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Unfinished Business

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"Unfinished Business"
Unfinished Business
Season 7
Episode 12
Air date January 20, 2014
Written by Peter Mohan
Directed by Dawn Wilkinson
Recurring Giacomo Gianniotti as Leslie Garland
Previous Journey to the Centre of Toronto
Next The Murdoch Sting

"Unfinished Business" is the twelfth episode of the seventh season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the ninetieth episode of the series. It first aired January 20, 2014.

Summary Edit

A nun is praying for Mr. Roundhill in his sickened state. The head nurse is annoyed at being called for at this hour, and she reminds the nun they are doing everything they can to make him comfortable. When the nun emphasizes it's his moral conscience causing distress, she then explains he asked for a policemen.

Murdoch arrives at Jeffrey Roundhill's bedside, and he confesses to having killed his wife Evelyn some 8 years before by hitting her with a rock, attempting to strangle her barehanded, then finally using her coat. Mr. Roundhill states her body is buried off a lake, on the south side, near some trees. Before Murdoch can question further, the head nurse sends him away, as Jeffrey is weakening.

While digging, George wonders if Mr. Roundhill was simply confused. Murdoch admits that could be the case, but tells him Jeffrey seemed quite lucid, and the staff believed that his wife disappeared around eight years ago. Murdoch further states he may have gotten some of the details confused, bur asks George to dig one last hole before taking a break.

It is in this hole that they find first a bag of woman's clothing, then a body Murdoch believes is Mrs. Roundhill.

Brackenreid comments on the simple resolution to the case, but Murdoch is suspicious.

Dr. Grace confirms the identity of the skeleton as that of Mrs. Evelyn Roundhill but the manner in which she died doesn't match Roundhill's statement, as she died quickly, the weapon in question a wire or small rope, rather than as long a period as Mr. Roundhill described.

Brackenreid tries to get Murdoch to file the report, but he refuses, as the inconsistency is remarkably detailed as well. Finally, the inspector tells him to go question Mr. Roundhill once more.

However, once he came to the ward, the head nurse tells him that Mr. Roundhill is dead from neurosyphilis, and most of what he told him was probably a delusion. Murdoch, disliking her hard and close-minded inflections, tells her there must've been some part of it true, as a woman's body is lying in the city morgue.

Murdoch meets with a minister, and tells him that they found Mrs. Roundhill's body. The man is shocked, having prayed she had fled safely. He elaborates by telling William that Mrs. Roundhill was a saint, kind and charitable, but she suffered from an abusive marriage. He suspects that it was Mr. Roundhill who broke her arm before she disappeared. However, for all appearances, they seemed to have a fine marriage. The minister tells him the last time she was seen was Easter Sunday, 1893, and had hoped she'd escaped.

The detective then meets with Ms. Dignan, an efficient worker who was in Mr. Roundhill's employ. She tells him to be quick, as she's organizing his funeral. Ms. Dignan is shocked that Mr. Roundhill confessed to killing his wife. The woman insists he was delusional and ill, but the fact remained that Mr. Roundhill led them straight to the body. Furthermore, Ms. Dignan tells Murdoch that he was in Winnipeg the day his wife disappeared, as proven by his itinerary. However, the detective also takes the rest of his correspondence as well.

Back at the station, Brackenreid can't believe Murdoch is still on this. The detective tells the inspector there were witnesses in Winnipeg, associates who confirmed that Roundhill was there on April 2, 1893 (Easter Sunday). Still puzzling over the amount of detail Roundhill confessed to, Brackenreid asks why Roundhill would confess to a murder he didn't commit, and Murdoch adds if Roundhill didn't kill his wife, who did?

At a fancy restaurant, Murdoch and Julia are enjoying dinner. Julia is quite enthusiastic, as they have a new chef from Paris. She is so excited by the menu items, but notices that Murdoch is distracted. Julia says anything that diverts his attention from fine food must be interesting, and Murdoch begins to share details about the case.

Julia tells him that it could have been a false confession to protect someone, which is impossible as Mr. Roundhill could've taken it to his grave with the police none the wise. She then suggests coercion, but there was nothing to be gained for having a dying man without family to confess to a crime he didn't commit.

Dr. Ogden wishes she had been there, as there were clues in the voice that could lend them some aid. Murdoch realizes this might be possible, as he recorded the confession. But Murdoch resigns himself to dinner. It is Julia who gets up first, stating that dinner can wait.

He promises to take her back on a different date as they exit the restaurant. Leslie Garland is there as well, and greets them with familiarity. He promised to take Julia to the opera, but instead gives the tickets to Julia, as something has come up. Leslie tells Murdoch it's Rigoletto by Verdi, and he promises to drop them off. However, Leslie's expression once they leave turns sour.

