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War on Terror

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"War on Terror"
War on terror 01
Season 5
Episode 4
Air date June 26, 2012
Written by Peter Mitchell
Directed by Laurie Lynd
Previous "Evil Eye of Egypt"
Next "Murdoch at the Opera"

"War on Terror" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of the Murdoch Mysteries and the fifty-sixth episode of the series.

Summary Edit

Constables Crabtree and Higgins are doing their usual patrol routes when they stop to use the police telephone. As Higgins is about to give Crabtree his opinion on his book, suddenly, an explosion goes off nearby at carpet shop, injuring Crabtree and knocking Higgins unconscious. As the fire department and constabulary arrive, the owner of the shop, Peter Milne asks what's going on. Brackenreid explains what just happened, especially with two of his constables being injured. Milne criticizes them for failing to prevent this, incensing Brackenreid, who advised him to be silent or else and orders him to get off the street. Murdoch then calls him, announcing that he had found an incendiary device in the shop.

Murdoch and Crabtree then begin interviewing Milne and his landlord Michael Decker separately. Milne admits that he's not a popular man, as his landlord wanted him gone and the neighbors hated him. When asked if there's anyone particular, Milne points the finger at the owner of a hat store, who has a multitude of trivial complaints about Milne, being unsanitary and cat-calling women to the shop. Everyone complained to the landlord but Mr. Howard Decker said his hands were tied. Upon confirming that Milne will be forced to leave with his shop structurally unsound, the shopkeeper offers nothing but sarcastic pity.

Decker suggests that the perpetrator might be Angus Trout, who used to own the nearby boarded-up shop. Trout had the misfortune of being in the same trade as Milne, who drove him out of business, forcing him to sell his inventory for pennies on the dollar. Trout became an alcoholic and regularly comes by to hector Milne.

Murdoch and Crabtree visit Trout to bring him in for questioning. Unfortunately, the man is drunk and makes several rude comments that infuriate Crabtree. As they bring him into Station House Four, a group of journalists mistake Trout for the culprit. Trout claims that the man they should blame is Milne, before he is brought inside and the reporters sent off. Murdoch tells Crabtree to put Trout in the interview room and to post a guard. Suddenly, he hears a familiar voice, Agent Terrence Meyers, who asks if Trout had confessed or named any co-conspirators. Knowing that Meyers must be here on important government business, Murdoch asks how his case is related. Meyers claims that the bombing was perpetrated by anarchists.

Taking the discussion to Brackenreid's office, Murdoch tells Meyers that he'll need a lot more convincing to believe that Toronto is under attack by terrorists. Meyers explains that the Canadian government is in talks with the Americans over a visit to Canada by President William McKinley. Murdoch asks how this relates to the bombing. Meyers explains that the Americans aren't convinced that Canadian standards over law and order don't exactly meet theirs. Brackenreid takes offense, stating that the Americans can't judge Canada whereas they were the ones who went to war with themselves. Meyers states that the Americans are a necessary, if somewhat unruly ally, and if they want this visit to happen, they must remain vigilant. Though Brackenreid insists they are vigilant, Meyers asks if they are keeping tabs on Emma Goldman, whom Murdoch explains to the Inspector is a known American anarchist and labor organizer. Meyers believes that Emma and her associates were the perpetrators, the bombing being a statement against capitalism. Murdoch asks if Emma or anyone had taken responsibility for the bombing. Meyers avoids the question, stating that their prime minister believes the anarchists to be a threat to their society.

Murdoch then questions a now sober Trout, who says that he loves his country. The detective believes him, given how devoted he is to the bottle and little else. Trout defends that Milne destroyed his business and his marriage, so drinking his woes away is all he has left. Murdoch asks if he saw anything suspicious while watching Milne's customers. Trout says he did spot Albert Wallace, a clerk formerly in Milne's employ until three weeks ago, kick up a fuss.

While holding a newspaper with the anarchists publicized as a threat, Brackenreid remarks that the anarchists sound like Marxists, to which Murdoch notes that their philosophies are similar. The inspector refutes his point, stating that Socrates did not go around bombing shop, and if he had his way he'd arrest them all. He then asks his friend if Meyers had a point. Murdoch admits that the bomb and its components are similar to the one used in the Haymarket attack in Chicago in May 4, 1886. Brackenreid notes that eight coppers died that day, and he considers them brother-in-arms despite their lineage. He warns Murdoch to stick close to Meyers, despite the fact that he's involved himself in their investigation, he doesn't want him to mess things up.

