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"Perhaps someday, everybody will be as fascinated with pathologists and police detectives."
— Detective William Murdoch
Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian detective series set in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Toronto, based on a series of novels by Maureen Jennings. The series centers around William Murdoch, a detective in the Toronto constabulary with an interest in using then-unorthodox/unknown forensic techniques for catching criminals. Murdoch is assisted by Constable George Crabtree and Doctor Julia Ogden, The Coroner. His boss Inspector Thomas Brackenreid is usually skeptical of Murdoch's methods but doesn't complain too much, just as long as they catch the criminal in the end.The fifth season, broadcast in 2011 by Canadian network Citytv, was to be the final. However, rival broadcaster CBC has picked up the series in 2011 and began broadcasting a sixth season in 2012. In 2013, CBC announced that a seventh season would be produced, with 18 new episodes instead of the regular 13, and is scheduled to premiere on September 30 of that year. The character of Dr. Emily Grace was then added to the main cast.The series was preceded by a trilogy of TV movies in 2004, which were more direct adaptations of the Murdoch Mysteries novels. With Peter Outerbridge as Murdoch, Keeley Hawes as Dr. Ogden and Colm Meaney as Inspector Brackenreid. Overall much darker and gritty than the TV series.The series now has a Character sheet and Recaps.
Murdoch Mysteries provides examples of the following tropes:
Abandon Ship: This order is given in "Murdoch Ahoy" when the cruise ship starts sinking.
Abusive Parents: Murdoch's father is an abusive alcoholic (or so Murdoch thinks, he was never abusive); after his mother's death, Murdoch spent the rest of his childhood in the custody of a Jesuit order.
Adaptation Distillation: The series differs markedly in several respects from the original Maureen Jennings novels. In the novels, Murdoch tends to solve his cases more through legwork and talking to suspects and witnesses, rarely if ever acting as the Science Hero he is on the show. On the show, Crabtree is usually the one who does most of the legwork, whereas in the novels he usually only appeared to gather up a jury. On the show, Brackenreid is a good-natured Boisterous Bruiser, but in the novels he's a pompous, arrogant Jerkass who views Murdoch with disdain and is even implied to be somewhat bigoted against the Catholic Murdoch. Oh, and in the novels, Murdoch's father was abusive, no two ways about it.
Adult Fear: When Bobby Brackenreid gets kidnapped, his parents are scared out of their mind. They have to consider the worst, and investigate a pederast that a witness said she saw near the crime scene.
After-Action Patch-Up: In "The Murdoch Identity", Murdoch, suffering from Identity Amnesia, gets shot in his arm. Anna Fulford helps him to find a sanctuary in her church, and she then treats his wound. They end up kissing, but the kiss brings out memories of certain Julia, so Anna is only his might-have-been love.
George 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.
Dr. Grace firmly believes in ghosts and the after-life, and that it's possible to prove it with science.
Agent Scully: Brackenreid is typically the one to shoot down Crabtree's ridiculous suggestions whenever he thinks the supernatural is involved. He also does this to Murdoch when Murdoch is dealing with a case that has two suspects each confessing to a murder and each convinced they're the reincarnations of two people who died several decades ago. Brackenreid reminds Murdoch that he should ignore all that nonsense, and "follow the money" instead. That turns out to be the key to cracking the case.
Agree to Disagree: Constable George Crabtree says once they have searched the crime scene "stem to sternum". Detective Murdoch corrects him that the expression is "stem to stern", but George insists on his wording and that they will have to agree to disagree. Murdoch just lets it be.
Alice Allusion: The season 4 finale "Murdoch in Wonderland" abounds with references and allusions to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The characters go to a costume party to honour the late Lewis Carroll. Detective Murdoch is dressed as the Mad Hatter and Dr. Julia Ogden is Alice. They play croquet, drink "potion" from flasks and write together a non-sense mirror-flipped poem. Murdoch gets drugged and has disturbing visions of falling down a hole or being too big to enter a door.
The production of La Bohème in "Murdoch at the Opera". Knowing that she will be arrested for murder after the performance, Rosa Hamilton takes a fatal dose of poison and plays out Mimi's death scene, expiring after singing Mimi's last words. The audience isn't any wiser for it and applaud wildly; the other players only realise she has died after the curtains have fallen.
Inspector Brackenreid also notes that most of the audience thought this was the case when a corpse fell down on the stage during a production of Macbeth in "Body Double".
Alone Among the Couples: In season five finale, Detective Murdoch and Constable Crabtree appear to be the only one without a partner for a New Year's Eve policemen's ball. Constable Higgins gets a date and Inspector Brackenreid spends the evening with his wife. William Murdoch is alone as his star-crossed lover is married, and George Crabtree asked Doctor Grace out, but she had other plans. They consider not going at all, but they decide to mark a new century with a celebration. Subverted as both beautiful doctors Emily Grace and Julia Ogden make an appearance.
Ambiguously Gay: As James Gillies and his best friend Robert Perry depart from the police station for the first time in "Big Murderer on Campus", James 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?" Even less ambiguous by Season 7, where Gillies kisses a struggling Murdoch straight on the lips. However, it could have been just his strategy to shock him as it was his last shot at escaping.
Amoral Attorney: The Crown Prosecutor in "The Hangman", who does everything to make sure the defendant gets hanged, even the obviously innocent ones.
Anachronism Stew: The story seems to be set in a "greatest-hits of Late Victorian/Edwardian Era" world. Season 5 is explicitly set in 1899.
Animal Assassin: In "Evil Eye of Egypt", a cobra placed in a sarcophagus bites the first person opening it.
Julia's younger sister, Intrepid Reporter Ruby, who irritates her older sister by flirting with Murdoch.
Averted with Murdoch's younger sister Susannah.
It emerges in Season 3 that Murdoch has a half-brother, Jasper, who is initially deeply annoying to Murdoch, but only because he's the only one who can't see how similar the two are.
Area 51: After Murdoch and Company stumble into a US/UK secret airship research facility in the middle of Ontario, the station house four team noted that it's probably smarter to relocate the research station to the deserts of New Mexico.
The victim in "Me, Myself, and Murdoch". The prime suspect for his murder is his daughter, who has multiple personalities that resulted from her seeing her father hack up her mother with an axe, when she was a child. The man got another woman to marry him and pose as his original wife, and throughout the years he's been abusing his daughter and locking her up in the basement where he dismembered her mom. The murderer is his stepson from his first wife, who ran away as a kid and came back years later disguised as a farmhand, who was suspicious of why another woman was posing as his mother, and axed his stepfather to death. Inspector Brackenreid even said he would do his best to avert the death penalty for the stepson, saying about his stepfather, "Bastard bloody deserved it."
In season 4, the victims of "All Tattered and Torn" are three men that were guilty or accomplice of raping a young woman and escaped justice years ago. The murderer is a former cop who was obsessed by the case and executed them.
In season 6, three young women are beaten and murdered by drowning. You feel less sympathetic when it is discovered that they accidentally killed another girl by repeatedly submerging her in cold water to "cleanse" her of her love for her Persian teacher, and that one of them was also blackmailing her employer with threats of publishing news of his marriage to a Native woman in the newspaper.
In "Murdoch Air", Crabtree is devouring a hot hamburger in a morgue, and Dr. Grace is horrified that he is eating hot meat with bread. Later in the episode, she's enjoying a hamburger, too, while presenting a body and post-mortem results to Murdoch — who curls his nose at the idea of a hamburger.
In "Loch Ness Murdoch", there is a heat wave in Toronto, and George Crabtree eats a piece of ice in the morgue. He stops for a moment and has Dr. Grace assure him that it was fresh. He then continues and crunches it.
George and Emily enjoy a new summer treat in the morgue: delicious ice ball in cups.
Baby Trap: The killer in "Loch Ness Murdoch" was a man who killed his fiancée because she lied to him about being pregnant. Said fiancée also drove his one true love to suicide by gloating about having seduced him.
Episode "Belly Speaker", in which the puppet-wielding suspect deceiveseveryone (including Murdoch) and ultimately escapes justice. There is no indication that he was ever caught afterwards. However, given his reasons for doing so and the truth later coming out about his twin brother, it's hard to not feel even a bit sympathetic.
