing Brackenreid’s pride in having his artistic side celebrated, especially by the wealthy patron portrayed by Sonja Smits.

Nina Bloom is back…
… and getting smoochy with our George. And then, well, you’ll have to tune in to find out.

And so is Detective Watts
Watts takes on the case of a young lady who had her bicycle stolen. Now why would a detective do the work more suited to a constable, do you think?

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




‘Tis the season for CBC’s holiday programming, including Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

From a media release:

Canada’s national public broadcaster celebrates the 2017–18 festive season with holiday programming across all platforms including CBC, CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 2, CBC Music and CBC.ca. Throughout December, CBC will offer new original movies and specials including the return of Newfoundland’s most dysfunctional family as the Hatching, Matching and Dispatching saga continues in new holiday movie A CHRISTMAS FURY (Dec. 3) starring Mary Walsh; animated special THE GREAT NORTHERN CANDY DROP (Dec. 17), starring Lorne Cardinal and Tantoo Cardinal, which tells the true story of Inuk bush pilot Johnny May; and an all-new two-hour MURDOCH MYSTERIES special: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Dec. 18), filmed on location in Victoria, BC. Additionally, viewers can catch holiday episodes from THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (Dec. 6), DRAGONS’ DEN (Dec. 7), THE GOODS (starting Dec. 11) and CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS (Dec. 22); classic movie hits including Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Scrooge, White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street; and time-honoured animated family favourites Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman.

CBC rings in the new year with a fresh lineup of comedy specials on Dec. 31 including an all-new AIR FARCE NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017 and RON JAMES: THE HIGH ROAD, followed by a cross-Canada musical celebration hosted by Rick Mercer, CANADA’S NEW YEAR’S EVE, building on the success of the public broadcaster’s 2017 countdown special, which reached 5.7 million viewers across the country with an average minute audience of 1.8 million.* And on Jan. 3, CBC exclusively broadcasts the star-studded Leonard Cohen tribute concert that took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal this fall.

New Original Holiday Movies & Specials:

A CHRISTMAS FURY (new two-hour comedy movie) – Sunday, December 3 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
Newfoundland’s most dysfunctional family returns to CBC as the Hatching Matching and Dispatching story continues with an outrageously funny TV movie, A CHRISTMAS FURY. Starring comedy icon Mary Walsh, A CHRISTMAS FURY begins with matriarch Mamie Lou (Walsh) about to make a big life change. Her plans are derailed, however, by the arrival of a child who puts the chaos back in Christmas and sends everyone reeling. With the family business up for grabs, the siblings are at each other’s throats. Meanwhile, there’s a wedding and a funeral to plan. What could possibly go wrong? Co-starring Mark McKinney, Susan Kent, Shaun Majumder, Jonny Harris, Sherry White, Joel Thomas Hynes, Adriana Maggs, and Rick Boland.

DREAMING OF A JEWISH CHRISTMAS (new one-hour documentary) – Thursday, December 7 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
Where would our modern Christmas season be without songs like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Have A Holly Jolly Christmas, Do You Hear What I Hear?, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) and, of course, White Christmas? DREAMING OF A JEWISH CHRISTMAS is an offbeat, irreverent musical documentary that tells the story of a group of Jewish songwriters who wrote the soundtrack to Christianity’s most musical holiday. It’s an amazing tale of immigrant outsiders who became irreplaceable players in pop culture’s mainstream — a generation of songwriters who found in Christmas the perfect holiday in which to imagine a better world, and for at least one day a year, make us believe in it.

THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES: STATE OF THE WORLD (new one-hour special) — Tuesday, December 12 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
In this one-hour special, THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES turns its satirical eye to how the world sees Canada, with some surprising answers. One year into the Trump administration, what role do we play in the world, and what does the world think of us? Heroes to some, villains to others, you won’t ever look at Canada the same way again.

THE GREAT NORTHERN CANDY DROP (new half-hour animated special) – Sunday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m. (8 NT) and Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT)
Featuring the voices of Tantoo Cardinal and Lorne Cardinal and based on a children’s book published in 2015 by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, THE GREAT NORTHERN CANDY DROP tells the true story of Inuk bush pilot Johnny May, who has flown over Kuujjuaq in the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec to drop candy, toys and warm clothing to the children and residents of the community each holiday season for more than 50 years.

MURDOCH MYSTERIES: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (new two-hour special) – Monday, December 18 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) and Monday, December 25 at 6 p.m. (6:30 NT)
Murdoch  (Yannick Bisson) and Ogden (Hélène Joy) travel to Victoria, B.C. to visit Murdoch’s brother, RCMP officer Jasper Linney (Dylan Neal). There, they investigate a murder connected to an archaeologist (Megan Follows) who has uncovered an ancient Indigenous settlement, leading to a trek through the rugged beauty of British Columbia and encounters with the Songhees and Haida nations. Meanwhile, the Brackenreids are offered a surefire investment opportunity that may not be all it seems, and Crabtree and Higgins plan a ski-chalet holiday with their girlfriends Nina and Ruth, but learn it may be more dangerous than expected.

