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Murdoch tries to abandon his inventor-detective life for success in the Yukon gold rush, but that old world pulls him right back in....
Acorn Media / 624 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: March 5, 2013
In late 19th century Toronto, a fellow by the name of William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) has a flair for the fantastic and the futuristic. No mere crime-solver, Murdoch and his team use state-of-the-art (and then some, often) techniques to set themselves apart from the pack: You come to Murdoch, he's going to utilize unique avenues to solve your crime. This is the basis of Murdoch Mysteries, a show that combines the whodunit elements of every other crime drama you've ever seen with a sparkling sense of discovery and forward-thinking that makes it refreshingly singular within its TV genre. Call it Law & Order for inventors.
I mention the appeal Murdoch Mysteries has toward an gadget-oriented (read: geeky) crowd because it's able to both be technically obsessive while never letting the overall dramas of its central whodunits get lost in the shuffle. It must be said, though, that five seasons in, Murdoch Mysteries tends to focus more on interpersonal drama than dweeb-tastic toys, and that's too bad. That being said, though, this Season 5 set starts strong: after his heart was broken at the end of Season 4, William packed up his things and headed off for a new frontier, opting for the gorgeous emptiness of the Yukon over his life in the city. It’s a great place to put this rich character, and once he gets sucked back into the world he so desperately wanted to divorce himself from, the show takes on some welcome added dramatic inertia.
And if Season 4 was perhaps a bit of a lull, this new collection of Murdoch Mysteries episodes is right back in the sweet spot. The season finale here is excellent – with a crazy dude concocting some concepts for a time machine – and when folks like Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford show up not just as historical figures but as legitimate narrative characters, it’s hard not to fall for the show like you did the first time. There are definitely technical hiccups as far as Murdoch Mysteries: Season 5 on Blu-ray is concerned, but there’s magic here, as well.