The episode "Werewolves". Although Murdoch and company prevent the killer from killing the last Asshole Victim he targeted in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the killer's actions also led to the surviving victim being arrested by the Toronto police for his own crimes.
Subverted in "Last Train To Kingston". Although James Gillies manages to outsmart Murdoch and company and escape, he apparently gets himself killed by jumping off a railway bridge into a shallow river.
Baseball Episode: Station House 4 prepares for a baseball match with another station house in a two-parter "Stroll on the Wild Side". They share a long-lasting rivalry, and Inspector Brackenreid is determined to win this year. Murdoch reads a book about it, and uses science to find out how to hit the ball. George Crabtree and other constables look dashing in their baseball shirts and caps.
Batman Gambit: In the Season 2 finale, while Murdoch goes to British Columbia in pursuit of the Killer of the Week, Brackenreid targets the Corrupt Corporate Executives who hired him. Brackenreid visits one of them on the pretext of updating him on the case, saying that they're closing in on the murderer, who's nicknamed "Accidental Al". The inspector mentions in passing that Al has a nasty habit of turning on his employers when things start heating up, and then leaves. This spooks the executive enough that he calls one of his cronies to discuss the case... not realizing that Crabtree has tapped his phone line and is listening to their conversation.
Beta Couple: Constable Crabtree and Dr. Grace seem to be heading in this direction in season 5. George kisses Emily passionately and quite thoroughly in "Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom".
Sally Pendrick in season 3. It becomes clear in the season's finale who was responsible for several high-profile crimes.
James Gillies in Seasons 5 & 6. A creepy sociopath who escaped the noose several time. He committed his first murder just because he could and For the Evulz, and it has become a challenge for him to measure his abilities with Detective Murdoch.
The Big Board: Detective Murdoch uses a big blackboard for collecting leads, visualizing crime scenes or explaining his ideas of new forensic methods. He sometimes sticks there photos of victims, reports of related older crimes, newspaper articles and so on. Brackenreid and Crabtree have also done this a couple of times themselves.
Big Damn Kiss: For Julia and William in "Twentieth Century Murdoch," and for George and Emily in "Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom."
Binge Montage: George's role in one investigation is to get drunk with locals so that they can steal him a part of a treasure map and expose themselves. George drinks, dances, sings and is forced to kiss a fish. Good times.
Blood from Every Orifice: One young woman's body is found ditched in a river and it appears that her blood has been drained. The team finds out that she was pregnant and tried to induce a miscarriage by eating insecticide, and combined with some strange oil and pills, it did induce the miscarriage. She suffered bleeding severely from her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and other parts... She died an agonizing death.
Book Ends: At the start of the season 5 premier "Murdoch in the Klondike", Murdoch tosses his police badge into a creek to symbolize how alienated he is from his old life. However, after saving his landlady from the noose and catching a murderer, Murdoch decides to return to Toronto. His decision is symbolized by Jack London giving him back his badge, which Jack had fished out of the creek.
Brainwashed and Crazy: In "Murdoch of the Living Dead", several men whose brains have been damaged by Dr. Luther Bates's experiments run amuck in the streets of Toronto, causing property damage and threatening innocent bystanders. The Constabulary subdues them all with fishing and dogcatching equipment.
Buried Alive: Julia, in "Murdoch in Toyland". Murdoch manages to rescue her in time.
California Doubling: Set in Toronto, filmed in Cambridge, Ontario, as none of the streets of modern Toronto looks like 1890s Toronto.
Canadian Accents: In the original TV movies, only Murdoch speaks with a (slightly anachronistic) neutral Canadian accent, while everyone else talks with varying shades of Irish, Scottish, English, French, and other European accents — historically accurate considering Canada's history of immigration. The TV series tone this down, but not by much.
Cannot Spit It Out: It's pretty clear to anyone that Murdoch likes Dr. Ogden, but he cannot get himself to say it.
Brackenreid shouting "Bloody hell, Murdoch!" whenever Murdoch does something he can't comprehend. He also calls Murdoch "me old mucker" at least Once per Episode, and calls Constable Crabtree "buggerlugs".
Agent Myers has "I can't tell you that; it's top secret."
James Gillies, that sick, sick bastard: "I'm flattered."
Double Subverted in the episode "The Kissing Bandit", wherein Murdoch tries to catch the title character by installing an exploding dye pack in with the money the bank will give the Bandit. It fails to catch the Bandit because the Bandit is actually reporter Paddy Glynn, who saw Murdoch explain the plan, but it does help identify the Costume Copycat who murders an innocent woman.
Played straight in another episode, when an apprentice hangman shows Murdoch and Dr. Ogden the physics of hanging. If the rope's not tied correctly, the person being hanged can either end up being slowly strangled, or end up being completely decapitated. Guess which one applies to the murderer of the week when he goes to the gallows. (Note that he was hanged by said apprentice, for the murder of the hangman's boss, which strongly suggests he did it on purpose.)
A few times, since in at least two episodes there have been brief mentions of escaped convicts that usually don't have anything to do with the case, only for the criminals to show up near the end.
More often than not, the inconspicuous witness is the murderer (unless it's Ze Americans). Murdoch tends to arrive on the scene of the crime to find nothing but a body and a dozen people with something to hide. Naturally, he points the finger at the closest Angry Guy with a Grudge only to find that the real murderer is the whimsical old lady, the guy in the wheelchair, or the uppity university snob with an extreme interest in applied physics.
Militant Irish dockworker Mick O'Shea is suspected of murder and viciously beaten by Brackenreid in the interrogation room. When he and several of his mates are arrested for causing a riot several episodes later, they ambush Brackenreid and beat him to within an inch of his life.
Clueless Detective: Murdoch is very good at his job, but his counterpart at Stationhouse #3, Chester Macdonald, is aptly described by Brackenreid as an "obvious dunce". His shoddy investigation of a murder leads an innocent man to be nearly hanged, and Murdoch ends up having to clean up his mess.
Coffin Contraband: A large amount of gold was stolen from the Canadian government during the American Civil War. However, the conspirators all had their own agendas and in the resulting Gambit Pileup the gold was presumed lost when the ship carrying it sunk. More than three decades later, the police discover that the mastermind behind the theft was Genre Savvy enough to switch out the gold before the sea voyage and hid it in a coffin. The coffin was then buried in a cemetery but the mastermind died before he could dig it up.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Mr. Pendrick gets tortured in season 6 première when the American agents want to find out how to control his Pendrick Aero which they have stolen.
Murdoch can easily fall here, always staying quite serious even in the most bizarre situations. Inspector Brackenreid once asks Crabtree if he'd ever seen him laugh.
Terence Myers, who is utterly straight-faced while being comical at the same time.
Continuity Nod: The online CBC mystery game A Nightmare on Queen Street involves a Psycho Psychologist who is a murder suspect but is in fact innocent. When he appears in the TV series in "Murdoch of the Living Dead", he alludes to the events of A Nightmare on Queen Street and how Dr. Ogden got him fired from the hospital he worked at because of that case.
A number of upper-class families are plagued by burglaries, and the sons of several of the families accuse a caravan of gypsies of being responsible. Brackenreid initially arrests the gypsies, but he later realizes their innocence when he notices the flaws in the boys' story. He then subverts this trope by not arresting the boys right away, but instead setting up a sting that confirms their guilt.
Crabtree does this while investigating the B-plot of "Murdoch in the Klondike". A murder victim's widow says something that makes Crabtree suspicious, and while he's interviewing her at her house she gets a phone call that makes him even more suspicious. This doesn't make Crabtree arrest her, but it does lead him to trace the call and arrest the hired killer she was talking to, who confesses and provides proof of his employer's guilt.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: Annie Edison Taylor, the first person to take a trip down Niagara Falls, is touring with the barrel she rode down the falls in. When her barrel is stolen during an appearance in Toronto, she enlists Crabtree's help. Crabtree discovers that the thieves are a group of university students who stole the barrel as a prank. The boys plead with Crabtree not to arrest them, since the scandal would lead to their being disowned by their families. In lieu of arresting them, Crabtree punishes the boys by forcing them to clean the entire stationhouse from top to bottom.
