The Infernal Device logo

An immersive tale of fan engagement, transmedia, and the power of social conversation

One of Canada's most successful and longest-running dramas, Murdoch Mysteries (syndicated as The Artful Detective in the U.S.) is a one-hour period mystery series that explores the intriguing world of a methodical and dashing detective who pioneers innovative forensic techniques to solve murders at the turn of the 20th century. The show has an engaged and very social fan community with a large and highly active number of steampunk aficionados, cosplayers, mystery lovers, and puzzle-solvers, and so the goal of The Infernal Device was to reward these fans with an original Murdoch Mysteries story in which they could directly participate. Additionally, it was conceived as an innovative way to maintain attention on the show, now entering its 9th season.

The Infernal Device cast fans in the role of detective, immersing them in an original mystery story that began online and extended out across all of their devices, multiple social platforms, and into the real world.

Download the complete overview below:

Download the PDF
(6MB PDF)

Originally playing out over six weeks in spring, 2015, it's a steampunk-inspired mystery involving multiple gruesome murders, a 1902-era superweapon, British royalty in jeopardy, early 20th century biotechnology, stage magic, espionage, and betrayal. It combined video, photos, documents, letters, and other epistolary evidence punctuated with diabolical puzzles, cryptographic conundrums, and devious minigames that served to successively unlock more of the story.

Live and Interactive

New chapters were revealed online each week, leading to live in-story participatory events in locations across Canada and all the way over to London, England. Additional clues were revealed at each location, and fans then worked together using Facebook and Twitter to solve the case.

Check out the highlight reel below:

A multi-platform experience that lived on the desktop and in the real world, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, livestreams via Periscope, and even a custom augmented reality smartphone app (see the linked PDF, above, for details), this was groundbreaking project that had over a hundred people involved in its production. The Infernal Device garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews and resulted in an avalanche of social media conversation from around the world, along with an enormous amount of earned media impressions and news coverage across Canada and in the UK. Audience sentiment was universally positive and engagement was even higher than expected, with the large and passionate Murdoch fan community actively collaborating around the clock to experience the story and solve the mystery over the course of the six weeks. Independant fan pages, blogs and Wikis spontaneously appeared, dissecting and unpacking the story as it progressed. The online component of the project was constructed as an "evergreen" self-contained story experience, and is still being discovered and enjoyed by new players to this day.

Part transmedia mystery, part mixed-reality game, The Infernal Device captured the imaginations of Murdoch Mysteries fans across Canada and around the world.

Click the link below to play Murdoch Mysteries: The Infernal Device now!

Play The Infernal Device Now!