Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

CBC sets fall schedule and unveils 2021-22 programming slate, including over 35 original series from Canadian creators

From a media release:

CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, today announced its fall television and streaming schedule and 2021-22 programming slate for CBC TV and CBC Gem, featuring over 35 new and returning original series from Canadian creators, producers and storytellers across all genres.

ORIGINAL COMEDY SLATE

CBC is building on its award-winning comedy slate known for distinct, authentic points of view and heartfelt, inclusive values celebrating family and friendship, with four new original series joining returning favourites.

New Original Series
● SORT OF (Premieres Tues. Oct. 5 on CBC Gem and Tues. Nov. 9 on CBC TV; 8×30, Sphere Media’s Sienna Films) from creators Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), is a big-hearted dramatic comedy about Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family. Sabi feels like they’re in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. When Sabi’s best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner) presents them with an opportunity to live and find themself in the “queerest place in the galaxy,” Sabi instead makes the decision to stay and care for the kids they nanny after their mom has a serious bike accident. Do they regret it? Sort of. A coming-of-age story, Sort Of is a show about how each and every one of us is in transition.


● STRAYS (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14 on CBC TV and CBC Gem; 10×30, Thunderbird Entertainment) follows Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) from Kim’s Convenience as the new executive director of the Hamilton East Animal Shelter, where she is boss to an eclectic staff. Now in her 30s, Shannon is ready for a change and new challenges. She’s putting Toronto in the rearview to focus on her new job, new relationships, reuniting with family and learning more about herself. Shannon’s trademark positivity is put to the test as she manages an oddball team, including her apathetic cousin Nikki (Nikki Duval), her over-eager animal care manager Kristian (Frank Cox O’Connell), her overly sheltered office manager Joy (Tina Jung) and the building’s maintenance guy Paul (Tony Nappo), whose straight-faced prison humour keeps everyone on their toes.


● RUN THE BURBS (Winter 2022; 13×30, Pier 21 Films) is created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon). The series follows a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids.


● SON OF A CRITCH (Winter 2022; 13×30, Project 10 Productions) is based on the award-winning, best-selling memoir from Mark Critch (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), created by Critch and Tim McAuliffe (The Office (U.S.), Last Man on Earth) and produced by Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek). This new original comedy is the hilarious and very real story of 11-year-old Mark coming of age in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the 80s. It’s a heartfelt window into the life of a child – much older inside than his 11 years – using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the small collection of people in his limited world.

Returning Original Comedies & Festivals
● THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Season 29 Premieres Tues. Sept. 14; 24×30; IoM Media)
● TALLBOYZ (Season 3 Premieres Winter 2022; 8×30, Accent Entertainment)
● WORKIN’ MOMS (Season 6 Premieres Winter 2022; 13×30; Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment)
● HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST (Season 25; 6×30; Pilot Light Productions)
● NEW WAVE OF STANDUP (Season 2, 4×30, Just For Laughs TV)
● WINNIPEG COMEDY FESTIVAL (Season 19, 5×60, Frantic Films)

ORIGINAL DRAMA SLATE

New east coast family dramedy MOONSHINE (formerly Feudal) premieres Sept. 14 as part of CBC’s Tuesday night comedy lineup, with 1920s drama THE PORTER set to premiere this winter.
Audience favourites renewed for fall include HEARTLAND (Oct. 17) and MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Sept. 13) returning for their 15th seasons, and Halifax legal aid series DIGGSTOWN (Oct. 6). CORONER and PRETTY HARD CASES both return this winter, offering unique, female-driven perspectives on the crime procedural.

New Original Dramas
● MOONSHINE (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14; 8×60; Six Eleven Media and eOne) from creator, showrunner and executive producer Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz), is a raucous, one-hour dramedy that tells the story of the Finley-Cullens, a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings battling for control of the ancestral business, The Moonshine, a ramshackle summer resort on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, two stars on a good day — and that day was in 1979. It’s an epic tale of lust, legacy and lobster, set against the backdrop of financial hardship, insane tourists, small-town intrigue and a long-buried secret that threatens to annihilate the Finley-Cullens once and for all. Featuring an ensemble cast including Jennifer Finnigan (Salvation), Anastasia Phillips (Reign), Emma Hunter (Mr. D), Tom Stevens (Wayward Pines), Alexander Nunez (Avocado Toast), Corrine Koslo (Anne with an E), Peter MacNeill (This Life), Erin Darke (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Farid Yazdani (Suits), Allegra Fulton (The Shape of Water) and Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s).


