Oi, Murdoch!

As a connoisseur of fine television, I arrogantly assumed I had a comprehensive knowledge of all the shows worth watching. Masterpieces of entertainment like Nero Wolfe, Jeeves and Wooster, Ellery Queen and David Suchet’s Poirot. But a couple months ago, I read a post on an Amazon forum for mystery lovers where someone recommended a little Canadian show set in Victorian times about a police detective solving crimes with revolutionary methods. I never heard of Murdoch Mysteries before and set out on an investigation to learn. I discovered this show hosted many of the actors from the revolving Nero Wolfe troupe – people who are just as famous in my house as Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and William Powell. In addition, Murdoch Mysteries (like Nero Wolfe) is produced in Canada and even shares some of the same production team as Nero Wolfe. As an A-1 Nero Wolfe Nerd, I became obsessed with finding and watching Murdoch Mysteries, my expectations of it rising with every passing day. I began visiting the Netflix page as part of my Check Email-Check Twitter procrastination routine.

And then, one day about two weeks ago, Netflix magically added the first season to instant. As if the great Netflix programmer just woke up that morning and decided to make my life. After whizzing through the first season of episodes, loving them more than I ever could have foretold and being left with no more to watch, I remedied my Murdoch withdrawal with the purchase of the second and third seasons. I’m now a full-fledged Murdoch fan. And I aim to make each of you fans, too. Here’s why:

#1 – Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch

You will be hard pressed to find a better looking man, honestly. Yannick tops Richard Armitage, Matt Bomer and Niall Matter in my estimation (not to say I’m reneging my feelings for any of these lovely fellas…). I’m shocked he’s not more famous, just for this alone. But he’s not just a drop-dead gorgeous guy. His portrayal of Detective William Murdoch is heartfelt, honest and wildly appealing. He balances a character who is both a devout Catholic and a Renaissance man. Murdoch reads extensively both on scientific and literary topics, utilizing his enormous range of knowledge to solve complex crimes in the Toronto area. He pioneers new methods of detecting such as “finger marks,” blood type matching and phone call tracing. And even with all this, he is soft-spoken but not a sap, confident but not conceited and always stands up for what is right. The ultimate hero.

#2 – The opening theme

This is one of the best opening themes ever created. It’s a terrific tune, the visuals are impeccable and it sets just the right mood for every episode. If I had a cellphone, this would be my ringtone.

#3 – Thomas Craig as Inspector Brackenreid

Thomas Craig is a delight as the crusty but loveable Inspector Brackenreid, Murdoch’s boss. His colorful phrases are my favorite part of his character. “Oi, Murdoch!” “Bugalug” and “Me ole muckers!” have already entered into our family lexicon – always uttered with the proper accent, of course.

#4 – Jonny Harris as Constable Crabtree

Constable Crabtree is Murdoch’s sincere and adorable sidekick. Crabtree’s main ambition is to become a great detective like Murdoch and he never misses an opportunity to throw out a hilarious wild theory. Though Brackenreid has a low Crabtree tolerance, Murdoch often finds Crabtree’s crazy revelations helpful to cracking a tough problem. In the episode called Belly Speaker, Crabtree’s reaction to a ventriloquist’s dummy calling him “Crabby” is hilarious!

#5 – Helene Joy as Dr. Julia Ogden

Dr. Julia Ogden is the coroner in Toronto – a lady coroner, no less! She’s a strong, capable, brilliantly smart woman with a keen eye for foul play. If someone was murdered, you can bet she’ll find out about it. Her quirky personality adds a fun element to an otherwise serious character. My favorite quirk is how she plays gramophone records of popular songs in her mortuary as she conducts autopsies. She is often described in the show as Murdoch’s equal and the two have a somewhat rocky romantic relationship. Dr. Ogden often gets drawn in on Murdoch’s cases because she has connections to the upper crust of Toronto. Her style is inspiring my thoughts about my fall wardrobe, particularly the long, slim skirts and her soft braided hairstyles.

Are you convinced yet? Check out Season 1 on Netflix Instant. The other seasons are available on DVD from Netflix. And, if you are one of the incredibly lucky people who actually lives in Canada, you can watch Season 4 in its entirety on the CityTv website. Get watching!


