Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “The Philately Fatality”

Last week’s special Halloween episode, “Murdoch and the Cursed Cave,” was almost resoundingly embraced by Murdoch Mysteries fans. You, like me, loved the storyline, humour (Higgins tackling the monster and Murdoch’s look of surprise at that killed me) and tone of the episode. It’s already taken a spot in my Top 10 favourite episodes of Murdoch Mysteries.

Now, on to Monday’s new instalment. Here’s what the CBC has revealed about”The Philately Fatality,” written by Mary Pedersen and directed by Sherren Lee.

Murdoch investigates the murder of a stamp collector with homosexual tendencies.

And here are more observations from me after watching the episode.

Watts returns
When I posted pictures for this episode on Facebook, many quickly commented simply “WATTS!!” Indeed, Daniel Maslany returns to Station House No. 4 for this storyline and Mary Pedersen’s script hints as to where he has been. Look for Jesse LaVercombe, Wade Bogert-O’Brien and veteran Quebec actor Charles Lafortune in guest roles; Jeremy Legat pops in to reprise Aldous Germaine.

Same-sex story
Homosexuality has been part of storylines since Season 1 in “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” memorably in Season 8’s “What Lies Buried,” and with Dr. Grace‘s character evolution. On Monday, we open with a house party where music is playing, drinks are consumed and dancing is happening. Sherren Lee does a wonderful job making us feel like we’ve been invited to the soirée. Not invited? Crabtree and Parker, who have been summoned to the home because of “noise complaints.”

Parker is bored
Though a murder has been committed, the former Pinkerton agent doesn’t feel as though his skills are being used to their full potential. Why is Murdoch seemingly holding him back?

Julia is flustered
Dr. Dixon arrives, unannounced, to her home while William is away. I will say no more.

Watts vs. Brackenreid
It’s no secret how Brackenreid feels about homosexuality. So his views on handling the case go up against how Watts wants to tackle it. The result is some great back and forth between actors Daniel Maslany and Thomas Craig thanks to Pedersen’s writing.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.


16 thoughts on “Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “The Philately Fatality””

  1. I love your description of this coming Murdoch Mysteries storyline and it sounds as exciting feature as last and seeing Watts comeback in a bi way will be welcomed

  2. Could the writers listen to the Jilliam fans and make Dr Dixon a victim of some criminal? (That’s me being kind)
    That character is despicably disgusting. His constant attempts to approach Julia aren’t met well in the fandom groups. Ugh.

  3. If you go back to Maureen Jennings first novel Except the Dying, and the reason this entire series and movies of the week have reached this far, she deals with homosexuality at the turn of the century. Same for the first adaptation of that novel as a movie of the week l. Looking forward to tomorrow

  4. I liked the episode, but much less than the previous Halloween-style ep.5. Investigation of the murder among philatelists for the first time in the show and this is interesting. The acting is great! Detective Watts’ return is pleasing, but the manifestation of his unconventional inclinations is surprising. In general, the topic of homosexuals in society is exaggerated, not sure that at the beginning of the last century there were so many.
           The most interesting, as always, is the intrigue in the relationship between William and Julia. Dr. Dixon’s interest is understandable because it is impossible to be indifferent to such a beautiful woman. But still, it’s better for Julia to return to investigations with her husband, this is perfectly presented in the previous episode and in all previous ones. In surgery, Julia feels insecure and has to constantly prove her professionalism.
          I still hope that in the next episodes Julia and William will more actively delight their fans with their relationships and teamwork!

    1. Interesting comment about the prevalence of homosexuality at the turn of the century. As an amateur genealogist/historian I’ve explored my personal history at length and due to very large families being produced and excellent longevity and elders happy to share their stories the evidence of same sex attraction was pretty sparse the only example being a family friend dying and his widow finding love letters between him and his boyfriend that he had saved from his youth.

  5. Writers do their own thing regardless of what fans want. Hélène Joy certainly has light duties for whatever reasons, but it makes me lose interest. Watts sounds like he wants to burp most of the time. I don’t care for the character but whoever is in charge of storylines are not consistent. First he was in love with that world travelling girl, now he is interest in boys. Brackenreid once defended and protected an homosexual lodge fellow (as Murdoch pointed out), now he seems hell bent against them. Writers should know that fans remember these inconsistencies but they do not seem to care. As far as I am concerned, if they do not reunite William and Julia as crime-solving partners, if their relationship is just ‘hi dear, by dear’, not even discussing William’s cases together, the showrunners might as well pack it in after this season.