● THE PORTER (A CBC and BET+ original series; Winter 2022; 8×60; Inferno Pictures and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films) is set in the 1920s and inspired by real events. Co-starring Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy), the series follows the true story of railway workers from both Canada and the United States joining together in the fight to give birth to the world’s first Black union. In the midst of the struggle there are loves lives and friendships that suffer and thrive. Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, The Porter focuses on the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted, and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S., and they find themselves thrown together in an era that boasts anything is possible. If change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. Originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), and led by showrunners and executive producers Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul) and Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People), and directors and executive producers Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls).


● THE RED (New greenlight, one-hour drama; Eagle Vision and Halfire Entertainment) is a fictional investigative series created and written by Canadian Métis director, writer and producer Marie Clements and inspired by real crimes. The Red follows Payton Thiso (Sarah Podemski) and Gia Jonsson (Sarah Gadon), two women from completely different backgrounds, who find themselves thrown together inside the newly formed Indigenous Task Force, looking for answers while unearthing the systemic racism within the criminal and social justice systems. Can these broken systems be fixed? Or do we need to build new systems from scratch?

Returning Original Dramas
● MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Season 15 premieres Mon. Sept. 13; 24×60; Shaftesbury)
● DIGGSTOWN (Season 3 premieres Wed. Oct. 6; 8×60; Circle Blue Entertainment, Freddie Films Inc. and Waterstar Entertainment Inc.) – Antoinette Robertson (Dear White People), Crystle Lightning (Trickster) and Nicole Muñoz (Van Helsing) join the cast
● HEARTLAND (Season 15 premieres Sun. Oct. 17; 10×60; Dynamo Films and SEVEN24 Films)
● CORONER (Season 4 premieres Winter 2022; 12×60; Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films, Cineflix Studios)
● PRETTY HARD CASES (Season 2 premieres Winter 2022; 12×60; Cameron Pictures)

FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT

New Bay of Fundy sand sculpture series RACE AGAINST THE TIDE (Sept. 9) hosted by Shaun Majumder joins CBC’s factual entertainment slate featuring people and places across Canada and offering a strong sense of community, including returning hits FAMILY FEUD CANADA (Sept. 27) with Gerry Dee, DRAGONS’ DEN (Oct. 14) featuring new Dragon Wes Hall and THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (Oct. 17), with ARCTIC VETS and STILL STANDING with Jonny Harris returning this winter.

● RACE AGAINST THE TIDE (Premieres Thurs. Sept. 9 with back-to-back episodes; 10×30; marblemedia) is an original competition series hosted by comedian Shaun Majumder, featuring 10 teams of two world-class, highly skilled sand sculptors competing to create extraordinary works of art made entirely out of sand while avoiding elimination. Not only are these best-in-show duos competing against each other, they are competing against Mother Nature’s unstoppable ticking clock and the world’s highest tide at New Brunswick’s iconic and beautiful Bay of Fundy. The stakes have never been higher in the world of sand sculpting as the competitors’ creations – no matter how impressive – are all destined to be washed away the same day by the tide. In the end, only one team whose skill, creativity and tenacity leaves a lasting impression will be crowned the Race Against the Tide “Champions.”

Returning Factual Formats & Series:
● FAMILY FEUD CANADA (Season 3 premieres Mon. Sept. 27; 102×30; Zone 3/Fremantle)
● DRAGONS’ DEN (Season 16 premieres Thurs. Oct. 14; 10×60) featuring new Dragon Wes Hall
● THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (Season 5 premieres Sun. Oct. 17; 9×60; Proper Television/Love Productions)
● ARCTIC VETS (Season 2 premieres Winter 2022; 10×30; eOne)
● STILL STANDING (Season 7 premieres Winter 2022; 10×30; Frantic Films)

DOCUMENTARIES

CBC commissions an average of 80 documentaries each year for CBC, CBC Gem and documentary Channel and also acquires additional documentaries, and CBC Gem offers a library of over 800 documentaries, available to stream for free anytime. This upcoming year, CBC will both commission and acquire one-hour documentaries under the acclaimed banner of THE PASSIONATE EYE, which now moves to the CBC TV schedule this fall. CBC Docs POV documentaries will now be greenlit and broadcast under THE PASSIONATE EYE brand.

