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Monsieur Murdoch

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"Monsieur Murdoch"
Season 4
Episode 5
Air date July 6, 2011
Written by Paul Aitken
Graham Clegg
Directed by John L'Ecuyer
Guest Stars Yannick Soulier as Marcel Guillaume
Graham Abbey as Isaac Lowe
Kevin Jubinville as Roderick Dalewood
Recurring Lachlan Murdoch as Henry Higgins
Previous "Downstairs, Upstairs"
Next "Dead End Street"

"Monsieur Murdoch" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the forty-fourth episode of the series. It first aired on July 6, 2011

Summary Edit

A Parisian woman named Monique Poirier goes missing while visiting her sister, Sophie Dalewood. Interviewing Sophie and her husband Roderick, owner of the Queens Borough Hotel, Detective Murdoch asks if she has a photograph of her sister, to which she claims she does not. Monique's purse is soon found. While a few items are missing, her camera and a key to room 212 are left inside. It is unusual that Monique would have that key, as she was staying up on the fourth floor. They question the bellboy who was operating the elevator and thereby the last person to see Monique. He states that he took Monique up to the fourth floor to get her camera but then she asked to be let off at the second floor. Murdoch and Crabtree search room 212 but find nothing out of the ordinary Roderick then suggests Monique's disappearance may be connected to a letter found in her room. Apparently, this letter came from a gentleman caller, whom Monique sternly refused to see. The letter is written in French, and luckily Murdoch, having been educated by Jesuits in New Brunswick, finds it alludes to a Willow Garden located in Toronto but this man doesn't live at that address.

Murdoch is called back to the hotel, as a man had been asking around about Monique. He, Crabtree and Higgins catch the man searching Monique's room. The man identifies himself as Inspector Marcel Guillaume, who had come from France for a conference on international police cooperation in Montreal and had been hired by Monique's father to find her. Taking the discussion back to the station house, Guillaume is shown the letter, remarking that the writing refers to the song Twenty-four Saint Vincent, which Murdoch realizes is the address.

The gentleman caller, identified as David Bishop, is brought in for questioning. He admits to having met Monique on the train from Montreal and befriended her and she told him about the song. When they arrived in Toronto, she asked that he meet her at the hotel, but later on she strangely wanted nothing to do with him, which is why he persistently tried to see her. Guillaume finds his story unlikely, as she is from a good family. David states that Monique confided in him that ever since her sister came to Canada her letters seemed detached, so she came to Toronto to see if the marriage was working out. What's more, when Monique and Sophie met, the reception between them was cold.

Murdoch and Guillaume return to the hotel to question the Dalewoods again. Guillaume spots a photograph of her on the boat leaving Paris and she has no smile on her face. Sophie admits that being so far away from home, she closed herself off from her sister. Guillaume requests that they see the letters from Monique, to which Sophie expresses hesitancy given how private the letters are, until Guillaume convinces her that the letters may be the key to finding her sister.

Reading the letter, they discover the concern Monique had for her sister. But as they gained nothing else, Murdoch decides to call it a night. He returns to the station, where the hotel clerk arrives to inform him that he spotted Monique at the corner of Queen and Broadview, but she had different hair and clothes.

Later telling this to Guillaume, he asks if they have a photograph to show people in the area what Monique looks like. Brackenreid says they don't and it would take weeks for one to arrive from Paris. However, Murdoch had another solution, suggesting that Mr. Poirier send one by telegraph. They could then paint up a telefacsimile of one. Given how long it would take, Murdoch assigns Crabtree and Higgins to the task. After doing so, he receives word of a dead woman turning up in a steamer trunk. When Julia Ogden arrives on the scene, Guillaume compliments her beauty. Julia then takes a closer look at the body, noting that sulfuric acid had burned her face beyond recognition. Upon bringing the body back to the morgue, Sophie identifies her as Monique from her birthmark. Dr. Ogden later tells Murdoch that Monique was strangled and her body had been starved and had urine burns in her pelvic area, suggesting she had been tied up for a long time.

