Another Murdoch Mysteries Review: The Canadian Patient Reopened.

When it comes to our favorite and most beloved television programs, continuity is everything.

Take a break from YouTube cat videos and the usual endless cycle of Hollywood gossip and scroll through any of the Murdoch Mysteries social media feeds for a few minutes and you’ll discover the show doesn’t have fans… it has a community. MM fans don’t just watch episodes like The Canadian Patient, they bond with the characters.

They laugh and roll their eyes at Constable Crabtree’s wild theories about the future and life in general and their hearts break along with his when he experiences yet another break-up – which he does on a regular basis – because he reminds them of a wacky uncle or brother they have.

They side with Margaret Brackenreid when she scolds her husband for being his crusty-but-lovable self because their own spouse is either a Margaret or Thomas.

The characters’ stories have become an integral part of so many lives. I’ve often written about my own family’s connection to Murdoch and so I won’t cover the same territory again except to say this: MM helped sustain my father-in-law’s very existence. It gave him something to look forward to every day as he lay dying from emphysema.

I refuse to believe his story is unique.

And so when Mouna Traoré’s Rebecca James left the show and it was announced that Shanice Banton’s Violet Hart was stepping into her turn-of-the-century shoes, fans were understandably apprehensive. People don’t care for change, not when it comes to a program like Murdoch Mysteries, one whose cast operates like a finely-tuned machine, with each cast member feeding off the other’s performance.


Welcome to the community, Miss Hart.


But as a super fan myself, I can honestly say our fears were unjustified. On that note, let’s begin with Violet Hart, what say you?

ONE)  Who doesn’t love a good con?  A convention, I mean. This week’s MM gave used the Toronto Medical Exposition as an opening setting in which to introduce the show’s newest cast member and it was a smart move on the writers’ part. The inventor’s expo we saw in the season five ep, Invention Convention, made for a top-notch story and this locale was equally effective.

A top of my bellman’s cap – again – to Prop Monkey and his team of gifted simians.


As for Violet Hart, she appears to be warm, friendly, feisty and more than capable of holding her own in Detective Murdoch’s world of murder and mayhem. I can’t wait to see what her recurring appearances lead to.


TWO)  A ringside seat to the Brackenreid’s family circus.  Johnny Brackenreid is all grown up and following in his poppa’s footsteps, but the path is fraught with challenges, courtesy of daddy himself. Not that we’re complaining mind you; watching the Inspector ride his boy hard was worth it to see Arwen Humphreys return as Margaret Brackenreid.

The MM cast has grown vast over the past decade and so I can understand why Mrs. B hasn’t been around much. (Though I still don’t know why Thomas Craig’s appearances were scaled back last season.)  That said, her appearance here was in tune with the character’s nature and I’m sure Thomas and Margaret make up as well as they fight.


“You have me so mad, Thomas Brackenreid, that I’m seriously reconsidering boning you in your office later…”


THREE)  Forget Moonlighting, William and Julia Murdoch are television’s most well-written coupling.  Honestly, the writers can place any obstacle in front of them (hello, Marilyn Clark) and these two lovebirds will overcome it in style. And with blindfolds to boot!

And if you don’t know what Moonlighting is, we have nothing more to say to each other…

These are the moments that elevate the human spirit – as well as other things…


FOUR)  George Crabtree’s everything!  From his Krameresque snacks in an operating theatre to his humor, his childlike view of the world and its possibilities, and his inexhaustible moxie, George Crabtree makes MM what it is. Removing Jonny Harris from the Murdoch equation would be the show’s death kneel.

And that’s all I have to say about that. This tweet sums it up best though:


FIVE)  I’ll say it again: Prop Monkey and his team are the best in the biz, period!  MM’s prop master leads a team that is every bit as gifted as any group of television special effects experts out there today. They gave us some unforgettable medical “gore” this week and I for one am grateful to them.

On a personal note, I still can’t believe turn-of-the-century medical personnel didn’t use gloves when operating. I can’t even work on my yard without gloves, to say nothing of sticking my hands into another person’s body to realign their spleen or whatever!

I don’t know about you, but I’m starving…


And on that icky note, this concludes our non-spoilery review, friends. Don’t let that last image linger as you eat lunch, okay?

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids…

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100 Not-So-Random Thoughts The Hook Has Every Day: Part One.

A dear friend recently reminded me that writing can be the most effective – and certainly the cheapest – therapy known to mankind. (I am forever in your debt, Michelle. But I’m also broke, so don’t get your hopes up, okay?)

And while I believe this wisdom to be true, I’ve been hopelessly blocked lately so this peek into my fractured psyche is the best I can do. Let’s hope it’s enough.


 1)  “I swear I wasn’t dreaming about Michelle Terry… I love you, honey!”

2)  “Wait… it’s just the damn alarm! Again!”


If all of life’s nuisances could be eradicated so easily…


3)  “Can I afford to keep smashing these things every time they disturb my slumber? Jackie was pissed the last time she woke up to see me with my hammer in my hand.”

4)  “And she wasn’t too happy about the fact I smashed the alarm either…”

As you are about to deduce, I am definitely not a morning person.

5)  “Fuck.”  (I like to curse preemptively, especially since I know they’ll be a good reason to do so later. There always is.)

6)  “Damn, just remembered I have to carry the damn dog, the one with the Italian back, downstairs so she can do her business, then carry her back up… all without disturbing the still-slumbering wife and kid.”

7)  “Don’t growl, Chelsea… don’t growl, Chelsea…”

8)  “You’re growling… you effing dog.”

9)  “Don’t you realize I’m doing you a favor?  Nobody carries me down the stairs so I can do my business outside.”

10)  “Please, please, don’t let me wipe out while carrying this damn dog down the stairs.”

Dogs are weird, man…


11)  “All right, get out there, Chelsea…”

12)  “Seriously, get out there, I have to get ready for work.”


14)  “You had to whiz on the work gloves I left outside, didn’t you, you little nutjob?”

15)  Sweet Zombie Jesus, could my knees crack anymore as I climb this seemingly-endless staircase?


Too much?

16)  “Now I have to deposit this crazy canine back onto the bed without waking my still-slumbering wife…”

17)  “Damn.”

18)  “Great, now she’s going to wake the hell up, use her feminine wiles to beckon me back into bed, and I’m going to be late as hell for work!”

19)  “Why the frak am I crawling back into bed?”

20)  “Oh yeah… that’s why.”

21)  “Now I have precisely four minutes to shower, shave, gargle, brush my teeth and head out.”

22)  “I’m a horny idiot.”


Yes, ladies, this really is what goes on in our minds.  The wolf is always at the door.



Early morning shifts don’t exactly turn my crank either. Not only do they require me to get up before the sun, the walk to work can be just plain creepy.

23)  “Why is it so damn early?”

24)  “Why can’t I stop looking over my shoulder as I walk to work?”


I keep expecting this scenario to play out as I walk through the early-morning fog…


25)  “There are over 200 songs on this phone, why can’t I find something worthwhile to kill the ten minute walk?”

26)  “Why did I have to use the word ‘kill’?”

27)  “Awful lot of dead squirrels around here… had no idea there was an active conflict in the animal kingdom.  What species isn’t destroying itself these days?”


28)  “Do I want something from Timmies this morning?”

29)  “There’s a drunk passed out at a table with his face in his overturned double-double.  Again.  I’d ponder the path that led him to this moment – if I had the energy.”

30)  “Mmmm, nothing like a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie, I feel awesome.  Life is good.”


32)  “I hope that Armenian housekeeper who let me in with her card was joking when she said, ‘You pretty Canadian boy…. you pay me back later…'”

33)  “Is it considered cheating if I’m blackmailed into having coitus with an Armenian woman who outweighs me by a hundred pounds?”



If only I could…



35)  “This locker room still smells like someone did a piss-poor job of stashing a dead hooker in a locker.”

36)  “Why is it so difficult for guys to flush the urinals?”


38)  “The walk from the side entrance, down the sixty-three stairs, through the basement hall to the punch clock and to the locker room, back to the lobby stairwell and up into the Bell Room is further than my walk from home to work… that is NOT a fun fact.”

39)  “Oh look, there’s a hooker doing the walk of shame through the lobby.  Though it really isn’t the walk of shame because she’s most likely walked through hell to wind up blowing strangers in a Niagara Falls hotel room at 6:30 in the morning.  Or maybe she’s a perfectly well-adjusted person who simply enjoys having fat, sweaty Texans jump up and down on her for money.  Either way, that used to be someone’s little girl… so the whole thing is just sad.

40)  “It’s far too quiet in here right now.  The calm before the storm sucks.”

Idle time in the morning means one thing in my hotel… catching up on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans/inner-political-wrangling/gossip.

41)  “So-and-So got fired for lipping off to an owner?  That’s like nailing Capone for not paying taxes!”

42)  “Can’t believe it’s been so quiet around here gossip-wise.  I almost miss the days when everybody was banging in the stairwells, empty rooms, on the folding tables in the laundry room, and basically anywhere two people could fit.  I have to say, the fact that this place has collectively matured is boring as hell.”


While it’s true that the number of internal hotel affairs and other naughty hi-jinks have lessened considerably in the last few years, inner-office political shenanigans will never cease.

43)  “Can’t believe they trucked in a hundred pounds of dirt just so it could be dumped on a red carpet, thus providing the “ground” for a ground breaking on top of a parking garage.  Five minutes later they had to take it away.  Of course, by then it was drizzling out and the dirt was becoming mud.  I love this business.”

Normally, I’d share these tales of hospitality nuttiness with one of my best friends/colleague/brother-in-arms, but the state of my world shifted irreparably this summer.

44)  “I still can’t believe Rockin’ Ronnie is dead.”

45)  “Do those poor souls who choose to end their own lives ever have a moment, even a brief one, where they consider the people they’re leaving behind?  I mean, picking up the pieces is next to impossible when you break apart on a daily basis.  There are literally a million little things that make me feel like I’m experiencing that damn phone call all over again.”

Ronnie’s catchphrase rolls around my consciousness all day, rising to the surface of my thoughts for no particular reason at all.

46)  “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

47)  “Damn it all to Hell… my eye sockets are filling up.  Again.  I hope you’re at peace, Rockin’… but you’ve made it next to impossible to move on, brother.”

Regardless of the inner turmoil I’m currently embroiled in, being a nerd, a male and a hack writer means my mind is never focused on one subject for long.

48)  “There’s no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that Hollywood schmucks like Damon, Affleck and Clooney were oblivious to Weinstein’s reign of perverse terror.  What’s wrong with these people?  Are their careers so important to them that they’d allow a monster to intimidate them into silence?  What does it take for some people to do the right thing?  Does Hollywood even know what the right thing is anymore?”

49)  “Can’t believe I finally got Netflix only to fall asleep every night as I’m watching The Defenders.  Growing old sucks.”

50)  “I actually threw my back out bending over to change the garbage bag at home?  What, am I eighty?  Now I have to walk around this hotel like I went ten rounds with Tyson?  Or two rounds with Mercedes Carrera?”

And on that rather salacious note, I think we’ve reached a natural stopping point – something no one would ever do with Mercedes – so I bid you farewell, my friends.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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8 Footsteps… To Another Det. William Murdoch Mystery.

Although truthfully, the show has evolved beyond Detective William Murdoch’s point-of-view to include everyone in his inner circle. But what a circle it is…

I realize many of you are still digesting turkey leftovers but bear with me, I promise it’ll be worth it. Yes, rest of the world, Canadians have already celebrated Thanksgiving. Get over it.

So anyway… Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, and Ruthie Newsome all joined newcomer Ralph Fellows, a hotel detective with dreams of greener pastures, as the group found themselves sitting down to a dinner in the dark that turned deadly in, you guessed it, 8 footsteps. Speaking of that ill-fated dining experience…


ONE)  “Marge! What the hell’s wrong with the Teevee?”  Said every senior watch Murdoch Mysteries on the CBC when the screen went black to demonstrate what the characters were experiencing as the lights were expunged to mirror what the blind go through while dining – and a murderer struck. Personally, I loved it, for a few seconds at least. It got old fast but it was original and awesome.

Speaking of originality…


TWO)  A different sort of Murdoch special effect was more than welcome.  After ten seasons we’ve seen dozens of effects from MM propmaster Prop Monkey and his amazing group of software/hardware techies, but 8 Footsteps gave us a super-cool addition. Seeing the contents of one of Alexander Graham Bell’s devices glow as the iconic inventor and the artful detective decipher it was a welcome breath of fresh television air.


“Nothing’s happening, Yannick!  Then again, this is The Hook’s blog… nothing ever happens, right?”


THREE)  Jonny Harris and Thomas Craig are right where they belong.  Yes, both of these incredibly-adept actors have their lives/career paths to walk, but that said, their contributions to MM are irreplaceable. I simple can’t imagine an episode without Crabtree’s wild theories or the Inspector’s gruff observations.


FOUR)  Alexander Graham Bell, as brought to life by John Tench.  He brought his graphizer and stereoscopics with him, and most importantly, his advocacy for the deaf, born of his love for his wife. Incidentally, every time I saw Bell’s wife I thought of Mrs. Claus; don’t know why, I just did.

But seriously, Tench’s appearance here was yet another example of the need for a Murdoch spin-off. There are literally dozens of characters that could show up and Bell is definitely fascinating enough to utilize. Come on, Shaftesbury!


FIVE)  The Ruth Newsome/Henry Higgins romance was a welcome surprise.  Ruthie may be bat-shit crazy but as George pointed out, Higgins is no Newton himself! This romance evolved slowly over the course of the episode and it gave both actors a chance to shine. And that final kiss was cheesy as hell but in a world where 600 people were shot by a madman with no apparent motive, we need cheesy more than ever.

Some MM fans are Team Crabtree all day long, but I never tire of Lachlan Murodch’s Higgins. He’s the constable who never gets to kick the football so when we see him score (literally) we have to cheer.


SIX)   Colin Mochrie was hilariously gut-busting as Ralph Fellows, hotel detective, period!  What else is there to say? And to think, it all started with a simple tweet:

I love the internet, don’t you?

Mochrie’s rapport with Yannick Bisson was priceless. You can’t replicate that kind of talent, kids.



SEVEN)  Siobhan Murphy as Ruth Newsome.  Yes,as I’ve already stated, she’s nuts, but Ruthie is an innocent in a world that is growing ever darker by the second. Who couldn’t cheer for someone like that?

EIGHT)  Amanda Richer climbed an acting mountain… and came down forever changed.  And did the rest of us. Richer’s Helen Keller was unforgettable and incredibly-moving to behold. Helen was someone who was a hero for simply getting out of bed in the morning, never mind all that she accomplished.

She inspired everyone who had ever been marginalized to fight to the end and I feel the same way about my friend, Amanda Richer. Amanda is a hero because she always gives an honest performance and Helen Keller is the sort of role most actors would turn away from but not Amanda. Bringing Helen back to life required tons of research, millions of nuances and loads of talent.

A tip of my bellman’s cap to this courageous Canadian actor and the performance of a lifetime.



NINE)  Yannick Bisson is still MM’s rock.  With MM’s continued growth the show has become a true ensemble but we can never forget the Artful Detective himself. Every week Bisson pours his heart and soul into William Murdoch and it shows. Sure, I’m biased (Yannick’s acting literally help sustain my father-in-law’s life) but no one can deny the legacy Bisson has already created in Canadian culture.


TEN)  Hélène Joy is a turn-of-the-century freak!  But we love it. Julia’s saucy “scientific” proposition to her hubby was spot-on in terms of staying true to the character, Plus it was hot as hell and CBC needs more of that, especially when competing with tits, dragons, and all the debauchery going on in TV Land these days.


“You want to do what, Hélène?  You do realize we’re not actually married, right?”

And that’s all I have for you today.

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids…

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Murdoch Mysteries: Behind The Lens With Amanda Richer.

When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to get to get to history class every day, but it had nothing to do with academia.

You see, Lydia Parker (“Luscious Lydia” to the guys) sat across from me and while I never actually learned anything in that class, I paid plenty of attention, if you  know what I mean. Then one night, Lydia’s parents went away and she threw a party where she got blind stinking drunk and exercised some truly poor judgement. I finally got my chance to better understand why she was called Luscious… until she fell off of me… but not before vomiting cherry Schnapps all over my best Def Leppard concert t-shirt.

Needless to say, history class never held any appeal for me after that night. My point is, selling history to the masses is never easy, but Peter Mitchell and the entire Murdoch Mysteries team have always managed to pull off the impossible, merging non-fictional personalities with fictional events to produce one of the slickest television shows on the air today.

And now the trend continues with our dear friend and ridiculously-talented actor Amanda Richer’s portrayal of Helen Keller in this week’s MM episode, 8 Footsteps. This episode also featured John Tench’s Alexander Graham Bell and Canadian comedic legend Colin Mochrie’s debut as Ralph Fellows, the house detective at William and Julia Murdoch’s residence, the Windsor House Hotel.

I think we can all agree that the last few months have been particularly turbulent for our society as a whole; not only are we literally destroying each other on a grander scale than normal, Mother Nature herself appears to have an axe to grind with humanity. Actors like Amanda remind us that it’s okay, healthy even, to smile and be enlightened through the tears.

And that, in a nutshell, friends, is MM’s greatest strength; the ability to touch us emotionally while still be entertaining. I’ve watched this show sustain a dying man’s spirit and that’s why I’m the ultimate MM male cheerleader.

And yes, I apologize for the images that statement has most likely inspired. Let’s turn things over to Helen, I mean, Amanda, shall we?

“How much longer do I have to hold this pose, Hook?  I have to sneeze!”


ONE)  So, Helen Keller in turn-of-the-century Toronto? And wrapped up in a mystery, no less?  This must have been one of the greatest challenges of your career so far. 

She does get wrapped up in a mystery, but it’s a mystery close to her heart, and she wants justice!  It was an incredibly challenging role for me and one I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in!

I wanted this role, bad, and I was determined to get it!  I did research, coached on it, and walked into the audition room in full force!  Two days later my agent Chris called me with the news!  I think the greatest challenge for me was finding her voice; but with Laurie Lynd (Director) and Peter Mitchell’s guidance, I found it.  I must say, playing Helen Keller really allowed me to grow as an actor, and just reinforced the love and passion I have for acting.

 Left to right, Severn Thompson (Anne Sullivan) and Amanda Richer (Helen Keller!) on the MM set.  Awesome, right?



TWO)  Do you know if Peter Mitchell and company specifically sought out a hear-impaired actress to bring Helen to life?

On the breakdown they did ask for indication whether the actress auditioning was hard-of-hearing, Deaf and fluent in ASL.




THREE)  After eleven seasons a set like MM’s must run like clockwork; is it difficult to insert yourself into a well-oiled machine like that? Or is Jonny Harris all territorial when it comes to the craft service table and such?

I was lucky that I’ve been around the MM set before! Georgina Reilly (Dr. Emily Grace), is one of my best friends, and I’ve known Jonny Harris a long time too, so I didn’t feel intimidated at all! The fact that MM is a well-oiled machine, I knew I was in good hands. The cast really make you feel at home, and the crew really makes you feel like family when you’re there.

My first scene was with Hélène Joy, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my experience on set! I absolutely adore Hélène, and you know what? Even after knowing Jonny for a few years now, I never realized just how much green tea he consumes daily!


This is far too much beauty for one pic…


…But this isn’t.  (Jonny Harris is going to kick my butt someday.)


FOUR)  Any chance we’ll see you again in the Murdochian universe?  (Maybe not as Helen but it used to be common for actors to portray multiple characters on shows over time.)

I really hope they bring me back as Helen Keller in Season 12 (Fingers crossed MM gets greenlit for a 12th season!). I would love to see an episode where they really hone in on Helen’s activism, maybe with an inspiring speech or two; she truly captured the attention of her audiences, and playing her again would be a dream!


We owe Amanda and the amazing Deb Drennan a debt of thanks for what is sure to be another amazing episode of Murdoch Mysteries, my fellow Murdochians.


FIVE)  Pop quiz, hot shot: Please chose five words to describe this experience.

You know when you’re just overly giddy and you make these stupid noises and fling your arms everywhere in excitement?! That was me everyday on my way to set!

But if I had to choose 5 actual words to describe that excitement, lets go with: Honored, eager, prepared, humbled and inspired.


Those smiles speak for themselves.  There is still good in this world, friends.




Amanda and… some guy.  I think he’s a gofer or something…



Amanda and the incomparable Colin Mochrie.  Only this blog brings you the behind-the-scenes skinny, friends…



See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids…

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Merlot Mysteries Went Down Smooth And Easy…

I can only imagine that writing a Murdoch Mysteries episode that revolves around murder most foul in the turn-of-the-century wine industry would involve hours and hours of detailed “research”.

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it, right, Simon McNabb and Peter Mitchell?

But back to the glass of wine, I mean, the matter at hand; while this ep was a sharp turn in tone from the season opener, it was classic MM nonetheless.


ONE)  A not-so-mysterious Murdoch cameo.  Iniskillin Wines co-founder Donald Ziraldo lent an aroma of authenticity to the proceedings – and no doubt brought a few cases of his wares to the set with him. For “research purposes”, of course…


TWO)  Tried and true Murdoch Mysteries technical wizardry.  Peering inside the brilliant mind of Detective William Murdoch is one of the show’s greatest strengths. And it doesn’t hurt that it gives viewers a series of stunning special effects to enjoy endlessly.

Animated GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

Never gets old, does it?   (GIF courtesy of Greg David at TV , eh?)


THREE)  The Murdoch/Watts crime-solving duo.  Daniel Maslany’s Detective Watts is one part Sheldon Cooper, one part Detective Columbo and one part a wholly-Canadian original creation. Watching Watts and Murdoch work together while clashing (respectfully, of course) adds another ongoing element to the show, thus keeping it fresh after ten seasons.

I sincerely hope Maslany gets his own spin-off series someday but until then, his presence here is more than enough.

Four)  Brackenreid is back!  Oh, how I missed Tommy Craig and his awesome gruffness. It was a loooong summer without it, baby. Again, I pray we see the good inspector on a more regular basis this year.

“Go ahead, ask me to be on your blog one more time, Hook…”



Five)  Murdoch indulging in… wine?  This was worth the price of admission alone. Though, to be honest, I would’ve loved to see him get good and sloshed, run down to the morgue and whisk Julia off to the back room for a turn-of-the-century quickie.

What? Just because it’s a Canadian conduction doesn’t mean that couldn’t happen. Canadians have sex you know! Where do you think Canadians come from in the first place?

SIX)  A zinger from the good doctor?  “Wine was his life, and his death – it would seem” – Dr. Julia Ogden, showing us once more that she’s not just a pretty face, a gorgeous body and an expert archer.


SEVEN)  Not Miss James?  Yes, it appears that in order to let the character of Rebecca James evolve, the writing staff had to let her go… off to Chatham. It’s a smart move for the show’s narrative and a victory for the character.

That said, it just sucks. I miss Mouna Traoré already…“Maybe now we’ll finally get to have relations, Rebecca?”  Don’t count in on it, Nate.


And that’s all I have for you this week. But next week promises to be epic, as a certain endlessly-fascinating historical figure will be popping up.

Until then, see you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

It’s Not WHAT You Say To Guests…

It’s how you say it.

Delivery truly is everything, kids. Still skeptical? Continue scrolling down.

So on a typical-but-far-from-ordinary day I arrived at a room on the 49th floor at about three in the afternoon; it was a cloudy, rainy day in Niagara but the mood in the room was downright frosty. I was greeted at the door – which flung open quickly enough to create a backdraft – by a more-than-slightly-perturbed, incredibly-hulking gentleman named Harold (How do I know that’s his name? Read on.) and his ever-so-petite wife.

She looked like a Marjorie.

ANGRY HAROLD:  Hey, bellguy! Some bastard left food in the mini-fridge?

ME:  And I can only assume none of it appeals to you, sir?

AH:  Hell no! It’s three trays of old, rotting pasta!

Steam was literally emanating from Harold’s flaring nostrils as I ever-so-slowly make my way past him to examine the cooling device in question. Sure enough, there were three plastic containers of spaghetti sitting there, through they were perfectly preserved. But I wasn’t arguing with Harold.

No, I’m not the Black Widow in this scenario – tho I do look very fetching in black leather…


Don’t get me wrong, my uncharacteristic willingness to refrain from a confrontation didn’t mean I wasn’t going to still be myself.

ME:  You know, sir, this could’ve been worse… you could be staying in Vegas where you’d most likely find a dead hooker in the room rather than some food the previous guest left behind…

I delivered my smartass retort in a calm, pleasant, non-confrontational manner. However, needless to say, Harold was still fit to be tied – but Marjorie stepped right in to unknowingly save my Canadian bacon.

MARJORIE:  You know, he’s right, Harold, you do often hear about dead prostitutes being found in Las Vegas hotel rooms…

Harold was still fit to be tied but he surrendered and remained silent as I removed the food, delivered his luggage, happily took my gratuity, and headed back to my desk after having survived to smartass again.

And that was a mere five minutes out of my eleven hour day.

See you in the lobby, friends…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Up from Ashes: A Murdoch Mysteries Postscript.

The onset of a new season of any established show inevitably brings with it a million questions for hardcore fans, and this year’s Murdoch Mysteries opener is no exception, to say the least.

Who lives? Who dies? Who tells their story?

Sorry about that last one; my daughter is the ultimate Hamilton acolyte and her rabid zeal is infectious. But returning to the matter at hand, last year’s MM season finale upped the narrative stakes (big time) and propelled the show into a brand-turn-of-the-century-spanking new genre: the edgy period crime procedural drama.

Yes, it’s a mouthful. Just go with it.

And now let’s go with the flow and get to the actual review, shall we? Advance press revealed that Insp. Brackenreid survived (though whether or not Thomas Craig will have a bigger role this season is still up in the air) and you know that The Artful Detective himself, Yannick Bisson, made it through (duh) but how did everyone else fare?

We’ll see, won’t we?


“What do you mean The Hook is still reviewing our show?  I thought CBC’s lawyers took care of that.”


ONE)  That familiar tune…  My grandfather used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Of course, he also used to say, “Going to the store on the corner,  be back in a minute!” And then we’d have to hop on a bus two days later to retrieve him from a downtown hotel where he’d always smell of vodka and dead dreams. My childhood rocked, didn’t it?

But back to the MM opening theme; in  a world that’s changing by the nanosecond it’s nice to be able to enjoy a sense of continuity,isn’t it? The Murdoch theme holds nothing but memories for me (some bittersweet) and it never fails to touch my heart. There aren’t many pieces of music I can say that about.


TWO)  I love seeing Murdoch behind the eight ball.  Let’s face it, we love Detective William Murdoch, we want him to have a happy marriage and existence… but adversity is the fire in which our heroes are truly forged. Season 11 opened with William mourning his fallen allies – while partially answering the queries we’ve all been pondering this summer – Slugger Jackson (WHY!!!) and Constable George Crabtree, burning with rage over his missing spouse, Julia, and superior officer, Brackenreid. Oh, and let’s not forget about the impending murder charges and his lack of options.

And I thought I had a pretty lousy summer. Murdoch’s been sitting in a jail cell for three months with only Det. Watts’ weak reassurances to keep him from sliding into total despair. And speaking of Daniel Maslany…


THREE)  Watts is the Sheldon Cooper of Canadian television.  You may be laughing (hopefully) but hear me out; the good detective is an eccentric – to say the least – who isn’t very well-versed in social skills but is a genius with a good heart. Sound familiar?

Much has been made of Watts’ role as Jackson’s “replacement” but Kristian Brunn’s stock has risen considerably since Orphan Black so I can understand why Peter Mitchell decided to bench Slugger permanently. Lucky for all of us, Detective Watts has enough untapped potential to last another eleven seasons. And Maslany’s semi-regular status brings us to my next point…


FOUR)  My, how Murdoch Mysteries has grown.  A show that debuted with a core cast of a gifted, ahead-of-his-time detective, a gruff, hard-drinking inspector, a wacky constable with an over-active imagination and a hot, spunky female coroner more than a decade ago has evolved to include another detective, the inspector’s wife, another wacky constable, another female coroner, a gal reporter, a burlesque dancer with a heart of gold and even a rotating cast of recurring guest stars.

Yes, that paragraph was as overloaded as the MM cast itself – but that was exactly the point. Fortunately, Murdoch’s status as an ensemble is its greatest strength these days.

“This desk looks amazing, doesn’t it, Cowboy Mudoch?  We stole it from Tommy Craig’s study.  He’s going to be pissed.”


FIVE)  Secrets and lies.  Everyone seemed to be hiding something from everyone else in this premiere but that just added to the tension, mystery and drama. The writers outdid themselves in terms of drawing all the disparate storylines together before bringing the cast together again to shout, “Avengers Assemble!” or at the very least, the turn-of-the-century equivalent.


SIX)  George Crabtree lives!  Was there anyone out there who actually thought Jonny Harris was moving on as well? Okay, so maybe some of you did, but in the end, seeing William show more joy at realizing Crabtree was alive than he did at seeing his wife and the Inspector was worth the price of admission alone.

The greatest bromance on TV is alive and well.


SEVEN)  Toronto the Good is still Toronto the Crispy.  Seeing that the rebuilding process is still going on was a nice touch. As was seeing Higgins briefly. And seeing Hodges. In fact, from Miss Marsh’s “good guy” reveal to Miss James’ heroism, this opener was overloaded with little touches that, when combined were brilliant.


EIGHT)  Murdoch’s Legion of Doom was a worthy successor to James Gillies.  Granted, it took Councilman Williams, Robert Graham and Chief Constable Davis to equal one young criminal mastermind, but the results were must-see TV.


NINE)  Unanswered questions.  Is George back with Nina for good? What will Miss Cherry do about that? What about all the crooked coppers who killed Jackson and wounded Higgins and Crabtree? Will William and Julia’s dream house ever come together?

All these queries and more will be answered (maybe) this season, friends.


“Will I convince my sister and her army of clones to guest star this season?  We’ll see…”

TEN)  This show is in no danger of jumping the shark.  Seriously, MM could go another ten years easy, that’s how well-written and acted this show really is. Yannick Bisson is the most blessed actor on Canadian television and his good fortune is all of ours.

I love when that happens.

In short, this season looks like it’s going to edgy, epic and ever-evolving. And we can look forward to some more cool historical figures (at least one of whom we’ve seen before) including… well, I can’t say anything yet, but trust me, I’ll be featuring a closer look at one future guest star soon. In the meantime, enjoy Murdoch Mysteries Season Eleven, my fellow Murdochians.

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kiddies…

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