Murdoch Mysteries Wiki

"War on Terror" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the fifty-sixth episode of the series. It first aired on March 20, 2012 (UK).


Accompanied by the notorious Terrence Meyers, Murdoch investigates a bombing that may be connected to anarchists.

As constables Crabtree and Higgins are on their beat, an explosive device goes off in a carpet shop nearby, knocking the two constables and the people around them off their feet. The explosion injures Crabtree and knocks Higgins unconscious. Later, Murdoch calls inspector Brackenreid over, announcing that he had found an incendiary device in the shop.

Crabtree soon returns to work, and he and Murdoch begin asking around. Milne admits that he's not a popular man, as his landlord wanted him gone and the neighbors hated him. When asked if there's anyone particular, Milne points the finger at the owner of a hat store, who has a multitude of trivial complaints about Milne.

Decker suggests that the perpetrator might be Angus Trout, who used to own the nearby boarded-up shop. Murdoch and Crabtree visit a rather drunk Trout to bring him to the station house for questioning. As Murdoch steps inside, he encounters Agent Terrence Meyeres, who tells Murdoch that he believes anarchists are behind the bombings.

Taking the discussion to Brackenreid's office, Meyers asks if they are keeping tabs on Emma Goldman, a known American anarchist and labor organizer. Meyers believes that Emma and her associates were the perpetrators, the bombing being a statement against capitalism. Murdoch asks if Emma or anyone had taken responsibility for the bombing. Meyers avoids the question, stating that their prime minister believes the anarchists to be a threat to their society.

Murdoch later questions Albert Wallace, a man formerly in Milne's employ, as he'd been kicking up a fuss. Wallace explains that Milne refused to pay his wages and fired him when he spoke out, though he wouldn't be the first. Murdoch then questions him about anarchism. Wallace laughs this off, claiming that society cannot function without some measure of control before proudly admitting to be an adherent of Karl Marx. He then claims responsibility for the bombing, claiming it to be the start of the Workers' Revolution, though Murdoch is skeptical and inquiries on how the bomb was built, where it was placed and the method of detonation. Wallace's resistance then begins to falter.

As Murdoch exits the Interview Room, he is accosted by Chief Constable Giles, who demands to know why he argued Wallace out of his guilt when he had confessed. Murdoch says that Wallace confessed falsely and shows Giles his record. Wallace had been arrested several times; he's an attention seeker, trying to become a martyr. Giles states that Emma Goldman is hosting a rally in the afternoon and he wants her arrested at the slightest provocation.

Meyers later approaches Murdoch, explaining that Emma's rally is the opportunity they need. He and Murdoch change into rougher looking clothes so they can infiltrate the Toronto anarchist faction, planning cutting off the serpent's head. However, Murdoch tells Crabtree to investigate on another avenue in case Meyers' suspicions are wrong.

At the rally, Emma Goldman begins to aggressively pontificate her political view. Ultimately, Giles and Brackenreid decide that she's talked enough and order their constables to disperse the rally. Murdoch and Meyers then insinuate themselves into the anarchists by helping Goldman escape. Murdoch notices Goldman talking to a man; Allen Clegg, the American agent. He tells Murdoch and Meyers that he's on official American government business.

Back at the anarchist hideout, Meyers and Murdoch attempt to gather information. Murdoch sits down with Goldman, Clegg, and a young, enthusiastic anarchist named Pierce. Pierce admires Goldman but Clegg is attempting to push her towards radical action. Murdoch chimes in, stating that violence obscures the message and insists that words are the only things that matter. He later questions Goldman if she knows who bombed Milne's shop, to which she offers no answer.

Murdoch privately tells Meyers that the anarchists are harmless intellectuals, to which the agent says is what makes them so dangerous. Murdoch defends that these people have their hearts in the right place even if their minds aren't. Murdoch insists that the Toronto chapter isn't part of it. Suddenly, an explosion goes off outside.

Murdoch finds Brackenreid inspecting the bombsite. To maintain his cover, Murdoch makes an insensitive comment, shoves Brackenreid and instructs his superior to pretend to attack him. Two bystanders attempt to intervene only to be restrained by a constable. Murdoch conveys to Brackenreid his suspicion that Clegg was responsible for the bomb and asks him to find out the truth.

