Everything about Murdoch Mysteries, eh?

Preview: Murdoch Mysteries rings a bell for … murder?

Last Monday, “Biffers and Blockers,” written by Dan Trotta revealed that—at long last—Julia is pregnant. It also introduced us to Rupert Newsome and showed how Higgins is faring as an upper-class citizen thanks to Ruth Newsome. It was an episode filled with funny moments.

This coming Monday, things take a decidedly darker turn. Here’s what the CBC has to say about “Mary Wept,” written by Noelle Girard and directed by Megan Follows:

Murdoch investigates when a statue of the Virgin Mary gifted to his church begins miraculously weeping.

And, as always, we’ve got more info to share after watching a screener.

Welcome, Sophia Walker
A member of the Canadian Film Centre’s 2016 Actors Conservatory, Sophia Walker guest-stars as Josephine Beatty, a woman at the centre of “Mary Wept.” You can read up on Walker’s past work via the CFC’s website, but she’s done a ton of theatre work as well as appearing in 12 Monkeys and Rookie Blue.

Welcome back Det. Watts, Violet Hart and GEORGE CRABTREE
Det. Watts and Violet Hart answer the call this week and play key roles in the murder case. Meanwhile, George’s jaunt in Paris is over and he’s back at Station House No. 4. Turns out the City of Light has affected him in many ways and we get to hear all about it. Also, Higgins plans a life-changing event.

William and Julia head to church
I can’t remember the last time William’s religion was the focus of a Murdoch Mysteries storyline (I’m betting readers will let me know.) but it’s front and centre in “Mary Wept.” It’s also the opportunity for Julia to take a playful jab at attending a church service. As an aside, Harry Judge—who last appeared in the 2011 episode “Kommando” as Matthew Larson—guests as Father McGray. Regarding the weeping statue of the Virgin Mary … there is more to that than first appears. Of course.

You gotta have faith
Is the weeping Virgin Mary a miracle or something more sinister? The image above may give you a clue, but the whole case is the opportunity to discuss religion in general and faith specifically. It’s interesting to hear the opinions of everyone involved in the main storyline and may leave you reflecting on your own beliefs.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.




Murdoch Mysteries: Writer Dan Trotta discusses Julia’s news and Higgins’ growth

Spoiler Alert! Do not read this interview until you have watched the Season 11 episode entitled “Biffers and Blockers.”

So many fans have told me how much they’ve enjoyed Season 11 of Murdoch Mysteries. I agree. The writer’s room has hit a grand slam with regard to storylines, taking our favourite characters in bold new directions while keeping the core intact. That’s difficult to do, and yet showrunner Peter Mitchell and his crew make it seem easy.

Monday’s newest instalment, “Biffers and Blockers,” was memorable for several reasons. At long last, Julia said the words William and Murdoch Mysteries fans have been waiting for: she is pregnant. Secondly, the series was able to bring a beloved character back from the dead (sort of) by introducing us to Dr. Rupert Newsome (Cyrus Lane), identical twin brother of the late Roger Newsome. And third, with Constable Crabtree off in Paris, Higgins stepped forward and got some major airtime not only with regard to the murder of a cricket player but his social life with Ruth Newsome as well.

We spoke to the episode’s writer, Dan Trotta, about everything that went down.

I was thrilled to see Cyrus Lane return to the show as Dr. Rupert Newsome. How did the idea to have Cyrus come back as a twin come about?
Dan Trotta: Everyone in the room loved the character and everyone loved working with the actor. I didn’t have a whole lot to do with that decision. The character of Roger was just so fun to write for. There were a couple of pictures of him in the writer’s room. I know Jordan Christianson was a big fan. So, the class system was a big part of the episode and it made sense to have him as part of it. And the trick then was how to distinguish the brothers, and that was a fun part of it.

Cyrus Lane brings a lot to the role and has really created something special.
That guy is a fantastic actor. It’s the first time that I’ve worked with him. Comedy, I find in my limited experience, can be tricky especially when you really try to bring the funny. First, it’s on the page in the script. But, there is a security and a confidence that he has in his ability that makes him hilarious. What I noticed in the read-through is that his timing is fantastic. And he does seem to give the other actors a lot of space. He has a ton of charisma but doesn’t take over a scene, although I totally think he could easily if he wanted to. I was really looking forward to those scenes and seeing how they’d pop with him in them.

