Everything about Murdoch Mysteries, eh?

Link: Yannick Bisson talks reaching his 200th episode of Murdoch Mysteries

From Heather M. of TV Goodness:

Link: Yannick Bisson talks reaching his 200th episode of Murdoch Mysteries
“The fact that it’s gone beyond just being my job to being part of the Canadian culture that we represent [to the world] is certainly not lost on me. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and I think that’s the magic ingredient.” Continue reading.

From Megan Elliott of Cheat Sheet:

Link: ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ star Yannick Bisson says he had ‘No Idea’ the show would be such a hit ahead of milestone 200th episode
“At the end of the day, he’s going to do his duty. Though as the years have gone on, I think that’s been chipped away a little bit, like the layers of an onion, just a little bit at a time. Things are not all black and white. And sometimes there are judgment calls that have to be made. And that’s been the biggest evolution for him.” Continue reading. 

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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.

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Murdoch Mysteries’ Shanice Banton: “I hope that you understand Violet a little bit more”

Violet Hart is perhaps the most galvanizing character on Murdoch Mysteries. Facebook feeds have been devoted to her conniving and plotting, with many comments simply stating, “I hate the character, so congratulations to the actress!”

That’s music to Shanice Banton’s ears. The actress, who has previously starred on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Lost Girl, has portrayed Violet Hart for a mere 33 episodes but has made a huge splash on a show celebrating 200 instalments. When we first met Ms. Hart, she was selling vitamins. Now she’s a coroner accused of murder. With Monday’s Murdoch Mysteries season finale upon us, we spoke to Banton about the brouhaha surrounding Ms. Hart.

Give me your origin story. How did you end up playing this character of Violet Hart in the first place?
Shanice Banton: I was shooting another project and this opportunity had come up, just like a regular audition, and I ended up putting myself on tape for it, I believe. Same old audition style, regular audition style and they told me they wanted to have me on, and that was it.

What were your initial thoughts? Coming off a show like the Degrassi or Lost Girl, you’re coming onto Murdoch Mysteries, which is a period drama. Was your initial reaction, ‘Yeah, get me into some of that old clothing!’
SB: Yeah. It kind of took me back to high school, ‘Ooh, this feels like theatre.’ This is exciting, but you’re doing it for film. It’s amazing because I’ve done a lot of older plays and stuff like that in high school.

Obviously hair, makeup, costumes, all that helps make this character.
SB: Yeah, absolutely. Well, we have Deb [Drennan] who does makeup and she is just super amazing at transforming me so that I would fit absolutely perfectly for that time. Exactly knowing what to do. And with Joanna [Syrokomla] as well, she’s been doing some amazing, amazing things like pulling things from these New Age stores, like Zara and cutting things together, building things for the character and it’s amazing. They even collage and such and without those things, until I stepped into my costume, until I step into makeup, that’s when I really feel like, ah, I’m Violet Hart now.

They really help shape your character. So I’m so glad that we have a team that’s amazing at that. Really awesome.

It was interesting to see how Violet was introduced. She was at a show and she was selling vitamins. Julia took her under her wing and, right from the get-go, we knew that Violet was different, that she was ambitious. How much of the character was described to you in those first few episodes of those first few scripts? 
SB: A lot of it was just taking it, what I’d been told what she would be like and reading the scripts. [She] was just really pushing the ambition and wanting to get something out of life and get to the next level.

You don’t see Violet as an evil person. She’s an ambitious person, right?
SB: Yeah, absolutely.

How do you feel about playing one of the evilest characters on Murdoch Mysteries?
SB: I feel good about it. I feel great actually. It’s fun. No, honestly, it’s always fun to play these characters. I’m glad that she’s stirring all the other’s troubles in the end. And, you finally get to see who is Violet Hart. We’ve all been wondering. And I think what’s happening here in this last little bit is really going to show that. It is exciting.

Showrunner Peter Mitchell has always said it’s a lot more fun to write for a character like Violet Hart. You’ve already hinted at the fun you’re having.
SB: Yeah, that’s super fun.

