Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

The Sounds: Rachelle Lefevre and Peter Stebbings preview CBC’s thriller

The Sounds serves as a reunion between Rachelle Lefevre and Shaftesbury. The Canadian production company—perhaps most well-known for Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake Mysteries and Hudson & Rex—last worked with Lefevre on the 2008 miniseries The Summit. After back-and-forth on several projects that didn’t happen, The Sounds came along.

Debuting Monday at 8 p.m. on CBC, Lefevre stars as Maggie, a Canadian woman who flies to New Zealand to meet up with her husband, Tom (Matt Whelan), who is about to close an important business deal. After a romantic night spent on a sailboat in a quiet cove, Tom paddles off in a kayak … and disappears.

Penned by Sarah-Kate Lynch and directed by Peter Stebbings, the eight episodes explore secrets, lies and the extent people will go to get what they want.

We spoke to Rachelle Lefevre and Peter Stebbings ahead of The Sounds debut.

Matt Whelan and Rachelle Lefevre

Rachelle, how did you get involved in The Sounds?
Rachelle Lefevre: I had worked for Shaftsbury many years ago in a miniseries called The Summit, and we had a great time. We’d been looking for something to do together for a number of years and there were a couple of almost, but the timing was never quite right or the project didn’t get off the ground. So I’d been in contact with them and then they sent me this. I read it and I thought it was really interesting, and I was into it from the get-go. I had a couple of reservations about the schedule and how we were going to pull this off.

And so, they sent me to dinner with Peter. They said, ‘Why don’t you go with Peter because we’re doing something really unusual. We’re having the same director for all eight episodes, more like a film than a TV series.’ He also has a daughter who’s my son’s age. So both of us with kids at home were like, ‘Oh, we’ll have an early dinner. My kids wake up early. OK, great.’ We went to dinner at 6, and we didn’t leave the restaurant till 11.

And over the course of that dinner, two things happened. One, I saw how involved Peter was in helping see the storyline through. So I felt confident that it was going to come together in a way that I would have liked. And No. 2, I immediately felt like this is someone I have to work with, and I can go and do anything with this guy. There was a bond right from the get-go. He was the last step in my signing on.

Peter, how did you end up directing all these episodes?
Peter Stebbings: I did another miniseries called The Disappearance. And I think that based on the success, at least the commercial success of that, I made a name for myself as someone who might be able to do this type of thing. Then, Christina Jennings came to me and floated the question out there. ‘Maybe you want to do all eight?’ And I was like, ‘Maybe I do.’

Rachelle Lefevre and Matt Whelan

I think the advantage of doing a miniseries or doing all the episodes, is you get to put your stamp on something. There’s something about living on that razor’s edge that I like. This project in particular had challenges that were unique, and partly a very aggressive shooting schedule. I had some question marks about character motivation and this sort of thing; things that the actors helped me out with. But yeah, I was honoured to be asked that.

I love shows like The Sounds, where there’s a backstory with the person, and they aren’t who they thought it was going to be. Do you?
RL: I do. I do. And I hope people who like our show and read maybe a more than one interview about it, will forgive me that I keep bringing up Broadchurch. I remember finding Broadchurch and just being like, ‘Oh god, that would be so great to do one day, one of these long-form mysteries, where you spend multiple episodes trying to figure out who everybody is and what’s the plot.’

It must’ve excited you to see that Maggie wasn’t happy to just sit back, that she was actually going to take matters into her own hands to a certain extent.
RL: Yeah, definitely. I thought a lot about it, not to make it too dark, although some of our show is pretty dark, I thought a lot about grief and what that looks like. And one of the things that I am least comfortable with in life, as I think a lot of us are, is that feeling of helplessness. Part of what I find really challenging about grief is the finality. It’s the finite element of it. There aren’t a lot of things in life where once the door closes, there really aren’t any other options.

It was interesting to have a character who moved around in that. There were times when she really does seem like she’s given up, and she really just wants to say goodbye to a body. And there are other times where she can’t sit still and she’s like, ‘No, he’s out there and I’m going to find him, and what can I do?’ Fighting against that helplessness and constantly playing with when she feels like she can just give in and resign and there’s nothing to be done, and when she won’t stop fighting.

What was it like filming in New Zealand? 
RL: The bumper sticker version is that I’ve said to people, ‘If New Zealand isn’t on your list, put it on the list. And if it’s on the list, move it to the top of the list.’ It’s an extraordinary place.