JFL GALA – MONTREAL: AN INTERVENTION (BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU) – Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
This no-holds-barred celebration of Montreal features affectionate jabs and playful mischief by Jimmy Carr, Alonzo Bodden, Mark Critch, DeAnne Smith and more.

AIR FARCE NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017  – Sunday, December 31 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), Monday, January 1 at 12:05 a.m. (12:35 NT)
Air Farce is back with an all new New Year’s Eve special, satirizing the insanity that was 2017. This year, Wonder Woman battles America’s biggest threat, President Trump; The Handmaid’s Tale gets a musical treatment with Taylor Swift; special guest David Suzuki gets schooled on climate change; and the dropping of the annual F-Bomb on the most deserving targets of the year. Cast members include Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, Craig Lauzon, Jessica Holmes, Darryl Hinds, Chris Wilson, Isabel Kanaan.

RON JAMES: THE HIGH ROAD – Sunday, December 31 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) and Thursday, January 4 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
Ron James and his poetically charged brand of funny return to CBC for his 9th stand-up special. He will weigh in on a surreal year, where Ringling Brothers was forced to fold up their tent because they couldn’t compete with the full-time circus going on at the White House. He will look at the pros and pros of legalized marijuana, and will also go to town on the hunky hijinks of our world-famous Prime Minister, a man who will happily give you the shirt off his back if he thinks it’ll make for a sexier selfie.

CANADA’S NEW YEAR’S EVE – Sunday, December 31 at 11 p.m. (11:30 NT)
Hosted by Rick Mercer, this countdown will ring in 2018 with musical performances, special guests and fireworks across the country. More details to come.

JFL GALA – JANE KRAKOWSKI: GET HAPPY– Tuesday, January 2 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT)
Tony Award-winning and Emmy nominated actress and singer Jane Krakowski graces the Just For Laughs stage to host a night of uproarious stand-up comedy. Starring the hilarious Chris D’Elia, Steve Simeon, Randy, Sean Emeny, Eman El-Husseini and with a special appearance by Tituss Burgess.

TOWER OF SONG: A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO LEONARD COHEN – Wednesday, January 3 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
CBC broadcasts the star-studded Leonard Cohen tribute concert that took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal this past fall. The commemorative event was held one year after Cohen’s death and features renowned artists including Sting, BØRNS, Basia Bulat, Elvis Costello, Coeur de Pirate, Lana Del Rey, Feist, k.d. lang, Courtney Love, Damien Rice, Seth Rogen, Ron Sexsmith, Patrick Watson and Adam Cohen.

New Holiday-themed Episodes:

THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW: HOLIDAY BAKING WEEK – Wednesday, December 6 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
During Holiday Baking Week, the top five bakers celebrate and commemorate the season with three delectable holiday-themed challenges.

DRAGONS` DEN HOLIDAY SPECIAL – Thursday, December 7 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)
The halls of the Den are decked and every entrepreneur who enters has a deal on their wish list. Holiday-themed businesses face the Dragons with great gifts, stocking stuffers, and some shocking proposals, all with hopes of getting the Dragons to channel their inner Santas.

THE GOODS SEASON 2 HOLIDAY SPECIALS – Monday, December 11 through Friday, December 15 and Wednesday, December 20 at 2 p.m. (2:30 NT)
Get THE GOODS this holiday season! Join co-hosts Steven Sabados, Jessi Cruickshank, Shahir Massoud and Andrea Bain as they share entertaining tips, hot holiday fashions, gift guides, and a whole lot of fun! Special guests include designer Jillian Harris, singer Matt Dusk, and an extra-special gift wrapping tutorial by Red Green.

CBC ARTS: EXHIBITIONISTS HOLIDAY SPECIAL – Friday night, December 22 at 12:30 (1 NT)
Host Amanda Parris presents intriguing holiday-themed art from creators across the country.




Murdoch Mysteries: Mary Pedersen discusses the show’s latest death

Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading until you have watched Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 11, Episode 7: “The Accident.”

Murdoch Mysteries writer Mary Pedersen’s goal was to make fans cry with Monday’s newest episode, “The Accident.” I say mission accomplished. Dilton Dilbert (David Hewlett), city clerk, became the latest victim of a murder plot when he was pinned between a car and carriage while on his morning walk to the office. Unable to move him because he’d die, Dilbert professed his love to Mildred Ash (Angela Vint) moments before he expired.

“The Accident” was unique on a couple of fronts. First, in confined all of the major and supporting characters within the Murdoch Mysteries backlot. Secondly, it was set in real time, adding to the strain of the situation. We spoke to Pedersen about the episode and the inspiration behind it.

This was a killer episode!
Mary Pedersen: Thank you so much. It was really, really fun to do and I’m really proud of it.

