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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.



  • Always Murder: Pretty much required, given the nature of the series.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: No matter how much you hated him, William Munro dying to save Lucien packs a punch in "Hear the Angels Sing."
    • The death of Patrick Tyneman in "Family Portrait" is also tragic, especially since it was of natural causes.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Simon Lo in "Game of Champions" is strongly implied to be somewhere on the autism spectrum, in that he has No Social Skills but an encyclopedic brain, particularly when it comes to observing patterns.
    • Dr. Alice Harvey has clear and repeated trouble with social norms, but is a brilliant doctor.
  • 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.
  • Anyone Can Die: While the series does have Plot Armor for its core cast (though subject to another trope), anyone outside that group is perfectly capable of ending up in Lucien's morgue.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • The Big Board is first used by the brilliant but annoying suspect in S1:E8 Game of Champions to prove the game was rigged. Later in the episode Dr. Blake uses it to draw connections between the two victims and all the suspects.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: In "Family Portrait", Edward Tyneman is found lying in a fountain with his throat slashed. The blood has stained the water red and, because of the action of the fountain, the stain has spread to all levels of the fountain.
  • 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.
  • The Boxing Episode: An exhibition boxing match turns sour when one of the boxers is seemingly beaten to death in front of hundreds of witnesses in "A Lethal Combination". Blake must determine the cause of death.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lucien is a habitual drinker who gleefully ignores proper police procedure and antagonizes authority figures. But he gets results.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Danny Parks, who left at the end of season 1, in "Family Portrait" at the end of season 5 as a sergeant in a Melbourne station.
    • The bus comes back for Superintendent Munro at the end of series 5, having been arrested at the end of series 3 and not seen since.
    • Father Emery, first introduced in season 2's "The Sky Is Empty" and not seen again, features prominently in season 5 as Jean's priest.
  • Call-Back / Continuity Nod: Both happen fairly frequently, given the serial nature of the series.
  • 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.
  • Casualty in the Ring: An exhibition boxing match turns sour when one of the boxers is seemingly beaten to death in front of hundreds of witnesses in "A Lethal Combination". It ultimately proves to be a case of Weighted Gloves.
  • 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.
  • Character Name Alias: In "Someone's Son, Someone's Daughter", the killer has been using the name 'Giovanni Morgagni' when creating fake prescriptions to feed their morphine habit. When Lucien confronts them, he mentions that using the name of a famous Italian pathologist was not very smart.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted. The difference between Anglican and Catholic funerals (Catholics have viewings/open casket funerals, while Anglicans do not) is a plot point in "Mortal Coil," and Jehovah's Witnesses appear in "Measure Twice."
  • 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 off his suit coat and proceeds to pound the crap out of the thug with Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • Coffin Contraband: In "Golden Years", the killer attempts to dispose of an incriminating watch by placing it in the coffin of the Victim of the Week.
  • 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.
  • The Corpse Stops Here:
    • In "The Visible World," Lucien is suspected of the murder of the Victim of the Week because he's found standing over the body.
    • In "Measure Twice", a young Jehovah's Witness is found kneeling over the Victim of the Week, covered in the victim's blood and praying.
    • In "Family Portrait", Patrick Tyneman is found standing over the body of the second Body of the Week. The weapon is not in his hand, but it is at his feet, and he had a very strong motive for wanting the victim dead.
  • 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.
  • Disability Alibi: In "Family Portrait", Lucien discovers that Patrick Tyneman couldn't have committed the second murder because his hypertension is so bad, he would have blacked out if he had bent over to pick up the brick that was used as a weapon.
  • 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.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: It is revealed in "Someone's Son, Someone's Daughter" that Gus the pathologist, who has been working with Lucien all season is the murderer.
  • Dramatic Drop:
    • In "Measure Twice", the niece of the Victim of the Week finds his body and stops short. Her husband walks into the back of her, causing a dramatic drop of the plate with a cake she is carrying.
    • In "Family Portrait", Cec drops a crate of bottles he is carrying when he finds Patrick Tyneman standing over a dead body outside the Colonist's Club.
  • Ear Ache: In "First Dance", the Victim of the Week is murdered by being stabbed in the ear with the wire in her floral headpiece.
