The Murdoch Mysteries (2004) s15e20 Episode Script

Pendrick's Planetary Parlour

1 To live in the modern world is to bear witness to an unfolding miracle.
A short while ago, information moved at the speed of a ship.
Now it moves at the speed of light across a telegraph network that spans the globe.
A letter written in Toronto can be printed in New York, as can images.
Now imagine doing all that from the comfort of your home without the use of a telegraph operator.
Sending the message to a friend on another continent and receiving a reply within seconds.
Impossible, you say? But the technology already exists.
All it took to put it together was some imagination and a little bit of money.
Make that a lot of money.
This is the Pendrick Portal.
It's a window into a world we're calling Pendrick's Planetary Parlour.
Please, step forward.
Don't be shy.
It appears I'm receiving a message.
Would you look at that, it's our Chief Operating Officer, Garth Trent, from his home in Parkdale, Ontario.
Another message.
This one appears to be from France.
It's my friend Jacques from gay Paris.
Bonjour, Jacques.
Ça va bien ? Another message.
From Mr.
Cormac, one of our Parlour users here in Toronto.
You're sending worry? I think we've got enough of that already.
Or should we be worried that W what's happening? Dear God! Mr.
Cormac's being murdered before our very eyes.
Struthers! - What should I do? - Call Station House Number Four.
- Tell them to send Detective Murdoch.
- Yes, sir.
Sir, all she said was they were all witness to a murder that happened across town.
Across town? Then why are we here? Because this is where they witnessed the murder.
- How can that be? - Sir, when James Pendrick is involved Detective Murdoch.
Constable Crabtree.
Thank you for coming so quickly.
James Pendrick.
I believe you've met Ernest Harding.
Ah, yes.
You created a version of Babbage's Difference Engine.
Analytic Engine, actually.
And people often make that mistake.
Harding's machine is an integral component to my latest venture.
And just what is that venture, James, and how does it involve murder? It might be easier to show than to tell.
What on earth is this device? Images and text are processed by the computer and then transmitted to local receivers, which are connected to a network.
We call it cellular telegraphy.
I've retrieved the transmission of the murder.
I it's been recorded? All our transmissions are first recorded to a coil of magnetic wire.
What am I looking at here? Electrons, Murdoch.
What am I looking at in this image and, more importantly, who is this? His name is Vincent Cormac.
He was a participant in our Face Space.
Face Space? When a group of people gather together in a mutual conversation, we call it a Chat Space.
When they transmit images, we call it a Face Space.
It's just marketing.
And how well do you know this Mr.
Cormac? I didn't.
He was chosen at random to participate.
He was a professor of mathematics.
I'd met him a few times.
"Worry, I'm sending it.
" It's a bit cryptic but clearly, he was under duress.
A warning, perhaps? Good Lord! Sir, could this be some sort of hoax? Possibly.
Where did this happen? We should go there now.
Garth Trent, our chief operating officer, would have that information.
He was also part of the Face Space.
Struthers! - Yes, sir? - Have you contacted Mr.
Trent? He telephoned.
He's on his way.
Very good.
Thank you.
What's this now? Sir, that looks like the grin of the Cheshire Cat.
It could be the killer's icon.
Icon? His representative symbol.
Lately our users have taken to using icons instead of their faces.
I came as soon as I could.
Detective Murdoch, this is our chief operating officer, Garth Trent, and the son of our main investor.
I take it you know where this happened.
Cormac's address is listed as 247 Agnes Street.
Sir, that's Miss Beazley's boarding house.
It's just around the corner.
Who are you? Oh, Margaret Brackenreid.
I'm just here to assist.
I know that name.
My husband's a police inspector.
They were looking for Bobby.
And they found him.
What? It's number 13.
Cormac? Police.
- So, not a hoax.
- No.
Take a look at this.
What is it? Well, he was a mathematician, but this seems much more diagrammatic in nature.
George, notify Mrs.
Hart that we have a victim, bring Mr.
Cormac's machine to the station house and take a photograph of this.
Very good, George.
Could you copy this onto my blackboard exactly as it's depicted in the photograph? Sir, I was going to go down to Miss Beazley's boarding house and dust for fingermarks, take some statements.
I can do that.
Agnes Street, isn't it? Thank you.
