Review: Murdoch Mysteries frees Crabtree

All right Murdoch Mysteries fans. I think we all knew Constable Crabtree wasn’t really guilty of killing Archibald Brooks, but who did it and why were the questions I had bugging me all summer long. And, judging by the tweets I read with #freeCrabtree attached, I wasn’t the only one.

Those questions were answered during “Nolo Contendere,” Monday’s Season 9 premiere where Crabtree was exonerated, Murdoch got hit on the head and Emily planned her exit from Toronto in favour of London with Lillian. Turns out it was Simon who’d shot Archie, and he and Edna escaped Toronto for parts unknown, breaking Crabtree’s heart in the process.

“Nolo Contendere,” which is Latin for “I do not wish to contend,” began dourly, with Crabtree and former Chief Constable Giles wiling their day away in the prison yard. The murder of a fellow inmate named Foster who’d warned Crabtree people were looking for Edna got the copper’s mind racing. Who was looking for Edna and why? (I’m always amazed the way TV shows can transform a space to suit their needs, and MM is no exception, turning an old mill site in Guelph, Ont., into the Don Jail Crabtree and Giles rotted away in.)

Peter Mitchell and Paul Aiken’s script quickly shifted to the city as Murdoch and Higgins visited Edna’s old apartment, the site of a burglary. That visit, a chat with Crabtree and a slug to the back of the head later and Murdoch was untying a knot of evidence involving a raw diamond, assumed identities, bicycle grease, roquefort cheese and murderous army buddies.

I wondered how the writers would return Crabtree from a detective—and leaving Station House No. 4—to a constable, and they did it in an ingenious way. As Giles stated, Crabtree’s “Nolo Contendere” plea meant he wasn’t guilty of the crime and it closed the books on the case. Sure, he’s got to work his way back up to being a detective, but at least he’s allowed to be a copper.

And, really, that’s all fans care about, right? What did you think of the episode? Comment below or via @tv_eh.

Notes and quotes

  • It only took Murdoch and Julia one scene to get smoochy with each other, something Hélène Joy told me would be a common occurrence in Season 9.
  • I got a distinct Red and Andy vibe from Giles and Crabtree, didn’t you?
  • “I knew there was a reason I married you!” Judging by the way Hélène Joy reacted, I’m pretty sure that line was ad-libbed by Yannick Bisson.
  • I loved how Crabtree used his fellow inmates’ against one another to find out who killed Foster.

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


One thought on “Review: Murdoch Mysteries frees Crabtree”

  1. The premiere episode was skillfully written with all the attention to detail that we have come to expect from this amazing show. The writers continue to keep us guessing as the plot unwinds. The characters continue to enthrall us and keep us so involved in their lives both on and off screen. Tonight’s episode kept us on the edge of our seats, smiling at the witty remarks and outright laughing at the “stupidity” as Giles put it of some of the criminals and sighing with contentment with “Jilliam’s” loving relationship. All in all, it was wonderful!!

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