Murdoch Mysteries: A Merry Murdoch Christmas is a television special serving as a standalone episode of the crime procedural Murdoch Mysteries, which begins when a philanthropist is found dead before the holidays and the presents he distributes to Toronto's orphans go missing, meaning it's up to Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), Ogden (Hélène Joy) and the team at Station No. 4 to solve the mystery and save Christmas.
On a snowy night before Christmas, Murdoch and Ogden are attending a party at the McGowan mansion with Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), his wife Margaret (Arwen Humphreys) and Constables Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and Higgins (Lachlan Murdoch).
The evening's guests, who include orphans and patients from the Hospital for Sick Children, are being treated to a production of The Little Match Girl featuring a young Mary Pickford (Peyton Kennedy) in the title role.
But for the children the real treat is when Mr. Rankin (Brendan Coyle) and hostess Mrs. Millicent McGowan (Kelly Rowan) introduce their special guest, St. Nick. Unfortunately, when the curtain lifts to reveal Alister McGowan, the philanthropist host in a Santa suit, he's lifeless and the generously donated gifts for the needy children have been stolen.
As Murdoch investigates McGowan's murder, he learns the local business tycoon was avowed enemies with his former partner Cyrus Lynch.
The Toronto Constabulary is unable to locate their prime suspect, but has little difficulty finding the missing booty, which is being handed out on the street by a man claiming to be the real St. Nick (Ed Asner). Despite the protestations of his helper, Mary Pickford, they arrest him.
For Brackenreid, the crime brings up sour memories of childhood Christmas disappointments, leading him to admonish Constable Jackson (Kristian Bruun) for putting up holiday decorations in the stationhouse.
Meanwhile, Crabtree is sullen when his own plans go awry and it appears he will be alone for the holidays. But when nefarious forces intent on tarnishing the spirit and goodwill of the season suddenly appear, Murdoch realises that in addition to solving a terrible crime, he must also save Christmas.
Produced by Shaftesbury, written by Murdoch Mysteries executive producer and showrunner Peter Mitchell and directed by Michael McGowan (Between, Still Mine), the special was filmed on location in Ontario until early November 2015.
Murdoch Mysteries is developed and produced by Shaftesbury, in association with CBC, ITV Studios Global Entertainment and UKTV, and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the COGECO Program Development Fund.
Shaftesbury Sales Company and ITV Studios Global Entertainment hold worldwide distribution rights for the series. The series was adapted for television from Maureen Jennings's popular Detective Murdoch series of novels.