Murdoch Mysteries (2008–…): Season 8, Episode 18 - Artful Detective - full transcript

During a hunt for a killer who collects macabre trophies, Murdoch becomes a target.

Go on! Go on!

Anything of use, Henry?

I didn't see much, sir.

The man who ran away was of medium build,

long black coat, but I didn't see his face.

Sir, looks like his throat's been slit.

If it had, there'd be significantly

more blood. I suspect we'll
find he's been garroted.

It's a new one for me, sir.

- Good God!
- What is it, sir?

It appears to be a human thumb.

Definitely garroted.

Knee to the back and wire pulled tight.

- Silent and effective.
- I don't believe

the traditional method was used, Inspector.

This wound suggests that
a similar force was applied

all the way around the neck,
except for this one inch

at the back. The area is bruised

as though something was pressed against it.

- Some kind of device?
- Perhaps a wire loop

attached to a pole of some sort.

And the thumb you found in his
pocket was severed recently.

- Pre or post mortem?
- Yet to be determined.


I know this scumbag.

- "William McCann."
- Billy McCann is what

he went by. He's was a
low-life, worked for Bernie King.

- "The bookmaker."
- Yeah. King never does

his own dirty work. Prefers
to swan around his club.

Sirs, there's been another murder.

Is he dead?

Move along, young lady.
There's nothing to see.

- Oh, my God!
- Madam, thank you.

Dr. Grace, what have we?

He was found by the gardeners
this morning. He was beaten.

I have detected six blows.

This one to the head
here was likely lethal.

- So a beating then?
- Yes, but

- this was no random killing.
- What makes you say that?

He is missing a thumb.

- Oh.
- We've a man with a thumb

to spare lying in the morgue.

- "Professor Gideon Galbraith."
- What's a professor's thumb

doing in the pocket of a known felon?

- Afraid so.
- You make sure that...

No doubt you can explain this, Murdoch?

It's statistical notation, sir.

He seems to be combining
Bayesian theory of probability

and Galton's regression formula.

So that's what they're up to these days.

- They, sir?
- High-forehead types.

Hmm. I believe his motives

may have been more
practical than academic, sir.

He's been tabulating race results.

He was gambling.

I think he was looking for a way

to statistically determine race winners.

He had a system, did he?

Not something a bookie would appreciate.

You're thinking what I'm thinking?

We should pay Bernie King a visit.

Good day, gentlemen. You
chaps wouldn't be playing

- for money now, would you?
- Inspector Brackenreid.

- Always a pleasure.
- Murdoch,

meet Bernie King, the biggest bookmaker

in Toronto. No need for flattery.

And I can assure you this
is a game amongst friends.

We're here about your boy, McCann.

We found him this morning with
a severed thumb in his pocket.

- Good Lord!
- The thumb belonged to a murder victim:

Gideon Galbraith, a mathematics professor.

- One of your clients perhaps?
- I know Mr. Galbraith.

We understand he invented

a system for predicting race winners.

He may have thought he had

a system. That would explain
why he bet so heavily.

- He didn't win?
- Let's just say his losses...

exceeded his winnings.

He owed you money. Maybe
that's why you had him killed.

Gentlemen, it would
hardly be in my interest

to kill someone that owed me money.

- It would if they couldn't pay.
- People can always pay.

They may not be able to
pay all at once, but...

arrangements can be made,

methods of persuasion brought to bear.

Such as sending one of your
low-lifes to cut off his thumb.

Except Mr. McCann got a
little overenthusiastic

and killed him. This seems a matter

you should discuss with Bill McCann.

Unfortunately, Mr. McCann is also dead.

- He's dead?
- Oh, don't look so surprised, Bernard.

I reckon you couldn't have
McCann crying into his beer

over a murder that was tied
to you, so you got rid of him.

Well, you seem to have it all worked out,

so let me just say this: if Bill
McCann cut off anyone's thumb,

it wasn't at my behest and I
had nothing to do with his death!

And if you two think otherwise
you had best make your case.

So until then, good day, gentlemen.

- What have you, Doctor?
- I compared the thumb we found

in Mr. McCann's pocket with the remnant

on Professor Galbraith's
hand. It didn't match.

