Tag Archives: Helene Joy

Murdoch Mysteries: Mary Pedersen, Peter Mitchell, Yannick Bisson and Hélène Joy discuss what’s next for William and Julia

Spoiler alert! Do NOT continue reading until you have watched Episode 17, “Shadows are Falling,” of Murdoch Mysteries. I’m serious.

I know a lot of you are upset. I understand that. So many Murdoch Mysteries fans have wanted William and Julia to be parents of their own baby. Sadly, that’s not going to happen. At least, not in the near future. That was the sad reality during “Shadows are Falling,” when Julia lost the baby to a miscarriage, leaving the couple in tatters. By episode end, emotions were running high and William walked out.

The reality is, Murdoch Mysteries is—as always—about the mysteries. The murders. The crimes. Anything else is just extra stuff we get to enjoy. Murdoch‘s showrunner, Peter Mitchell, and his writing staff know what they’re doing. I trust them and have for years. They know these characters better than we do and also know what’s best for them. So, while I understand some folks being angry with Monday’s storyline, I’m in for the long haul. I love all of these characters, their experiences and their lives. But I’m also in it for the mysteries, especially now that Season 12 has been announced!

With that in mind, here’s my chat with episode writer Mary Pedersen, showrunner Peter Mitchell and actors Hélène Joy and Yannick Bisson.

Yannick, Season 11 of Murdoch Mysteries has been fantastic. Great, funny, storylines, creative mysteries and wonderful new characters. You must be thrilled.
Yannick Bisson: It’s been another great season and for the folks that have stuck with us, and for the new viewers, it’s been a pretty great season for them. We’ve been able to have some really light-fare episodes that the fans have really responded well to. I think our highest-rated episodes this year was one of the more, sort of, light ones with ‘Crabtree a la Carte.’ It’s fun to see how things flow and change and the show keeps building.

That said, Monday’s episode has shocked and upset many fans.
Yannick Bisson: Absolutely. When you’re talking about big strains on relationships and stuff like that, these are universal themes that hit home with people. And I think there is a sense of ownership and investment with a lot of fans. When they are confronted with some of the stuff that’s coming, there are going to be some upset people.

Do you think Julia and William should have a baby?
Hélène Joy: I think they should have one if they want one, yes. I think they should be able to make that choice if they want and be free to change their minds and go another way, like adoption. We discovered from the adoption process earlier that it made them just as happy. I feel like, in the end, they will and should find a child to love.

Mary, I was reading through Facebook and you were referred to as “the writer of doom,” because you wrote “The Accident” and were the credited writer on “Shadows are Falling.” 
Mary Pedersen: I love it! I’ve demanded that everyone in the writer’s room call me that from now on.

These storylines go through so many approvals—from Pete Mitchell to Shaftesbury and CBC—one person cannot be blamed.
Mary Pedersen: A year ago we arced out what we wanted for Murdoch and Ogden this season and that started with something the fans have also been saying, ‘Oh, they’re married now. What’s going on, it’s boring? When are they going to have a baby and get a house?’ The thinking was that if we went back to the time when there was a lot of excitement, tension, curiosity and questions about what was going on in their relationship before that actually got together, how could we bring back some of that tension into their lives? Not the miscarriage itself, but the overall taking them into a new experience was really the goal of the whole thing. We knew it was going to be something that would create some difficulties for them and some questions for them and their relationship in a way, that I hope, is a natural thing that happens in any relationship. You’re always going to come up against challenges and difficulties and, of course, we confidence in Yannick and Hélène’s abilities to really portray that.

Peter, why was it important to take William and Julia on this journey?
Peter Mitchell: I wanted to do a story of consequence for both the characters and the actors. They are so at ease with their characters that people sometimes forget the fact these two can really act. I wanted to give them a story that both the actors and the characters could sink their teeth into. Plus, it’s a story that is true for a lot of couples. And I hope the fans can accept that. Sometimes in a series, the stories of the most emotional consequence are carried out by the guest characters. The guest character gets the wrenching story and the main character is an enabler or solver of problems.

