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Bad Pennies” is the second episode of the thirteenth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundred eighty-eighth of the series. It first aired September 23, 2019.


When a dockworker is shot, Murdoch pursues an elusive witness and learns anti-union thugs may be involved.

Constable Crabtree gives chase after a black chap chasing another man, then finds them fighting in a dead end ally. George knocks out the black chap with his billy club — instantly, a copper’s whistle is heard; Higgins calls for George giving the other man an opening to escape. With the black chap in handcuffs, George breaks through the crowd gathered around the body of Carl Landers, dead less than five minutes, according to Higgins. The black chap tells the Constable, good work — he just let a killer go free.

When Murdoch interviews Mr. Parker in his office, he explains that he heard a shot, saw someone running, and tried to stop him; Problem is, he caught a killer and the copper let him get away. Parker is released upon providing his address — a room down on Alexander. Crabtree apologizes to the Detective who tells him that he did the correct thing under the circumstances.

At the City Morgue, Miss Hart informs the Detective and Crabtree that Carl Landers was killed with a small caliber weapon, likely some sort of pistol; Powder burns indicate it was done at very close range, but the bruising pattern is not consistent with a single barrel weapon. The Detective deduces that this was no bar-room altercation gone wrong — this was an assassination. Among Landers’ personal belongings a Union card is found, he was a stevedore. Who would want to assassinate a dockworker?

Bloody hell, Murdoch! The Inspector is none too happy and in a mood: Crabtree had a suspect in custody, Murdoch had a witness, and the pair of them let them both go. Bugalugs! The Harbourmaster Cecil Vance is breathing down his neck about the labour disruption grinding the docks to a halt; it is useless to point out that there's nothing the police can do about a bunch of stevedores dragging their asses. Meanwhile, a bit of bar-room luck lands Higgins with a well paying job offer and an unforeseen undercover opportunity to get near their other suspect – Mr. Quinn, the one Parker had a hold of after Landers was killed.

Concurrently, at the Toronto Mercy Hospital another death has occurred. Dr. Ogden’s patient Samuel Fitzgerald dies in the surgery conducted by Dr. Dixon and Mrs. Fitzgerald demands a full report. Julia accompanies the body to the City Morgue. Relieved that Dr. Ogden did not perform the operation, Miss Hart gives it her first priority. The patient suffered from a number of maladies, none of his major organs were in tip-top shape but these conditions would not cause him to die on the operating table. Miss Hart informs Dr. Ogden that the patient died because the attending surgeon nicked the aorta – the bleeding was rapid, uncontrollable and ultimately fatal. The surgeon made a mistake. Given the patient's medical history, he had a very low chance of surviving the surgery — if the report were weighted in that direction?

Detective Murdoch has reviewed the photographs of Parker’s notes taken in his rooms: witness accounts and details about the Homestead shootings. Both Landers and Quinn were at the Homestead Riot and one of the men that was killed was another Pinkerton agent Daniel Parker. Whatever events transpired at Homestead are being settled in Toronto. While it is unlikely Quinn is working alone, there is no evidence to connect him to the Landers murder other than running away from a murder scene. But according to Higgins, Quinn will be committing a crime during the meeting with the Mayor at the Harbourmaster's office down by the docks. Their plan to catch Quinn and his accomplices in the act goes awry during the planned rioting when Quinn is killed.

Back at the Morgue, watching Miss Hart finish her autopsy on Quinn, the team goes over what happened: Parker was approaching Quinn's fallen body, but when he saw Crabtree, he ran. Perhaps, Parker shot him from a distance and was making sure he was dead. No. Miss Hart informs them that Mr. Quinn was killed with the same weapon, the Shattuck Unique, as Mr. Landers and it was done at very close range. If Mr. Parker was in the proximity of two dead Pinkerton agents but may not have killed them, there is a killer on the loose and they're not the only ones looking for him.