Julia and William listen to the confession, and admits it sounds more like fractured memory than fevered delusion. Suddenly, Julia recalls a case, that of Amelia Thompson, who was killed just as Roundhill describes. Pulling a file, she matches Roundhill's confession to her death. Murdoch had believed Mr. Thompson was responsible for the death to gain control of her company, but it was never proven.

On a different note, Julia suddenly notices Leslie's personal stationary on Emily Grace's desk, and worries that she should be careful. Murdoch however, tells her it's Emily's personal correspondence. Julia admits she might have read it if he wasn't there.

Murdoch calls in Raymond Johnston, who is less than pleased to see him. His brother, Victor, comes as well, and both are shocked to find out about Jeffrey Roundhill's confession. Both deny to knowing the man as well. Both are very touchy, Victor more so, and Murdoch states he's simply trying to find a connection between Roundhill and Amelia. The two deny any connection, then take their leave, though Victor forces Murdoch to give Raymond an apology.

Brackenreid is updated, but there isn't much. George has been looking into connections between Roundhill and Amelia, but there are none. Amelia apparently didn't leave the city often, corroborating what Raymond said. Julia enters and asks about the case.

Unfortunately, there isn't any. Mr. Roundhill spent most of his time in Winnipeg, and when he was in Toronto he stayed in houses of ill repute. Murdoch lays out the facts: two women are murdered within two weeks of each other, and while their husbands had motive, they weren't guilty. However, the coincidence is strange.

The inspector arrives, and Murdoch outlines his theory: Raymond killed Mrs. Roundhill, while Jeffrey killed Amelia Thompson, possibly through a contract. The theory was perfect, but it was still a theory. Brackenreid asks for solid proof.

Crabtree is dubious, however, but agrees to try and find a connection between Mr. Roundhill and Mr. Johnston. Before Julia leaves, she asks how Dr. Grace is doing, but George admits he hadn't seen her lately.

Crabtree meets Mr. Garland outside the morgue's door, and almost yells at him when Mr. Garland explains about the opera tickets. At first, George believed he was attempting to court Emily, but no, the tickets were for Dr. Ogden. Emily wasn't in, as she had gone to lunch, and the two parted, awkwardly.

Murdoch is taking all of Raymond Johnston's records with a warrant. Though the brothers accuse him of harassment, he explains it's for the investigation. He leaves with the barb: "Aren't you more curious to know why a total stranger killed your wife?"

Back at the station, George finds that Raymond Johnston was in Toronto at the time of Evelyn Roundhill's murder, and took the week off, possibly to fulfill his side of the deal, or as George points out, to take some time off work.

There were no connections between friends, business, cities, or places of work or study.

Murdoch is called out, while Julia explains her interest in the case: Amelia was one of the first bodies on her table, so she wants to see this through.

Victor angrily denies Raymond is a killer and chews out the inspector thoroughly. He is convinced Murdoch is on some vendetta fueled witch hunt against Raymond, and has taken out a lawsuit against the constabulary. Though he tries to tell the pair he will drop it if they told him what they were looking for, Brackenreid says no.

Murdoch tells the inspector that George is still looking for a connection, but not to worry, they'd find proof to either exonerate or condemn him. Brackenreid tells him to make sure he does, otherwise they're all in trouble.

At the theatre, Julia and Murdoch have enjoyed their night out, but she comments on his distracted state. Murdoch realizes the lawsuit means that they're getting close. Suddenly, Julia pulls him to the side for a long kiss.

George tries to walk Emily home, but she blows him off, after which she pulls out Leslie Garland's note. Both are equally unhappy.

Looking over the evidence, Julia discovers a hat from Danielle's Millinery, which is only found in Montreal. This hat was one of the possessions buried with Mrs. Roundhill.

According to George's research, Mr. Roundhill never went to Montreal, but Raymond Johnston did. They might have been there at the same time. Overjoyed, the two celebrate at finding their tenuous connection.

Murdoch is on the phone the next day with the millinery, and Brackenreid asks if it's a gift for Julia. He hopes it will be, and he begins speaking in French, asking about the purchase.

With Julia, he tells her that Mr. Roundhill bought the hat in person on March 15. Julia finds out he took a train home after a conference in New York. After calling the train station, they find out due to the track needing repairs, all trains were rerouted through Montreal. Mr. Johnston himself was in the area for business.

However, the connection isn't enough to convict them. They go to Ms. Dignan after finding Roundhill cancelled several appointments within the time period. She admits he suffered seizures, the first indication of his illness, and had to receive treatment in Montreal. He had sworn her to secrecy. However, she noticed his attitude seemed to change.