One of the things that I found that really impacted me while we were filming, is that at the beginning of the series because it is a character. Our landscape is very much a character. In the beginning, it’s so beautiful and it’s expansive and it’s vast. And it’s gorgeous and welcoming, and you just want to go and get lost in it in a way that feels really inviting. And then after Tom goes missing and the more the pieces of their past catching up with them and Maggie making all these discoveries and people aren’t who they say they are, the more it starts to unravel, the more all of those same qualities, vastness, the openness of it all, the idea that you could get lost in it, it goes from being inviting to being ominous.

Peter Stebbings

Peter, what were some of those things that as a director, you had to worry about? Is sunlight coming off the water one of them? What are the types of challenges you had to face?
PS: Well, the first thing that comes to mind when you think about water is you think about the overrun from budget on Waterworld, right? The biggest thing I learned about shooting on the water is—this is going to sound corny—you literally have to go with the flow. We did not have the luxury of resetting up certain shots; that setting up a shot to go again, that’s 45 minutes out of your day.

‘Yes, the shot is unfolding in such a way that you didn’t quite imagine in your mind’s eye. But nobody knows that except for you, Peter.’ The audience won’t know that. There’s still a working shot here, so let’s just go with the flow. There was a lot of that. The weather in New Zealand is crazy. There was one day when I think I changed Rachelle three, four times because it was raining for as far as the eye could see. Five minutes later, we were in bright sunshine. Five minutes after that, there was a storm brewing. And it was gray skies again for as far as the eye could see. It was just nuts.

And poor Rachelle, I kept putting her through the wardrobe changes. ‘We’re not doing that scene. We’re going to do this scene. No, we’re not doing that scene. We’re going to do that scene.’ That was one of the things I learned about shooting in New Zealand in general, is just how quickly the weather conditions can change. But in particular, when we were on the water, how quickly things get changed as well.

How much of a learning curve was it for you, and maybe for the crew, to work together? 
PS: The crew in some ways, had a can-do spirit. I mean, look, it’s not like this was bare-bones, but there was resourcefulness there in terms of equipment that we used, in terms of the time we had. It felt like we were doing this with a certain sense of light infantry. If the apparatus was any bigger, if our crew was any bigger, if our circus was any bigger, we wouldn’t have been as nimble as we were.

Matt Whelan

Was filming on the water a challenge for you Rachelle?
RL: I had two challenges. One, I don’t do well with the cold, so I suck it up. I’m from Montreal. But that was a challenge because there was a lot of swimming. There was swimming, and being in the water in freezing, freezing, freezing cold conditions, where they have medics on set holding stopwatches for how long you can be in the water.

And then the other challenge was I get terribly seasick. So there were a lot of scenes on the boat. Maybe a little tidbit for the audience—a little bit of trivia for them—is there are a lot of scenes on the boat if you’re watching a scene on the boat, I’m probably drugged up. I’m probably slightly high on Dramamine or they would have this stuff in New Zealand called Sea Legs, which works, by the way. Sea Legs worked so well I feel like I want to do commercials for them. But yeah, just a tiny bit high on the anti-nausea meds.

Peter, I have to ask this for all the Murdoch Mysteries fans out there. Are you too busy to appear as James Pendrick?
PS: Two things. One, those jerks found me in New Zealand. I put myself on a green screen last year in the middle of shooting 72 days of The Sounds. I turned in a Murdoch Mysteries performance from New Zealand, I’ll have you know. The performance was against the green screen, but I was actually there. And I was cursing Murdoch Mysteries up and down that day for taking me on my one day off in 72 days to do this.

I’ve also just completed a turn as James Pendrick a couple of weeks ago. There is at least one more turn coming. Murdoch Mysteries is the gift that keeps on coming. It is a wonderful, warm and fuzzy place to be. We have a lot of fun on that show, and I always marvel at the invention of the writers to come up with yet another crazy storyline for James Pendrick.

