Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched the Season 13 finale of Murdoch Mysteries, “The Future is Unwritten.”
Well, Murdoch fans, what did you think? After a week filled with comments about Julia’s smooch with Dr. Dixon, George’s kidnapping by Amelia and thoughts on Ms. Hart, it all came together quickly on Monday night. By the time the dust had settled, George had talked his way out of a calamity (I honestly thought he might meet a grisly end), Dixon revealed himself to be a silly boy looking to add notches to his bedpost, and we understood a lot more about Violet Hart.
We also saw William and Julia reconcile and reveal some true honesty. That’s something that has been missing a tad with our favourite couple and just one of several questions I asked of showrunner Peter Mitchell.
Before we get to that, here’s what he had to say about the title of the episode: “The title of the episode, ‘The Future is Unwritten,’ comes from a documentary about Joe Strummer. Because Joe was such a positive life force, I always think of it as meaning the world in front of you has limitless possibilities.”
Congratulations on 13 seasons.
Peter Mitchell: Oh, thank you.
Violet Hart’s storyline has evolved from this somewhat wide-eyed person that was brought into the morgue by Julia. Has this evolution been organic?
PM: Well I mean we had Rebecca, who was super sweet like Mouna Traoré. But when Shanice comes in, I think the very first thing she says to Julia is, ‘I don’t expect to be working for you for very long.’ She comes in as a vitamin salesman, and sort of off the very top says, ‘You ain’t the boss of me.’ A character who you could never really nail down. I mean she shows up, she tells Ogden she doesn’t believe in God, she tells Murdoch she does, and then she shows up at the funeral of a strange baby, and is either crying or pretending to cry. We’ve always tried to keep her a bit elusive.
You must love it when you’re reading people that absolutely hate Violet Hart, or love Shanice in her portrayal.
PM: A million years ago I worked on a show, and one of the actors was a guy called Cedric Smith, who’s a well-known older Canadian actor. And he was always like, ‘It’s more fun to be the bad guy.’ It’s often more fun to write for the bad guy.
OK, let’s talk about Watts. His storyline this season has been fantastic. He’s gay. Again, was that an organic storyline? Was that feedback from Daniel?
PM: That was probably a bit more organic. And I think that the way that Daniel portrayed the character, it was with the writers easy for us to go, ‘Yeah, that wouldn’t be a surprise.’ I don’t think we plotted out a three-year arc that would uncover a secret, other than it seemed like although some of the fans had a hard time accepting that this could indeed be possible, it never seemed to us that it was a huge leap. And Dan was super pumped to do it, sort of like off to the races.
Why the decision to have Julia kiss Dixon? It felt as though she was instigating it.
PM: I think it’s incredibly attractive to have somebody attracted to you. And at certain times in your life, I think you just feel like you need that. Her views about lust versus love might be completely different than William’s. This might be water off a duck’s back to her. Or it might be something she’d never would have gone through with. I think, probably in my heart of hearts, that if it had have progressed much further, she probably would have said, ‘I can’t do this.’ But I don’t think she was opposed to a little first base action. I don’t think it makes her cruel. I mean I’ve already stated my case that I don’t think it makes her evil or unredeemable.
And I think if the fans were honest with themselves, I think they would admit to certain urges in their lives they may have had.
William hasn’t been the most attentive this season.
PM: I would also argue if I had to, it wouldn’t have mattered how well or poorly William had treated her. I don’t think it’s like a deficit on William’s character because Julia got momentarily interested in another guy. I don’t think it’s punishment, I don’t think it’s any of that stuff.
Regarding the 200th episode, was there a special kind of pressure that you felt as a showrunner and as a writer when you’re reached that landmark number?
PM: Oh yeah. Yeah, 200 was an opportunity to get some kind of oomph. And I think 200 was also significantly long enough to celebrate the show in its totality. So that’s why we wanted to have guest stars that spanned all the way back to the first season. We wanted to have shout-outs hidden in the script that referenced the balloon ride from like eight-gazillion years ago, the bellman from the honeymoon on the heels of the 100th episode.
We wanted to populate it with Easter eggs, and we wanted to sort of, as opposed to being sombre, or serious, or any of that shit, we just wanted to celebrate kind of the zaniness that Paul Aitken and the rest of the writers bring to the show, so we had a fucking death-ray. There was a lot of hat-tipping going on. And we just wanted to populate it with that other aspect of the Murdoch thing, the historical guest stars. Allow Murdoch to be surrounded by his peers, i.e. the smartest people in the world, which he is one.
Season 14 has not been announced. Anything you can tease in case it happens?
PM: The little tramp might make an appearance. Not Julia, but Charlie Chaplin. Hopefully the same as last year, and hopefully we’ll do it a little bit better.
What did you think of the Season 3 finale? Which storyline was your favourite of the whole season? Let me know in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of CBC.