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Murdoch Mysteries


 

            Over winter break, when the TV shows were all on hiatus and replaced with football and hallmark movies, I fell into a DVD palooza of Murdoch Mysteries. I’d seen the first season of the show on PBS a few years ago, but then it disappeared and I assumed the show had stopped being made. When I went to the library to find something, anything, to fill the empty TV space, I saw six seasons of Murdoch just sitting on the shelves.

murdoch mysteries

            The show is Canadian and stars Yannick Bisson, who I recognized from a little movie I fell in love with as a teenager called “Hockey Night.” He was the classic long-lashed pretty teenage boy, and I was into that sort of thing.

Hockey Night

Hockey Night

            Murdoch Mysteries is set in turn of the twentieth century Toronto. Murdoch is a catholic detective in a largely protestant town, but his real uniqueness is that he’s scientific and inventive in his detecting techniques. He comes up with all kinds of borderline-anachronistic devices to solve his cases.

            His muse is the female coroner, one of the first generation of female doctors, and she is fascinated by his ideas and appreciative of his respect for her work. There’s a goofy constable, who proves himself to be kind and intelligent, despite some off the wall ideas, and a gruff inspector who recognizes Murdoch’s genius, and supports it, and only occasionally gets competitive and restless in his leadership role.

            These are good people, nice people. They travel through different aspects of Toronto society and do CSI type stuff and meet important figures, like Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford and Arthur Conan Doyle and prime ministers and so on. There’s something chaste about the show, because of the Catholicism of Murdoch and the time period. Murdoch lives in a boarding house and rides a bicycle, despite being somewhere in his thirties.

The slow burn of the romance between the doctor and the detective, the chaste way they court each other, the family feeling among the police officers, and maybe the Canadian-ness of the show, all called out to me.

When I was three or four years old, I think, we took family camping trips to Prince Edward Island, in Canada. I remember the ferry across to the island, and I remember the cliffs, because my brother threatened to push me over the side, but more must have seeped in, because when I eventually watched the miniseries of Anne of Green Gables, set in Prince Edward Island, the place seemed very familiar. I could almost smell it.

"What smell?"

“What smell?”

            I like binge watching TV shows. I did that long before the latest Netflix trend. I watched most of JAG and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Murder, She Wrote in two and three episode bursts, day after day, when they replayed on basic cable. It was such a relief to not have to wait for the next episode for a whole week. It allowed me to see patterns in the show, but more importantly, it let me bond with the characters more fully. It’s like when you talk to a friend for six hours at a shot instead of just a few minutes here and there.

Cricket, during a long night.

Cricket, during a long night.

            The dogs seemed to like Murdoch too, though maybe not for the same reasons as I did. My dogs are happiest when we are all together in the living room and focused on one thing. They’re not huge fans of one human at each computer, or humans wandering from room to room, separately. They prefer to be stretched out on the floor with the comfort of knowing that no one is leaving the room and this is where we all belong.

            I tend to prefer that too.

TV time

TV time

            In the midst of the snow, and the freakishly cold weather, and holidays that we don’t celebrate, we created this oasis of friends on the TV to keep us company. The only important breaks, to the dogs, were pee breaks out into the cold, and snacks. Otherwise, we were all happily snuggled into the warm living room, with Murdoch and his mysteries.

Cozy.

Cozy.

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

57 responses »

  1. Love your story Rachel. It sounds like the way I’ve been living during this cold snap.
    Gotta check the library for that series. Sounds like one I would enjoy. I also like that watch the whole series approach.

    Reply
  2. I like to time travel with shows like this, too. Hadn’t heard of this one, though. We’ll have to check it out when we finish our current set.

    Reply
  3. Betcha the dogs told you whodunnit before you knew. We’re good judges of character.

    Reply
  4. I’m glad you posted the info about “Murdoch.” I had not heard of it and need something new to watch. It sounds like the kind of show I’ll like, a little of this, a little of that, watch a few episodes and see if I get hooked! 🙂

    Reply
  5. louiserharrison

    Yes I love Murdoch mysteries as well, it is so easy to watch. I wish there were more programmes like this. I enjoyed your piece and laughed at your brother threatening to throw you over the cliff, typical brothers!

    Reply
  6. I’m a NCIS rerun fan as well as a avid movie fan when I’m not working on a book

    Reply
  7. Know what you mean about binge TV. We dumped the TV years ago but have NCIS (seasons 1-9 so far) and Alias (all 5) on DVD and watch them ‘en block’. We did have CSI too, until Catherine Willows became SO irritating, they killed off Warwick, and got rid of Sara and Grissom. Gave the lot to a greyhound charity shop who sold it as a full set. It went in the window the following morning and by the time we got back to the car, had been sold!

    Reply
  8. Our two are happiest when we are all sitting on the bed and not wandering around. My dogs are the perfect ‘writer’s dogs’. They just hang out for hours while I type away. I don’t even get disturbed if they need to go out…… doggie doors are the best.
    Terry

    Reply
    • Cricket likes to squash herself in between my chair and the wall, making herself as tiny as possible while I’m typing. But a doggy door would be dangerous for us. Have to keep the wild animals contained.