When Higgins asks Murdoch if they need to complete the picture when they already found the body, the detective insists that they need to retrace Monique's movements in the time between her disappearance and her death. They then take a look at the half-finished telefacsimile, noting two shapes on it. Crabtree explains that Mr. Poirier sent a recent photograph of both of his daughters. He and Guillaume then trace the transfer of the steamer trunk. On their way to the hotel, they discuss Murdoch's relationship with Dr. Ogden. Guillaume notes that both William and Julia steal glances when the other isn't looking. Murdoch informs him that Julia is engaged to someone else, to which Guillaume suggests that he simply take Julia as his mistress. Murdoch doesn't seem too pleased with this idea. Back at the hotel, they find that the trunk came from room 214, right next to 212.

Julia tells Murdoch that this reminds her of an unsolved murder from Montreal nine months ago. A young woman was strangled and stuffed in a steamer trunk the same way. The policemen then brainstorm on who would have access to sulfuric acid. Recalling that David Bishop works in a glass factory that handles sulfuric acid, they bring him back in, having found a lock of Monique's hair in his possession. David insists that Monique gave it to him and refuses their accusations. When asked where he was at the time of the Jane Doe's death, he says he was visiting his family. A telegram later confirms his alibi.

Trying to think of another suspect, Murdoch remembers that sulfuric acid is found in batteries, like the ones in Roderick's electric car. However, what would be his motive? Crabtree then walks into his office, announcing that a pawnbroker had turned in another of Monique's cameras. Developing the film, they find images of Roderick having sex with a bellboy, revealing him as a homosexual and thus this would be ample motive for murder. They question Sophie about the true nature of her marriage. She admits that this was a perfect arrangement, as Roderick didn't want sexual relations and neither did she and they kept it a secret.

Murdoch and Guillaume then question Roderick about the night Monique disappeared, where he was having sex in room 214. He admits that Monique took photos of him and then ran off before he could get his clothes on, but Murdoch doesn't buy it. He formulates a theory that Roderick saw Monique run into room 212 and let himself in with his master key. And as he dismissed the bellboy, no one else can collaborate his alibi. Though Roderick insists that it's not true, Murdoch points out that Monique's purse was thrown right below room 212, most likely because she knew that Roderick was coming for her. Roderick insists that Monique is alive, plotting to destroy his life, but he doesn't know who the dead girl is that Sophie identified as her sister.

Guillaume is convinced it is Roderick but Murdoch points out inconsistencies. If Monique threw her purse out the window, why didn't Roderick retrieve it immediately? He would've needed to bind and gag Monique and whoever found the purse did so in a short period of time and therefore may have been witness to the events that unfolded. They speak to the pawnbroker, who says that a blond girl sold the camera to him and he knows that she lives at a boarding house on Degrassi Street. They bring in the girl, Victoria Wiggins, who insists that she innocently found the camera, not stole it, but the policemen don't buy her story. Bringing her to the jail cells, where Roderick identifies her as Monique, to which Wiggins poorly claims ignorance. They then bring in Sophie, who remarks that Wiggins resembles Monique but insists that it isn't her, despite Roderick's protests to the contrary.

Murdoch formulates a theory that the real Monique was murdered and Victoria Wiggins was brought in to pose as her long enough for her disappearance to be pinned on Roderick. Guillaume finds the thought of Sophie murdering her own sister to be absurd and insists that something else is going on. They check back with Crabtree and Higgins, who had finished more of the telefacsimile. Taking a look at it, they find an image of two women they don't recognize. However, Murdoch recognizes one of them and returns with Guillaume to the hotel, finding the photograph of Sophie leaving Paris. However, he believes the woman on the picture, the one who is smiling is the real Sophie but the woman who is not smiling is an impostor.

