Murdoch Mysteries showrunner Peter Mitchell looks back on Season 13

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.


47 thoughts on “Murdoch Mysteries showrunner Peter Mitchell looks back on Season 13”

  1. Tremendous finish this year we loved the finale as it was full of suspense, mystery , and an emotional component . A winning formula always for Murdoch Mysteries.

    1. There can never be enough episodes of Murdock. I hope soon we see the couple adopt an adorable boy in William’s image that he will train to be a inventor or a girl like Julia that William will spoil like Rhett Butler did.
      Please don’t keep ruining things with any more controversy issues. I love to escape real life with your fantastic writers and we don’t need politically correct nonsense thrown into these lovely episodes . There is enough of the horrible things happening in this world ,we do not need it in our entertainment.

      1. Many agree with you Georgia & there are never enough episodes of Murdoch, taking us back into that time period. Maybe, we expect too much from these script writers & head producer Mr. Mitchell, his vocabulary & opinions, are on another path, as he stated. Overall, the last episode deserves praise & appreciated positives. Julia & William for now, are happy again & how quickly she was dumped/forgotten, by Dixon, causing her & viewers laughter. That scene, was a jolt of reality, that loyalty to her marriage, should come first, over future flirting with danger, not because everyone does it (just harmless fun) according to Mr. Mitchell. I did like the conclusion of George’s ordeal, getting it over with & his thoughtful plan, of not exposing his abductor, even helping her, in the future. Crabtree’s latest love interest, a keeper, was not a drama queen, regarding his abductor & comically understanding, if she would have liked him. Good script writing & not expecting, but just maybe, they will keep George’s love-flame around. Once again, Inspector Brackenreid shows compassion, protects Watt’s from persecution, saving his job & respecting his detective skills. I owe, Miss Violet Hart an apology & should have known(after only 13 seasons) that a murder suspect, must be proven guilty first. Her coming clean & given another chance/forgiveness, by big heart Brackenreid, is bloody hell honourable & she will be compelled, to not let him down. Will Violet continue to perform her current duties & her personal life expanded, or disappear next season? Plus, it’s a shame her & Parker never became a couple, to form another investigating team. Well, it’s back to that Murdoch Mysteries reruns fix, for the next 7 months.

    1. The season 13 finale was wonderful. It was beautifully written and delivered. Every moment was delicious and wonderfully loving and caring in sentiment. All anger, suspicions, and angst were solved in a most kind and thoughtful manner. So very happy and content with the outcomes. The slate has been refreshed ready to begin on a new path. My congratulations to the writers for tidying all so well. KUDOS to Peter for winding us or some of us up to the point of rebellion and then showing us how it all comes together at the end, as real life tends to do. You, Sir, are a master.

  2. In the next series, I hope to see big mysteries and secrets and crimes solved instead of the hardship of the main characters and gay scenes. I think the previous series were much stronger. At all viva murdoch mysteries

  3. We loved the finale, sitting on the edge of our seats! Fist pumps at the ending! THANKS PETER!!

  4. Great wrap. Went to bed happy! The part where Julia broke the law ( break and enter), then William later realizing she took the chance because of her love for him was interesting. He then had to make a choice to hide the Report and struggled with his religious beliefs of right and wrong. How beautiful to have the pragmatic Brackenreid end up explaining to Murdoch that rules do get broken. He also had his own dilemma with Daniel. All in all very thought provoking as each character made some hard and personal choices we the viewer could relate to.

    1. you just had to have Julia cheat y’all can’t stand a happy ending you always got to have someone cheating you don’t poor George now you have to make Julia who on numbers occasions if given the right opportunity will cheat on William this pisses me off that think I’m finished with the series

      1. I haven’t seen season 13 yet but with the storyline of cheating and gay I’m not so sure I want to.

      2. Julia did cheatthe only thing stopped her from doing Dixon all the way was the phone cally’all think you have to put infidelity in every story line that is so sad you know the two heroes of the story and you got to have them commit adultery. From season 12 through 13 I know you was going to have Julia commit adultery that’s what that was there was nothing innocent about what she was doingis so sad none of the main characters have had honest relationships all way through what’s wrong with you

        1. It’s like every series today we idolize wonder Donald is president of the United States we cultivate these kind of weaknesses we get people to believe that this is normal behavioryou know Julia had plenty of urges I think she was going to sleep with HG Wells even though he slept with her sister you was going to push that storyline it’s like you ran out of ideas everyone could tell that you was going to have Julia cheat that was so predictable.I remember how you did poor George with dr. Grace that was unnecessary a lot of people wrote in it was mad about that. I could tell the stories were going to start taking a nose dive

