It’s the end of the road for Murdoch Mysteries’ Dr. Emily Graceâ€”a.k.a. Georgina Reilly. After 64 episodes, Dr. Grace opted to leave Toronto for London and the opportunity to further the Suffragette Movement.
Far from a run-of-the-mill episode, Monday’s “Double Life” featured the death of Emily’s girlfriend, Lillian Moss, and the discovery that she’d led an adventurous life under another name. Turns out Lillian was really a woman named Helen who had been in a same-sex relationship with a married woman. Lillian thought she’d killed the woman’s jealous husband in the midst of a shipboard fight, but he’d survived and returned to exact his revenge.
The episode marked the last for Georgina Reilly, who made the decision to leave Murdoch Mysteries to be, well, we’ll let her explain it all, including the chance she might return.
I’m sad to be chatting with you because it means Dr. Emily Grace has left Murdoch Mysteries.
Georgina Reilly: I know, I know.
I was told that it was your decision to leave. Can you tell me why?
It wasn’t an easy decision at all. It was a combination of things, personally and professionally. My husband, Mark O’Brien, was on Republic of Doyle and we moved to Los Angeles together. We’ve never actually spent a whole year together and I don’t know if we ever will because that’s just the nature of the business. As soon as we got here he booked Halt and Catch Fire and moved to Atlanta.
I love Murdoch and I love everyone and I love playing the character. As an artist, I’m excited about new things too, and opportunities in that regard as well. It becomes a question of when do you make a change creatively for yourself? I’m good with change, but it’s hard because, as an actor you’re like, ‘But you’re on a show, what are you doing?!’ You never know if you’re making the right decision at the time. You just have to go for it.
How did you tell everyone you were leaving?
I wrote handwritten letters to Christina Jennings and Peter Mitchell because I really wanted to express my gratitude and my reasons and everyone has been so supportive and understanding. Then, obviously, I told the main cast and team as well.
Jonny Harris was crushed.
I know. Well, Jonny and I are the closest because Jonny is very good friends with Mark and they’ve known each other for years, before I even came along. He was at our wedding. We had a social life outside of work as well as at work. He’s a very dear friend of mine and it was very fitting that my last scene was with Jonny. A lot of people were there on-set because they’d started blocking for the next episode.
I’m very proud of this character and if one person got a happy moment out of this relationship that’s all I’d ask for.
Did you get emotional?
Oh yeah. There were a lot of ‘lasts.’ This is my last read-through, this is my last costume fitting. I was more emotional at the beginning of the block, knowing it was coming. But then, I had a really big block and had to do a lot of work. I had an amazing episode written for me by Jordan Christianson; it was so much about Grace personally that it was a very emotional episode for me as an actor. Playing a doctor on this show, I know what I’m doing professionally and I’m not emotionally invested. Thank goodness for Gary Harvey, who is amazing and I’m so glad he directed the episode. There were a lot of tears here and there.
Murdoch Mysteries‘ fans were very divided when it came to Lillian and Emily’s relationship. Do you want to comment on the feedback you received?
My favourite note I got was that I’d ruined Murdoch Mysteries. I was like, ‘Wow, thanks for thinking I have that much of an impact!’ The optimism was wonderful and I think that representing different types of love is important. I respect people’s opinions and they are entitled to them, but at the same time social media enables you to say whatever you want without any thought as to what impact you may have. I’m very proud of this character and if one person got a happy moment out of this relationship that’s all I’d ask for.
Let’s look forward. What’s next?
I’m auditioning and seeing what’s out there. After being on such an awesome show and playing a fantastic character, I’m being a bit picky about what I go for, what I like and what I want to do next. To be able to do that and be confident about it is a testament to being on Murdoch Mysteries for so long. I know this can happen. Mark and I are creating our new life here away from our families and friends.
We’re also discussing whether we’ll expand our tribe or not.
Emily could return to Murdoch Mysteries. She wasn’t killed off.
I’m very grateful to them for that. I think it would be fun for Emily to pop back in here and there in some crazy episode for some reason. I think that would be great. It was really great when Pete said, ‘We didn’t kill you off.’ I had been bracing myself and was OK with a very dramatic death!
Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.