Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “Toronto the Bad”

I loved last week’s episode for a couple of reasons. The first was some quality emotional roller coasters regarding William and Julia. I know it’s not a very popular opinion among some fans, but I enjoy it when a wrench is thrown into their lives. Relationships aren’t easy in real life and there’s no reason they should be on television either.

The second reason I enjoyed “The Philately Fatality” was the revelation that Watts may be gay. Whether he turns out to be or not—yes, he entered the butcher’s apartment, but that’s all we saw, other than a curious and excited look on Watts’ face—I love the journey this character has gone on and the way Daniel Maslany has played it. The writers and actors have created some truly memorable characters over the last 13 seasons and Watts is one of them.

Now, on to Monday’s new episode, “Toronto the Bad,”  written by Dan Trotta and directed by Sherren Lee. Here’s what the CBC has revealed about it.

While moonlighting as a cab driver, Higgins finds a dead passenger in the backseat.  

And here are more details from me after watching a screener.

Higgins takes on a second job
It’s been hinted at before; now Higgins has jumped into a side career as a cab driver to make economical ends meet. Higgins is known more for comic relief, but you can feel the lack of sleep he’s feeling as he drives around Toronto in the dead of night. It’s also an opportunity for viewers to see the seedier side of the city, something we don’t see on the show often. Kudos to director Sherren Lee and director of photography Yuri Yakubiw for making Toronto look so sleazy.

Brackenreid and Murdoch on the case
I always enjoy it when Thomas puts on a hat and hits the street with William. The old-school versus new-school take on investigating is fun to observe.

Mrs. Huckabee drops by
William and Julia’s neighbour, Goldie Huckabee (Jonelle Gunderson) swings by for a snoop, er, visit. It gives Julia the opportunity to show off some of their home’s decorations. Also, look for Annie Briggs (CLAIREvoyant) as Lucille Anderson, the owner of MacRury’s Billiard Hall; Erik Knudsen (Continuum) as Frank Rizzo; Ethan Burnett as Tim Little, and veteran thespian Jason Blicker (Jann, What Would Sal Do?) as David Dillinger.

A nod to Hill Street Blues?
Something Murdoch says to Higgins has me convinced Dan Trotta is giving a salute to the classic cop drama.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

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27 thoughts on “Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “Toronto the Bad””

  1. Hmm. When the fandom has to wait for 7 seasons to see the leading characters FINALLY tie the knot, it is understandable ppl get triggered with the sudden changes.
    The same goes about the miscarriage after a heartwarming season, so full of parents-to-be tenderness.
    The fans are eager to go on a mystery- solving ride with the fave pairing.
    Why do we complain about the unnecessary Dr Dixon drama? It’s simple.
    In the modern world, so full of pain, deception and suffering, it is often the fave show that makes you feel better, that shows you a different realm with hopes, dreams and hearts unbroken. People have been watching “Murdoch Mysteries” for years as it had next to no cliché stuff & offered certain escape from the reality along with the educational history glimpses. Hope it stays the way it is – the quality drama with no Brazilian soap opera additives to spoil it.
    Kudos to the cast, they are the top class actors & actresses.

    1. My goodness, you just described my sentiments exactly. Life IS hard. Murdoch Mysteries is really an escape for me from just day to day life. It’s great to see true love every Monday night on display. It is upsetting to witness its possible end.

      1. That’s the trick))
        We don’t want the project to end or the dissatisfied fans to leave.
        While many will keep watching no matter what, the number of complaints is growing.
        Folks on Twitter, in Facebook groups are complaining. We need to keep the audience, the ratings and the quality. The show already has fans in Europe, its popularity is growing. Would be a shame to lose it all.

        1. The show has many fans in Europe, these include my family and me. The basis of the show is true love and the joint work of the beautiful couple Julia and William. It is against this background that detective stories are interesting. We hope the authors understand this and do not lose the value of the unique show.

  2. Re Watts and he may be gay, I recently re watched Midnight train to Kingston ( I’m a rerun junkie) where I thought the same sex attraction James clearly felt for Murdoch was well played, insightful and contributed to the narrative. Watts showing up out if the blue to see Jack was a non sequitur , clumsy and confusing. Wasn’t Watts all hot to trot for the bicycle lady??

