Warning: Post contains minor spoliers
“Murdoch Mysteries” season 11 continues with the powerful “21 Murdoch Street.” As the episode opens, a group of students at a prestigious boys’ school. Two young Indian students go missing, and their parents call upon Station House No. 4 for help in finding their children.
Because of the tight-knit boys’ school, it’s difficult for the constabulary to investigate. As such, John Brackenreid (Charles Vendervaart) is places at the school undercover. But it’s not merely John who assumes a post at the school. Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) masquerades as the new English teacher. This particular subplot makes for an entertaining ruse.
Like before in “Murdoch Mysteries” season 11, Margaret Brackenreid (Arwen Humpherys) isn’t particularly fond of John joining the constabulary. But it seems the Inspector now feels differently. There’s a decidedly amusing turning point where John nails his father in a rather convincing right hook to deepen his cover as a student. This proves his dedication to joining Station House No. 4.
“Murdoch Mysteries” episode “21 Murdoch Street” gives a nod to “21 Jump Street.” In the series and movie, cops go undercover to bust a high school drug ring. Likewise, George and John go undercover to thwart a high school gambling ring.
It’s a case of twists, with a true mystery. But even more enjoyable is the balance of humor and character development. John Brackenreid chats with the endearing and insightful Det. Watts (Daniel Maslany) about his struggles determining if he wants to be a constable or not. By the end of the episode, it’s clear that John is motivated to transform into one. Young Brackenreid exhibits his intuition as a constable when he mimics his father’s motto “follow the money.” Additionally, Constable Brackenreid employs Det. William Murdoch’s Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) UV light technique in an ingenious search for blood stains.
Whereas earlier in “Murdoch Mysteries” season 11 the Inspector attempted to dissuade his son, now he encourages his son even when Margaret protests.
George, as he is wont to do, steals the show. Crabtree uses his undercover post to promote his novel, The Curse of the Pharaohs. It’s a delightful inclusion.
A brief but surely important moment finds Murdoch working on an invention that “…sees heat.” It’s unclear how this fits in, but it’s obvious we’ll see this Murdoch original invention reappear in the not too distant future.
I was particularly impressed, as I have been in the past, with how “Murdoch Mysteries” doesn’t shy away from the social and political landscape as it would have been. “21 Murdoch Street” touches on British imperialism, and racism toward India. There’s a touching moment when Brackenreid outwardly states his respect for Indian men. He fought alongside them during his military days.
Featuring a solid case, and lots of running plot development, “21 Jump Street” is another fantastic page in the “Murdoch Mysteries” season 11 saga.