  5. This was a terrific season-ender. Most of the storylines had a satisfactory conclusion — still not too sure about Violet basically getting away with burying evidence, let alone killing Lincoln even though it was in self-defence, and then subsequently being reinstated by Brackenreid; I just don’t think that would have flown. But I loved how Brackenreid eventually stood up for Watts in the end, even though that certainly wouldn’t have been the norm of the day. He chose the “don’t ask don’t tell” option and even stated that sometimes the rules have to be broken, setting the stage for future changes of attitudes. opnions, and laws. Loved the appreciation Watts showed for this support with the wine and the lovely note to Brackenreid. And nice to see Julia and William on the same page at the end, proving that even though they’re in love and married, they’re still human when it comes to appreciating the oppostive sex. Can’t wait for the next season, and congrats to all.

  6. As per usual I could not have asked for anything better as the end scene (13 ) Brilliant ep
    Thanks to all the people working to bring we the fans our favorite show.. Hoping for many many more.
    I can rest easy until next Season when murdoch takes us on another rollercoaster

  7. ….”being sombre, or serious, or any of that shit” re episode 200.

    I assume Mr. Mitchell feels that being sombre, or serious is “shit” as he puts it, yet Murdoch seems to have had a serious wave of negative comments from fans around the goofiness of a few episodes this year.
    Not really complimenting the fans here who appreciate episodes that touch on emotion, which was clearly evident in the excellent season finale. That was serious in a most cathartic way. Hmmm lots of confusing messages in this interview . Perhaps the “shit” comment was the wrong use of a word to express what he meant. Brings up a rather negative image ……..

    1. I think you misread. He was using “shit” as a synonym for “stuff”, not meaning anything negative by it. Just change it in your head to read “and all that stuff” or “etc.”. It is quite common and is not offensive. I’m not sure how you didn’t get that from the context.

  8. The final episode is amazing in every way. After episode 17, which greatly saddened many fans of the show, it was hard to hope to solve all the problems in one ending episode, but it worked out perfectly. I was very pleased with the successful ending for all the main characters, especially for William and Julia. Their relationship has reached a higher level of mutual trust, understanding and true love. In general, season 13 was very different – funny and sad, stressful and calm, but VERY INTERESTING! Thanks to the entire Murdoch Mysteries team and look forward to seeing you again next season!

  9. How far behind in the season are Australia? We still need to know who survied/died in the church shootout!

  10. I was very puzzled, and yet Happy, by Season 13, as a new fan, I hope the series continues,have had to catch up on past episodes, love the premise of the show, …………………………I live in the USA wasn’t aware of this series until 1 yaer ago, but love it, now, many great series have went on for a long time, hope this is one of them…A big Fan in Ohio;Let the show continue………………………

  11. Every time I see Ms. Hart I stop watching the program, she is a very nasty woman, a Coroner is supposed to be a doctor, she is not, she is unethical, she tampers evidence, etc… The rest of them are wonderful!

      1. Clearly, the actress playing her is very skilled to engender such strong emotions from us! She is probably lovely person IRL. I feel more betrayed when a beloved character in any performance, is revealed as a HORRIBLE person in real life!

  12. Season 13 seemed disjointed. Enjoy the episodes with the core 4 the most. Murdoch, Ogden, Brackenreid and Crabtree. Glad finale wrapped things up! Looking forward to 14!

  13. I love the show. I was surprised by Watts turning up gay. I remember him pining over the girl traveling on the bicycle. That was a better story. I love all the characters but my favorite is George Crabtree. His new romance is healthy! Julia kissing Dixon… Hmm. He didn’t seem worthy, like a kid.

  14. I confess I’m not that enthusiastic with season 13 and didn’t even get to the end yet. I do hope it gets better but if there’s one thing that really bothers me is Julia’s attitude towards Dixon, which I knew would happen since the moment his character first appeared in the series. Totally predictable and rather disappponting. Another thing that bothers me is the excess of characters and the not so interesting crimes. Plus, the series lacks a great antagonist, such as David Gillies and Eva Pierce. I do hope it gets better because I’m still a huge fan.

  15. I was disappointed by this season. It was slow, had little science, George was missing a lot, too much Higgens and Hart. I really missed George’s scrambled ideas for future products. The show was also sucked into the preaching currents event syndrome which is not why I watch the program.
    I will stick around for a bit of the next season and hope for a return to earlier form.

  16. I was disappointed by this season. It was slow, had little science, George was missing a lot, too much Higgens and Hart. I really missed George’s scrambled ideas for future products. The show was also sucked into the preaching currents event syndrome which is not why I watch the program.
    I will stick around for a bit of the next season and hope for a return to earlier form.