- It didn't match?
- The detached thumb is indeed

from a right hand, but
the size is different,

as was the angle of the cut.

You mean there's someone else
out there missing a thumb?

What the hell is going on, Murdoch?

I don't know, sir.
Clearly, these two murders

must be related somehow. I'll have George

look into McCann's last movements.

George, we just received a call

about a domestic disturbance
in St. John's ward.

A neighbour's complaining about
a ruckus in the house next door.

Well, you see to it, Jackson.
I'm in the middle of something.

The address is 114 Agnes Street.

I just thought you should know.


Simon? Edna?

Go away, George.

What did he do?

Show me.

You can't do anything, George.

Edna, let me see, please.

Oh, for the love of God...

I've never seen him
like this before, George.

Where's Simon?

He tried to help me and, and...

Archie turned on him, and he ran away.

You can't be here, George.

If Archie comes back, he'll kill you.

He'll kill me?! After what
he did to you he'll kill ME?!

- And he'll kill me too.
- No. I'll never let that happen.

Now, is there somewhere you can stay?

- No.
- You'll stay with me.

No, George. Please.

He could be watching us right now.

If he's not watching us,
then the neighbours are.

Alright, lock the door.

If he returns, I want you to go
out the back and come straight

to the Station House. Promise me.

Edna, I'm not gonna leave
until you promise me!

I promise.

He will never lay another
finger on you or Simon again.

That's my promise to you.

Thank you very much.

- George!
- Doctor.

I hear congratulations are in order.


- Your promotion to detective.
- Oh, yes. Thank you.

I apologize, Doctor, I've
not been myself today.

Yes, I did hear about
Edna's husband coming back.

- I'm so sorry, George.
- It's become more complicated

than that now, I'm afraid.

Things are really upside down right now.

Well, if you ever need to talk,

my door is always open.

I appreciate that, Doctor,

but I believe this is something
I'll have to settle on my own.

Perhaps the thumbs are trophies.

You think this could be the
work of a sequential killer?

We do have two confirmed
murders and a thumb

- suggesting a third.
- Hmm...

Sir, pardon the interruption.

Another body's been found off Duchess Lane.

That's just around the corner.

Owner of the thumb perhaps.

Sir, his name is Ronald Richards.

His wife reported him missing last night.

Apparently he's an
exterminator. Pests and vermin.

Rigour has subsided. He's
been dead at least 12 hours.

That's longer than the other two.

George, can you arrange for
transportation to the morgue?


Mr. Richards was the first
of our three victims to die,

by an hour or two perhaps.

He was strangled with some force.

And the thumb, Doctor?

It's a match.

I don't understand why
whould someone kill him?

No enemies?


He never said an angry word
against anyone. Even his boss.

Why would he have reason
to be angry with his boss?

He was let go from his job last month.

He had a bad ankle.

Couldn't climb the stairs no more.

But he was the best exterminator around.

How did he earn his living?

He didn't.

I got work cleaning.

Mrs. Richards, did your
husband ever gamble?

No. He was very careful with his money.

No connection between
Richards and McCann then?

- None that I can see.
- Sirs.

I looked into Mr. Richard's
affairs as requested.

I did find something unusual.

Just last week,

he took out a sizable life insurance policy

with a double indemnity in case
of accidental death or murder.

Just last week? What's the payout?

2000 dollars.

Small fortune. Do you
think the wife did him in?

I don't think so, sir. She
seemed genuinely heartbroken.

- Perhaps he got McCann to kill him.
- Possibly.

Though, it's one thing to
arrange for your own murder;

yet another to arrange to
be one of three murders.

- And why the thumbs?
- A timeline seems

to be developing. Our
killer, possibly McCann,

first kills Mr. Richards,
followed by Professor Galbraith.

And then McCann gets garroted.

- Sirs.
- Don't tell me...


It appears the killer doesn't discriminate.

- Crikey!
- She was opened from hip

to sternum by a large blade.
Possibly a hunting knife.

It's the same killer all right.

Fourth body in 24 hours:

either deficit or surplus in thumbs.

Copy of The Racing Sheet.

Cigar cutter.

I assume these belonged to her?

They were here when she was found.

A cigar-chewing gambler
who liked to shoot arrows.

