Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Preview: Murdoch Mysteries sets sail

Happy New Year Murdoch Mysteries fans! If you’re like me, much of the break after the last new episode of Season 12, “Secrets and Lies,” has been spent wondering.

How would the huge revelation that Thomas has a daughter affect his relationship with Margaret? By the close of “Secrets and Lies,” she had asked him to leave the house, throwing the future of their marriage up in the air. This week, Episode 10 catches up with our favourite crime fighters in the cheekily-titled “Pirates of the Great Lakes.” Here’s what the CBC has revealed as the official synopsis for it:

As Murdoch helps an Italian detective recover a shipload of stolen antiquities, Brackenreid considers shipping out.

And, as usual, here a few more tidbits after watching a screener of the instalment, written by Dan Trotta and directed by Leslie Hope.

Murdoch unveils another invention
This one, like the robotic vacuum cleaner, is designed for home use. William has found it necessary to build a contraption because Julia is plotting social events at the house.

History recalled
As has become the norm with Murdoch Mysteries, the show references a real-world event as part of its storytelling. In this case, it’s the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The investigation also calls for Crabtree to go undercover, which is always a good time.

Guest stars aplenty
Paolo Mancini—playing the wonderfully energetic and passionate Italian detective Flavio Pupazzi—Jeremy Raymond, Hugh Thompson and Craig Brown (a familiar face on Murdoch Mysteries as Eddie Crawford) all get some screen time on Monday night.

Thomas and Margaret
I wish I could say that things are looking up for the Inspector and Mrs. Brackenreid, but when we catch up with his on Monday things don’t look good for any type of reunion.

Ruth and Higgins
They’re together and you know what that means. Laughs, especially when Ruth decides she wants to help her dear husband pay the bills.

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

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Comments and queries for the week of November 30

What’s next [on Murdoch Mysteries]? Will all the usual gang have their own ‘one-man show’ specials? Will Crabtree have to go back to his hometown and run his aunty’s business? Will Higgins have to set up a new money-making scheme with his wife to replace her lost fortune? After 12 years, there mustn’t be many fresh crime tales to tell. —Andrew

What happened to the promise of a Murdoch-Ogden crime-solving team? By the wayside now? I have always loved the other characters as part of the ensemble working around the power couple of Murdoch and Ogden, but not, as Andrew puts it, as a ‘one-man show’ each. Ogden did not even put in an appearance in this one. I always liked Brackenreid but not to the point of caring to learn about his past (same as for Watts). Not much of an incentive to continue watching the show if such a trend is the way it is going. Hélène Joy is a talented actress I’m sure she can do better than just having her name shown in the credits. —Noele

Noele, I missed Julia too, but if the ensemble; William, Julia, Brack and George (don’t consider anyone else a part of the main group) each gets a show about their backstory, I’d love to see it. I want to know more about every one of them, when they were kids, their parents, their love life, work, relationships (all kinds). With 11 years worth of storylines, there’s so much character history the writer’s can explore. I like the mystery part of MM, but I love the character-driven part even more. So, as much as I missed seeing Julia, I’m so excited to see what her episode or ‘secret/lie’ will be. And what I’d love to see even more is William and Julia’s shared past explored, even going back to earlier seasons. Season 2: What did William say to Julia in the hot air balloon ride? Season 6: At the Queens Hotel, what did they talk about, or do after playing dominoes? To me, that’s be really interesting! —Crystal

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

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Murdoch Mysteries: Thomas Craig talks “Secrets and Lies”

Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched the “Secrets and Lies” episode of Murdoch Mysteries.

After so many seasons on the air, showrunner Peter Mitchell can still catch me off guard. I was left speechless after Monday’s latest episode for a couple of reasons. First, we learned a lot about Thomas Brackenreid. A treasure trove of information about his past that included another woman and the daughter he didn’t know he had. And second, the result of Thomas’ past has thrown his future with Margaret into serious doubt.

Will the couple reunite? What was going through Thomas Craig’s mind when he read the script that unveiled Brackenreid’s backstory? I shot an email to Thomas Craig to ask that, and more, to him in London, where he’s performing in the play Soldier On by Jonathan Lewis.