The return of a Newsome wasn’t even the biggest news of the episode. That was reserved for Julia revealing she is pregnant. How did it feel to have your name on this script and include this huge moment?
I was totally surprised that I was allowed to do this. It was an honour and a real responsibility. And I felt a responsibility to get it right because I know just how important it is to people. We’re seeing these characters in a situation we’ve never seen them before, really. So there was kind of a freedom in that. The old rules didn’t really apply, in a way, but you also want to honour the truth of these characters. I was kind of floored and it wasn’t even a really huge discussion. It was just kind of like, ‘Dan, this [episode] is yours.’ The way it all unfolded was certainly something we talked about but I’ve been consistently flattered by how much trust that Pete and the room have had in me.

A pivotal moment like this is usually saved for a season finale. Any comment? We’re only on Episode 11, so something big must happen in the season finale.

Now, just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean she’ll carry the baby to term, right?
I suppose that’s a possibility, Greg.

You mentioned that class is a big part of this storyline. We got to see Higgins outside of the office, with Ruth, and you fleshed out more of that character. It must have been fun to do that with Lachlan Murdoch.
Honestly, he is such a blast to write for. To me, he is one of the funniest characters on the show and I thought that before I even started. And I thought it was hilarious to have this clash that he was going through. He slipped into that world so naturally. There is an element of British humour to it and an obliviousness to this character that I have always found fall-over funny. That, to me, was really what was so fun about it. Writing for clueless characters is just a blast. It’s the best.

It was neat to see him clearly besotted with Ruth and, at this point anyway, keep the worlds apart and not speak down to the lads in Station House No. 4.
So far, yes. [Laughs.] I think that’s in its infancy.

Did you know anything about cricket before writing this episode?
Dude, nothing. Nothing at all. That was a tricky part. The thing that lends itself to cricket is the clash and class distinction. I was writing and I would leave something like a strikeout blank and then go back and research the actual word. Instead of batter it’s batsmen. [Laughs.] It was a bit of a process. And, to be quite honest, I’m still not sure I know exactly how it works. I read your preview and I had the same questions you did. I still not sure what a match can last more than a day. I still don’t get that.

Where were the cricket scenes filmed?
Oh man, that was Shanty Bay. It was stunning. [Attention history buffs: the cricket scenes were, according to this website, the summer estate of Titanic survivor Lt. Col. Arthur Peuchen.] We got these two perfectly clear, gorgeous days to film. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of real estate I’ve ever seen.

What did you think of the episode? Are you happy for Julia? Let me know in the comments below!

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




Preview: Murdoch Mysteries scores on the cricket pitch

First of all, if you don’t already watch Frankie Drake Mysteries you should on Monday. I won’t spoil it for you, but just check it out. I promise that you WILL scream and clap your hands together. OK, enough with the public service announcement; we’ve got a new Murdoch Mysteries to discuss!

Tonight’s instalment is called “Biffers and Blockers,” and here’s what the faithful folks at CBC have revealed as the main storyline:

When a player dies violently on the cricket pitch, Murdoch and Brackenreid encounter some very unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Sounds positively dreadful! And here are more details we can share after watching the episode written by Dan Trotta and directed by Megan Follows.

Cricket, anyone?
I still don’t get how cricket is played. Or more succinctly, how it’s scored. I love the whites, the laid-back attitude, the strikeouts (wait, are they called strikeouts?) and all that, but I’m still not clear on how the game is scored and why some games go on for more than one day. Can a Murdoch fan help me out? Thanks in advance. Oh, by the way, it’s Henry who is on the cricket pitch for the main story and lands several great scenes and dialogue all episode long. Also? The cricket setting is stunning.

Julia’s fresh eyes
We’ve loved the direction Julia is headed in this season. She’s more flirty and playful and teasing William like mad. It’s awesome. Turns out she’s got an eye for athletes. And, as it turns out, she has some news for William. Squeeee!

