Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Caveat lector! Be warned that here there be major spoilers, both marked and unmarked.As per wiki policy, title of the trope should not be spoiler-tagged on Character Sheets which can reveal whether the character is honest or deceiving, and there are also several death tropes or twist tropes. Proceed with caution.
open/close all folders
Detective William Murdoch
Played By: Yannick Bisson
A detective at Toronto's station house 4, Murdoch investigates and solves crimes by using what were unorthodox and untested methods. Though his methods raise eyebrows, his results are successful.
The Ace: He's beyond great at his job and everybody either admires him or at least acknowledges the good of his progressive methods and amazing dedication to his work.
Adorkable: Detective Murdoch can be endearingly awkward, which is probably a major reason why the likes of Dr. Ogden and Enid Jones fall for him.
Agent Scully: His usual role, as he has to scully Crabtree's outrageous ideas. However, Murdoch is a deeply religious man. In one episode, he had a Near Death Experience and did not try to deny it.
Badass Bookworm: He knows everything modern science has achieved, and he can apply his knowledge on constructing various gadgets that help during his investigation. As a policeman, he can also handle himself in a fight when he's called on to do so.
Been There, Shaped History: Seems to have met every famous person alive at the time and invented several modern inventions, including the lie detector and gear shifts for bicycles.
By-the-Book Cop: He's very honest and actually ahead of his time, for instance, he would never beat a criminal during an interrogation. He's by-the-book almost to a fault. For example, when asked, he admitted that a criminal confessed after beating when the original report claimed it was a voluntary admittance of guilt. Even though he knew said criminal was guilty of rape and murder.
Chick Magnet: Dr. Julia Ogden, Mrs. Enid Jones, Anna Fulford and Sally Pendrick all demonstrate more than a passing interest in Murdoch. Various ladies he encounters during his investigations are interested as well.
Dashingly Dapper Derby: He wears a Homburg. The hat has its level of cool, especially considering the setting.
Fair Cop: He's a very attractive member of law enforcement.
Famed in Story: Downplayed example. Several people, usually famous figures themselves, recognize his achievements. In "Murdoch in Toyland", he finds out that he has a fangirl who is fascinated by his work and follows all his cases in the press.
Dr. Ogden and he often call each other by their first names, and later in the series they also refer to each other as William and Julia, which reveals their deeper personal relationship.
He calls Constables Crabtree and Higgins George and Henry frequently. However, they cannot reciprocate as Murdoch is their superior.
Has a Type: He's by no means a Casanova or seducer who would pursue women, but if he's ever interested in a woman, she's intelligent and usually blond (his deceased fiancée Liza note not much is known about her background or personality, Dr Ogden, Mrs Jones, Anna Fulford and Mrs Pendrick). Inspector Brackenreid feels an urge to point it out to him in "Evil Eye of Egypt", saying that he should be careful during an investigation because beautiful intelligent ladies are his weak spot. The lady in question, Dr. Iris Bajjali, is highly intelligent, but a dark Arabian beauty.
Ideal Hero: He would be a Knight in Shining Armor if he lived in the Middle Ages. The whole reason Murdoch became a policeman was to work for justice and make Toronto a better place.
Intelligence Equals Isolation: Hinted at in the episode "The Great Wall" when he's let down that not even among police force he can feel as a part of the group. However, he's very much admired and well-liked by everybody at Station House 4.
The Knights Who Say Squee: Detective Murdoch, our hero, is always delighted or thrilled to meet famous inventors and scientists, but he absolutely fan-boys over some of them, like when he meets Nicola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Alva Edison or especially Guglielmo Marconi.
Limited Advancement Opportunities: His promotion to Inspector was considered in the very first episode, but his being a Catholic in Protestant Toronto means he has very probably reached his top position.
Manly Tears: He usually holds his emotions hidden, which makes his tears all the more moving. His eyes were filled with tears when Julia told him her abortion had left her barren and strongly implied she wanted to end their relationship because she knew about his desire to have a family, and he cried when his sister told him she was dying and going to spend the rest of her life in convent with prayers.
Mr. Imagination: He's a highly rational version of the trope. He often imagines himself to be a part of the crime scene at the time of the murder, and he likes to wander into imagining his future family life. Also, there are all those Imagine Spots and Daydream Surprise sequences involving his fantasies about Dr. Ogden.
Neat Freak: Murdoch is almost always impeccably dressed and groomed. When he and Terrence Myers go undercover to infiltrate a group of anarchists, Crabtree points out that he looks almost too tidy to look like a common labourer. When James Pendrick tries to make a movie about Murdoch's exploits, he raises a fuss about the fact that his character in the movie isn't wearing his policeman's helmet. His alienation from his job in the Season 5 premiere is symbolized by his Perma Stubble, something he would never let grow if he had peace of mind.
Parental Abandonment: His mother died when he was a little boy, and his father found himself inadequate to take care of his family. He was raised in an orphanage/religious school by Catholic priests.
