Murdoch Mysteries or The Artful Detective?

Murdoch Mysteries started production on its 10th season last month. If you aren’t familiar with this gem which is known as The Artful Detective in the United States (Ovation TV), take a little time some rainy day this summer to catch up on past episodes. You won’t be disappointed! The stories are interesting and have cross-generational appeal. The costumes are beautifully designed and executed.

Maureen Jennings is the author who created the Murdoch Mysteries as a novel series. Her characters are the basis for the television series. She’s written seven novels in the series and has adapted the characters and stories into a series of stage plays.

Detective William Murdoch is a police detective attached to the Toronto Constabulary who is also a forensic pioneer. He combines a bit of steampunk with traditional technology. Some of the ways Murdoch uses to solve cases are more recognizable to a 21st-century audience than those living on the cusp of the 20th century. At various times, he creates a primitive version of sonar, invents wire-tapping and a facsimile machine. He also uses fingerprinting, blood testing, surveillance, and trace evidence, which were unusual methods of detection for the time.

promotional photo from Murdoch Mysteries / The Artful Detective

The series has strong female characters, too. Dr. Julia Ogden, Dr. Emily Grace, and a new character, Rebecca James, are all allies who help Murdoch. The CBC website has this to say about these characters:

Dr. Julia Ogden is a pathologist who works with the Toronto police force. She’s a forward-thinking, modern woman who can be quite blunt and straightforward. She shares Murdoch’s fascination with forensic science and has become one of his staunchest allies, though their burgeoning relationship was quashed by her marriage to Dr. Darcy Garland.

Dr. Ogden’s feisty young protégé, an accomplished pathologist, Dr. Grace is unflappable in the face of gruesome deaths, and thus a helpful assistant to Murdoch in solving crimes…”

A recent arrival in Toronto, Rebecca James is a young woman of humble origins who cleans the city morgue. However, Rebecca’s resourcefulness, hunger for knowledge and interest in anatomy, forensics, and the activities at the morgue quickly bring her to the attention of Dr. Ogden. Under Ogden’s mentorship, a friendship develops that extends to the rest of the Station No. 4 team.

Here are two Recollections’ ensembles that would be right at home on the set of Murdoch Mysteries.

Downton Abbey actors are showing up in guest star spots in the series. Last season Brendan Coyle who played Mr. Bates took a turn. Samantha Bond, who played Lady Rosamund, is slated to guest star in season 10. (Yeo 2016)

Ovation runs a mini-marathon of The Artful Detective episodes 9 – 11 of the most recent season today (Tuesday) from 9 a.m. To 1 p.m. ET in the United States. There are many places where you can watch past episodes of this series on the Internet, including Ovation’s channel at YouTube. A quick search will lead you to your favorite distribution channel.

Update January 19, 2019

Murdoch Mysteries is still in productio! Times and dates for the Artful Detective on Ovation in the USA may vary from when this was first published. Great series! Highly recommended.

— Donna Klein

Credits and Resources

“Characters – Murdoch Mysteries.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 2013. Web. 15 June 2016.

Yeo, Debra. “Production Begins on Season 10 of Murdoch Mysteries | Toronto Star.” The Toronto Star, 8 June 2016. Web. 15 June 2016.

Read an interview with the series’ star, Yannick Bisson

Find out more about Murdoch Mysteries in Canada visit the CBC website

Find out more about Murdoch Mysteries in the United States visit the Ovation TV website