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"Artful Detective" is the eighteenth episode of the eighth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundred-fourteenth episode of the series. It first aired on March 30, 2015.


As bodies stack up in the morgue, the victims killed in different ways but most are missing the same macabre trophy, it appears that a sequential killer is on the loose in Toronto. While Murdoch hunts for the culprit, Crabtree deals with a perilous situation of his own.

In the dead of night during a cold winter in Toronto, a young man is about to get attacked by another in an alleyway, but not before he's garroted and killed, scaring the young man away from the crime. Too late to catch the killer, Constable Higgins arrives and blows his whistle to call for help. Higgins only got a brief look at him, Detective Murdoch searches the victim's coat - and finds a human thumb.

Inspector Brackenreid informs Murdoch that the victim is William McCann, who was a low life worker of Bernie King, the bookmaker, but before Brackenreid can continue, George appears at the Inspector's office door. Another body's been found.

At Bernie King's club, Brackenreid introduces Murdoch to King, the biggest bookmaker in all of Toronto. They inform him of Professor Galbraith's death, and it turns out he was one of King's clients, who was heavily in debt to him. Suggesting that King had McCann kill Galbraith because of the debt, Bernie prompts them to speak with McCann, but then they inform him that McCann is also dead. But with no evidence to prove King's guilt, they're forced to leave without King in their custody.

George arrives at Edna's apartment and calls out for Edna and Simon, but Edna tells George to go away. When George asks what Archibald did to her, she slowly comes out of the pantry and reveals a bruise by her eye. She tries to get George to leave, warning him that if Archie finds him here, he'll kill him. George can't believe this, telling Edna that 'after what he did to you, he'll kill me?' to which Edna tells him that Archie will kill her too. George swears he'll never let that happen, and tries to get Edna to stay with him since she has nowhere else to go, but Edna won't budge. Before he leaves, he promises to her that Archie will never lay a finger on her or Simon again.

When Murdoch and Brackenreid arrive to yet another murder, they find Dr Grace already examining the corpse. This time, the victim is female, and was killed by a rather large knife. But she too, is missing her thumb, just like the others. Murdoch finds a copy of the racing sheet in her purse, as well as a cigar cutter. Brackenreid comments 'a cigar chewing gambler who liked to shoot arrows. Murdoch suggests that if she was an archer, perhaps Julia knows who she is.

Once again, another body has been located – found on the toilet in a shed. Henry informs them that a resident of the boarding house found him, and reveals that there were no witnesses to the murder. George finds a business card on the victim, which reveals his name to be Horace Blechman, an inventor. And just like the others, Blechman is missing his thumb.

Murdoch and Brackenreid have located the inventor's laboratory, only to discover a bunch of insane invention ideas, and rejection letters asking for funds for his inventions. Brackenreid finds the same racing sheet that had been found on the other victims, and Murdoch proposes the idea that Blechman had been gambling to raise funds for his inventions. But then Brackenreid notices that Blechman was betting on the seventh race at Woodbine, and apparently, there is no seventh race at Woodbine, so why was Horace Blechman betting on a race that didn't exist?

At the City Morgue, the victim shot with an arrow and missing a thumb would prove that Mildred Abernathy killed the victim. Since they found a cigar cutter in Mildred's purse, it's likely she used them to cut the thumb off instead of using it to cut cigars. Emily tells Murdoch and Julia that the victim was found in his cold storage in a butcher shop, which makes him one of the contestants on the race sheet 'Butcher's Gaff'. Then she tells them that the other victim died from being shot several times at around 9-11pm.

Outside their hotel, Julia insists on picking up a copy of the racing sheet, even though William points out there is no seventh race. But it turns out that the printer was lying when he said he didn't receive a seventh race, and that there was a seventh race, with a new entry named 'Artful Detective'. Suddenly, the blonde man who had delivered the racing sheet to the printers attempts to kill Murdoch, but Murdoch disarms him, and he runs into the road, only to get hit by an oncoming car. When Julia asks William what just happened, Murdoch explains that he believes he may be the Artful Detective in the racing sheet.