The Coroner: Drs. Julia Ogden; Llewellyn Francis; Emily Grace
Costume Copycat: The Kissing Bandit is a Lovable Rogue and Gentleman Thief who becomes something of a folk hero in Toronto. Later, the Kissing Bandit seemingly turns cold-blooded when he shoots a woman he'd kissed during one of his previous robberies. Murdoch has caught the real Bandit and has him in custody when the shooting takes place, and so Murdoch realizes that the Bandit who supposedly killed the woman is in fact an impostor disguised as the real one.
CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): In "Murdoch Ahoy", a drowning Detective Murdoch is saved by Dr. Ogden using CPR. Lampshaded by Inspector Brackereid who didn't understand what she was doing and later joked that while his best man was drowning, she was only using it as an opportunity to kiss Murdoch.
"Murdoch in Toyland" has several of these, all with creepy recorded messages for Detective Murdoch. One doll's head was cut off. The concept of doll as a toy and its disturbing features is lampshaded by Inspector Brackenreid: "I know it's supposed to be adorable, but to me it just looks bloody creepy."
"Me, Myself and Murdoch" has a rag doll without an eye found in a Creepy Basement, buried there with a chopped-up skeleton.
"Belly Speaker": The ventriloquist's puppet is very disturbing. The fact that it is manufactured to look like its owner, complete with mismatched eyes, adds to the creepiness.
Creepy Souvenir: Subverted. A suspect was seen talking with a victim on a train and he admitted he liked her a lot. They found he has home-made jewellery made of human hair of multiple people, and the victim's hair is among them. However, she gave it to him voluntarily while she was alive. Jewellery from human hair was still seen as very weird, but he was not her murderer.
Criminal Mind Games: In "Murdoch in Toyland", Detective Murdoch is left a series of talking dolls designed to give him just enough clues to reach the next one, and also to make him overthink things and miss more blatant clues.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Murdoch develops several innovations for crime-fighting that could make him a wealthy man if he patented them. It's subverted in one episode when Murdoch develops a polygraph lie detector device, and Crabtree tries to persuade a wealthy businesswoman to invest in it. The device works exactly the way it's supposed to, but it doesn't register anything since all the people Murdoch is testing it on are telling the truth and are all innocent. Thinking the device is worthless, the businesswoman (played by Canadian Dragon's Den regular Arlene Dickenson) loses interest and walks off.
Brackenreid's superior, Chief Constable Giles. He tends to show up when Murdoch is investigating important cases, usually warning Brackenreid and Murdoch to be discreet and not stir up too much trouble. And he hasn't forgotten Murdoch's role in Ava Moon's escape from jail and implies that any further slip-ups will cost him his badge.
The Dandy: James Gillies is an impeccably dressed young man of fashion. He's also a stone-cold Manipulative Bastard who enjoys setting up elaborate revenge plots on anyone unlucky enough to get in his way.
Used frequently from Murdoch's perspective, mostly involving Doctor Ogden and kissing. In one daydream Murdoch saw his older self camping with his wife and son. While Murdoch sees and seems to know the identity of the wife (he smiles when he sees her), the audience doesn't.
Doctor Ogden's point of view. When the case involving a "Hemo Erotic vampire" is solved, she imagines herself to be lifted up and seated on a table by the wall by Murdoch, and the two start to make out violently. The imagination involves Julia's fiancé Doctor Darcy Garland walking in on them.
Dead Person Conversation: Dr. Julia Ogden has a heated discussion with the ghost/memory of her deceased father — just as she is autopsying him. She has two other discussions with him later as she's investigating his death.
Death Faked for You: For Anna Fulford by the Toronto Constabulary, no less. She is pursued by a powerful criminal organization who want her dead as a revenge for her fiancé's actions. They stage her murder when they know a member of the organization is watching and they arrange a new identity for her as well.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: While Murdoch and Dr. Ogden are quite ahead of their time, the setting is definitely not; classicism, racism, sexism and homophobia are rampant, and Murdoch & Co. even run into the odd anarchist, eugenicist, and virulent anti-papist (Real Life turn-of-the-century Toronto was under the complete control of the Orange Order, every mayor up to 1955 was a card-carrying member). Inspector Brackenreid isn't above beating up a suspect during interrogation to try and get answers. Going in the other direction, abortionists were treated as complete pariahs, even by Murdoch until Ogden shook him out of it. The attitude that birth control interferes with a man's right to control his wife is accurate to the time, too.
The ventriloquist's dummy, Mycroft, in "Belly Speaker". Subverted at the end.
The dolls in "Murdoch in Toyland" also probably qualify.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Murdoch quite frequently solves crimes by using the limited resources of his time to get at a primitive version of a contemporary technology that would be quite familiar to the audience.
In one episode, for example, the evidence is underwater in Lake Ontario, so Murdoch essentially invents a rudimentary version of sonar to find it.
The episode "Murdoch.com" revolves around women being lured to their deaths by a sexual predator... on the telegraph lines.
Crabtree's line: "Why, it's like a spiderweb!... It could even be world-wide!"
Season 3 concludes with Julia ending her relationship with William and leaving Toronto for Buffalo. To add insult to injury, William — having decided to propose to Julia — rushes to the train station just in time to see her train pulling away. It's more Narm than anything else, since the train is still moving so slowly that he could have easily ran and climbed aboard, and even if it wasn't he could have just taken the next train.
Season 4's conclusion, where it looks like William's future in the Toronto constabulary is under threat and Julia appears to go through with her wedding to Darcy despite still being in love with William.
Season 7 ends with Inspector Brackenreid brutally beaten, possibly to death. This happened immediately after Murdoch and Dr. Ogden were finally engaged and happy, in a severe case of Mood Whiplash.
Episode 8x07, which ends with Chief Constable Giles and Constable Hodge both in jail.
Mr. MacFarlane, whose business is about to be bankrupt and his insurance fraud gets exposed. He refuses to be saved from his sinking cruise ship and goes down with her.
One young lady in "Loch Ness Murdoch" drowned herself because her lover got another woman pregnant. It turned out she was not in fact pregnant.
Dr. Jerk: Murdoch regards Dr. Francis this way. Others more or less agree, but see that both men have their point.
Drowning Pit: In "Murdoch Ahoy", a bomb exploded on a cruise ship and the deck is filling with water. The space can't be sealed because of a broken mechanism. Amy MacFarlane is trapped there.
Drugs Are Bad: Played for laughs and Deliberate Values Dissonance. Brackenreid has a tendency to fall for the latest in patent medicine and has taken Laudanum, morphine, cocaine, and Heroin, all for innocent pain management problems. Murdoch delivers the contemporary anti-drug Aesops, which sounds hilariously weak and nonsensical as the negative properties of addictive drugs was not well-known at the time.
Easter Egg: In the episode "Invention Convention", Murdoch realizes they don't need a cipher to read the random string of code — it is actually made of substituted letters. If one actually decodes the message, it reads "It is essential that we are all seen to be watching the speech at the instant the machine fires. We have precisely twenty seconds between when the device is triggered and when the shot is fired. Should the machine be discovered it is imperative that we stick to the plan." This trope might be averted since there are a few spelling mistakes, and it almost reads as nonsense in the middle, but whoever wrote the code was assuming the message wouldn't be read anyway.
Especially Zoidberg: In the episode "Who Killed the Electric Carriage?", Inspector Brackenreid finds out that his wife (who's been giving him a hard time about his drinking) and other ladies from Temperance League participate in bloody gambling, so he orders Constable Crabtree to arrest everybody in the bloody den.
Constable Crabtree: Sir? What? Even your wife? Inspector Brackenreid:Especially the wife!
In the form of tinted stereoscopy photos (a type of 3D photography popular in the 1900s).
Later in the series establishing shots of the city of Toronto, reconstitued in CGI, are common.
Eternal Sexual Freedom: Largely averted. Julia's abortion is a major point of contention for devoutly Catholic Murdoch and it nearly destroys their budding relationship. Similarly, Julia's push to teach birth control methods to women is met with hostility and she is forced to put the issue to rest when it threatens to harm Darcy's career.
Even the Rats Won't Touch It: In "Convalescence", Murdoch complains about his food. His landlady can't cook, but her stand-in seems to be even worse. Even a mouse will not eat it. He later finds a dead mouse (this one was probably very hungry), and realizes that his meals are being poisoned.
The Exile: Series 5 begins with Murdoch prospecting for gold in the Yukon, having left Toronto and the police force after his actions in the season 4 finale.
