Murdoch Mysteries (2008–…): Season 6, Episode 6 - Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom - full transcript
Det. Murdoch is surprised to be called into a meeting with Chief Constable Giles and the mayor of Toronto. They've received a film from someone apparently gassing his dog. The city has also received a demand for $100,000 - or the entire city will be gassed. Using some of the evidence found in the film, Murdoch is able to locate the site where the extortionist killed the dog and the police find evidence of a very powerful poison having been used. They think they've solved the problem when they find and dismantle a gas bomb but Murdoch determines that the extortionist likely has sufficient gas to create many such bombs. They decide to evacuate the city - and only then does Murdoch realize they have it all wrong.
- Detective Murdoch.
So good of you to join us. Please,
for the dramatics, but this
is something I'd rather keep
under our hats.
The mayor has received a
rather alarming package.
- From whom?
- That's what we need to find out.
The sender chose to remain anonymous,
for reasons you'll soon understand.
He's killed it.
What kind of disturbed
mind would do such a thing?
What's even more disturbing is
the note that accompanied it.
Please, read it.
"My cloud of doom comes with advice.
One hundred thousand is my price.
A lack of funds will seal my plan.
Today a mongrel, tomorrow man."
Right. Do we know who
delivered this package?
A street boy, an urchin. The
desk clerk will have the details.
Has anyone else touched this film?
Celluloid is quite impressionable.
We may still be able to raise fingermarks.
Excuse me, Detective, are you
telling me this is possible?
The film appears to be authentic.
I was hoping you'd talk some
sense into Chief Constable Giles
and tell me this is an elaborate prank.
As Chief Constable,
I'm entrusted with the
protection of the citizenry.
It's not a task I take lightly.
there are a number of gases
that are known to be deadly.
Some have been around for centuries.
We have to take this threat seriously.
If there's even a hint that the
lives of the citizens are at risk,
we must be seen to be taking firm action.
If word gets out, the
city will be in a panic.
No one will hear of this.
You have my word.
If we elect to dismiss this
threat, a man's life may be at risk.
Sirs, if I may...
"Today a mongrel, tomorrow man."
I believe the threat is intended for
the general public, not just one man.
We're looking for a boy.
Five-foot-two, red hair, last seen
at the corner of Portland and Wellington.
I want you to examine
every frame of that film,
looking for fingermarks. And
also, review the film itself
looking for reflections,
shadows, anything that might
help us find the location.
Sir, might I request that Higgins be
the one to review the moving picture?
He has a very sharp eye, and
that way I could help the lads
look for the street urchin.
Well, as you know, sir, I
am a dog owner myself, and...
What are you trying to tell me, George?
Sir, I think the contents of the moving
picture would not sit well with me.
All right, I'm sorry, sir.
Henry, let's get to work.
Have you seen this?
Mary Knowles is about to get the long drop.
Well, yes, sir. She did
murder her father, sir.
A sweet old clergyman. Shot
him right between the eyes.
Didn't even express a word of remorse.
There's definitely something
in the air, Murdoch.
A woman being hanged, some
crazy nutcase gassing dogs...
He may not be that crazy, sir.
You think that gas is
as deadly as it seems?
I don't know.
But I may know someone who can tell us.
Dr. Sanjay Prasad?
I hope I may be of some service.
Gases tend to be most
effective in enclosed spaces...
underground mines, bunkers,
that sort of thing...
so effective that last
year at the Hague Convention
a declaration was put forth banning
asphyxiating gases from warfare.
Which was rendered all but
useless when the United States
- and Great Britain refused to sign it.
But this is outdoors.
- Which speaks to its potency.
- Which speaks very loudly to its potency.
Right. Thank you for your help, Doctor.
- I'll be in touch.
If this moving picture is
real, this man has created
a whole new compound with
a capacity for destruction
the likes of which we have never seen.
What about his voice?
Did he have an accent,
or a stutter perhaps?
He didn't say much.
I guess he was Canadian.
- It's hard to tell.
- Was it was deep or thin?
The tenor of a young man, or old?
Was the man who gave you he package tall?
Was he short? Fat? Dapper?
Look at me when I'm talking to you, lad.
Sir, there's something you should know...
Oh, these little guttersnipes,
they like to shut down in
front of coppers, Murdoch.
