My Canadian readers are going to laugh hysterically at me for this post. Our house is really into Murdoch Mysteries now. 10 seasons in, I’m decidedly late to the party surrounding the Canadian, period mystery series. If you’re like me, and haven’t flipped over to The Artful Dective on Ovation (how we get Murdoch here in the States), check it out. It’s my new show of the moment, and has managed to (at least for now) fill the Miss. Fisher sized hole in my heart.
The series centers around William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), a police detective working in late 19th and turn of the century Toronto. Working alongside Murdoch are the adorable Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Dr. Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) and Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig).
As the series developed, a creative and playful tone has emerged in the narrative. The show’s writers are not afraid to tackle topics ranging from anarchy to vampirism (with a few nudists throw in). The stories incorporate a number of historical elements, having characters in the show seemingly create important elements of popular culture like the invention of the frisbee, to the board game Clue. The moments may not be historically accurate, but they are fun, chuckle inducing scenes crafted by the show’s talented writing staff to explore the already well-developed characters.
The cast is particularly strong. It can now safetly be said that I will watch anything that Jonny Harris does (hint, Hollywood, hint). The actor moonlights (and honed his skills) as a stand-up comic, and is the host of Still Standing on the CBC during the summers. While it took yours truly a bit to warm up to Murdoch as a character, Yannick Bisson has thrived as the writers developed a feel for the character. The actor, 10 seasons into the run, and really comfortable with his character, seems to thrive across the multiple tones of the show. He handles everything from the drama and romance, to comedy with total ease. He’s a talent to watch.
The female characters in the show Dr. Julia Ogden, and later Dr. Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly) are both stellar characters, and breaths of fresh air. Both women are doctors and coroners working for the Constabulary. In that role they are allowed tremendous influence in the narrative. Ogden at one point tells Grace that they really should be passing all information on to the officers, as they are not the most observant. As such, the two characters function as clever investigators, and serious carrer women in a time when many women were barely allowed to step out from behind the kitchen sink.
And speaking as an unabashed (and admitted) shipper, the show is a goldmine. For much of the series, Detective Murdoch and Dr. Ogden have been engaged in a will they or won’t they relationship of the highest caliber. Both characters are stubborn, and as soon as something goes right for the them, they pull back. You’re failing me Netflix, not having the last two seasons. As the show developed, Dr. Grace and George have recently entered this territory of will they or won’t they as well, and at times the series seems to revel in playing with these (sometimes all to fragile) fangirl feels.
Murdoch Mysteries is due to premiere its 10th season on October 10th. The Canadian period crime series has developed into quite a gem. Fans of Miss. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries should check out the series. It’s colorful characters, and flexible storylines make the series a binge-worthy stand-out, and ripe for viewing.
Netflix subscribers can watch seasons 1 through 7. Seasons 8 and 9 are currently available on iTunes.