“Murdoch Mysteries” premieres in its 6th season on CBC this January 7th.
Yannick Bisson has captivated audiences around the world in his role as Det. Murdoch in the Victorian Toronto police drama “Murdoch Mysteries.”
Bisson’s Murdoch is a highly educated and intuitive investigator whose pioneering methods baffle his superiors, who crosses himself over murder victims and studies human psychology.
In series six of the one-hour drama, Detective Murdoch tries to clear the name of a young Winston Churchill after his visit to Canada goes awry; a dangerous madman threatens to unleash a deadly toxic gas attack; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle makes an appearance when his supposedly fictional creation, Detective Sherlock Holmes, becomes entangled in a violent robbery.
Murdoch’s dedication to his work hasn’t been without cost, so when season six was announced, we were keen to find out what lies ahead for him. Monsters and Critics visited Bisson on the Toronto set.
Monsters and Critics: It was so ironic to see you on set in full costume reading your iPhone!
Yannick Bisson: I know, I know. You should see me when I have my sneakers on.
M&C: Your character has been through so much personally and professionally. What lies ahead?
YB: It’s been fun to be able to colour Murdoch, the way we built him has been somewhat restrained and reserved and really we painted him into a corner. He’s not able to show a huge amount of emotion but when we have these contexts that are long running. You, know, he lost the girl, so he spends season four very much in a dark place. It’s fun to be able to colour each episode with a bit of that, while still satisfying and wrapping a murder up in 40 minutes. It’s fun to be able to add personal side to him.
M&C: What defines him best?
YB: He’s very idealistic and a champion of right and wrong and justice. His principals are what drive him the most. Being aware he has a gift to bring people to justice by finding evidence others wouldn’t necessarily find. He knows that’s his calling. If he’s able to get the girl, he will, but sometimes his own principals get in the way of that.
M&C: He’s an amazing character. There’s no one like him on TV.
YB: Yeah, he is and he keeps going even though his career will never go anywhere. He’s a Catholic in religion and the city of that time, the police and politics and everything, but he still drives forward and keeps going. It’s the same with the girl. He’s messed it up or whatever but he’s going to solider on and do what he needs to do.
M&C: The show’s doing so well internationally. It must make you proud.
YB: I get fan mail from all parts of the world. That’s not something that hasn’t happened before, but people are very much invested in the show and the character and the stories. It’s not “I’m a fan of Yannick Bisson”. It’s ‘I love Murdoch Mysteries…’ or ‘My family sit down and watch it together,’ a ten year old girl, to a Prime Minister’s daughter to the head of our country and grandmas and aunts and my daughter’s friends. They don’t just like it, they love it. It’s a great feeling especially this many years in.
It’s a very polished take on the Victorian murder mystery. It’s slick and watchable. It’s somewhat formatted but there are elements that are very watchable today and certainly in content to.
M&C: And the winking to the future!
YB: I love that, too!
Jonny Harris plays Constable George Crabtree, Murdoch’s smart, well-meaning partner who was kicked upstairs in the police station when Murdoch took his dark journey to Alaska. We asked Jonny why the show works.
Jonny Harris: It’s a testament to all the hard work that everybody’s put in. They’ve hired the right people. The key is the writing. I think our team does a good job of unravelling the mystery of the formula for the whodunit and they have great imagination. Here we are shooting scenes with Winston Churchill! We’ve had Nikola Tesla and borrowed from a lot of Jack London. We also had run ins with people we think are ghost or vampires or werewolves and science always wins the day in the end. They do a great job and keep it interesting.
M&C: What lies ahead for Crabtree this season?
JH: It will be interesting. There is a crime, a murder committed at a nudist colony and I’m the only one who didn’t go to preliminary investigation so they needed someone to go undercover era and that’s going to be me! It’s my obvious rippling physique will only draw more viewers to the show. They need more eye candy. To up the sex appeal of the show. Get Jonny Harris to take his shirt off. Obvious.