Murdoch Mysteries (2008–…): Season 15, Episode 14 - The Witches of East York - full transcript

Murdoch arrests a man for trying to kill a woman who he claims is a witch, shortly after he dies mysteriously while in custody

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Season 15 Episode 14

Episode Title:
"The Witches of East York"

Aired on:
January 17, 2022.

- Betsy.
- Hm?

I think it's time to
make it official.

Would you be mine?

Like one of your pet chickens?

Well, you'd be the prettiest
hen in the roost.

- I will put an end...
- No!

To your wicked ways.


- Stop! Please!
- What are you doing?

- Please!
- Be careful!

Stop, sir!

Help me!

I can't.
These are new shoes!

Are you in league
with this woman?

Is she?

Is she?!

- Ma'am, let me help you.
- Thank you.

Betsy, are you all right?

This is the spot
where he tried to drown her.

Can you describe this man?

A wiry fellow wearing a vest.

And shabby trousers.

And his hair was
the colour of mud.

And the woman?

Unkempt and wild-eyed.

I was going to say
raven-haired and beautiful.

He surely would have killed her
if I hadn't stopped him.

You stopped him?

Well, Betsy also helped.

Was the woman hurt?

She seemed fine.
She just walked away.

And the man?

He ran off with his tail
between his legs.

What direction?

Thank you.

Sir, stop!

I think that's poison Ivy.

A wiry fellow
with shabby trousers

and hair
the colour of mud.

Pardon me, sir.

Detective Murdoch,
Toronto constabulary.

They are dead.

Every last one of them.

Well, that's terrible,

but we're here
on a different matter.

A young couple stated
that they saw a man,

matching your description,
down by the Don river.

It was I.

They say you tried
to drown a woman.


No, I did not.

I tried to drown a witch.

You tried to drown a witch?

They float, you know, so...

you have to force them under.

Do not look down your
nose at me, sir.

You do not know the hardships
that I've suffered.

Such as?

I cannot butcher these animals.

She has tainted them
with her curse.

She used the dark arts
to shrivel their hocks

and stop
their hearts.

Shrivel their hocks?

Their legs, man.

Half of them blackened
and fell off.

And you believe this
witch is responsible?


She lives alone in
a shack by the swamps.

I have seen her,
with my own eyes,

take flight into
the dark night sky.

I destroyed her demonic shrine

and afterwards I saw her assume
the form of a black fox

And suckle the teats
of the livestock,

draining them dry.

Good lord.

As god is my witness.

Your story defies
belief, sir.

You doubt me?

then how do you explain this?

What is it?

The witch, she staked this
talisman outside my bedroom

to curse my dreams.

Ah, do not touch it!
It is evil.

I'm sure it's harmless, Mr...

Gunther wenders.

Killing this witch
would be a virtuous deed,

as far as I'm

It would be murder.

As it stands,
it's attempted murder.

Constable Higgins,
take this man into custody.

You should be punishing
the witch,

not the god-fearing man
who stood against her!

Take him down
to the station house

and I'll try to find
this Minerva West.

Minerva West?

I am she.

Detective William Murdoch,
Toronto constabulary.

Merry meet, William.

I prefer
detective Murdoch.

I'm sure you do,

Um, were you the victim
of an assault this morning?

This morning.

Every morning.

But I have cast a circle
of protection around myself

that no man can breach.

Apparently, Mr. Wenders
nearly drowned you.

You're lucky that young couple
came to your rescue.

It was not luck.

Hecate sent those
minions to my aid.


You really should read
more sacred texts.

Obviously our taste in
scriptures differs quite a bit.

And, uh, what is
the source

of Mr. Wenders'
animosity toward you?


- Fear.
- Of?

Women who live alone
in the woods.

Might this have frightened him?

Acturus panctro sancti sanctum!

You would dare wish a death
curse upon me?

Mr. Wenders claims that
you nailed this to his home.

That is a lie.

I have never sent
a man to his death.

Well, if you didn't
place this curse

upon Mr. Wenders,
then, who did?

You assume that I am
the only witch in Toronto.

We hide ourselves
and for good reason.