Murdoch later questions Wallace, asking how he felt about Milne. Wallace explains that Milne refused to pay his wages and fired him when he spoke out, though he wouldn't be the first. Murdoch then questions him about anarchism. Wallace laughs this off, claiming that society cannot function without some measure of control before proudly admitting to be a adherent of Karl Marx. He then claims responsibility for the bombing, claiming it to be the start of the Workers' Revolution, though Murdoch is skeptical and inquiries on how the bomb was built, where it was placed and the method of detonation. Wallace's resistance then begins to falter.

As Murdoch exits the Interview Room, he is accosted by Chief Constable Giles, who demands to know why he argued Wallace out of his guilt when he had confessed. Murdoch says that Wallace confessed falsely and shows Giles his record. Wallace had been arrested several times; he's an attention seeker, trying to become a martyr. Giles then says that as Wallace had impeded the investigation, he shall be charged with obstruction of justice. Murdoch remarks that the Chief Constable is twisting the law to indict an innocent man. Giles warns him to tread lightly when dealing with him. He then stated that Emma Goldman is hosting a rally in the afternoon and he wants her arrested at the slightest provocation. As Murdoch turns away, Giles reminds him that Higgins is still in the hospital and express hope that his colleagues will bring the people responsible to justice. Murdoch retorts that they must be sure that the people they arrest are actually guilty.

At the hospital, Crabtree reads his book to an unconscious Higgins. He then pauses his reading, promising to continue the next day.

Meyers later interrupts Murdoch while he's having a cup of tea, explaining that Emma's rally is the opportunity they need. He and Murdoch change into ruffer looking clothes so they can infiltrate the Toronto anarchist faction, planning cutting off the serpent's head. However, Murdoch tells Crabtree to investigate on an another avenue in case Meyers' suspicions are wrong.

Crabtree does so, helping out citizens while canvasing. In the course of his duties, he runs into Dr. Grace, who insists that she's innocently shopping. She then asks to accompany him, promising to stay out of harm's way.

At the rally, Emma Goldman begins to aggressively pontificate her political views, calling governments arrangements between the ruling elite and industrialists and urges people to think for themselves rather than be told what to do. Ultimately, Giles and Brackenreid decide that she's talked enough and order their constables to disperse the rally. Murdoch and Meyers hen insinuate themselves into the anarchists by helping Goldman escape. Once inside the anarchist headquarters, Murdoch sees Goldman talking to a man, who tells her that the authorities don't want to hear the truth. It is Allen Clegg, the American agent, who tells Murdoch and Meyers that he's on official American government business. He claims that the anarchists are fermenting dissent. Murdoch then asks if the anarchists were involved in the bombing. Clegg states that Goldman wasn't but he can't speak for the Toronto chapter. He then reminds Murdoch that the anarchists were responsible for eight dead coppers in Haymarket. Murdoch points out that most people forget that those dead officers were accidentally shot by their fellow men. Clegg defends that those men died doing their duty and blames the anarchists for inciting the event. Meyers then inquires how Clegg is on Canadian soil without permission from his government. Clegg states that his government was authorized by the British Foreign Office, who's power exceeds Canada's. As Clegg excuses himself, Meyers says he doesn't trust Americans.

Back at Station House Four, a constable informs Brackenreid of Murdoch and Meyers' successful infiltration of the anarchists, as well as that Higgins is drifting in and out of consciousness.

Back at the market, Crabtree is called out by Milne, demanding to know why he is not chasing down the anarchists who attacked his shop. Crabtree insists that the investigation is still ongoing, but Milne insults Grace by calling her a trollop. Crabtree manages to break up the two before they could come to blows. As they walk away, Grace discusses the anarchists and their practice of free love. She asks Crabtree what he would do if no one was around to tell him what was or wasn't proper. Crabtree says that as an officer of the law, he doesn't think that way. Grace points out that as a writer, he should be more spirited.

