By definition, a morgue is the temperature controlled area where human remains are stored while awaiting identification, autopsy examination, or post-death ritual such as burial or cremation. The room is typically refrigerated to avoid decomposition of the remains. References to "the morgue" in Forever Knight frequently include not just this body room, but the entire series of rooms attached to it including the room where Dr. Natalie Lambert has her office.
The main part of this set appears to be fairly large due to the way it was filmed. In actuality, the set was quite small, though a full four-sided one. All four sides could be broken away, however, allowing the room to be filmed from "behind" the walls. Additionally, the lenses used on the filming camera were often chosen to expand the depth of view to make the rooms look larger.
Exterior scenes for the morgue were filmed on location at the actual Coroners Building in Toronto; however, a set was built for the interior scenes. At first, the interior morgue set consisted only of a single room that served a combination of functions: Natalie's office, laboratory, and post-mortem examination room. Part of the way through Season 1, this room was extended to include a short stretch of corridor outside one of the doors.
For Season 2, a walk-in refrigerated room where corpses could be kept was built and a second section of corridor was added. Scenes in a few episodes indicate that these corridors were later extended further, though not necessarily as a permanent part of the set.
The main part of the morgue set is an all-purpose room tiled in turquoise. It combines the functions of laboratory, office, and autopsy room. There are three principal ways onto the set: through a door in one of the end walls, and through two doors built into one of the side walls. (The remaining side wall has no door; and the remaining end wall has the steel door to the cold storage area.) All three entrances are in regular use by actors entering and leaving the set; none of them can be correlated with particular routes through or exits from the Coroners Building.
Two of the entrances to Natalie's office are both in one corner of the room, diagonally opposite her desk. There is a short hall, just deep enough for the door at the end to be opened and laid back against the inner wall. One of the side doors is also off this short corridor.
The rest of the end wall is taken up by a laboratory area. The inside side wall (without doors) has various things mounted on or set close by the walls, but serves primarily as an open area for people moving around the room, especially when heading for the desk. This is positioned end-on to the side wall, jutting out into the room to cut off an office area. At the far end of the room is the door to the walk-in refrigerated room, while (besides having two doors out to the corridor) the remaining wall is primarily taken up by various storage cabinets.
Although the ceiling is not visible in most angles that were filmed, it is white, with long strips of fluorescent lighting. The flooring seems to be mottled light grey linoleum squares.
Most of the end wall is taken up by a laboratory area. Closest to the door, there is a small table on castors: this bears various lab equipment depending on the needs of the episode.
Beside it is a lab bench that runs almost to the corner of the room, with a stool for Natalie to sit on. Above is a shelf with jars and bottles of chemicals. Fitted under the shelf is fluorescent lighting so that Natalie can see clearly as she works. Various equipment has been used here, including a microscope and centrifuge.
Underneath the bench are a pair of open shelves, with three drawers on either side, left and right. However, Dr. Lambert is never seen removing anything from storage there. At the end of the lab bench is a built in sink. It was into this that Nick spat out the bright green blood substitute that she pressed on him in "Dark Knight".
The lab bench does not quite fit to the side wall, leaving a gap of a couple of feet where Dr. Lambert has some equipment hanging on the wall.
The side wall is largely used for hanging things: posters of human anatomy, a blackboard, and a lighted X-ray panel. It runs down to an office area at the far end of the room. When Dr. Lambert is working there, Nick tends to stands in front so he has room to pace a bit as he talks to her.
Natalie's desk has been set with one end against the wall, so that it juts out partway across into the room, cutting off an office corner. If Natalie is at her desk, therefore, she has to get up and come round it into the middle of the room in order to circle round back to the lighted panel and view an X-ray.
On the wall beside her desk, Natalie has put a pair of notice boards, on which there are always pinned up messages. There is also a calendar; and the date on this varies from episode to episode as the pages are changed. The desk itself contains the usual paraphernalia, including an in/outbox, telephone, and desk lamp.
Behind the desk, running along the rear wall, are a pair of filing cabinets. Various things are on top; but the most clearly seen is a coffee-maker, though Natalie is never seen with it in use.
Next to the filing cabinets is a computer desk, with a PC and a printer. Natalie usually uses it facing the wall; but Grace tends to turn it around so that it faces out into the room. An anatomy print has been stuck to the wall above the computer screen, perhaps to give Natalie something to look at as an alternative to a screen saver.
