Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Interview: Murdoch Mysteries’ Hélène Joy lets her hair down

It’s not often that Hélène Joy is able to really let her hair down. On Murdoch Mysteries it’s always drawn up in a no-nonsense tousle, part of the restrictive look of the times sported by Dr. Julia Ogden and the women of the 1900s. The hair and the wardrobe are so extreme, Joy says, she’s rarely recognized out on the street.

And while Dr. Ogden may be constrained by her wardrobe and the time’s social mores, Joy certainly isn’t. In this wide-ranging chat from the set, the Perth, Australia, native talked about her arm injury—suffered while biking in Toronto—the upcoming season, meeting fans (and how far some will go to meet the cast) and her interests outside of Murdoch Mysteries.

How is your arm?
Hélène Joy: I have a plate and 10 screws in it. It’s so nasty and it’s still a bit stiff. It’s at maybe 85 per cent of what it was. I’ve got a really good swing in softball now, I’m stronger than I used to be.

A young fan was on the set today and excited to meet everyone. What is it like meeting people who love this show and these characters so much?
Being here on the set working you sometimes forget the impact that you have on people when they watch you on the television. We were in Ayr, Ont., filming and somebody tried to get access. They pretended to be somebody’s brother to get into the makeup truck. It got a little rowdy.

The running joke is that I never get recognized in public because I look so different. With my hair down, it’s more of a transformation than it is with the guys. But when people do recognize me, it’s like, ‘Whaaaattt??’ I’ve met fans as me and they stare at me, like, ‘Where do I know her from?’ It happens to me all the time. I’ve met people who have told me I look 20 years older as Julia. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not!

I’ve met people who have told me I look 20 years older as Julia. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not!

Showrunner Peter Mitchell told me at the end of Season 8 that this upcoming season will feature more of William and Julia.
We did give the fans some of that last season, but they wanted more. What they did get, they loved. We’re allowed to play and flirt and be completely open and there is way more of that this year because we know how much the fans love it.

The next step for Julia and William is a baby…
I think that would be amazing. I think it would be hilarious because I think they’d be terrible parents. They’re a couple of nerds who don’t really have any idea what they’re doing. Neither of them would stop working, so how would they balance that?

You’re a member of Women In Film & Television. Do you feel as though women are being given more opportunities in TV and film than they were?
It’s always changing. If I think back 10 years ago, when I first came to Canada, my agent told me, ‘You haven’t made it, but you’ll work. There will be less roles for you as you get older, but you’ll work.’ That was the attitude that I came into. Like, if you’re not 22, it won’t be that easy. And I wasn’t 22. It’s no longer that way at all. The best roles for women are in their 30s and up. I’m glad to see that no one is buying into that and that directors aren’t buying into that.

People want to see lead women and women’s stories. I think the future is really bright.

What about producing and directing. Is that something you’re interested in doing?
Not producing, I’m not really interested in that. Directing is something I’d be interested in, but I’m not one to step onto a set and direct. If anything, I’d be directing my own short. I have a short that I’d like to make that I wrote some time ago and I have a support system to do it but it requires time. I’ve been doing this long enough that I know what I’d want.

What is the short about?
It’s set in Australia on Valentine’s Day in the heat, but because the seasons are different [between North America and Australia] maybe I’d set it in L.A. It’s a weird love story with a dark twist and not a lot of dialogue. Only one scene of dialogue, actually, and it’s very intense. I can see all of the camera work; it’s all done in my head. Now I just need a bunch of money!

Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries returns Monday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. on CBC.


Comments and queries for the week of July 9

Back to Square One on Dark Matter

“… the ring in his bedside table was apparently taken off his dead father, Emperor Ishida, after he was murdered by his son … a son identified as Four.”

But recall in the pilot that Five said she remembered living in the palace “until they killed my father and came after me. I could have killed them but I didn’t. I carved out their eyes and left them for my stepmother to find, the bitch.” When Two asked her, “You carved out their eyes?” Five answered, “Well, in the dream it was me, but it wasn’t wasn’t really me, because it wasn’t my dream.” Now we know it was Four’s dream, and that it wasn’t a dream, but a memory.

So according to Five’s memory of the events, Four didn’t actually murder his father; it sounds like his stepmother had the father murdered and then pinned it on Four. —Kathode

Thanks for clearing that up; I had totally forgotten that hint from Episode 1.

Is George leaving Murdoch Mysteries?

I live in Pretoria, South Africa, and when ITV choice started we first saw Murdoch, but Season 8 has just ended, so we are are looking for Season 9. Hope George is cleared. Wouldn’t be the same without him, but I believe he leaves the series. —Margaret

Which Orphan Black clone do you identify with? Who is your favourite reality TV host?

I identify with Alison all the way. She’s the one with the most “normal” life of the clones, I know a few women in real life very similar to her. I gotta respect how she manages to hold her family together (rehab stint aside) despite all the craziness going on around here. And you have to respect her ambition to be School Trustee and Drug Queen at the same time.

