Murdoch Mysteries: Season 4

Murdoch Mysteries

On DVD: 
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Bonus Features:

Alternate Love Letters, Behind The Scenes Featurettes, Subtitles

I had the opportunity to review season two of Murdoch Mysteries way back when. It was an interesting first time experience that didn’t do much by way of wowing me with its ability to spin a puzzle out of the shows crimes but it did intrigue me with its use of historical inventions popping up now and again as well as famous names and faces in history, perhaps its most intriguing aspect. When I found season four in my work pile I was more then happy to throw the show on and sit back to discover what famous invention would pop up and how it would come about and aid the show in uncovering its mystery. I was sadly disappointed.

Season Four of the show starts off with Murdoch in a bit of a depressed state due to his long time love Doctor Ogden having moved to Buffalo, leaving him to wallow in the could have been that is their love story. In her place at the morgue is an uncooperative replacement named Dr. Francis, a man who fails to recognize urgency or even authority, often times purposefully rude and angry for no apparent reason with Murdoch. The dynamic between the two men moves from interesting to grating relatively quick. I’m not sure if Helene Joy was having a contract dispute or possibly on maternity leave but she was instantly sorely missed in her role as the good doctor.

Not long into the show Murdoch visits Doctor Ogden to help her uncover the death of a child. Something revelatory occurs that seems to put a cap on their storyline and you assume that we’ve closed the door on that chapter of Murdoch Mysteries and that we are going to be forced to live with the completely unlikable Dr. Francis. A couple of episodes later Dr. Francis takes his leave from the show unexpectedly and Doctor Ogden is back in the fold. I couldn’t help but think that the show runners probably realized that whatever they had been attempting with Dr. Francis was a failed attempt, but it’s not such a smooth transition between Dr. Francis and Doctor Ogden.

Doctor Ogden is set to be married to a Doctor who worked with her at the children’s hospital in Buffalo. Okay. The problem I found was that while Doctor Ogden is back on the show the whole marriage thing is never fully fleshed out and her fiancé only pops up when it‘s convenient. Weather or not her return was an emergency move to rid the show of Dr. Francis, the writing seems to be clutching at straws until the last four episodes of the season.

Another disappointing aspect of the show is that it attempts to play the dramatic role with the relationship between Murdoch and Doctor Ogden putting the shows formula on a bit of a hiatus. Inventions roll out slowly and scattered throughout the series, instead going with coincidental reveals that have no scientific basis, or at least not one in the fashion of the show. It’s a big mess for  the first three discs of the four disc collection with the show seemingly trying to get back on its feet. Fortunately those last three or four episodes of the show are whoppers that, despite the fact that the show had lost me somewhere in episode four, I was left on a massive cliff hanger that has me anxious to find out what happens next.

Murdoch Mysteries Season Four is not the strongest installment of the series but surprisingly I find myself easily able to suggest seeing it based on the final four episodes of the season. It is absolutely must see if you plan on moving forward into the next installment and offers up a huge evolution in the character of William Murdoch that surprised me big time. You’ll find disappointment but vindication in the end. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy. 

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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