This season of Murdoch Mysteries has been very entertaining, from creative murders in the potato cooking room to the Higgins-Newsome wedding and the Halloween episode. What’s your take on the scripts for Season 12 so far?
Thomas Craig: The episodes this year have been the usual mix of serious and slightly absurd which I think is the charm of the show, because it’s a bit of something for everyone.

What were your thoughts when you learned “Secrets and Lies” would focus most of its storyline on Inspector Brackenreid? You must have been excited.
TC: I was pleased to learn more about Brackenreid’s previous life even though him being confronted with a daughter he was unaware of was something I wasn’t quite expecting.

I was shocked when Thomas said, “I think our daughter is still alive.” What was your reaction to Peter Mitchell when you read that?
TC: I think Peter always tries to throw a bit of a curveball at the audience, so I’m never really shocked at anything he comes up with.

We’ve gotten hints at Thomas’ backstory over the years, but this one was a surprise. A daughter with another woman. Did Peter Mitchell ever give you an indication before this season that this was part of the Brackenreid history?
TC: I was never told anything about this storyline pre-shoot, but I don’t really want to know too far in advance—I like to be as surprised as anybody else.

It’s not often that we see Thomas really open his heart up. As an actor, this script must have made you happy. You’re getting to explore and show another side to this man, a side viewers have only gotten the odd glimpse of.
TC: It’s always good as an actor to explore different emotions and be put into situations that are not the norm for your character.

Leslie Hope has directed several episodes of Murdoch Mysteries over the years. What does she bring to the table as a director?
TC: My favourite directors, whether it is in TV or theatre, are always actors who direct, so for that reason I love working with Leslie. Plus, she brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the set.

It’s interesting to me how Brackenreid has softened his world views over the seasons. He’s become more accepting of many lifestyles.
TC: Brackenreid has had to evolve and become slightly more tolerant and accepting—working with Murdoch over 11 years would rub off on anybody.

Your scenes with Raven as Sarah were wonderfully touching and emotional. What was it like working with her?
TC: Raven was wonderful to work with—I felt I’d known her a long time, she was so easy and laid back. It was a really lovely week we spent together in St. Marys.

By the end of the episode, Margaret had asked Thomas to leave. Can this rift be mended before the end of Season 12?
TC: You’ll have to watch and see how things play out over the second half of the season, but it is certainly a difficult situation the Brackenreid family has found themselves in.

Murdoch Mysteries returns Monday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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Preview: Murdoch Mysteries spotlights Brackenreid in “Secrets and Lies”

After a week off to celebrate Canadian literature with the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Murdoch Mysteries returns with “Secrets and Lies,” a very Inspector Brackenreid-centric instalment.

Here’s what the CBC has released with regard to an official synopsis:

When Brackenreid leaves Toronto to help an old friend find a missing woman, he learns he’s a lot closer to the case than he thought.

And here are more tidbits I gleaned after watching a screener for the episode, written by Peter Mitchell and directed by Leslie Hope.

What is Thomas up to?
The episode starts in disarray. Thomas Brackenreid is looking for someone, but it’s not clear who they are and what their relationship to him is. Not only that, it’s not even obvious where the good Inspector is. It’s all pretty unsettling. And then, well, what he says just past the four-minute mark will cause your jaw to drop.

John and Margaret put in an appearance
With Brackenreid at the centre of “Secrets and Lies,” it makes sense that his son and wife would be part of the storyline. It’s always nice to see Charles Vandervaart and Arwen Humphreys on-screen. Look for Raven Dauda, Shailene Garnett and Masa Lizdek in guest roles.

Meanwhile, at Station House No. 4 …
… Murdoch and Crabtree become more concerned as the hours tick by and the Inspector remains unaccounted for.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Murdoch Mysteries: Production designer Bob Sher reveals the on-location magic behind the show

Bob Sher and his team do amazing work on Murdoch Mysteries. And, if they do it really well, you don’t even notice it. That’s because Sher, the show’s production designer, is tasked with creating wonderful sets like William and Julia’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home and lesser-known items like hiding road paint and parking meters when the show is filming on location.