● THE PASSIONATE EYE (Premieres Fri. Sept. 17)
● THE NATURE OF THINGS (Season 61 premieres Fri. Oct. 22)
● HOT DOCS ON CBC (Returns Winter 2022)

New original docs this upcoming year include:
● HAROLD BALLARD: POWER PLAYER (Lone Eagle Entertainment, directed by Jason Priestley): Money, headlines and enemies; Harold Ballard made them all. For two decades, Ballard’s exploits put him on the front page of every Canadian newspaper. He led the Toronto Maple Leafs according to his own whims, drawing the ire of sports fans and non-sports fans alike, until his death in 1990. Ballard didn’t seem to care whether the team won or lost as long as the cash register was ringing. During his wild tenure he was convicted of fraud and continued to manage the team while he served his sentence at Millhaven prison in Ontario.


● SPIRIT TO SOAR (Antica Productions, directed by Tanya Talaga and Michelle Derosier)
Between 2000 and 2011, seven First Nations high school students in Thunder Bay died. Five were found in rivers surrounding Lake Superior. All were forced to leave their homes in order to attend school. Anishinaabe/Polish Canadian journalist Tanya Talaga brought international attention to this tragedy through her award-winning non-fiction book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City. She cannot separate their story from her own, acknowledging, “I cannot pretend to know what it is like for the parents of the seven to lose a child, but I know something about what it’s like to be a bit fractured.” In June 2016, a jury concluded its inquest into the deaths and put forward 145 recommendations. In the years following, Talaga returns to Thunder Bay and her ancestral roots to talk with the family members, Indigenous community leaders and youth whose resilience in the face of unjust colonial systems provide a path forward.


● SUPERFAN (Good Karma Studios, directed by Amar Wala) is the powerful story of how Sikh immigrant Nav Bhatia’s single-minded devotion for his favourite team the Toronto Raptors took him on an incredible personal journey from persecution to inclusion and helped integrate, assimilate and unite Canadians of all races, religions and colours to form the world’s most diverse fan base. Featuring exclusive interviews with Russell Peters, NBA superstar Cory Joseph, Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse, former Raptors legend and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, and many more.

CBC SPORTS

As Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Network, CBC will provide the compelling coverage and award-winning storytelling that audiences have come to expect, leading up to, during and after the OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020 (July 23 – Aug 8), TOKYO 2020 PARALYMPIC GAMES (Aug 24 – Sept 5), OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES BEIJING 2022 (Feb 4 – 20, 2022) and PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES (Mar 4 – 13, 2022). In addition to the Olympic Games coverage, CBC SPORTS will continue to keep Canadians connected to the world of high-performance sport through weekly staple ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES, available on CBC TV and CBC Gem, as well as live streams of key competitions on cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

CBC KIDS

Building on CBC’s ongoing commitment to inspire, entertain and inform young audiences, CBC Kids will launch new programming for kids and tweens across all platforms this upcoming year, including a new season of award-winning tween series DETENTION ADVENTURE (Season 3; Fall 2021; LoCo Motion Pictures Inc./Broken Compass Films) and new original series UKULELE U (Winter 2022; 52×7; Wow Unlimited Media), developed with legendary Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin and inspired by the music of legendary jazz guitarist Les Paul. The series stars musician Melanie Doane along with a group of ukulele-playing kids who will perform “kidified” popular songs with celebrity guest stars. For the preschool audience, CBC Kids will launch GARY’S MAGIC FORT (Fall 2021; 13×11), a live-action puppet show starring Gary The Unicorn, helping kids navigate the world of emotions. CBC Kids will also offer the world premiere of animated series BIG BLUE (Fall 2021; 52×11; Guru Studio), created by Ghanaian Canadian animator Gyimah Gariba. The imaginative series for kids 5-9 follows sibling underwater adventurers Lettie and Lemo who lead a quirky submarine crew to unravel the mysterious secrets of an underwater universe.