Sometimes you have to show them the light.
That would be a stroke
of good fortune, sir...
seeing the light.
Are you getting fresh with me, sunshine?
- Sir, the boy is blind.
- Since I was wee, sir. Measles.
Carry on, Murdoch.
How horrible. Do you know what he used?
We are attempting to find that out.
I'm consulting with Dr.
Sanjay Prasad on the matter.
I know him by reputation, of course.
What did say about the moving picture?
He had much the same reaction as I did.
We are dealing with an unknown quantity,
and any attempt to assess
that quantity is paralyzed
by our lack of evidence.
All we have is a moving picture
of someone gassing a lone animal.
Not an animal, William; a dog.
- Dogs have become a symbol
of companionship in civilized societies.
The murder of a dog requires the same
cold-bloodedness as killing humans.
Yet dogs are put down every day.
In the name of science or mercy, perhaps,
but not to illicit money.
This man is callous and calculated.
You can't afford to be
anything less than keen.
It's hard to tell where he is,
sir. He's positioned the camera
such that we only really see
a 50-foot radius of his view.
It gives us no point of
reference on the horizon, sir.
It could be an alley, it
could be an abandoned lot.
Leaving us nowhere.
Sir, look at this shadow.
It runs along the ground
and up the wall here.
Now, at first we figured it
was just a large pole or a post,
but this orb-shaped thing
at the top threw us a bit.
I took the liberty of drawing
the image, sir, but, uh,
we could find no structure
to match its dimensions.
A tower, perhaps?
I highly doubt that, George.
What kind of tower would have
- a cantilevered bulge at the top?
- Well, I don't know sir.
But I think it has some aesthetic appeal.
Perhaps the orb at the top
is some sort of viewing area.
George, if such a tower existed in Toronto,
I'm sure we would know about it.
Yes, I suppose.
Without the orb,
and given that the shaft comes to a point,
what does that look like to you?
A church steeple?
And now let's say the orb is a
completely separate object altogether.
Um, Henry, roll the film forward, please.
Right. Now roll it back.
You see? The orb is moving.
- Well, I'll be.
what's round and moves in the sky?
See clear across Lake
Ontario to the Great Falls
and beyond! Reduce your peers
to the size of ants! Sir,
you can create memories
that will last a lifetime!
Detective William Murdoch,
Mr. O'Malley is it?
How often do your balloons go up?
Once an hour on the hour.
And how long have you
been at this location?
Are all of your flights tethered?
Ever since I took the children
up from Bishop Strachan.
How high does the balloon rise?
Just over a thousand feet.
Enough so that you can
see clear to Rochester!
- What exactly are we doing, sir?
- Again, George, we are
using the azimuth and elevation of
the sun to plot the balloon's shadow
across the city.
Now... 280.2. Right, then.
Hold the string at
precisely 23 degrees, George.
Sir, may I switch hands?
It's surprisingly difficult
to hold one's arm aloft
for a sustained period.
Just a moment, George.
The balloon's shadow goes straight
past St. Alban's Anglican Church.
My Aunt Primrose goes to that
church. It's quite nice. Mind you,
- the reverend is a bit of a...
are you holding the string
at precisely 23 degrees?
Oh, uh... yes, sir, 23 exactly.
Left behind by our friend
in the mask, I suppose?
So it would seem, George.
- What is it, George?
Look around you, sir.
This is where the mongrel lay.
Yes. The canister was placed here.
This is where the cloud was released.
Why would he remove the body?
I suppose the more complex the life
form, the more it could tell us.
This man doesn't want to
give away any of his secrets.
Mm. I guess we'll have to rely
on more primitive life forms.
How do you mean?
The gas killed everything in its path.
You see this weed?
The tissue has broken down,
draining it of life and colour.
And yet we are 50 feet from the canister.
Have you seen this type
of destruction before?
It's a common reaction to
a number of poisonous gases.
What's peculiar about this case is
the size of the canister relative
to the area of destruction.
- Any gas spreading with the same density
in a three-dimensional
space will be diminished
to the cube of the distance
from its the source.
Precisely. Which means a gas
that has X potency at 10 feet
will have 1/8 X potency at 20 feet,
1/27 X potency at 30 feet.