It’s kind of a twist on the bottle episode. Not everyone is stuck in the same room, but everyone is in the same place and that made the episode really unique.
Yes, and also having a very short timeline was part of the original idea and that brought a lot of energy and a fresh challenge to writing that episode that was really fun. It’s not our normal plot.

How did the story originally break in the writer’s room?
When we were prepping for our development room in the winter, I watched, with Murdoch in mind, a few Alfred Hitchcock movies. I watched Rope and came to the room saying, ‘Let’s do a dinner party and the killers are trying to catch Murdoch out … essentially let’s do Rope.’ Pete came up with the accident part of it, really with the thought in mind that if it was out there on the street then there is some pressure on the situation. People need to get where they’re going. And one of my favourite early episodes of TV was the ‘Subway’ episode with Vincent D’Onofrio in Homicide: Life on the Street. [Editor’s note: That Homicide episode is entitled “Subway,” but is often referred to as “The Accident.”] Those things came together and started writing itself.

And then, when we were trying to figure out which character to have standing there crushed between two vehicles for five days [of filming], somebody came up with David [Hewlett] and it was genius. He was fantastic; it was such a dream to watch him make that story happen.

I was wondering how you decided on Dilton Dilbert to be the one trapped there. You needed a character that fans already knew and cared about rather than someone no one had met.
Right. And that was sort of my idea going into it, that it would be all new people, but someone in the room came up with David’s name and once they did there was no other conversation. And then we were lucky to get Angela [Vint] as well. I’ve been a fan of hers since Traders way back when so watching the two of them do scenes together was a dream.

Let’s talk about the challenges surrounding this episode. There was such a large cast of characters to juggle alongside our regulars. Was that tough to write?
By the time it gets to [production] that’s the challenge of the director. I had envisioned going around and around and around the accident and making it work inside of our backlot. [Director] Alison [Reid] and the assistant directors and the art department had to make that work. The art department had to come up with streetcar tracks in our backlot. At one point it seemed like an impossible task and Bob [Sher] was like, ‘Well, let’s give it a go,’ and that was fantastic. I did get dirty side-eye from the ADs for sure. And, when we wrote it we thought it might be a bit shorter of an episode for filming because it was all in one location but I don’t think we wound up saving any time on it. And it also wound up being one of the hottest weeks of the summer so the crew and cast were out on the backlot just broiling the entire time. But they’re total pros and troopers.

The other cool thing about this episode was when Alison pulled back it allowed viewers to see not only the full backlot but the CGI work to show the growth of Toronto.
I love that, and being able to walk down the street to where the streetcars are parked. It was a real team effort.

Those were quite the emotional scenes between Dilbert and Brackenreid.
If you’re going to care about the murder and spend an hour with the guy, we had to feel something. What is that like? You know now that your time is limited. One of the reasons that I gravitate towards Murdoch and shows like it is they’re not typically focused on the tragedies and the sadness and the loss. For the most part, you’re able to focus on the puzzle and the mystery and what the detective is doing to solve the crime. It’s really a part of the show that we don’t normally see and that’s on purpose because we want to focus on Murdoch’s own detective work.

This story required some emotional bang.

You certainly get the emotional bang when Dilbert is speaking with Mildred Ash. They flirt a bit when he says he’s admired her shorthand. Him viewing himself as just a cog in the machine. It’s heartbreaking, Mary! How could you do this?
[Laughs.] If you were dying too soon, at least I would reflect on the great thing that I thought that I would accomplish. And it is kind of heartbreaking.

Mary, people will have cried watching this episode. Are you happy with this knowledge?
I am so happy! This is one of my great accomplishments as a writer. [Laughs.] After we did the read-through and we were walking down the hall back to the writer’s room, Paul Aitken turned around with tears in his eyes. And I was just, ‘Yes, everything is going to be all right.’

That was a very patient pig that you had John Brackenreid holding.
We had the pigs and the chickens and the fire hydrant. The fire hydrant was on the bubble several times and Pete just kept rescuing it from getting cut. It was great that we were able to keep all of the farm animals and people were so delighted with that pig. It was a pretty rough week shooting but the pig really brought people’s spirits up.

Despite all of the difficulties, this episode really helped to expand the world of Murdoch Mysteries in my mind. Even the off-hand comment about the Gooderham & Worts building being a flatiron building helped me place where in Toronto we’re set.
That’s awesome and I’m so glad. It was so interesting looking up things like traffic accidents at the time. The boy whose cart rolls over in the street it was originally written as a 13-year-old with a little motor van because, of course when you think of it, there were no regulations at the time. You could drive at any age, it was all so new. And, I think, there had only been one car fatality at the time and it was kids playing in the street and man ran over a kid and was like, ‘OK, I need to be on my way.’ There wasn’t the same protocol for an accident that we have today. Or even Murdoch going, ‘Wait a second, I think there is some fishy business going on here,’ would have been very unlikely for the time.

What did you think of “The Accident”? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? And confess: did you cry? Let me know in the comments below.

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