Raised Catholic: His deep religious faith often clashes with his scientific mind. In addition, he's really ahead of his time in many ways, but some issues like homosexuality or abortion trouble him and he has a hard time to reconcile his experience and the Church's position.
Second Love: Dr. Ogden is Detective Murdoch's second love. His fiancée died of consumption and in Season 1, he has to struggle to let his memories go and acknowledge his deep feelings for Julia.
Science Hero: He loves science and knows everything about the current research. He can apply his knowledge and build many devices to help him in his investigation.
Shared Family Quirks: With his half-brother who also works in law enforcement. They meet when they investigate their cases that happen to be connected. They both use science and are extremely particular about details, and they are shown having similar body language. Rather amusingly, Murdoch gets annoyed with him often and doesn't see the similarities. Murdoch wasn't aware of the fact that his father had another family after Murdoch's mother died.
Tall, Dark and Handsome: He's fairly tall, has dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and dark-ish complexion. Quite a few women in-universe fancy him.
The Teetotaler: He hardly ever touches alcohol as he wants to keep his wits about him (because of his duties), and his father is a drunk.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Detective William Murdoch and Dr. Julia Ogden. This is made worse by the Victorian setting and the necessary restraint needed by social standards of the time, as the UST was just as strong (if not stronger) whenever their on/off relationship is actually on.
Will They or Won't They?: He has on-again-off-again relationship with his colleague Julia and intense chemistry with Anna Fulford. Becomes They Do with Julia: after seven seasons, they're finally getting married.
Doctor Julia Ogden
Played By: Hélène Joy
Julia Ogden is a pathologist who works for the Toronto Constabulary. She's a modern and forward-thinking woman. She's very blunt and enjoys dark morgue humour. She shares Detective Murdoch's fascination with science. She is his intellectual equal and one of his most avid supporters.
Action Girl: She invoked this to demonstrate for an actress by cloths-lining a suspect.
Buried Alive: James Gillies buries her alive in "Murdoch in Toyland" because he knows it will hurt Murdoch most.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Julia's reason for breaking off her relationship with William. Because she cannot have children, she leaves him in the hope that he'll find a woman who can give him a family.
Pimped-Out Dress: Anytime she's attending a ball or dinner party, she's sure to be wearing gorgeous outfits.
The Profiler: In Season 6, she pursues a career as psychiatrist/psychologist, and she consults Detective Murdoch's team on several cases.
The Shrink: In "Twentieth Century Murdoch," she decides to become a psychiatrist. She travels to Vienna to study with Sigmund Freud, and she starts working in mental hospital.
Sweet Polly Oliver: She cross-dresses as a man in "Victor, Victorian," and she even fools Murdoch and Crabtree when they meet at a gentlemen's club.
Tomboy: Her sister Ruby claims she was a tomboy, and she still calls her by her tomboyish nickname Jules.
Widow Woman: Her husband Dr. Darcy Garland dies in "Crime & Punishment".
Will They or Won't They?: With Detective Murdoch. They are very cute together, but sometimes it brought too much Angst. They get engaged in season 7.
Constable George Crabtree
Played By: Jonny Harris
Station House 4 constable and often Murdoch's sidekick on investigations.
Adorkable: Constable George Crabtree can be very weird but he's always cute. If a lady doesn't like Detective Murdoch, she's almost sure to flirt with George.
Agent Mulder: He is the first one to suggest that vampires, ghosts, werewolves, Martians, Venusians, or an Egyptian curse might be responsible for the crimes they're investigating.
Agent Scully: He and Brackenreid reverse roles in "Loch Ness Murdoch", when Brackenreid is convinced that there's a sea monster in Lake Ontario and Crabree is the skeptical one.
Beta Couple: Heading in this direction with Emily Grace. Their relationship as more stable than Murdoch and Dr. Ogden's one, but they broke up in season 7.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Crabtree is prone to rather bizarre explanations in some episodes, but he's also an ace when it comes to doing legwork and has solved the B-plots of some episodes either on his own or with Brackenreid.
Cloudcuckoolander: He can be very weird. Especially his theories on the paranormal which are extremely far-fetched but he takes them super-seriously. Also, he sometimes presents his perspective on an issue and it starts reasonably enough, but it ends up as something downright insane.
The Comically Serious: He can begin with a philosophical remark of intuitive brilliance, then suddenly veers of into science fiction.
A Day in the Limelight: In the episode "Convalescence", Murdoch falls off a ladder and is bedridden for the rest of the episode. Crabtree takes his place and manages to solve the case.
Doorstop Baby: His biological mother left him near a church, and the pastor's family took him and brought him up as their own child. His biological mother appears in one episode.
Fair Cop: He's a cute constable. Several very pretty women find him handsome or interesting.