Back at the anarchist HQ, Meyers and Murdoch attempt to gather information. Murdoch sits down with Goldman, Clegg, and a young, enthusiastic anarchist named Pierce. Pierce admires Goldman but Clegg is attempting to push her towards radical action. Murdoch chimes in, stating that violence obscures the message and insists that words are the only things that matter. Pierce asks if he's a pacifist, to which Murdoch says he'd be willing to strike back. Apparently, Pierce is more inclined to Clegg's influence.

Grace tries to get information out of the hat shop owner about the bombing, but gets nothing of value. The shopkeeper then offers greater service to Crabtree.

Murdoch questions Goldman if she knows who bombed Milne's shop, to which she offers no answer. She remarks that when the government doesn't listen, a reaction like the bombing is inevitable. She states that she wants government abolished, not changed, stating that they're holding men, and not just women, back. Murdoch says that people are capable of good and evil in equal measure, a sentiment Emma grimly agrees with.

At the morgue, Crabtree tells Grace that the hat shop owner is moving into a new establishment owned by Decker, who happens to own the block of shops of which Milne rents. Crabtree intends to submit his findings to Detective Murdoch, but Grace suggests he take the initiative to solve the case to increase his own standing with his colleagues.

Back at the anarchist headquarters, Murdoch privately tells Meyers that the anarchist are harmless intellectuals, to which the agent says is what makes them so dangerous. Murdoch defends that these people have their hearts in the right place even if their minds aren't. He then asks if Meyers had seen Clegg recently, to which he hasn't. Murdoch then says that all the talk of anarchists being a threat is merely American paranoia. Meyers suggests he read the newspapers and says that anarchism is a worldwide movement seeking to topple civilization. Murdoch insists that the Toronto chapter isn't part of it. Suddenly, an explosion goes off outside. Meyers asks if he'd like to reconsider his opinion.

Murdoch finds Brackenreid inspecting the bomb site. To maintain his cover, Murdoch makes an insensitive comment, shoves Brackenreid and instructs his superior to pretend to attack him. Two bystanders attempt to intervene only to be restrained by a constable. Murdoch conveys to Brackenreid his suspicion that Clegg was responsible for the bomb and asks him to find out the truth. Brackenreid then releases him and pretends to threaten to throw him in prison.

Back at Station House Four, Giles notes that Brackenreid had released Wallace; the inspector isn't keen on feeding a communist free lunches. They then inspect the residue recovered from both bomb sites and wonder if the two incidents are related and if Murdoch is on the right track.

Returning to the anarchists, Meyers continues to work his way into their good graces by telling Murdoch to lay charges of police brutality. Murdoch then takes Clegg aside to ask him his whereabouts at the time of the second bombing, to which the American agent claims is classified. Murdoch remarks that Clegg stands to gain the most if violence were to break out. Clegg warns him that he's standing on very thin ice, but Murdoch retorts that he may blow his cover. Suddenly, Pierce comes in, proudly boasting that he lit two sticks of dynamite, convinced that it would give the anarchists more clout to effect change. Emma condemns his actions, stating that violence will not help their cause and storms off. Clegg tells Pierce that he did the right thing and Emma was being emotional. Murdoch then spots Wallace walking in to join the anarchists and asks Meyers to distract him.

Grace visits Crabtree at his desk. He tells her that Decker's building was slated for demolition for some time. Grace impulsively remarked on how bad it was that it wasn't a bigger explosion, before Crabtree reminds her of what happened to Higgins. He then shows her documents of numerous lawsuits filed by Milne against Decker. Milne refused to leave his shop and perhaps Decker had something to gain by bombing his own shop and forcing Milne to leave. However, he has yet to find a motive behind the second bombing.

As Murdoch is about to flee the hideout, Wallace recognizes him and reveals his identity as a policeman to the anarchists. Meyers turns against Murdoch to maintain his cover. Acting quickly, Murdoch grabs Pierce and declares him under arrest. Though Emma pleads with Murdoch to release him, Clegg convinces her to let Murdoch take Pierce, as she's too important to the cause.

Murdoch interrogates Pierce back at Station House Four to take his statement. Pierce takes credit for the factory bombing. Murdoch peruses his file, asking why a man who graduated from both the University of Toronto and King's College would commit such an act. Pierce claims he did it for Emma and states that she will rescue him. His confidence drops as Murdoch tells him that he committed this crime alone and will likely spend a lot of time in jail for both bombings. Pierce defends that he only did the second bombing and has no idea who committed the first. Lastly, he adds that Clegg convinced him to go through with his crime, claiming it would impress Emma.

