|Seen|| "Big Murderer on Campus"|
"Murdoch in Toyland"
"Crime and Punishment"
"The Murdoch Trap"
"A Midnight Train to Kingston"
"The Devil Inside"
|Mentioned|| "Murdoch Ahoy"|
"The Murdoch Sting"
"Friday the 13th, 1901"
"The Spy Who Came Up to the Cold"
"The Devil Inside"
|Age||20s (born July 14, 1876)|
|Relationships|| Robert Perry,
Murdoch, kissed - Implied as homosexual
|Comments||Original Proof of Death in "Kung Fu Crabtree" but finally hung in Season 10|
James Gillies (born July 14, 1876) was a criminal mastermind. He considered himself (and possibly was) William Murdoch's arch nemesis.
When he first appears in Big Murderer on Campus, James Gillies appears to be a gifted teacher's assistant and student, along with his friend, fellow TA and student, Robert Perry. They shadow William Murdoch as he investigates the murder of their physics professor, however, it comes to pass that the two students themselves had killed their professor - purely for testing whether they could do it using their knowledge of physics. Robert Perry breaks down and confesses after he is tricked into believing Gillies is out to kill him as well, and they are promptly arrested. James Gillies is judged to be a cold, calculating murderer, who hides behind a polite façade.
James next appears in Murdoch in Toyland, where he taunts Murdoch by recording messages for him on some of Edison's talking dolls, along with previous accomplice, Robert Perry, whom he ultimately kills in a gruesome decapitation. His identity is hidden for much of the episode, as he was supposedly hanged weeks prior to the events, but it is revealed he paid the family of a terminally ill guard to switch places with him and avoid the noose. He kidnaps and buries Julia Ogden alive and further taunts Murdoch face-to-face that he has doomed her to die by being so set on finding him and later takes a beating from the inspector when he refuses to reveal where she is. Some time after Julia has been rescued (with no time to spare), James is to be taken away to prison, though Murdoch assures him that this time, he will watch him hang, to be sure. Murdoch receives one final doll from Gillies in the post with the message that they will meet again; it is discovered that the prison car transporting Gillies fell into a river, killing both the driver and guard, but Gillies body was never found, suggesting he may have escaped once again.
James appears in the last two episodes of Season 6 when Dr. Darcy Garland is found shot through the head, and Julia is blamed for it. He appears at the climax of Crime and Punishment, when Murdoch spots him clapping behind him after Julia is convicted. Murdoch gives chase, but Gillies escapes before anyone else can even notice him; Murdoch suspects him to be behind the meticulous framing of Julia. He is next seen at the beginning of the next episode, The Murdoch Trap, appearing to the imprisoned Murdoch via projector. He revealed his motive for framing Julia was out of twisted curiosity to see how far one would go to save their loved one. He presents the detective with evidence of the entire plan he used to frame Julia, and the time limit of twelve hours before she will be hanged of whether he will call to tell of his location, which will result in the room filling with carbon monoxide gas that would kill him. As Gillies pressures Murdoch into finally using the phone just minutes before Julia is due to be executed, Murdoch is rescued and James apprehended. At the episode's end, Gillies is seen to be locked away behind bars, but with a devious smile to propose that he isn't done with Murdoch yet.
In A Midnight Train to Kingston, the plot line is centered around James Gillies going to Kingston on a train to be hanged for his crimes. Many happenings take place during the turbulent train ride, and eventually Gillies escapes from the train. Murdoch catches up with him and beats him up, and Gillies kisses Murdoch after, implying that he may be a homosexual. Gillies then proceeds to jump off a bridge and then Murdoch follows him in hopes of catching him once and for all. Murdoch is later found unconscious by Julia and Thomas, and Gillies could not be found, and it is uncertain if he drowned or escaped death once again.
In Unfinished Business, Julia finds a letter from Gillies telling her to reject Murdoch's proposal, or he will die. He also tells her that if she tells Murdoch of the letter, they will both die. Included in this is a picture of Murdoch and Julia kissing in an alley, taken from above. This plot line is continued in The Murdoch Sting, where Julia goes to investigate who was staying in the room in which the picture was taken. There she finds another note, telling her to stop investigating or both will die. At the end of the episode, William proposes to her (yet again) and she declines and runs into her house crying.
In Kung Fu Crabtree, Murdoch, Ogden and Brackenreid investigate the possibility of Gillies being alive. Brackenreid receives a telegram from the constabulary informing him that a body was found down the river from where James Gillies threw himself off of. After Murdoch compared the bullet taken from the body from when Crabtree shot Gillies to the bullets from the guns used by the constabulary at station house four, Dr. Grace and Dr. Ogden did a partial facial reconstruction the body, revealing it to be Gillies, who is declared dead by the trio. Dr. Grace retrieves a bullet fired by Crabtree wounding Gillies that Murdoch matches to the rifle used, confirming the body is indeed James Gillies. Murdoch then deduces that Leslie Garland was the one who wrote those notes to Julia.
- Samuel Bennett (shot in the head)
- Veronica Bowden (abducted as a means of tormenting Murdoch, was not harmed, rescued the next day)
- Robert Perry (decapitated)
- Dr. Julia Ogden (attempted, was buried alive, was rescued)
- Dr. Darcy Garland (shot through the head, framed Julia for the murder)
- Mr. Foley
- James Gillies and Robert Perry are a take-off on the real crime duo of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.
- Gillies' fans continued to speculate how his mastermind could have defy that death fall (ep.709), but the MM writers waited...until Season 10's The Devil Inside to reveal how. Now, some MM fans debate how he could have survived the hanging and Dr. Ogden's autopsy.
- Show runner Mitchell has often said, "We don't always give the fans what they want." Often, when they do deliver, it is not the way fans expect.