Filed under Telly

21 responses to “Oi, Murdoch!

  1. Sam

    Yes, this has very high production values judging by that opening. I don’t think we have it here in Australia yet but I’ll keep an eye out for it! Thank you!

  2. Ooooh! This show looks so great! I’m currently addicted to BBC’s Robin Hood, but once I finish with that — ON TO THIS! haha

    You have presented a very convincing argument!

  3. I’m so glad to have introduced you to it, Sam! I hope Australia become Murdoch-ized very soon. He’s too great to miss!

  4. Millie – Ohhhhh, Richard Armitage’s Robin Hood? I need to watch that myself. I only got through the first episode before I was distracted. Heheee, I’m very happy to hear my argument is convincing! :D

  5. Maureen Jennings’ original Murdoch novels are very dark, and there were a few TV movies made starring Peter Outerbridge prior to the weekly series. The show is a winner in every way! Keep spreading the word, Casey!

  6. Of COURSE Iit’s RA!’s Robin Hood! haha! That’s why I’m addicted!

    I can’t understand why you could stop with just one episode! ;-D

  7. Well, I got annoyed with the guy who plays Robin. I kept wishing RA was Robin!

  8. Patricia – I’ve been wondering about the original movies. From what I’ve read, they are vastly different from the series. What do you think of them? Thanks so much for patiently listening to my Murdoch ramblings! I’m so happy we’re able to talk about him!

  9. I prefer the tone of the series to the original movies. It’s not that the show is light-hearted because it touches on many difficult subjects, but the movies were not only dark in nature, but dark in the cinematography and the overall feeling was slightly unpleasant. The program knows how to maintain a balance which keeps you coming back for more.

  10. I loved Murdoch Mysteries! I can’t wait for the next season but it’s going to be it’s last. Citytv decided to cancel it for no good reason :'(

  11. Patricia – Makes sense! Shows that are dark visually often have a depressing tone overall. Give me technicolor brightness! That’s one of my favorite aspects of the show, how much color is in every scene. :)

  12. Welcome, Kate – I’m heartbroken by the cancellation news, too. Have you signed the petition to save it? (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savemurdochmysteries/) My hope is that another network will pick it up and allow it to go on. I don’t want to see it end now that I’ve found it!

  13. Lara

    Ah, the A-1 “Nero Wolfe” nerd noticed some of tge same production crew in “Murdoch,” but I’m guessing you missed Conrad Dunn, who was perfect as the perfect Saul Panzer in “NW.” He was disguised :-) as Professor Otranto, the dance instructor, in “Snakes and Ladders'” (Season 2, Episode 2).

    Great blog.

  14. Hi Lara – Actually, Conrad Dunn’s appearance in the show was one of the main deciding factors for me to watch it! I counted down each of the episodes as I watched them, just waiting for his to come up in the series. I LOVED his appearance as Professor Otranto – it was even better than I had hoped!

    Now that Warehouse 13 alumni Aaron Ashmore has appeared on the show, I’m really hoping Saul Rubinek can be persuaded to do an episode. ;)

    Thanks so much for your comment!

  15. Ahhh…. a post all about MM…. lovely… even if I have read it all/seen it all before! lol :D Twice is always good! ;)

  16. Heehee, Bekah – you can never have too much Murdoch! :D

  17. That’s the truth! ;)

  18. Yannick and Matt Bomer should play brothers.

  19. Ah, Hilary – there’s a spark of genius! Thanks so much for your comment!

  20. Eiyra

    This show has recently become an obsession of mine. I couldnt agree with you more on any of those points (especially the “Crabby” one). I find the brittishisms jumping into my speech (especially “Oi! (You!…)”, myself whistling the theme song unconsciously while doing household chores, or chuckling to myself about the latest Crabtree antics.
    Im wondering if you’ve seen season 5, the latest season? I shan’t give too much away, in case you haven’t seen it, but I simply must say that the finale was marvelous.
    Also, do you know about the spin-off series, such as “The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs” or more recently, “The Murdoch Effect”?

  21. Ezra

    I noticed a comment posted concerning the cancellation of Murdoch Mysteries. Perhaps you already know, but CBC has brought the show on for another season, starting in January 2013.

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