You've heard of Salem,

The Spanish inquisition,

I'm well-versed in history,
Miss West.

So smug.

You must be catholic.


Beautiful, yes?

And very toxic.

Miss West, someone or something
killed Mr. Wenders' goats.

Would you know
anything about that?

Only that it's a shame.

I have a fondness
for horned beasts.

Well, if there was
any foul play,

I'll find out about it.

In the meantime,
you can rest assured

that Mr. Wenders will be
prosecuted for assaulting you.

Do what you will.

I know that Gunther wenders

will meet the fate
that he deserves.

So she admits to being a witch?

- Oh, it's fascinating.
- That's bollocks!

That is, indeed,
what Minerva West claims.

But as far as I can tell,
this is just a feud

between a superstitious man
and a delusional woman.

Sir, what about the goats?

You don't need magic
to kill a goat, Higgins.

Minerva West denies
any involvement.

But I am going to have
the remaining carcasses

tested for poison.

I did observe her tending
to noxious plants.

Her plants may be medicinal
rather than poisonous.

I, for one, would very much
like to meet this witch.

Where's my Gunther?

Please! You must understand,
Gunther had to stop her.

May I be of assistance?
Detective Murdoch.

Katrina wenders.

You took my husband.

Your husband has admitted
to assaulting...

he was protecting
our family from a witch.

You believe this?

He believes this.

He is German protestant.

It's part of his heritage
and I support my husband.

The witch hunts ended
centuries ago, Mrs. Wenders.

Not for Gunther.

I see.

But that woman, Minerva West,
she is truly wicked.

I've no doubt she will
continue to afflict him

and other
god fearing souls.

Well, then, your husband is
safe and sound in our cells,

so you needn't worry.

Witchcraft cannot be kept out
by brick walls, detective.

He is still vulnerable.

May I see him?


Have you managed to talk
some sense into these fools?

I tried, dear.

So, you are on the side
of the witch.

Absurd accusations will not
help your case, Mr. Wenders.

You could be going to prison
for a long time.

How long can a man be imprisoned
for protecting his family?

For attempted murder.

The length of your sentence will
be up to a judge to decide.

Find me a lawyer, Katrina.

The best that money can buy.

But, Gunther,
we have no money.

You spent it on the goats.

Damn that witch to hell!

Holy Moses.

I need you to find out
the cause of death.

Is this goat
a murder victim?

I need to establish motive
in an assault case.

I need to find out if the goat
died of natural causes

or malicious intervention.

I'm no veterinarian,
but I'll try my best.

And who's accused
of killing it?

A witch?

She believes she's a witch.

She's actually a recluse
who lives in the woods

and tends to a garden
of poisonous plants.

And the man who tried
to kill her?

A German immigrant who imported
all of the superstitions

from the old country.

Where thousands of "witches"
were burned alive

during the

History lacks for no proof
of man's brutality.

Many were executed simply
for having medical knowledge.

In an earlier time, I might
have been burned as a witch.

You might have been
my inquisitor.

Your soup's getting cold, dear.
Eat up.

Oh, I'm sorry.
Pardon me. I...

you are haunted.

A dark and bottomless pain

consumes your every
waking moment.

Diana, mistress of the dawn,
I beseech thee.

Lilith, queen of the night,
I beseech thee.

mother of dark souls,

I beseech thee.

Mistress, queen
and mother, three...

lend thine ears
and hear this plea

from my foe deliver me.

Malice drives
the vicious man.

Seal his lips
and stay his hand.

This I humbly ask of thee.

By thy will...

so mote it be.

Mr. Wenders?
Mr. Wenders?

Somebody, help! Watts!

Detective watts!

Mr. Wenders?

Chanting in foreign language...

The completion of their
ritual coincided precisely

with Mr. Wenders'
sudden, agonizing death.

Correlation does not equate
causation, detective.

So it was mere coincidence

the two events
occurred simultaneously?

Well, they d...

You know, it's been said
there are more things

in heaven
and earth

than are dreamt of
in our philosophies.

Hamlet is a work of fiction.

That doesn't make it untrue.

Chanting, chalk and candles

cannot kill a man.

Now it is possible that these
so-called witches

found some other way to bring
about Mr. Wenders' death.

