Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Comments and queries for the week of Oct. 10

Strange Empire is my new favourite. I had such high hopes for this and I wasn’t disappointed. I tend to go for good serial dramas with strong female leads and as this is set in the Canadian West, a place very dear to my heart, the show attracted me from the start. Overall, this was a great pilot and I look forward to more. I think the writers did a good job of making the show dark and adult while at the same time keeping out the swearing–I know many people, like my mother, for instance, wouldn’t watch it if there was. I also like the camera work and use of scenery. Can’t wait to see next week’s episode.–Ally

I teach a Western genre class at the college level and my students will be learning about this Canadian-focused (and Canadian-produced) series. I thought the first episode was strong, with a good set-up of narrative arcs for development. The lead characters/actors gave strong (and believable) performances. The show’s approach and characters are quite singular, given the current TV (and mainstream Western genre) landscape.–Chad

 

I was so pleased to see Jo Joyner on Murdoch Mysteries. I hope you  can write her into more episodes. Glad to see our Tanya [from EastEnders] came across the pond! Good luck to her!–Jacqueline

Hang tight Jacqueline, Jo appears in Monday’s episode of Murdoch too!

We love Murdoch Mysteries. [Monday’s] episode was an unbelievable pairing of the dark side of the waterfront and the thugs that control it and the dealing with the feminine movement to gain the vote. It was very violent and we were shocked that the treatment of the women in their “peaceful protest.” We see that Canada (Upper Canada and its Orangemen hold on democracy for men only) was quite violent which is not how I think of Canada. I hope Crabtree gets back with Dr. Grace and that William and Julia get married so they can have their “dream” child.–Lynn

Hold tight, Lynn. Next week’s episode is even better and I can say that things get pretty tough for Dr. Grace and Crabtree…

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Fire off an email to greg@tv-eh.com.

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Murdoch Mysteries explores the dark side in Season 8

The closing moments of Monday’s Season 8 return of Murdoch Mysteries–“On the Waterfront, Part One”–isn’t like anything the series has done before. A showdown at Toronto’s waterfront between union workers–led by the dastardly O’Shea brothers–faces off against Det. William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and the rest of the Constabulary. Meanwhile, Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy) and Dr. Julia Grace (Georgina Reilly) are caught up in their own conflagration between members of the Suffragette movement and men who don’t take kindly to women wanting to vote.

The carefully choreographed scenes that cut back and forth from wharf to city square ramp up in tension to a boiling point viewers aren’t used to seeing from the CBC drama.

“It was fun to shoot,” Jonny Harris says of the scene between the dock workers and the police force, of which his Constable George Crabtree is a part. “All the dock workers were big sort of stunt guys and all the cops are station cops that have been on the show for years … not huge guys. Everybody went for broke on every take that day.” The conflagration at the dock is a result of union guys refusing to back down against the police, but it’s also about a police force seeking justice for the vicious attack on Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) at the hands of the O’Sheas. The Season 7 finale “The Death of Dr. Ogden,” saw the engagement of Murdoch and Ogden announced, but that happy moment was tempered by the discovery of Brackenreid’s beaten body on a dusty Toronto street.

Monday’s return does address the fate of the beloved Brackenreid while introducing a new boss in Det. Hamish Slorach (Patrick McKenna, Remedy), a man very unlike his predecessor.

As for Crabtree, Season 8 represents growth for the character. His up-and-down relationship with Dr. Grace is put on the back burner when a new lady enters his life in the form of a lady from the series’ past. Harris says Tamara Hope, who appeared in the very first episode of Murdoch Mysteries in 2008, reprises her role as Edna Garrison, a single mom struggling to make ends meet. Crabtree becomes a surrogate father to Edna’s son, a departure for a character usually relied upon for laughs.

“Over so many years, you want to keep your characters that people fell in love with, but you do need to make significant changes otherwise it just becomes redundant,” Harris explains. Does he ever wish Crabtree would show a dark side to him? The Newfoundland native smiles.

“He’s a pretty good guy,” Harris says. “I was liking Crabtree and Grace last year because they each had their moments of being petulant and jealous. I thought that was kind of nice. You have the romance between Ogden and Murdoch, which has always had its obstacles and troubles, but they’re mostly pure of heart. With Crabtree and Grace, it had to do with envy.”

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

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Set visit and video: Murdoch Mysteries tightens up for Season 8

Yannick Bisson may look stern in the above photo, but he’s anything but that on the set of Murdoch Mysteries. The veteran actor was almost constantly smiling when the cameras weren’t rolling during an on-location shoot in Dundas, Ont.

The small town has hosted CBC’s hit time period procedural several times during production on Season 8, and Monday’s saw the cast and crew squished into the confines of a bridal shop on the main street for filming of “The Devil Wears Whalebone.” The pink-tinged business had been turned into the site of a fashion show boasting the latest advances in corset technology. Lithe ladies glided by during rehearsals and several takes under the watchful eye of director Eleanore Lindo and director of photography Jim Jeffrey.

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Kari Matchett (Heartland, Blue Murder) guests as corset seller Heloise Kramp, whose exclusive, groundbreaking design of women’s undergarments leads to a heinous crime. I, along with folks from Murdoch’s production company, Shaftesbury, watched rehearsals and takes as Matchett, Bisson and Jonny Harris rolled through their lines as Heloise, Det. William Murdoch and Constable George Crabtree. I’ve posted a rehearsal take below; it always cracks me up that Bisson tops off his period costume with modern running shoes and only wears dress shoes for wide shots.

Production ran smoothly throughout the day, pausing at one point when blackout curtains on the outside of the bridal shop–the scene was taking place at night–came loose and let sunlight into the room. Most of these folks have been working together for the last eight years, so they’re quick to joke or poke fun at each other; everyone came by to wish Harris a Happy Birthday and tease him about his advancing age.

Look for a feature story on Season 8 in the coming weeks.

 

Murdoch Mysteries returns Monday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.

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