Have you gained access to the machine yet? - Not yet.
- We need to reconfigure - the passcode manually.
- What's in here, then? Hopefully Mr.
Cormac's latest transmissions.
So you can send a message to anyone in the world with this? If they have a Portal, yes.
We currently have a thousand machines.
We want to make that a million.
And then a billion.
You're not half ambitious, James.
I want to bring the world together, Inspector.
The free exchange of ideas between people and peoples.
I just want to send a message without talking to anyone.
Oh, but sir, it could be so much more than that.
I mean, if anyone can send a message to anyone, then, presumably, anyone can send a message To everyone! Books could be transmitted.
Sports scores.
If images could be transmitted, what's to keep you from browsing the Eaton's catalogue, placing your order directly from a Pendrick Portal? Well, George, I hardly think people will want to read a book - from such a device.
- What else do you see? Why not a global university? You could attend from anywhere, a treehouse, a lighthouse, a yurt.
Come work for me.
Uh, but, sir, I already have a job.
- I'll double your salary.
- Oy! You're right, Tom.
I'll triple it.
You think about it, Mr.
I've gained access.
I haven't been able to get into two sections.
What? Why? Ah, Mr.
Cormac seems to have reconfigured his machine to prevent access.
I need to override his instructions.
Are you able to imprint to paper what you have thus far? I appreciate you coming to pick me up.
- Excuse me, Mrs.
- Hm? What do you know about my son? - You? - Bobby.
Bobby Brackenreid.
I've never heard of him.
- You mentioned him by name.
- Margaret! Not now.
You must be so excited.
- Is that what this feeling is? - Isn't it? Well, I don't know, Effie.
It's a big change.
Permanent change.
And then, you know, there's my friendship with Detective Murdoch.
I'm sure your friendship will survive.
You'll just have to get used to calling him William.
I don't think I'll ever do that.
According to the transmission log, Mr.
Cormac's previous communication was at 2:34 p.
It says, "Don't worry.
I'm sending it now.
" If the killer was able to send his own icon, then he was likely a Parlour user himself.
Icon? Ah.
Well, I've spoken to everyone at Mr.
Cormac's boarding house, no sightings.
But his neighbour heard someone walk past her door at 2:30.
Heard? That could be anybody.
Well, if it was the killer, that's one full half hour before the murder.
And if the neighbour heard no sign of a disturbance, then it was likely someone known to Mr.
Success? Gather round, we may have something here! I've managed to access some of the blocked sections.
Bloody hell.
He's naked.
Small wonder he wanted to keep that hidden.
Uh, sorry to interrupt.
Uh, Detective, Inspector might I have a word? Sirs, as you both know, six years ago I withheld information during an investigation.
At the time, it was to protect Edna Garrison and her son.
But I was told because of that, I would never make detective.
Is that still the case? I can't honestly say it isn't, Crabtree.
Well, I appreciate your honesty, sir.
George, Mr.
Pendrick's ventures - seldom work out.
- Yes, I'm aware of that.
And I thank you both for everything you've done for me.
Would have been the last moment I saw him.
- Tearing a bookcase apart.
- I agree.
Uh, Mr.
If your offer still stands, I accept.
I am so pleased.
Harding, meet our new director of creative development.
Oh, well, welcome aboard, Mr.
Thank you.
- Congratulations, George.
- I'll bloody miss you.
But you never heard that from me, Bugalugs.
Our loss is their gain.
Good luck.
I wish it was me that was leaving.
Well, a pint then, to celebrate.
Oh, not tonight, Crabtree.
We've got a case to solve, hm? Let's discuss this.
Higgins, when you're done? They have me doing your job as well.
Well, uh Another time, then, and, uh, and best of luck with the case.
Right, then.
So, Cormac was trading in pornography? Not just pornography.
There were conversations about adulterous liaisons and prostitution.
- Not just a mathematics professor.
- Hmm.
I don't want Pendrick's Parlour to be associated with this type of business.
Is there anything we could do about it? Hey! - It's the decon-recon sequence.
- The what? For reasons of security, outgoing messages are scrambled with a simple algorithm.
This is it.
How did Cormac get it? Well, he figured it out.
He's a mathematician.
He should never have been given a Portal.
So, he had access to every transmission, every private conversation.
