Murdoch Mysteries (2008–…): Season 6, Episode 9 - Victoria Cross - full transcript

Detective Murdoch investigates the murder of a pawnbroker, Samuel MacGinnis, who was killed while working late one night in his shop. One of his clients, Louise Butler, witnessed the robbery but is traumatized and now finds herself unable to walk. Inspector Brackenreid meanwhile gets a message from an old army friend, Reg Pullen, to visit him in prison. Reg saved Brackenreid's life and the lives of several other soldiers and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery. He fell on hard times and into a life of petty crime and had his medal taken away. He arrives at the prison too late as his friend is found hanging in his cell. Dr. Grace however determines that he was actually strangled and then hung to make it look like a suicide. Murdoch and Brackenreid soon realize that their two cases are connected.

The gloves are worthless.

I'll take the dress, though.

Two bits.

Please. It cost near $3.

- My mother gave it to...
- To me it's worth two bits.

Accept it or not.

I'll even throw in this.

You can change behind there.

- You need some help back there?
- I'm all right.

As long as you're sure.

- Shylock!
- Get out of here.


Come on!

Hurry! She's getting away!

Over here!

- Ugh!
- Enough!

Let's go! Come on!

Why do you suppose he
was in here so late, sir?

I have no idea, George.

Well, maybe we'll get lucky, sir.

Perhaps somebody heard something.

In the alley?

Cordon off the area. We'll be right there.

I wonder who else was in here.

Sir, there's something in the
alley you should have a look at.

She was in the pawnshop.

- George. George, get a doctor!
- She's alive?

Just go, George!

- Where's he going?
- Miss.

- You're all right. Easy.
- Ah!

I can't move my legs.

I can't move my legs.

A guard found him about 20 minutes ago.

And why contact me?

Before he did this, he
was asking to talk to you.

Oh, my God.


Do you know him?

I did. A lifetime ago.

What would you like me to do?

Cut him down.

He was alive when I did my
rounds at four in the morning,

sitting upright on his bed, as I recall.

- How were his spirits?
- I didn't stop for a chin wag.

It's unusual.

Reginald Pullen was to
be released this year.

Why would he kill himself?

- Did he have any visitors recently?
- Never a one.

He told me that his wife
had died a few years ago.

- Lucille.
- Yes, I believe that was her name.

What were the charges against him?

Assaulting an officer.
He was found in a tavern

which was open illegally after hours.

- And he ended up in here.
- Five months ago.

Oh, he talked back to the
judge and got a longer sentence

than need be for his pains.

Hm. That sounds like Reg; suicide doesn't.

Ah. Self-murder is not so unusual
in a place like this, Inspector.

Remorse and despair are twin companions.

- Did Pullen have any particular pals?
- Potter, can you answer

- the inspector's question?
- No, sir. I'm afraid not.

You could try Hobson.

- Another prisoner?
- Just this do-gooder.

He works for an organization that helps
prisoners return to decent society.

He's got the use of the old library.

Thank you.

You could spend a couple
dollars and spruce this place up.

Or you lot could clean up after yourselves.

Are you quite sure, Miss Butler?

I didn't see him. I
didn't see anyone. I was

- behind the curtain changing.
- And yet, you escaped.

Is that what you call this? Escape?

Miss Butler, there was significant
damage to the pawn shop.

Are you sure there was just one man?

I've told you all I
know. I didn't see anyone!

Miss Butler. The detective
is only doing his duty.

The doctor says you're healing quite well.

I've tried to explain to Miss Butler
that there is no reason she cannot walk.

The knife did no damage
to her spinal column,

and no major internal organs were affected.

Then why can't I walk?
Why can't I feel anything?

Detective Murdoch.

Rest well, Miss Butler.

I regret to say she is malingering.

Why would she do that?

As long as she can claim
to be a victim of crime,

the hospital board will take pity on her.

She can stay here indefinitely.

Free room and board.

You've examined her thoroughly?

Yes. The knife wound is superficial.

She can't stay here much longer.

We have patients with real
illnesses who are in need of a bed.

George, I need you to canvass
the area around the pawnshop.

Of course.

Any news on the MacGinnis murder?

- Not yet, sir.
- What did they want with you at the prison, sir?

Nothing. Just a bloody suicide.

