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Case Histories - Series 1-2 [DVD]
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Case Histories is a detective series set in contemporary Edinburgh, adapted from Kate Atkinson's best-selling novels and devised for television by Ashley Pharoah (creator of Life on Mars). Private investigator Jackson Brodie is played by Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter; The Patriot). A former soldier and policeman, Jackson's tough-guy exterior belies a deeply empathetic heart. He's unable to resist coming to the rescue and is a magnet for the bereaved, the lost and the dysfunctional. Intriguing, moving and funny, the character driven stories conjure up a richly imagined world in which Jackson Brodie attempts to bring resolution to the victims of unexplained mysteries and comfort to the survivors of personal tragedies. He is the ultimate survivor himself--a bruised optimist, compelled to help others.
Includes all episodes from series 1 and 2.
- Behind The Scenes
- Interview with Jason Isaacs, Kate Atkinson, producer Helen Gregory and Amanda Abbington
- Jason Isaacs' Video Diaries
- Stunts, Make-up, The Dog
Any television drama that gives Jason Isaacs a lead role instantly warrants some kind of attention. And with Case Histories, there’s more than just the leading man to warrant the attention. While on the surface, it might look like just another detective series, there are a couple of choices that make it just a little bit more intriguing.
The main focus of Case Histories is less on the procedural of solving a case, and more on the characters. Stories are split into two episodes apiece, and are based on the popular series of novels by Kate Atkinson.
There’s a lot to enjoy here, in a welcome and mature piece of television drama, but Case Histories isn’t a perfect beast. There are concessions made for the small screen that aren’t going to please fans of the books, and a high degree of belief suspension is required to get the most from it. Yet the presence of the perfectly-cast Isaacs is ample compensation for all of this. His performance is magnetic, powering the show forward even through its quieter moments.
This is, in short, quality drama, well executed and very well played. More Case Histories would be very much appreciated… --Jon Foster --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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The former cop (Golden Globe and International Emmy nominee Jason Isaacs, HARRY POTTER, THE PATRIOT) is just trying to make a living. He has a hard time collecting his debts and paying his bills, but no shortage of clients, since he can't overlook a wrong or say no to a person in need. This character-driven drama also stars Amanda Abbington, (AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT, SHERLOCK), as DC Louise Munroe, seemingly the last Edinburgh cop still talking to her former colleague—who has a bit of a soft spot for him; Zawe Ashton, (FRESH MEAT), as Deborah Arnold, his longsuffering assistant. Millie Innes plays his daughter Marlee; Kirsty Mitchell, ex-wife Josie, Natasha Little, (KIDNAP AND RANSOM), his lover and ex-lover, with whom he has a very fraught relationship, actress Julia Land. Further guest stars include Phil Davis, (VERA DRAKE) and Sylvia Simms, (ALICE’S RESTAURANT). Some of Brodie’s clients are parents looking for children; some children, looking for parents. Some are concerned with the past; some, with the future. The women in the investigator’s life don’t offer him much peace, either. Isaacs, who seemingly was born to play brooding, handsome heroes, ably plays Brodie as a moody, damaged but still tough guy with a soft heart. He carries the series with empathy, a realization of the terrible cost of violence to its survivors as well as its victims, and biting Scottish humor.
The episodes are:
Episode 1: CASE HISTORIES.
Boasts three subplots. The investigator searches for one of the cats of his crotchety client Binky Rain (Sylvia Simms); he stumbles across the 30-year old mystery of a little girl who disappeared from the house next door. The girl's sisters, Julia( Natasha Little) and Amelia Land have found their little sister's stuffed toy, Blue Mouse, where it ought not to be, while going through their late father’s things. A distraught Theo Wyre (Phil Davis) barges into Brodie's office to beg him to look into the murder of his daughter Laura, as he doesn't have confidence in the police investigation. And a manipulative nurse, Shirley Manning, wants him to find the niece whom she put into foster care years ago.
Episode 2: ONE GOOD TURN: A JOLLY MURDER MYSTERY.
