The affluent and influential young man who recently replaced one of the rowers for the 1896 Olympic rowing team is found drowned in the river.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Dr. Julia Ogden (as Hélène Joy)
Horace Briggs
Minerva Fairchild
James Downing ...
Coach Kane
Richard Hartley
Aaron Brand ...
Wallace Driscoll
Kent Staines ...


Det. Murdoch and Dr. Ogden investigate the death of Richard Hartley a member of the men's eight rowing team at the prestigious, and snobbish, King's Rowing Club. Hartley was a newly appointed member of the team, having displaced Horace Briggs, a blue collar working man who was not of the same class as the others. Murdoch learns that Hartley had recently had an argument with his coach, Hamilton Kane. To complicate matters, the Hartley's are a prestigious Toronto family with a great deal of influence. The autopsy reveals that he drowned, but had also been beaten. Using a new-fangled lie-detecting device and analyzing the content of his lungs provides Murdoch with the clues he needs to solve the case. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

13 March 2008 (Canada)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in 1895. See more »


The rowing team is hoping for a medal in "the upcoming Olympics" there were no rowing events at the 1896 Olympic Games, and only 2 Canadian athletes at the 1900 Games, neither were rowers. Also as this is the First Modern Olympics, it's doubtful that Murdoch would know anything about the OLympic tradition of gold medals. See more »


[first lines]
Boy #1: One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen. Twenty. Ready or not, here I come!
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After the Ball
Written by Charles Harris
Heard on the gramophone
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User Reviews

The conventions of society lead to a tragedy at the rowing club
17 December 2016 | by (Wales) – See all my reviews

Three boys are playing near the river when they discover the body of a drowned man. Meanwhile, in Police Station 4, Murdoch is demonstrating his latest invention, the pneumograph, which measures the stress in someone's body, which he believes could help the Police to identify when a suspect is lying during questioning. Dr Ogden's presence seems to have a rather unsettling effect on Murdoch, at least according to the pneumograph but the demonstration is cut short when news of the drowning reaches the station.

Dr Ogden recognises the dead man as Richard Hartley, a member of a wealthy family, and also one of the men's eight rowing team from the King's Rowing Club. It looks like Hartley had been severely beaten. Minerva Fairchild identifies the body in the morgue. She was his fiancée, and has gone to the morgue because Hartley's parents are holidaying in Egypt. She tells Murdoch she last saw Hartley at lunch the previous day, after his training session, and she believes Hartley had recently argued with his coach, Hamilton Kane, though she does not know the details. Dr Ogden knows Minerva and sympathises with her, but afterwards tells Murdoch that Fairchilds never show their true feelings.

Brackenreid calls Murdoch in to monitor progress. In light of the influence of the Hartley family, Chief Constable Stockton is breathing down his neck wanting progress. At the morgue, Dr Ogden says the wounds on the body were made by a heavy object with straight sides, and there was a deep gash on one foot which would have bled profusely. She has also retrieved some sand and clay particles from under Hartley's nails. Dr Ogden, who has family membership at the club also forewarns Murdoch about the concierge at the King's Club, who enforces club rules strictly.

So it proves when Murdoch attends the club. In the end, Hamilton Kane comes forward to get Murdoch past the concierge. Murdoch asks Kane about the argument, and Kane recalls reminding Hartley not to drink too much while training. The last time Kane saw Hartley, it was in the clubhouse, surrounded by the rowing team. From the team members, Murdoch learns that there was a rift between Hartley and Horace Briggs, whose place in the team Hartley had taken.

Briggs is the club gardener, and an outstanding rower, holding many club records. He was admitted to the rowing team on merit, while for most it was their money talking. Despite being the best natural rower, Briggs wasn't even granted clubhouse privileges. Dr Ogden informs Murdoch she found a sliver of wood in one of Hartley's wounds. Examining the oars for one with corresponding damage, Murdoch finds nothing, though one oar, belonging to Briggs, has a spot of still wet blood on it, which Dr Ogden says should be long dry. Murdoch suspects someone is trying to frame Briggs.

Briggs tells Murdoch Hartley's injuries came from an initiation ritual for team members. The whole team took part, and it was just high spirits. Dr Ogden knows about such rituals, as they have been going on for years, it's just harmless fun. Murdoch disagrees, and says he needs a crime scene to investigate. Dr Ogden arranges for Murdoch to speak to Dr Isaac Tash, with whom she studied at university, and was a rower in his youth - he should be able to find where the initiation took place.

At the riverside, Murdoch notices Minerva smoking a cigarette. Minerva explains that she has to sneak away from the club house, because Mrs Hartley thinks it a bad habit, and one doesn't argue with a Hartley. Just then Dr Tash arrives to guide Murdoch through the woods. On the way Dr Tash tells Murdoch about his relationship with Dr Ogden at university. They find a clearing strewn with bottles, the remains of a fire, and many fresh footprints. It is obvious many people were there, and there is a blood trail leading to the river.

Murdoch questions the rowers in their locker room, but they are uncooperative, so he brings them in to Police Station 4 and uses his pneumograph to elicit the truth from them. Eventually Murdoch builds up a picture of the team members carrying out a severe beating so as to injure Hartley and keep him off the team. The team coach admits it was his plan. The rowers didn't follow Hartley when he ran off to the river, as he was an excellent swimmer. It was only after hearing that Hartley had drowned that they agreed to frame Briggs by planting evidence to incriminate him.

Inspector Brackenreid is happy that the case is solved, but Murdoch is unwilling to let matters rest as he doesn't see how the sand and clay under Hartley's fingernails fit in, as both the places where Hartley went into the river and where his body was found had sandy shores. Murdoch visits Briggs to ask if he knows of anywhere along the river bank with a clay shore, and he finds the place where Hartley came out of the river. Clearly, Hartley survived the initiation.

Desperate for anything else that will shed light on what happened, Murdoch visits the morgue to see if Hartley's lungs might contain some plant or mineral material which might point to where Hartley drowned. The contents are completely unexpected, containing lavender bath oil and fragments of bone.

So in what direction will this new information take Murdoch's investigation? Will he find what he needs to identify the killer or killers beyond all reasonable doubt? How will Murdoch look on Dr Ogden, now that he knows something significant about her past?

The mystery at the heart of this episode is well constructed and keeps the viewer guessing right until the very end. In the end, everything fits together beautifully.

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