Series / The Doctor Blake Mysteries

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The Doctor Blake Mysteries is an Australian television series which premiered in 2013. The series stars Craig McLachlan in the lead role of Doctor Lucien Blake, who returns home to Ballarat in 1959 to take over his deceased father's general medical practice after an absence of 30 years. He also takes up his father's old position as police surgeon. Doctor Blake is a keeper of secrets and a solver of mysteries.

Tropes:

  • Always Murder: Pretty much required, given the nature of the series.
  • Animal Assassin:
    • In "Death of a Travelling Salesman", the salesman is murdered by placing a venomous snake in his car.
    • In "Ties of the Past", bees are used to murder a priest who is allergic to bee stings.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: In "If the Shoe Fits", Lucien arrives at the mortuary to find Gus the pathologist fixing himself a sandwich in the autopsy room with a corpse on the slab.
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: Happens in "This Time and This Place". An Aboriginal teen finds a pistol discarded on the ground and picks it up. As he does so, the body of the murdered social worker is discovered and the lights are turned on, revealing him standing there with the gun in his hand.
  • Bothering by the Book: Lucien uses the club's own rulebook to prove that he is allowed to hang a painting of a nude in the club's main lounge.
  • Car Fu: In "The Open Road", Lawson gets knocked down by a car and seriously injured while investigating the garage where the murder took place.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: Used to move the Body of the Week in "The Price of Love". Lucien and Charlie stumble on to the crime when they find the blood soaked rug in the boot of a stolen car.
  • Chained to a Railway: This is what the kidnapper plans to do to his victim if the ransom is not paid in "Lucky Numbers". His wording is how Lucien realises that she is being held in the railway yards.
  • The Coats Are Off: Lucien does this in "An Invincible Summer'' when he confronts a local thug who has pushed Mattie down and slapped Jean. He strips of his suit coat and proceeds to pound the crap out of the thug with Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • Cold Cash: In "My Brother's Keeper'', Lucien is musing that one of the confusing things about the case is that no one can work out where the money from the sale of the farm went. Jean remarks offhandedly that she knows where she would hide a large sum of money. The next scene has Lucien sneaking into a suspect's house and finding the cash in a biscuit tin at the bottom of the deep freeze.
  • Cramming the Coffin: In "Mortal Coil", a coffin is dropped at a funeral that Jean is attending, revealing the body of Jean's friend and the local junk man. The investigation later reveals this is the second body to have been disposed of in this manner.
  • Death by Falling Over: The Victim of the Week in "By the Southern Cross" is revealed to have died after getting shoved backwards during a fight with one of his 'friends'. He fall backwards and struck his head on a pile of bricks.
  • Detective Mole: In "The Visible World", the murderer is Inspector Llewellyn Sullivan of Special Branch. He claims to have come to Ballarat to supervise the investigation because of the political sensitivities surrounding the case. He was actually in town to kill Alderton and Hannam to tie up loose ends.
  • Ditzy Genius: Simon is a mathematical whiz, brilliant engineer and all-round hyper-intelligent guy, who has absolutely no social skills or manners. He simply can't grasp the idea of why people have affairs, so emotionally ignorant is he.
  • Evil Teacher: The deputy headmaster in "The Silence" is a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up who still enjoys intimidating children.
  • Fatal Method Acting: Happens In-Universe in "A Night to Remember". An actress is poisoned and dies on stage during a performance of Elektra. As she keels over during Elektra's death scene, the audience assumes it is part of the show and erupts into rapturous applause. It is only when she does not get up to acknowledge the applause does anyone realise something is wrong.
  • Fixing the Game: In "Against the Odds", a bookie attempts to fix the results of the Ballarat Cup by arranging for the jockey riding the favourite (who is Trapped by Gambling Debts) to throw the race.
  • Foreshadowing: In the pilot, Blake warns Danny not to get in the habit of going behind his superior's backs. No points for guessing how he helps the Doctor out episode after episode...
  • Glory Days: In "King of the Lake", the father of the Victim of the Week is a former Olympian whose career was cut short and who is attempting to relive his glory days through his son's athletic success.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Lucien displays some serious pugilistic talent. When he squares off against a local thug in "An Invincible Summer", he drops into a stance that shows he has had proper boxing training and takes his opponent, who is much bigger and heavier.
  • Impairment Shot: Happens in "Death of a Travelling Salesman" when Danny is staggering along the road and collapses after being bitten by a snake. The last thing he sees before blacking out is Blake's car arriving.
  • Insurance Fraud: In "For Whom the Bell Tolls", the murder of the Victim of the Week turns out to be tied to a warehouse that was burnt down for the insurance.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In a rare case of a character doing this deliberately, Lucien swallows some pills found on a suspect to prove his theory that they are dextroamphetine in "Still Waters". he is right and he becomes highly agitated and excitable, and starts babbling at a million miles an hour.
  • Invented Individual: "The Price of Love" involves a scam where the army wives create a series of fake employees to allow them to claim extra salaries. This spirals out of control when the police need to talk to one of the fake employees. When they are not able to find her, it becomes a missing person case.