Do you enjoy putting these characters through an emotional roller coaster and getting feedback from the fans?
Mary Pedersen: Yes. We know that it’s a gift. Sometimes we get comments that are not that great, but ultimately at the end of the day, every day, the fact that the fans care this much is a gift. And we don’t take that lightly. It’s really meaningful. I’ve worked on other projects where you don’t hear a thing. It’s completely different at Murdoch. The woman at the store where I get my pet food is excited. My neighbours are excited. It really changes the experience and it’s really wonderful. The passion that the fans have for Murdoch and Ogden and I think the joy that they felt for the pregnancy and the sadness and empathy they have for their loss is the same that they might have for a family member and that’s a great thing. Being able to do that with the viewers is a gift and one of the things you go into writing or acting for.

Hélène, how have you felt about Julia’s journey this season?
Hélène Joy: I think it’s great. First and foremost, this is a show about mysteries and we like to make sure that’s true. But it’s undeniable that the audience is in love with this couple and their journey. We’ve had all different incarnations of that but it’s been really nice. Obviously, the journey of wanting to have children is so personal and I think a lot of women have responded to her real desire to do this and the joy of it. What happened tonight is devastating but it’s so, so, common. It’s an incredibly common experience, trying to have children. It doesn’t mean they can’t have one again, but it happens a lot. It’s been really brave of the writers to go there and for me, it’s been fun to have such highs and lows to play.

Everything came up in the argument between William and Julia. God, guilt, punishment, faith and then the hot-button topic of abortion. You didn’t leave anything out.
Mary Pedersen: At the beginning of the episode when William is there at her bedside … if they were able to go home then and just be alone together none of this would have happened. But, because they are interrupted and spent time apart, they start to spiral into their own bad places. Because they weren’t able to process their grief together, they were in different places and it brought up all of those things. In any marriage, there are some big issues that are unresolved and you put it in the closet and hope it won’t come up. But it always, always, always will come up. This felt like a natural place to go with them.

The scenes between William and Julia are so raw and emotional. Was it difficult to get into that mindset for filming?
Yannick Bisson: Yeah, the subject matter is dark and difficult and in any given scene you have to sustain an emotional place for hours and hours—sometimes an entire day in order to get all of the coverage—and it sucks to go to work on those days, especially when you’re talking about some tough stuff like loss and betrayal.

Hélène Joy: Yannick and I were like, ‘Is it over yet?’ You have to, as an actor, dredge it from somewhere. It has to come up. It can be kind of exhausting. The scene where I’m lying in the hospital bed and I wake up. There are no words, just a lot of grief. That was at the end of the day and I knew it was coming. So the process begins, unconsciously, at the beginning of the day that you begin to think of the things that make you feel that bad. What happens with me throughout the day is that I get sadder and sadder. It was hard. Yannick and I both hated it.

A lot of folks, including myself, don’t trust Violet Hart. What kind of impact has Violet had in the writer’s room this season?
Mary Pedersen: It’s been great. We miss Mouna but it’s been nice to go in a different direction and try something new with the Violet that we weren’t doing with Rebecca. It’s an opportunity that’s going to pay off for a while.

What can you tell those upset folks that will help them cope until next week’s episode?
Yannick Bisson: Hang in there. There are ups and downs in life and we’re trying to mirror that with the show. The biggest thing to keep in mind as that you have two very strong characters and they have certain points of view. That’s what we’ve come to enjoy from the writing, so we have to stick it out and see them come out the other side.

Mary Pedersen: This is a quote that I like that I keep coming back to, somehow, for this: ‘Everything will be OK in the end.’ Not meaning Episode 18, but Murdoch and Ogden overall.

Will fans be happy by the end of the Season 11 finale?
Yannick Bisson: There is some resolution but I think we’re going to leave some room for people to tune back in for Season 12.

Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 11 finale airs next Monday at 8 p.m. on CBC.

What did you think of the episode? Can William and Julia turn it around for the season finale? Are you happy Murdoch Mysteries will be back for Season 12? Let me know in the comments below.




Preview: “Shadows are Falling” on Murdoch Mysteries

The Murdoch Mysteries fans have spoken! Last week’s episode, “Game of Kings,” was a resounding favourite and I totally agree. Maureen Jennings’ script was jam-packed with history, humour and action; everything that makes for a great instalment.

That, of course, leads us to Monday’s new episode, “Shadows are Falling,” written by Mary Pedersen and directed by Sherren Lee. You may remember the last time Pedersen penned a Murdoch Mysteries storyline, “The Accident,” where she reduced us to tears. Will she do the same this time around? Here’s the official synopsis for “Shadows are Falling” from the CBC:

Murdoch and Ogden must put aside dealing with a personal matter when Nate Desmond is charged with murder.

