Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Link: Sharron Matthews Talks Murdoch Mysteries and Run the Burbs

From Heather M. of The Televixen:

Link: Sharron Matthews talks Murdoch Mysteries and Run the Burbs
“I did about three, four days of rehearsal with [choreographer] Tim French. He and I have done a version of Footloose together. I’ve seen him as an actor. I’ve seen him as a choreographer and as a director. Laurie Lynd was the director. It’s always something really amazing about coming back to set and having a shorthand already with someone. And I know how to dance. I know how to sing and I know how to very quickly change things up.” Continue reading.


Preview: Murdoch Mysteries offers up pitch-perfect musical episode

“After 20 years, 17 seasons and 290 episodes, Murdoch Mysteries has finally done it… A musical episode!”

So said the email sent by CBC earlier this week, trumpeting the show’s musical interlude coming up on March 25. Murdoch Mysteries is certainly not the first TV series to do it; the popularity of the musical episode is largely attributed to Buffy the Vampire Slayer instalment, “Once More, With Feeling,” on November 6, 2001. Since then, many shows have done them, with mixed results. Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Fringe, Ally McBeal, The Flash, Scrubs and fellow CBC hit Schitt’s Creek have all dipped into the trope.

Now it’s Murdoch Mysteries‘ turn with “Why Is Everybody Singing?” Written by Paul Aitken and directed by Laurie Lynd, here is the synopsis for the March 25 episode:

While pursuing a missing man now presumed dead, Murdoch takes a call that alters his perception of the world. After heading into a lively alley, he’s shot in the head and left for dead. Crabtree and Higgins find him with the faintest pulse clinging to life. As Brackenreid, Ogden, Watts and Hart rush to the scene and the constables question a newsboy, beggar, vendors and other witnesses, Murdoch hears their inquiries in song. The musical accounts swoop and soar, confounding the detective who can’t understand why everyone around him is singing instead of focusing on who shot him.

According to writer and executive producer Aitken, the seed for a musical mystery was planted by Buffy and has been gestating ever since.

“The challenge was to do it as a genuine mystery,” Aitken says in media materials provided by CBC. “The essential concept: A comatose Murdoch needs to determine who tried to kill him was strong and allowed for all manner of philosophical hijinks, but it was insufficient. The music itself needed to be a clue. Having the singing be his injured brain’s way of processing what was actually being said over his bed solved two problems. It made the music an integral feature of the plot and allowed for the introduction of new information—always handy when telling a mystery.”

The fun begins right out of the gate, with the Murdoch Mysteries theme with a phalanx of voices performing Robert Carli’s unmistakable composition set against a movie screen in a vintage theatre. Then it’s on the case that puts Murdoch into the dire straits he finds himself in: that of a missing man. I should say that eagle-eyed viewers will catch a familiar name in the opening credits that ruins a surprise later in the story, but that’s a minor quibble.

It doesn’t take long for the singing to start—prefaced by a vibrant soundtrack—and director Lynd’s wonderful work lights up the streets of Toronto.

“The script that Paul Aitken wrote is so clever because it is still at heart a classic Murdoch episode, a puzzling case to be solved that is not at all what it first appears to be,” Lynd says. “The great joy of the episode, of course, is seeing—and hearing!—our favourite Murdoch characters sing. All of the cast did their own singing, beautifully elevating the emotions of what their characters were expressing.

It certainly is fun to hear the main cast belting out lyrics by Aitken (Higgins’ and Margaret’s in particular, are hilarious) and produced and arranged by Jono Grant. Highlighted by guest cast in Sharron Matthews (Frankie Drake Mysteries), Hélène Joy, Arwen Humphreys and Thomas Craig, the performances make sense and add a unique way of storytelling.

But, at its heart is the mystery, which is always going to be the core of the veteran drama that shows no signs of slowing down.

“Preserving the integrity of the show has always been super important to me, so when there was talk of doing a musical episode, it was no secret that I had reservations,” Bisson says. “Having Paul Aitken, our writer, as an ally for so many years and having been in the musical trenches before with Laurie as a director, I felt confident to proceed. All my worrying was for nothing though—the end result is nothing short of spectacular!”

We agree.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.


CBC Gem’s Macy Murdoch is worthy of the Murdoch moniker

Murdoch Mysteries is a worldwide brand. With it comes expectations, so a spinoff associated with it leads to extra scrutiny. Thankfully, Macy Murdoch not only meets but exceeds those expectations.

Available now on CBC Gem, the Murdoch spinoff web series Macy Murdoch stars Canadian Screen Award winner Shailyn Pierre-Dixon as Macy, the great-great-great granddaughter of Detective William Murdoch. Set in the present day, Macy and her pals Zane (Beau Han Bridge) and Billie (Raffa Virago) travel back in time after a villain uses a time machine to frame William for murder, the trio goes back to 1910 to find the real perpetrator of the crime. Along for the ride in 1910 are Murdoch Mysteries‘ Constable Henry Higgins-Newsome (Lachlan Murdoch) and Mrs. Violet Hart (Shanice Banton), who help the kids with the case.

Initially developed by JP Larocque and Jessica Meya, we spoke with executive producer/showrunner Jennifer Kassabian (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Carter) and co-executive producer Robina Lord-Stafford (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Moonshine) about the project.

Jennifer, can you tell me how Macy Murdoch came to you?
Jennifer Kassabian: JP and Jess developed it with Shaftsbury before my time. I finished working with Jennifer McCann, who’s one of the series executive producers on Ruby and the Well. Around July, she reached out to me to say that Jess and JP were moving on to other opportunities and would I be interested in this project that she had because we had worked so well together. I said, ‘Well, let me just read everything,’ because I didn’t know if I wanted to keep my foot in the kids’ world, but then the bible that Jess and JP created blew me off my feet. I’ve never read a bible that good. It was so rich, and it was so interesting. I said yes, I’m in. I want to run the show. We didn’t have the money for a writers’ room. It was freelance scripts that were half assigned and half to be assigned, but I could have a No. 1, someone to help me shepherd the show through. 