  • Eat the Evidence: In "The Call of the Void", a chef uses a frozen leg of lamb to murder the Victim of the Week, then cooks the lamb and serves it as that night's special.
  • Edible Bludgeon: In "The Call of the Void", the Victim of the Week is bludgeoned to death with a frozen leg of lamb in a restaurant freezer.
  • Evil Teacher: The deputy headmaster in "The Silence" is a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up who still enjoys intimidating children. However as it turns out the Headmaster was even worse (more specifically he was sexually abusing one of his students.)
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Patrick Tyneman refuses to defend his son when presented with proof that he had been forcing women into prostitution and then filming it for profit, even telling him "you're on your own."
  • 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...
  • The Gambling Addict: In "Measure Twice", the Victim of the Week turns out to have been a regular player at an illegal poker game (the kind of thing the police would normally turn a blind eye to). While he wasn't a gambling addict, at least one of his opponents was, having recently lost his brand new car to the victim, which made him an extremely viable suspect.
  • 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.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Special Branch, who over the course of the series has maliciously targeted Lucien for suspected spying, sent Charlie in to spy on the Ballarat precinct, and demoted Lawson after failing to get trumped-up corruption charges to stick. Almost no one from Special Branch is ever seen.
  • Hand of Death: In "Lucky Numbers", the kidnapper is only shown as a gloved hand until the reveal of his identity.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Dr. Blake apparently has a thing for women much shorter than him: he's 6'0", while Jean is 5'5" and Mei Lin is 5'3".
  • I Have Your Wife: In "Lucky Numbers", the wife of a lottery winner is kidnapped, with the kidnapper demanding 50,000 pounds.
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In "Measure Twice", a suspect is driven so viciously down on to a star picket that it pierces his back and comes out his chest. Lucien and Charlie arrive in time to save his life, just.
  • 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.
  • In the Local Tongue: The old story about the etymology of Lake Wendouree — that it comes from an Aboriginal word meaning "go away" — shows up in one episode when an Aboriginal boy is suspected of murdering a local white girl. After relating the story to Charlie and Bill Hobart, Bill starts to smack him around, causing the boy to continue repeating "Wendouree! Wendouree!" in defiance.
  • 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 and Blake hate him so much.
  • It's All My Fault: Jean thinks so about the death of her husband: she argued with him over his refusal to leave Ballarat and small-town life, and added the fact that he hadn't enlisted in order to drive the knife deeper. He shipped out a week later and never came back.
  • 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.
  • Look Both Ways: In "Against the Odds", a jockey fleeing the police runs onto the track and gets run over by horses.
  • 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.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In "The Price of Love", Charlie and Lucien discover a murder (and later all kinds of dark goings-on at a military base) when Charlie stops a car for speeding, and Lucien notices blood dripping from the boot.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "The Call of the Void", the Victim of the Week is believed to be gay because he is lodging with a known homosexual (who is also his employer). This earns him a beating at the hands of Sergeant Hobart.
  • Murder by Mistake:
    • The first victim in "Game of Champions" is this. His murderer had no idea that the game was rigged, and, on the assumption that another contestant would win, sabotaged the winner's television set.
    • 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 darkness, 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 "Someone's Son, Someone's Daughter," the victim is found hanging from a rope, apparently by suicide. Blake notices several odd facts about the body and crime scene (including a lack of a broken neck) to determine it was murder.
    • 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 Neighbours as the Plot Demands: Surprisingly averted. Many victims are often recurring characters or related to them.
  • 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.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: In "Family Portrait", Jean and Rose are discussing Jean's wedding suit when Rose notices that Lucien isn't listening and remarks that "vivid purple was a bold choice". Jean replies "It will match the shade of violet I'm planning to dye my hair". This gets Lucien's attention with a "Did you say you're dying your hair v...?" before realising he is being pranked.
  • 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.
  • Police Brutality:
    • In "The Call of the Void", Sergeant Bill Hobart delivers a severe beating to a man accused of being a homosexual. He later becomes a suspect when the man turns up dead.
    • In "Hear the Angels Sing", the officers arresting a suspected Cop Killer take the opportunity to put the boot in.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The cause of the victim's death in "Sorrow Songs." The murderer thought her husband was having an affair with the victim, when actually he was purchasing a treatment for his erectile dysfunction.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: Danny Park is reassigned to Melbourne in between series one and two, and replaced with Charlie Davis.
