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"Elementary, My Dear Murdoch" is the fourth episode of the first season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the fourth episode of the series. It first aired on February 10, 2008.


Arthur Conan Doyle arrives in Toronto to address a group about spiritualism. His first stop is to attend a seance with William Murdoch were the medium, Sarah Pensall, announces that a recently murdered woman wants Murdoch to know that she is buried in a shallow grave. Murdoch finds the grave; he also finds out that Pensell is a fraud who uses an accomplice to investigate potential participants in her séances.

Doyle recommends that the police have Pensall conduct another seance with the goal of exposing the murderer; however, Pensell starts by apparently channeling Murdoch's deceased fiancée, Liza. This leads Murdoch to request a private séance, where Pensell tells him things that only he and Liza could have known.

The dead woman's lover, Fredrick Waters is murdered next.

Murdoch has determined that Pensall is a fraud. As he approaches the truth he convinces her to hold a private seance for his key suspect, Conrad Hunt. Pensall pretends to be passing unsettling news from the spirit world and Hunt confesses to the murder of the young woman.

Character Revelations


  • This episode is George Crabtree's first appearance in civilian clothing while on duty.
  • In the private séance, Liza tells William it is time to let her go.
  • Murdoch gives Dr. Ogden the Telephonic Probe– a gift of sorts, he tells her about the séance.

Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1895 – Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria 1819 - 1901) is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and Empress of India.
  • At the scene of the crime, the Murdoch's light box is used whereupon Arthur Conan Doyle calls it Day Light in a Box.
  • Murdoch uses Ballistic fingerprinting to solve the case.
  • Murdoch mentions the use of a "telephonic probe" in searching for the bullet which killed US President Garfield in 1881.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited Toronto at least twice, first in 1894 and again in 1922. He lectured at Massey Hall in 1894. Also in 1894, he was asked by reporters at the Toronto World to assist in the investigation of the murder of Frank Westwood, known as the "Parkdale Mystery."


  • This is the first time "Murdoch" has been used in an episode's title.
  • "Me Ol' Mucker" Count: 1
  • Arthur Conan Doyle appears in this episode, the season's fourth. He also appears in Season 6, episode four, with Sherlock Holmes who also appears in Season 7, episode 4.
  • Thomas Brackenreid gives Arthur Conan Doyle the idea for Hounds of the Baskervilles.
  • On their way to the Toronto Paranormal Society at night, Det. Murdoch tells Arthur Conan Doyle that his late fiancée, Liza, died of consumption over a year ago.
  • The Day Light In A Box (the detective’s portable briefcase-style-flashlight) voted #2 of 5 Favourite Murdoch Inventions by The Arts Guide 8/20/15 Adnan M.
  • Murdoch meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle out front of his hotel — Whitehern (now a museum in Hamilton, Ontario)


  • Arthur Conan Doyle was not involved with Spiritualism until after WWI, following the deaths of his wife and his son. This episode is set more than 20 years before that time.


Main Cast

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

Recurring Cast

Geraint Wyn Davies as Arthur Conan Doyle
Maria Del Mar as Sarah Pensell

Guest Cast

Dan Lett as Fredrick Waters
Tom Barnett as Conrad Hunt
Chris Ratz as Lisgar Gall
Alex Poch-Goldin as Hubert Winston
Kerry Ann Doherty as Ida Winston
Natalie Roy as Liza



Murdoch Mysteries Season 1
"Power" • "The Glass Ceiling" • "The Knockdown" • "Elementary, My Dear Murdoch" • "'Til Death Do Us Part" • "Let Loose the Dogs" • "Body Double" • "Still Waters" • "Belly Speaker" • "Child's Play" • "Bad Medicine" • "The Prince and the Rebel" • "The Annoying Red Planet"
Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10