Happily Adopted: He always talks about his happy family that Murdoch is honestly surprised to hear that George is adopted. His father is a priest who took him when he was left at the door of a church. Crabtree is also happily adopted by his extended group of aunts. They finally appear in Season 7, and it turns out they're a group of prostitutes that Crabtree's preacher father gave housing to, and who helped raise him when he grew up in Newfoundland. When Crabtree and Murdoch go to Newfoundland on a case, they stop by to meet his aunts and they're delighted to see little George.
Hidden Depths: Crabtree is surprisingly sensitive to others and he's also surprisingly open-minded. And he's not just a copper, but a moderately successful writer too. His care and concern for animals such as dogs or horses is very modern and very sweet.
Love Hurts: He's heart-broken when Dr. Grace breaks off their relationship because she gets interested in young Mr. Garland.
Malaproper: He sometimes mispronounces a word or a phrase, especially in the early seasons. Haemogoblin instead of haemoglobin is one of the most endearing.
Mr. Exposition: Crabtree is typically the one to explain to Murdoch and the audience what the situation is whenever the detective arrives at a crime scene.
Mystery Writer Detective: He writes a mildly popular novel. Viewers get to know it in a spinoff web-series. The hero of the book is Crabtree's Author Avatar who investigates mysterious deaths connected with an Egyptian curse.
Nice Guy: He is a very sweet and polite young man.
Tangled Family Tree: Over the first six seasons, Crabtree referred to a seemingly endless collection of aunts he had, all of whom were named after flowers (e.g., Daisy, Primrose, etc.) Believe it or not, they're all true —Crabtree's adopted father was a priest who moved to Newfoundland and set up a ministry. Father Crabtree allowed a large group of prostitutes to live in the rectory to give them a better life, and the women all served as Crabtree's adoptive aunts.
The Watson: He's Murdoch's sidekick and is often on hand to witness Murdoch's tests and experiments. He's also picked up a few tricks from Murdoch, and is usually the one to solve the B-plot of an episode that has Two Lines, No Waiting.
Inspector Thomas Brackenreid
Played By: Thomas Craig
Murdoch's superior and the boss of Station House 4. Married with two kids. Likes scotch.
Agent Scully: Brackenreid is typically the one to shoot down Crabtree's ridiculous suggestions whenever he thinks the supernatural is involved.
Agent Mulder: Usually a skeptic. However, he and Crabtree reverse their typical roles in the season 7 episode "Loch Ness Murdoch". He is convinced that there's a sea monster in Lake Ontario, but Crabtree is skeptical.
The Alcoholic: Often seen with a glass of scotch in his hand if he's in his office. It troubles his wife a lot as she's worried about him and she actively tries him to stop drinking or get him to practice moderation. However, his drinking never causes him big problems at work (he had problems when he actually tried to stop and was using a powder that contained drugs) and he's never abusive to his family. Played notably straight in Maureen Jennings' original novels, wherein Brackenreid's drinking very much has undermined his performance as a policeman.
"Bloody hell!" Or: "Bloody hell, Murdoch!" Or even "Bloody hell, Crabtree!"
He loves to call people "me old mucker" (meaning "my old pal") with irresistible northern accent.
He often calls suspects or criminals "sunshine" during interrogations.
Dare to Be Badass: After being brutally beaten up at the end of Season 7, he tries to stay out of police work and starts painting. Then he gets this from his wife.
Fiery Redhead: He's very hot-tempered and gets angry easily. But his rage never lasts long. Oftentimes his anger is also quite justified.
Genius Bruiser: While he doesn't have Murdoch's science smarts, he's still a fine detective in his own right and his suggestions often help point Murdoch in the right direction. He's also a vicious fighter when called on, and is a crack shot with a rifle from his days in the army.
Happily Married: He often bickers with his wife and would prefer if she didn't meddle in his affairs and didn't try to make him quit drinking. But they care about each other and their sons are raised in a happy household.
Heroic BSOD: After being beaten up at the end of Season 7, he went into one of these.
Hidden Depths: He loves theatre, especially William Shakespeare and opera. After his recovery from being beaten up, he's taken to painting.
Noble Bigot with a Badge: In one of the first episodes, Brackenreid admits that the skin color of a black murder suspect initially led him to believe she was guilty. Later on he arrests a caravan of gypsies for a series of break-ins without any proof, although he later lets them go when he tracks down the real thieves. In the episode "Werewolves", he readily admits that the Native Jimmy McCloud would make a very good policeman, but refuses Crabtree's request to deputize McCloud because the racism of Victorian-era Toronto would preclude any "Indian coppers".
Oop North: Inspector Brackenreid is from Yorkshire.
Papa Wolf: He's very protective of his family, and has violent tendencies if anyone tries to mess with his team.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He gives Murdoch a lot of leeway in pursuing his investigations, and goes along with Murdoch's scientific plans even when he doesn't really understand them. That said, he will give Murdoch hell on those rare occasions when the detective does something to deserve them. Even then, he'll put his anger aside and focus on the case at hand when necessary.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the red to Murdoch and Crabtree's blue. The generally stoic, intellectual Murdoch often has a hard time playing "bad cop" when necessary, and Brackenreid is quite happy to step in.