And here are more morsels to chew on while you wait until Monday.

Congratulations Jonny Harris!
Jonny Harris and his writing crew captured their second Canadian Screen Award in a row for their work on Still Standing. The series took home the trophy for Best Writing, Factual.

Julia and William at their darkest
This is, after all, the penultimate episode of Season 11. You didn’t expect everything to be hunky dory, did you? Yannick Bisson and Hélène Joy put in performances of the season on Monday night. Keep your tissues close by.

Nate and Rebecca return
With Nate accused of murder, it only makes sense to have Rebecca James return to Toronto as well. The man collaring Nate is none other than the newly-promoted Horace McWorthy, played by Sean Bell, of Station House No. 1. That means Watts does some digging in his old stomping grounds. Meanwhile, parts of the investigation are particularly painful for William and Julia. The last several minutes of “Shadows are Falling” is shocking, sad and changes everything.

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

Images courtesy of Stephen Scott for CBC.




Link: 10th season for Murdoch Mysteries “a huge milestone”

From Victoria Ahearn of The Canadian Press:

Link: 10th season for Murdoch Mysteries “a huge milestone”
Ten seasons into “Murdoch Mysteries,” star Yannick Bisson is feeling sentimental about his time with his character, a super sleuth probing crimes at the turn of 20th-century Toronto.

“It’s a huge milestone for any show anywhere, especially here in Canada,” he said ahead of Monday’s season 10 debut on CBC-TV.

“We’re really proud and it just seems to never stop being good.” Continue reading.


Link: Interview: ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ star Helene Joy is rooting for a baby for William and Julia in Season 10

From Keerthi Mohan of International Business Times India:

Link: Interview: ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ star Helene Joy is rooting for a baby for William and Julia in Season 10
“It’s going to be a really exciting year with a lot of developments to do with Murdoch and Julia’s new house that they are building. The season starts with a huge episode about the great fire of Toronto in 1904 where most of the city was destroyed. And we have great guests coming from England. We have returns of awesome characters and some really amazing storylines that I can’t disclose yet.” Continue reading.


Murdoch Mysteries’ Season 9 end and what’s to come in Season 10

Spoiler alert! Do not read on unless you’ve watched Monday’s season finale episode of Murdoch Mysteries, entitled “Cometh the Archer.”

OK, did anyone really believe Julia would die in Monday’s season-ender? Not a chance—especially because the show was renewed for Season 10—but that was one heck of a ride? Plenty of fans, myself included, wondered who from Murdoch’s past would return to cause troubles for the pair. Turns out it was Eva Pearce, the disturbed young woman with an obsession for our favourite TV detective who not only attempted to murder Julia but kidnapped Murdoch and plotted to have his child.

Cinematic in scope, and featuring Julia on horseback and firing an arrow (who knew she could do that?!), “Cometh the Archer” concluded a season chock-full of drama and heartbreak. We chatted with MM showrunner Peter Mitchell, who took us back over the past 18 episodes and gave us a peek into what’s coming in Season 10 straight from the writers’ room.

There were a couple of cast changes this season. The first was saying goodbye to Emily Grace and welcoming Rebecca James. How did the addition of Mouna Traoré change-up things for you and the members of the writers’ room?
Peter Mitchell: I think it was fun and we sort of eased her in a bit. We gave her increasingly more stuff to do. It’s interesting, because she really has to play against type, which is something that not many of our characters have to do. Mouna the person is a lot more outgoing and vivacious than Rebecca the character. It was tricky trying to find a balance. In the upcoming season she’ll become a more dynamic personality as her confidence increases.

OK, so you’re confirming that Mouna will be back for Season 10.


Let’s talk about the other big change, adding Roland to Julia and William’s lives. He made a big impression on the fans and you’ve already stated that this is a procedural drama and not a domestic drama. In the season finale, adoption was mentioned by William; does this mean Roland is gone for good or could he return? Or are we headed for adoption?
We could be headed neither way. [Laughs.] We’re talking about that right now. It was a moving thing and a charming thing to have this baby in their lives for a while, but we haven’t really focused on that part of Season 10 yet.

How many Season 10 episodes have you written so far?
We haven’t written any so far. We’re still kicking around ideas and stories for the first half of the season.

