Murdoch Mysteries

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Murdoch Mysteries
Murdoch Mysteries.jpg
Also known as The Artful Detective
Genre Crime
Period drama
Based on Characters from novels 
by Maureen Jennings
Developed by R.B. Carney
Cal Coons
Alexandra Zarowny
Composer(s) Robert Carli
Country of origin Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 114 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Scott Garvie
Noel Hedges
Cal Coons
Peter Mitchell
Christina Jennings
Producer(s) Jan Peter Meyboom
Location(s) Toronto, Oshawa,Belleville, Hamilton, St. John's, Ottawa, Cambridge, Drumheller, Guelph, Pitt Meadows, and Dawson City, Canada,
Bristol, England
Running time 43–46 minutes
Production company(s) Shaftesbury Films
Rogers Media (seasons 1-5)
ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Distributor Genesis International
Original channel City (Seasons 1-5)
CBC (Seasons 6-)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original run January 20, 2008 (2008-01-20) – present
External links
Production website

Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian television drama series aired on both City and CBC Television, featuring Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch, a police detective working in Toronto, Ontario, around the turn of the twentieth century. The television series is based on characters from the novel series by Maureen Jennings. It is titled The Artful Detective in the United States.

On September 27, 2011, Rogers Media announced that it would not be continuing the series beyond its fifth season. On November 15, 2011, it was reported that CBC had picked up the show and ordered a sixth season, which premiered on January 7, 2013. On April 2, 2013, CBC renewed the show for a seventh season, with 18 episodes,[2] which started on September 30, 2013. On March 4, 2015, CBC renewed Murdoch Mysteries for a ninth season.[3][4]


The series takes place in Toronto starting in 1895 and follows Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) of the Toronto Constabulary, who solves many of his cases using methods of detection that were unusual at the time. These methods include fingerprinting (referred to as "finger marks" in the series), blood testing, surveillance, and trace evidence.[5]

Some episodes feature anachronistic technology whereby Murdoch sometimes uses the existing technology of his time to improvise a crude prototype of a technology that would be more readily recognizable to the show's 21st-century audience. In one episode, for instance, he creates a primitive version of sonar to locate a sunken ship in Lake Ontario. In another, he effectively invents wire-tapping. In still another, a foreign police officer has a photograph that Murdoch needs as evidence, so Murdoch asks the other officer to overlay the photograph with a grid numerically coded for the colour in each square, and to transmit the numerical data to Murdoch via telegraph — with the end result that the foreign officer has essentially sent Murdoch a bitmap image they call a "facsimile" — a telefax.

Detective Murdoch is assisted by the three other main characters: Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), Doctor Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), and the inexperienced but eager Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), who aspires to be a mystery-novel writer. Brackenreid, Murdoch's immediate superior, is a blunt and sceptical Yorkshireman with a fondness for whisky, and prefers conventional methods of detection over Murdoch's eccentric methods, though he is typically pleased and proud when Murdoch is successful despite the odds. Crabtree is often unable to grasp the more advanced methods, but his enthusiasm and loyalty make him a good assistant. Like Crabtree, Dr. Ogden is a great supporter of Murdoch's methods. Her skill in pathology usually helps by revealing a great deal of useful evidence to aid Murdoch in solving cases. Throughout the series, Murdoch's growing infatuation with her, and his inability to express his feelings, provide a light subplot. In the fifth season, after Dr. Ogden is married to Dr. Darcy Garland (a colleague she met in Buffalo), a new doctor is introduced, Doctor Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly). She and George Crabtree show some romantic interest in each other.

Real history is an important element in most episodes, and the plots, though fictitious, sometimes involve real people, such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, H G Wells, Nikola Tesla, Wilfrid Laurier, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Queen Victoria, Oliver Mowat, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Henry Ford, Sir Winston Churchill, Bat Masterson, Alexander Graham Bell, Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini and Thomas Edison. Future events are often foreshadowed. For example, it is implied that secret British-American government co-operation has produced a highly advanced aircraft similar to an airship, and Crabtree and Murdoch allude to the building of a secret government facility in Nevada and New Mexico "at Concession 51" (an allusion to Area 51). Characters also refer to actual inventions of the 19th century and extrapolate from them to future inventions such as microwave ovens, night-vision goggles, computers, the games "Cluedo" (marketed as "Clue" in the U.S.) and "Hangman", the toy Silly Putty, and a silencer for small arms.

Another underlying theme of the series involves the fact that Murdoch is a Roman Catholic in what was at the time a predominantly Protestant city, and the prejudices that he occasionally encounters as a result.


Guest stars[edit]


Murdoch Mysteries was produced and developed by Shaftesbury Films in association with Citytv, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, UKTV and with the assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit; the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit; and the Canadian Television Fund.

Prior to being picked up as a regular weekly series, three television movies, Except the Dying, Poor Tom Is Cold and Under the Dragon's Tail, aired on Bravo Canada in 2004. These films starred Peter Outerbridge as William Murdoch, Matthew MacFadzean as George Crabtree, Keeley Hawes as Julia Ogden and Colm Meaney as Inspector Brackenreid.