Team Dad: His men can depend on him that he will back them up, and he even has Papa Wolf tendencies when somebody goes after them.
The Watson: Murdoch frequently updates Brackenreid on the progress of his investigation, and Brackenreid often gives suggestions that help point Murdoch in the right direction.
What the Hell, Hero?: Gives this to Murdoch for some of the stunts he pulls at the start of Season 4; Brackenreid has very good reason to be angry.
Constable Henry Higgins
Played By: Lachlan Murdoch
Station House 4 constable who often gets paired up with Constable Crabtree.
Cloudcuckoolander: Higgins has shades of this, though is generally more grounded than George.
Fair Cop: He's very handsome, though as a minor character he doesn't get too many opportunities to shine.
Hidden Depths: He understands French, as his mother is from Gaspé.
Saying Too Much: When a boy asks which criminal they are transporting in "Midnight Train to Kingston", Henry replies, "Just a man who needs to be hanged." The boy then says, "Is it James Gillies?" — and all the passengers in the car begin to panic. Brackenreid later berates Higgins for his stupidity.
Those Two Guys: When paired-up with Crabtree. It's probably inevitable for two guys in the very same uniform.
Doctor Emily Grace
Played By: Georgina Reilly
Doctor Grace is a young accomplished woman, a protégée of Doctor Ogden. She replaces her as a City Morgue's pathologist who works with the team. She forms a close friendship with Constable Crabtree.
Agent Mulder: Downplayed, she doesn't believe everything, but she believes in the afterlife and in the existence of ghosts, and she thinks it's possible to scientifically prove it.
Beta Couple: Shaping up to be in a couple with George Crabtree in season 5, though it could have been a healthy friendship only. They later get together and their relationship is more stable than Detective Murdoch and Dr. Ogden's in season 6, but they break up in season 7 when Dr. Grace starts fancying Mr. Garland.
Brainy Brunette: This pretty brunette is a medical doctor (a woman in the 19th century!) and is very much interested in science — sometimes a little too much, to the annoyance of others. She's fairly down-to-earth, and a Love Interest to George Crabtree.
The Coroner: She said she wasn't able to maintain a cheerful bedside manner, which is why she chose to work in the morgue.
Hospital Hottie: Another gorgeous lady doctor who works for the Constabulary.
Runaway Fiancée: Emily ran away from her fiancé who did not take it too well, and appeared for one episode to harass her and try to get her back.
Uptown Girl: George Crabtree perceives her as such when she starts working at the Station House, and Henry Higgins thinks that a doctor from higher society would consider going to a ball with a common copper. However, in Season 6, it's revealed that women in a club consider her a lowly working woman which is quite odd because doctors were highly respected and she must come from a priviledged and open-minded family.
Played By: Peter Stebbings
A brilliant inventor and businessman from Toronto.
Big Bad: In Season 3, several cases lead to the Pendrick household. Murdoch is sure that it's Mr Pendrick who is responsible for frauds, dangerous scientific experiments, or even mysterious murders. Subverted, as it turns out he's quite innocent, and his beautiful wife is the one to be blamed. She would be perfectly fine with him being hanged for her crimes. He did truly love her.
Big Damn Heroes: Double Subverted in an episode where he saves Murdoch by shooting the criminal that is about to kill the detective. At first it seems like Pendrick only did it to prevent the criminal, who Murdoch suspected was working for him, from ratting him out. It turns out that Pendrick was in fact innocent, and framed by his wife Sally for the crimes. His claim about simply being in the right place at the right time was quite true.
Butt Monkey: After he loses his original fortune, Pendrick tries several times to rebuild it. While he comes up with some impressive inventions, including an electric car engine, a flying machine and film sound technology, the latter of which ties into his becoming a film director, his attempts are ruined by everything from corrupt business rivals to American and Canadian government agents to his own arrogance and pride.
Fallen Prince: After his thieving wife Sally steals his fortune, Pendrick is forced to try and make his fortune all over again. Murdoch runs into him occasionally with some of the new inventions he's pursuing.
Honest Corporate Executive: Murdoch originally suspects him of orchestrating various criminal deeds, but Pendrick was actually framed by his wife and his own corporate dealings are all above board, from what we see in the show.
Honor Before Reason: he won't let the Government use his inventions for military operations and destruction, even if it means he must demolish his own work and face a trial for high treason. Bashing Terrance Meyers in the process is a bonus.
And then there's his encounter with Thomas Edison when he tries his hand at directing films. Edison is impressed enough with Pendrick's skills that he offers Pendrick a role in the movie business he's planning to build in California, but Pendrick arrogantly refuses, saying that he'll make Canada the world's film mecca. An infuriated Edison reminds Pendrick that he owns all the theatres in the United States, and he'll block Pendrick's films from ever being screened in the U.S. Pendrick says that he'll make up for it by screening them in Europe, but Edison just laughs him off.