Let’s talk about Crabtree. He’s had some bad luck in love, but things were looking up last week when he made a connection with Nina Bloom, played by Erin Agostino. Any plans to give him a more permanent love match next year?
Nina is the kind of character we always want on the show because she’s very polarizing. Half the fans love her and half the fans hate her, which means we want her! [Laughs.] As Season 10 begins, he does have a permanent partner. Whether that lasts for the length of the season, we’ll find out.

OK, let’s talk about “Cometh the Archer,” written by yourself, Simon McNabb and Jordan Christianson. How early on in the planning of this episode did you have, “Julia gets shot” written on the wall?
I think we had “Julia rides a horse” and “Julia shoots a bow and arrow” before. That was Hélène’s simple list of demands, “Can I ride a horse this year and can I shoot a bow and arrow?” Let’s come up with a scenario for that. It probably at the two-thirds mark of the season that the idea came to be of how we were roughly going to end the season.


I assumed, wrongly, that every season of Murdoch Mysteries is planned straight through with a beginning, middle and end, but that’s not the case.
I probably happens with some shows, but we have the liberty of not having to have everything approved up and down the line. They trust us. We never really consider how things will end until midway through the shooting. A season is three acts and we go into it with Act 1 and Act 2 planned and then, generally, things that happen in the first bit of the season helps inform us how we’re going to end it because things come up, you know?

Now, unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Constable Worseley! What were the circumstances surrounding Sean Harraher’s departure?
Interesting story. It was Sean to who came me and said, “Hey, could I die this year?” I said, “Yeah, sure man.” I think it adds a nice bit in the finale, a nice little scary bit, but it wasn’t a question of having to go down and tell someone who’s been an extra on the show for seven years that he’s not coming back.

You’ve directed this episode. This isn’t the first time you’ve done that, but I did notice some interesting overhead shots you used. I’m thinking of when Julia was in surgery and when Brackenreid was questioning folks at the hotel. Why did you choose that style of filming?
I’m always trying to tell a story with the minimum amount of shots because our shooting schedule is so short. This felt like a more cinematic episode and you don’t really get the shock of Julia Ogden’s operation unless you’re right over top of it. There’s blood everywhere. A bunch of the back half of the episode was going to be Murdoch lying on his back and I was committed to that type of shooting so I just tried to integrate that into the overall episode so it didn’t turn into this weird perspective change. And my friend, Gary Harvey, does such a dynamic job of directing his episodes that he kicks my ass a little bit. [Laughs.] I was like, “OK Harvey, two can play at that game!” You have the horses and the wilderness and all that scope. We were blessed with weather in that we got a bit of snow and it had a bit of a McCabe & Mrs. Miller feel to it.


A lot of fans were speculating as to who it would be from William’s past who’d return in the finale. How did you decide it would be Eva Pearce, played by Daiva Johnston?
I was really interested in the back half of the script when I was writing with the guys. It could really only be played by a female and the idea of giving a little bit of an edge with the sexual angle and that weird song she sings. We hinted at the Black Hand in the episode before but, ultimately, in terms of the love triangle of Eva mounting William and it causing Julia to wake up is a more interesting dynamic.

Where do we go from here? What can you tell me about some of the stories you’re breaking for Season 10?
I think there will be some unexpected returning characters to the show. We’re also looking at adding a couple of semi-recurring characters onto the show. We’re mining some historical figures that we want to bring in like we normally do. We’re seriously kicking around H.P. Lovecraft right now, just in time for Halloween! He’s a very interesting character who was about 15 years old at this time. I also think we’ll be dealing with the Toronto fire in some shape of form because this is the year. It’s also an Olympic year and I know somebody who is an archer and somebody who is a big soccer fan, both of which were events at the Olympics in St. Louis.

We also have to deal with some of the events from the final episode, some of them lighthearted—does Murdoch build the house this year?—and the exploration of Crabtree and his new girl and how can she possibly fit into this world? We’re also going to see Rebecca at medical school and how that works with her being a black woman there … we’ll see and learn a little bit more about her.

I’m constantly amazed by the people I work with. We’re sitting here with 12 or 13 fairly solid murder mysteries already that don’t feel like ones we’ve done before.

What did you think of Monday’s season finale? What do you want to see happen in Season 10? Comment below or via Twitter @tv_eh.