- A Peeping Tom, then? - Perhaps.
But why did he record only the transmissions that were potentially damaging to the senders? He was blackmailing them.
Bloody hell.
There's your motive right there, Murdoch.
Dear God! People sent these to each other? They assumed the exchanges were private.
Well, I have a photograph or two I could send to you.
So you think he was compiling all of these for blackmail purposes? He recorded these separately from his other transmissions.
What were they about? Mundane things.
Pictures of cats.
Jokes about cats.
And Cormac wasn't the only one, nearly everybody.
Well, how odd.
I wonder why.
George will have a theory.
How are you feeling about that? Feeling? I wish him all the luck in the world in his new venture.
You'll still be friends, William.
Morning, Detective.
Have you been here all night? We're just wrapping up.
We gained access to the final blocked section.
I printed off the contents.
- A cipher? - Ah, not a cipher.
But a code of some kind.
But why encode it in the first place? Perhaps he feared that if he could spy on others, others could spy on him? - What is happening? - Someone's taking control of the machine.
- How? - I don't know, but he's erasing the recorder! Quickly, pull the plug! Do you mean to tell me that the intruder can not only spy on our Face Space transmissions, but they have access to the actual machine? That's why each machine is protected with a passcode.
A passcode? A secret key, a passcode known only to the user.
So, someone knows Mr.
Cormac's passcode, possibly the killer.
I'm going to have to take this machine back to headquarters and analyze it.
Right, then.
My goodness.
I don't know.
What are my options? George Crabtree, I presume.
- Ah, yes.
We met yesterday.
- Not by name.
I'm Melody Struthers, Assistant Machine Instructor.
I'm not sure what that means.
It means I write coded instructions for the machines and Professor Harding gets the credit.
Ah! This used to be his desk.
I'm over there in the operations section.
We'll be working together.
You come up with brilliant ideas and I'll explain in boring detail why they can't work.
Well, that sounds a lot like my old job.
Sir? I thought Professor Harding took this back to their headquarters.
It's not Cormac's.
It's ours.
Ours? - Why would we ? - It's the future, isn't it? Sir, they are demonstrably not secure.
We have a passcode.
Come here.
Come here! Keep it to yourself: It's Wednesday.
The team! Football.
Ah, yes, yes, yes.
No one will ever guess that.
Look at this, someone sent out a photo of a cat hanging from a clothesline.
Bloody priceless! Sirs.
I've spoken to the Parlour users Mr.
Cormac spied on.
They all have alibis except for naked photograph man.
He's in the interview room.
Clothed, sir.
Oh, good.
Uh, Henry, copy this to my blackboard exactly as it's written, please.
Oh, yeah.
My goodness.
This is your front door.
The images renew every six seconds.
How about that? And what's all of this? Each light represents a cell, each blink represents a transmission, 987 machines transmitting to 40 cells on three continents.
What about the costs of overseas transmission? We transmit in units of seven bits, which allows for very high speed.
And who are your users? Oh, volunteers, mostly.
Some random.
Some specifically chosen.
Welcome Mr.
Look, I've told the front staff, now I'm telling you.
No contact with Pendrick or Harding until further notice.
Is this about the Cormac murder? That's none of your concern.
You're not a copper anymore.
Where'd you get that? You transmitted this? I sent it to a lady friend.
Is that why I'm here? You're here because you are under suspicion of the murder of Vincent Cormac.
I don't know anything about that.
The data of this image was found in his machine, we believe for the purposes of extortion.
You believe what you want.
I didn't kill him.
Margaret? Donna Farrow? Margaret, this is private information! She knows something about Bobby.
She said they found him.
Who found him? I don't know! But I need to find out.
It may be something you don't want to hear, Margaret.
Are you prepared for that? I have to know.
I'm his mother.
Ah, sir.
- It's all done.
- Very good.
Now, there's a pattern here somewhere.
If you say so, sir.
There's a symmetry of sorts there.
And this one is almost a palindrome except for the A and the N.
A N.
A, dot, dash, N, dash, dot.
Uh Each half is the mirror of the other in Morse code.
That's it! Henry, convert this entire sequence to Morse code.
We need to make a visual representation of this.
We'll need a grid, roughly 65 squares by 28.