Open the door, Tom.

Come on, you've done it before.

I should let you bloody well rot in here.

Then leave me.

What do you expect, Reg?

I expect you to let me out of here.

So you can piss your life away?

The man deserved a beating.
He was picking on some

drunk old sot. I was evening the odds.

If you want to right the
world's wrongs, re-enlist!

What's so funny, Reg?

They wouldn't take me
back, even if I wanted.

They took my Victoria Cross.


Fist fight six months ago.

They took it away for that?

They said it was for dishonourable conduct.

I've fished you out of here too many times.


Please, Tommy.

Come on!

Bloody vulture he was.

Did Mr. MacGinnis have any enemies?

He certainly didn't have any friends

How did you get these wounds?

I fell down. Tripped on the stairs.

A truthful answer would
be appreciated, sir.

MacGinnis lent me money; he wanted it back.

So he did this to you?

He had people for that. When do we get

- our things back?
- They still belong to him.

- That ain't right!
- Well, I'm sorry, but that's the law...

This copper here says that MacGinnis
gets to take what's ours to the grave!

Get your batons ready. Get your
batons ready. All right, people,

break this up now!

When somebody is hanged,
the noose leaves a contusion

following closely along
the jaw line. However,

if somebody is strangled,
the bruising is much lower,

and almost invariably the
hyoid bone is broken...

as this one is.

He was strangled first and then strung up.

The belt was used for both deeds.

No man's would give his
belt up just like that.

- His killer must have overpowered him.
- He did.

Look. Beneath the hairline.

He was hit hard, by the look of it.

There are no defensive wounds
on his hands or his arms.

There was no struggle.

That could be why no one heard anything.

Stupid bugger.


Thank you, Dr. Grace.

So what is it exactly
that you do, Mr. Hobson?

I work with men who are soon
to be released into society...

give them a hand up, so to speak.

Mr. Pullen was just six months away.

- He was a good man.
- I wasn't talking to you.

That's enough, Mr. Walker.

I agree with Richard. Mr.
Pullen's death is a great loss.

You don't have to lie to me. I knew him.

Well, if that's your sense of
him, you didn't know him well.

I knew him bloody well enough.

And he wasn't this besainted fellow
you're all making him out to be.

Well, I suppose I should
expect a policeman's judgment

to be harsh, but I enjoyed his company.

And he was more good than bad.

That's all for now.


What can you tell me about Reg Pullen?

Piss off.

I suppose you don't know who
you're talking to, do you?

Later. Talk to me later.

Ah! That's enough! He's down!

Now back off!

Dr. Ogden?

Detective Murdoch.

What can I do for you?

I have someone who I believe has witnessed
a murder, but she refuses to talk to me.

She appears to be quite
literally paralyzed by fear.

What do you mean?

She has no use of her legs.

She can't move, even though
the attending physician says

there's nothing physically wrong with her.

Well, I'll see what I can do.

Shall we?

I'm sorry. Business to take care of.

Now, what can I do for you?

Reginald Pullen. It wasn't a suicide.


- It was murder.
- How?

I don't know.

- Another inmate, perhaps.
- Likely.

That said, I'd like to see an inmate

who wants to talk to me. Richard Walker.


- What's so funny?
- Well, of course he does.

Ever since Walker arrived, he has protested

his innocence against
all charges against him.

It's the usual nonsense some of them spout.

That's not what I'm here
to talk to him about.

It's a bit gloomy, isn't it?

Well, we're not running one
of Mr. Kellogg's sanatoriums.

How long do the buggers last down here?

Oh, it doesn't usually take
more than a night or two

before they see the error of their ways.

Good God.

I'll need him down at the city morgue.

Well, the cause of
death seems plain enough.

You've lost two prisoners.

Do you not want to find
out who was behind this?

Of course.

How'd the killer get
in? Aren't doors supposed

- to be locked in jails?
- It's an oversight.

You'd throw a man in
solitary and not lock him in?

How many of the guards
have the keys to that door?

I don't like your tone,
Inspector, nor your implications.

We're very careful with
the men we employ here.

Well, if you have any other
explanation, I'm all ears.

Right with you, Inspector.

Would you allow us some
privacy, Mr. Turnbow?

- You've heard about Walker?
- I have.

You know these men. Any thoughts?

