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Violet Hart
1318 Violet Hart
Actor Shanice Banton
Seen The Canadian Patient
Dr. Osler Regrets
The Talking Dead
Mary Wept
Crabtree à la Carte
Game of Kings
Shadows Are Falling
Free Falling
Murdoch Mystery Mansion
Operation: Murder
Murdoch Without Borders
Sir. Sir? Sir!!!
Brother's Keeper
Drowning in Money
Six of the Best
Murdoch and the Undetectable Man
Sins of the Father
Manual for Murder
Darkness Before the Dawn Part 1
Darkness Before the Dawn Part 2
Troublemakers
Bad Pennies
Forever Young
Prodigal Father
Toronto the Bad
The Killing Dose
Rigid Silence
In the Company of Women
Things Left Behind
The Future is Unwritten
Mentioned Biffers and Blockers
The Spy Who Loved Murdoch
Fox Hunt
Gender Female
Status Living
Relationships Undisclosed
Job Chief Coroner (S12-13); Morgue assistant and university medical student (S11-12)
Miss Violet Hart is introduced in Season 11 of Murdoch Mysteries, played by Shanice Banton.

Character Arc

Violet Hart is a feisty entrepreneur selling nutrition pills whom George Crabtree and Dr. Julia Ogden first meet while at the Toronto Medical Exposition.

While Miss Hart takes up Dr. Ogden's offer to attend the University and work as her assistant in the City Morgue, she tells the good Doctor, "But I must warn you, I have no intention of being your assistant forever." To which, the good doctor tells her, "Well, I would expect no less."

Violet is somebody who has ambition and isn’t afraid to say what she wants and wants to get out of life. Miss Hart has taken to the morgue exceptionally well, according to both Murdoch and Ogden in Season 11.

Before long, Dr. Ogden can't get an incident in the morgue with Miss Hart out of her mind. She shares her concern with the Detective, "How has she learned so quickly to divorce herself from emotion?" A quality that would make her an excellent clinician, but even an expert can have sympathy for the patient.

Violet Hart was raised by a single mother; Her father had deserted her mother while she was carrying Violet and was never seen again. Life was a struggle for her mother. Inspector Brackenreid points out, "Well, you seem to have inherited your mother's strength," (ep.1314) Violet is not all together sure of that she has for she missed the presence of a father — like the kind Inspector.

Season 11

The Canadian Patient

  • Violet Hart is working at a booth at the medical exposition trying to get a message across about health and vitamins, while making a honest living.
  • She first meets George Crabtree who offers her a handful of trademark names for her vitamins and later points her booth out to Dr. Ogden who is at the exposition to enrol women in medical school.
  • Dr. Ogden wants to encourage Violet for she sees the passion the young woman has for the field and the University of Toronto has opened its doors to women. In addition, the good doctor is in need of an assistant since Dr. James has left Toronto (ep.1102).

Dr. Osler Regrets

  • Working in the City Morgue, Violet questions Dr. Ogden about Dr. Osler whose speech on counselling old people to take their own lives was twisted completely out of context, but Miss Hart thought there was some validity to it. Dr. Ogden asks “How so?” Miss Hart points out that people in their later days can be a drain on a family's resources, allowing the aged to choose their final day is a compassionate act. While Dr. Odgen acknowledges that there may be some truth in that, it is not the role of a doctor, “Our job is to do no harm”.
  • Violet is introduced to William Murdoch and Thomas Brackenreid when they visit the morgue to get the information on the second victim. Brackenreid jokingly mentions to Violet that he taught Murdoch all he knows after she tells Murdoch that she's heard so much about him and is honoured to meet him.

The Talking Dead

Biffers and Blockers (Mention)

Mary Wept

  • Miss Hart's contradictory comments and behaviour has Dr. Ogden bewildered, if not concerned: How has Violet learned so early to divorce herself from all emotions?
  • Is Violet just expressing what she thinks the good Doctor and Detective want to hear – ingratiating herself with them – or is there something deeper at play?

Crabtree à la Carte

Game of Kings

  • Since Violet has taken the initiative to photograph the inventory of all the cases she has been assigned to work on, she is able to provide information on the mysterious crest pin – it was the Kingdom of Poland's coat of arms. Murdoch is impressed with her work, which is Violet's desire and she is not shy in express that to the Detective, adding, "I find this work quite fascinating".
  • After verifying her suspicions that Dr. Ogden is pregnant and directly asking the good doctor for confirmation, Violet proceeds to accelerate her university studies so she will be qualified to replace Dr. Ogden when she goes on maternity leave – something that Julia had not thought through yet. Julia will need to take some time and, "...who knows, maybe I'll fall so in love with the little one I'll never want to come back."
  • Julia recalls that Violet had warned her when taking the job as morgue assistant, "... I have no intention of being your assistant forever."

