"The Black Hand"
Murdoch sr04 ep09 splash.jpeg
Season 4
Episode 9
Air date August 3, 2011 (Canada)
Written by Cal Coons
Directed by Don McCutcheon
Recurring Lisa Faulkner as Anna Fulford
Ephraim Ellis as Patrick Glynn
Previous Dial M for Murdoch
Next Voices

"The Black Hand" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the forty-eighth episode of the series. It first aired on April 12 2011 (UK).


Detective Murdoch investigates the brazen shooting death of a New York City man on a Toronto streetcar. Meanwhile, Inspector Brackenreid is uncomfortable when his political backer orders him to get rid of a band of gypsies from nearby the city woods.

At the Station House, Murdoch is surprised to find his friend from Bristol, Anna Fulford, who has come to Toronto via New York city with her fiancé Joe Bell and are on their way to Niagara Falls to be married when he vanished. Anna is naturally worried and asks for help.

Soon after confirming that the dead man in the City Morgue is not her fiancé, someone takes a shot at her. After making inquiries with the New York City police, Murdoch learns of a new kind of criminal organization known as the Black Hand – the forerunner of the Mafia – who will hunt down and kill anyone who has crossed them like Joe Bell and anyone associated with him, even the innocent like Anna.

Pressure by his political backers in his run for Alderman and to score political points, Brackeneid harasses a band of Gypsies and their mysterious leader, Mirela, who proves herself to be a wily opponent.

Character Revelations

  • Upon meeting Anna, Julia tells William she's lovely and offers the safety of her own home for Anna to stay.


  • Anna reveals to Julia that she lost two men in one year - the first in Bristol but " his heart belonged to another" (meaning William) and now Joe her fiancé.
  • Inspired by another inventor’s efforts to muffle the sound of internal combustion motors, Detective Murdoch crafts this attachment to help solve the mysterious shooting in which no one heard the shot. He calls it a “muffler” but Constable Crabtree says that “silencer” has a better ring to it.

Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1898 – Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria 1819 - 1901) is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and Empress of India.
  • The roots of The Black Hand can be traced back to the Kingdom of Naples, as early as the 1750s. The English language term specifically refers to the organization established by Italian immigrants in the United States during the 1880s. Following the Castellammarese War from February 1930 to April 1931, The Black Hand gangs were absorbed into the modern day American Mafia.
  • By 1898, The Black Hand is also an extortion racket run by Italian and Italian-American gangs who would send letters (signed by a print of a hand in black as a threatening symbol) to fellow immigrants threatening violent acts against them if they fail to pay a certain amount of money to the gangs. 
  • Murdoch and Dr. Ogden work on solving the murder of a man on a streetcar (of the period), filmed at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum in Milton which is about 42km (26 miles) from Hamilton, Murdoch Mysteries favorite filming location.
  • Allusions to Sherlock Holmes stories: "The Valley of Fear", "The Adventures of the Dancing Men", and "The Sign of the Four" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


  • In one shot, Murdoch's bike has a lamp on the front and in the next shot it doesn't.
  • In one scene, Murdoch is wearing a flesh colored band-aid, not invented until the 50's.


Main Cast

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

Recurring Cast

Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Ephraim Ellis as Patrick Glynn
Lisa Faulkner as Anna Fulford

Guest Cast

Lisa Ray as Mirela
Graham Abbey as Isaac Lowe
Richard Binsley as Edwin Drury
Richard Zeppieri as Assassin
John Gordon as Humphrey Palmer
Adrian Morningstar as Edwin's Jr's friend
Jim Armstron as Trolley Passenger


Murdoch Mysteries Season 4
"All Tattered and Torn" • "Kommando" • "Buffalo Shuffle" • "Downstairs, Upstairs" • "Monsieur Murdoch" • "Dead End Street" • "Confederate Treasure" • "Dial M for Murdoch" • "The Black Hand" • "Voices" • "Bloodlust" • "The Kissing Bandit" • "Murdoch in Wonderland"
Web-Series: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs
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