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"Game of Kings" is the sixteenth episode of the eleventh season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundred sixty-sixth of the series. It first aired on March 5, 2018.


Murdoch and Brackenreid send Crabtree undercover at an international chess tournament to unravel the murder of a Russian master.

Amidst the chess masters from all over the world attending the international chess tournament, there is a blood feud between the Pols and Russians on Toronto turf and Station House No. 4's jurisdiction...

Character Revelations


Historical References

  • The first international chess tournament was held in London (1851) and chess tournaments have become the standard form of chess competition among serious players ever since. The official world chess championship is generally regarded to have begun in 1886, when the two leading players from Europe and the United States played a match. Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) was founded in 1872 and the Canada's Open Chess Championship was first held in 1956.
  • Polish Husaria, the winged horsemen, documentation date back to 1500s and the ceremonial sword, Szczerbiec.
  • Poland's coronation sword was brought to Canada for safe-keeping, but it was during the Second World War. Maureen Jennings took artistic license with the timeline. Poland was occupied by the Soviets (Russia) from 1939-1945.
  • Poland was partitioned in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s when Russian, Prussian (German) and Austrian troops invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Polish chess team is represented by the flag of the Polish National Government 1863-64, which had been proclaimed during the January Uprising
  • Bolsheviks were members of the majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party, which will be  renamed the Communist Party after seizing power in the October Revolution of 1917. The revolution referenced in the episode is the 1905 Russian Revolution.
  • The Queen's Gambit is one of the popular and oldest known chess openings. It was mentioned in the Göttingen manuscript of 1490 and was later analysed by masters in the 17th century. Crabtree points out, "...whoever decided the queen would be the most powerful piece was ahead of their time."
  • Markham, Ontario, located northeast of Toronto proper, is a township (1793) within the Greater Toronto Area. In 1871, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway built the first rail line to Markham Village and Unionville, which is still used today by the GO Transit commuter services. In 1972, Markham will incorporate as a town as its population skyrockets due to urban sprawl from Toronto.


  • Episode writer and novelist Maureen Jennings is the creator of Murdoch Mysteries and has usually penned an episode every season since Season 5. Jennings presents stories ideas that she is interested in and the MM Writers' Room discusses them then suggest which story idea to write for the season.
  • The episode story idea came when Jennings was invited to Poland for a writers' festival. [*]
  • Thomas Craig (Inspector Brackenreid) celebrated his birthday on the set during this episode's filming.
  • At the chess tournament, Canada is represented by a Red Ensign flag with a historically accurate coat of arms in the fly: the original four-provinces shield that was devised in 1868 and which was in widespred use until 1921. 
  • The United States is accurately represented by a flag with 45 stars on the canton, for the number of states in 1905 (the latest admission being Utah in 1896; Oklahoma would be admitted in 1908). 


  • George Crabtree inserts the listening device in his ear– thus he has the listening device inserted, only in the next shot he is placing the devise in his ear again.
  • The flag used for the Russian Empire is missing the imperial seal in the upper left corner. The flag shown is the modern flag of the Russian Federation.


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

Daniel Maslany as Detective Watts
Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Erin Agostino as Nina Bloom
Shanice Banton as Violet Hart

Guest Cast

Yana Gold as Karina Troubetskoy
Mark Anthony Krupa as Professor Victor Stanislav
Allan Price as Master Troubetskoy
Alexander Steele Zonjic as Pioter
Slavic Rogozine as Sergei
Jack Fulton as Ezikiel Jones
Sebastien Bertrand as Marcel Monet
Ian Kilburn as Joshua Jones

Non-Credited Cast

Paul Rutledge as The Horseman
Nathan Hoppe as Constable McNabb


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
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