At the hospital, Julia learns that Roundhill and Johnston were in the same hospital room, Johnston being admitted for abdominal pains. She tells him that doctors are often more forthcoming with other doctors, and they decide to have a word with Mr. Johnston.

George knocks on the door and tries to check if Emily is jealous when he mentions another woman, but she's ambivalent. All the time, Emily is being distant, and George is heartbroken.

In interrogation, Victor threatens to get Murdoch thrown in prison. However, they tell him about the medical record, and Victor gets noticeably uneasy. However, Raymond reveals he doesn't have an appendectomy scar, and they try to leave. Raymond keeps trying to get Victor to take off his shirt, but then he realizes that his brother made a deal with Mr. Roundhill to kill their wives.

Murdoch tells him that the truth will come out, as the medical records and physical examination will show where he was. Forced to tell the truth, Victor explains Amelia was going to leave him, and revert control of the entire company back to her. The brothers would've been ruined. He tried to make him see he did it to protect him, as he'd been protecting him his whole life.

Raymond is angry, as he killed the woman he loved. He punches his brother, while the constables arrive to defuse the situation and take Victor to the cells. As Murdoch apologizes for his suspicions, Raymond admits he did everything his brother told him because he thought it was right, and he's heartbroken.

Julia and Murdoch are thrilled about the full confession and the completion of the case. Murdoch asks if they can work together more often, and Julia is equally pleased with the thought.

At her office, Julia opens a note that is supposedly from James Gillies, that threatens to kill them both if they try to stay together, accompanied by a photo of the pair kissing at the opera.

Murdoch then opens a drawer, where he's been keeping an engagment ring. Satisfied, he puts it in his pocket.

Character Revelations Edit

Continuity Edit

  • The murder described by Roundhill was one of the first cases Murdoch and Dr. Ogden worked on together. They could not prove that Amelia Thompson's husband killed her to gain complete control of their business.
  • In the final scenes of the episode, Julia finds an envelope containing a death threat letter from Gillies and photo, while William pulls out the ring from his desk drawer and puts it in his pocket.

Historical References Edit

  • Neurosyphilis had been around for quite some time, though treatment was still not an option at this time. (Editorial comment from a doctor: There is no treatment for neurosyphillis. Back then as today, once syphillis has reached the third and last stage, its course cannot be altered and it invariably leads to death.)

Trivia Edit

  • The plot of the two murderers is almost certainly an homage to the novel Strangers on a Train and its classic 1951 film noir adaptation. There is a nod to this fact in the episode, when Murdoch surmises that the two suspects may have met while travelling on a train.
  • Leroux's menu items Julia reads aloud: the soup is a consommé Sévigné; the fish, a choice between the casserolette of scallops à la Newburg or cold lobster à la Châtillon; and for dessert, the Charlotte Russe. For William, the beef.

Errors Edit

  • Murdoch forgets to cross himself when they find the body.
  • When George is chatting with Emily, and she is writing Mrs. Roundhill's report, she writes for at least 50 seconds without ever dipping her pen in the ink. She is using a straight pen, and a straight pen had to be dipped in ink every few seconds.

Cast Edit

Main CastEdit

Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch
Hélène Joy as Julia Ogden
Thomas Craig as Thomas Brackenreid
Jonny Harris as George Crabtree
Georgina Reilly as Emily Grace

Recurring CastEdit

Giacomo Gianniotti as Leslie Garland
Michael Seater as James Gillies (voice)

Guest CastEdit

Brad Borbridge as Victor Johnston
Paul Constable as Raymond Johnston
Jaclyn Francis as Ms. Dignan
John Corbett as Jeffrey Roundhill
Catherine McNally as Head Nurse
Neil Foster as Minister
Jane Johanson as Nun

UncreditedEdit

Darryn Lucio as Car Driver (Production)

Gallery Edit

Murdoch Mysteries Season 7
"Murdoch Ahoy" • "Tour de Murdoch" • "The Filmed Adventures of Detective William Murdoch" • "Return of Sherlock Holmes" • "Murdoch of the Living Dead" • "Murdochophobia" • "Loch Ness Murdoch" • "Republic of Murdoch" • "A Midnight Train to Kingston" • "Murdoch in Ragtime" • "Journey to the Centre of Toronto" • "Unfinished Business" • "The Murdoch Sting"•"Friday the 13th, 1901"•"The Spy Who Came Up to the Cold"•"Kung Fu Crabtree"•"Blast of Silence"•"The Death of Dr. Ogden"
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9Season 10

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