The Sounds airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Comments and queries for the week of October 2

Battle of the Blades is excellent family entertainment. If you’re a skating fan this is a show not to miss. So glad Kurt is back, his skating is what we all hope to see. —Cora


I am so glad my TV family is coming back. I have not seen my real family in five years now and was so looking forward to going home to England this year to see them until COVID-19 reared its ugly head. So waiting for another year to see my TV family doesn’t seem such a long time to wait. At least it is coming back. WooHoo!!! —Beth

I’m happy to settle for 11 episodes. Hope we are all here to watch the new season. Safe travels, everyone! —Mary


We are from North Dakota and we watched all 13 seasons and can’t wait for Season 14! the lives of the families in Heartland got us through the COVID-19 and our world situation but we still need more of them! Please, please, please keep Amy and Ty and Lyndy on the show! —Jerilyn

I’m from France. Love this show, Chris Potter and Tim’s character! Hope to see Season 13 on Netflix soon. —Caroline

My husband and I are from England and we love Heartland. We’ve watched all episodes via Netflix. Can’t wait for Season 14. We absolute love it, and we love the scenery too. All the actors and actresses are superb. We also think that Caleb is very funny. The whole program is superb, keep it up guys. —Judith

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

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AMI-tv announces its fall 2020 programming schedule

From a media release:

Today, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) unveiled its AMI-tv schedule for the 2020 fall broadcast season, with a lineup of exciting new and returning AMI originals available in described video for the blind and partially sighted community in Canada.

AMI original productions are the centrepiece of the schedule, broadcast in the coveted 8 p.m. timeslot from Monday to Friday.

The previously announced AMI original Level Playing Field debuts on Monday, September 7 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Hosted by Paralympian Greg Westlake, Level Playing Field highlights and celebrates the power of sport by introducing audiences to the athletes, community groups, healthcare professionals and grassroots innovators who demonstrate a desire to help drive positive social change through sport.

Season nine of AMI This Week bows on Monday, September 14, at 8 p.m. Eastern. The weekly magazine show—featuring host Victoria Nolan and Bureau Reporters Grant Hardy (Vancouver), Beth Deer (Edmonton), Alex Smyth (Toronto), Shelby Travers (Ottawa) and Laura Bain (Halifax)—continues to stay safe during COVID-19 by continuing its distinct community focus, sharing events and interesting stories from coast to coast from the safety of home.

Back for a third season is Reflect and Renew with Kevin Naidoo, and viewers can catch up on previous seasons of Our CommunityEyes for the JobDouble Tap TV and the award-winning Employable Me.

AMI-tv’s newest acquired series in described video include back-to-back broadcasts of Seasons one and two of Coroner. Based on the book series by M.R. Hall, Serinda Swan stars as Jenny Cooper, a Toronto-based coroner juggling a tumultuous personal life with solving crimes. Season one of the critical and fan favourite Anne with an E joins AMI-tv’s Sunday schedule. Created by Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad), L.M. Montgomery’s beloved characters are re-imagined for a new generation. And, Janette Oke’s best-selling novels come to the small screen in Season one of When Calls the Heart, which follows the adventures of a young teacher who swaps big-city life for a small coal-mining town in 1910 Canada.

Past seasons of Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries continue on AMI-tv; new seasons join the lineup later in the broadcast year. Other returning favourites include the final season of Monk, as well as Suits, American Greed, Attitude, Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience.

Friday and Saturday nights on AMI-tv are being shaken up, with James Bond feature films joining the schedule. It all begins with Dr. No on Friday, September 4, through to Skyfall, with every Bond film in the library part of AMI’s Friday Night Movie and Saturday Night Movie. This is the first time the James Bond films have been broadcast in described video on AMI.

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, AMI’s original series and documentaries utilize Integrated Described Video (IDV) so they are accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

All dates subject to change. Additional fall programming will be announced in the coming weeks. Stream past episodes of AMI original programming on demand post-broadcast at the newly-redesigned AMI.ca or via the AMI-tv App.

AMI-tv’s fall premieres and debuts (all times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 4
8 p.m. – AMI originals
9 p.m. – Friday Night Movie, Dr. No

Saturday, Sept. 5
8 p.m. – Our Community
8:30 p.m. – AMI This Week
9 p.m. – Saturday Night Movie, From Russia with Love

Sunday, Sept. 6
9 a.m. – Reflect and Renew with Kevin Naidoo (Return)
3 p.m. – Anne with an E (Debut)
5 p.m. – American Greed (Return)
7 p.m. – Frankie Drake Mysteries (Return)
8 p.m. – Murdoch Mysteries (Return)
9 p.m. – Monk (Return)
10 p.m. – Suits (Return)
11 p.m. – Coroner (Debut)

Monday, Sept. 7
11 a.m. – When Calls the Heart (Debut)
6:30 p.m. – Attitude (Mon.-Thur.) (Return)
7 p.m. – Kim’s Convenience (Mon.-Thur.)
7:30 p.m. – Schitt’s Creek (Mon.-Thur.)
8:30 p.m. – Level Playing Field (Debut)
9 p.m. – Murdoch Mysteries (Mon.-Thur.)

