The good news to come out of Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 11 finale was that William Murdoch and Julia Ogden are still together. The not-so-great news? Nina Bloom and George Crabtree are not.
Sadly, the burlesque dancer who shimmied her way into George’s heart accepted a gig at Moulin Rouge and departed for Paris, leaving our favourite constable heartbroken. Actress Erin Agostino has received praise from Murdoch Mysteries fans and those behind the scenes on the show. Writer-producer Mary Pedersen recently said of Agostino: “We love Erin Agostino. She has been wonderful and has really won over the fans which is really something because the character, on paper, doesn’t look like someone Crabtree should end up with. That’s really a credit to Erin’s work.”
The Montreal-born Agostino—who stars alongside Mia Kirshner, Erin Karpluk and Randal Edwards in the feature film A Swingers Weekend, debuting next month—spoke with us about Nina and saying goodbye to Murdoch Mysteries.
Before we talk about some specific storylines, tell me how you ended up on Murdoch Mysteries in the first place.
Erin Agostino: I auditioned for a guest-star role at the end of the ninth season. I went in and auditioned. Peter Mitchell was in the room and would be directing that episode. It took about a week or two weeks to find out that I’d got the part. Guest-starring on a show that has been on the air for that many seasons was horrific because it’s a well-oiled machine and you don’t really know what your part in it is. Everyone was so welcoming and warm and just amazing, from Peter to the cast and the crew. It was a family that welcomed you with open arms.
I went into this thinking this was it. I would guest-star in that episode [“From Buffalo with Love“]. There was a chance to recur in the following season but nothing was set in stone. I really connected with Nina. I loved that part and it felt very natural to be her and Jonny Harris and I had a wonderful connection. I guess that’s what sparked the writers to put her back in in Season 10.
What were your thoughts when you first saw this character on paper?
I hadn’t really watched the show mainly because I didn’t have a TV when I first moved to Toronto. As soon as I got the audition—I was in Montreal when I got the role—I put on Murdoch and watched as much as I could. I watched Season 8 and thought about the character. I loved how mysterious she was. There were secrets. She comes across as this woman who knows it all but she is hiding this vulnerable heart that she’s afraid to break. I loved the mix where she is this strong woman but this vulnerable child at the same time.
The relationship between George and Nina was very hot and heavy. What kind of trust did you and Jonny establish so you could play the intense scenes you both did?
It’s scary going in, knowing you have all of these passionate scenes and you have never met the other person or done a chemistry read or anything. Day 1, I remember, was a kissing scene. It was basically, ‘Hey, pleased to meet you. How are you? Let’s make out.’ [Laughs.] It could have been really awkward, right? But it was a relaxed environment. Peter Mitchell always creates that, so I was instantly relaxed, which was key. I’ve worked with a lot of people and Jonny is just not what you’d expect for someone who has the success that he has. I met him and the first thing he said was that he was going to craft services and did I want a tea or anything? I was like, ‘Really?’ There was an instant comfort that developed. Over the years we’ve become closer. I call him a friend, which made those scenes a lot easier.
The last scene we shot, the breakup scene, it was hard. We were crying, some of the crew was crying, it was a beautiful moment but it was tough. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we felt like if it was goodbye for a little bit it was still really rough.
When did you become aware of the Murdoch Mysteries fandom?
At some point in Season 10. It’s been overwhelming, especially recently. There have been so many messages of love and support. It just means the world to me. To play someone who is, in my opinion, a strong role model who is not afraid to be different … to have her affect so many people is beautiful. The support has been overwhelming.
Peter Mitchell and most recently Mary Pedersen have said they loved what you brought to the role and will miss you. What does that mean to you?
It means everything. It’s my job as an actor to find something real in a character, whether they are someone who is portrayed negatively or positively, there is good and bad in everyone and it’s our job to bring the good and human side forward and make that person whole.
It was sad that George and Nina broke up, but I respect the fact neither of them would give up their beliefs for the other.
They were both willing to bend for that other person. He was going to Paris and she was going to marry him. But I think that love for each other prevented that. They knew the other person couldn’t accept going against what they believed in. It was a realization that we want different things right now and it’s just not fair to watch the other person sacrifice what they want.
You used two key words: right now. Nina is not dead unless something horrible happens on the trip over to France. She could return and I’m assuming you would be happy to return to the show.
If the writers find a way to connect them again, I am all in.
What will you miss most? And did you take anything as a memento?
I didn’t take anything. I should have. I wanted those boots. [Laughs.] I’m going to miss everyone and everything about it. It was a family.
Will you miss Nina Bloom? Do you really think she’s gone from George’s life forever? Let me know in the comments section below! And be sure to support Erin and the Canadian film industry when A Swingers Weekend hits the big screen next month.
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