CBC NEWS & CURRENT AFFAIRS

CBC News’ trusted, award-winning slate of current affairs, investigative and primetime and weekend news programs continues, including:

● THE FIFTH ESTATE (Season 47 premieres Thurs. Oct. 14; 14×60)
● MARKETPLACE (Season 49 premieres Fri. Oct. 1; 19×30)
● CANADA TONIGHT WITH GINELLA MASSA (Weeknights on CBC News Network)
● THE NATIONAL (Weeknights and Sundays on CBC TV and CBC News Network)
● POWER & POLITICS WITH VASSY KAPELOS (Weeknights on CBC News Network)
● ROSEMARY BARTON LIVE (Sundays on CBC TV and CBC News Network)

CBC GEM ORIGINAL SERIES

In addition to offering more than 6500 hours of original Canadian series, feature films and documentaries as well as a curated selection of best-in-class content from around the world,
CBC Gem will continue to offer an extensive, distinct slate of original short-form series this upcoming year that reflect younger audiences and a diversity of new creative voices, including the following:

● FRICK, I LOVE NATURE (YA Comedy; 8×15; Winter 2022; Zipline Productions) is a comedy/nature show hosted by Edmonton-based Filipino Canadian comedian Gordie Lucius. The show uses interviews with experts, beautiful scenery and stellar nature facts to educate, entertain and most importantly, get people STOKED ON NATURE.


● HELLO (AGAIN) (YA Drama; Winter 2022; 100 Dragons Media Inc.) is created by Nathalie Younglai (Coroner) and Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) and follows the complicated romance between chef Jayden and ER resident Avery. On a fateful day, Jayden and Avery bump into each other at a park and immediately fall hopelessly in love. Sparks fly… until they stop. Six months after their unceremonious breakup, a chance encounter will send Jayden back in time to the day that he and Avery met. Will Jayden learn to fix the mistakes of his past and win Avery back…or is history doomed to repeat itself?


● JENSPLAINING (Season 2; 10×10; Unscripted; 2021-22; Peacock Alley Entertainment) is Dr. Jennifer Gunter’s jam packed, bite-sized take down of the exploitative health and beauty myths that are constantly spewed at women (and men), from a culture that is obsessed with celebrity over science.


● NEXT STOP (Season 2; YA Comedy; 6×10, Fall 2021; Scarborough Pictures) is an anthology comedy series chronicling the lives of Black Torontonians struggling to stay sane and afloat in the sprawling city. Energetically paced and richly visual, the show charts a course through chaotic, surreal, and hilarious vignettes of Toronto ‘yutes’ confronting the challenges of life in a competitive, expensive, and rapidly changing city. Created by Jabbari Weekes, Tichaona Tapambwa and Phil Witmer and executive produced by Amar Wala.


● REVENGE OF THE BLACK BEST FRIEND (YA Comedy; 10-min episodes; Winter 2022; iThentic) is an episodic series created, co-written, and co-produced by Amanda Parris that follows Dr. Toni Shakur, a self-help guru whose singular mission is to cancel the entertainment industry’s reliance on token Black characters….before she gets canceled herself.


● TOPLINE (YA Drama; 10-min episodes; Winter 2022; Shaftesbury) is created by Romeo Candido and follows 16-year-old Tala, a reclusive singer/songwriter with an online alter ego: 18-year-old ‘Celestine.’ When she is discovered after one of her songs (as Celestine) goes viral, Tala is invited to join a world-renowned music production team that creates hits for superstars and is faced with presenting as either Celestine, the person she wishes she could be, or as herself. In the process, she just might learn how to find her own voice as well.


● TRUE DATING STORIES (Season 3; YA Comedy; 8×12; Winter 2022; LaRue Entertainment) Who doesn’t love a great dating story? Whether it’s true romance or a night gone horribly wrong, this series offers the greatest real dating stories ever told, reenacted by performers with all the drama, romance and comedy they deserve. These sexy, jaw-dropping comedic re-enactments will make you laugh, cry, and quite possibly swear off dating altogether.


● virgins! (YA Comedy; 10×10; Winter 2022; Miskeen Media Inc.) is created and written by Aden Abebe. Too modest for the big city (Toronto) and too provocative for the African homes they come from, virgins! is a comedic drama that follows four 20-something year-old women awkwardly navigating adulthood, love, and relationships as virgins, while dodging the all-seeing aunties along the way.


● WHO DO YOU THINK I AM? (YA Unscripted; 10×5; Fall 2021/Winter 2022; Canadian Content Studios) features Madison Tevlin, who has spent her whole life being judged at first glance. Maddie has Down syndrome but it has absolutely nothing to do with who she is. Maddie finds connection with other misinterpreted and misperceived people, as she chats one-on-one with extraordinary people misrepresented by their exterior. With every person on the planet, there is so much more to discover and Maddie gets to the heart of who they really are.

