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I’ve just finished the first season of this riveting crime drama.  The show is set in Toronto in the 1890s, and centres on the character of Detective William Murdoch (played by Yannick Bisson).  Murdoch uses unusual – bit often effective – methods to solve crime, including the lifting of fingerprints (“fingermarks”), surveillance and trace evidence.  His boss, Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) often gets exasperated with Murdoch’s methods, being a much more down to earth and straight talking Policeman, but he respects and likes Murdoch and acknowledges that he often achieves good results. George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), an eager young Constable, usually partners Murdoch in his work, and although he is sometimes a little naive, he is often able to provide valuable insight and initiative.  The main cast is completed by Doctor Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) as the forward thinking pathologist, who is often able to provide clues to a mystery.  There is also a frisson of attraction between Murdoch and Ogden; I look forward to seeing how their relationship pans out.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this show.  It’s the perfect mix of mystery (very often, the ending was a bolt out of the blue and something I would not have predicted) and humour.  However, there were some genuinely sinister moments and gruesome scenarios.  Being a fan of period drama, I loved all the scene settings and costumes too, but I am confident that a love of period drama is not necessary to enjoy this show.

Because the main cast is small, each character is given time to develop; my favourite is probably the loveable Crabtree, who provides much of the humour.  Brackenreid reminded me of how Life On Mars’ Gene Hunt would have been if he were transported back to the 1890s, and Julia Ogden is a great female lead – feisty, intelligent and independent.  Of course, the show is really Murdoch’s, and Yannick Bisson is perfect for the role.

There are currently three seasons of the show, and a fourth is on the way.  There were three television movies made prior to this show.  These were collectively called The Murdoch Mysteries, and starred Peter Outerbridge as the eponymous main character, Keeley Hawes as Julia Ogden, Matthew MacFadzean as Crabtree and Colm Meaney as Brackenreid.  These movies were based on the original novels by Maureen Jennings, and although I have not seen or read these shows or the books, I intend to do so.

For any fans of crime, this television show is highly recommended!

(Official website for Murdoch Mysteries can be found here.)

Year of release: 2008

Directors: (inc.) Don McBrearty, Shawn Thompson, Farhad Mann, Laurie Lynd

Writers: (inc.) Maureen Jennings (books), Alexandra Zarowny, Cal Coons, Paul Aitken, Jean Greig

Main cast: Yannick Bisson, Thomas Craig, Jonny Harris, Helene Joy

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Click here for my review of Except the Dying, the first book in the Murdoch Mysteries series.

Click here for my review of Under the Dragon’s Tail, the second book in the Murdoch Mysteries series.

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