Insufferable Genius: He's very confident and satisfied with himself, and he feels superior to everybody. He's also a member of eugenics society.
Self-Made Man: Pendrick made his original fortune through a combination of scientific brilliance and clever business acumen.
Played By: Kate Greenhouse
A beautiful wife of James Pendrick. She's interested in art and science, and she has refreshingly modern opinions.
Big Bad: In Season 3, several cases lead to the Pendrick household. Murdoch becomes sure that it's Mr Pendrick who is responsible for frauds, dangerous scientific experiments used for stealing, or even mysterious murders. It turns out he's quite innocent, and his beautiful wife is the one to be blamed. She would be perfectly fine with him being hanged for her crimes. She says she's doing it for the thrill of it.
Blondes Are Evil: She's criminal master mind, but managed to look completely innocent. She nearly framed her husband for her crimes, who was absolutely oblivious about her nature.
Karma Houdini: She's wanted in New York for a long string of frauds, but she escaped scot-free to Canada. She then manages to escape Murdoch with all of James Pendrick's money.
Villainous Crush: When Murdoch tracks her down, she teasingly invites him to join her and says that they don't have to be enemies. Murdoch, of course, will have none of it.
Doctor Darcy Garland
Played By: Jonathan Watton
A medical doctor who comes from a prominent and wealthy Buffalo family. He works for a Children's Ward in the Buffalo Hospital, and later gains a similar position in Toronto where he moves in his fiancée's sake. He marries Dr. Ogden.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In "Twentieth Century Murdoch," he seems to realize that Julia doesn't love him and that she will never stop loving Detective Murdoch. He tells her that she should follow her heart. Before this, he also willingly moved to Canada so Dr. Ogden could be closer to her family and friends, taking a job at a Toronto children's hospital.
Hypocrite: He refuses to grant Julia a divorce and says he wants her back. He accuses her of adultery and calls her a whore while he himself shows off with a lover in hotels. In fact, Julia's relationship with Murdoch has not been consumated.
Romantic False Lead: Even though he married the hero's one true love, he is still a Romantic False Lead.
Took a Level in Jerkass: He seemed fine with Julia and him going their separate ways. He even agreed with annulment and later with divorce. However, he later realized he still loved Julia and begged her to come back. When she wouldn't, he kept harassing her and wouldn't consent to the divorce as he had promised earlier. He openly had a love affair himself, but called Julia — who did not commit adultery — a whore.
Played By: Giacomo Gianniotti
He's a younger brother of Dr. Garland's. He moves from Buffalo to Toronto, presumably to study law.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Seems to be a nice enough guy, enough that Dr. Grace is attracted to him and Dr. Ogden allows him to stay at her house, but he's secretly stalking Dr. Ogden and sending her threatening letters because he blames her for Darcy's death.
My Country, Right or Wrong: His work for the federal government leads him to do some pretty nasty things, but he is a loyal Canadian. In one case, when he and Murdoch are working undercover with an American agent, Meyers gets visibly angry when the American starts throwing his weight around.
Nice Hat: The top hat he wears suggests his means, motives and methods are beyond the laws represented by Murdoch's shorter, workaday homburg.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: He meddles in Murdoch's cases whenever they involve a matter of national security for Canada or the British Empire as a whole. Their first noticeable encounter ends with Murdoch and company being forced to drop the investigation altogether under penalty of being tried for treason if they don't.
The Spymaster: He's a top-level spy who works for British crown and Canadian government.
Played By: Michael Seater
A young genius, a brilliant student of physics. He becomes Detective Murdoch's arch-nemesis.
Ambiguously Gay/Secret Relationship: As James and his best friend Robert Perry depart from the police station for the first time, he touches Robert's back in a manner which may suggest that there is a greater intimacy between the two of them. Brackenreid wonders out loud, "Just good pals, or something more?" It makes perfect sense that James and Robert would want to keep their romance a secret, as homosexuality was a crime in late 19th-century Canada.
Arch-Enemy: As of "Murdoch in Toyland," he becomesa nemesis to Detective Murdoch.
Ascended Extra/Early-Bird Cameo: He's another criminal of the week when Murdoch busts him in "Big Murderer on Campus". Three seasons later, he returns and is considerably more dangerous than in his first appearance.
Big Bad: In his debut episode, he was one of the criminals of the week, although Dr. Ogden was especially horrified that the motive for the professor's murder was just to see if they could carry out their elaborate plan using applied physics. In Seasons 5 and 6, he appears again and taunts Detective Murdoch with his twisted, criminal mind games.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Gillies' obsession with outdoing Murdoch is ironically what allows Murdoch to beat him:
In his original case, it would have been much harder for Murdoch to track him down if he hadn't involved himself with Murdoch's investigation and enabled Murdoch to drive a wedge between him and Robert Perry;
In "Murdoch In Toyland", he deliberately lures Murdoch to him as part of a larger chess game when he could have walked away a free man, something Murdoch Lampshades at the end of the episode.