FALL 2021 SCHEDULE – CBC TV and CBC GEM

For Newfoundland and Labrador, please add a half hour for all times

MONDAYS
7 PM – CORONATION STREET (weekdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 7:30 p.m.)
7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA Season 3 premieres September 27
8 PM – MURDOCH MYSTERIES Season 15 premieres September 13
9 PM – VICTORIA Season 2 premieres September 13
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

TUESDAYS
7 PM – CORONATION STREET
7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA
8 PM – THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES Season 29 premieres September 14
8:30 PM – STRAYS Premieres September 14
9 PM – MOONSHINE Premieres September 14 / SORT OF * launches with back-to-back episodes November 9, following its premiere on CBC Gem on October 5
9:30 PM – SORT OF
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

WEDNESDAYS
7 PM – CORONATION STREET
7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA
8 PM – WAR OF THE WORLDS Season 2 premieres October 6
9 PM – DIGGSTOWN Season 3 premieres October 6
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

THURSDAYS
7 PM – CORONATION STREET
7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA
8 PM – RACE AGAINST THE TIDE Premieres September 9 with back-to-back episodes / DRAGONS’ DEN Season 16 premieres October 14
8:30 PM – RACE AGAINST THE TIDE
9 PM – THE FIFTH ESTATE Season 47 premieres October 14
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

FRIDAYS
7:30 PM – CORONATION STREET (weekdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 7:30 p.m.)
8 PM – MARKETPLACE Season 49 premieres October 1
8:30 PM – TRAVEL MAN: 48 HOURS IN… Best of all seasons launches September 17
9 PM – THE PASSIONATE EYE CBC TV premiere September 17 / THE NATURE OF THINGS Season 61 premieres October 22
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

SATURDAYS
Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES

SUNDAYS
Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES
7 PM – HEARTLAND Season 15 premieres October 17
8 PM – THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW Season 5 premieres October 17
9 PM – A SUITABLE BOY Premieres October 17
10 PM – THE NATIONAL

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Murdoch Mysteries: Peter Mitchell discusses the Season 14 finale and looks ahead to Season 15

[Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched the Season 14 finale, “Everything is Broken, Part 2.”]

Things are mended for others, but the overriding theme of Monday’s Season 14 finale of Murdoch Mysteries lived up to its name. Or perhaps the episode’s alternate title could have been, “Everything is Up in the Air.” Not as catchy, but certainly apt. By the episode’s end, there was closure for some (Henry and Ruth welcomed a daughter, with a little help from Margaret), but that was it. If Season 15 is greenlit, there will be much to wrap up, from Watts and Jack’s relationship to Violet’s actions against Arthur, Bobby’s Brackenreid’s prison escape, and Effie’s kidnapping at the hands of Dorothy AND Amelia.

And, of course, we can’t forget William and Julia, the former who has left for Montreal—Harry in tow—to find Anna, leaving the latter shattered in an empty house.

In our final interview of Season 14, we spoke to showrunner Peter Mitchell about what has happened and what’s to come.

Congratulations! Season 14, despite the pandemic, has been a great mix of comedy and tragedy.
Peter Mitchell: Thanks. Sometimes as the expense of the fans. [Laughs.]

Since you brought it up… when you are writing, do you write with the fans in mind or are you writing to entertain yourselves?
PM: We are aware of certain episodes that are going to get an extra fan reaction, but we certainly don’t censor ourselves because the people who aren’t fans of humour are going to hate this one. We may actually ladle the humour on a little harder! [Laughs.] There is an awareness of what the fans are thinking and if some fan is actually thinking exactly what we were going to do, we change it if we have time. We still write for that four-quadrant group of fans who want the mystery, the ones who want the romance, the ones who want science and the ones who want Victoriana … or Edwardiana now.

You have been very active on Facebook lately leading conversation and playfully prodding the fans. You must love that.
PM: It’s fun and it’s very rewarding for all of the writers to get their work noticed. I have fun with the fans and I think the appreciate knowing we know they’re out there.

