Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Preview: Murdoch Mysteries rings a bell for … murder?

Last Monday, “Biffers and Blockers,” written by Dan Trotta revealed that—at long last—Julia is pregnant. It also introduced us to Rupert Newsome and showed how Higgins is faring as an upper-class citizen thanks to Ruth Newsome. It was an episode filled with funny moments.

This coming Monday, things take a decidedly darker turn. Here’s what the CBC has to say about “Mary Wept,” written by Noelle Girard and directed by Megan Follows:

Murdoch investigates when a statue of the Virgin Mary gifted to his church begins miraculously weeping.

And, as always, we’ve got more info to share after watching a screener.

Welcome, Sophia Walker
A member of the Canadian Film Centre’s 2016 Actors Conservatory, Sophia Walker guest-stars as Josephine Beatty, a woman at the centre of “Mary Wept.” You can read up on Walker’s past work via the CFC’s website, but she’s done a ton of theatre work as well as appearing in 12 Monkeys and Rookie Blue.

Welcome back Det. Watts, Violet Hart and GEORGE CRABTREE
Det. Watts and Violet Hart answer the call this week and play key roles in the murder case. Meanwhile, George’s jaunt in Paris is over and he’s back at Station House No. 4. Turns out the City of Light has affected him in many ways and we get to hear all about it. Also, Higgins plans a life-changing event.

William and Julia head to church
I can’t remember the last time William’s religion was the focus of a Murdoch Mysteries storyline (I’m betting readers will let me know.) but it’s front and centre in “Mary Wept.” It’s also the opportunity for Julia to take a playful jab at attending a church service. As an aside, Harry Judge—who last appeared in the 2011 episode “Kommando” as Matthew Larson—guests as Father McGray. Regarding the weeping statue of the Virgin Mary … there is more to that than first appears. Of course.

You gotta have faith
Is the weeping Virgin Mary a miracle or something more sinister? The image above may give you a clue, but the whole case is the opportunity to discuss religion in general and faith specifically. It’s interesting to hear the opinions of everyone involved in the main storyline and may leave you reflecting on your own beliefs.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

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Hits and misses: The 2018 Canadian Screen Awards nominees

First of all, a hearty congratulations to everyone who has been nominated for a 2018 Canadian Screen Award. I’ve spoken to many of you over the years and basked in both your kindness and awesome skills whether you work in front of or behind the camera.

I believe the Canadian Screen Awards are as important and justified in their existence as the Golden Globe Awards, Primetime Emmys and BAFTA awards; and with that comes the scrutiny that befalls the Academy and the nominations it puts forth every year. What does that mean? I poke, prod and peruse the television categories and scrutinize every decision the Academy has made with regard to the 2018 television nominations.

Here are my thoughts on several of the key categories. Let me know your own thoughts in the comments section below!

Best Drama Series

  • 19-2
  • Anne
  • Mary Kills People
  • Pure
  • Vikings

I’m thrilled to see 19-2, Anne, Mary Kills People and Pure all in this category. Each represents unique storytelling, characters that are interesting and push the boundaries of what we view as heroes and villains. I’m especially tickled that Pure is here because I think what creator Michael Amo, director Ken Girotti and stars Ryan Robbins, Alex Paxton-Beesley, A.J. Buckley and Peter Outerbridge did was really special. That said, I’d rather have seen Vikings replaced by X Company or Travelers. Both of those programs—X Company in its last and Travelers in its first—provided more engaging stories than Vikings did and in more creative ways. Honourable mention: Hard Rock Medical, which manages to jam twisting, dramatic storylines into a mere 22 minutes of airtime.