  • Race Against the Clock: In "Brotherly Love", Blake is trying to unravel a case before the suspect is hanged...
  • Ready for Lovemaking: In "Sorrow Songs," Jean takes out a lacy negligee and starts to walk to the doctor's room... only to lose her nerve when she sees others in the hallway.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: In "A Good Drop", the arsonist drops a lit cigarette lighter to ignite the Vapor Trail of sump oil he has spread over the farmer's paddock.
  • 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.
  • Second Love: Jean and Lucien, for each other, many years after both of their respective spouses have died. Well, Jean's, anyway: Mei Lin is Not Quite Dead.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Lucien was kept in a P.O.W. Camp while serving in the Pacific Theatre, and whatever they did to him permanently scarred him.
  • 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 (The Colonists Club) and delights in pricking the pomposity of the other members.
  • Smug Snake: Edward Tyneman, Patrick Tyneman's obnoxious son, who assumes that Daddy will protect him from criminal charges. He drops this after his dad cuts him loose.
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After season one, Danny Park is Put on a Bus (his absence explained by being reassigned to Melbourne) and replaced with Charlie Davis.
    • Lawson's niece, Rose, is introduced at the start of series 4; midway through series 4, Mattie moves to Melbourne and Rose takes her place.
  • Taking the Bullet: In "Hear the Angels Sing", Munro sees a gunman in a car aiming at Lucien and pushes Lucien out of the way; taking the bullet intended for Lucien.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Lucien does this to the father of the Victim of the Week in "First Dance" when he is planning to throw himself off the suspension bridge. Lucien finds common ground with him because he knows what it is like to lose your family. When a young girl who was sexually abused tries to do this he also talks her down.
  • Talking to the Dead: In "Hear the Angels Sing", Jean sits at the grave of her late husband Christopher and talks to him about her plans to marry Lucien; essentially asking his permission.
  • A Taste of the Lash: In "Sorrow Songs", a band of gypsies attempts to flog one of their number before banishing him when they believe him guilty of murder. Lucien and Charlie intervene before the flogging can be carried out.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: An affair between a student and a teacher provides a possible motive for murder in "First Dance". It is ultimately a Red Herring, but it seems likely the teacher will lose her job.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: In "Family Portrait", the new police surgeon dismissively refers to Alice as 'Miss Harvey' and then tells her patronizingly that if if there is any investigative work to be done, he will do it. Alice's only reply is an icy "It's Doctor Harvey".
  • 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.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: In "The Call of the Void", the Vic Tim Of The Week dies clutching a shelf in a walk-in freezer. By the time he is found, his hand is frozen to the shelf and Lucien has to break his fingers to detach him.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Edward Tyneman becomes much more sympathetic after spending time in prison.
  • 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.
  • Trauma Button: The "Game of Champions" rigs the game against the reigning champion by using a phrase associated with his scarring childhood bullying.
  • Traveling Salesman: In "Death of a Travelling Salesman", Blake investigates when a travelling is murdered by having a venomous snake planted in his car.
  • Turn in Your Badge: In "Hear the Angels Sing", Lucien is dismissed from his position as police surgeon: something that had been threatened throughout the season.
  • 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.
  • Vapor Trail: At the start of "A Good Drop", an arsonist spreads a trail of sump oil from a drum in the back of his ute, then ignites it with a Reusable Lighter Toss.
  • 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.
  • Weighted Gloves: In "A Lethal Combination", Charlie's brother Ray has his hand wraps coated in plaster of Paris before a boxing match. As the match progresses, the plaster absorbs sweat and hardens, allowing him to deliver much more solid blows.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: In "A Difficult Lie", the Victim 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.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Lucien and Jean. After five seasons and a movie, They Do.
  • Window Pain: In "Sorrow Songs", the gypsies throw a brick through the window of the Ballarat Courier after editor Edward Tyneman is accused of Nadia's murder.
  • Wrench Whack: At the climax of "The Open Road", Jean grabs a wrench and clobbers the murderer who is attempting to crush Lucien beneath a car on a jack.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In "First Dance", Lucien finds the last page of the Victim of the Week's algebra exercise book has been pulled out. Lucien rubs a pencil over the sheet underneath to find the impression of a blackmail note she had been composing.


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