Rather sorry I never got to meet her.

If she was an archer,
perhaps Julia knew her

Her name was Mildred Abernathy.

She was our top archer.

- One of the Abernathys?
- Indeed.

So, no need of money then.

And nothing in common
with the other victims.

Except for the missing thumb.

Is it always the thumb of the right hand?

So far.

Ritualistic perhaps, another
mark of a sequential killer.

Yes, but the choices of victims

and methods of killing are so different.

And how did one of his
trophies get in the pockets

of one of our victims?

Perhaps Mr. McCann is
our sequential killer.

And someone then killed him?

Yes, but McCann's murder was different.

His thumb wasn't taken.

Perhaps someone knew what he was up to

and decided to stop the madness.

Dr. Grace, we need to know

if Miss Abernathy was
killed before Mr. McCann.

You'll have a time-of-death
estimate shortly.

Hey, I don't get it.

Sir! I think you dropped the wallet.

Back to old habits are we?

Simon, I know you tried
to help your mother.

- Yes, for all the good it did.
- Where's your father now?

I don't know.
- Simon, your father can't...

He needs to be apprehended
and punished for what he did!

And then what? You catch him,

- he goes to jail, and he gets out. You can't fix this.
- Simon!

You're the reason this
happened! Just leave us alone!

I have a time of death
for Mildred Abernathy.

She was killed within the past five hours.

After McCann was already dead.

So he can't be the killer.

Right. So we have a common thug,

an exterminator, a mathematician,

and a wealthy heiress. What connects them?

Two of them liked to play the ponies.

Yes, but two of them didn't.

Three of them needed
the money but one didn't.

There's no common denominator.

Crabtree, where have you been?

Dealing with a personal matter, sir.

Sod your personal matters!
We need you on this case!

I'm on this case, sir, that's why I'm here.

We've just received word.
Another body's been found.



He was found by a resident
of the boarding house.

- Any witnesses?
- Not as yet.

"Horace Blechman." An inventor, it seems.

"542 Wilton Avenue."

That's just down the street.

Crabtree, you and Higgins
ask around. It's a busy area,

there has to be witnesses. Sir.

- Missing thumb.
- Hmm...

I have to cancel our
dinner plans this evening.

But I had something rather special planned.

I'm sorry. I'm expecting another body. I...

This is very unusual.

Oh, it's just so exciting, I can't wait.

I just received a letter
from a close friend

of mine in London,
England. A friend of hers,

Mrs. Pankhurst, is
forming a suffragette union

and she's just put out a call
for international supporters.

Oh, that's wonderful.

Yes. Think of it, Emily.
London will set the tone

for the rest of the world.
They'll have a real influence.

Going there to join them could
be the adventure of a lifetime.

- Going there?
- Together.

Why, you certainly know how
to take a girl's breath away.

Perhaps a change of scene would be welcome.

You're up to your elbows
in blood and entrails.

- Yes, I know.
- Well, don't you agree

- it's a thrilling prospect?
- Of course, but I...

Wonderful! We'll discuss
it when you're done here.


Thank you, sir. If you hear
of anything else, let us know.

- Any luck?
- None.

Can you imagine five murders
in the space of one day?

This puts us in league with
London or New York even.

Oh, that's wonderful, Higgins.
A first-class city at last.

- Is everything alright, George?
- Everything's fine, stop asking.

It's the first time I asked.

You go back to the station
house; I'll finish up here.

Suit yourself.

What is all this, Murdoch?

Sir, I believe Mr.
Blechman aspired to create

a train that levitated by
means of magnetic repulsion.

A train that floats in the air?

Bloody ridiculous! Man was crackers.

Yes, well, you aren't

the only one that thought
so. It appears he was trying

to get funding for this
invention without much luck.

"We regret to inform you that we are not

presently interested in your invention.

Regarding your letter
requesting capital funds,

we wish to thank you for
your interest, but... "

Rejection letters. He
was a poor man's Pendrick.

So it would seem.

Murdoch, here's another
copy of The Racing Sheet.

Yes. Sir, do you think it's possible

that he was gambling to raise the money?

Well, that's interesting.

He's placed a bet on the
seventh race at Woodbine.