Brackenreid tells Murdoch to take a trip to the armoury if he's been thrown into the game, just to be on the safe side, but Murdoch comes up with another idea. He tells George and Brackenreid that if they're to find out who runs this game, they'll need to capture one of the contestants alive, and he introduces them to the Weaponized Capacitor, that is capable of shooting out darts connected to wires that can shock a target, paralysing them. George reminds him whilst his electric gun may be effective, he's going up against killers, but Murdoch informs him that it's only one killer now since Soldier Boy and Twisted Oliver are now dead, leaving only Big Game Hunter in the game. When Brackenreid asks how he's going to find him, Murdoch suggests that he might actually find him first, and that he has a plan.

Back outside his hotel, Julia warns Murdoch to be careful, and Murdoch assures her that he will before walking off with George following behind a distance. Heading into an alleyway, Murdoch and George keep on walking, and a mysterious man with a knife follows them until they reach a courtyard. When the killer walks into the courtyard, he's greeted by many 'Murdoch's' before he's shocked by the real Murdoch, paralysing him. Murdoch orders for the suspect to be taken to the station whilst he goes and tells Julia that she didn't become a widow today. But as he heads off to find Julia, another man approaches him with a knife, and nearly attacks him, but George hits him over the head with his baton, saving William's life. Murdoch notices that the attacker is a soldier, and that this could actually be Soldier Boy, which brings up the question: Who's the other body in the morgue?

After questioning the suspect brought in, they're led back to where they started: Bernie King. Murdoch tells King that he's there to collect his winnings, but he wants a confession instead of the money. King insists he committed no crime and that the participants entered of their own free will, but Brackenreid tells him that conspiracy to murder carries the same penalty as murder, and they arrest King.

Emily discovers that the other body brought into the morgue is none other than Archibald Brooks. When she asks George about it, he won't tell her anything, leaving her no choice but to tell Murdoch who it is. Murdoch checks George's desk drawer, and finds a gun matching the calibre of the bullet fired into Archie.

In the interview room at the station, Murdoch and Brackenreid try and get George to speak, but he won't say a word. They beg him to speak in his defence, but he tells them he has a right to silence. Brackenreid asks if he killed Brooks, but he just won't give them an answer, leaving them no choice but to arrest George for the murder of Archibald Brooks.

Character Revelations

  • George may have murdered Edna's husband, at the very least he is covering up the crime.


Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1902 – the Edwardian Era (1901-1910) was the time in which King Edward VII rules the British Empire; It is known as the Belle Époque era, conventionally dated from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
  • The Second Boer War (1899-1902).



Main Cast

Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch
Hélène Joy as Julia Ogden
Thomas Craig as Thomas Brackenreid
Jonny Harris as George Crabtree
Georgina Reilly as Emily Grace

Recurring Cast

Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Kristian Bruun as Constable Slugger Jackson
Sara Mitich as Lillian Moss
Tamara Hope as Edna Brooks (née Garrison)
Percy Hynes-White as Simon Brooks

Guest Cast

Chris Hoffman as Bernie King
Peter Krantz as Big Game Hunter
Jim Annan as Arnold Paulson
Ruth Madoc-Jones as Mrs. Richards
Robert Gerow as Street Boy
Kaitlin Kozell as Young Mother

Non-Credited Cast

John Stead as Bill McCann
Mildred Abernathy


Murdoch Mysteries Season 8
"On the Waterfront Part 1" • "On the Waterfront Part 2" • "Glory Days" • "Holy Matrimony, Murdoch!" • "Murdoch Takes Manhattan" • "The Murdoch Appreciation Society (episode)" • "What Lies Buried" • "High Voltage" • "The Keystone Constables" • "Murdoch and the Temple of Death" • "All That Glitters" • "The Devil Wears Whalebone" • "The Incurables" • "Shipwreck" • "Crabtree Mania" • "Toronto's Girl Problem" • "Election Day" • "Artful Detective" •
Season 1Season 2Season 3eason 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10