  • I Own This Town: Patrick Tyneman; which goes some way to explaining why Lawson hates him so much.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: "Brotherly Love" sees a policeman kicking a suspect who's just been arrested and wrestled to the ground, and having to be restrained. Somewhat justified in that he's apparently just brutally killed one of their number.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: Happens in "The Visible World" when Lucien confronts Major Alderton at the Ballarat Observatory. As the observatory is plunged into darkness by a partial eclipse, there is a gunshot and when the lights come up, Alderton is lying dead at Lucien's feet.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Lucien and Jean are mistaken for husband and wife on several occasions. They don't always bother to correct this.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Blake alternates between this and I Am Not My Father. Somewhat unusual in that Dr Blake Snr is generally seen as a good guy, though it's implied he had some practices Lucien doesn't approve of; hence the oscillation.
  • Locked Room Mystery: In "Room Without a View", the Body of the Week is found asphyxiated in a hotel room that has chair jammed under the door handle.
  • Low Clearance: The Victim of the Week in "Against the Odds" is killed when a cable is strung across the racetrack to knock him off his horse.
  • Mama Bear: Jean to Danny in particular, though Mattie and even Lucien can be this at times.
  • Medication Tampering: In "King of the Lake", the murderer substitutes the Victim of the Week's heart medication for similar looking slimming pills; knowing that when he is thrown into the lake as happens at the end of every rowing race, the sudden immersion in cold water will trigger a fatal heart attack.
  • Mistaken for Dying: In "Mortal Coil", Lucien self-diagnoses his symptoms as possibly being cirrhosis of the liver and starts making preparations for his possible demise. However, when he eventually gets blood tests done, it turns out to be the far less serious (and more treatable) hepatitis, which has similar symptoms, combined with additional symptoms from his attempt to quit drinking.
  • Murder by Mistake: The Victim of the Week in "This Time and This Place". Blake's Eureka Moment occurs when he realises that the victim had come out on a cold night without a jacket, and her friend loaned had loaned her hers. Blake realises that in the darknness, the killer had been aiming at the jacket.
  • Mysterious Past: Between his marriage, his addictive history, his military experience, his connection to the secret service; there's quite a lot that we don't know about Doctor Blake...
  • Mystery of the Week
  • Never Suicide: In "For Whom the Bell Tolls", when a man falls to his death from the Ballarat fire station bell tower, it is initially assumed to be suicide when an apparent suicide note is found. However, Lucien thinks the position of the body is odd for someone who jumped and keeps investigating. It turns out to be murder, and the 'suicide note' was constructed from a letter the victim had sent his murderer.
  • Never Win the Lottery: In "Lucky Numbers", the wife of the winner of the first state lottery is kidnapped.
  • New Old Flame: In "King of the Lake", the mother of the Victim of the Week turns out to have been Lucien's first serious girlfriend.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Sergeant Bill Hobart. Set in the early 60s when such things were not uncommon, Hobart is a racist thug who is not above beating a confession out of a suspect with a phone book. He is contrasted by the younger Sergeant Charlie Davis who represents the new breed of law enforcement that is gradually emerging.
  • Pocket Protector: In "Darkness Visible", when Clare Llewellyn attempts to stab Jock Clement, he is saved when Lucien deflects the knife and it hits him the wallet in his jacket pocket.
  • Poor Man's Porn: In "Death of a Travelling Salesman", the presence of a large stack of bodybuilding magazines is taken as evidence that the victim was homosexual. Truth in Television, as in the 1950s bodybuilding magazines were the closest thing to gay porn it was legal to possess.
  • Product Placement: In-universe - The eponymous "Game of Champions" is sponsored by Tyneman Electrics, as the titles and opening sequence and even prizes are keen to remind the audience.
  • Race Against the Clock: In "Brotherly Love", Blake is trying to unravel a case before the suspect is hanged...
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: In "The Silence", Blake and Superintendent Lawson investigate a murder at their old school. The deputy headmaster is the old school bully who used to torment Lawson and still enjoys intimidating the children. Lawson's confrontation with him at the end of the episode is a joy to behold.
  • Shovel Strike: In "My Brother's Keeper", the killer bludgeons the Victim of the Week before causing him to be trampled by cattle.
  • Smoky Gentlemen's Club: Lucien belongs to one and delights in pricking the pomposity of the other members.
  • Suicide by Cop: A suspect attempts this at the start of "Brotherly Love". He charges towards the police, waving a gun and yelling that he has just killed a cop. When the police seem reluctant to shoot, he fires a shot into the air to provoke them. He is then shot by the police but survives.
  • This Bear Was Framed: In "My Brother's Keeper", the killer clubs the Victim of the Week over the head, dumps his body in a cattle pen, and then stampedes the cattle so the trample the body to conceal his wounds.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: In "Against the Odds", a jockey is seriously in debt to a bookie. The bookie agrees to wipe the slate if the jockey - who is riding the favourite in the Ballarat Cup - throws the race.
  • Trigger: The "Game of Champions" rigs the game against the reigning champion by using a phrase associated with his scarring childhood bullying.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The major ongoing plot in third season involves Chief Superintendent Munro taking over from Lawson and trying to drive Lucien out of the position of Police Surgeon.
  • Victim of the Week: It is a murder mystery show after all.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Used to kill the Victim of the Week in "Room Without a View". Justified as the victim was passing out drunk and in no state to put up any resistance.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: In "A Difficult Lie", the Vict Im Of The Week is a disagreeable journalist who is later revealed to have been a blackmailer as well. The man seemed to create enemies wherever he went, with everyone from his caddie to the president of the golf club having a motive to kill him.


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