- What's interesting about that?
- Well, there is no seventh race at Woodbine.

Horace Blechman placed a bet
on a race that doesn't exist.

- Excuse me.
- Sorry, I'm locking up here.

Detective Murdoch, Toronto Constabulary.

- Your name?
- Arnold Paulson.

Is there a problem?

Yes. Mr. Paulson, do you
print this race sheet?

Yes. Today's issue's done
and dusted. I'm off to my bed.

How and when do you receive
the details for each race sheet?

It comes by one of the street
boys they use as their runners.

Right. Mr. Paulson, how do you explain

the presence of a non-existent
race in your paper?

The seventh race at Woodbine.

Oh, that. Yes, it's strange, I know.

Two nights ago, a second
envelope was delivered

just before my deadline.

It contained the horses to
that seventh race along with $5.

- So you printed it?
- Who am I to turn down $5?

Right. And did you receive a
similar envelope last night?

I did. I assumed it
was a lark of some kind.

Mr. Paulson, may I have a
copy of today's Racing Sheet?


So the seventh race at
Woodbine is listed once again,

but this time there are only four horses.

There were nine yesterday.

So five fewer today.

A coincidence that there are
five bodies in our morgue?

Could you please list off
the five missing horses?

"Rat Trapper."

That would be Ronald
Richards, the exterminator.

"Jailbird" is likely our friend McCann.

- McCann.
- "Artemis."

The goddess of the hunt!

Mildred Abernathy, the archer.

Murdoch, "Pythagoras."

Professor Galbraith, the mathematician.

That leaves only one.

Horace Blechman, the inventor.

"Butcher's Gaff.

"Soldier Boy. Twisted Oliver.

Big Game Hunter. Dare to Dream."

Dare to Dream. Suits that man to a tee.

All those daft projects he was working on.

Horace Blechman, inventor.

What have you, George?

Sir, I looked into Miss
Abernathy as you requested.

It seems her apparent wealth was just that.

She was in debt up to
her ears from gambling.

One roulette game away
from penury, it seems.

We have our common denominator:
they were all in need of money.

Perhaps this isn't the
work of one or two killers.

Could the victims be killing each other?

I suppose.

McCann killed Richards.

He had the thumb in his pocket.

Blechman was an inventor.

Perhaps he invented the garroting
device that killed McCann.

That's very good, sir. That would explain

why Blechman had Jailbird
checked off in his Racing Sheet.

That's a very good thought,
Julia. The question is why?

Could they all be contestants
in some kind of murderous game?

A fight to the death, like gladiators.

Well, they are all in need of money;

perhaps if the prize
is a significant sum...

To be claimed by the last
man or woman standing.

What about the severed thumbs?

- Sir, proof of their kill.
- Thumbmarks,

which is why it was taken
only from their right hand.

If we're right about this,
four contestants remain:

"Butcher's Gaff, Soldier
Boy, Twisted Oliver,

Big Game Hunter."

Right, George, we'll
stake out the print shop.

We'll apprehend whoever
delivers the envelope tonight.

Yeah. No, I got it.

You're late, George. What kept you?

Oh, does it matter, sir?
I'm almost never late.

And you aren't wearing
your police-issue boots.

I... I... I stepped in horse muck
just outside my boarding house.

I didn't have time to clean
them. If I'd cleaned them,

I'd be more late than I am now!

Is everything all right, George?

Yes, sir. I apologize for my tardiness.

Here we go.

You there!

Toronto Constabulary! Give me that.

- Who gave you this?
- The race manager, sir,

from the Woodbine Race Track.


It's legitimate race information.

No seventh race. I suppose we wait.

We wait.

Sir, I apologize for
snapping at you earlier.

I've been wound fairly tight lately.

- That's alright, George.
- No, it's not, sir.

- We may never work together again and I...
- You're anticipating your move

to Station House Number 3 of course.

I just want to thank you, sir,

for your counsel and...
for your friendship.

It's been invaluable to me.

And whatever the future brings...

... I'm glad to have served
under you these years.

We may not always work together, George,

but we'll always be friends.

Right then.

- No seventh race tonight.
- You've already begun printing.

Be done in an hour if you want to wait.

- Hmm.
- What do you think sir?

Thank you. Let's go home, George.

