Murdoch Mysteries Wiki

"Back and to the Left" is the second episode of the fifth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the fifty-fourth episode of the series. It first aired on March 6, 2012 (UK).


Detective Murdoch must tread carefully when he pursues a Catholic suspect in the murder of an Alderman, killed during the attempted assassination of the city's Protestant mayor.

On parade day, the local members of the Orange are out in strength but an assassin's bullet, which may have been intended for Mayor Hopkins, kills an Alderman. The police have conflicting reports of where the gun shot came from but Murdoch quickly locates the room from where the gun was fired. Brackenreid orders Murdoch to round up the usual trouble makers - mostly Irish Catholics - but he makes little headway.

Murdoch talks with Dr. Ogden for the first time since his return and her protégé Dr. Emily Grace conducts the autopsy and is impressed with her interpretation of what happened. The police have confiscated all of the cameras from parade watchers and one of them seems to point them to their man, Liam Cuddy. It's not that simple however as Cuddy is found beaten to death and with his last breath tells Crabtree that he is innocent and was framed for the murder.

Murdoch discovers that more than one shot was fired, with the help of Julia and an improvised stereoscope combining a still photo and a frame of a moving picture, showing that the mayor and the alderman were not in fact lined up perfectly, and a single shot could not have struck them both. Upon investigation a conspiracy is uncovered, in which Alderman Ketcham and some local businessmen, one a Catholic, the other a Protestant, conspired to kill Alderman Hidel and make it appear accidental, with the mayor as the intended target.

Murdoch convinces the Catholic man Gallagher to talk, giving evidence against Ketcham and Clay Miller about the contract for city waterworks that had been awarded to Miller at an inflated price, proof of corruption that had been discovered by Hidel. Murdoch found the evidence in Hidel's files, which he would never have looked at had he believed the death was accidental. Both shooters and the alderman, as well as Clay Miller, are charged with conspiracy for murder, and Sean Gallagher is allowed to walk as per his plea bargain.

Chief Constable Giles admits that they were right and he was wrong about there being a conspiracy, but he is displeased about one of 'the guilty going free', and observes that it seems to happen a lot at this station. Brackenreid and Murdoch remind him that he helped to frame Liam Cuddy, a member of his own Irish Catholic community, and therefore they will likely kill him before the others even hang, so he is not really free after all. 

Julia comes to Murdoch's office to congratulate him on solving the case, and also to say goodbye, as she is leaving to set up her own private practice and has turned the City Morgue over to Dr. Emily Grace. Murdoch is dismayed but Julia points out that the last few days have reminded them both far too vividly of their connection, and she cannot continue working so closely with him now that she is a married woman. Murdoch thanks her for her honesty, and lets her go with one last handclasp.

Character Revelations

  • Dr. Ogden has a protégé, Dr. Emily Grace, who she has been training to work well with the Detective and the constabulary.
  • Now married, Julia has been planning her departure to start her private practice– to William's surprise.
  • George has sources at City Hall, his Aunt Petunia works at the lunch counter where the Mayor takes his meals.


  • Julia Ogden leaves the City Morgue. This time, she leaves knowing the morgue and the Detective will be in good hands.

Historical References

  • The name of the episode is a reference to a quote the 1991 film "JFK" ("The President's head going "back and to the left") regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The plot of this episode (a marksman using a sniper from a window to assassinate a political figure in an open-top vehicle) is also a reference to the Kennedy assassination; additional references include Liam Cuddy's claim that he was a "patsy" and Murdoch's use of the term "magic bullet", the concept of one bullet striking two men ('the single bullet theory') as well as the name of the murdered man, Alek Hidell, which was an alleged alias of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man charged with Kennedy's murder.


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
Nigel Bennett as Chief Constable Giles

Guest Cast

Ivan Sherry as Mayor Hopkins
Kelvin Wheeler as Alderman Alek Hidell
Don Allison as Alderman John Ketcham
Craig Eldridge as Clay Miller
Richard Harte as Sean Gallagher
Christian Potenza as Shoeless Jack Leary
Adam Lolacher as Leonard Bowers
Sarah Wilson as Marianne Cuddy
Paul James Kelly as Liam Cuddy
Louise Nicol as Judith Lance
Thomas Michael Mack as Catholic Man


Murdoch Mysteries Season 5
"Murdoch of the Klondike" • "Back and to the Left" • "Evil Eye of Egypt" • "War on Terror" • "Murdoch at the Opera" • "Who Killed the Electric Carriage?" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 1)" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 2)" • "Invention Convention" • "Staircase to Heaven" • "Murdoch in Toyland" • "Murdoch Night in Canada" • "Twentieth Century Murdoch"
Web-Series: The Murdoch Effect
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