    1. “Wasn’t Watts all hot to trot for the bicycle lady?”

      Yes, Fiona Faust turned the usually stoical Detective in to a love sick puppy ! (Brackenreid Boudoir)
      And the episode before that he had his eyes (and hands !) on Nurse Liston. (The Accident………..actually written by Mary Pedersen)

      Clumsy and confusing. Definitely !
      The writers have done a great job making Watts a very interesting character, but this addition seemed just seemed pointless and lacking in credibility.
      Episode written by Mary Pedersen.

  3. I’d love to hear a response from producers about the Watts situation considering so many are pointing out the inconsistency in this story line. Considering the popularity of the show you’re seeing that people do pay attention to this kind of thing.

    1. OK here’s one. Watts like many young men and women of the period (and even today) tried for years to suppress his natural tendencies to fit in with the norms and morals of the society he lived in. As such he even overcompensated in his attempts to find a woman he could live with and perhaps marry. But then given an alternative (a chance at a relationship with a man) he dediced to be true to himself). Victorian literature (and history) is full of examples of this kind of character. I would be so bold that even today there are many who are suppressing their natural desires to try and fit in.

      best
      Peter Mitchell

      1. All too true but in light of Watts clear ardour expressed towards potential love interests it still doesn’t fit or mesh with pre-established narratives.

          1. Methinks the past behaviour of the character, which gave absolutely no hint whatsoever, over many seasons, of his preferences for men, is an indication that the idea of creating a new direction for his sexuality, came out of the blue. That said, tv is make believe land, where writers can change the narrative based on a creative decision at any moment in time because that’s their job. We fans have a response. hence this discussion.

      2. As a fan of both detective stories and period drama, Murdoch Mysteries has been top of my list since I watched the first episode back in 2008.
        The scriptwriters have done a great job of building the Detective Watts character over a short space of time.
        Despite his life full of sad and tragic events (and sometimes downright scary !) he is shown to possess courage, honesty, compassion and empathy.
        And be a brilliant, if sometimes unconventional, detective at the same time !
        Murdoch’s eyebrows must ache due to the number of times he raises them when working with Watts !

        Watts hasn’t had a lot of luck with the fairer sex.
        His sister was truly horrible to him.
        Nurse Liston. That didn’t end well, did it ?
        Agnes Swift. (Downright scary !)
        Yes, that’s quite enough to make a man a little wary of the ladies.

        And then, Ms Faust appears looking for her stolen bicycle.
        “Watts like many young men for tried years to suppress his natural tendencies to fit in with the norms and morals of the society he lived in.”
        Was this mentioned in a previous episode ?
        Really ? He faked it with Fiona ?
        No, he was totally SMITTEN from the moment he set eyes on her ! It would have been good to see her return, but she must have had a really big puncture somewhere !
        An intelligent, outgoing, adventurous lady would have made a fine partner/companion for Watts.
        Nothing permanent, just a friend/lover who visited from time to time and and sent postcards from exotic destinations.

        “As such he even overcompensated in his attempts to find a woman he could live with and perhaps marry.”
        Is this something that will be revealed in a future episode ?
        Fast Forward to Frankie Drake : Cold Case 1921.
        It appears life took another turn for Detective Watts as he is now Inspector Watts and is shown wearing a wedding band.

        Just one favorite moment from Season 13 :
        Margaret Brackenreid on the sidewalk scaring the kids. She sure made me jump !

        Oh, just a thought.
        Where will Inspector Brackenreid be purchasing his Sunday joint of beef from in the future now that he’s discovered his butcher is a “left footer”………..?
        That’s a scene I’d like to see played out.
        Margaret telephones Jack with the weekly order.
        Thomas cancels it.
        Margaret tells Thomas “If you buy your beef anywhere else, you can darn well cook it yourself !

        Food for thought.

        Recent Twitter clip : Inspector Grumpy, Detective Watts and Oscar ! That’s an episode I’m really looking forward to !
        Daniel Maslany : Pig Wrangler. Is there no end to this man’s talents ?

