"Why don't you go and do what you do best, me old mucker? Step on some toes and upset people." - Inspector Brackenreid
Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian period drama set in the late 1800's that first aired in 2008. It follows the investigations of Detective William Murdoch of the Toronto Constabulary as he uses his intelligence and ingenuity to solve the most difficult of homicide cases. I first heard of this show when my grandmother was talking about how much she enjoyed watching "The Artful Detective" (as it is titled in the US), but I didn't start watching it until I saw it recommended on a Ripper Street message board. I had given up on watching Ripper Street because it was just too violent for my tastes and I didn't feel anything for any of the characters. Watching the Murdoch Mysteries afterwards was amazing because it not only addressed the issues I had with Ripper Street, but was also almost exactly what I was looking for in a series.
I love the characters on Murdoch Mysteries as they are all unique, three dimensional, and well developed. I love Murdoch's scientific way of looking at the world and his difficulties with non work related social interactions, as well as just watching the way his mind works while thinking through cases. George is always refreshing with his wide eyed enthusiasm and willingness to learn, how he always gets the job done, and how he really developed his detective skills throughout series. The inspector surprised me because at first I thought I was really going to dislike his character, but his kindness to Murdoch and his love of theatre, opera, and his family made him so endearing. I felt Julia was interesting in the first few seasons, but her character seemed to lose it's way later in the show. I also loved the addition of Emily in season 5 and Higgins is always one of my favorites in an episode.
One thing this show does really well was continuity with episodes, characters, and storylines. Many guest characters have recurring roles throughout the series and it is always great to see certain people back again, such as Mr. Pendrick and Terrence Myers, or plot points such as George's writing. With Mr. Pendrick in particular, it was really fun to watch him go from someone whose work Murdoch respected, to ongoing suspect and foe, to respected friend. Murdoch also has a knack for inventing things to assist with his investigations and it is neat to see some of the items make reappearances in later cases. It's also fun to see what theories George will come up with (his belief in the extraordinary and extra terrestrial is an ongoing plot point), and what references he will make that hint to modern life, in addition to watching his skill and confidence level grow throughout the series as he learned from Murdoch.
Although friendships and relationships are usually done very well on this show, I often find myself wishing for more of those character moments where the people could genuinely connect. Murdoch's personality does not lend itself to sharing his feelings and emotions, but there were times when it would have been nice if George or the inspector would have just sat him down and had him talk to them about the things he was going through instead of watching him suffer in silence. I also would have liked to see scenes where Mr. Pendrick and Murdoch were being friends, since we knew that they kept in contact since Mr. Pendrick gave him tickets to his show's opening as a wedding gift. However, the character moments we did get could be very memorable, such as the inspector covering for Murdoch, George and the inspector poking fun at Murdoch behind his back while solving a case together, the guys curling or watching the movie they filmed, and George and Higgins' vaudeville act, among others.
When romances are well written on shows (or I see the potential for one that is interesting), I definitely enjoy shipping characters together. Although Julia and Murdoch were the on again, off again romance throughout the series, I was not a huge fan of them together. I did like the idea of them in the first few seasons, but after she married Darcy and left without talking to Murdoch I didn't care for them together. However, I did like Anna and Murdoch together and felt they had a lot of chemistry and made a cute, fun couple. The scene with them in the jail cells together was just too adorable and they were headed in the right direction before lazy writing and plot contrivance forced them apart to allow for Julia to enter the picture again. That is a complaint I often have with the show, such as Dr. Roberts dying so Julia could become a psychiatrist, or Edna and Simon leaving to avoid George changing station houses. One romance I really found interesting was Emily and Lillian because it was so unexpected to me. It was obvious Lillian had feelings for Emily but I never thought the show would not only have Emily acknowledge them, but also return them! It was really refreshing and nice to see, but again I was disappointed by the outcome with Lillian's death, although that episode had the other characters show Emily such kindness and understanding and allowed her to depart the show with some powerful and memorable scenes.
I really enjoy Murdoch Mysteries very much and look forward to seeing more in the future. There have been some storylines and arcs that I found less than enjoyable, but overall it is an extremely well written and acted show with characters I really care about a lot. It has so many elements I enjoy with the time period, the mysteries, the top notch continuity and callbacks, and just being an really good show.
|Murdoch, Inspector Brackenreid, Higgins, Emily
|Henry Higgins, Inspector Brackenreid, William Murdoch
|Mr. Pendrick, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Roberts, Terrence Myers
|James Pendrick, Sherlock Holmes, Edna Brooks, Anna Fulford
|The Tesla Effect, War on Terror, Who Killed the Electric Carriage?, Murdoch Air
|Who Killed the Electric Carriage?, A Study in Sherlock, The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch, Murdoch Air
|Murdoch/Mr. Pendrick, George and Higgins, Murdoch/Anna, the Brackenreids, George/Edna, Emily/Lillian
|George and Higgins, Murdoch/Mr. Pendrick, Murdoch/Anna, George/Edna, Emily/Lillian