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Case Histories

Case Histories

Sun Jun 2, 8.30-10pm, BBC1

By Phil Harrison

Series two, episode three
For a private investigator, Jason Isaacs’s Jackson Brodie strays dangerously close to being a good samaritan. In fact, he spends so much time indulging his heart of gold that we wonder how he makes any money. Actually, he doesn’t, and that’s why everyone’s bailing on him.

Tonight he takes on more cases with unpromising likely outcomes. But the pleasure of ‘Case Histories’ isn’t really in the gumshoe plodding. Instead, it’s in Isaacs’s incredibly likeable lead performance and the welcome undercurrent of witty self-awareness underpinning the whole enterprise.

For example, in this week’s closing episode, Jackson finds himself on the set of a detective drama about ‘some brooding maverick with a dysfunctional private life’. This kind of lunge into meta-drama wouldn’t be wise if you were going to milk all the clichés dry; happily ‘Case Histories’ feels distinctive enough to justify the gentle mockery. A cracking series.

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