George Crabtree is cute and has his fair share of admirers. Especially when he publishes his novel and enjoys a moderate success.
Henry Higgins is very handsome and has a sweet smile. Pity that he's a minor character.
Fake Crossover: "Republic of Murdoch" features Murdoch and Crabtree pursuing a murder suspect to Newfoundland and, as the title would suggest, said suspect appears to be an identical ancestor of Jake Doyle. Obviously, due to the time difference, the two shows don't technically crossover themselves. This episode is followed by the Republic Of Doyle episode "If the Shoe Fits", where Yannick Bisson guest stars as the Identical Grandson of Murdoch.
Cecil Fox, who was sentenced to death by hanging, sits up on the autopsy table and grabs Julia.
James Gillies. He made a deal with a dying person who was hanged instead of him, and he made his escape.
Amy MacFarlane pretends she committed suicide. She loves a Native American man and her wealthy parents would never agree to the match. The plan goes awry because it coincides with her dad's insurance fraud.
The Film of the Book: The first-season episode "Let Loose the Dogs" is a direct adaptation of one of series creator Maureen Jennings' original novels.
Fingertip Drug Analysis: Shockingly, Murdoch — who is the smart one — tastes a mysterious white substance found on the crime scene. It's plaster.
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: James Gillies orchestrated the murder of one of his college professors simply to see if he could. Murdoch caught him for it, and it all went downhill from there.
Freudian Couch: Played for laughs when Inspector Brackenreid comes to see Dr Ogden and he's lying on a couch in her office, talking about some random stuff. She reminds him that he wished to speak with her about something important. Inspector immediately rises up and asks her to see his son who he's afraid might be a "sissy".
The Gay Nineties: A social reformer wannabe mentions horrible music she thinks they call Ragtime to George in "Murdoch au Naturel".
Gentleman Thief: "The Kissing Bandit". He's polite and gives the money he stole to orphanages.
Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Julia Ogden went through an abortion while she was a medical student. She didn't want to get married and give up her dream to have a career. She nearly died from complications and it left her barren.
Gorgeous Period Dress: Lots of this, particularly in any scene where the characters dress up formally. The basic style of dress and hair seems to be early 1890s, with excursions into the 1900s (see the Anachronism Stew entry above).
Gypsy Curse: Cleverly subverted when Brackenreid is running for Toronto City Council, his opponent starts gaining ground on an anti-immigrant platform. A rash of high-class thefts breaks out, and Brackenreid's backers urge him to arrest a caravan of gypsies to brandish his own anti-immigrant credentials, despite the fact that there's no evidence. The gypsies' leader curses Brackenreid to never realize his ambitions, and the curse seems to come true when Brackenreid realizes the real thieves are the son and friends of his lead backer. Brackenreid immediately arrests the son and his friends, and voluntarily drops out of the race, releasing the innocent gypsies in the process. In one of the episode's final scenes, the gypsy leader offers to lift her curse, and Brackenreid tells her not to, saying it wasn't a curse in the first place. The gypsy leader only wryly smiles, saying that she must be losing her touch, before thanking Brackenreid and telling him that he's "one of the good ones".
In "The Green Fairy", the usually non-drinking Murdoch spends an evening drinking absinthe. The following day is hard.
After a night of drinking (with Annie Oakley), Inspector Brackenreid ends up hungover. Murdoch seems to be subtly disapproving, the way he's talking a bit louder than usual or slamming the door, to Brackenreid's pain, but as Murdoch earlier got the blame from Mrs. Brackenreid for Brackenreid's drinking (he left his scotch in Murdoch's drawer because his wife knew his hiding places), it's justified payback.
He's Back: In the Season 4 finale, Murdoch lets a Sympathetic Murderer go free and is suspended from the Toronto Constabulary. Murdoch takes a leave of absence and goes to pan for gold in the Yukon. His alienation from his old life is symbolized by his throwing his badge away, his Perma Stubble and the rough mining clothes he wears. When his landlady is framed for murder, however, Murdoch tries to clear her name. We then see him clean-shaven and wearing his old detective's suit and his cherished Homburg hat. In one of the final scenes, he decides to return to the Constabulary, which is symbolized by him getting his badge back.
Crabtree is frequently not only sensitive to others, but 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.
In a later appearance Doyle is given the basic plot of "The Empty House" from a man who believes himself to be Holmes.
H.G. Wells is inspired by a eugenicist engaged in horrible animal experiments to write "something on an island".
Homage: The episode "Anything You Can Do" pays tribute to the Due South episode "Hunting Season". In addition to being Mounties, Sargeant Jasper Linney's personality and physical build are quite similar to Constable Benton Fraser's. Linney discovers that Murdoch — with whom he shares many traits in common — is his half-brother. This is very much like Fraser's situation when he learns that Constable Maggie Mackenzie — who is essentially a female version of himself — is actually his half-sister. Both pairs of half-siblings share a scene with their respective biological father.
The episode where Murdoch wakes up to find himself in the wrong country, with no memory of how he got there and everyone trying to kill him is of course, named "The Murdoch Identity" (the episode even included a character called Treadstone).
Added Alliterative Appeal is employed from time to time: "Victor, Victorian", "Me, Myself and Murdoch", "Monsieur Murdoch", and "Evil Eye of Egypt".
The template for a title troped as The Joy of X is also used quite often: "I, Murdoch" (I, Noun), "Me, Myself and Murdoch" (Me, Myself and X), "Dial M for Murdoch" (Dial X for Y), and "Murdoch in Wonderland" (X in Wonderland).
I Have Many Names: It's hinted that Terrence Myers isn't his actual real name, just one of the aliases he uses when doing government work. However, it's what he uses when dealing with Murdoch and company.
Often invoked by Inspector Brackenreid. He thinks he deserves one to celebrate when they're successful, and he often feels he needs a shot to calm himself down.
Inspector Brackenreid once suggested it to Dr. Ogden. It was when Detective Murdoch and she had a falling out, and he began a relationship with a young widow.
In the final episode of series 4, Murdoch himself suggests he needs one and that the Inspector could use one as well. Brackenreid knows it's a big deal because Murdoch drinks only very, very rarely.
Insufferable Genius: True, James Pendrick is a brilliant inventor, but he's also an eugenicist and acts rather arrogant, bordering rude towards Murdoch until his wife tries to frame him and get him executed.
The victim's absinthe in "The Green Fairy" was drugged. She and her lover were intoxicated by it, and when she was too sedated to defend herself, she was murdered.
Detective Murdoch's potion drink at the Alice in Wonderland party was drugged, and he became a little belligerent and didn't feel good, as he normally doesn't even drink. The experience ended in full Mushroom Samba mode.
In Vino Veritas: Murdoch asks Brackenreid for a drink before confessing his compromised principles in "Murdoch in Wonderland".
Ironic Fear: Dr Odgen's colleague laughs at her for treating phobia with small exposure, and thinks that her patients' phobias are ridiculous (they're feathers, horses, spiders and playing the violin in public). It's later revealed he's hugely afraid of spiders as well.
I Surrender, Suckers: When Brackenreid and Crabtree find Gillies' hiding place in "The Murdoch Trap", the latter extends his hands out as if allowing himself to be handcuffed, but it turns out that Gillies has a small gun concealed beneath his right sleeve. Before he can use it, though, Crabtree shoots him in the shoulder with his rifle.
It's Always Sunny in Toronto: With a few exceptions, it's almost always bright and sunny on the show. Even overcast days are rare, and winter seems practically non-existent.
Including several occasions where Murdoch or Crabtree invent entirely new policing methods or technologies (like sonar or the concept of pixels and digital transmission of images — with a telegraph), only for Inspector Brackenreid to dismiss them.
In one episode Crabtree explains how he used tracing paper to follow a telephone line, and find out where the call came from. Nobody's interested.
Even Murdoch gets in on the game, when he scoffs at Crabtree's idea of a board game (basically, Clue).
The episode "Murdoch Night in Canada" is all about how paying people to play ice hockey will never catch on, and if it does, the game will be ruined. The chief constable also assures the Wellingtons' owner that one thing he doesn't have to worry about is Americans buying his players, because they'll never be interested in hockey.