Suddenly, Pierce comes in, proudly boasting that he lit two sticks of dynamite, convinced that it would give the anarchists more clout to effect change. Emma condemns his actions, stating that violence will not help their cause and storms off. Clegg tells Pierce that he did the right thing and Emma was being emotional. Murdoch then spots Wallace walking in to join the anarchists and asks Meyers to distract him.

As Murdoch is about to flee the hideout, Wallace recognizes him and reveals his identity as a policeman to the anarchists. Meyers turns against Murdoch to maintain his cover. Acting quickly, Murdoch grabs Pierce and declares him under arrest. Emma pleads with Murdoch to release him, but Clegg convinces her to let Murdoch take Pierce, as she's too important to the cause.

Pierce takes credit for the factory bombing, claiming he did it for Emma, later adding that Clegg convinced him to go through with his crime as it would impress Emma.

Crabtree gathers up the evidence for Murdoch's interview, however, Murdoch tells him that he will be doing the interview for getting the case this far. While Murdoch and Grace are observing, Crabtree interrogates Decker, revealing he had traced the bomb components to a company he owns in Hamilton. Decker sees the implications and insists he wouldn't blow up his own building. Crabtree contradicts that, showing a document designating the shop for demolition but Milne refused to leave. Additionally, he found a notice of sale giving the Dominion Bank his shop to be demolished for their new head office. Unfortunately for Decker, with the sale about to expire and Milne's refusal to leave, he would have no choice but to bomb the building. Decker's resistance falters and is unable to provide a reasonable defense.

Later, Murdoch spots Clegg with Meyers at his side. Meyers beckons Clegg to leave, as Clegg has a train to catch with his new lady friend Emma Goldman. He says that it'll be a long time before an American president sets foot on foreign soils and that they'll keep their own safe. However, Murdoch implies that America creates its own problems. Clegg defends that it's in the name of God and country and they would take their own counsel.

Character Revelations

  • At the hospital, Crabtree reads his book to an unconscious Higgins.
  • Dr. Grace is eager to assist George in his investigation, but he regards that it would be too dangerous. However, she won't take no for an answer.
  • Higgins eventually returns to the Station House on crutches, regarding that he found Crabtree's book a real page-turner, and suggests he continue with another.
  • Crabtree's next book idea would be a female detective who's wise in the ways of post-mortem science.


Historical References

  • This episode takes place in Toronto 1899 – the Victorian Era (1837-1901) when Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India, rules the British Empire.
  • President William McKinley's assassination.
  • While the rubber band was invented and patented in the 19th century, at this point it was mostly used in factories and warehouses, rather than in the common household. The rubber band was patented in England on March 17, 1845 by Stephen Perry.


  • Nobody actually dies in this episode.


  • The telephone handset Constable Crabtree uses at the police box wasn't widely produced until the 1930s.
  • When Constable Crabtree and Dr. Grace converse behind a vegetable barrow, the bunches of green onions topping the display are fastened with contemporary thin, blue rubber bands instead of twine.
  • In one scene, Constable Crabtree refers to Michael Decker as "Howard Decker."


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 Constable Henry Higgins
Nigel Bennett as Chief Constable Giles
Peter Keleghan as Terrence Meyers
Matthew Bennett as Allen Clegg

Guest Cast

Lisa Norton as Emma Goldman
Brendan Wall as Michael Decker
Alex Furber as Reginald Pierce
Brendan Beiser as Albert Wallace
Brock Johnson as Peter Milne
Richard Alan Campbell as Harold Green
John Jarvis as Angus Trout
Richard Taylor as Constable
Dani Kind as Peggy
Benjamin Clost as Reporter


Murdoch Mysteries Season 5
"Murdoch of the Klondike" • "Back and to the Left" • "Evil Eye of Egypt" • "War on Terror" • "Murdoch at the Opera" • "Who Killed the Electric Carriage?" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 1)" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 2)" • "Invention Convention" • "Staircase to Heaven" • "Murdoch in Toyland" • "Murdoch Night in Canada" • "Twentieth Century Murdoch"
Web-Series: The Murdoch Effect
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