Poison, perhaps.

Administered while
he was behind bars?

They may have found a way
to get it into his food.

I'll trace the steps by which

meals are delivered
to the inmates.

I found no signs
of trauma to the beast's body.

And the toxicology results?

No poisons detected.

Then how did it die?


I honestly don't know yet,

But I did find
something bizarre.

Go on.

The animal's limbs had become
dry, black, shriveled.

In essence, mummified
while it was still alive.

Mr. Wenders did say that

his goats' limbs seemed
to have fallen off.

Somehow the blood supply
to the limbs had stopped.

But I don't know
what caused it.


Well, let's hope your findings
in Mr. Wenders' case

are more

The whole city was
buzzing with gossip

and I was dying to
talk to someone.


Oh, the witches, of course.

They've caused quite a stir.

I thought you'd got this
out of your system

after talking my ear off
about it last night.

Well, I mean witches, Thomas.
Here in Toronto.

For one thing,
they're not witches.

They're just a bunch
of happy dafties

who can't find

But they are in Toronto?


Oh, well, I mean
I was just wondering,

if I was a witch,

What neighbourhood
would I live in?

Do you know?

Margaret, you know better than
to waste your time

on this

Well, I was just curious
because I...

I forbid you to pursue
this any further.

I don't like the way
you speak to me, Thomas.

Oh, bloody hell, Margaret.

I've just come home
for lunch!

None of the other prisoners
got sick from the food.

So, Mr. Wenders was deliberately
targeted with a poisoned meal?

I don't see how.

All the meals were prepared
by our usual cook,

Who says she made them all
from the same pot of goulash.

Well, who delivered
the food to the inmates?

The meals were randomly
distributed by our constables.

So no one could have
known which meal

would be consumed
by Mr. Wenders.

- Correct.
- I warned you that witch was evil!

You did nothing.

And now Gunther is dead!

Mrs. Wenders,
my deepest condolences.

Oh, save your condolences.

I am here to claim
my husband's body.

We can't release his body

until the post mortem
is completed.

And so the indignities

We are merely trying
to determine the cause

of your
husband's death.

You know the cause.

And the killer.

Thus far, there is no evidence

that Miss West
killed your husband.

She cast a hex
right under your nose.

Have you even questioned her?

Miss West, I don't believe

the ritual you performed
outside of our station house

Killed Mr. Wenders.

You are correct.

I cast my intention to silence
his tongue

and to stop his harassment,
not to kill him.

Who were the women
who accompanied you?

My apprentices.

I only know them by the names
they chose for themselves:

Elsbeth Nighthawk
and Persephone Jade.

Where might we find them?

I haven't asked
where they live.

But they will be
joining me tonight

for the full moon

I can inquire then,
if you like.

Don't touch that.

Might this be your grimoire?

- It is.
- Ah!

A witch's
personal archive

of potions and incantations.

Belladonna, Monkshood,

these are all poisons.

Then I'd advise you
not to eat them.

And I said don't touch that!

I'll be taking this book
and this cabinet,

as well as
its contents.

So, you would steal from me

I am seizing them as evidence.

You will regret this.

How so?

Your hands will erupt
in blisters.

You'll writhe in ceaseless pain

and claw at your own flesh.

By the blood of baphomet,
so mote it be.

Right, then.

She became irate when we seized
her possessions as evidence.

What was your impression
of Miss West, detective?

I must admit
I admire her gumption.

She's resourceful
and independent.

A non-conformist.

And quite possibly a killer.

Detective, your hand.

That might just be
the witch's curse.


She warned you
not to touch her book.

She said my hand would
break out in blisters.

And now your hand
has broken out in blisters.

Well, she does have poison Ivy
leaves in her cabinet.


She probably rubbed it
on the outside of the book.

Some calamine lotion
should break the spell.


Some of these
ingredients are medicinal,

but many of them
are poisonous.

Which supports the theory that
she poisoned Gunther wenders.

But Mr. Wenders
was locked in his cell

when his symptoms

He may have ingested a poison
with a delayed effect.

Could any of Miss West's
concoctions achieve that result?