I'm afraid to say it
could have been anyone.

- And why's that?
- Walker was a magpie.

He'd steal anything he'd see.

Men in here don't have much,
so you don't take what they got.

Mr. Hobson, according to the coroner,

Reggie Pullen was not a
suicide. He was strangled.

That's terrible.

But I don't know how I can help you.

You said you knew Reg.
Who were his enemies?

- He kept to himself.
- What about the dead man?

Walker palled around with Mr. Pullen,

but I didn't get the impression
Pullen had much liking for him.

I'd say tolerated at best.

Are you sure it was murder?

I'd appreciate it if you were
to keep all this under your hat,

Mr. Hobson. I don't want to
scare away my rabbit just yet.

Take your time, Miss Butler.

Have a look through the photographs

and tell me if you recognize anyone.

I'm sorry, Detective. I didn't see anyone.

Sometimes we see more than we think we do.

Now, please, if you recognize anyone.


No one at all.


Him. I can't be sure, but perhaps.

Miss Butler, I understand
how afraid you must feel.

But would you try something for me?

Just leave me alone.

I will, but first,

would you mind trying to move your legs?

I can't.

Please, indulge me.

You see? Now will you
please just leave me alone?

I'll ask the attending
physician that she be

transferred into my care.

Her medical evaluation seems sound, but
she is clearly suffering from something.

Thank you, Julia.

Do you think she recognized any of the men?

Only if Constable Higgins has
decided to become a murderer.

Sir, Mr. MacGinnis is a loan shark,

his shop little more than a front,

and there are more than a
few who would wish him ill.

Anything else?

Yes, I found the name of
one of his "persuader" types.

- Leeland Flowers.
- Right. Find him.

I have, sir. He's in
the interview room now.

I worked for MacGinnis when needed.

And what was the nature of your employment?

I made sure people lived
up to their obligations.

And if they didn't?

On the rare occasion that
a second visit was required,

most of them were able to find
the money one way or another.

Would any of these clients have reason

- to kill Mr. MacGinnis?
- Plenty had reason.

But I doubt if any had the capacity.

Are you proud of your work, Mr. Flowers?

Little different from yours, I suspect,

collecting on debts owed.

There are two wounds. The edges
of each are clean, not ragged.

The weapon was probably a regular knife

with a one-inch-wide blade,
about six inches long. Very sharp.

Both these wounds penetrated the heart.


Take a sniff, George.

What do you think it is?

It smells like soot.

It tastes like soot.

You're in the habit of tasting soot?

Well, my Aunt Ivy used to
lower me down the chimney

to clean it. At one point,
that was to be my occupation.


How's it going with the MacGinnis case?

Well, I have a witness who refuses to talk,

and a victim whom most
people are happy to see dead.

Sounds familiar.


Two men murdered in prison; no one
gives a toss about them, either.

I knew one of them.

Oh, I see.

Both men were killed inside locked cells.

Where do your suspicions lie?

With someone who holds a key.

Mm. All right.

You were the one who signed
Richard Walker into solitary,

- were you not?
- I was. And then I went off shift.

You were also the one who
found Reginald Pullen dead.


Before he died, Richard
Walker asked to speak

with the Inspector here. Do
you know what that was about?

Walker always wanted to
make himself look important.

A bit of bad luck, isn't it, Mr.
Potter? Two deaths in 24 hours.

There is no need to remind me. It
will be on my conscience forever.

Will it, now? Well, maybe
that's not such a bad thing.

Something to contemplate
while you're breaking stone

in Kingston Penitentiary.

I cannot be sentenced for a
crime somebody else committed.

What about Reg Pullen? Perhaps
you slipped into his cell,

knocked him unconscious,
and then strung him up.

There are 50 men on the
range that can vouch for me.

Prisoners vouching for a man
who holds a gun on them daily

doesn't really mean very much, Mr. Potter.

I must admit, sir, it's hard to think of
a reason why he would want to kill Pullen.

Perhaps he's bent.

Someone here is. Both
Walker and Pullen tried

to communicate with you before they died.

Something is going on here.

The man that I knew,

Reginald Pullen, he won the Victoria Cross.

Who would have guessed that
he'd end up in a place like this?

Who knows the path a
man's life may take, sir?

You go ahead, Murdoch.