Shadows Are Falling

  • Violet miscalculates and oversteps the line when she tells Dr. Ogden, "I believe I'm ready to handle a postmortem, Doctor.  If I have any difficulties, I shall consult with you."

Free Falling

  • Violet Hart's goal and scheme is finally revealed. She finds the City Morgue suits her much more than she had ever expected, "the science, the precision, the puzzling out of obscure details."
  • Dr. Ogden's absence has allowed her to realise that she is quite capable of doing it all on her own.
    She tells Inspector McWorthy that Dr. Ogden has been rather distracted as of late, "Erratic, emotional. It's quite sad to see. She does mean so much to me, after all.”
  • McWorthy understands what Hart is getting at, “I'm thinking you want me to do something about it.” Violet can't bring any of these concerns to anyone at Station Four for “They'd all defend the detective's wife no matter the circumstance.” So, Violet wants McWorthy to go around them and pass word of Ogden’s performance to the Chief Constable, insisting that he simply tells the truth, of course. When he asks why would he help her, Violet tells him, “Because you want to. You and I are going to be the best of friends,” whispering in his ear, “or more than friends.” 

Season 12

Murdoch Mystery Mansion

  • When Violet Hart informs Inspector Brackenreid that she has been doing the day to day business of the Coroner's office while the Murdochs were in South America and even now since Dr. Ogden is studying at the University, he tells her that Dr. Odgen is still the Coroner of Record. When she asks about the position when the good Doctor leaves, the Inspector assures her that she will get his recommendation (along with McWorthy's and others she has) but it will make no difference. Why? Brackenreid lays out the reality, "Have you ever wondered why Murdoch is still only a detective? He's a Catholic, that means he will never be more than he is. The same is in store for you. No matter how competent you are, you will never get the position. You are a woman and you're black. You should consider yourself lucky you are where you are, young lady."
  • In the City Morgue with Ogden and Murdoch, Miss Hart discovers she missed a item in cataloguing the evidence which Dr. Odgen caught – electrical straps. Both the Detective and the Doctor try to assure her that it is not her job and it is a totally understandable oversight but she gives herself no quarter, promising that it will not happen again.
  • Later in the evening back at the Station House, Violet asks Detective Watts for any specific files or manuals relating to investigative techniques. Watts asks if she is planning a career change to which she reveals, "I am planning on mastering whatever needs be mastered - to get to where I want to go." An admirable pursuit in Watts' opinion, she informs him that her "colour makes it a necessary one". He invites her to pull up a chair and begins to hand her books from his desk.

Operation: Murder

  • Violet Hart keeps her focus on the job at hand in the morgue; She assists Dr. Ogden with the post-mortem of Mrs. Quigley.
  • Later when Martin Quigley comes to the morgue looking for the Coroner, Violet skirts informing him that she is not the City Coroner, instead explains, "I'm not at liberty to share the results. The case is still under police investigation", which is a surprise to Mr. Quigley.

Murdoch Without Borders

The Spy Who Loved Murdoch (Mention)

Sir. Sir? Sir!!!

Brother's Keeper

Drowning in Money

Six of the Best

Murdoch and the Undetectable Man

Sins of the Father

Manual for Murder

Darkness Before the Dawn Part 1

  • With Julia Ogden resigning to become a full-time surgeon, Violet sees a chance to take up the position as city coroner. However, the road certainly doesn't seem easy, as the good Doctor knows from her own experience and that of Rebecca's.
  • While admiring Miss Hart's ambition, Ogden advises her, "... perhaps with a few more years' experience and hopefully down the road, when minds are more open, you will earn the position you want" – but Violet does not heed the sensible advice.
  • After asking for McWorthy's help again, Miss Hart, in the dark of night, has a clandestine meeting outside Station House One with the 'Shadowy Man' who gives her the means to get what she desires.
  • Blinded by her ambition, Violet makes a consequential choice.

Darkness Before the Dawn Part 2

  • Miss Violet Hart makes the Toronto Gazette headlines as the new Chief Coroner. Finally, she has what she has desired since starting at the City Morgue two years ago – but at what cost?

Season 13

Troublemakers

  • It is evident and palpable that Violet Hart has lost Detective Murdoch's respect and trust. With Murdoch's keen attention on her every analysis, she will have to work even harder and flawlessly so as to not jeopardize her position as Chief Coroner.
  • It is evident that Violet has the support of everyone at the Station House, possibly the entire Toronto Constabulary, which means the Detective has not shared what he knows about how she got her coveted position (ep.1218) but, she is well aware that could change if he found or is given any proof against her. 