In Murdoch's office, Meyers ponders whether Clegg was responsible for the first bombing. Just then, Crabtree knocks on the door, announcing that he has new evidence regarding the case but it's for Murdoch's eyes only. Upon viewing the contents of Crabtree's findings, Murdoch remarks that the anarchists may have been right about a capitalist conspiracy.

Later, Crabtree informs Murdoch all the evidence against Decker is ready for his interrogation. However, Murdoch tells him that he'll be doing the interview for getting the case this far. At Crabtree's request, Murdoch gives some interrogation pointers, telling him to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Decker is guilty and Decker will try to convince him that he's innocent.

While Murdoch and Grace are observing, Crabtree interrogates Decker, revealing he had traced the bomb components to a company he owns in Hamilton. Decker sees the implications and insists he wouldn't blow up his own building. Crabtree contradicts that, showing a document designating the shop for demolition but Milne refused to leave. Additionally, he found a notice of sale giving the Dominion Bank his shop to be demolished for their new head office. Unfortunately for Decker, with the sale about to expire and Milne's refusal to leave, he would have no choice but to bomb the building. Decker's resistance falters and is unable to provide a reasonable defense.

Higgins later returns to the Station House on crutches. He tells Crabtree that his book was a real page turner, which was what he was going to tell him before the explosion and suggests Crabtree start a sequel. Crabtree has an idea for a novel involving a female detective knowledgeable in the ways of post-mortem science.

Crabtree later goes to the morgue to tell Grace that his case against Decker succeeded and the man will be spending a long time behind bars. Grace admits to have been observing his successful interrogation. After thanking her for her support, the two begin referring to each on a first name basis.

Back at the Station House, Murdoch spots Clegg with Meyers at his side, sarcastically asking if he could help with his bags if he's leaving. He blames Clegg for influencing Pierce into throwing his freedom away. Clegg dismisses his concerns, stating he had done his duty. Meyers then mentioned that the American State Department had canceled President McKinley's visit. Meyers then beckons Clegg to leave, as Clegg has a train to catch with his new lady friend Emma Goldman. He says that it'll be a long time before an American president sets foot on foreign soils and that they'll keep their own safe. However, Murdoch implies that America creates their own problems. Clegg defends that it's in the name of God and country and they would take their own counsel.

Character Revelations Edit

Continuity Edit

Historical References Edit

  • President McKinley's assassination is noted as taking place two years after these events (in 1901), placing this episode in 1899,
  • While the rubber band was invented and patented in the 19th century, at this point it was mostly used in factories and warehouses, rather than in the common household. The rubber band was patented in England on March 17, 1845 by Stephen Perry.

Trivia Edit

  • Nobody actually dies in this episode.

Errors Edit

  • The telephone handset Constable Crabtree uses at the police box wasn't widely produced until the 1930s.
  • When Constable Crabtree and Dr. Grace converse behind a vegetable barrow, the bunches of green onions topping the display are fastened with contemporary thin, blue rubber bands instead of twine.

Cast Edit

Main Cast Edit

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 Cast Edit

Lachlan Murdoch as Constable Henry Higgins
Nigel Bennett as Chief Constable Giles
Peter Keleghan as Terrence Meyers
Matthew Bennett as Allen Clegg

Guest Cast Edit

Lisa Norton as Emma Goldman
Brendan Wall as Michael Decker
Alex Furber as Reginald Pierce
Brendan Beiser as Albert Wallace
Brock Johnson as Peter Milne
Richard Alan Campbell as Harold Green
John Jarvis as Angus Trout
Richard Taylor as Constable
Dani Kind as Peggy
Benjamin Clost as Reporter

Uncredited Cast Edit


Murdoch Mysteries Season 5
"Murdoch of the Klondike" • "Back and to the Left" • "Evil Eye of Egypt" • "War on Terror" • "Murdoch at the Opera" • "Who Killed the Electric Carriage?" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 1)" • "Stroll on the Wild Side (Part 2)" • "Invention Convention" • "Staircase to Heaven" • "Murdoch in Toyland" • "Murdoch Night in Canada" • "Twentieth Century Murdoch"
Web-Series: The Murdoch Effect
Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 6Season 7

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