Mr. Hobson, sir. A moment of your time.

- I was on the verge of leaving, Inspector.
- I'll keep it brief.

Ready to go?

As soon as I finish with Mr. Walker.

What is this reading we're going to?

Excerpts from a new novel,
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Tickets were dreadfully expensive.

Oh, I know this one. It's
marvellous. It's about

a little girl, Dorothy,
who's swept away from her home

in Kansas to a mystical
land where she encounters

three curious companions... there's a lion,

- a scarecrow, and this chap made entirely out of tin.
- George...

- They're looking for this
fearsome wizard only to discover

that he's nothing but a little tiny fellow.

I mean, I don't think the
point is that he's tiny.

I think the point is, you know,
things that we believe we lack are

already inside of us
just wanting to be found.

Thank you so much, George.

I've said too much.

Alert me next time you
intend to spoil something.

I'm sorry.


How unusual.

Oh, my goodness.

How did that end up in Mr. Walker's gullet?



I thought you good Samaritan
types were teetotal.

Exceptions to every rule.

Why do you bother helping the men in here?

I used to be one of them. Did three years

a long time ago. Then
I turned my life around.

- I see.
- I believe all men have it in them to be good.

They just need a nudge, like your friend.

We were pals, Reg and me.

I came out of the service,

found a wife, found the constabulary.

Reg lost his wife, lost his job,

lost everything that makes a man a man.

He was deeply ashamed of that,
especially losing his medal.

He told me many times that
winning it was his greatest day.

I was there. That night.

Two young lads off to see the world.

What better way than to take the
Queen's shilling and become soldiers?


Dust, dirt, hotter than Hades.

The night he won his Victoria
Cross, we were tending to a limber.

It was piled up with injured men.

We were target practice for the tribesmen.


Reg could have made a
run for it, but he didn't.

He brought that man back.

And then he went back into the line
of fire and brought back the rest.

I was the first man he pulled in.

He won his VC saving my life.

He lost it...

because I turned my back on him.

It's not a real eyeball,
of course. It's glass.

A real eyeball would be in a process
of dissolution from stomach acid.

- You found this in Richard Walker's stomach?
- Yes.

I also found this under
his fingernails. It's soot.

I also found traces of it in his hair.

What do you make of it, Murdoch?

That's the lot of them, sir.

And not one missing an eye.

If Mr. Walker went to such
trouble to conceal the eye,

he obviously didn't want anyone
to know it was in his possession.

Hm. You hold on to the damned thing.

Sir, perhaps Walker wasn't
the only one concealing things.

Sit back and close your eyes, Louise.

Please don't open your eyes.

I'm going to use a feather

to touch your leg.

And I'd like you to tell
me if you can feel anything.

Have you done it yet?

You felt nothing?


Our minds can persuade us and our bodies

that we have certain conditions
when in fact we don't.

You think I'm making this up?

- I think you can't walk because you're afraid.
- That's stupid.

That's just stupidity. Perhaps not.

There is a condition
called conversion hysteria.

People who have
experienced extreme fear can

sometimes become literally frozen by it.

I'd like you to think back
to what happened to you.

I told you, I don't remember.

You were in the shop when the man came in.

He shot the shopkeeper,

and then he realized that you were there.

I suppose.

You ran out. He gave chase.


And you saw nothing?

I was afraid for my life.

I understand that.

I've been afraid too.

Just leave me alone.

I can't walk.

I'm a coloured girl who can't walk.

But I need you to remember.

The man who did this,

do you know who he is?

I know what you're doing.

You think I'm stupid?

You're trying to trick me
into talking to the police.

- I'm trying to help you.
- No you're not.

You're trying to get me killed.

Let me see those, Murdoch.

Aha. There you go.

When you're a soldier,
Murdoch, you learn to find

a hiding place that you
can get to at any time.

Somewhere to stash your tobacco,

maybe some money, even a needle and thread.

Bloody hell.

Fifty dollars is a lot
of money for a prisoner.

It's a lot for a man anywhere.

- Come on.
- Who's there?
- Hurry!

Kill her!

Ah! Ahhh!

What you saw was a doctor doing his rounds.

What was in his hands?

He was simply checking
the dosage of a syringe.

You can't live the rest of
your life like this, Louise.