And in the fields, instead of inserting dots and dashes, you will then colour the square or leave it blank.
Yes sir.
I'll get some paper.
Good luck.
Thank you.
A belated welcome, Mr.
How are you settling in? Very well, thank you.
Is everything all right, sir? I'm not a knight; there are no sirs here.
Call me James.
Quickiepedia? Yes.
I'm thinking a compendium of all human knowledge written and edited by Parlour users themselves.
The knowledge of experts, available to all? And quickly.
It's ingenious.
You rekindle my faith, Mr.
Oh, sir! Come and see this.
I wrote out the Morse code as you asked.
It looks like a smile.
Henry, bring in Mr.
What is the function of the Cheshire Cat grin? Figuratively, or literally? Bits of information, if sent in a specific sequence, will do something.
What does this sequence do? Well, sent as code, it could be an address, or a set of machine instructions.
But a transmitted image is just that: it has no coded value.
What if we were to send this sequence as text? Let's try it.
- We'll be needing that, Inspector.
- Not right now, I'm afraid.
I'm in negotiation with a Nigerian prince.
What? Well, he's about to be overthrown and he wants to hide his fortune in Canada.
He's willing to pay me 5,000 $ as a consultancy fee.
The originating cell is from Niagara.
You mean Nigeria.
N no, Niagara as in Falls.
It seems to be some sort of confidence scheme.
Oh, bloody hell.
- Then, who is it then? - Don't know.
They're masking their identity.
Ah! All right.
First sequence.
Ah, six, five five, five And seven more fives.
And a nine.
Uh, next.
Zed, ten fives and then three.
We're in someone else's machine.
Whose? A man by the name of Milton Jarvis.
But his last transmission was two months ago.
Wait a minute.
Someone's trying to get in.
- Milton Jarvis? - No.
Someone else.
Operator, give me Pendrick headquarters.
Run a scan on Cell 7, Unit 23.
I want to know who's transmitting.
We're conducting a trace.
- Ah! - Ah! Yes, yes.
Thank you.
Very good.
Keep a record.
The originating cell came from a man named Sam Waters.
- Isn't that the naked man? - Indeed, sir.
We now have more than just motive.
We need to bring Mr.
Waters back in and confiscate his machine.
Imagine you could type "chicken soup recipe" and find different recipes shared by various users.
That information would be stored on individual machines.
We don't have access.
Yes, but imagine every user had a line to a Pendrick machine dedicated solely to storage.
You send your chicken soup recipe up the line, I send mine.
We all upline our recipes and there they are, stored, to be accessed by any user, at any time.
We would need dedicated connections; dedicated addresses; an automated index to allow for quicker searches.
So, it's possible? It's possible.
Dedicated storage? Magnetic wire is cheap.
Land is cheap.
Power is cheap.
I see huge upfront costs without defined profits.
- Well, yes, but surely the benefit - To whom? Mankind.
That is exactly the kind of dreamy thinking that will obliterate my father's investment.
Tell me how this will make money.
Well, it will make the Parlour better.
You'll sell more machines.
I don't see that.
Well, that's fine.
I'm sure James will.
James! Oh Yes, I see.
You've had the, um, "we're a team" chat.
Teams have hierarchy.
James may be the owner, but I am your boss.
You'll address me as Mr.
Oh, and, by the way, um, no eating at your desk.
We have a lunchroom for that.
How did he know I was eating at my desk? Small men focus on small things.
His father bequeathed him his interest in this company.
Immediate profit is all he cares about.
This was transmitted at the moment of Mr.
Cormac's death.
It is a binary representation of this.
It also contains a sequence that provides direct access to the machine of one Milton Jarvis, whom we have learned is living abroad currently.
Binary - representation? - Don't play me for a fool, Mr.
Waters! You are deeply connected to the murder of a man for whom you had motive to kill.
I didn't have motive.
You've got it wrong.
Cormac wasn't trying to extort me.
We were both trying to catch the man who was extorting me.
About a month ago, I received a copy of the photograph I sent and a message asking for 500 $ or else the photograph would be made public.
The next day, I got a message from Mr.
He'd been monitoring my transmissions.
He told me the man who was extorting me had access to our machines.
We called him Mr.
Cormac wanted my help to trap him.
I agreed.
That's why he was murdered.
