He is a constable of the Toronto Constabulary assigned to Station House No. 4. He is a willing and eager assistant to Detective William Murdoch. The irrepressible George is fiercely loyal, holds both Murdoch and Inspector Brackenreid in the highest regard for his dream is to be as good a copper as William Murdoch. George may be one of a rare few who truly knows Detective Murdoch. Surprisingly by Season 9, George and Dr. Julia Ogden have more in common than one might expect. Of the four main characters, they are the two who have gone through much, seen changes, and grown the more: both have been imprisoned for murder and survived, proven innocent by Murdoch.
"Crabtree is utterly guileless. A good man holding a steady job,...his self-effacing honesty attracts women far above his own social standing. His one true love is the subject of much fan and show writer debate..." – Investigating Murdoch Mysteries
Born in Toronto to a poor family, George was given up as a baby by Gracie Brooks, who could not give him the life she wanted him to have. Left in front of a church, as a foundling child he was raised by a good reverend and an assortment of "aunts" in Newfoundland. As a young man, he returned to Toronto to join the Constabulary. His unorthodox upbringing has been his education and is the source of his empathy towards people from all walks of life.
Crabtree possesses a creative streak which accounts for his unconventional thinking and belief in supernatural explanations, from Martians to sea monsters (but not in local lakes), along with werewolves, vampires and, of course, ghosts. Often, to Murdoch’s surprise, there lurks a grain of truth in the constable's unscientific theories. George has a knack for "seeing" how Murdoch's inventions will have practical uses in the future, not to mention his willingness to taste the next new food fad. On occasion, he has captured his ideas on paper and is the author of The Curse of the Pharaohs. A copy is always in his desk drawer at Station House No. 4.
At the beginning of the series (101), George tends to come off as a bit silly, almost foolish, but it is revealed that his hyperactive mind thinks differently and is inspired by Murdoch's methods for solving crimes. It is in the opening episode, Power, he meets Edna Garrison for the first time, sharing their first kiss.
One of George's running references is his flower named aunts. In Blood and Circuses he mentions to Murdoch that he was a foundling. In the third season, it is revealed that Crabtree is a Freemason, along with Brackenreid, and turns out to be of higher rank than the inspector.
His beliefs in the paranormal often clash with Murdoch and Brackenreid, while amusing Dr. Ogden's who has her own unique morgue humor. The tables are turned in Loch Ness Murdoch when George, who believes in zombies, werewolves, vampires, Martians, Venusians, curses, voodoo, ghosts, and, apparently, sea monsters, states there is no evidence of a creature living in Lake Ontario. George just can't imagine anything so dastardly living in fresh water. While the Inspector, Murdoch and Dr. Ogden research and search for the "lake monster", George is convinced that one of the Miss Purity contestants is involved the murder.
Season 8 represents growth for George. His up-and-down relationship with Emily Grace is put on the back burner when a "new" lady enters his life from episode one: Edna Brooks (née Garrison) is now a single mom struggling to make ends meet. Renewing their courtship, George becomes a surrogate father to Edna’s adopted son, a departure for the constable who usually is the comic relief. His situation gets far more serious with the return of Edna's (presumed deceased) husband then his dead body is found in her apartment which leads to Edna fleeing with her son and George arrested for the murder in Artful Detective at the end of Season 8.
In Season 9, George Crabtree is challenged when it comes to what he wants out of life and his relationships, after being exonerated but demoted, then losing both Edna and Emily from his life, of which Dr. Ogden reminds the concerned Detective. Writer George Crabtree has a very brief encounter with Lucy Maud Montgomery while teaching a creative writing class in Unlucky In Love. Through the years, George has chosen women who offered the future he imagines for himself, getting married and having a family. But Nina Bloom challenges that dream, despite that he falls for her against the advise of both the Inspector and Murdoch (ep.917).
At the top of Season 10, George Crabtree is on the up part of the romance roller coaster with Nina Bloom, even invests in an auto shop business with her brother Sam (ep.1002). With the introduction of Louise Cherry who represents the more traditional choice (ep.1004), George is faced with re-examining his future again, to reconsider how much he values marriage and family or whether an exciting love affair is what he wants to explore. By mid-season, just after he declines his first dinner invitation from Louise, Jackson hands George a letter from his "lady friend" which George assumes is from Louise. Instead, it is a 'Dear John' letter from Nina. He tells Jackson, "It would appear I'm not courting anybody anymore " near the end of Excitable Chap. George struggles with the biggest mystery of all: his love life (ep.1012). In From Murdoch to Eternity, George does some sleuthing behind Murdoch's back with good reason and calls on the help of Louise Cherry and Samuel Bloom.