Murdoch and Crabtree question Inspector Brackenreid's decision to invest his wife's prize money from bridge in shares from a company producing a carbonated soft drink. The soft drink in question? Coca-Cola. In the same episode, Murdoch questions Crabtree's choice of potentially interesting firms: General Electrics and Ford are on the list...
Said word for word by Brackenreid about automatic sprinklers in "Murdoch in Toyland".
Even Crabtree of all people get into the game when a bored Higgins hopes for a machine to match finger-prints. To which Crabtree loudly exclaims: "No machine will ever replace the eye of a trained policeman!"
When Murdoch is introduced to coffee for the first time, he makes a face and wonders why anyone would drink that stuff while there's tea available.
Murdoch scoffs at the idea of a tower in Toronto with a bulged area near the top for viewing in "Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom".
In "The Filmed Adventures of Detective Murdoch", Charlotte suggests she could play a lady detective in James Pendrick's moving picture. Brackenreid and Pendrick both laugh their heads off and rubbish the notion that a woman could become a police officer.
In the same episode, Murdoch is overall rather dismissive of the idea that cinematograph could ever become a widespread mode of entertainment.
Averted in most conversations between Crabtree and Dr Grace, who at one point tells him "You should write all these ideas down!" when he suggests the pizza salesman could use his bicycle to take the product directly to people's homes.
In "Tour de Murdoch", Dr Grace discovers a fourth blood type, which has elements of both Type A and Type B, and which she therefore calls Type AB. Murdoch suggests Type D would be simpler (Type O at this point was called Type C), and Crabtree agrees!
Murdoch does this to himself in the interactive spin-off A Nightmare on Queen Street. The instructions for the player's L.A.P.T.O.P. (Levered Action Portable Truth Overview Protector) state that it contains "a miniaturized motion picture projector that features my own innovation, synchronized sound. (A novelty to be sure. I don't imagine it will catch on.)"
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.
Jack the Ripper: Believed to be murdering young women in Toronto in one episode. Murdoch is joined by a Scotland Yard detective who has been chasing the Ripper through Europe. He is later revealed to be the Ripper himself, and is killed by Doctor Ogden in self-defense.
Karmic Death: Dr. Luther Bates has an innocent woman strangled to death by one of the men who his experiments had turned Brainwashed and Crazy, and tries to do the same to Murdoch. Murdoch flashing his shiny badge at the man distracts him due to his fascination for shiny things (he had previously appropriated his victim's shiny crucifix) and he lets Murdoch go. All of the other men end up running amuck in the streets of Toronto, but the one Murdoch showed his badge to tracks down Dr. Bates and subjects him to the same gruesome fate he intended for Murdoch. Given all the shit he pulled during the episode and A Nightmare on Queen Street, he more than deserves his fate.
Kindhearted Cat Lover: George Crabtree. He owns at least one dog and one cat and his first priority tends to be animals.
Kissing Under the Influence: After an evening of consuming absinthe, Murdoch and Julia end up making out on a blanket. Subverted in this case; neither regret their actions on the morning after and consequently pursue a relationship.
Knight Templar: Becoming frustrated at how many guilty people were getting acquitted, the Crown Prosecutor of Toronto starts using false witnesses, planted evidence and murder to send innocent men to the gallows. He more than gets what he deserves at the end of the episode. When he's about to be hanged, he raves about how God will forgive him, since he was doing the Lord's work.
The Knights Who Say Squee: Detective Murdoch is always delighted or thrilled to meet famous inventors and scientists, but he absolutely fan-boys over meeting Marconi who is setting up wireless telegraph in Nova Scotia. Cute.
Latex Perfection: In "The Murdoch Trap", it's revealed that Gillies had used a latex mask of Dr. Ogden's face to impersonate her.
Lethal Chef: Mrs. Kitchen, Murdoch's landlady, definitely cannot cook. In one episode, Mrs. Kitchen's friend's food is even worse — even mice won't touch it. It's actually poisoned, though not lethally, to keep Murdoch feverish while they try to retrieve some stolen things.
Lobotomy: In "Murdoch of the Living Dead", psychiatrist Dr. Bates is revealed to have been performing lobotomies through the nose on criminals and violent/ill-tempered men. Though a couple of his patients became docile through the procedure, more of his "patients/victims" ended up even more violent than before.
In the series 2 finale, Murdoch discovers that the Mountie he is working on a case with is in fact his half-brother, the product of an affair their father had before marrying Murdoch's mother.
In season 2, George, who was a Doorstop Baby meets his birth mother.
Murdoch's long-lost father turns up as a murder suspect.
Murdoch has a long-lost sister who turns up as the Reverend Mother of a convent where a fake priest has been killed.
Lost Love Montage: Used very briefly in series 1 when Murdoch is thinking of Liza, his dead fiancée.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Sally Pendrick has used technology stolen from Nikola Tesla to develop a microwave death ray. When he goes to try and stop her from selling the weapon, Murdoch asks Dr. Tesla to develop some sort of protection. Tesla comes up with a shield made of polished silver and aluminum that Murdoch places in front of him on the coach he rides. The shield more than proves its worth when Sally Pendrick fires the death ray at Murdoch. Not only does the shield protect him, but it actually reflects the microwaves back at the gun, instantly destroying it.
Malaproper: Constable Crabtree mispronounces something or messes up a phrase from time to time, especially in the early seasons. Detective Murdoch sometimes corrects him, but once George Crabtree dismisses him and says that they will have agree to disagree as to what the correct expression is, Murdoch stops doing it. The best instance was probably when George repeated after Murdoch that haemo-goblin is the substance causing a chemical reaction.
A wealthy philanthropist is beaten to death with a shovel. The killer is his wife, who turned into this trope after she found out he was molesting their adopted daughter.
Enid Jones is a sweet, young and innocently-looking lady. But do not, ever, try to endanger her son.
Man Bites Man: One patient of Doctor Bates who has been lobotomised is called "a biter". He nearly attacks and bites Dr. Grace and later is seen (in a Gory Discretion Shot) killing Doctor Bates, attacking him like a wild animal.
Detective Murdoch's eyes fill with tears when Julia tells him that her abortion left her barren. She also strongly implies that she wants to end their relationship because she knows how much William wants to have a family.
Murdoch cries when his sister tells him she has to return from Toronto to Montreal, and that she's terminally ill, so that they are not going to see each other any more.
Inspector Brackenreid is on the brink of tears when his son got kidnapped and his kidnappers apparently killed him. He holds them because he doesn't want to cry in front of other people, but his eyes are full of tears and he's very, very shaken.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: When Inspector Brackenreid arrests a bunch of gypsies for theft for political gain despite there being no evidence of the gypsies' guilt, the leader of their caravan puts a curse on Brackenreid for him to never achieve what he most desires. Later in the episode, Brackenreid finds that the one of the actual thieves is the son of the man bankrolling his run for Toronto City Council. Despite his backer's efforts, Brackenreid decides Screw the Money, I Have Rules! and has the son and the rest of the thieves arrested, dropping out of the election in the process. Once the gypsies are released, their leader offers to lift her curse, but Brackenreid says that there was no curse to begin with... despite the fact that once the gypsy leader cursed him, his political ambitions fell apart.
Dr. Emily Grace and constable George Crabtree are walking at the beach, and a new-playboy-in-town Leslie Garland catches Emily's eyes. They share a long look. There seems to be an interest on both sides and a clear attraction on Leslie's side. George doesn't notice because he's busy describing Emily how he invented a new beach game (basically a flying disc).
In "Murdoch in Ragtime", Emily Grace and George come to spend an evening in a bar and they meet Leslie Garland. Leslie and Emily attempt playing ragtime together on the piano. This time George notices them and he keeps looking at them, somewhat worried.
The Men in Black: Terrence Meyers is the late 19th-century Canadian equivalent of this trope. He always shows up when something shady is happening and he's connected with the country's leaders.
Monochrome Apparition: In the episode "The Ghost of Queen's Park", there are several mysterious deaths in a building near Queen's Park that look like murders. People report seeing a ghost that is blue and glows. The ghost was a woman who wanted a revenge for her mother's death. She looked exactly like her mother and her adoptive father was a scientist who experimented with radium. She rubbed herself with it, and radium is luminescent, glowing a faint blue.
