Even though America is so close to Canada, it seems that so many of their best shows never quite make it over the border. A majority of the Canadian productions that make it to my cable box feature Toronto parading around as New York City. Thankfully for home video, there’s a better chance of getting to appreciate the television fare from the Great White North. Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian police procedural series about a crime scene investigator using the latest in technology to finger criminals. How is this different from the multitude of C.S.I. shows on American TV? Because Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) of the Toronto Constabulary does his work in the 1890s. He’s not exactly working with the same level of sophisticated equipment in the Victorian era as the 21st century crew on the Vegas Strip. But he gets his job done. He pushes the technology to pinpoint the prime suspect. Murdoch Mysteries: Season 5 has 13 episodes of murder in the 19th Century.
“Murdoch of the Klondike” changes up the show. Murdoch quits the police force to head West with dreams of striking gold. He’s got several reasons for leaving his old life including complications with his last case. He’s heartbroken because Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy) marries another man. He merely wants to be another miner looking for a fortune. He can’t escape his past since instead of gold, he discovers a corpse. Novelist Jack London joins in on the action. “Back and to the Left” brings what could be a religious killing to Toronto. A Protestant city official is dead and the prime suspect is Catholic. Can he investigate without church leaders coming down on him? “Evil Eye of Egypt” brings the mummy’s curse to town. This might be the reason why the Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since ’67? “War On Terror” brings the explosive fear of anarchists. Can American labor organizers be behind the blasts? There’s diva drama in “Murdoch at the Opera.” A young singer dies from a fast acting poison. But Murdoch suspects the tainted drink was meant for the leading lady. Who could want to kill a diva?
“Who Killed the Electric Carriage?” starts with an inventor hanging in his lab. Dr. Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly) reveals the inventor had been strangled before he was hung. The victim was working on a battery for an electric car. Was he killed by an irritate business partner or Henry Ford? “A Stroll on the Wildside” exposed the shocking secret life of a librarian. Is Murdoch up for such wildness to pursue clues? “Invention Convention” features another inventor dying a violent death. This time Murdoch needs to get help from Alexander Graham Bell to ring in the killer. “Staircase to Heaven” turns a Poker game into deadly deal. “Murdoch in Toyland” puts a serial killer on the streets. He leaves messages using dolls. “Murdoch Night in Canada” involves a hockey player getting killed after a fight with his teammate. It’s the brutal tale that Don Cherry must love since it’s really old school hockey. “Twentieth Century Murdoch” gets twisted when a time traveler saves Murdoch’s life from Santa with a shotgun. Everyone thinks he’s nuts, but Murdoch discovers a time machine in the city. He goes inside and gets projected into 1912. Is it all part of an elaborate hoax or the early years of Dr. Who?
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 5 is necessary viewing for people who want a show that blends Downton Abbey and C.S.I.. The show has a great ability to bring together the manners of the Victorian era with the upcoming advances of the 20th century. There’s even a bit of a love story since Murdoch can’t quit his feelings for Dr. Ogden, but he won’t be improper with a married woman. This is a Canadian production that you need to import to your Blu-ray player.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. This is a show that deserves to be appreciated in 1080p. The wardrobe and production design dazzle in the resolution. The audio is 2.0 Dolby Digital. The mix isn’t too overwhelming. This wasn’t that loud and brash of an era. The episodes are subtitled.
Season Five Overview (5:09) teases the episodes with the cast explaining what Murdoch and pals will encounter.
Murdoch Travels to the Yukon (3:13) takes the production way up in Northern Canada.
Murdoch at the Opera (4:25) lets soprano Measha Brueggergosman speak about her role.
Who Killed the Electric Carriage? (4:06) shows off the electric car they made for the episode.
The Costumes (2:17) is a short chat with the wardrobe designer.
Unedited Soundbites (5:39) is Bisson and others telling the moments that made them uncomfortable on the set.
Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery contains about a dozen pictures of the cast on location.
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 5 works for new fans and old. You quickly get a sense of the police investigator who is ready to embrace the future even when he’s escaping his past in the Yukon.
Acorn Media presents Murdoch Mysteries: Season 5. Starring: Yannick Bisson, Thomas Craig, Helene Joy, Georgina Reilly, Jonny Harris and Lachlan Murdoch. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 3 Blu-rays. Released: March 5, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: CSI, Downton Abbey, Matlock