You added two new writers to the room this year in Caleigh Bacchus and Christina Ray. They have been great additions. Was it always your intention to add new writers?
PM: Yes, just to mix it up a bit. Caleigh is quite new to the game and brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm and was the story coordinator, so had to handle all of that stuff. She gained confidence and became a voice in the room. Paul [Aitken] and I had a brief experience with Christina Ray a long time ago. We were working on a proposal for an Alien Nation-type show with vampires. We had gotten to know her during that process and I had always wanted the chance to work with her because she is quite good at plot, and plot is something we need in Murdoch. It was difficult because we weren’t in a room, really. For a very short period of time, we were in a physical space and I’m not even sure Caleigh was part of that.

What’s the secret to your writing room success? How are you all able to continue writing compelling storylines?
PM: For the last few years, we’ve ended the season with a bunch of questions. And when you come out of the gate [on a new season] I already have an advantage in that I don’t have to think of anything new, I just have to figure out how to answer these questions that I raised last year. That kind of gets your story brain going. With Murdoch, the stories just come.

At what point did you know Anna Fulford would be part of the season finale?
PM: It was probably late-ish in the season. In the early part of the season, we were really concentrating on the reality of working in the COVID world and trying to tell stories that could be told within it. We really didn’t know how it would look [with social distancing] and then I saw the first few cuts and realized it really didn’t look any different. The closest we came to feeling uneasy was during [“Murdoch Checks In”] because there were more [COVID-19] cases going on and there was the reality of filming in August with a cloth mask on. But once we got through that and knew we were going to be fine, we started to figure out [the season finale].

I always knew, from the minute I saw Sarah Swire appear on the show [as Amelia Ernst] that she was going to be in the finale. She was on Frankie, and she was just f—ing great. I knew that we would have to circle back around on Bobby, and the twisted little relationship between Violet and Arthur we were pretty sure on very early. The Murdoch storyline may have come last. Once we realized we were going to do that, there was no way the physical Anna [Lisa Faulkner] would be in Canada, so we went with the memory of Anna. And, as you can tell, that story is far from resolved.

There are many storylines left to be wrapped up.
PM: And, moving forward, the resolutions will be unexpected.

You joked on Facebook that if George finds a wife and gets married, that will be the end of the show. Do you really feel that way? I want him to be happy.
PM: And, I think at some point he will be. But, you have to keep a certain amount of juice. Brackenreid and Margaret are married and we’re never going to split them up. Murdoch and Ogden are married … what do you do with a married George? What do you do with happy characters? They’re basically the death of a show. Nobody in the most feelgood show, Ted Lasso, was happy. Ted moved to England because he was getting a divorce and he still loved his wife. The woman who hired Ted was still smarting from an affair. No one was happy, but it was still a happy show. We need dilemma. The audience needs dilemma.

As emotional as it was for William to discover there may be a son in his life, Hélène Joy’s performance was incredible. Her facial expressions while watching William and Harry bond was heartbreaking.
PM: It’s funny because a lot of the second part of the season finale is Hélène’s episode. No matter how little screen time she had or the principals she engaged with. She confides in Margaret, which is something she has never done. She has a comedic runner with Ruth through the whole thing, she sees Ruth get something that she has wanted. She is coming to terms that William has another love in his life, which is the son that they were unable to have together. Hélène dialled into that stuff and, as an actress, is aware of overplaying that stuff and doesn’t. She kills in the small moments and I really didn’t have to talk too much to her about it. You have to have guts to portray insecurities and she did a really good job.

Having Effie trapped in a tree was genuinely scary.
PM: Somehow, I got it in my head that I wanted a fairytale ending. Here we have the evil twin sisters and we don’t know or understand either of them. I had this image of Effie stuck in a hollowed-out tree, which felt like a very fairytale type of thing. It wasn’t until very late in the game that I decided there would be two [sisters]. I didn’t want to throw to someone with multiple personalities. And, you could argue that Dorothy is just trying to do right by her sister. I think that Dorothy is the truly evil one. Amelia just wants to marry George because she loves him and Dorothy is trying to facilitate that.

If you are renewed for a 15th season, do you address all of the storylines within the first few episodes?
PM: We address a few of the continuing stories in Episodes 1 and 2, but not all of them. When we do get back to those stories, we will learn that things have progressed. We’ll learn that Jack is married but that Jack and Watts are still seeing each other. I want to have an ongoing murder case in the first episode, which will be Watts’ case because Murdoch is still trying to find answers. Brackenreid will be trying to figure out what happened to Bobby. Crabtree’s line is … well, I’m not even going to tell you. [Laughs.] For mystery fans, there will be a legitimate mystery. And Violet is left in an interesting situation as well.