    1. I agree 100 percent , Julia should be working with William again. I still think that Dixon’s obsession with Julia will not end well this season. If she cheats on William then the writers have no idea what they’re relationship is all about and what it means to fans of the couple. No one wants to watch another 7 seasons of them being kept apart.

    2. Brackenreid Boudoir.
      Season 11. Episode 8.
      Written by Peter Mitchell.

      A sub plot/story to the main theme.
      Ms Fiona Faust has just arrived in Toronto, after riding her bicycle almost round the world. The bicycle has been stolen and she walks in to Station House 4 looking for assistance in finding it.
      She requests a constable, but instead encounters Detective Watts (by the water cooler) who eagerly complies with her request and he is TOTALLY smitten from the moment he first looks at her.
      He treats her to an ice cream, then they go to the pub for beer and darts. (Sounds like my kinda date !)
      Hey, if you haven’t seen this one, then you should.

  6. Must writers screw up Murdoch Mysteries constantly, or maybe, it’s time to hire new ones? Yes to adding comedy, but stick to solving murders. Yes to Julia & William working together, not writers creating personal problems again. Crabtree’s new relationship is good, until the writers destroy it . Watt’s is a Sherlock Holmes type crime solver, until the writer’s agenda, takes over. The new Parker detective, is a good addition, but will he around long? Sorry to be grumpy, but Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian tv treasure, to hopefully carry on for ever, eh?

  7. I totally agree. The Murdoch Mysteries is truly a television treasure that is popular far beyond Canada. The show has a good thematic base for further development and an excellent cast, especially the performers of the four main roles. I hope the authors and creators of the show do not lose this potential due to unsuccessful stories.

  8. Watched Murdoch Mysteries from the beginning in 2008.
    Always enjoyed the story lines, the history and the social issues that are featured.
    It is “truly a television treasure” ………..

    Philately Fatality……………………now this sounds interesting. !
    (And also the welcome return of Detective Watts.)

    In the benign world of stamp collecting , who could imagine that death lurks ?
    But was this really about a Philately Fatality ? It was difficult to determine the actual agenda of this episode.
    Was it about the deadly world of stamp collecting or early 20th century attitudes towards homosexuality ?
    Or simply a vehicle to push Detective Watts in to the closet ?
    This is 1907…………he ain’t exactly going to “come out” is he ? So that story line has already run out of track !
    Also, the presumption by many people that Detective Watts visited Jack Walker for nefarious purposes.

    Fast Forward : 1921 Frankie Drake Mysteries : Cold Case
    Life must have taken a different turn for our Detective Watts as he is now Inspector Watts and wears a wedding band.

    1. I missed the wedding ring detail in the webisode, but it all fits. Watts is interested in men, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t get married to a woman, especially in the 1910s. (Also, there is a B in LGBTQ+. Bisexuality is very common. He could thus very well have been attracted to Fiona and to any future wife.) By 1921, thousands of young men had died in WWI and the influenza epidemic, so Watts could have easily found a wife. Everything is still canon.
      I would have preferred that Watts sexual orientation was not a twist ending. It would have been better to see him at the party in the beginning interacting with the other guests so that we as an audience would have more suspense as we watched him investigate and they all pretended mutually not to know each other. I would have liked for his relationship with Walker to have been more developed so that the ending would be more meaningful.
      As for Brackenreid having different opinions about different people – he might regret the trouble helping his friend got him in the past. He would be more willing to defend a friend than a stranger. Also, his reaction toward the younger men as opposed to a man his age is understandable.

      1. Although I’ve been watching Murdoch Mysteries since it first began in 2008, it’s only recently I discovered there was a place for people to comment about Murdoch Mysteries. It’s so interesting to read the different views and opinions on characters and story lines !

        Watts attending a soiree (of any kind] would be a real stretch of one’s imagination !
        He’s a bloke who likes his ale, dines on street food, sometimes looks like he got dressed in the dark and on a rare occasion locates his razor !
        The writers have done a great job building this interesting character.

        “Watts is interested in men”.
        Can you post the name of the episode/or episodes that show this ?
        If you are new to Murdoch Mysteries and haven’t seen Brackenreid Boudoir or The Accident (an amazing, brilliant episode on many levels) then check them out.

        Just for fun ! Check out a recent clip on Twitter.
        Inspector Grumpy, Detective Watts and Oscar. Priceless !

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