A little while back I told you how much I was enjoying the Canadian police series, Murdoch Mysteries, on Netflix. I spoke a few days too soon.
To be fair, the series, set in 1890s Toronto, had always reserved the right, not only to resonate with contemporary life but to comment on contemporary issues. One of the first episodes involved homosexuality, and they were not shy about making statements about sexism and racism (one episode had Murdoch himself experiencing anti-Catholic prejudice). Particularly troubling was a story line that had Murdoch and Dr. Ogden, the pathologist he loves, driven apart by a difference over abortion (they later resolved that by papering it over, having Murdoch simply say, “I care nothing about that”).
But they really let themselves go in the fifth season. I think it may be former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fault. According to Wikipedia, the conservative PM let it be known he was a fan of the show, which must have surely caused the whole staff considerable embarrassment. Worse than that, he visited the set while the fourth season was filming, and they somehow they ended up adding a scene where Harper, playing a dim policeman, arrests the TV version of the prime minister by accident. Great joke – the stupid Conservative is too dumb to know what a real PM looks like, let alone be one.
Still, they must have felt the stigma of Harper’s approval, because during season five they seem to have pulled the political stops out. The first episode featured a famous socialist, Jack London. The second episode featured a saintly portrayal of noted anarchist Emma Goldman. In this episode, there is fear of a terrorist bombing, but – wouldn’t you know it – the terrorists are purely imaginary. It was all set up by an agent provocateur working for the US government. This episode also gave Inspector Brackenreid an opportunity to express his utter contempt for all Americans in an earthy fashion.
I watched a couple more episodes, hoping that once they’d got that out of their systems they’d go back to entertaining. But I found I’d lost my enthusiasm. I meant to watch yet another episode, but somehow… I found that a day had gone by, then three days, then a week, then a couple weeks. I just didn’t care anymore. Especially since I know from the Wikipedia page that Dr. Ogden will get involved in the birth control movement. Maybe they’ll even bring in the saintly Margaret Sanger, who will conveniently fail to mention her views on racial eugenics.
I’ll never know. I’m done. It was fun while it lasted.