In "The Murdoch Trap", his luring Murdoch into an elaborate deathtrap, when he could just as easily have had Dr. Ogden be hanged, gives the detective the opportunity to let the Constabulary know where he is.
Break Them by Talking: He loves to provoke people, and in "Midnight Train to Kingston," he manages to get under the skin of Murdoch (who was tempted to hit Gillies for pointing out that the detective should thank him for getting rid of Darcy, Brackenreid (who puts his hand around Gillies' throat after the young man notes that his officers are incompetent for allowing a murder to take place) and Dr. Ogden (who slaps Gillies hard for threatening her life).
Catchphrase: He frequently says, "I'm flattered" whenever someone tries to insult or intimidate him. It's his way of showing to his opponent that he cannot be emotionally shaken by verbal means.
Character Death: Quite undramatic for a Joker level villain. His body was found and identified in "Kung-Fu Crabtree".
Creepy Crossdresser/Disguised in Drag/Villainous Crossdresser: He cross-dressed as a lady in one episode to confuse the investigators. They were looking for a woman, not for a man, which gave him time. In Season 6, he disguises himself as Julia, and tells Murdoch that he enjoyed playing her due to the many admiring looks that he received.
Criminal Mind Games: He frequently plays these on Murdoch. It bothers him deeply that the detective is smart enough to thwart his plans. He knows that Julia is Murdoch's sensitive spot, and he exploits this weakness as much as he can.
The Dandy: He's always fashionable and immaculately groomed. While most men on the show wear ties, his most distinctive accessory is a flamboyant bow tie.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: He can predict what Murdoch is about to do and acts accordingly. His traps and plans are very elaborate.
Depraved Homosexual: Is strongly hinted to be one. In "Midnight Train to Kingston", he plants a big Take-That Kiss on Murdoch! Moreover, when the detective is physically aggressive towards him in "Murdoch in Toyland", Gillies' enthusiastic response is, "Ha ha! This is fun!" Even when Murdoch is about to punch him, the young man still has a big grin. His joy at being "manhandled" is reserved solely for Murdoch, however, as James becomes fearful the instant Brackenreid takes over the violent interrogation. Gillies' glee at being subjected to Murdoch's rough treatment in this episode suggests that he is attracted to the detective because he doesn't enjoy being beaten up by anyone else.
Escape Artist: He was being transported to be executed at least twice, but managed to escape.
Expy: Michael Seater has stated in this featurette that Gillies is the Moriarty to Murdoch's Holmes.
Faking the Dead: He made a deal with a prison guard who was dying of brain tumour to take his stead in the execution. The two men looked similar when they both grew a moustache.
Faux Affably Evil: He tries to appear friendly and charming, and he frequently smiles and laughs, but he's a sick, sick bastard.
Gillies: For the last time, this is it for us. Doesn't that make you just... a little bit sad? Murdoch: No. Gillies: Not even a teensy bit? Murdoch: [shakes his head] Gillies: Come now, Detective. You and I share something, something... special. I'll miss you, you know that.
For the Evulz: His motive for the first murder was "because I could", and he later torments Detective Murdoch apparently just because. He also really enjoys challenging Murdoch who is his only intellectual equal.
I Surrender, Suckers: When Brackenreid and Crabtree find his hiding place in "The Murdoch Trap", he extends his hands out as if allowing himself to be handcuffed, but it turns out that he has a small gun concealed beneath his right sleeve. Before he can use it, though, Crabtree shoots him in the shoulder with his rifle.
Latex Perfection: In "The Murdoch Trap," it's revealed that he had used a latex mask of Dr. Ogden's face to impersonate her.
Manipulative Bastard: He managed to manipulate his friend into a dangerous game with the first murder of their professor. He later makes a dying guard to take his place in the hanging for a nice sum of money. He knows a lot about forensic methods and tampers with the evidence to frame other people.
Never Found the Body: When he's arrested for the second time, the carriage that was transporting him was knocked over on a bridge. The coachman and guards were dead, but his body was not found. He then appeared again in Season 6. Happens again when he escapes by jumping off a train trestle into a shallow river in Season 7.
Not the Fall That Kills You: The river he jumped into at the end of "A Midnight Train to Kingston" didn't seem to agree with him. Although he didn't survive the fall, his body wasn't found and identified until nearly three months later. Many viewers however suspected that this trope was at play and that Gillies, being the escape artist he is, survived and would appear to torture Murdoch some more.
Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: He's a university student in his first appearance, so he would be around 20 years old in Season 2, while Murdoch approaches middle age.
Pretty Boy: He's pretty for a man, which no doubt helps him to pass off as a woman when he chooses to do so.