Next to the computer table, in the middle of the rear wall of the room, there is a heavy metal door leading into the walk-in freezer. Beyond this, there is a metal refrigerator. Although we rarely actually see Natalie use it, a sign inside the door indicates that it is designated to be employed for the storage of blood and tissue samples.
There is space on either side of this refrigerator; and Natalie has put various things there in different episodes. At one time, a coat rack stood to the left of the refrigerator; at other times, she has put the skeleton there. Sometimes a hazardous waste disposal bin has been set in this area, on one side or the other.
A functional-looking clock is located high on the wall to the right of the steel door, just to the left of the refrigerator.
Turning the corner, you come back to the other side wall. Running up from the end corner, there is a second, much longer steel cabinet with several doors. This is another refrigerator. Again, Natalie was rarely seen at the refrigerator. It sometimes appears in the background of shots; but most of the camera angles that were used actually show little of it.
Beyond the long fridge, there is a side door to one of the corridors. This must lead to the front door of the Coroner's Building, since Nick runs this way in "The Fix" when he wants to go out of the building in daylight to test the effectiveness of the lidovuterine that Natalie had injected into him.
There are several small things on or against the wall that runs between this side door and the second side door near the front entrance to the office.
Just to the right of the side door, there is a space where, when it is not in use, Dr. Lambert keeps a small table on castors. This is for the tools she uses during an autopsy: it can be wheeled over to the autopsy table, and moved around from one side to the other depending on where exactly she wants to stand.Beside it is a steel sink with a small holder above it containing a bottle. This is presumably the sink Dr. Lambert uses to wash up after an autopsy; the bottle may contain disinfectant.
To the right of the sink is a tall narrow white glass-fronted cabinet, about shoulder height. This contains a number of bottles of chemicals or drugs, and can be locked. In "The Fix", it was in this cabinet that Dr. Lambert locked the bottle of Lidovuterine-B when she decided that Nick should no longer use it: without his vampire powers, he was unable to break into it.
Beyond this cabinet is the second of the two doors in the side wall—both of which lead out onto the same corridor. This second door seems to lie within the short entrance corridor. It has a large window in it, which looks blue when the door is shut, though this is presumably because of the lighting outside (since the corridor walls are painted peach). This door is roughly opposite the end wall of the office, where the lab bench is; and Nick often uses this entrance when coming in to speak personally to Natalie (at the end of "Let No Man Tear Asunder", for example).
There is, of course, one more major feature of the room—a large free-standing metal autopsy table in the centre. It runs parallel to the side wall, approximately from the blackboard to the end of the desk. Above the table is a hanging scale, on which Natalie can weigh things, such as organs removed during an autopsy. There is also an adjustable lamp.The autopsy table is, of course, the focus of the examination of the corpse in all the murder cases investigated by Det. Nick Knight, as well as other Homicide detectives whose cases we never learn about. Bodies are brought in in zipped body bags; but it is relatively unusual for one to be lifted directly onto the table for autopsy. It did happen in "Only the Lonely": that was how Nick and Natalie met, when his apparent corpse was brought in after the explosion of a pipe bomb, only to resuscitate on the autopsy table. More usually, though, bodies are stored in the cold storage room until Dr. Lambert has time to get to them. Her schedule is always sadly busy.
The body of a victim is placed on the table, stripped, X-rayed, examined on the outside, and then cut open for an interior examination. Interior organs are removed for closer examination, and samples of blood, urine, and other tissues are taken for analysis. Finally, the corpse is sewn back up.
The table has a drainpipe underneath, so that bodily fluids will not flood the top of the table while the autopsy is underway. It is not unknown for something solid to slip down the pipe and block it. This happened in "Capital Offense", for example; but Dr. Lambert knows how to turn plumber and solve the problem herself.
Beside the autopsy table there is a table for instruments; but this is on wheels, so it can be moved if necessary. This is so that Natalie can stand on whichever side of the autopsy table gives the best possible access to the part of the body on which she is working. When she is not examining a corpse, she pushes the little trolley over to the wall by the side door, to keep it out of the way.Above the table is a hanging scale, on which Dr. Lambert can weigh things, such as organs removed during an autopsy. There is also an adjustable lamp, so she can get strong illumination when she needs it—during the close external examination of a body, as well as when she removes sections of the organs for further analysis.