Seasons one and two were filmed at the Toronto Film Studios facility on Eastern Avenue in Toronto. However, that facility was closed at the end of 2008,[6] forcing the third season to be filmed elsewhere in Toronto, in the area near Kipling Subway to the west of the city.

For seasons one, two and three, filming locations included the Galt district of Cambridge, Ontario. Sidewalks and driveways were covered in earth and in season one the Dobbie Mansion was used for about a week of indoor filming. Parts of the opening episode of Season three were filmed in Bristol in England.

Shaftesbury Films announced in April 2010 that a fourth season had been ordered by Citytv and Alibi, with production scheduled to begin later that year.[7] In August 2010 Shaftesbury Films announced that production on the fourth season had begun and was scheduled to continue through November 2010 with filming in Toronto and Hamilton.[8] Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper filmed a cameo appearance as a constable in the fourth season on October 15, 2010 when he visited the set with his daughter.[9]

Filming of season five began in July 2011 which included a visit to Dawson City in the Yukon.[10] On September 27, 2011 Rogers Media announced that they were not continuing with Murdoch Mysteries beyond the fifth season.[11] In response to the cancellation of the series Christina Jennings, executive producer and CEO of Shaftesbury Films said:

We've watched the show grow with the passionate support of audiences in Canada and around the world, and look forward to bringing the storyline to a fulfilling conclusion for fans during our final season.[11]

Murdoch Mysteries was described as an "odd fit" for Citytv's schedule which consists of more contemporary, urban hip, imported programming. Shaftesbury's UK partners in the production of the series, British broadcaster UKTV and the international distributor ITV Studios Global Entertainment, were both interested in additional seasons. Christina Jennings approached Kristine Stewart, executive vice-president of CBC's English services, about continuing the series and she felt that "a home at CBC made absolute sense". Reports of the change of broadcasters and commitment for a sixth season appeared in the evening of November 15 with the press releases being issued on November 16.[12] Production of the sixth season began in April 2012 to be ready for CBC in September 2012, but later the premiere for season six was changed to January 2013 and instead an encore of season five aired in September.

In 2013, Murdoch Mysteries aired a fictional crossover with another CBC Television crime drama, Republic of Doyle.[13] With the two shows set over 100 years apart, Allan Hawco appeared on the November 25, 2013 episode of Murdoch Mysteries as Jacob Doyle, a 19th-century ancestor of his regular character Jake Doyle, while Bisson appeared on the January 29, 2014 episode of Republic of Doyle as Detective Bill Murdoch, a 21st-century descendant of Detective William Murdoch.[13] The end of the latter episode references the previous episode.

Web series[edit]

In addition to the regular television series, several short run web series have also been created under the Murdoch Mysteries banner.

In 2011, Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs debuted on, blending live action and animation to depict a storyline in which Crabtree, Murdoch, Dr. Ogden and Inspector Brackenreid were forced to battle mummies who were attempting to kill Queen Victoria.[14] The storyline of the webseries was also integrated into regular television series; within the main television plot Crabtree, as an aspiring writer, spent much of the season working on The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs as a fantasy novel manuscript. The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs garnered nominations for Best Digital Program: Fiction at the 2012 Emmy Awards, Cross-Platform Project, Fiction at the 2012 Banff World Media Festival and Cross-Platform Project, Fiction at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards.

The 2012 season web series The Murdoch Effect featured a time travel plotline in which William Murdoch suddenly found himself transported to the 21st century, and had to solve a case with eerie parallels to one he was investigating in his own timeline.

The 2013 series Nightmare on Queen Street featured an interactive story in which the viewer was called upon to solve the case by piecing together clues from each webisode. This series also garnered a nomination for Best Cross-Platform Project, Fiction at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards.


In Australia, Murdoch Mysteries airs on 13th Street Monday to Friday at 7:30pm, with the latest series also airing at 7:30pm on Saturdays.[citation needed]

The series airs in the United Kingdom on Alibi (formerly known as UKTV Drama).[citation needed]

In the United States:

  • American Public Television acquired the first season of Murdoch Mysteries from ITV Global Entertainment in 2009 for broadcast syndication to public-television stations throughout the U.S.[15]
  • Seasons 1-3 are currently (2014) streamed on the Netflix on-demand subscription service.[citation needed]
  • In 2013, began showing the first seven seasons on its online premium service.[16][17]
  • The series began airing on the Ovation cable TV network in 2013 under the title The Artful Detective.[18][19]
  • Genesis International took over the rights to the Murdoch mysteries series after they acquired the series from ITV studios Global Entertainment & American Public Television in mid-Summer of 2014 for Broadcast syndication to commercial television stations in the U.S.[citation needed]

Home video releases[edit]