Robina was the only name on my mind from the time we met on Frankie Drake. Sometimes those relationships on a show make you friends off a show. We were friends in real life, I already had a shorthand with her and I said, ‘Would you come on as the No. 2, and will we do this together?  

Obviously, anything with the word Murdoch in it is going to come with extra scrutiny. Robina, any nervousness on your part about it having the Murdoch name and William Murdoch involved in it? 
Robina Lord-Stafford: I didn’t really have enough time to think about it. I was on Pretty Hard Cases and Jen was like, ‘You’ve got to come and do the show with me.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ Once I was in it, it was like, ‘OK, we really have to make sure we’re doing the Murdoch world justice. We were lucky enough to get two characters from the world, so that was super exciting. Getting to shoot on the Murdoch lot was super exciting and that all kept elevating the production value of the show. We did consult with Murdoch writers to make sure that when we were going back into 1910 and creating a world for our characters to be in, that seemed authentic and real. We also binged a ton of Murdoch because we wanted to make sure that Henry Higgins-Newsome and Violet Hart’s voices were really authentic to what the Murdoch world has created already. 

Robina, when it came to the writers’ room, is it different to write for the web as opposed to an episode of broadcast television? Does each web episode represent story beats in a larger project?
RLS: Great question. We did have all those beats already. When Jen and I got onto the project, there were already, I think, two scripts written by previous writers. And so it was like, ‘OK, let’s continue this on,’ and then we had another writer that joined us. One of the things that we did maybe a little bit differently than what I’m used to doing in one hour is that we knew what the beginning, middle, and end of the whole series was going to be. We could then break it down into different episodes on how we were going to then achieve all of that to make sure that we were getting all the juice that we needed and the great cliffhangers at the end of each episode. 

You really pack a lot into each 11-or-so-minute episode.
JK: I think there is a misconception that when you hear 11 minutes it’s easy peasy and not that much content. You can get the story in when it was our primary goal and character development for sure. 

The young cast was simply amazing.
JK: We had a full day of chemistry reads between people’s favourite casting picks. We had already had Shailyn cast when we went out to cast Billie and Zane. Raffa and Beau sparkled in their solo auditions and then when we partnered up Raffa and Beau we had the magic of the Billie and Zane friendship right off the bat. This is Raffa’s first thing that she’s ever been on screen. She’s such a special talent. They did become fast friends on set, just good people who just really wanted to bring their A-game. 

Macy Murdoch is available now on CBC Gem.

Images courtesy of Shaftesbury.


TV, Eh? Podcast Episode 254: Production on Murdoch Mysteries spinoff, Run the Burbs and The Hardy Boys

Welcome back to another bi-weekly (ish) chat about the latest news in Canadian TV! First, Greg and Amy go through debuts and returns on the Canadian TV calendar.

Then, we cover the latest Canadian TV news, which includes production beginning on a Murdoch Mysteries spinoff; Season 2 of Run the Burbs; the final season of The Hardy Boys; casting for CBC’s new series, Essex County; and David Suzuki retiring from The Nature of Things. We finish the podcast by getting into the Halloween spirit with Are You Afraid of the Dark?

This podcast brought to you by Candy Corn Cocktails and Pommies Cider.

[Editor’s Note: Greg erroneously said that Anthony Q. Farrell was the showrunner for Diggstown. Anthony Q. Farrell was the showrunner for Overload and the Underwoods, The Parker Andersons/Amelia Parker and the upcoming Shelved. He apologizes for the error.]


Production begins on new tween Murdoch Mysteries spinoff Macy Murdoch for CBC Gem

From a media release:

Shaftesbury announced today that production is now underway on Macy Murdoch (8×11), a new CBC Gem original tween series that follows the adventures of Detective William Murdoch’s time-travelling great-great-great-granddaughter. A spinoff of Shaftesbury and CBC’s hit long-running drama Murdoch Mysteries based on novels written by Maureen Jennings, the series is currently shooting in Toronto and will debut on CBC Gem in spring 2023.

Sixteen-year-old Macy is a forensic wunderkind who unravels a century-old mystery with the help of her two friends Zane and Billie. When a villain uses a time machine to frame famous Edwardian-era Detective William Murdoch for murder, Macy and her friends travel back in time to find the real perpetrator of the crime. Not only are the teens trying to crack a difficult case, but the trio are undercover, trying to solve a mystery in 1910 without the help of modern technology.

Macy Murdoch captures the playful, mystery-loving spirit of Murdoch Mysteries with Canadian Screen Award-winner Shailyn Pierre-Dixon (Pretty Hard Cases, The Book of Negroes) co-leading the series with Beau Han Bridge who plays Zane, and Raffa Virago as Billie. The series will have a special guest appearance by Spencer West, while Shanice Banton (“Mrs. Violet Hart”) and Lachlan Murdoch (“Constable Henry Higgins-Newsome”) from the beloved CBC series will appear in the series as guides to help the young detectives absolve Murdoch of a crime he did not commit.

The digital series is directed by Laurie Lynd with showrunner Jennifer Kassabian and Co-EP Robina Lord Stafford.  The series was initially developed by JP Larocque and Jessica Meya. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports; Marie McCann is Senior Director, Children’s Content, CBC Kids; and Lisa Cinelli is Executive in Charge of Production, Children’s and Youth Programming.