Character Revelations

  • American Robert Parker, who is a Pinkerton agent, is introduced for the first time
  • Julia has bought William a camera and Thomas contrasts with, "The only thing that Margaret buys me is bloody long johns."
  • Murdoch has not shared his knowledge of Miss Hart's covert dealings (ep.1218) with the Inspector.
  • Dr. Ogden and Dr. Dixon share a heartfelt hug which leads to a near kiss, attempted by Dixon.
  • While Dr. Ogden agrees with Murdoch that Miss Hart is not to be trusted, Julia keeps her own counsel regarding Dr. Dixon.


  • The theme of prejudice (racism and sexism) returns in this episode.
  • At Mercy Hospital, Dr. Ogden is once again in conflict with Dr. Forbes when he upholds her patient's request that she not perform the needed surgery.
  • At the City MorgueMurdoch continues to be curt and mistrustful of Miss Hart while the Inspector calls her "...our resident ray of sunshine".
  • Anticipating his big secret (ep.1209) is about to arrive in town, the Inspector is moody, then he is insulted by a member of the Port Authority and his rough tongue lashes out at Murdoch and Crabtree which ends with "That’s it, Bugalugs!"
  • Crabtree's landlady Mrs. Keening is watching him like a hawk. Effie suggests he move, but his place is cheap.
  • Henry gets drunk lamenting over his failure to give his Ruthie the "creature comforts" to George and adds that Effie "...treats me like a bad smell".
  • Trouble at the waterfront harkens back to On the Waterfront Part 1.

Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1907 – Edward VII (Albert Edward;1841-1910) is King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas.
  • Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, formed in the 1800s to help law enforcement track down criminals, sparred with the outlaws the likes of Jesse James, and became entangled in the notorious labor disputes of burgeoning industrial North America.
  • Ensignette camera, manufactured ca 1909 - 1927, designed by the Swedish Engineer Magnus Neill.
  • C.S. Shattuck Unique Squeeze-Fire Palm Pistol manufactured between 1907-1917.
  • Homestead Strike, also called Homestead Riot, was a violent labour dispute between the Carnegie Steel Company and many of its workers that occurred on July 6, 1892 in Homestead, Pennsylvania, remaining a transformational moment in U.S. history and leaving scars that have never fully healed after five generations.


  • The foot chase at the opening displays the MM Backlot's expansion during the more recent seasons.
  • This episode was filmed on location at the Cotton Factory, a historic industrial complex formerly known as The Imperial Cotton Company Limited in Hamilton, Canada.
  • Recasted actors: George Masswohl was first seen in Rich Boy, Poor Boy and Anthony Gerbrandt was first seen in Victoria Cross.
  • Murdochians live tweeted during the first airing of this episode that Detective Watts is giving "Where's Waldo" a run for his money as he has yet to appear.

Notable Quotes

Inspector to Crabtree: “You should hope your novel is a raging best seller, because you sure as hell won’t be rising through the ranks around here anytime soon."
Julia to William: "Sometimes one isn't interested in a solution, William; sometimes, support is all that is required!"


Main Cast

Yannick Bisson as Detective William Murdoch
Hélène Joy as Dr. Julia Ogden
Thomas Craig as Inspector Thomas Brackenreid
Jonny Harris as Constable George Crabtree

Recurring Cast

Shanice Banton as Violet Hart
Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Clare McConnell as Effie Newsome
James McGowan as Dr. Forbes
Sebastian Pigott as Dr. Dixon
Marc Senior as Robert Parker

Guest Cast

Michael Rhoades as Lionel Armstrong
George Masswohl as Cecil Vance
Anthony Gerbrandt as Quinn
Sean James Lee as Seamus
Marie Ward as Lucille Fitzgerald
Timothy Allen as Samuel Fitzgerald
Billy Parrott as Mayor
Steve Rizzo as Man

Non-credited Cast

Nathan Hoppe as Constable McNabb


Murdoch Mysteries Season 13
Troublemakers Bad PenniesForever YoungProdigal Father
Murdoch and the Cursed Caves The Philately Fatality Toronto the BadThe Final CurtainThe Killing Dose
Parker in the RyeStaring Blindly into the FutureFox HuntKill Thy NeighbourRigid Silence
The Trial of Terrence MeyersIn the Company of WomenThings Left BehindThe Future is Unwritten

Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10Season 11Season 12Season 13Season 14