In Hot Wheels of Thunder, women flying at high speeds, danger, thrills! Crabtree is sure he has never seen anything like it in his life and may never have the chance again, but he told Louise that he'll attend the two lectures on Horatio Alger and self achievement in the new century instead. Even after encouraging words from the Inspector and Detective about Miss Cherry, he lies to her so he can watch The Buffalo Queens roller race. When found out, Louise takes it in her stride to George's delight, which takes a turn after their dinner with the Detective and Doctor at their Windsor House Hotel home. Louise finds the older couple boring and plans to introduce George to more appropriate friends. It is one thing to insult one's most valued friends but when Louise lets George down by believing the lies of Chief Constable Davis and writing those lies as truths for the newspaper (but not the Toronto Gazette), that ends of the relationship for George in Hell to Pay.
His reunion with Nina Bloom is interrupted by ruthless Robert Graham who reminds him that he is at a crossroads in his life, help and he will have an unimpeded rise to the top: the Inspector is gone and his immediate superior is a murderer – things are looking up for Constable George Crabtree and all he has to do is look away. George won't be doing that. “…you wish to add another item to your long list of mistakes. Enjoy your time with your whore.” Nina stops George from hitting Graham; the way George just stood up to the odious bigwig makes Nina so proud of him. But at the end of the season finale Hell to Pay, along with Constables Higgins and Jackson, George is caught in an ambush; all are shot and possibly murdered.
As the Season 11 premiere opens, it's presumed that George is dead from the ambush at the church, as well as Jackson. However, he later makes an appearance at a tavern (owned by Hodge) to talk in secret with the Inspector, Julia, and Detective Watts. It's revealed that Watts and Rebecca James saved his life after he was shot. For his own safety, they pronounce him dead so that George can work behind the scenes without getting caught. Later, George surprises Murdoch, who is extremely happy to see him. But soon there after, he runs off to save Nina Bloom before she does something she will regret. At the end of the episode, back in Station House No. 4, George, Higgins, and the Inspector all raise glasses in Jackson's memory.
As Season 11 continues, George Crabtree appears to be doing well after recent events. In Merlot Mysteries, the detective comments on his rather chipper behavior, despite what had happened to Jackson. George explains it's because he believes Jackson would want them to continue on with their police work. Later, he attends a surgery with Julia and Murdoch, a little shocked at the fact the patient died- and under suspicious circumstances too (ep. 1104). Along with John Brackenreid, George also ends up going undercover as Professor Colin Matthews at Laird College to uncover a mystery of two missing boys and possibly a murder (ep.1106). In the process, George shares his own (revealing) obituary with his unenthusiastic students: "Professor Colin Matthews is survived by his beautiful wife and seven children. A virile gentleman to say the least. His eulogy was delivered by his best friend, William Mmmm...Murphy. And he died the author of Canada's universally praised, nay, lauded series, The Secrets of Go Home Lake."
Like Murdoch, George has always wanted a family of his own. At the top of Shadows Are Falling, Inspector Brackenreid counsels Crabtree to do himself a favor "and marry that pretty dancer of yours". Crabtree explains that Nina is a free spirit, so he hesitates to push her into something that would be a lifelong commitment, even more so than marriage.
In The Future
- By early 1920s, George Crabtree will be retired from the Constabulary due to a few successful investments he has made. In addition, as a member of the Aviator's Club, he will assist Frankie Drake on a case.
- In the episode Murdoch Au Naturel, George goes undercover in nudist colony without much cover.
- In Marked Twain, Crabtree disguised himself as a bartender named Samuel Langhorne in order to be a spy in the Empire Club.
- In Up From Ashes as a janitor in Graham's office, George discovers the garotte used to kill Edward Dobbs while planting the recording device.
- In 21 Murdoch Street, Crabtree goes undercover as Professor Colin Matthews in the Department of Literature at Laird College, along with Constable Brackenreid.
|Murdoch Mysteries Stars and Characters|
|Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch • Hélène Joy as Julia Ogden • Thomas Craig as Thomas Brackenreid • Jonny Harris as George Crabtree|