Well, there's one way to find

I wonder if Mrs. Hart is up
for some experimentation?

So, what did Mr. Wenders'
post-mortem reveal?

His toes and earlobes
showed signs of dry gangrene,

the same condition
I observed in his goat.

But the gangrene
didn't kill him?

No. His lungs
were hyper-inflated

and there was obvious
petechial hemorrhaging.

Well, it sounds
like suffocation.


Gunther wenders
died from asphyxiation

while simultaneously
being affected by convulsions.

And the toxicology report?

No known poisons were found.

Something more exotic
must have been used.

We need to find a poison
that causes hallucinations,

Convulsions, dry gangrene
and asphyxiation.

And which takes effect hours
after being administered.

Let's continue then.

Waft the smoke
through the air and chant,

"Sweet demeter
use thy might,

cleanse the air
this full moon night."

I don't see how this could
have any effect at all.

Perhaps there's something
in the smoke?

Chemically interacts
with the poison?

And the raven's skull?

Well, bones contain calcium,
magnesium, potassium.

Minerals may play a part
in the makeup of the poison?


"Rotating your pestle in
a counter-clockwise motion,

Grind the raven's skull
to a fine powder."

Though I walk the crooked path

I fear not god
nor man's pale wrath

A blood moon lights
the trail that's bent

manifesting my intent.

Deliver me from petty grief...

...offer succor's sweet relief.

This I offer up to thee.

Hear my prayer, so mote it be.



And now?

We feed it to the rats.

Blessed be, Elsbeth.

Blessed be, Minerva.

Blessed be, Persephone.

Blessed be, Minerva.

Shall we begin
the inquisition?

They're heading in the direction
of Mr. Wenders' home.

Perhaps we should follow them.

I don't want to see you go.

I'm going to miss you.

See you tomorrow?


Detective Murdoch,
Toronto constabulary.

What are you doing?

Going to bed.

This is my home.

You're Gunther wenders'

Well, then, why not
use the door?

Mother worries when
I stay out late.

And how did your
father feel about it?

Why do you care?

Because your father died under
mysterious circumstances.


You don't seem all that upset
at your father's passing.

Why should I be?

My father hated
everything about me.

That's why I killed him.

- Miss Wenders...
- My name is Elsbeth Nighthawk.

As you wish, Miss Nighthawk.

You claim you
killed your father.

How did you do it?

I staked a cursed talisman
outside his bedroom window.

You doubt me.

Your talisman was gruesome,

But it's absurd to claim
it has the power to kill.

It should have been
a human heart,

but I was unable
to obtain one.

So, you admit yours
was not effective?

I wouldn't say that.

I found him in the barn,
out of his mind with fear.

Miss Wend...
Miss Nighthawk,

How did you
kill your father?

I burned a lock
of father's hair

And cast the ash
upon the threshold

of the police

That time my spell worked.

I don't believe
for one second

that witchcraft
killed your father.


If witchcraft isn't real,
what judge will convict me?

What caused your rift
with your father?

I loved with the love
that dare not speak its name.

Persephone is your lover?

Father forbade me to see her.

But I disobeyed.

When I heard father ranting
about the witch in the woods,

I decided to
see for myself.


I liked what I saw.

Men fear Minerva.

It's better to be
feared than fearful.

But, since there's no
such thing as witchcraft,

I'll be on
my way.

Can we hold her?

I don't have a choice.

You've confessed
to killing your father

And we will find out
how you did it.

Until then,
you'll remain in custody.


I'm looking for
Elsbeth Nighthawk.

You must be the infamous
witch of the woods.

And you are?

I'm inspector Thomas
Charles Brackenreid.

My wife was quite taken
with the spectacle

you made of yourself
the other night.

Your wife sounds far wiser
than you, inspector.

If you pull another stunt
like that on my doorstep,

you'll end up
behind bars.

On what grounds?

Pretending to be a witch
is illegal in Canada.

I'm not pretending.


I've neither the time
nor the energy

to enlighten your tiny

So I'll just drop off
this parcel for Elsbeth

and be on my way.

What is it?

Just something wholesome
to fill her belly.

We don't allow outside food
to be given to prisoners.