Also chose Jon Montgomery. He anchors the show well and you can see enthusiasm for it each year. The U.S. one has ran for 26 seasons so you can understand why Phil seems tired but it still dampens things a bit. —Dan


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


Slideshow: Behind the scenes on Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries

Production on Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries is well underway in and around Toronto. Fans already know that the upcoming 18 episodes boast appearances by Mark Twain (played by William Shatner), Anne of Green Gables‘ creator Lucy Maud Montgomery and Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier.

TV, eh? was on the set during the filming of Episode 4, “Barenaked Ladies,” and we snuck away from filming to get a tour of not only the sets housed in MM HQ but the stunning, expansive backlot.

Come along for the ride!



Comments and queries for the week of June 26

South of the border love for Murdoch Mysteries

I am a Bostonian and I currently live in the L.A. area and I find most of our syndicated television dramas/comedies to be “cookie-cutter” programs. When a new and fresh program idea comes along that garners my interest and gains popularity, it eventually gets so diluted (cast/writing changes) and repeated to death it quickly loses its appeal.

It is SO REFRESHING to have found this gem known as Murdoch Mysteries/The Artful Detective.  The core cast are all brilliant in their portrayals of their diverse characters. The continuity of storylines and the character development is a tribute to the writing teams. This TV series has been like opening a very good book and being drawn to the characters, chapter by chapter and always anticipating what will happen next. (Yes, I do realize the basis of this TV show is Ms. Jennings book series—which I am now hoping to read this summer.)

THANK YOU, CANADA and the men and women involved in its total production—quality programming at its best. I also have to thank my sister in Boston. When she told me of the premise (a Toronto detective from the turn the century who solves murders that involve the basic “whodunit” woven with historical characters), I took the bait. BEEN HOOKED ever since. I very much look forward to the next chapter in Season 9. —Corrinna

Murdoch Mysteries star celebrates small-town Canada with laughter

Nice! Love Murdoch Mysteries. It’s my buffer for the rough action that never ends on Game of Thrones. Jonny Harris has a dry sense of humour that I can relate to being a Mainer-Portland, Maine that is. Best wishes to him for success with this endeavor!—Lenora

Is Canada ready for another late-night talk show?

Strombo’s The Hour/Tonight was the closest (and best) we’ve ever come to a viable late-night model. Re-invented the format, top-notch host with smart interview style, top-notch guests (leaning heavily on BIG stars with some windows for Canadian up and comers) and a bold and flashy style. It was the perfect storm that I don’t think can be easily replicated. Someone will want to do it cheap, have low-rent guests, hire a host who thinks they’re better at it than they will be and the writing will be sub-par. And it has to find an audience. But maybe I’m wrong … a reboot of Thicke of the Night? I hear Alan’s schedule is wide open. —Jon

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


Murdoch Mysteries star celebrates small-town Canada with laughter

On Murdoch Mysteries, Jonny Harris plays Constable George Crabtree, tasked with aiding Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) in the solving of crimes in and around turn-of-the-century Toronto. But in his newest series, Harris does some investigating of his own.

The veteran Newfoundland comedian swaps his scratchy police wardrobe for regular duds in Still Standing. Debuting Tuesday on CBC, the series finds the energetic lad discovering small communities across Canada and spotlighting the citizens who call the areas home. As Harris told me at CBC’s upfront announcement, he spends five days in each community, getting to know those who live and work there and doing various chores (like milking goats or lassoing a calf). At the end of it, Harris hosts a small comedy show where he tells jokes based on his experiences, a tough task for a guy who prefers to wait until the last minute to write, even if he does have a couple of guys helping him.

“We write jokes while we’re on the road,” he explains. “We’ll meet someone in the morning and then we’ll furiously write on our laptops. Then we’ll go and meet the next guy or I’ll do the next activity and then over dinner we’ll write. Then we have to out together the set itself in a way that flows and makes sense to people.   At the end of four days I have to try and cram it all into my brain.”

Thirteen episodes comprise Season 1 of Still Standing and among the communities featured are Rowley, Alberta—population eight—a virtual ghost town neighbouring communities support with a monthly pizza night; Berwick, Nova Scotia, a.k.a. the Apple Capital of Canada; Souris, Prince Edward Island; Oil Springs, Ontario, the birthplace of the modern oil industry in North America; and Coleman, Alberta (population just over 1,000), a location fraught with tragedy. Mining disasters, including the Frank Slide of 1903 that wiped half the town of neighbouring Frank off the map.

“They have a very on-their-sleeve attitude about the slide, which made it very interesting for me comedically,” Harris admitts.

Locations were chosen because they were struggling to survive as towns, were locations not on major highways and places most people had ever heard of. The communities may be far-flung, but they all shared the same passion for the land they and past generations call home.

“The goal of the show is to celebrate the towns,” Harris notes. “And if somewhere down the line someone decides to stop in there because they saw it on Still Standing then it’s even better.”

Still Standing airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.


Will you be watching Jonny Harris in his new role? Let me know in the comments below! Follow Greg on Twitter.