Moral Guardians: Miss Hamilton in "Murdoch au Naturel", who browbeats George into painting over French Revue posters that shows women's ankles and wants him to raid a nightclub playing "vulgar music called ragtime". Then when George returns from his undercover work at the nudist colony, she walks in on a conversation between him and one of the nudists about how restrictive clothes are.
Miss Hamilton: Heathens! Reprobates! Miscreants! Degenerates! This city is doomed with moral guardians like you!
Miss Hamilton returns in "Murdoch in Ragtime", still trying to get the Blind Pig shut down.
Mushroom Samba: One alcoholic drink served in a flask at the Alice in Wonderland costume party is drugged. Unfortunately, Detective Murdoch drinks it and has unsettling visions of the grinning Cheshire Cat, falling down a hole or being too big to enter a door. It turns out it was just a prank, and not directed at Detective Murdoch.
My Country, Right or Wrong: Terrence Myers is a lying, scheming Manipulative Bastard, but he is a loyal Canadian. He gets noticeably hot under the collar when an American secret agent starts trying to throw his weight around during an undercover mission in Toronto.
George writes The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs during season 4. By "Evil Eye of Egypt" in series 5 it has been published and he's on the publicity trail for it.
Both Arthur Conan Doyle and someone who "lives" the role of Sherlock Holmes show up in Season 6.
Myth Arc: For the first two seasons the episodes were mostly self-contained. Season 3 has one dealing with the Pendricks.
Naked People Are Funny: Used in "Murdoch au Naturel", with George going "undercover" in a naturist colony and unwittingly running into Julia there, much to their mutual embarrassment. George quickly covers the plumbing with a hand towel, but then lamely says he's been swimming in the cold river. "Ohhh?" Julia responds. Later, a still-naked Julia saves George's life, only to have Murdoch and Brackenreid rush in to catch her in the altogether, and Hilarity Ensues.
In the Season 3 finale, after a chase and explosion, the accomplice's body is found, but not Sally Pendrick. As of yet this has had no effect on the story, as Season 4 returned to the self-contained episodes format.
In "Murdoch in Toyland", after managing to escape his own hanging and get caught by Murdoch again, the police wagon carrying James Gillies back to prison plunges over a bridge into a river. While the bodies of the driver and the guard are found, Gillies' is not.
The same character dives into another river at the end of "Midnight Train to Kingston".
New Year Has Come: Season 5 concludes with the characters celebrating the beginning of the 20th century.
Niagara Falls: Murdoch and James Pendrick fly over these famous waterfalls with the latter's aircraft in "Murdoch Air".
Not the Nessie: The monster resembling a prehistoric serpent is just a fabricated machine created to scare off people from the beach.
Obfuscating Disability: In one episode, the killer turns out to be someone who pretended to be a stroke victim so he would avoid suspicion.
Officer O'Hara: The stationhouse is pretty evenly divided between the Irish and Scots.
Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Murdoch is approaching early middle age, while James Gillies is a young man who studied at college until Murdoch caught him. He's easily Murdoch's match in smarts, despite his comparative youth.
Old-Timey Bathing Suit: Lots of lovely beach wear was seen in "Loch Ness Murdoch", both worn by gentlemen and ladies.
Oh, Crap: The Crown Prosecutor of Toronto is outraged when Murdoch and Brackenreid accuse him of murder, and threatens to use his influence to ruin their careers. When Murdoch presents him with proof of his guilt, he immediately turns to this trope and then suffers a Villainous Breakdown.
Once per Episode: At a crucial point during the episode, Murdoch will have an Imagine Spot that shows him "witnessing" the crime as it's taking place. Jasper Linney, Brackenreid and Dr. Ogden each shared the Imagine Spot with him once each, while in the Season 7 finale Brackenreid takes Murdoch's place in the Imagine Spot while solving the B-plot case.
In "The Great Wall", a constable from station five is murdered, but the case is assigned to Detective Murdoch from station four. The whole constabulary still consider themselves to be a family and things get pretty ugly when the evidence leads to someone from the police force.
"Murdoch in Wonderland": A man is found murdered at a Lewis Carroll costume party. All clues point to the Hatter, which was Murdoch... He himself demands a detective from a different station house as none of his colleagues could be objective. But the constables of station four stay involved, as well as Murdoch's superior Inspector Brackenreid.
In "Let Loose the Dogs", Murdoch's father is a murder suspect. Murdoch doesn't want the case, but his boss refuses to comply. Interestingly, Murdoch is prejudiced against his father because they have serious issues.
In the penultimate episode and the finale of season 6, Julia Ogden is under investigation when Darcy Garland is murdered. Their partiality gets questioned, but the team can work the case.
Oop North: Inspector Brackenreid, like his actor, is from Yorkshire.
Opera Gloves: As a standard accessory to late Victorian and Edwardian women's formalwear, these are seen frequently in episodes where such dress is worn.
Julia, who has just been called to a crime scene from an evening at the theater, wears black Opera Gloves — which she immediately takes off to examine a body — in the first season's "Elementary, My Dear Murdoch". Also in the first scene of the same season's "Child's Play".
All the ladies at season 5's Policeman's Ball are wearing gloves.
Other Me Annoys Me: Several characters feel this way about "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch", altough most are pleased with the final result of the work.
Papa Wolf: Inspector Brackenreid is a devoted father and family man... and God help you if you threaten his boys.
One mysterious killer kept disguising himself as personification of death or grim reaper, and was killing off people working in prestigious facility researching human brain. His victims caused the death of his fiancée and did not feel responsible because... that's science for you. She was just a case study for them.
An Indian guide kills men who accidentally wounded him in the chest and left him stranded.
Julia tells William not to use the word "sodomite", because the correct term is "homosexual".
Prima Donna Director: James Pendrick in "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch". He keeps changing the script at the last moment against the wishes of the writers, give a meager pay to his staff while insisting the movie is done in time, fires the main actor because he was wounded by a bullet and cannot recover in time, etc. Of course he's the one financing the movie, so it isn't like he has any higher-up to rein him in.
The Profiler: Dr. Roberts is a psychiatrist who runs an insane asylum in Toronto. Murdoch sometimes consults him when he needs to know about the psychology of a killer.
Promotion to Parent: Only hinted at in one episode, but a conversation between Murdoch and Brackenreid suggests that the latter lost his parents at a young age, and had to take care of his four younger siblings.
Quest for Identity: The series 3 opener finds Murdoch in England with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He spends the episode recovering his memory while on the run from criminals out to kill him.
Canadian government spymaster Terrance Meyers seems to show up at least once per season.
Mr. Pendrick, a genius inventor, who appeared first in season 3.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Not to the extent of superheroic achievements, but Murdoch is actually an author of several extremely useful inventions (e.g. sonar or the fax machine) he could have patented or manufactured. Lampshaded in "Invention Convention": Crabtree brings Murdoch's version of a polygraph to an inventor's fair and spruiks it as the "Truthizer". His attempt to sell it to a potential buyer backfires when the buyer sees Murdoch use it on several murder suspects, all inventors themselves and all of whom quickly figure out how it works (and are all innocent anyway). Though the polygraph does what it's supposed to, the buyer is unimpressed and changes her mind, much to Crabtree's disappointment.
The plot of the season 2 finale "Anything You Can Do" involves a Toronto mining company that plans to defraud wealthy investors by using fake ore samples to make it seem as though a specific place in British Columbia is rich in gold and ready to be exploited. Chances are that this was inspired by the Bre-X scheme, which involved the Bre-X company swindling using ore samples artificially salted with gold to make it seem as though their site in Indonesia had a massive gold deposit. The exposure of the scam made national news in Canada, and Bre-X collapsed in 1997 after acquiring over $6 billion in capital from investors.
Season 7 episode "Unfinished Business" features a pair of prominent Toronto brothers, where one is accused of illegal behaviour, and the other appears to be the smarter, more controlling of the two who always bails his brother out and enables him. Of course they were businessmen and not Mayor and Councillor, but it does seem to be a remarkable coincidence and probably a reference to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford who have been in the international news frequent due to their antics in 2013 and 2014.
In series 2, Murdoch pursues a relationship with Enid Jones, a widowed single mother he meets while investigating a case.
And in series 8, George follows suit with the similarly-named Edna.
Romantic Spoonfeeding: In "Convalescence", Mrs. Jones takes an opportunity to feed sick and injured Murdoch.
