"The Devil Wears Whalebone" is the twelfth episode of the eighth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the one hundred-eighth episode of the series. It first aired January 26, 2015.


Murdoch investigates the murder of a model that is killed during a protest.

During a women's fashion show for undergarments at the House of Heloise, a brick is thrown through a window by a protester. When a model Isabelle Young is found dead in the aftermath, it is assumed she was hit by the brick, but it is determined the model was killed by an ingenious mechanism.

Det. Murdoch asks the owner of the establishment Heloise if anyone wishes death or ruin upon her. Heloise denies it, but one of her models, Charlotte Tennant, mentions a letter sent to Heloise. The letter only bares two words: corsets kill. Among her clients from America and Europe, Murdoch questions Gareth Clarke, who owns a business that makes corsets, if he had wanted ruin for Miss Heloise's business. He affirms those feelings, but says that he did not kill Miss Young, but rather one of the protesters who were outside did.

Dr. Emily Grace finds compressed organs, and a couple of cracked ribs, indicating that suffocation could also be a factor, along with the head injury found on the victim. Murdoch discovers that protester Lillian Moss threw the brick, but she never meant for anyone to be killed. The action was just meant to disrupt the fashion parade.

Meanwhile, Inspector Brackenreid's son Bobby get into a fight with a boy named Simon Brooks over a penny. Brackenreid and Crabtree have a bet to see whose kid can keep the penny. The bets by the constables are favour Simon as he was taller than Bobby, 14-1. The constables build a make shift boxing ring just outside the Station House.

At home, William asks Julia to wear innovative corset Julia is surprised how comfortable it is, even bends to touch her toes, and it is rather fetching to which Murdoch agrees, when there is a knock on the hotel door. Murdoch had ordered some hot cocoa. At the door, William hears Julia fall and finds her collapsed on the floor gasping for air. She tells William that he’s found the murder weapon while protecting her broken wrist.

Heloise admits to Murdoch that she only designs the corset and has Eunice Parks make them. Miss Parks sews by hand and the corset in question is machine sewn. In addition, Murdoch finds out that Clarke and Heloise were once intimate but then separated. More importantly to the solving the case is that the corset was made for Heloise who was to model it, which leads the Detective to determine which model, Nicolette Green or Charlotte Tennant, knew about the deadly corset and manipulated events to make sure that Isabelle Young would be the one wearing the lethal corset, thus replacing her as the top model.

After the scandalous events, the House of Heloise is permanently closed, but Heloise and Clarke renewed their romantic relationship.

Character Revelations

  • As girls their nanny forced Julia and sister Ruby to sleep in their corsets, tying their arms behind their backs so they couldn't remove them in the night. It was a common practice but in their case, the nanny was dismissed and their mother let them run free "probably longer than she should have," Julia tells William.
  • Lillian Moss reveals to Emily that she wanted to be an engineer, but was ejected from her home and cut off financially for refusing an arrange marriage. She also reveals that she used to be a model for Heloise before, which Dr. Grace has to inform the Detective about.
  • Lillian forgives Emily and apologizes for her reaction to that breach of trust.
  • Emily confesses to Lillian that she would like to "go corset free". Lilian offers to help her with that, and the episode ends with Lillian removing Emily's corset.


Historical References

  • The Edwardian corset, also known as the swan-bill corset, the S-bend corset or the health corset, was worn from circa 1900 to the early 1910s. The straight-front corset was popularized by Inez Gaches-Sarraute, a corsetiere with a degree in medicine. It was intended to be less injurious to wearers' health than other corsets in that it exerted less pressure on the stomach area.


  • The title is an allusion to the book and movie "The Devil Wears Prada".
  • The fact that feminist Lillian Moss worked as a lingerie model while aspiring engineer may be a slight nod to feminist icon Gloria Steinem's undercover work as a Playboy Bunny while a journalist in the 1970's


  • The rope/lace around the corset changes between tighter and more loose a couple of times from the time it's handed to Murdoch until the questioning by him is complete.


Main Cast

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

Recurring Cast

Lachlan Murdoch as Henry Higgins
Jayden Greig as Bobby Brackenreid
Sara Mitich as Lillian Moss
Percy Hynes-White as Simon

Guest Cast

Zoé de Grand'Maison as Nicolette Green
Robin Brûlé as Eunice Parks
David Keeley as Gareth Clarke
Kari Matchett as Miss Heloise
Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster as Charlotte Tennant
Taylor McKay as Isabelle Young

Non-Credited Cast

Nathan Hoppe as Constable McNabb


Murdoch Mysteries Season 8
"On the Waterfront Part 1" • "On the Waterfront Part 2" • "Glory Days" • "Holy Matrimony, Murdoch!" • "Murdoch Takes Manhattan" • "The Murdoch Appreciation Society (episode)" • "What Lies Buried" • "High Voltage" • "The Keystone Constables" • "Murdoch and the Temple of Death" • "All That Glitters" • "The Devil Wears Whalebone" • "The Incurables" • "Shipwreck" • "Crabtree Mania" • "Toronto's Girl Problem" • "Election Day" • "Artful Detective" •
Season 1Season 2Season 3eason 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10
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