Until, at 100 feet from
the source, it will be
diminished to one thousandth
of its original density.
And yet, at 100 feet...
This gas maintains its
But just a few inches further...
and these weeds show no sign of necrosis.
Perhaps there was a shift in the wind.
Or this could be the boundary
of the compound's effectiveness.
The question is: what are its components?
- How is it working?
- Well, unfortunately,
a few crumpled-up weeds
won't tell us much.
As you suggest,
we'd do better to examine
more complex life forms.
If this is going to become commonplace,
I'll need a more-appropriately
Is this your first rodent post-mortem?
In a professional capacity, yes.
It appears as though
the lungs have ruptured.
This creature suffocated, and, by
the looks of it, quite violently.
This gas must have fatally interacted
with the proteins in the lungs.
We found affected rodents
over 100 feet apart.
I've never seen anything like it.
This is something new, a hybrid of sorts.
So, how does one find a gas
that is not yet known to exist?
Gases are compounds of existing elements.
If we were able to isolate
even one of the components...
We would have a better chance
of determining the others.
Yes, but we need to find
something this man touched
before the chemicals
turned into a gaseous state.
Right, George, could you
please switch off the light?
- The filter
blocks out all visible light but allows
ultraviolet light to pass through.
Which is exposing trace
phosphors on the glove.
Now, sodium hypochlorite
fluoresces like this.
Could common bleach be
one of the components?
Oh, sir, common bleach
can cause plenty of damage.
I was once trying to remove a stain
from the seat of my trousers...
I'd sat in a rhubarb pie that
my Aunt Hyacinth baked for my...
Ooh. It's not the bleach that's the vexation here;
it's the gaseous compound
that it has helped create.
So, what compound, when
combined with common bleach,
- will create our
so-called doom cloud?- Sir.
It's the mayor's office,
sir. You've been summoned.
Thank you for joining us, Detective.
The situation has been elevated.
Our blind urchin has
delivered another message
from our miscreant in
the mask. Read it aloud.
"The urchin knows the point of pay.
The information he'll relay.
Should my demands not be employed,
then Cabbagetown will be destroyed."
Respectfully, Mr. Mayor, are
we really going to give in
to some pompous lunatic with
a flair for playground rhymes?
The safety of the city
is paramount. We evacuate.
Do you realize what that entails?
Hundreds of homes, boarding houses,
six churches, two schools,
and the women's prison.
- And my own bloody station house.
- I'm sure, Inspector, that
you'd prefer an empty station
house to a full mortuary.
Evacuation's out of the question.
It will throw the city into chaos.
Murdoch, what say you to all of this?
The damage left behind at his test
site was worse than we had anticipated.
Exactly why we should take action.
Then every option should be on the table...
including giving in to the ransom.
With respect, Mr. Mayor,
you'll be opening the floodgates to
every crackpot this side of the Atlantic.
Thank you, Inspector. I'll take
your words into consideration.
I'm sure you will.
Thomas. You called for me?
Yes, yes, yes. Come in. Have a seat.
How are the children?
Uh, fine. Is something wrong?
I got to thinking: when was the last time
you took the boys to visit
Aunt Lizzy at the Falls?
It's been a while since they've
been on the Maid Of The Mist.
They've always enjoyed that.
What brought this up?
I overheard Higgins talking about it.
Apparently the weather's
going to be lovely.
Are you sure everything's all right?
Give your sister a call.
The money is to be dropped in a fountain
near the corner of King and
Tecumseth at precisely 4pm.
He said he'll be watching, sir.
And he told me to tell you
that if he sees any coppers,
the deal's off.
Is someone else here, sir?
Uh, yes, Riley.
I'd like you to meet Dr. Sanjay Prasad.
- Hello, Riley.
- Hello. - Riley,
if you recall, last time we met,
I asked you to engage your other senses
in the event that you
meet the masked man again.
- Yes, sir. And I did, sir.
- Very good.
In that case, Dr. Prasad
has a few questions for you.
Were you able to detect an odour
from this man, even a faint one?
- Yes, sir.
- Good. We have reason
to believe he's working with
some very powerful chemicals.
I have a few ideas, but I need your help
to narrow them down.
Too pungent. No.
These aren't even close.
It was much sweeter, like...
