"Unfinished Business" is the twelfth episode of the seventh season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the ninetieth episode of the series. It first aired on January 20, 2014.


On his deathbed, Jeffrey Roundhill confesses to having killed his wife Evelyn eight years before, telling Murdoch where to find her remains. Dr. Grace confirms the identity of the skeleton as that of Mrs. Roundhill, but the manner in which she died doesn't match Roundhill's statement. Further investigation reveals that Roundhill was actually in Winnipeg on the day his wife disappeared. Julia recalls a case, that of Amelia Johnston, who was killed just as Roundhill describes. At the time, Murdoch was convinced that her husband was responsible for his wife's death. Could the two men have killed each other's spouses?

Since Murdoch is unwilling to file the report, because of the critical inconsistency, Inspector Brackenreid tells him to question Mr. Roundhill again. At the ward, the head nurse informs Murdoch that Mr. Roundhill has died of neurosyphilis, suggesting most of what he told him was probably a delusion. The Detective informs her that a woman's body is lying in the City Morgue; at least some of it must be true.

The country priest is shocked upon being told of Evelyn Roundhill's murder. He tells William that Mrs. Roundhill was a saint, kind and charitable, but she suffered from an abusive marriage and suspected that Mr. Roundhill had broke her arm a few months before she disappeared. The last time the Father saw her was Easter Sunday, 1893. He had hoped she'd escaped. Murdoch interviews Ms. Dignan, who manages Roundhill's business, and now his funeral. Initially shocked that Mr. Roundhill confessed to killing his wife, she reveals that Roundhill was in Winnipeg the day his wife disappeared, as proven by his itinerary.

Back at the station, Murdoch tells Brackenreid there were witnesses in Winnipeg; Constable Crabtree wired Roundhill's associates who confirmed that he was there on April 2, 1893 (Easter Sunday). Brackenreid asks why Roundhill would confess to a murder he didn't commit; Murdoch adds that if Roundhill didn't kill his wife, who did?

At the Leroux restaurant, Julia is quite enthusiastic, as they have a new chef from Paris, but William is preoccupied. If whatever case is interesting enough to distract him from the fine cuisine and her charming self, it must be fascinating. Upon digesting the case's anomaly, Julia tells him that it could have been a false confession to protect someone, which is impossible as Mr. Roundhill could've taken it to his grave. She then suggests coercion, but there was nothing to be gained for having a dying man without family to confess to a crime he didn't commit. Dr. Ogden wishes she had been there, as there were clues in the voice that could lend them further insight. Murdoch tells her he can arrange that as he recorded the confession, but William resigns himself to dinner first. It is Julia who rises from the table, stating that dinner can wait.

In Murdoch's office, they listen to the confession and agree that it sounds more like fractured memory than fevered delusion. Now Julia is distracted by the details; it reminds her of another case. They proceed to the Morgue's file room; the case details of Amelia Johnston's murder matches Roundhill's confession. At the time, Murdoch believed Mr. Johnston was responsible for his wife's death to gain control of her company, but it was never proven.

Raymond Johnston and his brother, Victor, are shocked to find out about Jeffrey Roundhill's confession. The two deny any connection, before taking their leave; Victor forces Murdoch to give Raymond an apology. Crabtree has been looking into connections between Roundhill and Amelia, but finds none. Murdoch sticks by his theory: Raymond killed Mrs. Roundhill, while Jeffrey killed Amelia Johnston, possibly through a contract. Crabtree is dubious, but agrees to try and find a connection between Mr. Roundhill and Mr. Johnston. Dr. Ogden wants to see this through because Mrs. Johnston was one of the first bodies on her table.

Meanwhile, Victor Johnston is convinced Murdoch is on a vendetta-fueled witch-hunt against his brother, and has taken out a lawsuit against the constabulary. Though he tells the Inspector and Detective that he will drop it if they tell him what they are looking for, Brackenreid says no.

Looking over the possessions buried with Mrs. Roundhill, Julia discovers a hat from Danielle's Millinery, which is only found in Montreal. According to George's research, Mr. Roundhill never went to Montreal, but Raymond Johnston did, so they might have been there at the same time. Murdoch discovers that Mr. Roundhill bought the hat in person on March 15. Julia discovers he took a train home after a conference in New York and due to the track needing repairs all trains were rerouted through Montreal. Mr. Johnston himself was in the area for business. However, the connection isn't enough to convict them. They return to Ms. Dignan who admits Roundhill suffered seizures and had to receive treatment in Montreal. He had sworn her to secrecy. After calling the hospital, Julia shares that Roundhill and Johnston were in the same hospital room, Johnston being admitted for abdominal pains.