Finds Brodie, while out for one of his jogs, discovering the body of a young woman floating in the ocean. As he tries to establish her identity, he traces her to a Russian-owned and staffed maid service where the staff are afraid to speak to him. Meanwhile, the former cop witnesses a man brutally beaten in a multi-story car park, apparently in an episode of road rage that has morphed into a mugging. Fortunately, a bystander, mystery writer Martin Canning tosses his laptop at the assailant, probably saving the victim's life. But the cowardly mystery writer fears retaliation and insists that Brodie must protect him. And the captain of industry husband of Gloria Hatter has just had a heart attack while enjoying in the company of his Russian immigrant dominatrix Tatiana. As the master of the universe lies dying unconscious in a hospital bed, his wife finds that their company Hatter Homes is under investigation, as are her husband's other holdings, and an employee of his, Terence Smith might well be up to no good. Just by coincidence, the three cases turn out to be one.
Episode 3: WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?
Begins as Brodie works an adultery case. Gary Moore, nervous and possessive husband, hires the detective to follow his wife Michelle. Just by coincidence, again, as the former policeman walks home from the job, he sees an elderly woman whose car has stalled on the tracks of an oncoming speeding train. Brodie tries to pull her out of the car, but is struck himself. He is saved and revived by a young woman, Reggie Teague, who had been studying with the retired schoolteacher who was driving the imperiled car. When Brodie limps out of the hospital, he finds that Moore won't stop pestering his secretary for news of the infidelity case; and that the young woman Reggie, who saved his life, thinks the investigator now owes her a favor: her employer Dr. Joanna Hunter has gone missing with her baby girl. Husband Neil claims that Dr. Hunter is visiting relatives, but Reggie, who works as her nanny, knows that she has none.
Episode 1: STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG
The investigator agrees to help a handsome young Australian woman. She had been given up for adoption, returns to Edinburgh to find her real parents. His investigation leads him to a 35-year-old secret; carrying it has troubled everyone involved. Brodie must decide whether to let the law take its course or do what he thinks best for a child.
Episode 2: NOBODY’S DARLING
A pretty young nanny hires Brodie to see if her employer/fiancé is cheating on her. During his inquiries he is also hired by the man's ex-mother-in-law, who suspects the fiancé of having murdered her daughter. A straightforward investigation turns into a cold case. Marlee, Brodie’s pubescent daughter, moves in with him; his home life gets difficult.
Episode 3: JACKSON AND THE WOMEN
The women in Brodie’s life give him a tough time as he takes on two new cases. A teenage boy asks him to investigate the murder of his mother killed, when the boy was only three, on Christmas Eve. Another family hires the former cop to locate their missing 19-year-old daughter. What he discovers in both cases is painful for all parties, but particularly painful for Brodie. He makes decisions that are costly for him but give the two young people a chance to move forward.
Direction is sharp, ambiance is enviable, no visible stinting on extras, cars, interiors. Dialog is sharp, the interplay among the characters is consistently amusing. The characterizations are deep and complex in these police procedurals, as are their plots, although they often seem to be dependent upon an almost Victorian amount of coincidence. Yet they are suspenseful. The Scottish settings are occasionally tourist-beautiful, as Brodie seems to do most of his running around Arthur’s Seat or on the beach; but they are usually in gritty, little-seen corners of the country’s capital. However, if the question is, is this entertainment influenced by that Scottish school of mystery writing known as tartan noir, characterized by tougher, more violent contents than is usual, my answer would have to be no: I see no signs of it. But I found the series powerful, satisfying, surprising and gripping; involving in its emphasis on family relations, particularly those with/of daughters. And, as I recall the Atkinson book on which the TV treatments are based, CASE HISTORIES, which I was given as a birthday present upon its publication, I didn’t like it. Though, oddly enough, I don’t remember why not. Nevertheless, this fine production is highly recommended.
Jason Isaacs excels playing Brodie, a sympathetic character, conveying a deep sadness behind a sardonic Yorkshire humour. The writing and acting are of the highest standard throughout, and the narrative keeps your attention despite some interesting coincidences. I look forward to watching the second series.
And also a 'hello' to Jason Isaacs.
Excellent, well acted drama that is entertaining and engaging. I was also impressed
how close to the books the storylines are. A most enjoyable purchase.
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They mash-up and expand the Jackson Brodie books but to excellent effect.Read more