First you steal my most
precious possessions.

Then you imprison my apprentice

And now you're
trying to starve her.

Our prisoners
are humanely cared for.

Up until they're
humanely executed?

Give elsbeth this food.

That'll be right.

I summon the powers
of darkness

to rip the scales
from this fool's eyes.

May his flesh tremble
and his mind reel

with visions
of azazel.

So mote it be.

Same to you
with bloody bells on!

So mote it be!

What are you lot looking at?
Get back to work!


Excuse me?


The other night,

You said something to me.


very true.

How did you know?

Empathy is one
of my gifts.

Pain radiates from you.

I don't know what to do.

I can't stop feeling
this way and my husband...

your husband
cannot help you.

I can.

A number of Minerva's potions
have proven to be poisonous.

And others had no
effect whatsoever.

Have you determined which was
used to kill Mr. Wenders?

Unfortunately, no.

None of these concoctions

produced the particular
constellation of symptoms

observed in
Mr. Wenders' death.

So your conclusion is...


Mrs. Hart,
there is no such thing.

He really dislikes
that response.

...And then,
as the years went by,

my sweet little boy
turned into a conniving,

angry young man.

And now,

Bobby's just...


I feel your pain.

I have suffered loss as well.

A daughter dead
in childbirth.

Well, you seem
to have recovered.

Would you like to know how?


I channeled my focus

on the flame of
a single white candle.

As the wax melted, I saw
that the core of my suffering

was not the loss itself,

But my response to it.

I am a good mother.

I don't understand
why this is happening to me.

Self-pity will cripple you.

Reject it.

Instead, channel your intent on
creating an outcome you desire.

- How do I do that?
- I'll teach you.

First, find a quiet place
where you will not be disturbed.

I've pondered the matter

and I fail to see a

between religion
and superstition.

There are obvious
distinctions, watts.

Such as?

Well, to begin with,
we have a set of...

You yourself subscribe to the
belief that a priest

can magically change
bread and wine

into the literal body and blood
of Jesus Christ,

which you then

I'm growing tired
of this debate, Watts.

What is your opinion on this,

Ah? Oh!


Stay back!



Get this serpent off my arm!

Get the what off
your which now?

Are you quite all right?

Oi, look out!


Handcuffs! Handcuffs!

Fetch Dr.
Ogden now!

His pulse is stabilizing.

The ipecac should have purged
whatever's left in your system.

Are you all right, sir?

I've never been so happy to
vomit into a bucket in my life.

What happened?

I don't know.

My heart was racing,

my muscles
went all tingly,

I saw things.

Horrible things.

Was there anything unusual
that you were exposed to?

Or that you consumed?

The sandwich.

A sandwich?

I didn't notice anything
off about it.

It was actually quite tasty.

I feel as if I've
heard of this before.


Here it is!

William, look!

These rye grains are
swollen and discolored.

Ergo, Ergot.


It's a fungus
that grows on rye.

When ingested

It can cause hallucinations,
convulsions, gangrene.

And with repeated exposure,
even death.

Could that be what
killed Mr. Wenders?

It's possible!

And wenders' claims
of seeing flying witches

and what have you.

Could be attributed to Ergot-
induced hallucinations.

You said you found dry gangrene
on his ears and toes?

As well as in the goat.

All the goats must
have eaten the rye.

Sir, who gave you
the sandwich?

It was the witch.

Miss West, why would you try
to poison elsbeth Nighthawk?

Poison Elsbeth?

That is a vile accusation.

The sandwich you brought her

was tainted with
Ergot-infected rye.

You then fed that
same tainted rye

to Mr. Wenders' goats,
killing them.

You also tricked Mr. Wenders
into eating it himself.

I don't understand.
I didn't do...

Our coroner found evidence
of Ergot poisoning

in Mr. Wenders' body.

Why would you then also try
to kill Mr. Wenders' daughter?


I would never harm Elsbeth.

I love that child.

She's like a daughter to me.

But the bread...

I didn't bake the bread!

Then who did?

Yes, I baked the bread.

What of it?

You used tainted rye.

You tried to
poison Minerva West.

Poison her?


I milled the flour from the
feed that was left

after father's
precious goats died.