You believe by this Mr.
X? Cormac told me he was close to discovering his identity.
He'd found a way to track him.
He'd compiled evidence.
But he needed to hide it where Mr.
X wouldn't think to look.
In the machine of a man living abroad.
And why the Cheshire Cat grin? We needed a code Mr.
X wouldn't guess.
And why transmit it during Mr.
Pendrick's address to his investors? I've no idea.
He sent it to me in a Chat Space a half hour earlier.
His last transmission was to you.
"Could you be the Cheshire Cat?" "Because it happens that I've failed you.
" Curious? "Meet me on the bench across from Pendrick HQ.
" Is it possible that Vincent Cormac was killed at 2:34 p.
, but his murder was transmitted 26 minutes later? You think that's what happened? It would explain the gap on the primary recorder.
Is it possible? You have to edit the recording directly; transfer the content to the other recorder; find a way to align the text and the image They're stored separately.
And then you'd have to manually roll back the timing mechanism on the secondary recorder.
You'd need physical access to the machine.
How long would all of that take? - 10 minutes? - Ah I could do it in five.
He was killed 26 minutes earlier? I believe so, yes.
Why go to all the trouble of making it appear that he was killed during Pendrick's demonstration? I've been giving it a great deal of thought and I can think of only one reason.
He wanted an alibi.
What better alibi than to be in the company of everyone watching the murder being committed with their own eyes? That includes everyone that was attending the investors' demonstration.
It just so happens that Miss Beasley's boarding house is only two blocks away from Pendrick headquarters.
It would have taken 10 minutes, leaving 16 minutes to get to the demonstration, shake hands, be seen.
It's tight.
But it opens up a whole new field of potential suspects.
At 2:34, I was charming the pants off investors.
Professor Harding can attest to that.
Actually, I cannot.
I was, uh, waylaid by matters relating to Babbage and I arrived at the demonstration just before 3:00.
Babbage? The inventor of the Analytical Engine? Yes.
But, in this case, it's the name of my dog.
- Is Babbage all right? - Oh, she got lost again.
- She's getting old.
- Oh, dear.
So, you don't have an alibi? No, I don't.
I absolutely could have killed Mr.
Cormac, changed the recording and made it to the investor demonstration.
But I would like to stress that I didn't.
I've got nothing to tell you.
I know you know about my son.
It's my husband's business and he don't like me talking about it.
You said they found Bobby.
- And I've already said too much.
- Please.
I'm his mother.
I just want to know if he's alive.
- Please.
- He's alive.
Least he was when they found him.
Where? Where is he? Wh You're the Cheshire Cat.
Ha! I guess that makes you the Curious Cat? You left me waiting.
Well, you're here now.
Have a seat.
Let's talk.
What does the Cheshire Cat smile mean? Nothing.
- It was bait.
- Bait? A few months ago, I became aware of a lurker in one of the Face Spaces.
- A lurker? - Trespasser; uninvited participant.
So, I conducted a scan and caught him.
He turned out to be Vincent Cormac.
The murder victim.
But I soon learned that Cormac was himself trying to discover the identity of a man he called Mr.
X who could break into individual machines.
Why didn't you go to Mr.
Pendrick with this? Because Mr.
X had access to information stored on machines that aren't connected to the Parlour.
So, he worked for Pendrick Enterprises.
For all I know, it could be Pendrick himself.
So that's when I said, "Miss Struthers, you had to come in - and talk to Detective " - Yes, of course, of course.
Well, thank you both for coming in.
George, if you could please excuse us.
Oh, right.
Yes, of course.
- Miss Struthers.
- Yes.
Please help me understand this, uh, "bait" gambit.
I wasn't looking for the man who would show up to meet me.
I was looking for the man showing up to see who was showing up.
To meet you.
Ah, but if the plan was to trick the killer into reacting to the symbol of the crime he'd committed The symbol was just to get his attention.
It was this verse that was meant to trap him.
"Could you be the Cheshire Cat because it happens that I've found you.
" - I don't understand.
- Oh, you're not meant to.
But Mr.
X would.
How so? The first letters of each line spell out the passcode he was using to break into individual machines.
One universal passcode? It works on every machine.
And how did you come to have this passcode? We tricked him into transmitting it.