Bad Pennies

  • Inspector Brackenreid  praises Miss Hart and shares with Murdoch that she has "... been doing an excellent job since Dr. Ogden left"; the Detective gives the compliment a passing nod.
  • The post-mortem of Mr. Fitzgerald reveals that the attending surgeon nicked the aorta during surgery and Miss Hart offers a way to conceal that fact due to the patient's numerous maladies – if Dr. Ogden wishes but the good doctor tells her to "... write it up as such; I'm sure Dr. Dixon can take it".
  • Miss Hart is instrumental in capturing the elusive Mr. Parker when he sneaks into the City Morgue to riffle through murder victim Lander's personal belongings.

Forever Young

  • When Detective Murdoch informs her that "Louise Cherry has interfered with every case" she's ever reported on and reprimands Miss Hart for speaking to the banned reporter, the Chief Coroner stands her ground (even while sitting at her desk) and reminds him, "I am not required to take direction from you, Detective. The coroner works with the police, not for them; I answer to the Board of Control. Your wife may do your bidding, but I am not she." With no valid response (nor proof of any wrong doing), Murdoch turns and walks out of the City Morgue.

Prodigal Father

  • At the crime scene, Miss Hart states what is obvious: Male, 34 years old. No evidence of trauma, no apparent health problems. Murdoch adds, "Besides dying."
  • Miss Hart can't establish a cause of death as of yet but poisoning would be her guess. After the autopsy, the key to her determination is the water glass used by the victim shortly before his death because it tested as pure water; It had to be a poison taken earlier - a half- hour to an hour - before he collapsed. The poison, that fits all the symptoms with the dehydration side effect resulting in dry mouth - hence the water, is hyoscine. Murdoch takes the glass for fingermarks without complimenting nor thanking the city coroner. Brackenreid does, "Good work," and she thanks the Inspector.

Toronto the Bad

  • At the crime scene, Miss Hart interrupts the Detective to point out that the victim in Higgin's cab had been injected with a toxic substance – foaming at the mouth indicates his breathing was constricted. Later she confirms it was the toxin Antimony which is fast-acting that killed "Dollar" Bill Buckles.
  • Miss Hart estimates, by the decomposition of Mr. Manchester's body found in his rooms, he has been dead about a week and it looks to be the severed jugular that killed him.
  • Later at the City Morgue, Miss Hart informs the Inspector and Murdoch that Frank Rizzo bled to death as a result of the stab wounds, making him the fourth victim. Miss Hart asks, "Is this the work of a sequential killer?" She is informed that they suspect whoever killed Wendell MacRury is now eliminating all of the witnesses to that crime. She quips, "A completest," which the Inspector appreciates but Murdoch ignores and leaves the morgue.

The Killing Dose

  • Upon the post-mortem of Jane Cooper, Miss Hart confirms Dr. Ogden's suspicions; There was chronic chloral intake. But she also informs the Detective that it wasn't the fall nor the poison that killed Miss Cooper, it was a morphine overdose, taking Murdoch by surprise.
  • Later with Parker and Murdoch, Miss Hart tests an envelope glue for chloral by adding potassium hydrate - if it contains chloral, it will decompose to chloroform and potassium formate, confirming Murdoch's deduction on how Miss Cooper was being poisoned.
  • Alone in the City Morgue, the Inspector informs Miss Hart that Dr. Ogden took full responsibility for Jane Cooper’s morphine overdose. Her confession could have serious consequences and if the wrong people find out — she could lose her job — or worse.
  • The Inspector knows Miss Hart respects the good Doctor as much as he does and has no doubt that she did this because it was the only merciful thing to do. That's why he has come to ask her for a favour, “Would you be willing to remove the morphine findings from your post-mortem?
  • Miss Hart must be careful as this could be a set-up to trap her, “I wouldn't normally falsify evidence, Inspector.” The Inspector acknowledges it is asking a lot. She makes a quick assessment, “I saw that girl's injuries. We should all be fortunate enough to have someone like Dr. Ogden at that time.” She assures the Inspector that she'll rewrite it and burn the original.
  • A pleased Inspector promises her, “I won't forget this, Miss Hart. We are very lucky to have you on our team.” For the first time, Violet Hart is told that she belongs.
  • After typing the revised report, Violet holds the original over the flame – she has no assurances from the righteous Detective Murdoch – she stops and slips it into her personal satchel instead; It is her insurance, just in case.

Rigid Silence

  • By chance, Violet Hart catches a glimpse into a pub's window where the Inspector is holding the hand of a young woman.
  • Later at the City Morgue, Brackenreid informs her that the young woman is his daughter, Nomi Johnston. The unflappable Miss Hart is taken by surprise that, "Her mother was coloured?" But equally surprising is Violet's empathy for his daughter, "That must have been hard for her, having no father."
  • Violet Hart's father abandoned her mother; She missed "the presence of a kind father..." like Thomas Brackenreid.

In the Company of Women

  • Violet Hart's respectful tone and courtesy toward Dr. Ogden has changed to a more direct businesslike curtness, upholding her territorial imperative as Toronto's Chief Coroner.