  4. I liked the episode “Toronto Bad”, watched it with interest. Dynamic development of the plot with an unexpected ending, excellent acting. We first saw the work of Henry as a taxi driver. It is very touching to see him tired for the well-being of his beloved wife. Lots of fun, enjoyable scenes that I really love in the Murdoch Mysteries. This is the mysterious disappearance of a pelican figurine from the house of Murdoch, who was nevertheless stolen by a bad neighbor. The surprise and fun was the rout in the house of Julia and William due to a breakdown of the vacuum cleaner. And of course, William’s game of billiards and his expression in the finals! I wonder if Julia, whom she tells William about, will get a raise? I hope that she will not receive it and will return to investigations again. Many fans of the show agree that Julia and William do it very well. Looking forward to the next episodes!

  5. Poor tired Henry. I hope he and Ruth can somehow profit from sales of Adventures of a Young Woman Abroad. I also hope that the Julia-Andrew Dixon storyline doesn’t turn into cheesy soap opera.

  6. We are reminded from time to time that the show is first and foremost procedural, solving crimes, it’s just that we were given these two wonderful characters, thanks to the chemistry between the actors, who added an element of fun and romance and we have been expecting it ever since in every episode (it does happen in other shows!). Although Murdoch and his colleagues are very good at solving murders, the tandem William and Julia makes it so much more fascinating instead. Let’s face it procedural however clever is still dull. The showrunners/writers understood that. I hope they have not lost their way.

    I too relish earlier episodes compared to what we are seeing now.

    I still think Watts however quirky at first is now an uninteresting character who is given far too much attention. That actor should find another gig! Henry fills that role much better especially with Ruth!

    1. I’m no fan of Henry & Ruth, they’re funny, but too childish))

      Watts managed to get quite a team of supporters before this episode.
      Daniel is a superb actor & his portrayal of a bit weird detective showed an interesting contrast – William & Llewellyn were a cute, attention-gripping duo. Now… Won’t be able to look at Watts in the same way.

      After the known ending of Dr Grace’s character path… the turn Watt’s story took… it isn’t appealing to many.
      I was sad when multiple comments called it a repetition or a copy of other shows’ tendencies (that harms the previously original character of MM).
      Many attentive fans recollected the past episodes. Bet they’d love to see a shy Watts in love with THAT GIRL :) trying to investigate & get her attention at the same time :)
      If only…

      1. Ditto re Watts however I find the Henry/ Ruth dynamic very funny the Cursed Caves episode didn’t do anyone any favours Henry and Ruth came off as silly not funny so as I said before ditch the goofy Halloween episodes they don’t work!!

        1. Oh, last year the fans were sooo eager to get a Christmas episode, but…
          To be honest, Christmas episodes of every show are eagerly accepted like… always? Must be the general inner predisposition of people in the holiday season.
          With Halloween, however, it’s hard to guess the correct direction ;)

          1. I love the christmas episodes they’re decent mysteries and bonus!!! they’re 2 hours!! Love it!! The last one with Jasper’s family was great and wove in some indigenous issues which were insightful and informative.

  7. **That actor should find another gig!***
    Check out Murdoch Mysteries on Twitter.
    A few days ago.

    Looks like he did find another “gig” ………………..with a pig !

  8. Re Toronto the bad great episode loved it!! Maybe I’m a bit bloodthirsty but a love murder mystery that generates a high body count it’s so exciting!! Plus I was feeling a real Sam Spade San Fran vibe when Henry was driving around at night it was definitely reminding of vintage Humphrey Bogart detective stuff. And yes we need Julia back to helping William with some intense investigations!!

    1. Toronto The Bad.
      It s a great episode !
      Raymond Chandler vibe for me.
      Odd, seemingly disconnected characters, body count piling up, lots of twists and turns in the plot.
      And, the rather Hapless Henry stuck in the middle of all this.

      It’s always good to see the Inspector and Murdoch working together.
      The ending was great. Was that a nod to The Hustler ?

      This could become an MM Classic !

  9. I live in the U.S. so haven’t seen this episode, yet. But I gather from reading the comments, Watts might be gay – even though in previous seasons, he showed an interest in women. This has happened before in the series. Dr. Emily Grace had the same character arc.

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