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Picture the scene: it’s 1896 and you’ve just been mugged! Heartbroken, you make your way to the local police station. You’re sure you’ll never see your worldly belongings again.
Enter stage left: the handsome features of one Detective William Murdoch, Canada’s finest. Your spirits are lifted. Surely, he of the fetching face and brilliant mind can bring the perpetrator to justice. With a combination of intuition, new-fangled technology (eerily similar to modern day methods), and his crack team of experts.
‘Murdoch Mysteries’ intertwines real life events, emergent technology, interesting characters and moral dilemmas, all whilst solving crimes. If you’re looking for other TV shows like ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ involving dastardly deeds and dashing detectives, check out the list below.
Doctor Blake relies on his charm and wits to assist the police in solving crimes, habitually overstepping his boundaries. He has an alarming tendency of trying to apprehend criminals in death-defying situations. Unfortunately, his ‘assistance’ is often unwanted and he regularly gets into trouble with the senior police officers!
Unlike Detective Murdoch, Doctor Blake isn’t technically a detective; he’s a police surgeon and general practitioner. However, both he and Murdoch have a love of new crime solving methods and have excellent observation skills. Although both are handsome and intelligent men, they are utterly useless in matters of the heart. This leads to a lot of underlying sexual tension with the women in their lives!
Lord Peter Wimsey is a gentleman detective (rich enough to solve crime for fun) and not a Police Detective. He is an ardent criminologist, going wherever his whimsy may take him. He leads a somewhat charmed life that looks rather fun – minus the murder of course!
Like Murdoch, Lord Peter is fascinated by crime and crime solving methods, particularly the relatively newly developed areas of expertise such as psychology. It is whilst investigating one such crime that he meets Harriet Vane, with whom he falls deeply in love. Although his insistence on repeatedly proposing is a tad grating, they’re a worthy match.
As this was filmed in the 1980s, topics touchy subjects such as sexism/racism are occasionally touched upon but go into far less detail than in Murdoch. Even though it is set later than Murdoch, it was written much earlier so some aspects may appear quite dated.
Miss Phryne Fisher is a fabulously glamorous (and wealthy) private detective. She has the sort of education and wardrobe that dreams are made of. She is an excellent shot (and always carries her pistol in her purse), can fly a plane, adores jazz, and even drives her own car.
‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ and ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ are both period detective dramas with gorgeous set pieces and costumes. Despite being set in different times and places, both will give you serious wardrobe (and hair) envy!
Like ‘Murdoch’, this series features a devout Catholic, Dot Williams, who is Phyrne’s loyal companion (personal assistant come maid) and moral compass. Unlike ‘Murdoch’, the main female characters are slightly more flexible in their morality!
Adela Bradley is a thoroughly modern 1920’s woman – an author, detective, and generally marvellous woman about town. Played by national treasure Diana Rigg her and chauffeur/valet George Moody (later to become ‘Midsummer Murders’ Inspector Barnaby) travel the country getting into perilous adventures and solving intriguing crimes.
She is charming and lethal with a more than passing resemblance to a certain Ms Fisher. However, her lethal weapons are firmly in her stocking tops.
Unusually, she often breaks the fourth wall (one of my favourite things), letting us in on the scandal, secrets and gossip of the day. She’s reminiscent of a rather naughty aunty, constantly getting into trouble and causing mischief. Wicked fun.
The combination of crime solving and character development in ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ make for great viewing. Unlike many shows, it isn’t gratuitous or gory and is often educational.
The sheer magnitude of Television crime dramas to watch can be daunting. Although ‘Father Brown’ isn’t a detective series, it has enough in common with ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ both in terms of crime solving and character development.
I liken Father Brown to a lovely warm cup of sweet tea. Terribly British and comforting, you know exactly what you’re getting. I spend as much time admiring the fashion as I do wondering how to solve the crime!
Set in the Cotswolds in the 1950’s, the Catholic parish priest, Father Brown, and his ‘gang’ try to solve crimes quicker than the local constabulary. As you can imagine, this does not endear them to the Police or the Bishop, both of whom who’d much rather he concentrated on saving souls than solving crimes. The marvellous Father Brown does, however, manage to do both!
He is joined by Parish Secretary Mrs McCarthy, who makes the best scones in the county, Lady Montague, who is renowned for her ‘good works’, and Sid, her chauffeur and local miscreant. Together, they solve crimes and put the world to rights. There’s always time for a cup of tea and cake (or scones), too! Like Murdoch, the central characters in ‘Father Brown’ are just as important as the case of the week. It is for both the characters and the crime that you’ll find yourself tuning in again and again.
If, like me, you fancy yourself a bit of an armchair detective, then you’ll enjoy the series above… from the safety of your own home, without the death and danger!
Have you watched any that I’ve mentioned? Let me know your thoughts or if I’ve missed any of your favourites.
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