Review of the TV Drama "Murdoch Mysteries"

By Haywood County Library | Sep 09, 2013

Reviewed by Librarian Donna Surles

Fans of British crime dramas may want to check out Canada's "Murdoch Mysteries." The series is based on the novels by Maureen Jennings. Set in the 1890s, this Victorian mystery series is a delight. Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), a handsome man with beautiful eyelashes, uses science, forensics and math to solve cases. His boss, Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), sometimes questions his methods. Inspector Brackenreid has a salty mouth, muttering "blood 'ell" frequently. Detective Murdoch is assisted in his investigations by Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and Constable Higgins (Lachlan Murdoch). Dr. Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) plays the pathologist who helps provide critical forensic information. Throughout the series, the viewer senses a tremendous attraction between Murdoch and Dr. Ogden. Murdoch is a devout Catholic, and Dr. Ogden is very progressive in her world view. Dr. Ogden eventually becomes a proponent for family planning. Despite their differences, the two are very good friends, and their exchanges are a lot of fun to watch. Will they get together? We have to wait to see.

Although the series is fiction, real-life characters play a part in Murdoch's mysteries. Nikola Tesla and Alexander Graham Bell play a crucial part in providing clues to solving crimes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appears when séances are popular in the Victorian era. In another interesting episode, Murdoch takes a vacation in the beautiful mountains of Vancouver, and meets Jack London. Real inventions such as the gun silencer and lie detection machine also figure in the episodes. Murdoch and team often use inventions of their own to solve cases. Also interesting is that Murdoch is Catholic in a Protestant city, so he sometimes confronts prejudice.

The series is filmed in Vancouver. The costumes are very well designed and attractive. Interiors are realistic. The writing is top-notch and multilayered. Haywood County Public Library has seasons 1-5 available for library patrons to check out. A sixth season will be filmed later this year. But be warned: Once you start watching, you will become addicted!