"Murdoch of the Klondike" is the first episode of the fifth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the fifty-third episode of the series. It first aired on February 28, 2012 (UK).


Murdoch is on a leave of absence and is working as a prospector in the Yukon. On suspension for interfering in an investigation, and on the run for surreptitiously freeing a murderer to make amends, Murdoch has left Toronto, and police work, for the Yukon in pursuit of solace and fortune. The gold rush is long over but Murdoch is pleased to discover that his fledgling prospecting career may garner some success, a small comfort after Julia's marriage to another man.

Back in the city, newly promoted Chief Constable Giles makes it clear to Inspector Brackenreid that he'll be keeping a very close eye on police matters. He directly states that he is suspicious of Brackenreid's official report on the escape of both Murdoch and Constance Gardiner being due to a faulty lock. Meanwhile, Dr. Ogden is now working alongside Acting Detective George Crabtree and Dr. Emily Grace, a feisty young protégé. With their assistance, Crabtree is soon on the path to solving a man's murder (identified as January Billings), as he struggles to balance his old relationship with Higgins against his new, albeit temporary position of authority. Brackenreid advises him to be firm in his orders, but also compliment his men when they do well.

In the remote north, Murdoch returns to the nearby town he learns that Mrs. Elizabeth Bryant, an innkeeper has been charged with murder. It seems she was found standing over the body of Kate Lynfield with the murder weapon in her hands, an apparent crime of passion as they were known to have an acrimonious relationship. Murdoch knows the woman and finds it all hard to believe, but is reluctant to get involved as he tries to escape his past and his passion for detective work. But as he tries to rebuild his life, Murdoch soon realizes that while he had hoped to leave his shattered heart and tattered career back in Toronto, his days as a detective are not behind him.

The plot thickens when writer Jack London lends his insights, and Murdoch soon starts an investigation. The murder is far more complex than anyone had imagined, when Murdoch discovers another body belonging to Kate's husband, and several other people with motive for killing them both, as they were holding on to the last claim standing in the way of a dredging operation that could have revitalised the fading boomtown's economy. He initially suspects the man whose project it was, Isaac Tate as he was the only other prospector still active on the creek and also the only witness against Mrs. Bryant. However the man convinces him of his innocence, and Murdoch's suspicions turn to the barkeeper at the inn, Arlen, who would stand to inherit a substantially more profitable business with both Mrs. Bryant and the dead woman, his only competition, out of the way.

Arlen is in possession of a watch that appears to be identical to the one belonging to Mrs. Bryant's late husband, which Kate was accused of stealing, thus giving her motive for murder, but the inscription on the back has been filed off. Murdoch informs the man of all the circumstantial evidence against him, and advises him that he has reason to inspect the watch and chemically raise the incription to prove that it is the stolen one, and the man eventually confesses.

Murdoch returns the watch to Mrs. Bryant, who invites him to stay on in the Yukon and perhaps pursue a relationship with her, but he has realised that he cannot leave his calling behind so easily, and returns to Toronto to reclaim his job from Crabtree. He wishes to confess to his part in letting Constance Gardiner, murder suspect, go free, but Brackenreid talks him out of it, informing him that as he had covered for Murdoch, they would both lose their jobs and careers, and they must now live with the decision they had previously made. Murdoch unhappily agrees, and goes to the morgue to see Julia, but leaves without speaking to her.

Character Revelations

  • Dr. Ogden is mentoring and training a young female coroner in the City Morgue.
  • This episode introduces Dr. Emily Grace.
  • Murdoch wants to confess and face the consequences, but Brackenreid tells him not to, as it would ruin both of their careers, and states - "You want to pay your penance or whatever it is you Catholic blokes do, go back to doing what you do best".


  • Footage from Murdoch in Wonderland is used in flashbacks.
  • Inspector Giles replaced Stockton as Chief Constable between seasons.
  • Chief Constable Giles states his suspicions of Murdoch's involvement in the escape of Constance Gardiner, confessed murderess, which causes him to put pressures on Station House No.4 in future episodes.
  • Dr. Grace invites Dr. Ogden to meet with a group of women who meet at a private club, saying she is "something of an inspiration to us." Likely to be the same group of women they meet with in later episodes.

Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto and Yukon, Canada, 1899 – the Victorian Era (1837-1901) when Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, rules the British Empire.
  • Fort Herchmer (1897-1966) is a North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post first established in 1897 in present day Dawson, Yukon, Canada.
  • In conversation, William Murdoch tells Jack London that he might return to the west, based on "the call of the wild." London published a novel by that name in 1903.
  • The North West Mounted Police officer who Murdoch speaks with in the Klondike is Sam Steele, one of the first NWMP officers to be sworn in when the force was created. He played a major role in the NWMP (later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP) and the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Jack London mentions that Murdoch can contact him in Skagway, Alaska through Diamond Lil
  • Jack London mentions the California Gold Rush and subsequent dredging operations there. The first major success with large scale dredging equipment was in 1898 on the Feather River near Oroville, making this time frame consistent with companies planning dredging areas and buying old river claims.


  • The sign at the NWMP detachment at Fort Herchmer indicates "Dawson City". The settlement of Dawson would not have gained city status until its incorporation in 1902.
  • A portrait of Edward VII is seen at the assayer's office.


Main Cast

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

Recurring Cast

Nigel Bennett as Chief Constable Giles
Georgina Reilly as Emily Grace
Lachlan Murdoch as Henry Higgins

Guest Cast

Jill Halfpenny as Elizabeth Bryant
Aaron Ashmore as Jack London
Paul Braunstein aa Arlen Pike
Mike McPhaden as Isaac McKay
Matt Cooke as Superintendent Sam Steele
Shauna MacDonald as Mrs. Billings
Jennifer Kydd as Kate Linfield
Brian Fidler as Assayer
Matthew Wilson and Dean Williams as Miners
Edward A. Queffelec and Billy Oliveras as Bar Fighters


Murdoch Mysteries Season 5
"Murdoch of the Klondike" • "Back and to the Left" • "Evil Eye of Egypt" • "War on Terror" • "Murdoch at the Opera" • "Who Killed the Electric Carriage?" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 1)" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 2)" • "Invention Convention" • "Staircase to Heaven" • "Murdoch in Toyland" • "Murdoch Night in Canada" • "Twentieth Century Murdoch"
Web-Series: The Murdoch Effect
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10
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