"Six of the Best" is the twelfth episode of the twelfth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundred eightieth of the series. It first aired on January 21, 2019.


Murdoch's distressing childhood memories are evoked while investigating the death of an orphan under the care of the same Jesuit priest who taught him.

A young girl playing with her dog, Reva, discovers a possible body.

The body of a young boy has been buried for nearly a week in the wood. The content from his pockets is dusted with red clay, the kind used in brick making which leads Murdoch and Watts to the nearby brickworks where they discover young boys are hired from orphanages to work in the mornings, good workers for half the pay. One of the workers, Hiram Taylor, recognizes the description of the buried boy as Wesley Seaver from the orphanage on Broadview. According to Brother Duvalier, director of the orphanage, young Master Seaver had a habit of running away but usually returns. The detectives interview the other lads, Paul and Felix, and learn that the day Wesley disappeared, he had stood up to one of the teachers and got caned for it – that teacher was Brother Duvalier, who was important to William at one time.

At the City Morgue, Miss Hart informs Murdoch that there was no single blow sufficient enough to cause death. However, the boy did suffer subcutaneous hematoma which indicates the blood loss was vascular and not from any injury to a major organ. If this vascular loss were significant enough the heart stops pumping blood causing vital organs to shut down: this is called blood shock. Unfortunately, the massive bruising on his back obscures any individual markings. But, Murdoch has a way to expose them with photography using a red filter that inhibits all other colours of the spectrum, highlighting the broken capillaries, reveals how many times and how severely the boy was hit – twenty strokes. This along with the finger marks on the shovel handle matching those of Brother Duvalier convinces Murdoch who the child-killer is, but Watts is not so sure as Wesley’s friend Paul Smith has gone missing and Hiram Taylor cannot be found…

Character Revelations

  • William isn’t the only one who recalls his past; Detective Watts remembers his own childhood while aiding in the investigation.
  • Earlier in her life, Ruth Newsome wrote and published a book under a nom de plume.
  • Rarely seen moments when William Murdoch displays anger and rage that has him act with his conviction rather than the evidence, until Julia reminds him, "Every crime has an author, William. You need to find the signature."


  • Violet Hart is back at the crime scene, aiding Murdoch and Watts.
  • William and Julia's comprehensive police handbook project has Julia experiencing the one thing writers fear most – writer's block; Whereas William has written 63 pages, mostly footnotes.
  • Ruth continues to work at the hospital.

Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1906 – Edward VII (Albert Edward;1841-1910) is King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas.
  • 'Six of the best' refers to a caning as a punishment, traditionally with six strokes of the cane. Formerly a common punishment in boys' schools, but it is now chiefly historical in its literal sense.
  • John Joseph Kelso (1864–1935), a newspaper reporter and social crusader who immigrated to Canada from Ireland with his family when he was ten years old. He was instrumental in the passage of the first child protection legislation in Canada, and in spreading the need for voluntary children’s aid societies across Ontario and for similar legislation across Canada. Becoming superintendent of child welfare in 1893, he remained in that post for 40 years, shaping the development of the child welfare system in Ontario and Canada.
  • In the literary tradition of early memoirs (diarist), from Sappho’s odes to Anaïs Nin, every generation has its popular, if not scandalous, female author of erotica. Even Jane Austin wrote, “If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” So too did Ruth Newsome, which has inspired Dr. Julia Ogden.
  • References to The Adventured of Huckleberry Finn and French author Jules Verne.



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
Shanice Banton as Violet Hart
Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Siobhan Murphy as Ruth Higgins-Newsome

Guest Cast

David Ferry as Brother Duvalier
Mike Taylor as Mr. Hornby
Jaiden Cannatelli as Felix
Devon Phillipson asPaul Smith
Allan Cooke as Hiram Smith
Craig Lauzon as Brickworks Manager
P. Rodney Barnes as Gardener
Isabella Stuebing as Girl
Decker Williams as Young William Murdoch


Murdoch Mysteries Season 12
Murdoch Mystery MansionOperation: MurderMy Big Fat Mimico WeddingMurdoch Without Borders
The Spy Who Loved MurdochSir. Sir? Sir!!!Brother's KeeperDrowning in MoneySecrets and Lies
Pirates of the Great LakesAnnabella CinderellaSix of the BestMurdoch and the Undetectable Man
Sins of the FatherOne Minute to MurderManual for MurderDarkness Before the Dawn Part 1
Darkness Before the Dawn Part 2
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10Season 11Season 12
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.