During the Civil War, a
New York school teacher,
John Doughty, proposed
the use of chlorine gas.
But it was deemed too inhumane for
warfare and never heard from again.
It was said to smell of
pineapple and peppers.
- Then our man has found a way to recreate it.
- Not just recreate,
but intensify its properties by a thousand.
And I'm not yet sure how he has done it.
But he's used chlorine gas as its base.
Precisely. And one of
the two major components
- of chlorine gas is bleach.
- And what's the other?
Ammonia, or formula NH3,
sometimes listed as hydrogen nitride.
Ammonia and chlorine?
There was a rather large order
that came down here last week.
Never seen the gentleman before,
so I tried to make small talk,
but he didn't take to it.
- Did he give you a name?
He was tall, dark hair,
American, if I recall.
Said he was using the canisters
to make fertilizer of some kind.
Ah, here we are.
A dozen 124-pound XP
canisters of ammonia NH3,
delivered to 83 Bleecker
Street. Is that correct?
Oh, yes. It was a whale of a job.
- Took me three trips.
- That's a lot of fertilizer,
especially for a city dweller.
Ammonia and bleach bottles.
There's dozens of them.
- This is empty.
- They're all empty.
We're too late.
The innards of a timepiece, sir?
Yes, George, one that's been modified.
He seems to have been working on
some sort of time-release mechanism.
Sir, do you think he's really
succeeded in building this...
I don't know, George. Just keep looking.
What do you make of all this, Dr. Prasad?
We have a dozen ammonia
and 20 canisters of bleach,
all empty. But what's more curious is
what must have been inside here.
This canister was pressurized, which means
the mystery compound is itself a gas.
And when combined with
the other ingredients,
creates a doom cloud.
You can't see it, and you can't smell it,
but it'll kill you. Incinerate you is
what I heard, leaving nothing but bones.
Our prayers have been answered!
On loan from Station 10,
the Fire Department have
generously offered us
some of their most modern technology.
Should the cloud of doom
make its way to Station 4,
we will be prepared. Behold...
the breathing masks!
Looks like ghoul masks. You
really think these'll work?
- It smells like wet dog.
- And there's only five of them.
- Well, we'll have
to share, I suppose, if it comes to that.
- Is there supposed to be a crack in this?
- A crack?
Look, we have nothing to worry about.
Do you honestly think
that the cloud of doom
could stand a chance against this?
Is it true that Cabbagetown is in danger?
I wouldn't pay much attention to
what the constables are saying.
It wasn't the constables who
brought it to my attention.
Why didn't you tell me?
We don't yet know if the threat is real.
But it could be.
It's too early to make that assessment.
Julia... everything will be fine.
You've been summoned again.
Ah, Detective Murdoch.
Would you like a pull, detective?
No, thank you.
A man of integrity.
That's why I called you
here in the first place.
Mayor Clarkson, if I may,
though your job may seem
impossible at the moment,
the people of this city need
you. Their fate is in your hands.
We have the money.
I've spoken with the treasury department.
They've emptied the coffers.
One hundred thousand dollars.
While negotiating with vermin
is a displeasing pill to swallow...
I will not endanger
the citizens of Toronto.
A wise decision.
And you're the man to
orchestrate the drop-off.
You must do everything in your power
to unmask this man in the process.
Do you understand?
Thank you, Detective.
and that fate of the city you mentioned?
It's in your hands now.
The money is to be put
in an unmarked oilskin bag
and placed in the fountain
at King and Tecumseth.
I want all constables to
maintain constant visual contact
with the drop-off point.
Any communications that you
wish to make will be handled
via the call boxes that we have designated.
Now, the man in question will
be picking up the package at 4pm.
It is imperative that
you are not recognized.
If he sees anything suspicious,
we will be placing the city
at extreme risk.
What do you think?
Pick it up! We're not leaving
a hundred thousand dollars
lying around on the street all night.
- He didn't show?
- What's his game, Murdoch?
I don't know, sir. We did what he asked.
Our men were invisible,
the money was there.
Why would he turn his back on his own plan?
I think... we could both use a drink.
Whoa! Here's comes trouble!
Come here, Bobby! Daddy!
We're going to Aunt Lizzy's
today, taking the Maid of the Mist.
- Why don't you come?
- I would love to, Bobby,
but your father has
got a lot of work to do.
