Murdoch’s 8 Coolest Inventions

When he’s not snaring Victorian villains, Detective William Murdoch is a dab hand at creating incredible gadgets…



Murdoch truly surpassed himself when he came up with a sort of rudimentary GPS device. Although "rudimentary" is an odd word when describing the massive, eye-popping set-up, which involved cops wandering around with intricate science fiction backpacks that looked like something out of a Jules Verne adventure. This "trackizer" relied on electrical currents, wire coils and clever triangulation to follow a moving target, which was all very clever. Even if it wasn't exactly the most sneaky or subtle of devices.


Poor old Brackenreid. He really wanted to impress Murdoch when he saw the detective receive a package of peculiar lenses. "Convex or concave?" Brackenreid asked, like a schoolboy seeking teacher's approval. "Parabolic, actually," Murdoch replied, crushing Brackenreid's enthusiasm. Bad Murdoch! But still, the lenses were put to marvellous use - their design amplified ambient light, allowing Murdoch to create some very futuristic-looking night vision goggles. Though not everyone saw the point - one very Victorian on-looker asked, "Why not use a lantern?"

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Paving the way for James Bond and countless suave assassins, Murdoch fitted a pistol with a tube crammed with metal filings. As he explained to his reliably confused colleagues, he'd been inspired by the work of (real life) inventor Hiram Maxim, the man behind the first machine gun (and the first mousetrap, apparently). Murdoch described his device as a "muffler", but - as usual - it was Crabtree who came up with a snappier name for it: the "silencer".


Well, not CCTV precisely, but certainly a forerunner. During a spate of sudden murderers, Murdoch wanted to discover what linked the seemingly random victims. They had all been seen on the same street before they died, so he rigged up a camera to record the street for a set period of time. How? By attaching a clockwork mechanism which would make the camera take a photo every few seconds. Run the resulting roll of film through a projector, and voila: you have Victorian film footage. Dead clever. Oh, and in true Murdoch style it had a colourful name too: the scrutiny camera.

Murdoch and Brackenreid testing the Graphizer machine with an underwater dive.

Murdoch and Brackenreid testing the Graphizer machine with an underwater dive.


Murdoch invented sonar. Well, sort-of sonar anyway. This was the so-called "graphizer", which looked like little more than a wooden box with a pencil attached to it. But, as Murdoch explained in one of his trademark classroom lectures to befuddled police officers, it was designed to register pulses of sound underwater, and measure the distance of large objects. Which meant it came in very handy when they were on the trail of a sunken ship, and even Brackenreid was won over for once, grinning with delight when the graphizer moved at the sound of him talking. "It can see my voice!" Brackenreid yelped. "Very good, sir," Murdoch agreed.


Murdoch may seem like a humble sort of fellow, but you can't tell us he doesn't secretly enjoy impressing people with his genius ideas. Take the time he showcased his new-fangled bulletproof vest. Taking a break from the usual police station classroom, he unveiled it in a lecture theatre to a whole crowd of gawping on-lookers. Perhaps that's why Murdoch sounded more-than-usually proud as he announced that his bulletproof vest was "based on the principles discovered by Mongol warriors of the 13th century" and happened to feature "layer upon layer of silk". Very natty.

Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch prepares to use his weaponized capacitor.

Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch prepares to use his weaponized capacitor.


Could this be the coolest Murdoch gadget of them all? The "weaponized capacitor" was essentially a Victorian-era answer to the taser, and was a beauty to behold. Like the trackizer, it was straight out of a science fiction yarn, and Crabtree was obviously very impressed, describing it as an "electric gun". Brackenreid got a bit carried away, demanding that Murdoch test it on a fellow officer. It was only when Murdoch pointed out that it could very well kill the poor chap that Brackenreid (very) reluctantly decided against it...


It was just another day at police headquarters when the cops were summoned to observe Murdoch's "pneumograph". Later dubbed the "truthizer" by the ever-enterprising Crabtree, it was a device that, when strapped to one's chest, could register tension and stress by way of a rising level of liquid. "We can scientifically measure whether a man is lying," Murdoch announced triumphantly. Brackenreid was less than impressed ("I've got one of those at home, it's called a wife") and Murdoch himself got a bit flustered when Julia walked in and asked if he was in love, causing the liquid to shoot up. Sometimes he's just too inventive for his own good, is Murdoch.