My late mother-in-law Teresa used to have many colourful expressions. One was, “Busy as a dog licking two pots.”

This pretty much describes TV showrunner Peter Mitchell this past year. The veteran writer/executive producer has overseen CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries for over a decade and last year took on the added assignment of overseeing Hudson & Rex.

Both shows are produced by Shaftesbury and both, along with CTV’s Transplant, routinely top the list of most-watched scripted originals in Canada. The Mitchell effect was especially evident this season as the canine detective series fetched close to a million viewers many weeks, a big leap forward for that St. John’s-based drama.

Meanwhile, very quietly, Murdoch Mysteries has become, in terms of number of episodes, the longest-running scripted hour-long drama in Canadian television history.

The Calgary-based family drama Heartland actually began a half-season earlier, in the fall of 2007. Murdoch premiered as a series (there had been three previous TV-movies with a diferent cast) on Citytv in January of 2008 and now has more total episodes than Heartland.

This past season a whopping 24 were ordered, stretching Murdoch’s run of new episodes throughout the fall and winter. That followed several season orders of 18 or 19. Heartland used to do 18 a year, but the past three seasons it has been cut back to 10 episode orders.

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Murdoch‘s 233nd episode, “Patriot Games,” airs tonight on CBC (Monday, Feb. 28), surpassing Heartland‘s total of 232. Jennifer Liao directs a script by Jennifer Lee & Simon McNabb. The episode prior to that was written by Maureen Jennings, author of the original Murdoch Mysteries novels the series is based on and creator of the characters.

New episodes continue to run throughout March and into April. Mitchell posted on social media that it was a 154-day shoot, which wrapped earlier in February. He just finished cutting the season finale, No. 239 for the series.

“Cliffhangers?” Mitchell teases. “Well maybe, but there are certainly a few characters standing at the edge of some…”

Murdoch Mysteries recently received nine Canadian Screen Award nominations, including a well desrved Best Acting nom for Yannick Bisson and ones for makeup ace Deb Drennan and costume designer Joaanna Syrokomla.

I spoke with costar Thomas Craig earlier this season, you can listen to that podcast here; or go back a little further to my December, 2020 chat with costar Helene Joy. She got the best award of all last December — the birth of her daughter, Harrison.

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