We'll try again tomorrow.


Have you noticed George
acting a bit strange lately?

William, you have to
give him a little leeway.

George is dealing with
difficult matters of the heart.




Alright, Doctor, I'll be right there.

Another murder?

Another two.

- I'm coming with you.
- That's not necessary, Julia.

I'm sure Emily could use my help.

It appears Miss Abernathy
was not only a victim

but also a killer.

- His right thumb is missing.
- She had a cigar cutter in her purse.

- An efficient tool for the job.
- Good gracious!

I always thought Mildred so genteel.

But she was died before
this man's body was found.

He was killed at least 24 hours ago.

He was found early this morning
in his cold storage room.

- Cold storage?
- In a butcher shop.

- That would make him Butcher's Gaff.
- And what of the other body?

Male approximately 30 years old.

He was shot several times.

Time of death between 9 and 11pm.

Sir, this tattoo,

that's a regimental crest,

so this could be Soldier
Boy. Indeed, George.

But his thumbs are intact.

Well, perhaps his assailant shot him

and was then interrupted before he
could retrieve his proof of kill.

- Similar to the McCann murder.
- Exactly.

Julia, it appears we have
the body of Soldier Boy here.

Two more down, two to go.

Thank you.

Paper! Get your paper!

I'll pick up a copy of
this morning's Racing Sheet.

Oh, don't bother, Julia.
I spoke with the printer;

he said that there is no seventh race.

I'll get one anyway.

William, look at this.

There is a seventh race at Woodbine listed.

- There is?
- With a new entry.

- "Artful Detective."
- Artful Detective...

Ah! William!


Oh, my goodness!

Did you see that?

He's dead.

William, what on earth just happened?!


I believe I may be the Artful Detective.


- What?
- Have you brought in

Mr. Paulson yet from the printing shop?

Sir, he's gone. His place has
been completely cleared out.

He's nowhere to be found.

Right. Join us, please.

"Artful Detective"? I'm not
quite sure about the artful bit.

They must have thought it made
for a better "horse's name."

"They," sir?

Whoever's responsible for this "game,"

which includes the printer.

They must have thought that
you were getting too close,

so they've thrown you into the
game without your knowledge.

- Not quite cricket.
- Yes, and now the printer

has disappeared along with our best lead.

If you are in the game,
get yourself to the armoury.

Don't want you taking any chances.

Sir, if we are to find
out who's behind this,

we'll need to capture our subject alive.

Well, how the hell are we gonna do that?

I invented this some time ago

but it proved to be somewhat
cumbersome for daily use.

What is that?

It's a weaponized capacitor!

It delivers an electrical
shock by way of these darts.

- Sort of like an electric gun?
- Exactly.

It overwhelms the
attacker's nervous system.

- Rendering him paralyzed.
- Temporarily.

I hope.

I... I haven't exactly tested it, yet.

Well, I'm sure we can find
a couple of volunteers.

Jackson, get yourself in here!

Sir, I... I really don't think that...

We're not taking any chances, Murdoch.


The detective is gonna test
his new invention on you.

It might hurt a bit, so brace yourself.

Uh... Alright.

Sir I really don't think that we should...

- We need to make sure it works.
- It could kill him.

What? Um...

Jackson, as you were.

Thank you, sir.

Sir, no matter how effective
this electric gun is,

you're up against killers.

Not killers, George, a killer.

Soldier Boy and Twisted Oliver
are now out of the picture;

that only leaves Big Game Hunter.

How are you gonna find Big Game Hunter?

Sir, I believe he is going to find me.

Sir, I insist on coming with
you. The man is clearly dangerous.

He's bloody dangerous! Big Game Hunter.

It's all in the name,
Murdoch. It's all in the name.

I appreciate your concern, gentlemen,

but I have a plan. And it
all begins at the hotel.

Oh, don't worry, Julia,

I'll be back shortly.

Please be careful, William.

Of course.

Murdoch, that was bloody brilliant!

It worked.

Sir, take him to the Station House.

- I will question him shortly.
- Where are you going?

I owe it to my wife to let her know

that she didn't become a widow today.

Fair enough.

Lads, cart this lump of
rubbish off to the cells.

Oh, George! Thank you!