The dead have risen
No, zombies haven’t invaded Toronto (again) but a previously dead character re-appears. I’m not going to spoil it, other than to say I was A) thrilled to see them return, and B) stoked at how they were worked into the story.

Paulino Nunes guest-stars
Nunes, who previously played Carlo Corsi in “Murdoch at the Opera,” returns to portray a hotshot cricket player who doesn’t win any friends amongst the players on the field pitch. Honestly? Trotta’s script turns him into an instantly memorable character. He’s a real hoot.

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




Preview: Murdoch Mysteries solves a high-speed crime

Happy New Year, Murdoch Mysteries fans! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays—and celebrated by rewatching all three Murdoch TV-movies—and are ready for an awesome 2018.

An all-new episode of Murdoch Mysteries airs this coming Monday, and we think you’re going to love it. Here’s what the CBC has revealed, story-wise about “F.L.A.S.H.,” written by Paul Aitken and directed by Eleanore Lindo:

Murdoch investigates a man’s bizarre death, which may have been caused by a high-speed travel device.

And, as always, here are some other non-spoilery notes after we watched the episode.

Guess who guest-stars?
Anytime a Murdoch Mysteries storyline involves the word “device,” it’s a pretty safe bet that a certain inventor friend of William’s will be called upon. And yes, that’s the case this week. Kudos to everyone involved in set decoration and set building; they go above and beyond with their creations this week.

A double-dose of Margaret
Clearly, enough of us were good girls and boys last year because Margaret Brackenreid shows up. That’s two weeks in a row if you count Home for the Holidays.

Mon Dieu George!
If you’ve been paying attention—and I know you have—George is on a road trip this week with gal pal Nina Bloom. Bon voyage mes amis!

Code word: Lemniscate
This plays a major part in William and Julia’s storyline this week and it’s fantastic. And yes, I had to Google the word for spelling and meaning. Speaking of meanings, what F.L.A.S.H. stands for is unveiled 10 minutes into the broadcast.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.




Comments and queries for the week of December 22

I was very disappointed with last night’s Murdoch Mysteries. A Ponzi scheme, an autopsy on a dog, [First Nations] against the white man, the death of a man, greed, Megan Fellows’ inconsistent accent, dismal ladies’ clothes, falsehoods. Acting was somewhat stilted. First time that I’ve been disappointed. Not very cheery storylines for this season. Looking forward to 2018. Thank you for all of the past entertaining shows. —Lynda

I’m not a regular viewer of Murdoch, but I enjoyed this episode immensely. Just the right balance of making a serious point and light-hearted fair. I hope the producers do more of these episodes. —John

I’m finally getting caught up and I must say, I’m sad to see Jackson go. I’m hoping this can be a turning point for Higgins, though (haven’t fully caught up yet so I have a few episodes to look forward to, to see if that happens). Finally, I like the new detective (felt like putting a positive in there given the negative above me). I like that he’s quirky. And I sadly have to admit that I think Jackson was a good choice for the victim. We had just started to like him but he wasn’t one of the core characters. His loss therefore stings but isn’t a show-ending sting. Good emotional play without being overwhelming. So happy that this show has remained so awesome over the years. Keep up the good work! —Graymalk

I wish I were in beautiful Canada right now. We in the U.S. will not get to see it! Merry Christmas to everyone connected with the Murdoch show. It is so much fun to just sit and relax and enjoy a family show that has become an institution. I hope it never ends! —Sue

The Director [on Travelers] obviously let a lot of things happen—if it didn’t want the program exposed, it could’ve overwritten the five travelers at any time before things got out of hand. Vincent claims the Director has no compassion but if it didn’t, why did it let our five travelers do what they did to save their loved ones? To smoke out Vincent? Because of the change in future due to the Travelers program being revealed, does it mean that the Director is no longer necessary and that humanity’s future is secure even though these five may have paid a price? I suppose that’s one ending if the show is not renewed anymore. But otherwise, I think the Director saw this coming and it decided to let it go for specific reasons. Maybe the travelers will be accepted and welcomed after all. —Ram

I have to say this program really hit its stride this season. Although I watched and enjoyed Season 1, I wasn’t really invested in the characters or the show until this season got going. The only bad thing about Season 2 is that it is going to be over soon! —Bridget

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.