In a rabbit hole with Yannick

I’m still here but have not been blogging much due to going down another rabbit hole during my current bout with vertigo. This rabbit hole has been keeping me busy while I recline on the couch with my head propped up against a pillow as it’s easier to watch things on my laptop than to type. The rabbit hole has transported me to Yannick-Bisson-land these past few weeks. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he’s the lead actor in the Murdoch Mysteries which is a mostly light-hearted detective series set in the late 1890s/early 1900s in Toronto.

Murdoch has just started it’s 14th (!!) season of 13-18 episodes each. I’ve been aware of this show for quite a long time but only recently, just before I got the vertigo, I decided to delve into it and start watching it. It took up a lot of my time and so, apart from my family and some work I’ve still been able to do, I’ve been negelecting everything else in favour of Detective William Murdoch. It’s been fun and I found that, for me, the attraction doesn’t so much lie in the mysteries solved on the show but more in the characters and the portrayal of the time period.

I really like the meticulous, inventive and Catholic (an important part of his identity) Detective William Murdoch who lives in his head and sometimes needs to loosen up a bit…

… and his relationship with free spirited Dr. Julia Ogden (played by Hélène Joy). She goes through several careers (coroner, psychiatrist and practicing doctor) which, yes, is a bit unlikely but a lot of this series is and in this case that really only adds on to instead of takes away from the fun. She is a smart and resourceful woman with a sense of humor that amuses mostly herself…

Besides William and Julia, there are also some very nicely drawn secondary characters, of whom quite funny creative thinker Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and in later seasons detective Llewellyn Watts (Daniel Maslany, a kind of Detective Columbo in 1900) are my favourites.

My favourite occasional guest stars are the genius but unlucky inventor and entrepreneur James Pendrick (Peter Stebbings)…

… or the good hearted spoiled rich girl Ruth Newsome (Siobhan Murphy – she’s seriously great!) and her quite hilarious story with Constable Henry Higgins (Lachlan Murdoch).

I also love the time in which Murdoch is set, the famous guests that become involved in cases (like Arthur Conan Doyle, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Houdini, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, young Winston Churchill, etc.) and all its comical references to new inventions or even future inventions.

It’s not just inventions, it’s also concepts and logos. The early 20th century version of swiping photos left or right from a stack of pictures in Tinder style fashion cracked me up, for instance, or how I now know where the rooster on Kelloggs Cornflakes orginated from. So, the characters, time period and humor are more fun to me to watch than the criminal storylines themselves and I do admit to often fast forwarding through some of the case procedural parts of the episodes in favour of the scenes more focussed on characters and gadgets. All in all, though, this has turned out to be a fun show to watch to forget my vertigo.

As handsome and almost too good-looking as Yannick Bisson aka Detective William Murdoch may be, I am especially taken with his large, expressive, brown eyes. Yes, I really enjoy how he gave life to the character of Murdoch, imbuing him with not only smarts but also depth of feeling. And man, again, those eyes…

Naturally, this made me want to study Bisson some more and so I looked into his backlog of work as well. In researching that, I didn’t find that many other projects that really interest me, although in time I will try those few Hallmark mysteries he did a few years ago. However, there was one other project he’d done that did stick out for me and that was another TV series he’d done in the early 2000s called Sue Thomas, F.B. Eye. Sue Thomas is an FBI cop show about a deaf woman (Deanne Bray) who is very good at reading lips and has a ‘hearing dog’ who helps her navigate daily life. FBI agent Jack Hudson (yep, Yannick Bisson) sees her potential and she starts working in surveillance with him and very much becomes integral to catching all those criminals.

The story is based on true events. Here’s an old trailer…

I’ve been able to get my hands on this old series and I’ve gotta say I loved it. It’s not just the will they/won’t they aspect between Sue and Jack that I loved…

What I really loved was the insight into this deaf woman’s life and how astonishing she is in navigating a world she can not hear, trying to assert herself in it. She isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes and has a very large learning curve but she also gives back a lot to the team in her smart, observant, warm and uncynical approach. We see her triumphs but also her difficulties and on occasion the sound even goes off completely to see the world from Sue’s point of view. She always needs to remind people that she needs to see their lips and never disappears into the background just because she’s deaf. The difficulties of what it means to not hear anything are shown in very practical ways, for example when she can’t hear a shot being fired or when people try to surprise her with a little party but she doesn’t notice them and their “surprise” yell until she turns around and actually sees them. The advantages of knowing sign language also become clear, when sometimes things can be better communicated with signs rather than words. The alienation she sometimes feels when she can’t follow what’s going on is nicely mirrored on occasion when she signs with other deaf people and the hearing people then can’t follow what’s going on. As viewers we are lucky to have those scenes subtitled. I was also struck again by how beautiful sign language actually is. I wonder if Yannick still remembers some of the sign language he learned on that show 16-19 years ago.

It’s all really fascinating stuff, wrapped into quite exciting FBI stories with a nice team of original characters, with flaws and all, surrounding Sue.

And even the FBI office itself seems more realistic than on many other shows I’ve seen, right down to the office looking relatively normal and the office politics feeling real, with people who are sticklers for admin protocols or how a team leader can make or break your pleasure in work.

The show only lasted 3 seasons and got cancelled prematurely when the PAX channel it was broadcast on decided not to do anymore original programming. Such a shame – there was still a lot of story left to tell… Guess I need to delve into the fan fiction side of things now to get some resolution.

Having Yannick Bisson in his thirties as the object of affection is really quite a lovely thing too. I love his portrayal of Jack, a very capable, sexy and quick thinking agent whose world and heart opens up in a way he never expected with Sue. I also love that he tries to become more a part of her world and as the series progresses learns some sign language himself. And I can’t deny it, those puppy dog chocolate eyes really do it for me…

I don’t know if it’s these past weeks spent with the warm brown chocolate eyes or whether meds and rest are working, but maybe I’m starting to feel a little better… I’ll remain relatively quiet for a while yet, I suspect, as I finish watching Sue Thomas.

5 thoughts on “In a rabbit hole with Yannick

  1. Servetus

    Thanks for sending up a flare. You’d been posting so regularly that I was starting to get concerned. I hope the vertigo abates / continues to abate.

    I saw recently that our cable on demand has all the episodes of Murdoch Mysteries on demand. Do I need to start from the very beginning or is there a place you would recommend to start?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aw, thank you for your concern, that’s sweet. I’m OK, the vertigo has receded a little but by far not enough, Small steps.

      I’d start at the beginning of Murdoch as there is a lot that is explored in the relationship with Dr. Ogden and it really all starts there. Also characters in earlier seasons sometimes recur in later seasons and it’s nice to see how those develop as well. The episodes are fine to watch stand alone but I found it nice to follow the development of the characters from the start.

      Liked by 1 person

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