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"Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas" is the second stand-alone two-hour Christmas special of the Murdoch Mysteries series. It originally aired on CBC on December 12, 2016, at the midway point in Season 10.


Murdoch and Brackenreid find their jobs at risk when they investigate a series of brazen robberies targeting Toronto’s wealthiest businessmen just days before Christmas. A Robin Hood-like superhero is on the loose in Toronto using new inventions!

It’s four days ‘til Christmas, and with no snow on the streets of Toronto, spirits are low until two businessmen barge into Station House No. 4 with a far-fetched story about a train robbery – a bandit is trying to steal Christmas! Murdoch is baffled but soon, more impossible robberies have him giving chase around the city. Crabtree is convinced the bandit is based on his latest fictional hero but Brackenreid dismisses the outlandish theory.

Meanwhile, Constable Jackson forms a Station House No. 4 choir at the insistence of the Inspector, but with only a few days to whip the singing constables into shape he begs Rebecca James for help. At the same time, Julia Ogden finds herself mysteriously spirited away after a family of children who need her help mistake her for a storybook Queen.

These mysteries converge on Christmas Eve – and once again, Murdoch must find a way to pull off a Christmas miracle.

Character Revelations

  • George has completed a new novel - a graphic one of his Jumping Jack stories.
  • A Christmas adventure involving the imagination of George Crabtree, his hero Jumping Jack "springs off the page into real life" and affects the entire city of Toronto.
  • William has fun creating "a Christmas mystery" for Julia: she will receive four small gifts in the same amount of days– a clue trail to what she will receive on Christmas day from him.
  • Miss James is a member of a choir.
  • Brackenreid in a Santa beard and suit to catch a thief, "Ho, bloody ho."


  • Station House No. 4 has its Christmas tree up with its signature constable hat atop it and Shelley the skeleton wearing his usual Santa cap is ready for Christmas in the City Morgue.
  • Miss James sings carols ("Deck the Halls") while cleaning a corpse of its blood.
  • No longer hating Christmas, Inspector Brackenreid wants to "stuff some Christmas cheer" into the constables by putting Jackson in charge of forming a constable choir.
  • Constable Jackson plays his trumpet, the last time he was shown playing it was in Glory Days.
  • With his pen broken "from overuse", George treats himself to the latest self-filling fountain pen, an expensive ($15) purchase from Eaton's Luxury Department, but he asks it to be wrapped "in some of that special paper"?
  • Ever wanting to be part of Toronto Society, Margaret has her Christmas miracle when the Brackenreids get an invitation to the The Ice King's Winter Banquet at The Aberdeen Club.
  • Murdoch's night vision goggles is used again to find Stephen, Rosie, and Davey, while on horseback with riding with Julia at night.
  • While not enthused with bird-watching as Julia at the end of Weekend at Murdoch's, William's Christmas gift to Julia is the envy of any serious, if not scientific, birdwatcher.

Historical References

  • In keeping with the festive spirit, the special also includes a unique scripted integration with The Salvation Army, featuring the historic brand’s presence and message of giving written into the storyline.
  • The rebuilding after The Great Fire has benefited Toronto business men, especially the building and brick trades: new brick buildings (many of those bricks supplied by the Don Valley Brick Works).
  • Picture books (a.k.a. Graphic novels) are, simply defined, book-length comics. The oldest recognized comics originated with the 1828 publication Histoire de M. Vieux Bois by Swiss caricaturist Rodolphe Töpffer, first published in English translation in 1841 by London's Tilt & Bogue.
  • George's "Superhuman man", alludes to Superman who "flies and melts things with his eyes" and leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
  • Murdoch points out to Brackenreid "...Time is money ", a phrase coined by Benjamin Franklin; both 'time' and 'money' references are sprinkled throughout this holiday special.
  • Murdoch is impressed with Lance 'The Ice King' Henderson's air cooling system, a nod to early air conditioning technology.
  • Allusion to New England businessman Frederic Tudor (1783-1864) who believed that the local ice industry had global potential beyond regional food preservation. His perseverance eventually earned him the nickname “Ice King.”
  • Eaton's department store founded in 1869.
  • The $4 bill is a uniquely Canadian denomination. It converted well back when some Canadian bank notes were denominated in pounds and shillings. Dominion of Canada four dollar bills were first issued in October 1882. In 1912, the Canadian $4 bill was removed from circulation to make way for the $5 bill.
  • Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen was first published 21 December 1844 in New Fairy Tales. 
  • Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who takes from the rich to give to the poor.
  • The Ice King that Davey tells Rosie is in her book of fairy tales is more than likely the Dutch folklore The Ice King and His Wonderful Grandchild.
  • The first cure of a person with diphtheria is dated to the 1891 Christmas holiday in Berlin. Emil von Behring won the first Nobel Prize in medicine in 1901 for his work on diphtheria.
  • Rollo Beck (1870 -1950) was an American ornithologist, bird collector for museums, and explorer, who collected land and sea birds (along with unique fauna) specimens in the early 1900s from the Galápagos Islands.


