Warning: Post contains minor spoilers
“Murdoch Mysteries” season 11 began with superb episodes in “Up From Ashes,” “Merlot Mysteries,” and “8 Footsteps.” Continuing its streak of excellence, “The Canadian Patient” ushers in another solid chapter in the “Murdoch Mysteries” saga.
As the episode opens, Det. William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), Dr. Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) and constable Crabtree (Jonny Harris) witness an attempted organ transplant from cutting-edge, and controversial, surgeon Dr. Lennox. Unfortunately, the organ transplant goes awry and the patient passes away. This prompts an investigation with several twists. Complicating the case, a group of Christian Scientists including Mary Baker Eddy, warn against the dangers of scientific practices like surgery.
Meanwhile, John Brackenreid begins a stint as a constable in training at Station House No. 4. This serves as a point of contention for Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) and his wife Margaret (Arwen Humpherys). Though the Inspector initially approves of his son’s desire, Margaret questions John’s choice. As such, Inspector Brackenreid puts John through the ringer in an attempt to dissuade him from joining the constabulary.
During the course of the episode, Miss Violet Hart (Shanice Banton) gets introduced. From discussions with Julia Ogden, it seems she may be primed for a spot as the next morgue assistant.
“Murdoch Mysteries” is at its best when it combines standalone plot with story arcs, and historical characters. That’s exactly where “The Canadian Patient” succeeds. Largely, the investigation around Dr. Lennox is a one-off. But surrounding Lennox are several key subplots which promise to play crucial roles throughout the season. Notably, there’s the addition of Miss Violet Hart. It’s unclear how she will factor in, but her position as a recurring character is confirmed.
Then there’s John Brackenreid as a constable in training. It’s neat how the Inspector, undoubtedly proud of his son’s choice, attempts to push him in a different direction for fear that John’s decision was made for his father’s approval rather than personal interest. On the contrary, John admits to George that he can’t think of a more noble career. Expect that this plot thread will continue throughout “Murdoch Mysteries” season 11.
During “The Canadian Patient,” discussions center on blood groups as presented by Karl Landsteiner. This isn’t the first time that concept appeared on “Murdoch Mysteries.” That honor goes to “Tour de Murdoch.”
The Christian Science movement founder Mary Baker Eddy is a historical character. Baker truly believed that illnesses could be cured with prayer rather than surgery and medicine. Hormone research, specifically related to fertility, rose to prominence during the early 1900s. At the end of the episode, Julia offers herself up as a live test subject. It appears this is poised to foster a bit of drama between William and Julia.
One of my favorite moments comes when George offers up the name vitalmins, eerily similar to vitamins, for an invention Violet Hart shows off at the Toronto Medical Exposition. I love how “Murdoch Mysteries” continuously inserts its characters into historical situations, and often holds them responsible for inventions. Overall, “The Canadian Patient” is a highly enjoyable episode, both in its one-off story and what it sets up for the remainder of “Murdoch Mysteries” season 11.