Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays
88+ min. . DVD UPC 054961265893. $24.99; Blu-ray UPC 054961265992. $24.99.Murdoch Mysteries: Season 11. 5 discs. 792+ min. Don McCutcheon & others. DVD UPC 054961265695. $59.99; 4-disc Blu-ray UPC 054961265794. $59.99.ea. vol: dist. by Acorn TV, acorn.tv. 2018.SDH subtitles.F/TV
The Canadian television series (2008-) portrays the cases of Det. William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) of the Toronto Constabulary at the turn of the 20th century. Murdoch brings science and logic to bear on solving crimes, and the series often pushes the period's social and scientific bounds as with a scheme in Season 11 to establish high-speed rail and a research project on fertility treatments for women. Villains and allies reappear from past years along with famous figures. Alexander Graham Bell is back to help solve a murder at a dinner honoring Helen Keller. Murdoch must again save President Teddy Roosevelt, and Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy protests organ transplantation. Novel murder methods include an exploding cricket bat and botulism. Both a weeping Virgin Mary statue and an abortion discovery test Murdoch's faith. A fine ensemble along with beautifully filmed period settings make this sometimes dark series one that longtime viewers will appreciate.In the third series Christmas special, Murdoch and his independent-minded wife Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy) travel to Vancouver Island to spend the holidays with his brother. A murder at an archaeological site quickly draws the couple in to investigate both the crime and a conspiracy involving the rights of local Indigenous people. At the Toronto Constabulary, gruff inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) wants an extravagant Christmas celebration and makes an investment with a man named Ponzi. With help from the always-eager Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and others, Brackenreid is able to deal with Ponzi and regain the true spirit of Christmas. The lighter tone of the holiday special is entirely appropriate for the season, and while lacking the whimsy of previous productions, it is thoughtful and will be most enjoyable for Murdoch fans.
VERDICT Separating the cast in Home diminishes the normal Station House 4 camaraderie but presents viewers with two mysteries to enjoy along with some spectacular British Columbia location footage. As Season 11 opens with the resolution of Season 10's cliff-hanger and there is a lot of backstory to know, new viewers may want to start earlier in the series.

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