Interview: Murdoch’s shocking season finale; plus what’s coming in Season 9

Constable George Crabtree: murderer? Surely that can’t be true, but by the end of Monday’s season finale George was locked up and charged with the death of Archie Brooks just the same. There’s more to this crime than meets the eye, but George’s bloody boots and his refusal to speak has placed him firmly behind bars and put his detective’s job in question.

That wasn’t the only cliffhanger in Monday’s “The Artful Detective”: Lillian asked Emily to move to London with her so that the two could continue their support of the Suffragette Movement in England. Emily had not made a decision by the time the show’s credits rolled. It’s been a dramatic season of Murdoch Mysteries, with such high points as William and Julia getting married to the rise of the Suffragettes in Toronto, and lows like the fall of Chief Constable Giles and Constable John Hodge.

In our last behind-the-scenes chat with the creative folks at Murdoch Mysteries, we spoke to showrunner Peter Mitchell.

Was the episode title, “The Artful Detective,” a little nod to Ovation, the U.S. cable channel that airs Murdoch under that name?
Peter Mitchell: It was a wink to that, yeah, as well as a great horse name.

I counted seven bodies in last night’s episode and all of them were pretty gruesome. How did the idea for that come about?
We usually try to do one sequential killer storyline a year and we got into the whole thing of The Most Dangerous Game. The most dangerous game is man and we wanted to get Ogden a little more involved in psychological profiling. Our last several episodes—one was pro wrestling and the one before that was girl gangs—we’d done a few lighter ones and we wanted to go out with a darker, sequential killer storyline that ultimately isn’t that. It fit the mood of winter, which we were fortunate enough to get.

What was it like filming in those conditions? It was cold enough to see breath.
It was pretty cold. It wasn’t minus-40 Toronto but it was cold. When you’re out there in temperatures hovering around zero and nobody is really prepped for it, it’s not fantastic.

You mentioned the wrestling episode. I understand you’re a fan of pro wrestling. How long have you enjoyed it?
Oh gosh, longer than my wife would care to admit. Probably around WrestleMania II or III. I kicked around doing something with those guys a few years ago and it never happened. The identical twin referees is still a stroke of storytelling genius. We just tried to throw a few things into it. Murdoch driving the ambulance was, of course, Steve Austin driving the ambulance when they took Vince McMahon away. We hit four or five really deep in-jokes. My daughter and I started going to local wrestling in Toronto which is where we found a bunch of those guys.

We’re probably going to work, a little more this year, at putting the team back together and see them work more as a coordinated unit.

OK, when we last saw George in the finale, he was behind bars and charged with murdering Archie. But I feel like there is more to this than meets the eye.

It’s Murdoch, of course there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Probably more than even George is aware of. It goes deeper than what George thinks is going on.

I think George is innocent and is covering for Edna because he thinks she is involved somehow.
He’s kind of where you are … but wrong. [Laughs.]

Where do we pick up next season?
It will pick up about five months later and George will be in completely different circumstances. Our fans are pretty diligent about changing seasons, we can never pick up right where we left off. We end a season with snow on the ground and we’ll pick up, hopefully, with leaves on the trees.

What year will it be in Murdoch’s world when we come back for Season 9?
For history it will be 1903, which is the year before the ‘Great Fire of Toronto.’

Is that something you’re working towards?
We’re aware of it, but we’re not sure exactly where we’re going to place it. You’re as aware of the numbers and the good feelings for this show as we are and we don’t see a firm end date. As long as people are ambulatory we have a decent chance of making this for awhile. I’m not sure where we will place the Great Fire and the producer on the show with me, Steve Montgomery, would probably kill me the minute I suggest Great Fire. We will get to it.

Are there some key events in Toronto’s history that occurred in 1903 that you’re planning on covering?
We’re working towards that. We’ve got our list of historical characters that we’d like to get on the show this year. In terms of actual events, we’re always researching but nothing jumps out right now as being significant to hang an episode on. I think Prime Minister Laurier will come back to town this year, I’m hoping—if we can find the right guy—Mark Twain will come to town. We might have a little bit of fun with Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Michelle Ricci told me you guys have been trying to get that character on the show for years.
Yeah, I think Crabtree will teach her how to write. [Laughs.]

