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"Great Balls of Fire, Part 2" is the second episode of the tenth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundredth thirty-fourth of the series. It first aired on October 17, 2016.


A massive fire consumes Toronto, complicating Murdoch's investigation into the murders of two young women.

It's the evening of April, 19, 1904: A massive inferno engulfs most of Toronto complicating Detective Murdoch's investigation of the homicides involving two debutantes – more than likely a sequential killer is on the loose amid the city's chaos.

The fire rages from the Esplanade in the south to Melinda in the North; all of Wellington Street is ablaze, as is Bay. Over 100 buildings are burning, changing the face of the city forever. The mayor of Toronto has deemed all public buildings places of temporary refuge, allocating money for cots and supplies. Station House No. 4 welcomes their new boarders.

As Lady Atherly and her daughter were the intended firebomb target, the Inspector wagers that they're clear for the first murders. The firebomb was a secondary blaze – coincidence or a clever cover? Adding to Murdoch's growing frustration, the telegraph lines are down and every step taken in the investigation leads to a dead end. After interviewing the remaining debutantes again, the Inspector reckons that there may be a reason more twisted and if there is a sequential killer on the loose, they need the Doctor's help. While the killer may not be one of the debutantes after all, Murdoch tells Julia he can't shake his suspension that the murders are because of Rodney Strong. Julia questions Lady Atherly being over grateful to her; hardly believing they needed her help to escape the fire. Murdoch and Ogden return to the scene of the firebomb attack. Are Julia’s friend Suzanne Atherly and her daughter murdering all the debutantes in Toronto? All Murdoch knows at this point: Elizabeth Atherly is now married to one of the city's wealthiest men. A family that was facing penury is now set for life – something that wasn't entirely possible when the other two ladies were still alive.

The telegram from Scotland Yard finally arrives confirming that Elizabeth Atherly had a scandalous affair with a Trevor Cross – a gardener with a member of the aristocracy – that was swiftly terminated by Lady Suzanne, but the Atherly family is now a laughingstock of British society and destitute. Yet, once again, to Murdoch's surprise, the principles and suspects in the case appear to be informed of this past. Rodney Strong tells the Detective that his wife's frankness in the matter is one of the reasons why he married her.

Then, debutante Erma Fairhurst is murdered shortly after being seen leaving the Biltmore Hotel, in quite the hurry and crying, by witness Colin Dunn. According to Madge Merton, the newlyweds are occupying the entire top floor of the Biltmore. In the middle of setting up a hotel stakeout, Crabtree leaves to follow Strong, then Murdoch follows Lady Elizabeth and Mr. Bishop, and Julia sees Lady Atherly off to England – all converging – at the train station. After seeing Bishop kiss Elizabeth before parting ways, Murdoch takes him into custody. Upon arresting Elizabeth and her mother, Lady Suzanne recognizes and uncovers Bishop as Trevor Cross.  But Elizabeth takes her own mother hostage at gunpoint in an attempt to have Cross released and to escape with him. Recovering from her own recent ordeal, Dr. Julia steps in and talks Elizabeth into recognizing that she is not a killer and that a man who truly loves her would not ask her to marry another man.

At the station house, Murdoch questions Elizabeth, accusing her of murdering all her competitors. Elizabeth insists that she was duplicitous and that Trevor is the true killer, having murdered all those who stood in her way but had to kill Erma because she saw her and Trevor together. Murdoch points out that she was aware of all the murders and didn't say a word, contradicting her claim of duplicity.

Character Revelations

  • Miss James tells Murdoch that Dr. Ogden is convinced she saw Eva Pearce in the fire. With that realization and a bit of coaching from Brackenreid, William begins to help Julia recover from her ordeal and the taking of another's life (ep.918).
  • Lady Atherly realizes that she should have let her daughter Elizabeth make her own choices; then perhaps she would not be facing life in prison.
  • Constable Henry Higgins conceals his guilt over starting the fire with his cigar, finally giving himself up as being "a scoundrel, sir, and a coward." The Inspector points out, "you have been for years", then sets him straight, it was a faulty stove. And adds, "I'm afraid you won't be able to add 'starting the Great Fire of Toronto' to the list of your accomplishments."


Historical References

  • The Great Toronto Fire of 1904 is one of the seminal events in the Toronto's history. The fire erased 20 acres of the downtown financial district causing millions of dollars in damages.


  • Archival film footage of the Great Fire of 1904 is used, also, combining 70% CGI with 30% real fires on the modified set with fire engines on hand.
  • Allusion to Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence 1928 novel.


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

Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Mouna Traoré as Rebecca James
Daiva Johnston as Eva Pearce
Erin Agostino as Nina Bloom
Katy Breier as Lydia Hall

Guest Cast

Samantha Bond as Lady Suzanne Atherly
Dominique Provost-Chalkley as Elizabeth Atherly
Kyle Cameron as Rodney Strong
Stefne Mercedes as Erma Fairhurst
Hannah Whitmore as Jennie Berridge
Kelly Van der Burg as Madeline Wellwood
Joseph Motiki as Colin Dunn
Harmon Walsh as Bishop
Sean Connolly Affleck as Samuel Bloom
Roland Greber as Attendant
Yury Ruzhyey as Homeless Citizen
Joanna Haughton as Nurse
Jennifer Vey as Woman

Non-Credited Cast

Nathan Hoppe as Constable McNabb
Kate Corbett as Fireman Dancer (Josie)


Murdoch Mysteries Season 10
Great Balls of Fire, Part 1Great Balls of Fire, Part 2A Study in PinkConcocting A KillerJagged Little PillBend It Like BrackenreidPainted LadiesWeekend at Murdoch'sExcitable ChapThe Devil InsideA Murdog MysteryThe MissingMr. Murdoch's NeighbourhoodFrom Murdoch to EternityHades Hath No FuryMaster LovecraftHot Wheels of ThunderHell to Pay
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10Season 11Season 12