Naismith Mystery

  • While channel surfing last week I came across a rather strange show that featured James Naismith as a character in a TV drama.

    The Canadian crime series “Murdoch Mysteries” is based on a book about a turn-of-the-(20th)-century Toronto detective who solves crimes by using “modern” scientific techniques. The show gets outlandish at times when they try to put historical figures in the plot lines. Last week’s episode had James Naismith returning to his hometown in Ontario for a charity youth basketball tournament that included a team Murdoch coached. Somehow Naismith becomes the suspect in a murder case. (Spoiler: He didn’t do it.)

    The guy playing Naismith was a reasonable match for the one we’ve seen in all the old photos. But aside from some historical inaccuracies about early basketball, the show really went over the top when it tried to tie the plot into the modern game.

    The real eye-roller came when it featured Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse in a cameo role as a locker-room attendant. He goes so far as to suggest that Murdoch name his kids’ team the Raptors. To make it even more unbelievable, the tournament’s winning shot was a carbon copy of the rim-bouncing Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater that sent Toronto to the NBA finals a few years ago. (Guess you gotta play to your audience…)

    Those of us who live close to the border can watch the series on the CBC Network. Otherwise a few American outlets carry reruns of the show on cable or streaming services. I think some of the early seasons are available on DVD.

    Kind of a hoot ! Entertaining, in a jump-the-shark kind of way…

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