"Hot Wheels of Thunder" is the seventeenth episode of the tenth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundred forty-ninth of the series. It first aired on March 13, 2017.

Summary

Murdoch's investigation into the death of a roller-skating champion takes him into a world of aggressive and ruthlessly competitive young women – the hell on wheels – one of them may be a killer.

While identifying her mother's body at the City Morgue, Miss Sophia Palmer informs Murdoch and Ogden her mother was an experienced skater, who taught dance skating, and would never have fallen, rather she was murdered. Though further interviews reveal that Lea Palmer was controlling, Murdoch remains skeptical that merely keeping her daughter from skating could be motive for murder.

Back at the Station House, Miss Cherry is less than enthusiastic about roller racing as George is about the Horatio Alger lectures, but he agrees to attend them with her. Brackenreid teases Crabtree that they are not even man and wife and she's already wearing the trousers.

Meanwhile Miss James has discovered the identity of the women skaters who nearly knocked Dr. Ogden down earlier, they are The Buffalo Queens and Rebecca plans to join the roller racing competition to teach them a lesson. Julia warns her that revenge is never a good idea and that Rebecca would be up against professionals – and Murdoch's prime suspects when Miss Palmer discovers a threatening letter from a former student among her mother's things.

Prior to the roller races, an assault on Miss Palmer ends her skating career, then during the first race Miss James is unfairly knocked out of the race with an ankle injury, the Inspector's spies The Buffalo Queens' racket, but would one of them kill to protect their secret?

Character Revelations

  • A study in controlling women: the victim Lea Palmer, The Buffalo Queens, and Louise Cherry.
  • Dr. Ogden and Miss James roller-skate, adding it to their other athletic skill sets.
  • Between themselves, Brackenreid and Murdoch have had a word about Miss Cherry; they share their approval and encouragement with Crabtree: "Just don't fumble this one, bugalugs!"
  • While William and Julia like Louise Cherry, George discovers another side to her character besides her dislike of sport events – she calls the Murdochs "those awful bores".


Continuity

  • Julia quizzes Rebecca, this time while roller-skating along a beachfront path. "Hypospadius?"
  • At the scene of the tragic skating accident, William asks Julia to give up her new hobby, "I'll give it up the moment you give up your bicycle," negotiates Julia.
  • The return of Nina Bloom doesn't alter George's relationship with Louise Cherry, but Nina does help out Rebecca James and the Inspector.
  • The Inspector gives Crabtree a Brackenreid-talk on "heartbreak" and "women", supported by Murdoch.
  • Gold medal winning Olympic coach Brackenreid has some roller racing moves and strategies for Miss James' team against The Buffalo Queens.
  • Two Dr. Grace references are made: 1.) Brackenreid's "...women have left you for other women." 2.) Julia's mentioning a loan of her finest post-mortem book that was never returned.
  • William and Julia explain to Louise that they had plan to build their own house but finding corpses on the property curtailed that plan. (ep.1013)


Historical References

  • Roller skating races underwent several boom-and-bust cycles throughout the 20th century. According to MM writer and producer Simon McNabb, roller derby was quite a craze in Victorian times. “It started around the 1870s, died out and then came back. It seems like it re-surges every 30 years.”
  • "I was attacked! Why?! Why?! Why?!" is a Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding 1994 Olympic rivalry reference.
  • Horatio Alger Jr. (1832-1899) was a prolific 19th-century American writer, best known for his many young adult novels.  His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative – the 'Horatio Alger Myth' the classic American success story – which had a formative effect on America during the Gilded Age.
  • During the Tang Dynasty (618–907), paper was folded and sewn into square bags to preserve the flavor of tea. The first Western tea bags were hand-sewn fabric bags, first appearing commercially around 1904.


Trivia

  • Filmed at Cobourg beach with the old lighthouse in the background.
  • Guest star Carmilla Series Natasha Negovanlis, a fellow Golden Screen Award Fan's Choice Top 3 contender along with Yannick Bisson and Hélène Joy, won the 2017 Fan's Choice award. She originally auditioned for the part of Sophia Palmer.
  • Murdoch Mysteries wins the 2017 Golden Screen Award for TV Drama or Comedy just before this episode's airing.
  • Actress Erin Agostino who plays Nina Bloom was not a roller-skater before filming this episode.
  • "In memory of Jordan Christianson" appears in the first frame of the end credits.


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

Mouna Traoré as Rebecca James
Kristian Bruun as Constable Jackson (mentioned)
Bea Santos as Louise Cherry
Erin Agostino as Nina Bloom
Katy Breier as Lydia Hall

Guest Cast

Erica Deutschman as Sophie Palmer
Natasha Negovanlis as Mildred Preston
Emily Coutts as Camille Morse
Chelsea Leaman as Betty Dalton
Sheri Godda as Laura Howard
Tim Post as Robert Palmer
Jeremy Walmsley as Herschel Humphries
Ayinde Blake as Edwin Thornburg

Non-Credited Cast

Nathan Hoppe as Constable McNabb


Gallery


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
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