  17. Thanks for another wonderful season of entertainment. We have truly enjoyed the character development and storylines this year. I always look forward to the way the writers merge events, inventions and characters of the time into their scripts, as well as the easter eggs and tips of the cap to more modern scenarios (think Misery).Before long we will reach the Great War. No enlisting Inspector! Hoping for 14.

  18. I don’t have a favorite show, I loved them all. Can’t wait until season 14. Love all the characters.

  19. <> Sure, but fantasies are one thing; acting on urges is another.

    The finale was good; it tied up loose ends satisfactorily without killing off any of the regulars. I think the writers gave the fans what they wanted. You just knew that Dixon would have someone else in the room as Julia knocked on his door. The resolution to the Murdoch marriage problems felt right: William and Julia were honest and conciliatory. George’s counseling Amelia was touching. I gritted my teeth at Thomas Brackenreid giving Violet Hart another chance until I thought about the reason for his decision; perhaps he was thinking about the difficulties his daughter, Nomi, has had to face as a black woman. Which brings us to Margaret Brackenreid, who has become one of my favorite characters. Her urging Tom to stand up for Watts and do the right thing was as memorable as her meeting Nomi in my favorite episode of season 13, “Rigid Silence.”

    Murdoch Mysteries is back on track and hopefully will return for another season with intriguing cases. Will Violet Hart become less defensive and really become part of the team, or will there be more revelations about her past? Will Detective Edwards continue his vendetta against Watts? How about another round of crazy with Allen Clegg?

  20. I am currently in Florida. I’m missing Murdoch Mysteries. I return to the GTA at the end of April. How can I get caught up on Murdoch Mysteries?

    1. You can catch up on Murdoch Mysteries if you have an account with CBC TV Gem. All the seasons and most recently Season 13 is up.

  21. I love the show, but would rather not see all the current political goings on infused into the show. I love the old format of Murdock solving crimes with his ingenious inventions, historical figures visiting Toronto, and George’s zaniness. Please leave the political tripe for other shows to force feed us, let us have our wonderful escape from the here and now with our favourite coppers

  22. We were big fans until this season. Now it seems to have slipped away from the original murder mystery format and has turned a soap opera. There is much less social ‘edge’ to the screen writing.

  23. I live in Minnesota, just finished season 10 on Hulu. can’t get season 11,12,13 why???

    1. Hulu doesn’t have the recent seasons but you can get them on Acorn. It’s only a few dollars a month and they are currently putting up season 13 one new episode each week.

  24. I’m all anxious about the fact there hasn’t been an announcement for Season 14 renewal yet!!???? Would be devastated if it was cancelled…it’s loved in many countries! There’s MANY more places these characters can go/ evolve. Love to see George married with a slew of kids! Do a few adventures in other countries with William & Julia! Have them adopt older kids…introduce a nanny into the fray. Endless possibilities!

    1. Guest appearance from Miss Fisher! Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries…same era!

      1. Phryne Fisher is the 1920s, so she’s closer to Frankie Drake Mysteries. Murdoch characters have been in a couple of the Frankie Drake episodes, so how about a young Frankie or her grifter father figuring in a MM episode?

    2. No, no no !!!
      This horrible couple should never be allowed anywhere near children………..of any age !

      Murdoch Mysteries is NOT a “domestic drama” or “soap opera”.
      Season 13 was not representational of what this show really is.
      Crime, murder, mystery.
      Hopefully there will be a Season 14.
      And, hopefully we will see more of Inspector Brackenreid and the “lads” at Station House 4 tackling whatever is thrown their way, with whatever means they have…………….in 1907/1908 ?

  25. We have always recommended Murdoch Mysteries to friends because of its unique storylines and well loved characters but we have been very disappointed with Series 13 so far. Here in New Zealand we have just had episode 8. The plots are OK, but are missing the clever nuances with historical characters and early inventions. Acting is wooden and direction weak. Please bring back the old magic.

  26. I have loved MM from the beginning. I can’t think of anything worse than a Monday evening without a new MM episode. Although I much prefer the older story lines such as history, inventions and George’s hijinks, if the new direction the show seems to be going is what’s in the future, I’ll happily take it….anything is much better than no more Murdoch.

  27. Murdoch Mysteries Series 13.
    Well, the biggest “mystery” of this series is why it has degenerated in to a dreary and hackneyed soap opera !

    There were only a handful of episodes worthy of the title.
    Congratulations to Simon McNabb for his nomination ! A Master Storyteller !

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