Runaway Fiancée: Doctor Grace is one. Her ex-fiancé has not gotten over it.
Running Gag: Crabtree's aunts, all named after different flowers and plants. Fifteen identified: Aunt Amaryllis, Aunt Aster, Aunt Azalea, Aunt Begonia, Aunt Briony, Aunt Clematis, Aunt Dahlia (though George managed to pronounce just "Dahl—"), Aunt Hyacinth, Aunt Iris, Aunt Ivy, Aunt Lily, Aunt Marigold, Aunt Nettle, Aunt Petunia, Aunt Primrose. We finally meet them in season 7. As it turns out, they're all prostitutes who George's preacher father gave a safe place to live at the rectory. They're delighted when George visits them while he and Murdoch are in Newfoundland on a case.
Saying Too Much: When a boy asks which criminal they are transporting in "Midnight Train to Kingston", Constable Higgins 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.
Say My Name: Whenever something weird happens in his police station — like when he found the artists of a whole circus crowding there — Inspector Brackenreid can easily guess who's the culprit.
Scenery Censor: Lots of it at the nudist colony in "Murdoch au Naturel". But also averted in that we get to see several of the nudists clearly from behind.
Science Hero: Murdoch uses science to solve crime, either by adapting new scientific discoveries for police work, or by coming up with his own unique inventions.
Science Marches On: Intentionally invoked in the episode set at University of Toronto, where currently outdated scientific concepts (luminiferous aether) and laughably basic ideas (single/double molecular bonds) are presented as revolutionary and cutting-edge... because they were at the time.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Inspector Brackenreid is recruited by a group of businessmen to run for a position on Toronto's City Council, with the intent that he'll back their efforts to build a subway system in Toronto in exchange for their getting him elected. Brackenreid starts out strong, but when his opponent gains ground with an anti-immigrant platform, Brackenreid's backers try to respond. They get the inspector to blame a rash of break-ins in the area on a caravan of gypsies, and Brackenreid arrests several of their men. However, his conscience nags at him, and when he investigates the thefts further he finds that the people responsible for the break-ins are the son of his chief backer and the son's friends. When Brackenreid tries to turn the gypsies loose and arrest the son, his backers try to talk him out of it. They try to entice him by reminding him of the perks of office when he gets elected, which prompts Brackenreid to remind them that they're skirting dangerously close to trying to bribe a police officer. He arrests the backer's son and drops out of the race.
When William decides to unlock Ava Moon's cell and let her escape in the series 4 finale. Brackenreid bend his own convictions to hide Murdoch's actions.
After escaping the US agents with Pendrick's prototype plane in Season 6 first episode, Murdoch and Pendrick are arrested by Terence Meyers and his goons, who want to use the plane for military operations. Pendrick promptly destroys his prototype, though Meyers threatens him with a trial for high treason.
Self-Parody: "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch" - the episode and the story within the story are both this, at least out of the early 20th century context and standards.
Serial Killer: Several times. On season 6, the team realizes it's a recurring thing and extremely serious. They call them "sequential killers". Dr. Ogden is interested in the psychological issues.
Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Used at the end of "The Curse of Beaton Manor", ending with a zoom on a woman piercing a voodoo doll.
Shared Unusual Trait: In "Belly Speaker", the victim and his son who's a ventriloquist both have mismatched eyes, one blue and one brown. The son's Demonic Dummy, modelled after him, has mismatched eyes as well. It's later revealed that he had a twin brother who also had such eyes, but with the colors inverted.
Crabtree is showing a wealthy investor one of Murdoch's inventions with the hope that she'll buy into it. When the device appears to fail (although it actually works correctly — it just didn't detect anything Murdoch was looking for), the investor walks off with the words "I'm out." This is the collective Catch Phrase used by the investors on Dragon's Den when they show they're not interested in a business pitch, and the investor is played by Canadian businesswoman Arlene Dickenson, who is a regular on the CBC's version of the show.
When a headless body is found in "Murdoch in Toyland", Dr. Grace jokes that perhaps it's a resident of Sleepy Hollow, maybe Ichabod Crane, referencing The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Emily Grace bought tickets to see a theatre adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and George, having read the book, enthusiastically told her the whole thing, never realizing that she wouldn't want to.
In "Tour de Murdoch", Chippy Blackburn tries to come up for a nickname for Murdoch. His suggestion? Detective Gadget.
The first episode of Season 3, in which Murdoch wakes up in a strange place with no memory of who he is, is called "The Murdoch Identity" and involves a character named Treadstone.
In "Body Double", a partially decomposed body falls onto the stage of the Grand Theatre during a performance of Macbeth.
Dr. Ogden quotes "I knew him, Horatio." from Hamlet when she examines a skull. She laughs heartily at her little joke. Detective Murdoch and Constable Crabtree are rather disturbed by her morbid sense of humour.
Sibling Triangle: For one episode, there was a Love Triangle involving Detective Murdoch and sisters Julia and Ruby Ogden. When Ruby realized how deeply Julia feels for him, she became Shipper on Deck and started to support their relationship.
Slow-Loading Internet Image: Played with, for one case, Murdoch needed a photograph of a kidnapped woman, but the closest photo is in Paris, France. So Murdoch had the Paris police overlay a grid on the photo, assign a number to the scale of grey in each grid square, then telegraph the number to Toronto (i.e. a jury-rigged fax). The final "paint-by-number" job took two days to do, slowing yielding more clues until the case was solved, when the entire painting was done.
Smithical Marriage: A hotel clerk in "The Knockdown" tells Murdoch "We get a lot of Mrs. Smith and Mr. Jones here. This is not exactly the Queen's Hotel."
Smug Snake: Doctor Luther Bates. He's convinced his unethical experiments are for the betterment of the human species, and that he'll gain recognition for them one day. Under accusation, he denies everything while sporting the smuggest smirk you can imagine. When Murdoch finally corners him, he tries to kill the inspector, still as proud of himself as ever. His demise is suitably karmic.
Only the Sniff-sniff part happens with various coroners who examine organs while performing an autopsy. It appears it was a standard thing to do and sometimes the smell helps to crack the case. Sometimes even the Nom-part occurs.
Dr. Ogden's sister Ruby is visibly disturbed when she watches her sister do it, who tells her she shouldn't be such a mouse.
Dr. Grace handles Constable Crabtree a sample of substance from a dead body. He looks at it, sniffs it and then tastes it. He comments that is looks like sod, smells like sod and tastes like sod. Dr. Grace is surprised that he's in the habit of tasting sod.
The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs, a 13-part web series based on the mystery novel Crabtree's written.
A second web series was made to coincide with Season 5, The Murdoch Effect, which features William in a Fish out of Temporal Water situation, winding up in present-day Toronto with modern-day versions of his colleagues. The episodes are currently available on the official Ovation YouTube channel.
The third web series, A Nightmare on Queen Street features a dark murder mystery with an interactive component where the viewer can help investigate the murder with the use of Murdoch's Levered Action Portable Truth Overview Protector (a.k.a. LAPTOP).
Spoiler: Dr. Emily Grace doesn't appreciate when her boyfriend George Crabtree tells her the whole plot of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She bought tickets to see a theatre adaptation, and he has read the book and enthusiastically tells her what happens, never realizing that she wouldn't want to.
Squirrels in My Pants: During an investigation, Crabtree brings a ferret to follow a blood trail (he couldn't find a bloodhound). It works, but not before the critter shortly slips inside the leg of Murdoch's pants.
Murdoch and Dr. Ogden, with a brace of Romantic False Leads each, and various other impediments. At the end of season 3, Dr. Ogden leaves Toronto because she can't give William children; as of season 4 she's returned, but become engaged to another man while in Buffalo. Though she marries Darcy at the end of season 4, by the end of season 5 the marriage is over and she and William rekindle their relationship.
An unfortunate couple of lovers appear in "Let Us Ask the Maiden". They were not allowed to get married because they were of various social class and religion. The man was the murder Victim of the Week.
Steam Punk: A couple of episodes toy with this, before the season 3 finale goes full-tilt into it with Tesla's microwave death ray. In season 5, "Who Killed the Electric Carriage?" and its rocket-shaped car nicely fit as well.
"Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: "Unfinished Business" has this as a cold case, reopened when one of the conspirators makes a Deathbed Confession, but leaves Murdoch with the impression he killed his own wife, which he can't have done. When Murdoch realises what happened, he even suggests they may have met on some form of public transport.
An older Jewish doctor commits the Suicide by State variation in "Let Us Ask the Maiden" when he makes sure he will be arrested and executed. He shoots his fiancée's father in front of Detective Murdoch, Inspector Brackenreid and a couple of constables, which means he gets the noose. He did it because his future father-in-law murdered his employee who was also his daughter's lover. He loved the girl more than anything and he wanted her to be free from both of them — her evil father and himself.
The Poetic Serial Killer in "Werewolves" met his end when he tried to attack the investigators. Inspector Brackenreid shot him dead with a rifle, and was quite shaken by it, claiming it was the first time he killed anybody on duty as a police officer. This was the killer's Batman Gambit, not having any more reason to live after he'd gotten his revenge.
Swapped Roles: Constable George and Inspector Brackenreid in "Loch Ness Murdoch". Ordinarily, George is very willing to believe in all kinds of outlandish things, like Martians and zombies, and ordinarily, the Inspector is rather impatient about this. In this episode, Inspector Brackenreid is the one who believes in a gigantic predatory "lake monster", and George is the one who dismisses the possibility of such a creature.
Sweet Polly Oliver: A woman basketball team's worth. And back then, cross-dressing was considered quite scandalous. Julia in drag even initially fools Murdoch and Crabtree. When George realizes who he's talking to, he exclaims, "You look like a man...! A very pretty man!"
Sympathetic Murderer: A wealthy philanthropist is found beaten to death in his stable yard with a shovel. The killer turns out to be his wife, who killed her husband after she found out that he was molesting their adopted daughter.
Table Space: Between Julia and Darcy, when he tells her to give up her push for teaching contraceptive methods to women for the sake of his reputation.
Take a Third Option: The episode "Werewolves" features a young First Nations man who wants to become a police officer, but is stuck working in the stables at Stationhouse #4. He uses his tracking skills to help Murdoch and company track down a killer, and Crabtree says to Brackenreid that he should make the man an officer. Brackenreid agrees that he'd make an excellent cop, but the racism of turn-of-the-century Toronto would never allow it to happen. Undeterred, Crabtree gives the man the card of one of his friends who works for Pinkerton's, the American private detective agency.
Take That, Audience!: A friendly jab the end of "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch."
Take-That Kiss: Gillies plants a big one on Murdoch's mouth in "Midnight Train to Kingston".
The Teetotaler: Detective Murdoch doesn't normally drink any alcohol at all as he wants to keep his head clear. Moreover, he avoids alcohol because his father is an alcoholic. Notably averted in "The Green Muse" when Murdoch spends an evening getting drunk on absinthe in order to figure out how it would affect the mind (he really does do it For Science!). Murdoch also knocks back a whiskey with Branckenreid after releasing Ava Moon.
Anna Fulford. Murdoch first meets her in "The Murdoch Identity" while suffering amnesia in Bristol, but remembers Julia before their relationship can go anywhere. She returns briefly in season 4, but has to go into witness protection when her dead fiancé's criminal gang target her. The Bus Came Back again briefly in series 5, but Murdoch was forced to fake Anna's death to help her escape this time.
Enid Jones for Murdoch. She is a capable woman who used to work as a telegraphist. She's a widow and has an eager ten-year-old son who is fascinated by science stuff and by Detective Murdoch. Murdoch was impressed that she was able to build a telescope.
Telephone operator-cum-lady detective for George. Even though it lasted only one episode. She was very spirited and spunky.
Thanatos Gambit: Used by Karl Schreiner in "Invention Convention". Dying of cancer, he develops a device featuring components from the creations of his rival inventors at the convention that shoots him in the head as he's making his speech after winning the Eton prize for best invention. In killing himself, he prevented himself from suffering further and almost successfully managed to frame all his rivals for his death.
Those Two Guys: Crabtree and Higgins often fall into this when they're paired up.
Time Travel: Part of the plot in "Twentieth Century Murdoch". Murdoch investigates a scientist who has created a Time Machine and the claims of others who have used the machine and gone forward in time. It turns out to be a hoax using a form of shock therapy to show the user the future they want to see.
Title Drop: Both for the series and episode's titles in "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch". Crabtree comments that aforementioned title for the movie-whithin-a-show is too much of a mouthful, and suggest "Murdoc Mysteries" instead.
To the Pain: Before Mr. Pendrick gets tortured, his tormentor gleefully talks about how he knows that Mr. Pendrick dislocated his shoulder and how that type of injury never recovers fully.
Two Lines, No Waiting: Some episodes involve two cases. Crabtree and/or Brackenreid are usually the ones to handle the B-plot while Murdoch investigates the main case.
Uptown Girl: George experiences this with Emily Grace. Though he wants to invite her to the policeman's new year's eve ball, he observes that she's probably used to far finer parties and feels justified in his opinion when she later turns down his invitation. Happily, this is later averted when she does join him at the ball and announces that she finds him more interesting than the people at the party she was planning on attending. George views Emily as higher on the social chain than he is, even though Emily's former fiancé, the cad, told her she was a mere working-class girl.
Violence Detector: Murdoch performs this once with a(n anachronistic) luminol-like compound. Only problem, he tests this on hockey sticks, forgetting that hockey players don't go easy on each others. The sticks are covered in blood traces, making it impossible to tell which one was the crime weapon.
The Watson: Crabtree, Brackenreid, Dr. Ogden and Dr. Grace all play this role at different times in different episodes. Murdoch and Brackenreid often rely on Crabtree to do much of the legwork in interviewing witnesses, looking into interesting leads, and so forth.
What Did I Do Last Night?: A young Winston Churchill wakes up in his hotel room after a drunken night on the town... and finds his roommate's bloody corpse on the floor next to him. He's arrested under suspicion of murder, and Murdoch and Crabtree solve the case by accompanying him as he retraces his steps from the night before.
Murdoch receives one from James Pendrick after mistakenly arresting him for murder. Again.
A historical version occurs when Winston Churchill becomes a suspect in the murder of his friend. While retracing his steps with Murdoch and Crabtree, Churchill remembers talking about how he criticized Lord Kitchener for wanting to dig up the Mahdi's corpse and use his skull as a penholder. This is a reference to The River War in the late 1800s, and also ties into the real murderer and his motive for killing Churchill's friend.
Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In "The Filmed Adventures of Detective Murdoch", Murdoch is baffled by the idea of a moving picture based on his cases.
Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: The inspectors need someone to infiltrate a feminine basketball team. They first glance at Crabtree, who promptly tell them he's not gonna wear a dress (again). Then Dr. Ogden comes in.
Murdoch: Julia, have you ever played basketball? Dr. Ogden: Yes, as a matter of fact, I have. Why do you ask?
Wicked Cultured: James Gillies is impeccably dressed like a fashionable turn-of-the-century dandy. Don't let his youth fool you, though — he's arguably one of the smartest antagonists Murdoch has ever faced.
With Due Respect: Inspector Brackenreid has a very unusual Mulder Moment and insists on seeing a lake monster. Detective Murdoch suspects that Inspector's love of whisky might be responsible and hints at it "with all due respect". But Inspector knows bloody well what he saw.
Working the Same Case: One season 6 episode has Inspector Brackenreid investigating the apparent suicide of a prisoner who seems to have hung himself in his cell and who was one of the Inspector's old Army friends. Meanwhile, Murdoch and Crabtree are investigating a robbery in which the shop owner was brutally murdered. They eventually find that both cases are related.
Worst Whatever Ever: In one episode, Henry is assigned to figure out a sentence from a piece of destroyed paper. The equipment to help him provided by Detective Murdoch looks like proto-Scrabble. However, Henry is not impressed and declares it "the worst job ever".
Written-In Absence: Dr. Ogden leaves Toronto for a job at a children's hospital in Buffalo at the end of series 3. She's still in Buffalo at the beginning of series 4, but returns to Toronto and her old job halfway through the series.
You Just Ruined the Shot: In "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch", Murdoch and Crabtree sees a young woman agressed by two men on the street, and immediately intervene. Turns out it's part of the movie shot by James Pendrick. One has to wonder how they missed the filming crew, which was only hidding Behind the Black.