What can fans expect from next season?
That’s a really loaded question. What the fans expect is not always what we deliver. I think that we did try some avenues of experimentation this year in expanding the franchise. We may have lost sight, once or twice, in our core characters. The last three episodes were basically George, George, George in terms of an emotional storyline and prior to that we had been doing stuff with Emily. We’re probably going to work, a little more this year, at putting the team back together and see them work more as a coordinated unit. But it’s Murdoch Mysteries, so hopefully we’ll still have controversial storylines and zany storylines and a little more focus on Julia and William’s relationship in the coming year.

Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries will return to CBC later this year.


41 thoughts on “Interview: Murdoch’s shocking season finale; plus what’s coming in Season 9”

  1. I absolutely loved the finale! And unlike most people, I thought season 8 was a good one….minus the Lillian Emily paring. I just thought it was really out of no where for Emily and I think Lillian is completely and utterly ignorant. I am also a George & Emily fan and always will be. I really hope the writers plan to reunite them later this season as they have both grown (especially Emily). I’m glad to hear they plan on putting the team back together again. They are the core of the show and work so well together as a team. I cannot wait for season 9….Lucy Maud Montgomery??? YES PLEASE!!

    1. I totally agree with you Emily and George, need to be together. They need to fix there mistake this season.

    2. I totally agree with you about George & Emily – they need to be together!!!! Also, I totally do not like Lillian (but that may be because of George/Emily). :-) I kind of understand what they were trying to do with that storyline but it came out of nowhere and did not really mesh with the character of Emily.

    3. I’m straight, I but have some gay friends. I like that homosexuality has been addressed in a highly respected TV show.

      Speaking of highly respected, why was season eight so poorly written? I hope that the writers can get back on the horse they rode in on and produce the quality episodes they have in the past and stop riding on coat tails.

  2. I think it’s pretty obvious what happened with George. He didn’t buy that gun to use himself, but gave it to Edna to protect herself and Simon with. And either Edna or Simon shot Albert Brooks to death when he went into another rage. Most likely it was Simon because a point was made about him trying to protect his stepmother before and failing.

    Crabtree then came over, hauled the body off somewhere to make it look like he was one of the other murders, but made serious mistakes (didn’t cut off a thumb, walked through blood on the floor and threw the stained boots away directly in the garbage outside, took and kept the gun locked in his DESK AT WORK). The plan was obviously for the three of them to run away but he was caught before that could happen.

    Crabtree wasn’t thinking clearly through the whole episode. He should have told Higgins and then Murdoch and Brackenreid from the start about the beatings and they could have all did something about it.

    The show picking up five months later suggests to me that he’s already cleared by then (because at that time, he’d already be hanged some time ago) and there’ll be flashbacks to Murdoch working on that case, figuring out that George couldn’t possibly have done it. And never mind the Detective’s position, George’s entire career as a policeman is over (even if he didn’t kill anyone, he still provided the weapon and tried to cover it up), so the next season will probably have him starting his whole life over in a sense.

    1. I think George framed himself, he has worked way too long with murdoch to have made those many mistakes but I agree on the rest.

    2. Not to nitpick (Oh, so I will, a bit) but it’s Archie Brooks, not Albert Brooks. Albert Brooks is either a comedian or the guy who works on “the Simpsons.”

  3. wow you have this all thought out dont you?
    i must say it was very well thought out and altho I hope it dosnt end up being true (just cuzz i dont want crabtree leaving) I must say it was very well done

  4. This season suffered significantly from a loss of focus on William and Julia–not a smart move in my opinion and the writers should be very grateful that we are committed to this series.

    I disagree that Emily and George should be together. Emily had him then dumped him for Leslie Garland, a person, who at his core, is a thoroughly despicable man. Lillian is just his feminine counterpart, snarky and dismissive of those who do not meet her standards. Emily is drawn to a type, and she makes bad decisions when she is under stress. It was totally inappropriate for her Lillian to bring up the idea of London when Emily was quite literally surrounded by bodies, and I am really glad Emily got mad at her. Her kindness toward George could just be because of their friendship after all she is in a relationship with Lillian and George really loves Edna and Simon. Edna is a much better match for George–she is intelligent, sensible, and shares his values. Emily goes off half-cocked too often to suit me.

    The acting in the finale was superb and Jonny Harris went toe to toe with Yannick Bisson. The last scene was heart wrenching. (I do wish William hadn’t been holding his hat when he was comforted by Julia). It was great to see the whole gang together again.