Monday, Sept. 14
8 p.m. – AMI This Week (Return)

Tuesdays
8 p.m. – Eyes for the Job
8:30 p.m. – Double Tap TV

Wednesdays
8 p.m. – Employable Me

Thursdays
8 p.m. – Our Community
8:30 p.m. – AMI This Week

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Cameras roll on Season 14 of Murdoch Mysteries

From a media release:

Shaftesbury announced today that top-rated Canadian drama Murdoch Mysteries has begun production on Season 14 for CBC and UKTV, distributed by ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment. Shooting is now underway in Toronto on the acclaimed one-hour series for 11 new episodes, set to premiere on CBC TV and the CBC Gem streaming service in winter 2021.

Season 14 will continue to explore new developments in the lives of Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), Constables George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Henry Higgins-Newsome (Lachlan Murdoch), Violet Hart (Shanice Banton) and Detective Llewelyn Watts (Daniel Maslany) as they tackle Toronto’s toughest mysteries, from the serious and historic to the comical and unusual. Returning cast members also include Arwen Humphreys and Siobhan Murphy. In the first episode alone, historic character highlights include a young Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton.

Star Yannick Bisson returns to the director’s chair for the first two episodes of the season. Other episodes will be directed by Peter Mitchell, Gary Harvey, Warren Sonoda, Mina Shum and Ruba Nadda.

Murdoch Mysteries is executive produced by Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Yannick Bisson, Hélène Joy, and Peter Mitchell, who also serves as showrunner, and produced by Stephen Montgomery and Julie Lacey. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Nicole Mendes is Executive in Charge of Production.

In the U.S., in addition to broadcaster Ovation, the series is available on Acorn TV and earlier seasons air in syndication. The series has been licensed to broadcasters in 120 countries and territories worldwide to date. The series airs in the UK on Alibi and is one of the highest-rated programs in France on France Television (France3). Other countries include: Brazil, China, Hungary, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Italy, Poland, and Norway.

Murdoch Mysteries is developed and produced by creator and producer Shaftesbury, in association with CBC, ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment and UKTV, and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Independent Production Fund/COGECO Program Development Fund.

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Comments and queries for the week of April 24

Murdoch Mysteries is by far, the best series my husband and I have ever watched! It’s what is helping us through our quarantine time, providing great entertainment! Yannick is brilliant as Murdoch and is my favourite! Looking forward to many more seasons! —Char

I am a 74-year-old from Ohio. I can’t say how much I love Murdoch Mysteries. I watch the show over and over again waiting on the next season. I can’t get it on the TV, so I have to wait and watch the new shows when they come on Hulu. I like that it is a clean, no sex, no cussing show. Also, I would love for the old episodes of Sue Thomas F. B. Eye to come on Hulu. Thank you for Murdoch Mysteries. —Elizabeth

I became a Murdoch fan about five years ago. First saw the show as The Artful Detective and have been following the show since. Because I reside south of the Canadian border, it was tough getting the show on TV, so I had to rent DVDs until I discovered AcornTV. I like the entire cast and will miss the show after I finish the final three episodes of Season 13. Great job CBC. —Leo

I am an 83-year-old lady from the UK and want to say Murdoch Mysteries has been a life saver to watch during lockdown/isolation because of COVID-19. Icame to the series late but am so grateful to all involved over the years to produce such an intelligent and interesting program. Long may it continue! —Sylvia

I’m a 73-yr-old Ohio Buckeye. Been watching Murdoch for years on the Ovation Channel. Just a tremendous cast and talented writers! Please keep this gem in production! —Jennie

I am an American, and I love all of Yannick Bisson’s movies that we are able to see here. I think his acting is superb! I wish we were able to see all of his work, but we only have the Murdoch Mysteries. I love his work! And I am a 72-year-old African American! —Marva

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@ami.ca or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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