Yannick Bisson Talks Reaching His 200th Episode of Murdoch Mysteries [Exclusive]
200th episodes of drama series are increasingly rare in the current climate of quick-hitter streaming seasons. This Saturday night, my fellow Canadian TV fans in the US will get to enjoy that benchmark when the 200th episode of Murdoch Mysteries, the Canadian import about the titular Toronto detective at the turn of the last century, airs at 7 pm/6c on Ovation. I recently chatted with series star and executive producer Yannick Bisson about reaching that lofty milestone 13 seasons into the show’s run.
Bisson understands firsthand how significant it is to get to this point because he’s been there since day one, and he can mark his time on the show by the passage of more than a decade of real-time. “I’ve spent my 30s, 40s, and now my 50s on this show. It’s a big part of my life. And it’s a show with a lot of cultural significance here in Canada and other places. [Even] in different languages or through subtitles, people just can’t get enough of it. And I find that a strange concept,” he shares.
“The fact that it’s gone beyond just being my job to being part of the Canadian culture that we represent [to the world] is certainly not lost on me. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and I think that’s the magic ingredient.”
“We have something that seems to resonate with everybody differently. Because we do have the procedural stuff, you can jump in anytime. We have some comedy, we have some romance, some factual characters, some educational bits there, as well as fantastical stuff. There’s something different that appeals to everyone.”
“I think people appreciate that we can always take a step in any one direction and not mess up too badly. We can [have] a lighthearted episode or even one with an episode where we have a bunch of women being chased on an island and killed with an ax, and at the same time we have something goofy going on on the other end with somebody inventing Band Aids. It’s just a show that sits in the pocket nicely.”
On top of being the brand identity of the show, Bisson has expanded his repertoire during the run by carrying an executive producer title and directing a handful of episodes. “[Producing] is really an extension of what I’ve done from day one, as far as in my heart, anyway. I’ve always taken my job very seriously,” he says.
“[It’s] only going to be as good as what you put in. I’m the title character. I have to work at a certain intensity. I have to have expectations that other people [will follow suit]. I put in more than I should at all times [as] the quarterback. Jumping to directing was actually a small jump.”
“As far as my wanting to contribute to the show, it’s my favorite part, by far, because I feel that much more intimate with each episode insofar as what design ideas [we have] or what directions we’ll go in.”
“The collaborative effort of making this one piece of the show…who we choose to cast and sort of that journey, that’s not always easy. All of those things present more challenges and ways for me to stretch myself artistically, but also to get in there and pull my sleeves up and do that much more to help the show be successful. But I think at the same time, I feel the responsibility of the franchise on my shoulders a little bit at all times.”
“I loved all of [the episodes I directed. I’ve had] very visual things to work with. I did Murdoch at the opera, a Western episode that featured Butch Cassidy and Sundance being pursued by Bat Masterson, one [with] zombies that had a brain extraction in the middle of it. Working with such a strong cast, we have an absolute blast.”
“I forget them all now, but I’ve managed to weave in some stuff and have creative freedom and my whole team put their arms around me, and I was able to pull it off. I feel like I’ve been very, very fortunate because it’s been the icing on the cake to have the whole team I’ve been working with for over a decade [support me].”
As an actor, he’s most fond of an episode he did with Nigel Bennett, who recurred on the show. “[He] is so fantastic, [He played] a kind of antagonistic role. It was pretty incredible for me as an actor to be able to dig in and work with someone so incredible,” he explains.
“We had a Monday morning that I think we did 15 pages. And some of that created some of my favorite material. I felt that episode should have been recognized. Not for any particular reason, but just what went into it and what came out of it. And I thought that was very, very high-level television [so I was disappointed].”
Before I let him go, I had to ask about departing the Aurora Teagarden franchise two years ago, which so many of y’all have asked about. “I really enjoyed doing those. Candace [Cameron Bure] is one of my favorite people. The subject matter is a lot of fun. It’s nothing too serious and I loved going to BC to shoot it,” he says.
“It really became a scheduling thing. And when you start getting into not being able to have a vacation of any sort for three years running, something’s got to go. [Were that not the case], I would have happily kept going, but I think they wanted somebody that had more flexibility.”
Murdoch Mysteries airs back-to-back Saturday nights on Ovation beginning at 7 pm/6c. The 200th episode, “Staring Blindly Into the Future,” features the Murdochs caught up in a case when they attend an innovators and inventors gathering with a curiously shrinking guest list. Look for a handful of wink-nods to actual historical people and a few returning guest stars.
Here’s a sneak peek.
Photos and Video Courtesy of Shaftesbury.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…