    As for the conundrum of historic references for next season. Toronto has a wonderful library, a good historical society and any number of historians who are well versed in story of the city’s development. I direct the writing staff to them.

    1. George would not have killed Edna’s husband. It’s just not in his character. I believe he is protecting either Edna or Simon. But if he tried to help them cover it up, he’s done a very sloppy job and one that, at best, would make him an ‘accessory after the fact’, and something that would cost him his job as a police officer. Not at all the calibre we have come to expect from him in his association with William. Perhaps he discovered the crime scene, walking through the blood, and allowed the clues to be discovered pointing to him to give Edna and Simon time to disappear. Still somewhat culpable, but not as reprehensible.

      I would sorely miss the character of George were he to leave the program. Mind you, they’re all integral to the series and the absence of any one of them would Be unfortunate.

      1. George knew what he was doing when he left the clues. He wanted to take the blame to protect Edna and Simon. One of them killed Archie in self defense. Being a detective, he knew what to leave so evidence would point to him.

  5. I first thought Crabtree was covering for Edna or Simon, but the fact that he left his boots to be so easily found is not in his character as a police officer. There is definitely more than meets the eye here. Simon said that his father was involved in a criminal element so maybe someone from his past will surface and be found guilty. I want Crabtree to get together with Edna. They make a better match than he and Emily.

  6. It was definitely a mistake to ignore William and Julia’s relationship. That has been a key part of the series since season 1, episode 1, scene 1.

    I think George assumed Edna and Simon were involved in Brooks’ death and is covering for them. However, the investigation by William and Thomas seemed rather cursory. Would George shoot Brooks and then be stupid enough to hide the murder weapon in his desk at a police station? Would he be stupid enough to dump the bloody police issue boots in a garbage can at the apartment building where Brooks was killed? Was the bullet that killed Brooks fired from George’s gun? Did any of the residents of the apartment building hear or see anything (a body being removed, perhaps)? This just seemed to be a plot to have George in jail at the end of season 8.

    However, I did enjoy the most dangerous game storyline and I liked that the murder of Brooks was linked to it.

    Congratulations to all involved on a season 9. Looking forward to it and to a speedy resolution of the George/Edna/Simon stuff. And, yes, Artful Detective is a great name for a horse.

  7. I think a departure from William and Julia’s relationship was a good thing. We got to see the lives of the other characters and it was nice to see William and Julia living happily together without much drama. Now we’re all raring to have a focus on them more.

    I don’t much like Edna – especially as when we first met her in season 1, she was all sassy and action-taking, now she’s all boring and shy and moppy.

  8. THIS has been the most enjoyable series in decades! I became aware of MURDOCH MYSTERIES around six months ago. I now have all seven seasons, with season eight pre-ordered. The characters, and their relationships are fantastic. Where does Canada come up with such talent? As earlier comments indicate, I wish were able to receive this in the USA. I have one “negative” comment. I am not looking for unbridled passion, but we saw more of Yannick’s bare chest in season two, episode nine. Come on William and Julia are acting like an “old married couple”. It’s too early for them to be so “blase”. We need more of those meaningful eye contact scenes. Can’t wait for season nine even if I do have to watch it on my Kindle. Keep up the excellent work!

    1. Sharon,

      I also live in the US and watch Murdoch Mysteries thru AcornTV (roku channel). It also shows UK & Australian shows. I think you can also see it on Hulu but it takes them a little longer to get new seasons.

  9. I have really enjoyed this season so far. I happen to be someone who wanted Emily and Crabtree to get back together. However, i really like Crabtree with Edna, but i do not like Emily with Lillian. Because i just haven’t liked Lillian since the brick throwing episode and i wasn’t a major fan of her character before that episode. I like that they said their going to put the team back together, i look forward to seeing that happen and hope things work out well for Crabtree quickly.

  10. If they start season 9 in 1903, I hope they tie in some of the constables who may have volunteered for temporary military service in the Boer War 1899-1902 and return after military discharge back to the constabulary as war veterans. The battle harden constables will make for more interesting members of the station house, but one of them will suffer from PSTD and flash backs (episode will show flash back scenes from the war). Dedicating half of a episode story line to this prominent Canadian event would be good. Also there would be a spike in the number of military personnel in the Toronto Militia Units post War wine down.