Things Left Behind

  • Violet Hart is confronted with her nefarious past, that she does not want revealed.
  • An old associate's surprise visit to the City Morgue threatens all that she has worked to gain. Lincoln conveys the bad news that a mutual friend of theirs is in town as well, but Lincoln promises to rid her of that problem. Violet doesn't want anything from him. Lincoln tells Violet that he is happy for her for making good but, "The sad truth is: the things you do in life, they come back and when they do you have to deal with them. That is unless you don't mind everyone finding out who you really are".
  • Later, when the dead body of their former associate, Walter Kingman, is delivered to the morgue, Lincoln re-appears: "It's a good thing I found him before he found you," explaining that, "you're in the papers, kid. It's not every day one of your kind becomes a coroner." Kingman wanted the five grand that Violet had taken from him after the hustle back in Boston. Violet states that was her cut, but Lincoln points out that wasn't the story Kingman was telling. Now, Lincoln needs the bullet as they can match bullets to the guns these days. At first, Violet refuses. "I wasn't asking a question, kid," Lincoln reminds her that she should be thanking him before leaving with the bullet.
  • No bullet, Miss Hart informs the Detective, who does not recall there being an exit wound, but the coroner shows him that there is one – from a small calibre weapon, a pistol at close range.
  • Lincoln visits Violet for the third time complaining that this Parker, who thinks himself a lawman, is a problem now. Reminding Violet what is a stake, Lincoln instructs her to go and see him, "Tell him there are matters better left undisturbed, if he knows what's good for him."

Trivia

  • When asked about Violet plotting to take over the City Morgue, Hélène Joy shared that she thought it was great: "I know the audience loves to hate some characters and this character is on that hit list for sure. That’s what’s fun about Murdoch. We try to keep it surprising. You can’t love everyone all of the time. I think it’s great that it’s happening this way and makes it far more interesting for the character and for the actress playing the character. I’m really intrigued to see where it goes. How evil is she going to get? I feel for Shanice because I know what it’s like to be hated. If you remember back to Julia’s first husband, Darcy, there were whole Facebook pages that were just about hating Darcy." (March 2018)
  • Showrunner Peter Mitchell (lived) tweeted (during ep.1201 airing) that "I think Miss Hart is misunderstood".
  • Murdochians (MM Fans) now refer to Miss Hart as "Miss Snake" while live tweeting.
  • According to showrunner Peter Mitchell after Season 13, "Well I mean we had Rebecca, who was super sweet like Mouna Traoré. But when Shanice comes in, I think the very first thing she says to Julia is, ‘I don’t expect to be working for you for very long.’ She comes in as a vitamin salesman, and sort of off the very top says, ‘You ain’t the boss of me.’ A character who you could never really nail down. I mean she shows up, she tells Ogden she doesn’t believe in God, she tells Murdoch she does, and then she shows up at the funeral of a strange baby, and is either crying or pretending to cry. We’ve always tried to keep her a bit elusive."

Gallery

Murdoch Mysteries Recurring Actors and Characters
Daniel Maslany as Detective WattsShanice Banton as Violet HartLachlan Murdoch as Henry HigginsArwen Humphreys as Margaret BrackenreidCharles Vandervaart as John BrackenreidClare McConnell as Effie NewsomeBea Santos as Louise CherryPeter Keleghan as Terrence Meyers • Siobhan Murphy as Ruth NewsomeStephanie Belding as Nurse SullivanSebastian Pigott as Dr. DixonColin Mochrie as Ralph FellowsJames McGowan as Dr. ForbesDmitry Chepovetsky as Nikola TeslaPatrick McKenna as Hamish SlorachCyrus Lane as Rupert NewsomeDavid Reale as Mr. ClementsCraig Brown as Eddie CrawfordPeter Stebbings as James PendrickErin Agostino as Nina BloomMouna Traoré as Rebecca JamesJordan Johnson-Hinds as Nate DesmondDylan Neal as Jasper LinneyKristian Bruun as Constable JacksonMatthew Bennett as Allen CleggJohn Tench as Alexander Graham BellMartin Moreau as Theodore RooseveltRichard Clarkin as Chief Constable DavisMichael Seater as James GilliesRothaford Gray as Alderman William Peyton HubbardCyrus Lane as Roger NewsomeGeorgina Reilly as Emily GraceCharlotte Sullivan as Charlotte (formerly Minerva Fairchild)Nigel Bennett as former Chief Constable GilesSean Harraher as Constable WorseleyTamara Hope as Edna Brooks (née Garrison)Giacomo Gianniotti as Leslie GarlandNicole Underhay as Margaret HaileSarah Gadon as Ruby OgdenKate Greenhouse as Sally PendrickStephen McHattie as Harry MurdochGeraint Wyn Davies as Arthur Conan Doyle
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