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Blu-ray Review: Murdoch Mysteries, Series 5

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Acorn Media recently released the fifth season of the Canadian mystery procedural Murdoch Mysteries for the first time for U.S. audiences. Murdoch Mysteries is a CSI-style drama with a twist. Set in Victorian-era Toronto, it follows follows Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) as he solves crimes and helps initiate “new” crime-solving procedures, like blood analysis and fingerprint analysis.

The series unfortunately hasn’t been televised in the U.S., but thankfully mystery lovers in this country can now enjoy the series via the DVDs and Blu-rays released by Acorn. And if one wants to enjoy Murdoch Mysteries from the very beginning, Acorn TV is also currently running a Murdoch Mysteries Marathon, so viewers can check in on Murdoch and his crime-solving companions from the very beginning of the series.

Detective Murdoch is innovative in his techniques, and his constantly questing mind also brings him into contact with some of the leading thinkers and personalities of his day. In Season 5 Murdoch meets inventors Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, and writer Jack London. He encounters such otherworldly ideas as time travel and ancient Egyptian curses as he attempts to solve the various mysteries in this 13-episode season.

[Murdoch and his crew, CW: Jonny Harris, Yannick Bisson, Thomas Craig, Hélène Joy, and Georgina Reilly.]

As the season opens, Murdoch is still conflicted after the love of his life, Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy) had married another man and left Toronto. Murdoch has also left (temporarily), to take up gold prospecting, but after he solves a local murder there he finds he needs to return to Toronto and once again take up crime-solving with his old friends Constable Crabtree (Jonny Harris), and his superior, Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig). Julia’s replacement, another female coroner, Dr. Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly), proves a feisty new colleague, as well as a potential love interest for Crabtree. Fans of the Murdoch/Julia romance will be pleased to know that Julia is not completely gone from the detective’s life. She does return for six of the season’s episodes.

Murdoch Mysteries is based on series of Detective Murdoch novels by Maureen Jennings. The Season 5 Blu-ray includes 13 episodes on three discs:

1 – “Murdoch of the Klondike”
2 – “Back and to the Left”
3 – “Evil Eye of Egypt”
4 – “War on Terror” (historical figure Emma Goldman figures in the plot which centers around a potential anarchist plot).
5 – “Murdoch at the Opera” (Opera star Measha Brueggergosman guest stars in an episode directed by Yannick Bisson).
6 – “Who Killed the Electric Carriage?” (This episode features American inventor and mogul Henry Ford.)
7 & 8 – “Stroll on the Wild Side (Parts 1 & 2)”
9 – “Invention Convention” (Murdoch gets some assistance from his idol, Alexander Graham Bell, played by John Tench).
10 – “Staircase to Heaven” (The episode was co-written by author Maureen Jennings)
11- “Murdoch in Toyland”
12- “Murdoch Night in Canada”
13 – “Twentieth Century Murdoch”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Murdoch contemplates “The Pendrick Bullet” in the episode, “Who Killed the Electric Carriage?”]

 Murdoch Mysteries looks great on Blu-ray, especially on a large-scale, high-definition television screen. The period details of sets, costumes, and surfaces are all sharp and well-defined, with the screen resolution of 1080p and an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is sharp and clear. Subtitles are available in English, SDH. The Blu-ray also includes a host of extras for fans of the series, including:

- “Season Five Overview” – Features clips from seasons 4 and 5, and cast interviews.

- “Murdoch Travels to the Yukon” – A “making of” featurette for the first episode of the season, “Murdoch of the Klondike”.

- “Murdoch at the Opera” – An interview with opera diva Measha Brueggergosman who appears in the fifth episode of the season.

- “Who Killed the Electric Carriage?” – A featurette about the vehicle “The Pendrick Bullet,” which races Henry Ford’s gasoline-powered car in the sixth episode of the season, “Who Killed the Electric Carriage?”

- “The Costumes” – An interview with costume designer Alex Reda.

- Unedited Sound Bites and Photo Gallery – Cast members answer questions; a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos.

[Murdoch discusses a case with Dr. Julia Ogden.]

 Season 5 of Murdoch Mysteries ends with a look to the new century as Murdoch and his compatriots have an eye on the future. Luckily, so do the show runners of this entertaining mystery series. Murdoch Mysteries is currently airing its sixth season on Canadian and British television and will soon be in production for its seventh season. It’s reassuring to know that we haven’t seen the last of Murdoch.

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