Showing "Sophie" the telefacsimile, they formulate the theory that she met the real Sophie on the ship from Paris and befriended her over the course of the voyage. Eventually, she learned of Sophie's arrangement with her wealthy fiancee who she wouldn't have to have sexual relations with and thus decided to take her place. "Sophie" claims they can't prove that but then Guillaume addresses her by her real name: Jacqueline Chiasson. She is wanted for murder ten months ago and the French consulate will be sending a picture of her to the station house. Having backed her into a corner, Murdoch tells Jacqueline that if she's willing to make a confession, they will help her avoid the noose. Jacqueline gives a basic confession, explaining that the life Sophie described seemed perfect to her, until Monique had come and threatened to expose her. That is why she had Victoria Wiggins impersonate her and why she kept David Bishop away from the hotel to prevent him from spoiling the charade. She admits that she did feel bad about Monique but she wasn't her sister.

"If there is one image I will take back to France, it will be you looking at me," says Guillaume kissing Dr. Ogden's hand, then encourages William to take his earlier advice (in French).

Character Revelations Edit

  • Murdoch speaks French, which he explains to Brackenreid was taught to him by Jesuits in New Brunswick.

Continuity Edit

  • Murdoch invents a paint-by-numbers system to receive information and translate it into a photograph, across continents. Crabtree envisions the creation of devices known as “Tele Facsimile Machines”.

Historical References Edit

  • Scottish inventor Alexander Bain worked on chemical mechanical fax type devices and in 1846 was able to reproduce graphic signs in laboratory experiments. He received British patent 9745 on May 27, 1843 for his "Electric Printing Telegraph."
  • The Pantelegraph was invented by the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli. He introduced the first commercial telefax service between Paris and Lyon in 1865, some 11 years before the invention of the telephone. Murdoch would have certainly read about both these invention.
  • Chief Inspector Guillaume was head of the brigade spéciale of the Parisian police judiciaire and the prolific Belgian writer Georges Simenon based his Chief Inspector Jules Maigret on him in 75 novels and 28 short stories (from 1931-1972).
  • Inspector Brackenreid is being pressured by a group of backers to support their plans to build a subway for Toronto. At about the time this episode was being written (late 2010 or early 2011), newly-elected Toronto mayor Rob Ford was backing a new subway line. [1]

Errors Edit

  • A roll of photographic film is found in a purse believed to belong to Monique. Detective William Murdoch instructs Constable George Crabtree to "have the film developed." Both policemen are known to be skilled photographers, but show no curiosity over the roll film, which is a highly unusual thing to see in the 19th century. Roll film that could be removed from the camera was a 20th century technology.

Cast Edit

Main CastEdit

Yannick Bisson as Detective William Murdoch
Hélène Joy as Dr. Julia Ogden
Thomas Craig as Inspector Thomas Brackenreid
Jonny Harris as Constable George Crabtree

Recurring CastEdit

Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins

Guest CastEdit

Yannick Soulier as Inspector Marcel Guillaume
Cristina Rosato as Sophie Dalewood / Jacqueline Chiasson
Kevin Jubinville as Roderick Dalewood
Carlyn Burchell as Monique Poirier / Victoria Wiggins
Michal Grajewski as David Bishop
Richard Binsley as Edwin Drury
Graham Abbey as Isaac Lowe

Other CastEdit

Robin Wilcock as Front Desk Clerk
Joe MacLeod as Elevator Operator
Craig Black as Rail Porter
Michael Dyson as Pawn Broker
Ace Hicks as Cecelia
Irena Angeloutsa as Angelique Guillaume

Gallery Edit

Murdoch Mysteries Season 4
"All Tattered and Torn" • "Kommando" • "Buffalo Shuffle" • "Downstairs, Upstairs" • "Monsieur Murdoch" • "Dead End Street" • "Confederate Treasure" • "Dial M for Murdoch" • "The Black Hand" • "Voices" • "Bloodlust" • "The Kissing Bandit" • "Murdoch in Wonderland"
Web-Series: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 5Season 6Season 7

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