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"Dr. Osler Regrets"
1005 Dr. Osler Regrets
Season 11
Episode 1105
Air date October 23, 2017
Written by Dan Trotta
Directed by Alison Reid
Previous The Canadian Patient
Next 21 Murdoch Street

"Dr. Osler Regrets" is the fifth episode of the eleventh season and the one hundred-fifty-fifth of the Murdoch Mysteries series. It first aired on October 23, 2017.

Summary

Murdoch suspects that a sequential killer is behind a number of murders staged to look like suicides.

Murdoch and Ogden are dining with Julia’s university mentor and teacher Dr. Osler who is the subject of a highly publicised reporting of a recent speech he gave on ageing and mortality when an angry Archie Doyle interrupts them, in a near-violent encounter, accusing Dr. Osler of murdering his father. Mr. Norman Doyle’s suspicious suicide is the first of four similar deaths and, according to The Gazette, Dr. Osler is the impetus behind the suicides until they are declared murders.

Murdoch is not convinced that a man who goes through the trouble of staging elaborate murders would choose his victims at random. Brackenreid quips, “Not everything's a puzzle, Murdoch. Sometimes people are just crackers.” Murdoch’s questions remain: Where does he find his victims and how does he know their schedules? Or the exact right time to strike? 

The victims have no familial, social, or financial connections. Inspector Brackenreid believes the staged suicides by chloroform of sexagenarians are the work of a sequential killer, while Gazette reporter Miss Cherry pens the criminal ‘The Mercy Killer' after receiving letters from him, but Murdoch begins to suspect there is more than one murderer after the fourth victim arrives at the City Morgue. 

Then, Crabtree finds laundry receipts, belonging to their latest victim, Stanley Bingham who used the same service as their last victim, Paul Adelaide, but more immediately relevant to the case, George identifies an antiquated expression in the latest letter that helps to reveal the person claiming to be ‘The Mercy Killer’ whereupon the writer Miss Cherry lands in jail for obstruction of justice.

Murdoch surmises what if it is a single killer with only one true target? If the other victims are “misdirection decoys”, which one is the target? After gathering the alibis of their suspects and checking them off on the blackboard – “like tic-tac bloody toe” – there is only one person without an alibi for all four murders. But when they arrive at the Doyle home to arrest Archie, they are taken aback by Mrs. Doyle’s confession. She had staged her husband’s suicide as a murder otherwise the church would never have allowed them to be buried in the same cemetery.

This revelation now leaves only one other suspect with an alibi for the first murder, but none for the others – Jack Borden.

Character Revelations

  • Dr. Osler knew Dr. Ogden from her days at university. For a time at McGill, Julia considered leaving medical school but Osler reinvigorated her interest in medicine.
  • George Crabtree unveils an interesting new hobby - amateur horology. He shows Murdoch the pocketwatch he made. Murdoch asks if it works. It does – at least twice a day.
  • Upon being both jailed and fired from The Gazette, Louise Cherry is hired by the Toronto Telegraph to George's dismay.
  • In this case, it is Brackenreid who makes the connection to the Churchill's Laundry Service that provides the needed proof to arrest the murderer.

Continuity

  • Having made entry into medical school, Miss Violet Hart starts her new job at the City Morgue assisting Dr. Ogden, just as the good doctor had promised her (ep.1104). While discussing Dr. Osler's publised speech, Ogden reminds Miss Hart of the doctor's role: “Our job is to do no harm.
  • Toronto Gazette reporter Miss Cherry returns and is suspected of being up to her old tricks again – fake news.
  • Constable John Brackenreid continues his training at Station House No. 4.
  • When Dr. Ogden confides in Dr. Osler that she may try hormonal therapy, he counsels caution over exuberance.
  • When George recognises the Victorian phrase 'lays down the knife and fork',  Brackenreid confesses that he's never heard it before and asks if it is a Newfoundland saying. It isn't, but Miss Cherry uses it.

Historical References

  • This episode is based on an actual incident around a speech Dr. William Osler had given which was taken out of context and blown out of proportion; Whereupon, Osler’s reputation was, essentially, ruined for a time.
  • Julia shares with William that Dr. Osler’s wife is the great-granddaughter of Paul Revere. Dr. Osler  adds “…quite the accomplishment, riding a horse for an entire evening”.
  • The word 'euthanasia' was first used in a medical context by Francis Bacon in the 17th century, to refer to an easy, painless, happy death, during which it was a "physician's responsibility to alleviate the 'physical sufferings' of the body".
  • Dr. Odgen references the doctor's Hippocratic Oath.
  • In 1902 Ernest Starling and William Batliss isolated a substance that they called secretin, released into the blood, which in turn stimulates secretion into the intestine of pancreatic digestive juice. Two years later, Starling coined the term hormone to denote such substances released in a restricted part of the body, carried by the bloodstream to unconnected parts, where, in extremely small quantities, they are capable of profoundly influencing the function of those parts. Dr. Ogden believes the same principal can be applied to the reproductive sciences.
  • Fake news allusions: the MM Writers' Room likes to establish a corollary between what happens in Murdoch's world to what's happening in current history.
  • The phrase "salad days", said by Brackenreid to his son John, is an idiomatic expression meaning a youthful time, accompanied by enthusiasm and idealism, coined in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra  (1606). The modern usage is when somebody is at the peak of their abilities — not necessarily when young.
  • Allusion is made to the famous recluse Howard Hughes who saved his own urine and had long nails.

Trivia

Errors

Cast

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
Charles Vandervaart as John Brackenreid
Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Bea Santos as Louise Cherry

Guest Cast

Stewart Arnott as Dr. William Osler
Kristopher Turner as Jack Borden
Benjamin Blais as Archie Doyle
Sarah Orenstein as Catherine Doyle
Spencer Robson as Strother Campbell
Edie Inksetter as Eleanor Webster
James Purcell as Oliver Linehan
Thomas Duplessie as Young Man

Uncredited Cast

Nathan Hoppe as Constable McNabb

Gallery


Murdoch Mysteries Season 11
Up From AshesMerlot Mysteries8 FootstepsThe Canadian PatientDr. Osler Regrets21 Murdoch StreetThe AccidentBrackenreid BoudoirThe Talking DeadF.L.A.S.H.!Biffers and BlockersMary WeptCrabtree à la CarteThe Great White MooseMurdoch SchmurdochGame of KingsShadows Are FallingFree Falling
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10Season 11Season 12
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