I have no choice.

You do.

I know you're holding something
back. You have to let it go.


I still won't be able to walk.

My life will still be over.

You don't know that.

If you can help Detective
Murdoch, you may be able

to free yourself from your fear.


Louise, I know you can do this.

You have news, Julia?

She saw three men, and she can identify
the one that pulled the trigger.

Oh, very good. When can I speak with her?

Not right now, William.

Reliving the event was most traumatic.

I've given her a sedative.

- Is everything all right?
- Oh... I'd suspected

that her paralysis was due to her fear,

and I'd hoped that if
she relived the event...

Oh, I'm sorry, Julia.

It's days like this that
make me miss the morgue.

There your patients never
know you've failed them.

Inspector, how goes the good fight?

Still at sixes and sevens, I'm afraid.

You counsel these men, do you not?

- If they request it.
- And not one has acted

the slightest bit
unusual since the murders?

A few of them are wondering
if they will be next.

But these are hard men. They've
lived most of their lives

- with violence.
- How about the guards?

Most are a good lot, but some
are no better than the prisoners.

What about Potter?

I don't know him very well, but few
men in here hold any grudge against him.

Thank you.

Tell the inspector I'll be delayed.

I have to interview a witness to
the MacGinnis murder. Thank you.


You should talk to this chap
I've brought in. I believe

we might have something
belonging to him, sir.

I heard you have my eye.


I have an eye.

Let me see.

- That's mine.
- He pawned it

- at MacGinnis' shop.
- Could I have it back?

The ladies say I've
lost my looks without it.

He does still owe some money on it, sir.


The moment this case is resolved,
I'll see it's returned to you.


Strange, sir, how that man's

eye ended up in another chap's stomach.

What's even more strange,
George, is that "chap" was

supposed to be in prison
at the time it was stolen.

As I say, I don't know Mr. Browning well,

but he does live high off
the hog for a prison warden.

- Hm.
- Inspector.

Murdoch. Did your witness shed any
light on who killed our Shylock?

Not yet. She's still in Dr.
Ogden's care at the asylum.

Then why are you here?

Well, sir, I have reason to believe

we may be working on the same case.

These items were found in the
possession of the two dead inmates.

- Any explanation?
- The two were thieves.

Your records indicate

that no inmates in custody are
in need of such a prosthetic.

Well, perhaps it belonged to Walker. A...

lucky charm of some sort.

That he carried around in his colon?

And what about the bloody money?

Are prisoners in here
routinely in possession of $50?

I don't know the worth of
every man's personal effects,

sir, but if this amount of
money was stolen from a prisoner,

it would account for
Pullen's murder, would it not?

If I may, sir...

have a look at the bills.

The dates.

May of 1900.

Printed long after Reginald
Pullen was sentenced here.

How could he have come
into possession of them?

Well, someone from the
outside gave it to him.

Bollocks! You said yourself
Reg received no visitors.

Then he stole it from
a prisoner with money!

The more likely explanation is

that the two men escaped from prison,

and were likely involved in a robbery

that took place at a pawn
shop a couple of days ago.

Escaped? Well, then why
the devil would they return?

Maybe you run a nice
establishment. I don't know.

Convenient place to hide out from a crime.

And certainly the last place we would look.


the guard who was on duty for both deaths,

he had access to all the cell keys.

Would you like to remind us
again how well you vetted him?

Follow my lead, Murdoch. You, out!

You were the last man to
see Reginald Pullen alive.

You were also the guard who assigned
the second victim, Walker, to solitary.

Good thing too. He attacked you.

He wanted to talk to me.
But you put him in solitary

and he was dead before we
could have our little chat.

I wonder what he would have told me.

A lie. That's what prisoners tell. Lies.

We all tell lies, Mr. Potter.

May I see your knife?

My knife?

The one you had readily on hand
when you cut down my friend.

Detective Murdoch?

You remember Detective Murdoch, do you not?

And you're aware of his reputation?

Detective Murdoch specializes in evidence.

He uses all kinds of geegaws and devices

most coppers have never even heard of.

Your knife here, I suppose he
would be able to tell in due course

whether it was used in
the commission of a crime.

- Isn't that right, Detective?
- It would be,

as the Americans say, easy as pie.