That's why Cormac sent the image of the Cheshire Cat.
- Well, that wasn't meant for Sam Waters? - No.
It was all a trick to convince Mr.
X we were on to him.
We knew he'd be reading Sam's machine.
We knew he'd try the codes Cormac transmitted.
And when those codes didn't grant him access to the machines, he would be forced to use his universal passcode.
I was doing a scan the whole time.
As soon as he transmitted the passcode, we had it.
You then used this riddle to force him to expose himself.
But he didn't take the bait.
The bait? Why this sequence? Could be random.
The odds against someone typing in that exact sequence would be a trillion to one.
A cipher, maybe, sir? Perhaps.
Might be as simple as going ahead or back a letter for each.
So: B, A, B, B, A A, B, C, D.
Sir! Cabbage! Babbage! Very good.
George Oh, I'm sorry.
Henry! Bring in Professor Harding! - This is your passcode? - Yes.
How How did you ? It acts as a universal key.
It granted us access to every machine we've tried.
You designed it that way so that you would have access to other machines for the purposes of extortion.
Cormac found out and you killed him.
You then delayed transmission of the murder to provide yourself with an alibi.
There's no override sequence.
No, I tried that.
The back flow sequence? No.
It's in the machine itself.
It's in every damned machine.
What do you say to these charges, Mr.
Harding? I did this.
It was me! Is that a confession? Mr.
Harding! Mr.
Harding, stop! Mr.
Harding! Professor, what are you doing? Oi! 10 years ago I discovered a man by the name of Karl Schreyer using my computer, so I installed a passcode into the machine itself.
But when we moved to the new interface, passcodes became electrical and I forgot all about it.
- I it was - A backdoor.
To every machine we ever built.
That's how he was able to get in.
- Mr.
X? - Who? How did he get your passcode? Sir, I think I know how.
I think he observed Mr.
Harding entering it into his own machine.
There's a photosensor in the ceiling above my desk, which used to be Professor Harding's desk.
Photosensor? A camera capable of transmitting images in real time.
To whom? Garth Trent.
He used it to spy on me.
In fact, that's why he didn't take the bait for Miss Struthers' trap.
He was watching me through the camera.
Trent was a participant at your presentation, was he not? He suggested it.
Thinking it would give him the perfect alibi.
Hold it.
Trent was transmitting from Parkdale.
He couldn't have killed Cormac and made it to the Face Space.
What if he wasn't? What if he wasn't in Parkdale at all? What if he was in Mr.
Cormac's room the whole time? I suppose he could have relayed the Face Space transmission from Cormac's machine.
Well, let's bring up his Face Space transmission.
He never left Cormac's room.
Let's arrest the bugger.
A confession could spare you the noose.
What do you want to know? How did you know Professor Harding's passcode was universal? I didn't.
I only meant to break into Harding's machine.
So you obtained his passcode.
And when I did, I found that I'd broken into the wrong machine.
But the passcode still worked.
It worked on every machine that I tried.
Why, Mr.
Trent? You had everything.
You had a stake in the company.
My father squandered my inheritance building a thousand Pendrick Portals.
Did you no longer believe in the venture? I never did! Pendrick has no head for profits.
All that he cares about is progress.
So you found another way.
I had access to every secret.
I could have made millions.
I I got impatient.
I I wanted to test it.
And in so doing you attracted the attention of the one person who could track you down.
It was him or me.
You're folding the company? I envisioned a better world, Mr.
I built a tool that was meant to bring us together.
Instead, it was usurped by criminals and charlatans.
I keep making the mistake of thinking people are better than they are.
Well, I'm truly sorry, Mr.
I'm sorry, too.
And I made you quit your job and now I've dashed your dreams.
Oh, not at all.
As much as I appreciated the opportunity, turns out, I'm a copper after all.
Sorry it didn't work out, Crabtree.
I don't suppose my old job is still available? The thing is, Bugalugs, we've already promoted Baker up to constable second class.
But, luckily, we have an opening for constable first class.
It pays less than Pendrick, but it's a good bump up on what you were making before.
We've also inquired with the chief constable.
If I and the inspector draft letters of recommendation, they will waive the prohibition.
You won't make detective this year or even next year.
But the door will no longer be closed to you.
Welcome back, George.
Good to be back, sirs.

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