Dr. Lambert's desk is only steps away from the autopsy table. But, even though this is a small room, there is sufficient space in the centre to have a group discussion in the area between the desk and either the autopsy table or the lab bench. Not only Dr. Lambert but also the detectives all have become so blasé about the true function of the autopsy table that they use it to lean on, sit on, or put things on—things other than the corpses that it is designed for, that is.
Cold Storage RoomEdit
There is a second room in the morgue set, reached through the large steel door in the far wall, near Dr. Lambert's desk. This is a cold storage room for corpses.
The cold storage room did not appear until the very end of Season One, and probably was not built until that time. In "Only the Lonely", for example, although Dr. Lambert is seen pushing a body on a gurney towards the camera in a direction that has to take her into the freezer, she is not actually seen entering it. However, in "If Looks Could Kill", a similar shot debuted the new cold storage room, with a camera angle from inside, showing the familiar morgue set through the door as Natalie wheeled in the gurney. At this point, the room was noticeably small—scarcely wider than the gurney itself—and essentially undecorated except for a light over the doorway and a switch beside it.
For the second season, the cold storage room set was improved. The door frame was retained, but the set made slightly wider and the new walls covered with panelling. The new version of the cold storage room debuted in "Bad Blood", in a memorable scene in which Chief Inspector Liam O'Neal takes the rookie detective Bridget Hellman into the freezer in order to show her the corpses of Jack the Ripper's latest victims. In that episode, the set was lit with a golden hue—not unreasonable, given that the light over the door is that colour. In later episodes, however, this was overwhelmed by a chill blue hue intended, perhaps, to convey the temperature of the room.The cold storage room is entered from the rear of Dr. Lambert's office, where there is a heavy steel door to the right of her desk. It gives the impression of considerable weight. The door is opened by turning a large lever handle; and, from the way the actors press it, this takes more force than is needed to open the usual door handle.
In the episodes where the set is in use, the rear wall is normally removed and the camera positioned behind its normal location to give a larger field of view. In almost all scenes, therefore, the freezer is filmed from an angle towards the door into Dr. Lambert's office. In "The Human Factor", however, Nick has a dream in which he opens the door to see Natalie inside. In this scene, it is possible to see that the set for the cold storage room is quite small, and only one gurney's length deep.
It is also essentially empty, with no permanent furniture or storage lockers. Instead, the bodies are kept on gurneys. Up to three may be inside, lined up parallel to one another with one end towards the door. They bear toe-tagged corpses, usually kept in body bags.The room has plain panelled walls, which seem to be a light brown colour that is usually washed out by the heavy blue lighting on the set. Between the panels are shiny strips, probably the metal frame holding the pre-fab panels in place. Despite the heavy door handle on the outside, the inside of the door appears normal enough, with a regular handle.
A light switch is located outside the freezer in Natalie's office beside the door: there is no light switch in the room itself. However, there is a yellow emergency light over the door, and this is permanently on.
Initially there was no hallway outside any of the doors leading into Natalie's office. Instead, when characters entered the scene, the camera angle was usually chosen to avoid revealing the limitations of the set. However, two of the three doors that ostensibly led to corridors have windows: for the door at the end, this is a small opening, while the side door has a large half window. During the filming of Season One, in order to obscure the fact that no corridor actually lay beyond either door, brilliant exterior lighting was employed whose glare made it impossible to see beyond the glass. As a result, in most episodes, the former window looks bright magenta and the latter looks blue. However, this is caused by the lighting, and does not reflect the colour of the walls of the corridors. This is obvious in the episode "Love You to Death", where the lighting shines off the doorway as Nick and Schanke open the door to leave.
End CorridorEditFor the episode "Only the Lonely", a small section of hallway was built outside the door in the end wall. Largely unused in the rest of Season One, it was retained for Season Two even after new corridors were built. However, only a small part of the hall was seen (and presumably was all that they built), basically just the stretch outside Natalie's door. However, the corridor walls were finished on both sides, permitting not only the usual view out of Natalie's office, but also a view in—though this camera angle was only used once, in the episode "Beyond the Law".
