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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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