Thomas Brackenreid is the rough and tumble Inspector of the Toronto Constabulary's Station House No. 4. His favorite catchphrases are "Bloody Hell" and "Me Ol' Mucker" followed by a swig of scotch in a tea cup (his one vice). Former army man and far more experienced with the ways of the world than Detective Murdoch and Constable Crabtree, he runs a tight ship bonded by steadfast loyalty. Crusty, he is quite quick to anger and can be very tenacious at times. Surprisingly, he enjoys the opera and theatre like coroner Dr. Julia Ogden and can recite Shakespeare.
When the Inspector asks, "What's my motto, Murdoch?" The Detective replies, "You have several, sir. All gems." Brackenreid corrects him, "No, no, no. Those are aphorisms. I only have one motto, and that's "Follow the money" (ep.113).
Originally, he strongly disagreed with most of Murdoch's methods and seems to have a very short temper when around Crabtree although they do show some friendship in later episodes. He has throughout the series had to hide his drinking habits from his wife, Margaret, and relies particularly on the drink when in difficult situations. Thomas is particularly competitive especially with the other station houses, getting into many battles against them, for example a baseball game which they did win.
Brackenreid is a great admirer of theatre and opera. He reveres talented actors and himself once had ambitions to become an actor. He played Second Clown in a performance of Hamlet. He is a great admirer of Stella Smart in Body Double and opera diva Rosa Hamilton in Murdoch at the Opera.
Between the end of Season 7 and the beginning of Season 8, he was brutally attacked and as a result spent three months in the hospital (being substituted by Hamish Slorach in the Station House), during which he became a very talented painter, perhaps because of his injury. He was also resolved not going back to police work (also fearing for his family's safety), but his wife convinced him that enforcing the law was his life. He then began a lone search for the responsible for this and other crimes, using decidedly ruthless methods (like beating men for information and breaking into places) and telling a worried Murdoch that he was now choosing the "law of the jungle"; however, when he found out the one responsible, despite being tempted to kill her, ultimately he abides by the law he has served for so many years. Right thereafter he returned to his job of Inspector.
In Season 9, Brackenreid works to get Crabtree out of Don Jail (ep.901), tries to please Margaret by joining the Empire Club, and adds Mark Twain to his autograph book (ep.902). Once again, he struggles with Margaret's involvement in the Temperance Movement by curbing his drinking which involves their son John (ep.906). Being a football (soccer) man, Inspector Brackenreid has a Sheffield Wednesday 1867 tattoo (ep.909). By the end of the season, he and Murdoch are faced with a Chief Constable who is not only a racist (ep.913) but a corrupt cop. Their sting backfires landing Brackenreid in jail and losing his rank (ep.916) before being vindicated.
At the top of Season 10, Inspector Thomas Brackenreid is concerned that Dr. Ogden is not herself since the incident with Eva Pearce (ep.918). When the Board of Control denied her request for additional funding for the morgue, he expected to see her in his office all guns ablaze! " Instead, not a dicky bird!" (yet another British idiom!). He knows that sometimes physical recovery is not enough (ep.1001). But, Toronto is ablaze with a sequential killer on the loose– over one hundred buildings burn, changing the face of the city forever. (ep.1002) Then, Higgins surrenders himself in his custody because he started the fire– with his cigar. He reassures Henry, "I'm afraid you won't be able to add "starting the Great Fire of Toronto" to the list of your accomplishments."
In Bend It Like Brackenreid, Inspector Brackenreid’s prowess on the soccer field is revealed and he invents "a wall of men" that he calls a barricade. He and son John share what it means to be a Brackenreid, "There's only one kind of Brackenreid - one that speaks his mind". When the two Brackenreid men return to Toronto as Olympic winners, it starts Thomas on a different path altogether and a new notion about what he may want out of life.
By the middle of Season 10, Brackenreid has been grabbed by wanderlust. No longer content, for the moment at least, being a copper, he goes off on an adventure with James Pendrick— who is once again exonerated of murder— in pursuit of Ashmi, who has stolen the inventor’s formula for the fountain of youth. Margaret tells him, "You've really lost your head this time, Thomas." While it does promise to be quite dangerous, Thomas explains, " If you only live once, why not make it forever?" and gives her a long farewell kiss at the end of Excitable Chap and returns in From Murdoch to Eternity.
In the Season 10's finale, it is revealed that twenty years earlier, Constable Brackenreid had arrested young Franklin Williams for robbery but his father made it go away, now Williams is running the Board of Controls and in cahoots with a ruthless developer who holds the secrets of almost every elected city official. The Inspector warns his Detective if he wants to go after the newly elected Councilor Williams and Robert Graham, Murdoch is going to need more than the words of a dance-hall girl and a socialist's wife. Williams has re-instated Chief Constable Davis appointing him to lead the manhunt for Murdoch now wanted for murder. After the Detective is caught and jailed, the Inspector releases him and promises to find the kidnapped Dr. Ogden– costing him his own badge. He tells Crabtree, “It's up to us to make this right.” Brackenreid tracks down where Ogden is being held, only Davis is waiting for him with a gun aimed point blank at his head. He tells Davis if he’s hurt her, “I’ll kill you.” Davis retorts, “I doubt that.” Moments later, the sound of the gun shot is heard from outside the house.
In the stand-alone holiday special Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas, Margaret discovers that Thomas has dived in their cookie jar again– but to her delighted surprise, he has spent it on Christmas gifts, "Why does everyone think I hate Christmas? I bloody love it!" The Inspector dons a Santa beard and suit to catch a thief.
|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 • Mouna Traoré as Rebecca James|