In interrogation, Victor threatens to get Murdoch thrown in prison. However, they tell him about the hospital record. However, Raymond reveals he doesn't have an appendectomy scar. Then, Murdoch ask Victor to take off his shirt who refusing. Raymond realizes that his brother had made a deal with Mr. Roundhill to kill the woman he loved. Forced to tell the truth, Victor explains Amelia was going to leave Raymond, and revert control of the entire company back to her. He did it to protect him, as he'd been protecting him his whole life. Raymond punches his brother. Constables defuse the situation and arrest Victor.

Character Revelations

  • Julia Ogden became coroner in 1893 and first met William Murdoch.
  • George offers to walk Emily home, but she blows him off, after which she pulls out Leslie Garland's note. Both are equally unhappy.
  • George and Emily's relationship is rocky.
  • After solving the case, Murdoch suggests that they should do this more often "...work together, that is", Julia agrees; she would like that very much too.


  • Constable Crabtree digs several holes looking for the remains of a murder victim, yet again.
  • The murder described by Roundhill was one of the first cases Murdoch and Dr. Ogden worked on together. They could not prove that Amelia Johnston's husband killed her to gain complete control of their business.
  • George hasn't seen much of Emily lately and takes Leslie Garland to task for interfering in their relationship.
  • Julia spots Leslie's personal stationary on Emily Grace's desk. Murdoch tells her it's Emily's personal correspondence. Julia admits she might have read it if he wasn't there.
  • Once again, Inspector Brackenreid gives his advice to the Detective and the good Doctor, "If you intend to follow through on this line of investigation, you'd better have some solid proof..."
  • In the final scenes of the episode, Julia finds an envelope containing a death threat letter from Gillies and a recent photo, while William pulls out the ring from his desk drawer and puts it in his pocket.

Historical References

  • Neurosyphilis had been around for quite some time, though treatment was still not an option at this time. (Editorial comment from a doctor: There is no treatment for neurosyphillis. Back then as today, once syphillis has reached the third and last stage, its course cannot be altered and it invariably leads to death.)
  • Leslie Garland had promised to take Julia to the opera Rigoletto (1851) by Verdi (1813-1901), but is unable to make it; he offers the tickets to Julia who suggests the Detective might escort her.


  • The plot of the two murderers is almost certainly an homage to the novel Strangers on a Train and its classic 1951 film noir adaptation. There is a nod to this fact in the episode, when Murdoch surmises that the two suspects may have met while travelling on a train.
  • Leroux's menu items Julia reads aloud: the soup is a consommé Sévigné; the fish, a choice between the casserolette of scallops à la Newburg or cold lobster à la Châtillon; and for dessert, the Charlotte Russe. For William, the beef.
  • One of Canada's most recognized stage and screen actress Catherine McNally, recipient of the prestigious Christopher Plummer Award, makes a cameo appearance as the Head Nurse.


  • Murdoch forgets to cross himself when they find the body.
  • When George is chatting with Emily, and she is writing Mrs. Roundhill's report, she writes for at least 50 seconds without ever dipping her pen in the ink. She is using a straight pen, and a straight pen had to be dipped in ink every few seconds.
  • In the closing credits, the country priest who Murdoch calls "Father" is listed as Minister and Miss Dignan as Ms. Dignan.


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

Giacomo Gianniotti as Leslie Garland
Michael Seater as James Gillies (voice)

Guest Cast

Brad Borbridge as Victor Johnston
Paul Constable as Raymond Johnston
Jaclyn Francis as Ms. Dignan
John Corbett as Jeffrey Roundhill
Catherine McNally as Head Nurse
Neil Foster as Minister
Jane Johanson as Nun

Non-Credited Cast

Darryn Lucio as Car Driver


Murdoch Mysteries Season 7
"Murdoch Ahoy" • "Tour de Murdoch" • "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch" • "Return of Sherlock Holmes" • "Murdoch of the Living Dead" • "Murdochophobia" • "Loch Ness Murdoch" • "Republic of Murdoch" • "A Midnight Train to Kingston" • "Murdoch in Ragtime" • "Journey to the Centre of Toronto" • "Unfinished Business" • "The Murdoch Sting"•"Friday the 13th, 1901"•"The Spy Who Came Up to the Cold"•"Kung Fu Crabtree"•"Blast of Silence"•"The Death of Dr. Ogden"
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10
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