  11. Wow! Careful, concise and constructive comments regarding the interview and the possibilities that the course of the show might take, without devolving into name-calling and random political diatribes…how is this possible?! Oh…right…you folks are from Canada, where rational differences of opinion are possible and even encouraged and no trolls allowed! Must be nice. I do have some hope, however, since Sharon appears to be American; between the two of us, we may be the beginnings of a civility movement in the States. All joking aside, I recently discovered “The Artful Detective” by happenstance and find it charming. Although I have read the synopses of the first 6 seasons ( in order to make some sense of the relationships), I will have to delve into my Netflix account to watch the episodes, as time allows. All the actors look like they are enjoying themselves immensely and they “play it straight”, with only an occasional scandalous wink ( think of Julia removing her black wool bathing stockings at the lake) at their audience. I hope the ensemble wants to remain together for many more seasons of Murdoch! P.S. I really enjoy how the show entwines actual historical figures and events with the characters’ story lines…great fun!

  12. Murdoch Mysteries – Artful Detective

    My follow up theory is that Archie Brooks was somehow involved with the “Black Hand” and came back to Toronto hoping to disappear. His treatment of his wife and son prompted George to buy a gun to give to Edna to protect herself and her son. Seeing Archie Brooks at the corner’s made George jump to the conclusion that either Edna or Simon had shot Archie.
    George went to Edna’s to confirm his suspicion but when he got there the place was dark and in shambles. George made a quick search of the house stepping in blood on the floor, again making him think that Edna had killed Archie and she and her son had fled the crime scene.
    George’s love for Edna and Simon was so strong that he decided to take the blame for Archie’s death leaving obvious clues that would lead Murdoch to him. Edna and Simon had left for places unknown to get away from Archie long before Archie’s murder at the hands of the “Black Hand” but George was convinced that either Edna or Simon shot Archie.

  13. Love the Series…don’t generally watch TV , but this shows winks at history and historical characters just resonates with me. I won’t wade in on the “George” dilemma but would love to see events like Lt. Gov. Mowat’s death played by D Onley to show up in regards to his trying to make religion (protestants vs catholics)a non issue in fledgling Toronto as well as something about Canada’s first female medical practitioner Emily(?) Stowe who died also in 1903. That could go well for a set piece with Dr. Ogden . Looking forward to another season.

  14. LOVE, LOVE, this show. Can only get a few episodes in the U.S., until I found all of seasons 1-7 on Amazon and season 8 on YouTube. I agree with everyone one the George situation and can’t wait for season 9. Have spent all my spare time binge watching all the shows and just finished Season 8 tonight. I’d like to find some other Canadian shows to watch. Any idea’s?

    1. Just left another posting, but forgot to say that Sue Thomas and Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy are old series, but you can get them on UTube.

    2. Dianne,

      Agreed, it is a most excellent show. I have loved it ever since I caught it on the smaller local channels here in the Philadelphia area. I couldn’t find it come the next season and did a little Google researching. For some reason, here in the US we needed to change the name of the series to The Artful Detective and it was on the Ovation Channel. Check with your cable/satellite provider to see if they have the Ovation Channel.

  15. Seems as though we are getting more and more Americans watching this QUALITY series. The nice thing about having the dvds is you don’t have the commercials, and you breeze right on to the next episode after a Cliffhanger. I would like to know how to go to a filming of an episode. My suitcase is PACKED! I live in Missouri, and have numerous friends who have joined the MURDOCH MYSTERIES fan club. Love everything about this show. Hope it goes on for another nine seasons.

  16. On a note to Diane, check out Sue Thomas FB eye, and Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy. Both are Canadian, and both star YANNICK BISSON. Once again excellent scripts, and acting.

  17. Murdoch mysteries is my favourite show and I think the characters have been shaped and portrayed beautifully. I have read the books and I think the series is an amazing portrayal of the books, infact I love the show better. keep it up

  18. George and Emily just have to get back together!! They are the perfect match.

  19. Really enjoy “Terrance Myers” episodes.
    Hope he is in the series.
    Sherlock is always interesting, as is James Pendrick.
    We’ve still got the potential of the return of Pendrick s wife of course.
    Funny how Murdoch is always asking for a psychological profile now!

  20. I found this program a wee while ago and got hocked straight away , the show is broadcast on Alibi channel in the U.K , its fantastic and the cliff hanger of PC Crabtree was defiantly a cliff hanger, I can’t be-leave lovable George would be a killer ( and like alot of people on here be-leave he is covering for Edna).

