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NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
The New Season of ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ is an Enjoyable Holiday Treat
December 25, 2019  | By Mike Hughes
 


During the holidays, our TV tastes might mellow a tad.

We don’t need to probe the darkest recesses of our souls. We might settle for a decent drama about some nice folks.

So this is logical: The streaming service, Acorn TV, is releasing the new Murdoch Mysteries season on Christmas Day.

This is good-guy television. It’s pleasant, precise, and likable; in short, it’s Canadian.

And it’s been around almost forever. This is the show’s 13th season; if it were an American show, it would apparently be No. 8 on the all-time list of longest-running, non-anthology drama hours.

The setting is Toronto in – when the show began – 1895. William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson, top) is a police detective, a handsome chap with impeccable clothes and manners. He’s a modernist; you can see that in the inventions he dabbles in, in his marriage to Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), or their home.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it confounds traditionalists. “Where are the rooms?” some ask. 

And yes, Wright was portrayed. So were many others, from Buffalo Bill to Winston Churchill, from Annie Oakley and the Wright Brothers to Nikola Tesla and his enemy, Thomas Edison.

Murdoch Mysteries likes to use such historical people and historical issues.

This season’s first two episodes both deal with feminism.

In the first, there’s a deadly explosion at a suffrage rally. (Canadian women got the vote in federal elections in 1918, two years before American women.) In the second, a patient insists on a male surgeon.

That second episode also involves labor unrest and adds an important character to the series. Both hours have modestly interesting mysteries, each with a neat twist.

The third one finally gets to the inventiveness of Murdoch and of the series itself.

The murder victim is someone who seemingly hasn’t aged in a decade; the detective, of course, has created a way-early version of a facial-recognition device.

The episode is quite clever, adding some humor. The earlier two aren’t bad, and there are ten more this season.

Overall, Murdoch – which sometimes airs on the Ovation cable channel – has had 201 episodes so far. Sometimes, nice guys do win, especially if they’re fairly clever Canadians.

 
 
 
 
 
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