Best Comedy Series

  • Letterkenny
  • Workin’ Moms
  • Nirvanna the Band the Show
  • Michael: Every Day
  • Kim’s Convenience

Letterkenny continues its journey to being one of the greatest Canadian comedies of all time while breaking new ground being a Crave TV original. Workin’ Moms was simply fantastic in its debut season, Kim’s Convenience is stellar and Michael: Every Day was a comic gem that I’m glad CBC revisited. I simply don’t get Nirvanna the Band the Show. I’ve tried to watch it several times and couldn’t stick with it. Maybe it’s because I’m in my forties and it’s not for my demographic. To me, Mohawk Girls deserved to be in that final spot. Co-created by Tracey Deer (who received a well-deserved nomination for her directing) and Cynthia Knight, Mohawk Girls effectively delivered laughs and tears while telling the tale of four women negotiating life, love and what it means to be a member of the First Nations today.


Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series

  • The Beaverton
  • Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Rick Mercer Report
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes

I have no issues with this category. Let’s move on.


Best Reality Competition Series

  • The Amazing Race Canada
  • The Bachelorette Canada
  • Big Brother Canada
  • MasterChef Canada
  • Top Chef Canada

If this category has proved anything, it’s that we’re able to successfully create homegrown versions of proven international reality competition series and nab large audiences for them. Now it’s time to create our own concepts like CBC’s Crash Gallery and CTV’s The Launch; I expect to see the latter nominated in this category next year.


Best Limited Series or Program

  • Cardinal
  • Alias Grace
  • The Disappearance
  • The Kennedys: After Camelot
  • Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall

Holy crap is this a stacked category. All are worthy of being here both for the writing, acting, directing and production values. My murder and mayhem-loving heart is filled with love for Cardinal, The Disappearance and Alias Grace. The pleasant surprise for me is Bruno & Boots which deserves to be here. The tone may different from the other four but that’s what makes it so exciting to see that project here. I’d love it if Bruno & Boots won.


Best Lead Actress, Comedy

  • Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms
  • Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
  • Andrea Bang, Kim’s Convenience
  • Jean Yoon, Kim’s Convenience

Another category jammed with bona fide, worthy winners. All are strong women in real life and on the small screen. Andrea Bang and Jean Yoon have created something truly special via Janet and Umma’s relationship, especially in the second season. I wish a sixth name could be added to this list and that it was Dani Kind’s. Her portrayal of Anne Carlson on Workin’ Moms has been a revelation. I’m still marvelling at how a character like Anne can struggle with connecting with her two children, worry the nanny is stealing her family away and decide to have an abortion … and make the situation alternately heartbreaking and hilarious.


Best Lead Actor, Comedy

  • Gerry Dee, Mr. D
  • Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
  • Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
  • Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

I agree with all the names on this list and don’t envy the Academy for having to choose a winner.


Best Lead Actress, Drama Series

  • Amybeth McNulty, Anne
  • Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
  • Jennie Raymond, Sex & Violence
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Meaghan Rath, Rogue

I have not, I must confess, watched Sex & Violence or Rogue, so I’m kind of out of my element here. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion. McNulty’s portrayal of Anne Shirley re-created the character for a whole new generation of Anne of Green Gables fans. She certainly won me over. Caroline Dhavernas was great in Season 1 of Mary Kills People (I think she’s even better in the two episodes I’ve seen of Season 2) and Tatiana Maslany is, well, frigging Tatiana Maslany. If I could suggest a couple of other names for this category they would be Melissa O’Neil for Dark Matter and Hannah John-Kamen for Killjoys. Both were kicking ass and taking names in their sci-fi series while showing sensitivity and humour throughout. And yes, I’m still pissed Dark Matter was cancelled. Thanks for asking.


