Interview

Murdoch Mysteries’ Helene Joy and Jonny Harris Dish on Season 7

murdoch-mysteries

Over its many seasons, Murdoch Mysteries has developed from murder mystery show to so much more. At first solving the murders of common people, Detective William Murdoch now occasionally has to take on the world of the supernatural, even facing off against zombies and a lake monster this season.  On top of facing monsters this season, the stars of the show Helene Joy and Jonny Harris talk about all the relationship challenges that they face this season and fun in the costume department.

RS: What can people expect from Season 7?

JH: They can expect the best and longest season of Murdoch Mysteries thus far. It’s 18 episodes. Best stories so far.

HJ: We’ve hit on all of the genres. We have a lot of fun going in any areas. Now we’ve had this many years, it’s like the show earns its right to sort of play, and the audience will go “Sure, I’ll go along with you on this ride.” So we have zombies, and we have ships sinking –

JH: We have everything from our most nefarious villain threatening to kill Julie Ogden to kung fu fights.

HJ: We have a great episode, which I’m really excited about. There’s curling in it, but on top of that, it’s almost like the Wild West. Me and Georgina (Dr. Grace) and a bunch of our women friends, we go on a bachelorette party in the woods and all kinds of butchery ensues. A hatchet murderer is on the loose and we tote rifles, and things get really badass. It’s cool.

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RS: As you guys were saying, there’s so much going on in the show: kung fu, zombies, everything from supernatural stuff to regular murders. How do you guys describe the show to people?

HJ: It’s morphed now. What was the thing we used to say? CSI meets …

JH: … Sherlock Holmes. You get a good dose of the interpersonal stuff this season. Murdoch decides that he’s going to propose, and then there’s a whole host of problems that leave him broken-hearted, that are not necessarily her choice or fault. But then you’ve also got Crabtree and Dr. Grace, and there’s some poison in the well with that relationship. And all of those things come to a spiralling resolution. The writers did a really good job with that this year.

RS: Is it nice to be able to have more relationships now, to give your characters more depth than at the beginning?

JH: I always like that. I mean being the goofy guy on the show, I like to chew into a bit of dramatic stuff with that relationship. And I just hope that people enjoy watching it. I know sometimes when I watch CSI or something and, every now and then, they delve into their relationships. I’m just always more interested in watching that week’s episode. The star of the show happens to be that week’s mystery. But I think our fans do really enjoy that; that’s what anchors them to the show. We’re rooting for that relationship between Ogden and Murdoch for so long.

HJ: It’s funny because on the weekend we did a screening at the Television Festival, and you notice where they’re laughing. They laugh when Jonny says his funny lines. They really love the characters; they’re not just interested in the plot lines and what’s going to happen next. They love the moments between that.

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RS: You guys are really popular, not just here, but all over the world. What do you think it is about his show with all these elements that can connect with anyone?

JH: It’s like Scooby Doo for adults. It’s Scooby Doo meets Sherlock Holmes meets CSI meets Batman and Robin.

HJ: I think that – this is one theory – that there is an audience that doesn’t get satisfied by certain things. I find that these days – I mean the kind of TV that I’m into is quite different from this – but it requires you to be in love with these terrible people: Breaking Bad, Dexter, even Mad Men. I mean, [Don Draper’s] kind of abhorrent; the more you watch it, you’re kind of like “he’s awful.” But we’re supposed to be invested in these deeply flawed people who are doing terrible things, violent acts. We’re supposed to like mothers who sell weed on the side. These are the characters that we’re into right now. There’s nothing that fills this other gap, and I’ve had friends tell me that this is specifically why they like it. The reason why people have liked Murdoch Mysteries for years is that something goes wrong, and then it gets fixed by the end.

Real Style: What’s it like for you in the costume department? Is it like playing dress-up everyday?

HJ: Oh totally, and it’s so much fun. Some days I find it really weird. I get to work and I’m feeling pretty cute. Then I get into my outfit, and I’m like instant librarian. It’s a maturing look, and everywhere I go dressed as myself, people say, “You’re so much younger in person.” You don’t know how to take it; it’s kind of a compliment, but it’s not. It’s aging. The way they dressed was very mature, and it makes you hold yourself that way. It’s very proper, and it couldn’t be any more different from the way I am, but it is super fun to see yourself very altered like that. I think it’s a real gift as an actor. As much fun as it is to do a hip, sexy show, where you get to feel really cool, there’s something about lauding a different time and a person that’s completely different from you that is really rewarding to actors.

RS: Have there been any pieces that you wanted to keep?

HJ: It’s never in the deal to get the clothes, obviously. And these clothes are very expensive to rent, and then the ones that they’ve built from scratch, they’re not going to give those away any time soon. It’s really an incredible amount of work. But they’ve built them from scratch exactly to fit my body, which I’ve got to say, you get used to fitted clothes in a way that you never have.  So yes, the catch-cry is, “This jacket would look so good with a pair of high-waisted jeans,” because everything is high-waisted. And these blouses – that apparently, if they bought them are $1000 –  they’re beautiful and really, really old pieces. Yes, they would all look great with a pair of high-waisted jeans, but that’s about it.

Watch Murdoch Mysteries’ new season on CBC on Monday nights.

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