Sher, who has worked on projects like Dino Dan, Schitt’s Creek and Traders, gave me behind-the-scenes scoop on how he does it and how—thanks to Benjamin Moore—Murdoch Mysteries fans can paint their home to look just like William and Julia’s.

What does the title of production designer mean on Murdoch Mysteries?
Bob Sher: It involves the fact that you have to do a lot of research. You have to go back to 1906 and even before that. And then, when we go on location … building sets is one thing because you can do whatever you want. But when you go on a location you have to change all the signs, make sure that the street lights are right, cover up all the parking meters. And one of the biggest things, if you can believe it, is covering up the white lines and yellow lines on the street. It becomes a bit of a conundrum to get it all worked out and make sure everything is period correct.

We have such a dedicated audience that they will see a bus stop and they will write letters. So, you have to be really diligent about research and making sure everything is period correct, right down to a chain link fence. Even though it was invented in 1845, not everyone might know that.

Where do you go for all of that research? Is it done online?
BS: We go online. I also have a bunch of assistants that work with me. We also go to the Toronto Research Library and look at pictures of what life was like back then. Fortunately, there was a lot of photography taken back then. But then, it’s all black and white. The challenge is what I think the colours were back then and what others think the colours were back then. I take a lot of my cues from San Francisco. I visited there many years ago and a lot of the buildings were painted very strange colours. Mints, yellows and light greens. It looked very odd, but you know what? It was all historical. What I’ve tried to do in the last couple of years on Murdoch is try and get us into brighter colours and better colours and not just brown.

I know that a lot of the show before was what we called Murdoch brown. To me, the lighting was a little darker. So, we’ve tried to lighten it up with the colours on the walls and I think it’s made a bit of a difference. I think everyone is saying the show looks different and a little bit better, fortunately, because I’m not just using brown.

And with Joanna [Syrokomla] in wardrobe, we’re sort of coordinating with each other and she’s doing really beautiful costumes. Between us, we’ve kind of put it together and come up with a palette of colours and have really enhanced the colours of the show. The world wasn’t black and white back then. They had colour. And, in fact, they had richer colours than we had in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s because they used dyes from plants. That’s what I’m trying to do with the show. And Benjamin Moore, which are the colours I usually use, have historic colours. They’ve done their research into what historic colours are.

You mentioned covering up parking meters, signs and paint on the roads. How do you obscure that stuff?
BS: There are a couple of things that we do. One of the things that I’ve done is put birdseed on the lines. Birdseed has different colours. The only problem with birdseed is on a windy day it blows off. Another thing that we do is that I’ve had my scenic [painters] paint some rubber and vinyl, cut them into strips and lay them down on the street. The biggest problem with all that is that not all asphalt is the same colour. And if it rains, the asphalt gets even darker. It gets a little tricky. The other thing that we can do is we can place a wagon over top to hide the lines.

Now, in St. Mary’s, Ontario, they were so happy to see us that I asked the locations guy if he could ask the city if they could just paint out the yellow lines. Which they did. They painted out the white and yellow parking lines for us and then repainted it. Kudos to St. Mary’s for letting us do that.

A lot of the coverups are masked with crates; we’ll place a crate or barrel or street dressing in a particular position that, based on where the camera is pointing, it kind of hides it. With parking meters it’s a little trickier because you can’t just take them off. So, when we shoot in Cobourg say, we made covers that went over the parking meters that looked like you could tie a horse to it. It was sort of tongue and groove and was painted a Murdoch brown colour. And we just slipped them over the top of these parking meters. And every once in awhile we’d have a guy with a horse standing near it.

I have to ask you about the Frank Lloyd Wright house. It looks amazing.
BS: I thought that was a great opportunity that the producers and the writers have given me to move William and Julia out of their hotel that they’ve been in and take the leap that Frank Lloyd Wright was around [the area]. I’ve always been a fan of the guy anyway and it was just a lovely thing to do to have a brand-new set that looks totally different than anything else Murdoch has had. We did a lot of research into what the stained glass windows should look like, the different things that he puts in his houses, the tables, the chairs, the desk, everything. Some of the things we had to build because they’re too expensive to buy and some of them we got a pretty good deal on. That furniture is still pretty popular these days.

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

Image courtesy of CBC.

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