Best Lead Actor, Drama Series

  • Brian Markinson, The Romeo Section
  • Richard Short, Mary Kills People
  • Christopher Heyerdahl, Van Helsing
  • Alexander Ludwig, Vikings
  • Shawn Doyle, Bellevue

Brian Markinson was so, so good in Season 2 of The Romeo Section; I’m thrilled he got a nod here. Rather than swap a name out, I’d like to add one: Shaun Johnston. His Grandpa Jack on Heartland has been through a lot over the past several years but he’s always been the rock everyone could lean on. In this past season of Heartland, Jack was called upon to help run the ranch while being there for Georgie and Amy, especially when Ty was away in Mongolia. Those storylines called on Johnston to do some major heavy lifting and he shouldered it with no problems at all. Honourable mention to X Company‘s Jack Laskey who was so fantastic as Alfred Graves in the historical drama’s final season.


Best Lead Actress, Drama Program or Limited Series

  • Sarah Gadon, Alias Grace
  • Maxim Roy, Bad Blood
  • Karine Vanasse, Cardinal
  • Camille Sullivan, The Disappearance
  • Hélène Joy, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Honestly, how can you pick a winner out of this group of wide-ranging and fantastic characters?! That said, the Murdoch Mysteries fan in me is pissed Hélène Joy is nominated in this category rather than Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Shaftesbury, the show’s production company, put the Christmas special up for consideration in this category AND the show up for Best Drama Series, so I guess the Academy decided she was a better fit here?


Best Lead Actor, Drama Program or Limited Series

  • Kim Coates, Bad Blood
  • Edward Holcroft, Alias Grace
  • Billy Campbell, Cardinal
  • Alan Thicke, It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway
  • Yannick Bisson, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Again, a stunning group of actors in this category and my same complaint for the previous category goes here: what the hell is Yannick Bisson doing here and not in the major Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series?!

The Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast gala airs live Sunday, March 11 at 8 p.m. on CBC.

 

 

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Cardinal, Letterkenny and Kim’s Convenience top 2018 Canadian Screen Award nominees

Cardinal, Alias Grace, Murdoch Mysteries, Mary Kills People, Letterkenny, Workin’s Moms, Kim’s Convenience and The Disappearance—and many of those in the projects’ casts—are among the nominees for 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.

The announcement was made Tuesday morning at The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto with Kim’s Convenience‘s Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Cardinal‘s Karine Vanasse and Rise host Sarain Fox serving as hosts.

Here are the nominations in the key television categories. Here is a link to the full list of nominations.

Best Drama Series

  • 19-2
  • Anne
  • Mary Kills People
  • Pure
  • Vikings

Best Comedy Series

  • Letterkenny
  • Workin’ Moms
  • Nirvanna the Band the Show
  • Michael: Every Day
  • Kim’s Convenience

Best Variety or Sketch Comedy Series

  • The Beaverton
  • Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Rick Mercer Report
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Best Reality Competition Series

  • The Amazing Race Canada
  • The Bachelorette Canada
  • Big Brother Canada
  • MasterChef Canada
  • Top Chef Canada

Best Limited Series or Program

  • Cardinal
  • Alias Grace
  • The Disappearance
  • The Kennedys: After Camelot
  • Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall

Best Children’s or Youth Program or Series

  • The Next Step
  • Odd Squad
  • Degrassi: Next Class
  • L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Fire & Dew

Best Lifestyle Program or Series

  • Dead Set on Life
  • Property Brothers
  • The Goods
  • Backyard Builds
  • Great Canadian Homes

CBC

Best Lead Actress, Comedy

  • Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Catherine Reitman, Workin’ Moms
  • Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
  • Andrea Bang, Kim’s Convenience
  • Jean Yoon, Kim’s Convenience

Best Lead Actor, Comedy

  • Gerry Dee, Mr. D
  • Jared Keeso, Letterkenny
  • Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Kim’s Convenience
  • Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Best Lead Actress, Drama Series

  • Amybeth McNulty, Anne
  • Caroline Dhavernas, Mary Kills People
  • Jennie Raymond, Sex & Violence
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Meaghan Rath, Rogue

Best Lead Actor, Drama Series

  • Brian Markinson, The Romeo Section
  • Richard Short, Mary Kills People
  • Christopher Heyerdahl, Van Helsing
  • Alexander Ludwig, Vikings
  • Shawn Doyle, Bellevue