What did you think of the Season 14 finale? Let me know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Murdoch Mysteries; Caleigh Bacchus breaks down “The .38 Murdoch Special”

[Spoiler alert: Do not continue reading until you have watched “The .38 Murdoch Special.]

Named on of Playback magazine’s 10 to Watch in 2020, Caleigh Bacchus is a new member to the Murdoch Mysteries‘ writer’s room. She, along with Simon McNabb, penned Monday’s instalment, which investigated murder, racism and more.

We spoke to Caleigh Bacchus via email about the key storylines and what fans can expect as Season 14 closes out.

Welcome to the Murdoch Mysteries team! You’re a former track and field athlete. How did you end up working in Canadian television?
Caleigh Bacchus: I’d always been interested in storytelling, but it took me a while to figure out the best medium to do so. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto that I saw film crews all around the city and I considered screenwriting. So I decided to go back to school for film and it was the best decision that I ever made.

And how did you end up in the Murdoch Mysteries writing room?
CB: I interviewed for MM in 2019, but I didn’t get the job that year. They remembered me the next year (2020) and offered me the script coordinator position.

You previously worked on Diggstown with Floyd Kane. What did you learn from him – about storytelling, the craft of TV or anything else – while working with him?
CB: Diggstown was a great experience and it was where I first learned how to break story and really break down a script. After that I was able to go back and apply what I’d learned to my own work. I also learned from Floyd that it’s important to have some ownership over your projects. To take the risk and invest in your work so that you truly have a stake in it.

How did the idea for the main storyline come about, regarding the opium den? Was it discussed in the room first and then fleshed out? What was the inspiration for it?
CB: We started breaking this story during the summer of 2020 while the BLM protests were happening worldwide and we thought that it was important to join in on that conversation of racial injustice. Upon researching the topic, we discovered the Vancouver anti-Asian race rots of 1907 and the Opium Act of 1908 which was also seen as an anti-Asian law. It was a great opportunity to highlight this bit of history so we decided to focus the story there.

It was interesting to get a little history on opium via Brackenreid, Murdoch and Watts. What was it like researching it?
CB: I didn’t personally know all of the history around the opium laws and anti-Asian sentiments in Canada so the research was both informative and heartbreaking.

What about the history of mayonnaise? I didn’t expect that little tidbit.
CB: While mayonnaise had been around since the 1700s, it wasn’t jarred and sold until 1907. So we thought it would be fun if Murdoch and Ogden tried it for the first time on the show.

How did the writing process work between yourself and Simon McNabb? Did you write first, and then pass it to him?
CB: Writing with Simon was a very smooth process. We would split the writing work 50/50 then put our halves together and then we would each do a round of edits to the entire document.

What was the idea behind not showing Miss Hart’s wedding? Was it just due to the shortened episode order?
CB: We thought it would be in character for Miss Hart to have her wedding without inviting any of her colleagues.

The addition of composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor as a historical reference was neat.
CB: Yes. A wonderful black historical figure.

Watts going to Ogden, seeking hypnosis as a “cure” was so heartbreaking. What has it been like to follow Watts’ journey this season?
CB: It’s been quite an emotional journey watching Watts’ plight. It’s good to see how far we’ve come as a society but also a reminder that there is work still to be done because, unfortunately, we can still draw too many similarities from Watts’ story and apply them to the issues facing the LGBTQIA today.

Racism has always been a part of Murdoch Mysteries’ storylines, in particular against the Black community. What has it been like telling Black stories like Momo and Nomi’s on Murdoch this season?
CB: I was really glad to be a part of telling this story and portraying some of the issues that the Black community faced and still face to this day through the characters of the world.

I feel like Brackenreid has put himself in danger with his revealing Nomi is his daughter. Should I be concerned?
CB: You’ll have to wait and see :)

There are just two episodes of Murdoch Mysteries left this season. What can you say about them without giving any secrets away?
CB: They’re a whirlwind. Prepare yourself for a lot of jeopardy and some heart wrenching twists.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Link: Hélène Joy reveals secrets to ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ success

From Rick Bentley of KGET:

Link: Hélène Joy reveals secrets to ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ success
“We have 10-year-olds who love the show. We have 85-year-olds who love the show. And, everyone in between. If ever there was a demographic in their 20s that we didn’t have, we have them now because we got them when they were 10. So now we have everybody across the boards.” Continue reading.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Murdoch Mysteries: Christina Ray talks “The Ministry of Virtue”

[Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched “The Ministry of Virtue.”]