      Reply
  9. I know what you mean about the dogs happiest when we are together in one room. Banjo is finally coming in to be with us more often. Usually he likes being in his crate or on the bed by himself. I do think he has autism. It is hard for him to be with people without some alone time. When we first got him, and we had company, he was always hiding in the bedroom. The last few years, he actually comes out and lays nearby. Darby, on the other hand, is always with us, especially my husband!

    Reply
    • When Butterfly first came home she did a lot of hiding out. We’d be int he living room and she would be in a dark corner of a bedroom by herself. i don’t remember when that changed, but it’s almost like it was never that way. She’s always with us, and especially with her sister.

      Reply
  10. Thank you for the Murdoch Mysteries recommendation! Sounds exactly right for the rest of the cold months ahead! 🙂

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  11. Hello! I wish you a happy and successful new week.

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  12. Dogs just love to be with their people. Wherever we are, be it out or at home, our Chicki is happiest when she is nearby.

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  13. I have to say in all honesty that I am not a TV person so I have no idea about the shows you mention. However, I am impressed with Cricket – if she wants a drinking partner – she can supply the snacks I’ll supply the Shiraz :o)

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  14. Oh and I am not a complete dork – I watch movies. I enjoy watching movies and like others I have my favourites – Casablanca – A Man for all Seasons – The Man who would be King – The Kingdom of Heaven – LOTR – African Queen – True Grit – War and Peace – just to name a few.

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  15. Hi, Rachel,

    I’ll have to check out Murdoch Mysteries.

    I always enjoyed Murder, She Wrote, but for some odd reason, never thought about watching it on Netflix–I’ll have to check into it.

    That is, when I can ‘tear myself away from’ my favorite old TV series–Columbo. I felt a very personal loss when Peter Falk passed away a couple of years ago.

    I also wish that I had a nickel for every time that I’ve watched one of those episodes!

    😉

    BTW, if I haven’t already mentioned it–you do have two very pretty girls!

    HNPS

    Reply
  16. I just loved that show! Saw all six seasons on Netflix. Another one you mentioned was Murder, She Wrote. Loved it and Angela Lansbury. Some times there’s nothing better than sitting down and watching a marathon of something you really enjoy! 🙂

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  17. Thanks for the recommendation…I’ll try to tune in soon…always looking for another good show!!!!

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  18. Murdoch Mysteries is a great show. And he IS really, really cute. 😉

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  19. I have been watching it here in Australia too. Been too hot too do much else.

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  20. I love binge watching t.v shows too, I watched Orange is the New Black during a binge, it was great 🙂

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  21. Looks like the binge was a booze one, for Cricket!
    The Murdoch show seems delightful, and I don’t think we would be put off in the least by the Canadian-ness of it. I wish we had it here.

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  22. Love binge watching favorite TV shows too! Right now, I’m working my way through Downton Abbey. Just started Season 4 so almost caught up! But when I’m done, I’ll have to check out Murdoch 🙂

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  23. Great post. We like watching marathon sessions of TV series we like. And it’s so much better with out the commercial breaks. Brutis isn’t always happy with our choice of shows, but he too likes it when Rhonda and I are both in the living room watching the same show. When I’m upstairs on the computer, and Rhonda is watching TV, Brutis places himself halfway up the stairs so he can keep an eye on both of us. And I suppose so he doesn’t miss anything. He’s quite nosy. -Mark

    Reply
    • See, this is why families should live in tiny cottages, so that the dog doesn’t have to choose one room over another. These poor dogs. I worry that Brutis will fall down the stairs in his vigilant resting.

      Reply
  24. I also see, in the Hockey Night picture, Megan Follows. I was her publicist for the 1987 movie Stacking also starring Christine Lahti. I had just moved to Toronto and those were heady days for me! We are definitely snuggled for good shows with our two dogs, but without a fence the layers I put on to walk them remind me of Randy in a Christmas Story!

    Reply
    • I LOVE Megan Follows! I can’t remember if I saw her in Hockey Night or Anne of Green Gables first. She showed up on an episode of Law and Order a while back, but otherwise I haven’t seen her recently. Wouldn’t it be great if she could show up on Murdoch Mysteries?!

      Reply
  25. Thank you for visiting my blog. You mentioned the familiar scenes of PEI on the Anne of Green Gables series.,I don’t want to spoil it for you but the series is/was filmed in Ontario.

    Reply
  26. Hockey Night! I loved that movie as much as my kids did. We taped it and wore the thing out. So glad that I am Following.

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    • Wasn’t it awesome?! I need to find it again, but I’m pretty sure I have the whole movie memorized.

      Reply
      • My son played hockey growing up and loved the movie. We wore it out. One of those movies with staying power and probably beyond their expectations. I’m afraid our video tape went the way of all the others, finally tossed when we moved and did the big purge. Megan Follows (?) was perfect.

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