Best Lead Actress, Drama Program or Limited Series

  • Sarah Gadon, Alias Grace
  • Maxim Roy, Bad Blood
  • Karine Vanasse, Cardinal
  • Camille Sullivan, The Disappearance
  • Helene Joy, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Best Lead Actor, Drama Program or Limited Series

  • Kim Coates, Bad Blood
  • Edward Holcroft, Alias Grace
  • Billy Campbell, Cardinal
  • Alan Thicke, It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway
  • Yannick Bisson, Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays

Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (Individual or Ensemble)

  • Baroness Von Sketch Show
  • Rick Mercer Report
  • The Beaverton
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Best Performance, Children’s or Youth

  • Ella Ballentine, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Fire & Dew
  • Amanda, Arcuri, Degrassi: Next Class
  • Michela Luci, Dino Dan
  • Akiel Julien, The Next Step
  • Anna Cathcart, Odd Squad

 

The Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast gala airs live Sunday, March 11 at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Which shows and actors/actresses are you hoping will win big at the Canadian Screen Awards? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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Murdoch Mysteries: Writer Dan Trotta discusses Julia’s news and Higgins’ growth

Spoiler Alert! Do not read this interview until you have watched the Season 11 episode entitled “Biffers and Blockers.”

So many fans have told me how much they’ve enjoyed Season 11 of Murdoch Mysteries. I agree. The writer’s room has hit a grand slam with regard to storylines, taking our favourite characters in bold new directions while keeping the core intact. That’s difficult to do, and yet showrunner Peter Mitchell and his crew make it seem easy.

Monday’s newest instalment, “Biffers and Blockers,” was memorable for several reasons. At long last, Julia said the words William and Murdoch Mysteries fans have been waiting for: she is pregnant. Secondly, the series was able to bring a beloved character back from the dead (sort of) by introducing us to Dr. Rupert Newsome (Cyrus Lane), identical twin brother of the late Roger Newsome. And third, with Constable Crabtree off in Paris, Higgins stepped forward and got some major airtime not only with regard to the murder of a cricket player but his social life with Ruth Newsome as well.

We spoke to the episode’s writer, Dan Trotta, about everything that went down.

I was thrilled to see Cyrus Lane return to the show as Dr. Rupert Newsome. How did the idea to have Cyrus come back as a twin come about?
Dan Trotta: Everyone in the room loved the character and everyone loved working with the actor. I didn’t have a whole lot to do with that decision. The character of Roger was just so fun to write for. There were a couple of pictures of him in the writer’s room. I know Jordan Christianson was a big fan. So, the class system was a big part of the episode and it made sense to have him as part of it. And the trick then was how to distinguish the brothers, and that was a fun part of it.

Cyrus Lane brings a lot to the role and has really created something special.
That guy is a fantastic actor. It’s the first time that I’ve worked with him. Comedy, I find in my limited experience, can be tricky especially when you really try to bring the funny. First, it’s on the page in the script. But, there is a security and a confidence that he has in his ability that makes him hilarious. What I noticed in the read-through is that his timing is fantastic. And he does seem to give the other actors a lot of space. He has a ton of charisma but doesn’t take over a scene, although I totally think he could easily if he wanted to. I was really looking forward to those scenes and seeing how they’d pop with him in them.

The return of a Newsome wasn’t even the biggest news of the episode. That was reserved for Julia revealing she is pregnant. How did it feel to have your name on this script and include this huge moment?
I was totally surprised that I was allowed to do this. It was an honour and a real responsibility. And I felt a responsibility to get it right because I know just how important it is to people. We’re seeing these characters in a situation we’ve never seen them before, really. So there was kind of a freedom in that. The old rules didn’t really apply, in a way, but you also want to honour the truth of these characters. I was kind of floored and it wasn’t even a really huge discussion. It was just kind of like, ‘Dan, this [episode] is yours.’ The way it all unfolded was certainly something we talked about but I’ve been consistently flattered by how much trust that Pete and the room have had in me.