Acorn Media has released six seasons of Murdoch Mysteries on DVD and Blu-ray in North America.
ITV Studios Home Entertainment has released four seasons on DVD in the UK and has also released a box set of the seasons 1-3. Season 4 onward, are available through Amazon UK, but in Region 1 format only. The first seven seasons are available for home viewing via streaming from
In Australia, all seven seasons are available on DVD, with season 8 scheduled to be released May 6, 2015.[20]


Title Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Extras Discs
Murdoch Mysteries — Season One June 16, 2009 February 9, 2009 June 26, 2009
  • Interviews with the author and cast
  • Photograph gallery
  • Cast filmographies
  • Character biographies
  • Episode commentary
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Two May 4, 2010 February 15, 2010 February 10, 2010
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Character bios
  • Cast filmographies
  • Photo gallery
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Three May 3, 2011 August 15, 2011 February 9, 2011
  • A bonus alternate ending on "The Tesla Effect"
  • A 9-minute behind-the-scenes featurette
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Four May 29, 2012 May 23, 2011 June 6, 2012
  • Behind-the-scenes featurettes (15 minutes)
  • Alternate love letters (2 minutes)
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Five December 24, 2012
(direct from Acorn Media)
March 5, 2013
(other retailers)
May 6, 2013 August 1, 2012
  • Season overview
  • Featurettes for episodes 1, 5 & 6
  • Costume design featurette
  • Sound bites
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Six November 26, 2013 TBA August 7, 2013[21] N/A 4
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Seven October 18, 2014[22] May 14, 2014[23]
  • English subtitles
  • Bonus "Making Murdoch" featurettes (109 minutes)
  • Photo gallery
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Eight TBA TBA May 6, 2015[20] TBA 5[20]


Title Region A Region B Extras Discs
Murdoch Mysteries — Season One April 17, 2012 N/A
  • Episode 1 commentary by stars Yannick Bisson and Jonny Harris, production designer Sandra Kybartas and executive producer Cal Coons
  • Interviews with the author and cast (18 minutes)
  • Photo gallery
  • Character bios
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Two March 5, 2013 N/A N/A 3
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Three May 3, 2011 N/A
  • A Bonus Alternate Ending on "The Tesla Effect"
  • A 9-minute Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Four May 29, 2012 N/A
  • Behind-the-scenes featurettes (15 minutes)
  • Alternate love letters (2 minutes)
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Five December 24, 2012 (direct from Acorn Media)
March 5, 2013
(other retailers)
  • Season overview
  • Featurettes for episodes 1, 5 & 6
  • Costume design featurette
  • Sound bites
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Six November 26, 2013 N/A N/A 3
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Seven October 18, 2014 N/A
  • English subtitles
  • Bonus "Making Murdoch" featurettes (109 minutes)
  • Photo gallery
Murdoch Mysteries — Season Eight TBA TBA TBA TBA

Season Sets[edit]

Title Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Discs
Murdoch Mysteries — Complete Series 1-3 N/A August 30, 2010 N/A 12
Murdoch Mysteries: Series 1-5 Collection N/A N/A November 7, 2012 20
Murdoch Mysteries: Seasons 1-4 Collection (DVD & Blu-ray) March 5, 2013 N/A N/A 16 DVD / 12 Blu-ray

TV Movies[edit]

Title Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Discs
The Murdoch Mysteries May 26, 2015[24] TBD TBD 3



  1. ^ "CBC Personalities - Georgina Reilly". CBC. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ 04/09/2013 2:48 pm EDT (2013-04-09). "'Murdoch Mysteries' Season 7: CBC Announces 18 New Episodes". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  3. ^ Munn, Patrick. "CBC's 'Murdoch Mysteries' Renewed For Ninth Season". TVWise. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The big mystery fans have been asking about has been solved: YES there be a season 9". Retrieved March 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Murdoch Mysteries". Retrieved August 25, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Filmport Arrives with a Flourish, But Without Work". Retrieved August 25, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Following A Successful International Launch More Cases In Store For Murdoch Mysteries Fans". Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ "More Murdoch Mysteries in store with production underway on season four of Shaftesbury's hit drama series for Citytv and Alibi". Retrieved January 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Prime Minister Harper Shoots Cameo On Murdoch Mysteries". City News Toronto ( Retrieved March 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ "An up close and dirty view of Murdoch Mysteries". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Citytv killing ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ after upcoming season". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  12. ^ "MURDOCH MYSTERIES MOVES TO A NEW HOME ON CBC TV". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Celebrating the Can-combo of Republic of Doyle and Murdoch Mysteries". National Post, November 25, 2013.
  14. ^ Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs. Canada on Screen.
  15. ^ Murdoch Mysteries at American Public Television
  16. ^
  17. ^ Mysteries
  18. ^ [The Toronto Star
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b c "Season 8 Australia". 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Blu-ray Disc and DVD Releases Scheduled for 'Season 7'". Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Murdoch Mysteries - Acorn/RLJ Announces a DVD Set With the 2004-05 Pre-Series Movies". Retrieved March 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]