Murdoch Mysteries’ Most Dastardly Villains

It’s a good job William Murdoch is such a clever clogs, when he’s up against these evil, nefarious, no-good schemers…



We begin with the biggest baddie of them all: James Gillies. He was Murdoch's Moriarty, not that you'd know it from looking at this little twerp. First seen sauntering around a university campus in a straw hat, young Mr Gillies seemed nothing more than an over-eager nerd who was keen to help Murdoch investigate a lecturer's murder. If only Murdoch knew this was the start of a long and vicious vendetta, which would see this homicidal brat play sadistic games with our hero, and even bury Julia Ogden alive. It's hard to pick just one, standout nasty moment from his assorted appalling acts, but his talking dolls with recorded messages for Murdoch still give us the creeps.


Presenting himself as a dapper detective from Scotland Yard, Edward Scanlon seemed a valuable ally to Murdoch and co, when the team investigated a gory spate of Jack the Ripper-like killings. "Try to stop me" was the daubed message left the crime scenes, but this was no taunt. The killer, anguished by his own addiction to violence, genuinely wanted the police to catch him. And that killer was none other than Edward Scanlon himself, who was really named Harlan Orgill, and was posing as a detective he had previously murdered. While his crimes were certainly hideous, it was hard not to feel some sympathy for this tragic, self-hating lunatic.

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A genuine, literal axe murderer, Rose Maxwell certainly didn't seem like the type of girl who'd go around chopping her own friends' heads off. But there were a lot of very deep-seated issues swirling behind her impeccable façade. It turned out that, having killed her own parents years ago, she developed a crazed fixation on her brother, and was tipped back into bloodlust when he had the temerity to get engaged to another woman. The only reasonable course of action was to massacre the various members of the hen party, as any seasoned "sequential murderer" would agree.


Mr Jarius Kerr didn't have the highest body count to his name, but he does deserve marks for evil ingenuity. His victim was a lady named Sarah Bosen, whose burgeoning lesbian affair with his wife was received with some displeasure by Kerr. The fact that Sarah had been getting therapy for her extreme arachnophobia gave Kerr the idea for a very novel method of murder. He placed a glass prism next to a spider, throwing countless spider shadows across the room. Believing herself to be surrounded by rampant, scuttling spiders, Sarah lost her mind and threw herself from her window. Who else could have untangled such a plot except Murdoch?

Daiva Johnston as Eva Pearce.

Daiva Johnston as Eva Pearce.


Ticking every box on the femme fatale list, Eva Pearce was a sly, seductive player of men's emotions, who had the power to make others murder for her. Even Murdoch, who is usually far too much of a moral prude to succumb to the charms of wayward women, found himself enchanted by Eva. After their first confrontation, Eva returned with a new identity, embarking on an elaborate swindle involving one of the 19th Century's richest men. Eventually locked away in an institution for the insane, Eva proved she really was bonkers by escaping and attempting her most depraved plan yet: to make Murdoch impregnate her by force.


Perhaps the most remarkable killer ever to cross paths with Murdoch, Ivy was one of the "freaks" in a travelling circus whose skin was adorned with a foliage-like pattern. She claimed it was because she had been conceived in a patch of poison ivy, and the toxins had poisoned her mother's womb. In fact, Ivy had deliberately disfigured herself, because she was hopelessly in love with a fellow freak who'd previously rejected her for being too "normal". All of which wouldn't have been a matter for Murdoch's attentions, except for the fact that Ivy's desire for romantic vengeance had made her into a multiple murderer...