How did you know he would attack me?

Sir, just a lucky guess.

George, this man is a soldier.

Could this be Soldier Boy?

Perhaps, sir.

If so, who do we have in our morgue?

I don't know.

Winner was to receive a prize of $10,000.

Why you would join such
a murderous undertaking?

You need the money?

I did it for the sport, of course.

The ultimate sport.

I have faced off against
many a ferocious beast,

but none as deadly as man himself.

What were the rules of this game?

We met before the hunt began,

agreed on one thing only.

Killing of any non-participant
meant instant disqualification.

Apart from that, there
were no restrictions.

Any time. Any place. Any weapon.

And you chose a hunting
knife as your weapon

Always. It's the only way

to measure yourself against your quarry.

Who organized this?

I don't know his name, but you may have

an opportunity to meet him
face to face, Detective.

How is that?

You're the victor,

the last man standing.

How am I to collect my prize?

You know what? The chimney sweep!

Detective Murdoch, Inspector.

How can I help you?

I'm here to collect my winnings.

I'm the last man standing, I
believe I'm entitled to $10,000.

Of course, we'll accept a
confession in lieu of that.

Confession? For what?

I've committed no crime.

None of the contestants
were compelled to enter.

Everyone participated
of their own free will,

each for their own reasons,

whether it be debt,
greed, thrill of the hunt.

You preyed on base human weakness.

You turned the entire city into a coliseum

for your gladiators.

Were any innocent citizens harmed?

I don't recall a single example.

Bernard King, you are
under arrest for murder.

- But I didn't kill anyone, Detective.
- Well then, you'll be

surprised to learn that
conspiracy to murder

- carries the same penalty.
- Why did you risk

getting caught by putting
Artful Detective in the race?

It was a gamble. He may
have survived or he may have

been killed. It's...
it's all part of the game.

Is that so?

Well, Bernard, me old mucker,

now you're playing my bloody game!

Walk this way, sunshine!

I thought you might be hungry.

Oh, how thoughtful.

It's tea and scones.

You're trying to convince
me of the charms of England.

Hm, I hope it's my own
charms that will sway you.

- Oh, do say yes, Emily.
- I am charmed,

but I have to think about my job.

There are mortuaries in London,

- I dare say.
- It's not that easy.

I can't just walk into a
position in any mortuary.

So don't. We'll be doing
something more important.

What I do here is important, Lillian.

I'm a woman, I'm doing
my part for the movement

just by being here.
I'm living in the fight;

you're just talking about it.

Well, I'm not just
talking about it anymore;

I'm doing something about it.

You can either come
with me or you can stay!

I won't accept such a ridiculous ultimatum!

Well, it appears you've
given me your answer!

I suppose I have!


I got your message. Is something wrong?

I thought there might be
something you wanted to tell me.

- I don't think so.
- Are you sure?

George, I identified the
soldier in the morgue.

It's Archibald Brooks, Edna's husband.

You saw the body. You knew who it
was. Why didn't you say something?

Emily, I...

George, the detective
is waiting on my report,

What am I supposed to tell him?

You do what you must.

George, please talk to me.

What are you hiding? What's going on?

Emily, goodbye.

You're absolutely certain
that it's Archibald Brooks?

There was scarring from
shrapnel on the corpse.

I checked the regiment's medical records.

Sergeant Brooks was injured in a barrage.

- Detective...
- Yes, I know, Doctor.

George was there when the body
was first brought to the morgue.

He would have known that it was Mr. Brooks,

and not Soldier Boy.

- Do you think he could have...
- Doctor,

Brooks was shot,

- what was the calibre?
- .22 pistol.

That's a .22.

What has George done?



Explain yourself, Crabtree.

Your boots match

the bloody footprints
at the scene of the crime

The murder weapon was found in your desk!

George, if you have an explanation,

now is the time to speak.

For godsakes, man, have you
not got a tongue in your head?!

Did you kill him?

Did you kill Brooks?

George, please, speak in your defense!

Sirs, I have a right to silence.

Christ, George, what were you thinking?

George. All these years
that we've worked together.

Those were good years, sir.

Constable George Crabtree,

you are under arrest for the murder

of Sergeant Archibald Brooks.