Lydia Howland (Murdoch Mysteries)

From Autistic characters wiki
Lydia Howland
Portrayed by Liisa Repo-Martell[1]
Appears in Murdoch Mysteries
Debut season 4, episode 6: "Dead End Street"
Year 2011

Lydia Howland is a one-time character in the Canadian drama series Murdoch Mysteries.


Lydia is the sole witness to a murder. She has made a scale model of her street that contains details that will lead to the identity of the killer and the nature of the murder.


The builder seems more interested in the homes than the people who live in them.
— Dr. Darcy Garland upon noting that the figurines of the street model don't have facial features

Lydia is stated to be autistic in the episode description.[2] Autism was not yet described at the time when the series takes place - around the turn of the 20th century. Within the episode, she is described as "feeble-minded" by her brother (who is also her primary caregiver). A police detective refers to her as "imbecile", whereupon another officer corrects him and states that the term is felt to be demeaning, and the correct term is "moron". It is also suggested she may be an "idiot savant" - she builds a scale model of the street with such great attention to detail that it was used to solve a murder. The human figures in her scale models are very detailed as well, though their faces are left blank since Lydia does not process facial expressions. She also has excellent recall, and is able to put back a mid-game chessboard exactly as it was after the pieces got knocked over.

Lydia developed typically, including speech, up to age 1, after which it is said she withdrew. She does not speak, which makes it difficult to get a witness account from her from the day of the murder. Murdoch has to figure out how to communicate with her, and ends up doing it through the scale model she built. She is also very sensitive to sound.

Episode list

Murdoch Mysteries

  • season 4, episode 6: "Dead End Street"


  • The episode references James Henry Pullen, also known as the Genius of Earlswood Asylum, a real-life British savant.
  • Actress Liisa Repo-Martell also appears in season 13, episode 4: "Rigid Silence" as Bridget Mulcahey, a completely unrelated character


External links