Psychopathic Manchild: He exudes a childish glee, has a boyish voice, and used dolls in one of his crimes.
Psychotic Smirk: Smirks at the very end of "The Murdoch Trap" when he was held by the police force. It's creepy and unnerving.
His motivation for wanting to destroy Murdoch; James hates it when someone manages to outsmart him.
He gets back at Robert Perry (who betrayed Gillies to avoid the noose and receive a much lighter jail sentence) by cutting his former accomplice's head off with a fine-tooth saw while Robert was still alive.
Sissy Villain: He's somewhat effeminate and soft-spoken, and he apparently likes women's clothes and dolls.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Bribes his way out of prison by hiring a dying guard to be executed in his place in exchange for $3000—which was a lot of money at the time—which was given to the man's family.
The Sociopath: Heavily implied by Dr. Ogden. In "Midnight Train to Kingston", she tells him that she wants to study his brain after he's been hanged, since she's convinced that there's some sort of aberration in it that makes him what he is. He also fulfills another classic sociopathic trait in that he's a master manipulator.
Take-That Kiss: He forces a rather passionate kiss to Murdoch in "Midnight Train to Kingston".
Too Clever by Half: As noted above under Bond Villain Stupidity, Gillies' obsession with outsmarting Murdoch leads him to draw the detective into his plans, which also allows Murdoch to ruin them. And then there's "Midnight Train To Kingston", where his elaborate plan to escape the noose literally comes crashing down when he apparently jumps off a bridge into a shallow river...and gets himself killed in the process.
Troll: With a mocking smile, he greets Crabtree with, "You're the one who shot me, aren't you? Didn't do much of a job of it, did you?"
Villainous Crush: It's implied that he has one on Murdoch after he kisses the detective on the mouth for a full three seconds. Although Gillies, who was pinned to the ground, certainly used the unexpected physical contact as a distraction so that he could free himself, it has been hinted throughout the series that he's gay, and it seems natural that he would be attracted to a handsome, intelligent man like Murdoch.
Voiceover Letter: His voice is heard as Dr. Ogden reads the letters he has sent to her in "Unfinished Business" and "The Murdoch Sting".
Hot Scoop: She's a very attractive reporter. Her first appearance on the show involves her playing magician's assistant to Harry Houdini.
Intrepid Reporter: She's a journalist. She uses a male pen name, but reconsiders, and Julia is proud when Ruby tells her she's decided to use her real name and publish as a woman journalist.
Lovely Assistant: She was a gorgeous magician's assistant in her first appearance — for Harry Houdini.
Shipper on Deck: She would be happy if her sister Julia and Detective Murdoch pursued their relationship.
Played By: Arwen Humphreys
Mrs Brackenreid is married to Inspector Brackenreid. They have two sons, Johnny and Bobby.
Dry Crusader: She supports temperance and teetotalling, and tries to get Inspector Brackenreid to give up drinking.
Feminine Women Can Cook: In "Kung Fu Crabtree", she cooks Chinese dinner for her family. Inspector stays at work becuase he prefers English food (beef or pudding) but she brings him his dinner in a basket to the office. He happens to love it and some of the spices happened to be aphrodisiac...
Hypocrite: Despite giving Brackenreid grief over his drinking, she has no problem with participating in illegal gambling. Brackenreid is not amused when he finds out.
Happily Married: She has issues with her husband's heavy drinking, but they are otherwise a happy couple.
Chief Constable Giles
Played By: Nigel Bennett
Armoured Closet Gay: Is discovered to be gay and to have had a relationship with a man decades ago. He was able to rise to Chief Constable because he kept it secret his entire life.
By-the-Book Cop: Probably the strongest example in the show. He's not willing to bend the rules in the slightest.
Reasonable Authority Figure: A pleasantly surprising example, given how in previous episodes his habit of fixating on one suspect to the exclusion of others is repeatedly mentioned and considered a problem. But when presented with the potential discrediting of only part of his evidence against Dr Ogden he is fully willing to accept the new findings, works with them to uncover more, and is actually willing to help them break protocol as long as they write a letter apologizing afterwards. His goal is to get the criminal.
Played By: Paul Amos
Doctor Roberts is pioneering in mental health care in Toronto. He's on friendly terms with Detective Murdoch and Doctor Ogden.
Cloud Cuckoolander: He says he's considered a weird one in the medical community, but he's ok with that assessment as long as he's allowed to practise and deal with mental health problems.
Human Popsicle: His family helps him to get frozen with the hopes that in the future, people would know how to cure his illness.
The Profiler: Murdoch consults him in several cases when he needs to understand what's going on in a suspect's head.
The Shrink: He's a pioneer in mental health care, but he's still the awesome variety of the trope. He's very understanding and manages to get help to several people. Sometimes he uses hypnosis. Inspector Brackenried refers to him as "Murdoch's favourite head doctor".