  • Commissioned by CBC and produced by Shaftesbury. The holiday specials are standalones and they have no through-lines from the season. All of the core characters are involved with no mention of past story lines. The actual script running time is 90mins (without ads).
  • The Christmas banquet was filmed at Casa Loma. Casa Loma has a restriction on open flames in the building, thus the missing candles.
  • The special features actual employees and volunteers of The Salvation Army in various scenes.
  • MM writer Simon McNabb on this episode, "It focuses more heavily on Crabtree than last year’s special...This year he is really in the thick of what is, I think, an exciting and delightful adventure."
  • Allusion to Inspector Gadget is made by George; last time was in Tour de Murdoch by Chippy Blackburn.
  • Higgins suggests the new title for George's book should be  "Jumpin' Jack Flash": It an allusion to the 1986 American spy comedy film with Whoopi Goldberg. The films' soundtrack includes two versions of the song "Jumpin' Jack Flash " the original by the Rolling Stones (1968), and a remake by Aretha Franklin heard over the end credits.
  • Brackenreid says, "do they know it's Christmastime at all?" the name of the British ensemble song for Band Aid in 1984.
  • Christmas carols sung or referenced are Deck the Halls, Good King Wenceslas, White Christmas, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, Twelve Days of Christmas, and Come All Ye Faithful .
  • When asked about the Scrooge moment (Dicken's A Christmas Carol ) at the end, MM writer Michelle Ricci admits, "There are some things you have to put in a Christmas episode."
  • Recast actor Frank Moore ('The Ice King') played Jeb Cutler in The Knockdown the third episode of Season 1.
  • Recast actor Rainbow Sun Francks (Stanley Garrity) played Sam Carr in The Death of Dr. Ogden.
  • First time Brackenreid says, "Arse over elbow" which is British slang for 'head over heels'.
  • Hélène Joy tweeted the names of the two horses William and Julia ride: Farty Marty and Poopy Pete.
  • Brackenreid's "Bloody" count: 12


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
Kristian Bruun as Constable Slugger Jackson
Arwen Humphreys as Margaret Brackenreid

Guest Cast

Frank Moore as Lance Henderson
Joel Keller as Marlin Edwards
Jeni Ross as Vicky Parsons
Gage Munroe as Stephen Taylor
Miles Faber as Robert Fields
MaKenna Beatty as Rosie Taylor
Rain Clews-Fehr as Davey Taylor
Paul Van Dyck as Gregory Heckenbush
Rainbow Sun Francks as Stanley Garrity
Brian Hamman as Xavier Oewns
Joanna Douglas as Wendy Nelson
Stephanie Moore as Mrs. Blackwood
Rufus Crawford as Morton Witsel
Robin Cunningham as Vagrant
Ellen Dubin as Amelia Haversham
Matthew Donovan as Lewis Branaugh
Herbie Barnes as Newsstand Man
Jennifer Foster as Customer #1
Patty Sullivan as Shop Girl
Phil Borg as Executive #1
Eamon Hanson as Street Urchin
Singing Constables: Gary Douglas, Stephen J MacDonald, David Farant,
Sean Gallagher, Chris Golovchenko, Stephen Vincelli
Singing Executives: Robert Longo, Peter M. Wright, Randy Thomas,
Steven Holmberg, Thomas Saunders


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