But what about the doom cloud?
Oh, I wouldn't believe
everything you hear, John.
Besides, if there was a cloud of doom,
it would be no match for...
The Mask of Glory!
You see, this breathing mask will
keep your old man as right as rain.
All right, John, here's a few pennies.
Constable Burns will
take you for some sweets.
- Thank you, Father.
- Be good.
- Bye, Dad.
Sir, you do know that a mask
designed to filter out smoke is
likely to be ineffective against...
Of course I bloody know, Murdoch.
But let's keep that between ourselves.
No need to enlighten the constables.
There's a telephone call in
your office, right away sir.
- Detective Murdoch.
- I said no police.
We did exactly as you asked.
There were no officers present,
and every penny was delivered.
I saw. The deal was no police.
My price is now one million.
You have eight hour.
A million dollars?! Impossible!
Even if we wanted to, we
couldn't float enough bonds
- to cover the cost!
- What happened, Brackenreid?
How did he find out we were watching him?
I don't know, sir.
Our constables were in plain clothes.
They maintained a discreet
distance from the drop-off.
- We were careful.
- Ha! Not careful enough.
Maybe someone in the constabulary
is working with the fiend.
You mean someone from Station House n?4?!
I don't think this is about money.
Not about money? He's
asking for a million dollars!
Exactly. He knows the city
couldn't possibly pay that.
He seems determined to
carry out his threat.
To what end?
We're not the only city
he can hold hostage.
He wants to make an example of us.
My God. He could hold
the whole world to ransom.
It appears that we've just
located the cloud of doom.
Hidden in plain sight. Brilliant.
You say a child spotted this?
Bloody lucky he didn't
start mucking around with it.
Can we disable the timer?
The valve is electrically controlled,
but the power is keeping the valve shut.
Any attempt to interrupt the circuit
will allow the valve to spring open.
Can we manually close the valve?
Not without releasing
at least some of the gas.
We'd likely all be dead before we succeeded.
Look, the canister is pressurized
to 200 pounds per square inch.
If we were to put this in
a sealed drum... and drop it
to a depth where the
pressure would be equalized...
The gas would never be released.
Gentlemen... let's go.
Be careful, lads.
Seems we're attracting
a bit of a crowd, sir.
Right, George, keep them back.
I don't want to take any chances.
It's fine. It's fine. The
canister hasn't been breached.
Just get it on the wagon, Jackson.
To the bravest coppers this
side of the 49th parallel!
- Hear, hear!
Where's Detective Murdoch? He
should be enjoying his triumph.
He's not usually one for praise, Mr. Mayor.
Not joining us, Detective?
I fear the festivities
might be somewhat premature.
The canister has been safely sunk
to the bottom of Lake Ontario.
- One of them.
- How do you mean?
The lethal gas is comprised
of ammonia, bleach,
and a third component: compound X.
I've done the calculations five times.
The gas man procured enough materials
to create 25,000 cubic
feet of this deadly mixture.
And how large was your canister?
Two thousand five hundred cubic feet.
There may be as many as nine
other canisters out there.
It seems that the fate of the city
is back in your hands, Mr. Mayor.
- When do you believe these might go off?
- We have less than six hours.
Gentlemen, we have no choice.
We must evacuate the city.
The evacuation area is Gerrard to
Queen, Parliament to the Don River.
You've each been assigned a section within the boundaries
to make sure the public leave.
Crabtree, you're Section
A; Wilton to Sydenham,
with Sackville as your western boundary;
Jackson, you're Section B, Sackville to Sumach.
What is it, Higgins?
I'm just wondering about
the women's prison, sir.
- What, you can't handle a few slappers?
- It's not that, sir.
I'm just wondering if we should
give priority to the civilians.
Higgins has a good point, sir.
I mean, one of them is
scheduled to be hanged tomorrow.
It seems a bit counter-productive.
This is not the time
for armchair philosophy.
Now, you've all got your
areas. Get on with it.
Crabtree, a word. You might
want to check that your
medical kit is up to scratch,
if you know what I'm saying.
It is, sir. I checked it this morning.
Dr. Grace might want to check it herself.
She's in the morgue now,
but won't be for long.
Thank you, sir.
- George. What a surprise.