You see, I can detect even
the most remote trace of blood

on this knife, even in the leather sheath

that you holster it in. Failing that,

I have an ultraviolet
light that's capable...

That's enough, Murdoch.

He does go on.

So, who is going to tell
me this knife was used

in the commission of a crime?
You, or Detective Murdoch?

- It was used in the commission of a crime, but I didn't do it.
- Who did?

- A prisoner. Nathan Turnbow.
- Which crime?

The murder of Richard Walker,

or the stabbing of Louise Butler
behind MacGinnis' pawnshop?

- I only know about Walker.
- What about my mate Reggie Pullen?

Mr. Potter!

Look, I only opened the door
for them, that's all I did!

Under whose instruction?

- Nate Turnbow.
- You took orders from a prisoner?

A prisoner who knew where my family lives.

A prisoner who seemed to
be able to travel at will.

Yeah, I took orders from him.

How did they get out of
the prison, Mr. Potter?

I don't know.

They got out of here somehow, Potter.

You'd best tell me how.

It's soot. I also found
traces of it in his hair.


Come with me.

You'd better stay put.

What are we doing on the
bloody prison roof, Murdoch?

Dr. Grace reported finding
soot on prisoner Walker's body.

But the plans say the
chimneys have been blocked off.

Yes, well, that's what they say.


You could blend in more easily
on the outside wearing these

than prison garb, wouldn't you say?

Have a look at where this one leads to.


That prisoner, Turnbow.
He was in the library.

He was there.

He heard me talking about the
witness. He knows where she is!

You go. I'll handle this one.

You two, get out. Huh?

- Are you deaf?!
- Ah! Sorry, sir.

Inspector Brackenreid.

Sit down and shut up.

You are telling the truth
about one thing, Hobson:

you are dedicating your
life to helping prisoners.

- You're confused.
- Am I?

They got out through the bloody chimney.

- I had nothing to do with this.
- Men you knew!

Men you supposedly counselled!

You're going to spend the rest
of your life in this place.

I doubt that.

You have no proof that I was involved.

Oh! Ugh!

That was for Reg.

You killed him. A military man. A war hero!

A thief and a drunkard.

Ha! Ha! Keep going, Inspector.

The more you hurt me, the better it is.

Why did you kill him? You knew what he was.

You knew the things he'd done.
He was going to go to the law.

- He was trying to talk to you.
- And you couldn't have that,

could you? What about MacGinnis?

Between you and me, he owed me money.

- Nothing more?
- That was enough.

- We've got a bloody witness.
- Are you sure about that?

I thought you said the
detective was coming.

He'll be here.

I don't know about this.

Detective Murdoch will find
the man. He always does.

Let me see what's keeping him.

Look out!

Look out! Look out! Police!

Yes, well, please let
Detective Murdoch know

that Miss Butler is waiting
to talk to him. Thank you.

No. No, please, please, no.

I should have finished you!

Let's go!

- What?
- Move!
- I can't!

If you don't, you die
right here and now! So move!

- Dr. Ogden...
- Not now.


Are you all right?

Yes, William.


Louise, it's over.

Thank you for talking to Detective Murdoch.

I know that must have taken courage.

You spoke to my employer?

Yes, and he is awaiting your return,

- and happy to have you.
- Thank you.

I'm sorry.

Every little thing startles me.

Getting over trauma can take time,

but soon this will all be a memory.

I hope so.

I'll be by to call on you.

Thank you.

There she is.

Come on. It's over here.

This way.

Sir. Mr. Turnbow confirmed Mr.
Hobson's involvement in the crimes.

Do we have anything beyond his word?

We served a warrant on Mr. Hobson's home.

It seems he'd accumulated a small fortune.

We found stolen goods from at least
three previously unsolved robberies.

Between that and Mr. Turnbow's testimony,

they should both see the noose. Good.

So, how did the eye end
up in the bloke's stomach.

Mr. Turnbow fed it to him.


the Prince of Wales has said that any man

who wins the Victoria Cross should keep it,

even if he's to be hanged.

The Prince of Wales said that?

That's as it was reported.

Food for thought.

Your Royal Highness...

I am writing to you on behalf of
Master Corporal Reginald Pullen.

He was stripped of his Victoria
Cross for meritorious service.

I am asking that you consider
a posthumous reinstatement...