  21. Brackenred (please bring paddy back, somehow), always had a caustic comment for Chief Constable Giles. Now he seems to be without visits from a Chief Constable.

    Is the constabulary without a Chief Constable, especially if time leaps forward 5 months?
    Maybe the Inspector is up for the role. He did turn down a desk-jockey Chief Constable post after all.

  22. LOVE THIS SHOW! Am not a TV watcher, but am hooked on Murdoch Mysteries/Artful Detective. Please bring Emily and George back together–Lillian & Edna are the “pits”–out of place in the lives and stories of Emily & George in this otherwise wonderful Canadian series. Can’t wait until Season 9! When is fan appreciation day in Canada this year?

  23. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SHOW: I too found it on Amazon Prime and whizzed through Seasons 1-7, then found Season 8 on YouTube, and am anxiously awaiting Season 9.

    Maybe a storyline or two surrounding some of the African-Canadian citizens during that time period:

    On 17 January 1871 in Cornwall, Ontario, the death of John Baker at 105 was announced. Maybe a storyline around one of his descendants in 1903.

    21 November 1892: Canada’s First Black Physician Named.
    Anderson Abbot became Canada’s first Black physician in 1861. Once again, a storyline around one of his descendants.

    As an African-American, I love how your writers handle the racial storylines, just enough to indicate a hint of racial disharmony when need be, but not going totally overboard with the lingo. We know the climate of the day and can read between the lines. Thank you!

    1. I t seems that the sole claim to fame that John Baker has, is that he died – albeit at 105.
      Anderson Abbot seems to have achieved a unique status due to his ethnicity.
      Is there any merit in artificially having a story line hinging around the past? If there were descendants, did they achieve anything themselves, apart from dying? Anything worthy of a mention in the series?
      Leave well alone. Murdoch is quite happy with its story lines. Trying to force a PC agenda on the series will not make it better
      Anyway, the women’s voting movement is a much stronger storyline, relevant to the characters and the period.

  24. Maybe series 9 will start with Crabtree in post as the detective at Station House 3? If, as everyone seems to suspect, Crabtree is innocent, there is no reason to believe that his covering up is going to be a block to his future police career. After all, Murdoch released a prisoner and went AWOL for 6 months and yet is still in post. If Murdoch and Brackenreid prove the identity of the real murderer, I wouldn’t put it past them to cover up for George.

  25. Hi I’m looking forward to when my show starts again let me know the date’s it starts OK thank you

  26. I am a Bostonian and I currently live in the L.A. area and I find most of our syndicated television dramas/comedies to be “cookie-cutter” programs. Meaning, when a new and fresh program idea comes along that garners my interest and gains popularity, it eventually gets so diluted (cast/writing changes) and repeated to death it will quickly lose its appeal. There really can be too much of a good thing. I must say though, It is SO REFRESHING to have found this gem known as Murdoch Mysteries/The Artful Detective. The core Cast of Actors are all brilliant in their portrayals of their diverse characters. The continuity of storylines and the character development is a tribute to the writing teams. This TV Series has been like opening a very good book and being drawn to the characters, chapter by chapter and always anticipating what will happen next (Yes, I do realize the basis of this TV show is Ms. Jennings book series – which I am now hoping to read this summer). THANK YOU CANADA and the men and women involved in its total production – quality programming at its best. I also have to thank my Sister in Boston for she is the one who introduced me to the show. When she told me of the premise (a Toronto detective from the turn the Century who solves murders that involve the basic “who-done-it” woven with historical characters), I took the bait. BEEN HOOKED ever since. Went on NETFLIX and did a series binge one weekend viewing all the episodes from the beginning available there, then found the local cable channel that was offering the newer episodes. I love this Series. Having travelled to the eastern Canadian Provinces many times and being a huge Hockey fan since childhood days, I have always been fascinated with Canadian History and its People – I can still sing your National Anthem (even bilingually) better than I can sing my own. The US has always been known as a “melting pot” of peoples and cultures, but perhaps lesser known (particularly among US citizens) so has Canada been. I love how this show has taken the cast of Characters and through them have unraveled the incredible diversity of your Country, its People and its History with such humor and drama, while also being gracious enough to incorporate US historical events and people into the writing. Since I have turned my comments into a novella, I won’t comment further on any particular character/episode/storyline because I think in total they work marvelously together. I very much look forward to the next chapter in Season 9.

Comments are closed.