"The Glass Ceiling"
Glass ceiling 02
Season 1
Episode 2
Air date January 27, 2008
Written by Jean Greig
Cal Coons
Directed by Shawn Thompson
Guest Stars Rick Roberts as Gilbert Birkins
Sarah Orenstein as Clara Pollack
Recurring Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Higgins
Arwen Humphreys as Margaret Brackenreid
Allan Royal as Chief Constable Stockton
Previous Power
Next The Knockdown

"​The Glass Ceiling​" is the second episode of the first season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the second episode of the series. It first aired on January 27, 2008.


A lawyer named Percy Pollack is killed. Then a judge is killed.

William Murdoch learns from Thomas Brackenreid that Brackenreid, the lawyer, and the judge were all involved in the conviction of a killer. The killer supposedly later died in a fire, but Julia Ogden determines that the body autopsied could not have been that of the murderer.

Murdoch learns from the lawyer's widow that her late husband was investing in a project being developed by Gilbert Birkins, a doctor who once shared his practice with the doctor who conducted the suspicious autopsy.

Through it all, Murdoch is offered a chance to interview for a position as the inspector of Station House No. 3. He loses the position when Chief Constable Stockton learns that Murdoch is Roman Catholic and reminds Brackenreid that "Toronto is a Protestant city."

Character Revelations

  • Murdoch grew up in Nova Scotia.
  • Murdoch once worked in the logging industry and lived in Montreal for two years.
  • Murdoch has been with the police force for 10 years; 5 as a constable before serving as acting detective for 2 years. He became full detective 3 years before this episode.
  • Murdoch is Roman Catholic.
  • Murdoch's father had been a fisherman in Nova Scotia and his mother died when he was "only a lad."
  • The name of Murdoch's deceased fiancée is revealed to have been Liza Milner.


Historical References


  • George comes up with the term "tracing".
  • George shares with Murdoch that he once had an idea for meat in a can.
  • "Three Little Maids From School Are We" from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan is playing on Dr. Julia Ogden's Edison phonograph in the City Morgue.
  • Director of Photography David Perrault, CSC, uses a 360 degree continuous shot in the Station House when Brackenreid and Murdoch discuss the case.
  • "Me Ol' Mucker" Count: 2
  • This episode was originally intended to be the pilot episode. 
  • An uncredited professional contortionist was hired to be the naked body, Percival Pollack, stuffed inside the trunk.
  • While the man photographed as Walter Ayott is uncredited, he is prop master, Craig Grant, who has appeared in the background of a few episodes, including Invention Convention and Hell to Pay.


  • At the beginning of the episode, a Leyden Jar is referred to as a "capacitor". That term did not come into general use until the latter part of the 20th century. In the late 19th century. the device would have been referred to as a "condenser".
  • One of the Medal Ribbons worn by Chief Stockton is the General Service Medal issued from 1964 to 2000. This was a UK Medal that was also issued to Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand armed forces.
  • Detective Murdoch walks into Dr. Ogden's office as she is listening to a Gilbert & Sullivan melody on her Edison Diamond Disc phonograph. The show at this time is set in 1894 or 1895; Edison did not create his flat-disc phonograph until 1914. Prior to that, Edison's musical output came from cylinders.
  • When Inspector Thomas Brackenreid is cut by a scalpel at the end, he is sliced in the gut and clearly shown holding his hand to his vest (below his pocket watch chain) where a bloody incision opens from his abdomen and through the vest. When Brackenreid returns to the station from the hospital he is inexplicably wearing a sling on his arm, and there is no evidence that the wound was to his abdomen - but rather it's implying that his arm was injured. Especially since he tells Murdoch he's in need of "a good right hand... or left-hand man to keep me out of trouble."
  • Inspector Brackenreid uses the term "brown-nose", which didn't originate until the 1930s.


Main Cast

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

Recurring Cast

Arwen Humphreys as Margaret Brackenreid
Daniel Fleming as Bobby Brackenreid
John Fleming as John Brackenreid
Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Allan Royal as Chief Constable Stockton

Guest Cast

Rick Roberts as Dr. Gilbert Birkins
Sarah Orenstein as Clara Pollack
James Kirchner as Cabbie
Diane Latchford as Mrs. Gibson
Patrick Stevenson as Delmer Ward

Uncredited Cast

Uncredited as Percival Pollack
Uncredited as Henry Scott
Craig Grant as Walter Ayott



Murdoch Mysteries Season 1
"Power" • "The Glass Ceiling" • "The Knockdown" • "Elementary, My Dear Murdoch" • "'Til Death Do Us Part" • "Let Loose the Dogs" • "Body Double" • "Still Waters" • "Belly Speaker" • "Child's Play" • "Bad Medicine" • "The Prince and the Rebel" • "The Annoying Red Planet"
Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10
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