Christina Ray is one of two new additions to the Murdoch Mysteries writer’s room for Season 14. No stranger to Canadian television, Ray has penned and/or produced for series like The Collector, The Best Years, The Pinkertons, Blackstone and Tribal. And, on Monday night, she turned in one heck of a script for Murdoch.

Amid a main storyline about arranged marriages was a tragic blow to the Watts/Jack relationship, as well as a major jump forward in Miss Hart’s bond with Arthur Carmichael. We spoke to Christina Ray, via email, about “The Ministry of Virtue.”

Welcome to the Murdoch Mysteries writer’s room! Give me your backstory. I know you’ve written for shows like The Pinkertons, Blackstone and Tribal. How did you end up in writing in the Canadian TV industry?
Christina Ray: A lot of Canadian writers seek their fortunes down in L.A., but I did the opposite. After winning a screenwriting award in Austin, Texas, I married a Canadian and moved here. I have no regrets. I love Canada.

And how did you end up on Murdoch Mysteries?
CR: I’d worked with executive producers Paul Aitken and Peter Mitchell years ago when we were developing a show about Bulgarian vampires. Alas, that show never came to be and the world will forever be deprived of our Bulgarian vampire brilliance. Flash forward 10 years and I get called in to an interview for Murdoch. I was thrilled by the prospect of working with Peter and Paul again, because they are such witty, fun and generous collaborators.

Where did the idea for the main storyline, arranged marriages, come about? Was it inspired by research you did or was it pitched in the virtual room by someone?
CR: Executive producer Simon McNabb had discovered an article published in The Globe and Mail in 1906 about “Salvation Girls,” women who’d been convicted of various offences in England who were offered the chance to start new lives in Canada as servants, wives and mothers. This was an actual program sponsored by the Salvation Army at the time, and we felt the concept of mail order brides was a juicy one to explore as a Murdoch storyline.

Detective Watts has evolved into a complicated character and he does a lot of heavy lifting with story in this episode. What’s it been like writing for him? Daniel is fantastic in the role.
CR: I loved writing the Watts and Jack scenes. The arc of their relationship is especially heart-wrenching in this episode. Watts is wonderful, quirky and complex in a way that is quite lovable. It’s compelling to watch him navigate the difficult reality of a being gay man at a time when his very identity was against the law.

Miss Hart is another interesting character on Murdoch Mysteries. People love, or hate, her. What’s your take on Miss Hart? Is she just misunderstood?
CR: Violet Hart is a sly, feisty survivor. Despite the challenges of being a woman of colour during the turn of the century, she pursues the life she wants, and I admire her moxie. She’s surprising and mysterious. Her personal dynamic is unlike anyone else in the show. She’s definitely polarizing, but I love her character.

Miss Hart and Arthur Carmichael shared a kiss that was not shown on-camera. Was that a reflection of the shock of the time? Was it written in the script that way or was that a decision director Mina Shum made?
CR: You can thank COVID-19 for that! I would have loved to have shown the kiss on screen, but the pandemic affected our creative choices. As one of our many pandemic related precautions this season had a ‘no kissing’ rule! Many other precautions were taken to keep everyone in our cast and crew safe: daily health check questionnaires, temperature checks, location disinfection, mask requirements, etc. Shaftesbury really knocked it out of the ballpark when it comes to finding a way to continue production during this crisis.

Jack Walker’s butcher shop was vandalized and he and Watts broke up. How could you break them up?!
CR: The course of true love never did run smooth, said Shakespeare. The fact the audience cares that we broke them up is exactly why we broke them up! It’s called drama. Hearts and flowers all the time would be dreadfully dull. All I can say is we’re not done with Jack and Watts. Stay tuned for future twists and turns!

What kind of writer are you? Do you prefer a noisy coffee shop (remember those?) or a quiet room? Do you like to play music while you write? What works for you?
CR: I could never work in a noisy coffee shop. I like a quiet room, with as few distractions as possible. I do listen to music, but it can’t have lyrics. No words, just instruments. I need to hear the dialogue that’s going on in my head without interruption. I love all kinds of music, but while I’m writing what works for me is to listen to ambient electronic grooves like Fila Brazilia, Tosca, or Kruder and Dorfmeister.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail