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.
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…
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…