On the Facebook pages, the compliment that I see the most is, ‘hate the character because the actress does such a good job.’
SB: I love that. That’s amazing.

What’s it like working with Hélène and Yannick?
SB: They’re really great. When I first stepped onto the show and even up to now, it’s like I’m settled more into my character now than I was in the beginning. But working in the early stages, they were just so planted in their characters and scene actions. It’s really been great to watch them work together and have scenes together and it’s funny, off-set we’ve made a lot of jokes, it’s always great. And the crew is really awesome.

What do you want to say to the fans about this character and how they feel about her?
SB: Well, first of all, I want to say thank you for all the great comments on people hating her. I hope that after this episode you can get to understand her a little bit more and see where she’s coming from and have a little bit of a change of heart.

 

Have you changed your tune on Violet Hart? What do you think will happen in the finale? Let me know in the comments below.

The Season 13 finale of Murdoch Mysteries airs Monday at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “Things Left Behind”

This is it, Murdoch Mysteries fanatics. The penultimate episode of Season 13. And, with words like “team member” and “abducted” in the same sentence, we certainly have cause for worry. And hasn’t showrunner Peter Mitchell hinted on Facebook that things may not be well for all of our favourite characters?

Here’s what the CBC has revealed about “Things Left Behind,” written by Simon McNabb and Peter Mitchell and directed by Peter Mitchell:

Murdoch suspects Violet Hart has ties to a conman’s murder, Ogden flirts with danger, and a team member is abducted.

And here is more information from me after watching a screener.

Margaret is back!
So is Higgins, Sebastian Pigott as Dr. Dixon, James McGowan as Dr. Forbes, Jeremy Legat as Aldous Germaine and Jesse LaVercombe as Jack Walker. Look for Alex Hatz as Percival Emerson, Ben Sanders as Detective Edwards, Ryan Hollyman as John Lincoln (he played Harold Richmond in “All That Glitters”) and Sarah Swire as Amelia.

Violet’s past haunts her
Violet is interrupted during her work by someone she’s not happy to see. He has a warning for her that has repercussions throughout the episode. There is a revelation about Violet that was hinted at in her early days on Murdoch Mysteries.

Watts and Jack further their relationship
We haven’t seen Watts and Jack alone for several weeks. Suffice it to say they’ve been getting to know each other.

Julia performs surgery
Which puts her back, of course, in contact with Dr. Dixon. And we all know what happened the last time those two were alone.

Parker gets some bad news
Yup, you can see it on Murdoch, Brackenreid and Parker’s faces above: they are most certainly not talking gaily about the weather.

George has a super-fan
With copies of his book flying off the shelves, George is on top of the literary world. That’s a positive. And, as it turns out, a negative too.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries, “In the Company of Women”

Girls rule! Boys drool! That was the first thing that popped into my head when I spotted images for Monday’s new episode of Murdoch Mysteries. As you can see above, that’s Effie Newsome, Louise Cherry and Dr. Julia Ogden looking very much like Charlie’s Angels as they strut Toronto’s cobbled streets.

Here’s what the CBC has released regarding “In the Company of Women,” written by Lori Singer and directed by Gary Harvey:

Ogden and Effie try to untangle the death of a hair salon owner that occurred outside Murdoch’s jurisdiction.

And here, as always, are more observations from me.

Lots of ladies …
In addition to Clare McConnell and Bea Santos, look for Carlyn Burchell (who previously appeared as Monique/Victoria in “Monsieur Murdoch”). It’s quickly established that Effie and Louise are at odds when it comes to a certain Constable George Crabtree. Could he have two women battling for his affections? Also, Hélène Joy shows her comedic side, which is always welcome.

… and a couple of gentlemen
Jesse LeVercombe returns as butcher Jack Walker, alongside one heck of a large pig named Atley. Jack Clarke appears as Detective Graham Irwin. Det. Irwin is in charge of the investigation because it falls outside, as mentioned above, of William’s purview.

Where’s William?
While his wife works on solving a crime, Detective Murdoch is busy at the station house, discussing exotic meals and assigning Watts a missing porker.

Julia vs. Violet
This is all I will say on the subject.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

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