Warning: This review contains mild spoilers for “Murdoch Mysteries.”
As you probably know from personal experience, different television series require certain moods. Sometimes, we need to relax and breathe while enjoying basic sitcoms, giving us an easy evening and a comfortable feeling. Other times, we yearn for the suspense and drama of a thriller or action series. There is also continual interest in the ever-classic procedural: dramas about crime and law enforcement are one of TV’s most famous staples. The Canadian series “Murdoch Mysteries” is a perfect combination of all three of these modes: it provides subtle humor and ample suspense and drama in the forensics of detective stories. The Canadian-based murder mystery is intriguing, engaging and will leave you fully invested in its characters and storyline.
Based off of a series of novels by Maureen Jennings entitled “Detective Murdoch,” this murder mystery series focuses on the life and adventures of police detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson). Viewers find Murdoch working for the Toronto Constabulary, under the command of Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig). These detective thrillers occur during the turn of the 20th century. Murdoch comes across one murder after another and uses modern forensic sciences, which were not used in the time period, to solve mind-boggling mysteries and to address day-to-day issues.
Not only does the show push beyond its setting by using in-depth forensic techniques, it also creates on-going jokes around the inventions of well-known machines we have today. In the series, Murdoch is labeled as an inventor, and we see him take great interest in new inventions of his time. Many of the inventions Murdoch creates, which aid in the solving of his ridiculously difficult cases, are items that later inventors “stole” and recreated for everyday use.
As it pushes scientific boundaries left and right, this show also brings current world issues, political ideas and social injustices to the surface. The show discusses women’s rights, racial segregation, abortion, gay rights, international relations and much more. The first instance of this progressive approach comes from Murdoch’s dear friend and love-interest, Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy). As a character, Dr. Ogden defies the stereotype for the time by being a female forensic scientist. Throughout the entire series, we find Dr. Ogden and other women, often with the support of Murdoch, fighting for rights ahead of their time.
To Binge or Not to Binge
As a huge fan of mystery shows in general, I would say this is definitely a binge-worthy series for anyone. Without a doubt, you will be on the edge of your seat for every minute of every episode. The episodes go in chronological order, and viewers could be confused if they jump around to watch different episodes. “Murdoch Mysteries,” is a wonderful drama filled with intrigue, mind-boggling ideas and characters you will undoubtedly fall in love with.
“The Murdoch Mysteries” is best enjoyed when you can really pay attention to everything happening in the plot. Many small details occur through each episode, as well as many overlapping storylines, all of which add up to the solution of a crime or a major plot-twist. This is not a multitasking type of binge show. So, while I say this is definitely binge-worthy, it is for a Sunday afternoon when you don’t have homework and can just sit, focus and enjoy.
In general, my favorite episodes of “Murdoch Mysteries,” all occur after meeting Dr. Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly). These episodes all come at the beginning of season five.
More specifically, my favorite episode is “Friday the 13th, 1901,” the fourteenth episode of the seventh season. Dr. Ogden and Dr. Grace find themselves at a ‘haunted island bachelorette party,’ Murdoch finds himself learning how to play a game of curling and mystery, science and adventure ensue. The rest of the show undoubtedly will keep you constantly on the edge of your seat. This episode, in particular, gives an extra bit of intrigue.
Honorable mentions for favorite episodes are “The Incurables,” (Season 8 Episode 13), “Summer of ‘75,” (Season 9 Episode 7) and “A Study in Pink,” (Season 10 Episode 3).
“Sherlock,” “Midsomer Murders,” “Murder She Wrote” and “Foyle’s War”
Violence, gore, drug use and sexuality.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Stream it on Acorn TV available through Amazon or at Acorn.TV
177 episodes, 12 seasons (currently in production)