There Are No Therapists: He tries very hard to defy this trope. He offers Inspector Brackenried to counsel him after he shot a man while on duty which obviously shattered him. Dr. Roberts recognized that he could use some help and that talking and sense that somebody cares helps. In the episode "Me, Myself and Murdoch", he agrees to provide psychiatric care to a suspect with multiple personalities who's suspected of murdering her father, but is in fact innocent.
A young English woman who comes from Bristol. She's an owner of a pub she inherited from her deceased father. She later decides to relocate to Canada.
The Bus Came Back: She was given a new identity and was sent to live in hiding in Season 4, but she returned to Toronto for two episodes in Season 5.
Break the Cutie: She realizes that a man she loves has deep feelings for another woman. Later she gets engaged with another man she could love, but he's murdered by "Black Hand", a sinister organization who her fiancé worked for and stole from them. And it gets worse, as they target Anna as well as a punishment and warning for other members of the Mafia.
The Cutie: She's a very sweet and very kind young woman. Even Julia, who should be jealous of her, says that she is lovely and seems to mean it.
Death Faked for You: The police tricks a Mafia organization that has a prize on her head. They prepare an elaborate performance when she appears to have been shot and is sent away with a new identity.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's a very young and very beautiful blonde. She intuitively recognized that Detective Murdoch is a good man, even though he was pursued by the police, and she decides to help him. She's a bit livelier that this archetype tends to be but she fits the trope.
Put on a Bus: She was sent away to start a new life under a new identity. Twice.
Romantic False Lead: She was wonderful and had great chemistry with Detective Murdoch, but he just belongs to Dr. Odgen.
Temporary Love Interest: Detective Murdoch and Anna appear to be a great romantic match. They have wonderful chemistry and share one or two kisses, but their relationship just was not to be.
Dr. Llewllyn Francis
Played By: Paul Rhys
A medical examiner who works shortly for a City Morgue in Toronto.
The Coroner: He worked shortly in the morgue for the Toronto Constabulary. He's very grumpy, just as coroners are supposed to be.
Dr. Jerk: Murdoch's opinion of him, while others more or less agree. He seems to think Murdoch invents murders and discovers bodies just to annoy him personally. He has a great deal of problems to come to see murder scenes and thinks that doing autopsies is more than enough. He justifies it by claiming that work is not everything for him and that he wants to spend time with his family. Much of his attitude can be put down to colonial snobbery, as he originally came from London and worked for the prestigious Scotland Yard. However, Murdoch's less than gracious treatment of him makes a lot of his behaviour understandable, if not sympathetic.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason he's so cranky is because his wife is originally from Toronto, and he took the coroner job so she could be closer to her family and friends. However, Murdoch's treatment of him (breaking into the morgue to take evidence whenever Dr. Francis wasn't working quickly enough for Murdoch's liking, among other things) becomes eventually becomes too much to take.
Put on a Bus: Returns to Wales after Julia decides to come back to Toronto and resume her coronial work.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once Murdoch crosses the line one too many times, Dr. Francis angrily quits and moves back to England. Brackenreid is quite rightly furious with Murdoch, especially considering the hoops he had to go through to get Dr. Francis to come to Toronto in the first place.
Played By: Sarah Allen
A young widow who lives in Toronto with her small son. She used to work as a telegraphist before her wedding.
Feminine Women Can Cook: She bakes cake for Detective Murdoch as a thank you gift for helping to find her son, and she brings him some food when he's sick.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's very young, beautiful, and generally sweet and kind. She looks very timid and feminine, but she can take a good care of herself and her son. She has curly blond hair.
Mama Bear: She is very protective of her son, and she ultimately breaks her relationship with Murdoch who admits he's not completely over Dr. Ogden because she doesn't want Alwyn to get hurt.
Romancing the Widow: She's courted by Detective Murdoch. She likes him a lot, but Alwyn is the most important person in her life.
Romantic False Lead: It's too bad for the pretty Enid that even though Murdoch was fascinated by her and got on well with her son, he was not completely over his love for Dr Ogden. He struggled to overcome his feelings for Julia, but deep love is deep love.
An older drunk bum who happens to be Detective Murdoch's estranged father.
Abusive Parents: Murdoch's father is an abusive alcoholic (or so Murdoch thinks, he was actually never actively abusive); after his mother's death, Murdoch spent the rest of his childhood in the custody of a Jesuit order. Interestingly, his daughter Susanna remembers him as abusive as William, and she sounded quite unforgiving, especially for a Reverend Mother.
The Alcoholic: He's always drunk or hung over. Poor Murdoch is embarrassed.
Played By: Michelle Nolden
An abbess who is Detective Murdoch's younger sister.
Paddy Glynn is a reporter who works for the Toronto Gazette and often crosses paths with Station House 4.
Intrepid Reporter: He's a journalist who works for the Toronto Gazette. Some of his articles are investigative, but not all, and mostly he bothers Inspector Brackenried to give him information on their fresh cases.