Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Review: Murdoch Mysteries

Based on Maureen Jennings's Detective Murdoch Mysteries, this series takes place in 1890s Toronto. I watched the first two episodes, did NOT like Detective William Murdoch but for some strange reason wanted to watch the rest of the disc.

I don't know if it was because of the time/locale or the supporting cast, but whereas I usually wouldn't have bothered, I ploughed forward. I'm in the middle of Season 2 and am torn between Murdoch's staunch and quite rigid thinkings and the rather fore thinking of the rest of the cast.

For the first time in my TV watching life, I find myself not liking the main character as much as I do the supporting cast. I really like the ME, Dr. Julia Ogden, a woman who has fought her whole life to brush off the stigma of her gender for the career she wants.

Constable George Crabtree is obviously the less educated foil for our brilliant and ahead of his time detective, but Inspector Brackenreid's hard to describe him. I really like him, he's a cross between a stereotype of his time and someone who doesn't like the rules but can't break them just yet. It's a rigid world but it's a changing one, and Brackenreid is caught between that.

If you like police procedurals set in unusual locations, give Murdoch Mysteries a try.

“The most surprising thing that struck me throughout all my research,” Jennings says, “is just how vibrant the city was, its complexities, its people. And the things that happened couldn’t have happened anywhere else.” It’s true: at that time Toronto really was caught between a rock and a hard place with Mother England and her Victorian morality on the one side and nose-thumbing Americans on the other. Toronto the Good was the moniker coined in the 1880s by Toronto Mayor William Holmes Howland in an attempt to wear the city’s heart on its sleeve. (He too is the same mayor that appointed an Inspector to the Police Department to fight vice and prostitution!) “A lot of what happened and how things were handled came from the morality of the time, the Church, and the notion of ‘Toronto the Good’,” Jennings points out. “It was very specific to the city.”

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