A pivotal moment like this is usually saved for a season finale. Any comment? We’re only on Episode 11, so something big must happen in the season finale.
[Laughs.]

Now, just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean she’ll carry the baby to term, right?
I suppose that’s a possibility, Greg.

You mentioned that class is a big part of this storyline. We got to see Higgins outside of the office, with Ruth, and you fleshed out more of that character. It must have been fun to do that with Lachlan Murdoch.
Honestly, he is such a blast to write for. To me, he is one of the funniest characters on the show and I thought that before I even started. And I thought it was hilarious to have this clash that he was going through. He slipped into that world so naturally. There is an element of British humour to it and an obliviousness to this character that I have always found fall-over funny. That, to me, was really what was so fun about it. Writing for clueless characters is just a blast. It’s the best.

It was neat to see him clearly besotted with Ruth and, at this point anyway, keep the worlds apart and not speak down to the lads in Station House No. 4.
So far, yes. [Laughs.] I think that’s in its infancy.

Did you know anything about cricket before writing this episode?
Dude, nothing. Nothing at all. That was a tricky part. The thing that lends itself to cricket is the clash and class distinction. I was writing and I would leave something like a strikeout blank and then go back and research the actual word. Instead of batter it’s batsmen. [Laughs.] It was a bit of a process. And, to be quite honest, I’m still not sure I know exactly how it works. I read your preview and I had the same questions you did. I still not sure what a match can last more than a day. I still don’t get that.

Where were the cricket scenes filmed?
Oh man, that was Shanty Bay. It was stunning. [Attention history buffs: the cricket scenes were, according to this website, the summer estate of Titanic survivor Lt. Col. Arthur Peuchen.] We got these two perfectly clear, gorgeous days to film. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of real estate I’ve ever seen.

What did you think of the episode? Are you happy for Julia? Let me know in the comments below!

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

 

 

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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries scores on the cricket pitch

First of all, if you don’t already watch Frankie Drake Mysteries you should on Monday. I won’t spoil it for you, but just check it out. I promise that you WILL scream and clap your hands together. OK, enough with the public service announcement; we’ve got a new Murdoch Mysteries to discuss!

Tonight’s instalment is called “Biffers and Blockers,” and here’s what the faithful folks at CBC have revealed as the main storyline:

When a player dies violently on the cricket pitch, Murdoch and Brackenreid encounter some very unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Sounds positively dreadful! And here are more details we can share after watching the episode written by Dan Trotta and directed by Megan Follows.

Cricket, anyone?
I still don’t get how cricket is played. Or more succinctly, how it’s scored. I love the whites, the laid-back attitude, the strikeouts (wait, are they called strikeouts?) and all that, but I’m still not clear on how the game is scored and why some games go on for more than one day. Can a Murdoch fan help me out? Thanks in advance. Oh, by the way, it’s Henry who is on the cricket pitch for the main story and lands several great scenes and dialogue all episode long. Also? The cricket setting is stunning.

Julia’s fresh eyes
We’ve loved the direction Julia is headed in this season. She’s more flirty and playful and teasing William like mad. It’s awesome. Turns out she’s got an eye for athletes. And, as it turns out, she has some news for William. Squeeee!

The dead have risen
No, zombies haven’t invaded Toronto (again) but a previously dead character re-appears. I’m not going to spoil it, other than to say I was A) thrilled to see them return, and B) stoked at how they were worked into the story.

Paulino Nunes guest-stars
Nunes, who previously played Carlo Corsi in “Murdoch at the Opera,” returns to portray a hotshot cricket player who doesn’t win any friends amongst the players on the field pitch. Honestly? Trotta’s script turns him into an instantly memorable character. He’s a real hoot.

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

 

 

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