"Confederate Treasure"
Confederate Treasure 03.jpg
Season 4
Episode 7
Air date July 20, 2011 (Canada)
Written by Paul Aitken
Directed by John L'Ecuyer
Guest Stars Stephen Harper as Armstrong
Previous Dead End Street
Next Dial M for Murdoch

"Confederate Treasure" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the forty-sixth episode of the series. It first aired on March 29, 2011 (UK).


After finding a concealed  note on a corpse, Murdoch becomes involved in international intrigue.

Detective Murdoch and Constable Crabtree investigate when a body is uncovered by workmen along the Toronto harbour, in an area that previously was the site of docks for passenger ships and more recently a landfill, find a body about 15 feet below the surface. The remains are quite old and date from perhaps the mid-1860s. Dr. Ogden's review of the remains indicate that he might have been murdered.

Among the remains is a gun from 1862, chains to ensure he stayed in the water, and a gin flask with a note secreted in a false bottom. The note is signed by none other than Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald. The dead man is that of the Minister of Militia and Defence Mortimer Shanly who had disappeared in 1864. The matter comes to the attention of Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, as a matter of national security involving potential fallout from Canadian involvement in the American Civil War, prompting Murdoch's old nemesis from Ottawa, agent Terrence Meyers, to appear on the Station House with vital information about the theft of $1 million in gold and a connection to the American Civil War.

Character Revelations


Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1898 – Canada is under British rule (since 1763). Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.  On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.
  • At the time of the American Civil War, Canada did not as yet exist as an independent federated nation. Instead, the territory consisted of the United Province of Canada (parts of modern southern Ontario and Quebec) and the separate colonies of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Vancouver Island, as well as a crown territory administered by the Hudson's Bay Company called Rupert's Land. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and its colonies were officially neutral for the duration of the war. Despite this, tensions between Britain and the United States of America were high due to incidents on the seas, such as the Trent Affair and the Confederate commissioning of the CSS Alabama from Britain. The British manufacturing industry relied heavily on the free flow of Southern cotton to maintain a healthy economy. This lead to the Alabama Claims filed by the US against Britain in 1869 and the Treaty of Washington of 1871.
  • A Philadelphia Derringer manufactured in 1862, the same type of gun used to kill Abraham Lincoln.
  • Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier (PM 1896-1911) mentions the St. Alban's raid, referring to the controversial St. Albans Raid in which a group of Confederate agents based in Montreal robbed three Vermont banks of $170,000 and killed an American citizen. operations from Canada against the United States. To finance their cause in October 1864, they robbed three banks in St. Albans, Vermont, killed citizen, and escaped back across the border with $170,000. They were pursued by Union forces to the border, which created a diplomatic incident when the Canadians refused to extradite them back to the U.S. after they were captured.
  • In explaining why the confederate conspiracy must remain secret, the PM talks about how "McKinley's administration has already attacked Spain on the slimmest of pretexts"-- a reference to the Spanish-American War, which occurred between April and August of 1898.  


  • As an in-joke, Desk Sergeant Armstrong fails to recognize the prime minister when he enters Station House Four, played by then current prime minister Stephen Harper. He also mentions in conversation with George Crabtree that "there's too much infighting in Ottawa". This is a special scene only airing on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation- outside of Canada, Armstrong is played by a background actor.
  • This is the first time a sitting Canadian Prime Minister in an acting role other than himself.
  • Now former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper admits Murdoch Mysteries is his favorite show and he and his daughter never miss watching an episode together.
  • The Graphizer (measures sound waves) voted #4 of 5 Favourite Murdoch Inventionsby The Arts Guide 8/20/15 Adnan M..


  • The Skipper lowers Constable Crabtree using a winch. A few seconds later the Skipper is manning the air pump that keeps the Constable breathing. Later the Skipper is again raising the Constable using the winch, but no one else is manning the air pump while the Skipper is manning the winch. The Constable still needed air while being lowered and raised.
  • The union flag flying from the fishing boat was upside down. No Canadian detective would have made that mistake as before wireless communication it was a sign of distress. 'Thick to the mast, thin to the fly'.


Main Cast

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

Recurring Cast

Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Peter Keleghan as Terrence Meyers
Matthew Bennett as Allen Clegg

Guest Cast

Shawn Lawrence as Colonel Grodin
Richard McMillan as Lawrence Cheevers
Brian Paul as Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Elva Mai Hoover as Mrs. Shanly
Rena Polley as Mrs. Jacobson
Jim McAleese as Rail Guard
Robert B. Kennedy as Minister


Murdoch Mysteries Season 4
"All Tattered and Torn" • "Kommando" • "Buffalo Shuffle" • "Downstairs, Upstairs" • "Monsieur Murdoch" • "Dead End Street" • "Confederate Treasure" • "Dial M for Murdoch" • "The Black Hand" • "Voices" • "Bloodlust" • "The Kissing Bandit" • "Murdoch in Wonderland"
Web-Series: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs
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