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Even as Victorian-era TV cop, Harper laments Ottawa 'infighting'

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears as a desk sergeant in an episode of the Victorian-era crime drama Murdoch Mysteries.


Stephen Harper plays a cop who grouses about Ottawa "infighting" and fails to recognize Liberal prime minister Wilfrid Laurier in an upcoming episode of a hot Victorian-era TV crime drama.

The Conservative Leader makes a cameo on Murdoch Mysteries, a TV series beloved by his daughter Rachel.

Mr. Harper visited City TV in Toronto Friday to talk about the episode and air the clip of his brief appearance.

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The scene featuring Mr. Harper as "Desk Sergeant Armstrong" contains an inside joke about hockey, a favourite subject of the Prime Minister's. Another character disparages his character's knowledge of the game during the cameo.

It also contains another political jab of sorts: Mr. Harper's character doesn't know who Mr. Laurier is when he appears in the police station. The politician, who ruled Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century, is an icon for Liberal Party stalwarts.

The dialogue goes as follows:

Constable Crabtree, talking about a hot hockey talent: "If the Ottawa hockey club can sign him next year, they will win the Stanley Cup.

Stephen Harper as Desk Sergeant Armstrong: "Not possible Crabtree. Too much infighting in Ottawa."

Crabtree: "Armstrong, you clearly don't know the first thing about hockey. Sometimes I wonder why I even thought ...

Wilfrid Laurier, appearing in the frame: "I am here to speak to Detective Murdoch,

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Armstrong: "And you would be?

Crabtree: "For the love of Pete, Armstrong, it is the Prime Minister man."

Mr. Harper spent a Friday afternoon last October filming a bit part for a fourth-season episode of Murdoch Mysteries, a Canadian-made whodunit set in 1890s Toronto that has a growing international following.

The performance wasn't likely a stretch for Canada's self-styled law-and-order Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister's Office said Mr. Harper and his daughter Rachel are big fans of the show, which has been described a Victorian-era version of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

The series revolves around Detective William Murdoch, who relies on cutting-edge forensic science to solve murders in late 19th-century Toronto.

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It's not the Prime Minister's first appearance on the small screen. Among other things, he's appeared on CTV's Corner Gas.

The show had to get permission from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists for Mr. Harper to play the role. He's not a member of the performers' union.

The show, which airs on City TV in Canada, has drawn enormous international viewership. It's licensed in more than 100 countries and territories and has become the No. 1 hit show for British broadcaster Alibi. It also runs on prime-time TV in France and backers have closed a deal to sell 52 episodes to China.

Mr. Harper's appearance offers a major publicity boost for Murdoch Mysteries, which is based on a series of books by Canadian author Maureen Jennings.

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