I wanted to make
Minerva a gift,

to show my gratitude for
all that she has taught me.

I never thought...

Is she all right?

So, the old witch was trying
to poison the young witch?

Ah, no.

Elsbeth Nighthawk
baked the bread

and gave it
to Minerva West.

So, the young witch was trying
to poison the old witch?

Miss Nighthawk denies this.

She was shocked
at the accusation.

Might have been playacting.

I don't think so.

I believe she has genuine
affection for her...


Then Gunther wenders died of an
accidental Ergot poisoning?

That's possible.

It's not possible.

So, Gunther wenders
was not exposed to Ergot?

Oh, he was.
But it's not what killed him.

Are you quite sure?

He died of asphyxiation.

Ergotism causes many
of the symptoms he exhibited,

But not

So, we have no idea
what killed him?

We do have a theory.

Please don't say witchcraft.


Brought on by what?

A food intolerance.

Perhaps something
he ate in jail.

What's this about?

Your inmates are gourmets
all of a sudden?

We're not here to critique
your fine work, Verona.

I just need to know
if there was anything unusual

about the meal
you made that night.

It was the same goulash
I make every week.

But there was an incident
earlier that day.

Someone broke into the kitchen,
but they didn't steal anything.


What kind of cooking oil
do you use?

Vegetable oil.

That's not vegetable oil.

Soya oil has a strong odour in
its unrefined state.

And it's a common trigger
of anaphylactic reactions

in those who are
sensitive to soybeans.

Someone replaced the chef's
vegetable oil with soya oil.

Someone who
knew Mr. Wenders

would have a fatal
reaction to it.

I know you killed your father.

And I know how you did it.

You've finally come
to appreciate

the power of
the dark arts.

- Bravo.
- Greta!

Calm down, mother.

They can't convict me
of witchcraft.

That's the beauty of it.

Miss Nighthawk,
no one has ever killed anyone

with witchcraft.

You poisoned your
father and his goats

with tainted
rye grain.

I never fed his damn goats.

It's true.

Gunther fed them himself,

With grain that he scrounged

from the Millwright's
garbage bin, the cheapskate.

Father got that grain
from the garbage?

- When the Ergot didn't...
- Who is "Ergot"?

You can't invent your own
demons, you know.

When the Ergot fungus
didn't kill your father,

You exploited
his sensitivity.

My father?

Your father had a sensitivity
to soya oil.

That's what killed him.

No, it was the curse
I placed upon him.

The soya oil caused
his throat to swell shut.

My detective watched him die.

Lucky detective.

Miss Nighthawk,
have you no compassion?

Your father's death
was horrific.

His limbs seized.

He gasped and clawed
at his throat

in an attempt
to breathe.

And his face
went red as a beet?

His eyes bulged
from the sockets?

Miss Nighthawk?

One winter night,

You made us dinner.

Father took a few bites
and he started wheezing.

He turned blue,
thrashing for air.

He collapsed on
the kitchen table.

- And we thought he...
- Greta, be still.

You did this for me.

Thank you, mother.

Thank you.

Thank you.

When I learned
he could be released,

I thought this was
our only chance to flee.

You were planning to
leave your husband?

Gunther was a selfish,
cruel man.

A bully.

The way he treated Greta.

She only wants to be happy.

And if that girl makes
her happy, then...

I've been saving money to take
her away from that house,

but Gunther found it

and stole it
to buy those goats.

You knew of your husband's
sensitivity to soya oil,

so you snuck some into
the cook's pantry to poison him,

hoping the witch
would be blamed.

I did.

I'm glad he's dead.

Now Greta can be free.

Wound and winding

winding, wound.

Search the air,
the sea, the ground

until the one who's lost

is found.

Return to me.

Have you lost your mind?

- Leave me alone.
- What's come over you?

I am sick and tired
of waiting

for you to do
something about Bobby!

- Drop the knife!
- No! No!

I know something's troubling you!
Please! Let me help you.

Come here. Come here.
I can help you. I can.

Calm down. Shh.
I can help you.

- I want my son!
- Yes!

Let me go!
Let me go!

Sync corrections by srjanapala