The walls of the corridor are painted in a light salmon-orange shade, with black baseboards. There is a band of medium brown wood trim at about knee height, perhaps six inches wide.
The door to Natalie's office is recessed slightly from the corridor walls; and a small sign is fixed to the recess somewhat below eye level. However, it is not possible to read what it says. Across the hall from her office is another door. Like hers, this is red. It has a metallic kick plate across the bottom. The frames to both doors are painted white.
At the beginning of Season Two, the morgue set was extended to include not only the cold storage room but also a section of hallway outside the two side doors, running between them. Both extensions to the set debuted in the same episode, "Bad Blood". The new corridor ends in a corner just by the front side door to Natalie's office. Given the close proximity of the end door and one of the side doors, it is clear that this corner is essentially just a divider between the two corridors on the set. (In real life, of course, having two separate corridors at right angles like this would be highly unlikely: the wall would not be there, and there would be a cross junction between the halls.)
Like the original corridor, the new stretch is also painted in an orangy salmon shade. However, it does not have the wood panel trim; and the small room signs which identify Natalie's office as a laboratory are at eye level.
In the corridor between the two doors (but closer to the door opposite the autopsy table), there is a wooden seat up against the wall. Here, in "Jane Doe", Natalie talks to Tracy as she recovers from the ordeal of helping to autopsy a weeks-old corpse.
In most episodes, all that was seen of the corridors outside Natalie's office was the short view through open doors. However, a longer section of corridor was also built in Season Two, representing corridors elsewhere in the Coroners Building. This was seen in only three episodes: "Beyond the Law", "The Human Factor", and "Last Knight".
In "Beyond the Law", a group of people come into the Coroners Building and walk down a hallway. At one end of the stretch of corridor, therefore, is the outer entrance (or, more accurately, one of the entrances) to the building. Inside is the type of breeze-block construction common in the lower levels of many large buildings. These walls have been painted white; just inside the door on the left is a radiator. A similar stretch of corridor is seen in "The Human Factor". As Natalie and Tracy talk, they walk through this section of hallway past a couple of doors.
Near the swing doors are a pair of pictures on the wall. Opposite them is a door which, from the type of sign above it, may be an administrative office. The salmon-painted section of corridor also ends in a double swing door. Just before these is a cross corridor.
It should be noted that this is not the hallway that runs past the end door of Natalie's office, since it does not have the wooden trim. However, it is also not the corridor that runs past the side doors to her office, which has a narrow black baseboard trim that this corridor lacks.
A different set of corridors, again painted salmon, was filmed in "Last Knight". There is a main corridor, which has wood trim. However, the camera angle shows a narrower cross-corridor, viewed through two open doors. As the camera moves in, crossing the main corridor, we see that Natalie is seated on a wooden bench, similar to that outside her office. (It may indeed be the same bench, moved for filming this scene.) She then rises, and she and Nick walk to the end of the hallway and turn left. It is this end cross-corridor that lies outside her office. On the left, the door to which they walk is the front side door—the one with the large window in it. Off screen to the right is the door opposite the autopsy table.
It is unclear whether the corridors seen in these episodes were permanent, perhaps slightly modified to give the impression of various hallways around the building, or whether they were built separately for each of the episodes.
Alternative EntranceEditAlthough Natalie's usual route to her office leads from the familiar outer exit and along the white hallway, on one occasion she did use an alternative route—possibly through the basement. In "Undue Process", Natalie comes in surreptitiously to check on a case that she is not supposed to be working on. The hallway she takes to get to her office is painted grey; and the walls do not have the wood strips that characterize the familiar salmon-orange hallway outside her office.
On one side of the hall is an exit. Where it goes is unknown; but it looks as though it may be a stairwell. On the other side of the hall, just before it turns to the left, there are two doors. From the sign outside, the end one goes into a laboratory. It is through the second door that Natalie proceeds to her office.
In between the two doors is a time-check point for the security guard on night patrol. His route takes him out of the end doorway, down to check in, and then across the hall and out the exit. However, at some later point in his route, he passes by Natalie's office, for there is a subsequent scene in which he catches her there when she is supposed to be off duty.
This set presumably was built specifically for "Undue Process", and was then torn down rather than being kept permanently as an extension of the morgue complex.