- I was hoping
I would find you here. So,
you're off, then, are you?
Yes. I've been stationed
outside the evacuation zone.
They're setting up an emergency
medical shelter. And you?
I'll be supervising the evacuation.
- Do you have your gas mask?
- Yes, of course.
There's plenty. One for
everybody, spares to boot.
All top-notch quality.
- How fortunate.
- So, this is it.
- This is it.
- Everything's going to be fine, isn't it?
- Everything's going to be fine.
I'd best be off.
I'll... I'll see you on
the other side, Emily.
Your attention please!
This is an emergency! Do not panic!
We need everybody to leave
their homes immediately!
Julia. There's an emergency medical
area just outside of the evacuation zone.
- They could use your help.
- And you intend to remain?
Well, yes. It's my duty. Now,
- you haven't much time.
- If you're staying, I'm staying.
We may not be husband and wife,
William, but I refuse to abandon you.
- Artie! Artie!
- Here we go, sir.
Come along. One foot in front of the other.
Oh, no, no, no! I can't!
Have you seen my little boy?
- Sir, we have to keep going.
If you stay here, you could
be dead in a couple of hours.
Aww, I survived the
rebellion, I can survive this.
Young man. Here, come with me.
Be sure to do the top.
We can't be too careful.
Ah. Do you really think
this is going to work?
I don't know.
But someone has to stay back
in case there's a phone call.
What are you doing here?
The trace on your telephone call, sir.
I'm sorry it took so long,
but all the lines were tied up.
I had to go to the exchange in person.
I'm afraid it won't be
much help, anyways, though.
- You didn't get an address?
- Well I did, sir, but it wasn't a residence.
The call came from a public telephone
at the Junction Exchange.
The Junction Exchange?
That's right beside the chemical plant.
Julia, have a look at the work order
from the chemical plant
and the ransom note.
Baskerville font. It's fairly common.
Yes, perhaps. But look
at the lowercase "t".
There's a distinct flaw.
Now look at the word "destroyed".
The "t" is identical.
What are the chances of
two typewriters having
the exact same flaw?
I must say, my heart is pounding.
Russell Boyes? Toronto
Constabulary! Open up!
Do you hear that?
It sounds like someone crying.
That's the dog from the moving picture.
- And he's very much alive.
- He's well-trained.
- Very well-trained.
It's a trick.
The whole thing was a trick.
He couldn't hurt a town; he
couldn't even harm the dog!
Then why go through such an elaborate plan?
I think I know why.
Mary Knowles is about to get the long drop.
He wants us out of Cabbagetown.
Move along, now! Let's go. Let's go!
Come on, move it.
Everyone leave! Now!
Put the canister down! Slowly!
This is your final warning!
Put this on!
Arrest that man!
There is no cloud of doom!
The effect is created
using harmless liquid fog!!
This was all an elaborate ruse
to spare your fianc?e the noose.
Isn't that right, Russell Boyes?
They can never keep us apart.
I love you.
It's all right, Russell.
It's all right.
Get in the wagon.
It was clever, I'll admit that.
You were a student of chemistry.
You simulated the effects of gas,
using bleach to kill the plants.
You suffocated rats in a
sack and scattered them about.
You used pineapple extract
to create the odour,
fooling even an expert like Dr. Prasad.
I couldn't just do nothing and let her die.
You turned a city upside-down to save
a woman who murdered her own father!
It's not that simple.
He did things to her.
That doesn't justify murder.
No, it does not. But she does regret
what she did, in spite of
what the press reported.
Never once did she defend
her actions at trial.
How could she?
How could she speak of things
that no one should hear?
And even if she did, who would believe her?
Mary Knowles may have suffered unjustly,
but that doesn't excuse your actions.
Be that as it may, it was all worth it.
How can you say that?
I had to show her that I loved her.
She needed to know that. I owed
it to her to let her know that.
Wouldn't you do the same, Detective?
So, you think she has a case for a retrial?
A stay of execution at the very least
while she undergoes a
If the poor woman suffered
trauma at the hands of her father,
she should be encouraged to
explain her actions in that light.
But do you think she would speak of it?
I don't know. But we must try.
Would you be willing to pay a visit
to the law courts with me?
However, time is of the essence, I'm afraid.
To spare a young woman's life?