Detectives Watts and Murdoch team up when a young girl comes across the body of a dead child in the woods in Six Of The Best.
Violet Hart (Shanice Banton) is brought to the crime scene to determine how long the body had been buried. She determines he had been there “a week at most.”
As they continue the investigation, Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and Watts (Daniel Maslany) discover the child, Wesley Seaver, had run away from an orphanage a week earlier. They go to the orphanage for boys to interview some of the staff and Wesley’s friends.
Watts finds out the deceased boy had been caned for impertinence to a teacher the same day he disappeared. He also discovers that caning is a common practice at the home for disciplining the boys.
Murdoch runs into his old school master, Brother Duvalier (David Ferry), who is the director of the orphanage. He introduces himself and mentions that he had been a student at the Nova Scotia Jesuit School For Boys. Later that day, Murdoch has Brother Duvalier over for dinner, and he and Julia argue about disciplining children.
“Corporal discipline is necessary for order to be maintained in institutions such as ours,” Brother Duvalier tells Julia.
“If that is the case, perhaps the institution isn’t being properly run,” Julia counters. “When you commit violence against a child you do irreparable harm.”
Not able to sleep, William stands by his bedroom window, staring at the sky. He has a flashback of his childhood at the Jesuit school and the memory is not a happy one.
As Watts and Murdoch continue to investigate, another boy at the home goes missing. They find a shovel covered with dirt on a tree outside the orphanage.
When an accusation is made that Wesley was beaten to death, Miss Hart tells Murdoch it is possible. But she can’t determine what he could have been beaten with, because bruising has already set in.
Murdoch then proceeds to set up a crude infra-red machine to see if they can figure it out. They discover Wesley had been hit with something at least 20 times. Murdoch suspects the murder weapon was a cane.
Six Of The Best
In a powerful and moving scene, an enraged Murdoch confronts Brother Duvalier with Wesley’s autopsy photo in hand.
“You hit the boy over and over and over,” Murdoch says.
“I hit him six times, no more,” Brother Duvalier replies.
When Murdoch tells him they found the shovel used to bury Wesley with his finger marks on it, he counters that he had injured his back and hasn’t been able to pick up a shovel in years.
“You’re still strong enough to beat boys half to death,” Murdoch says angrily. “I’ve seen it myself. Felt it myself.”
“I don’t beat boys,” Brother Duvalier says. ” You misbehave, you get six strokes. Never more. Never less.”
Murdoch is convinced that his old schoolmaster is responsible for the murder, but if he is, can Murdoch prove it?
Candy Striper Ruth
In such a dark episode, there has to be some comic relief and with George Crabtree absent in Six Of The Best, the relief comes in the form of Ruth (Siobhan Murphy). Higgins’ wife is now working at the University of Toronto’s School of Medicine, although her uniform looks more like that of a Candy Striper rather than a nurse!
Julia (Hélène Joy) is suffering from a major case of writer’s block. Ruth offers to help her find a quiet place where she can write write about police investigative techniques. Ruth admits to Julia that she had written a book years ago, based on some of her own adventures, but under a pseudonym.
She tells Julia she needs her own space to write and, to Julia’s delight, Ruth sets up a little office for her in a supply closet, complete with a desk and typewriter. She tells Julia to stare at the wall and clear all thoughts. Ruth has no problem doing this, which is not a surprise.
Season 12, Episode 12 was dark and gripping and delved even deeper into the background of William Murdoch, a character we thought we knew everything about. It turns out, there is still a lot more to this detective than meets the eye.