For the past three Sundays PBS has run episodes of "Case Histories." Jason Issacs plays private investigator (and army veteran and former police detective) Jackson Brodie in these adaptations of novels by Kate Atkinson. Shot in Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside the photography makes me want to hop on a plane more urgently than all the glitzy shots of beaches in the revised "Hawaii 5-O" (even when it is 34 and too cold for me to ride my bike here until it warms up this afternoon).
I'm writing about "Case Histories" today because for a limited time you can watch episodes on line. I don't know how long that limited time is, so I suggest you get yourself over to the website and watch.
The characters are quirky, the stories twisted and filled with coincidences—just ride the flow. It all pays off beautifully in just learning more about the characters and their responses to the drama of their lives, and that for me is what makes interesting TV. But you need to watch all three episodes in order, because relationship information accrues. There is a bonus pay off at the roller-coaster ending of episode 3. If you get into the mood of the show and pay attention to the hints you may see all that is coming, but the sequencing of events is so nicely spliced together, the dialog so minimally exact, well, I'm not going to spoil it.
And like me, you'll be asking for more, as quickly as possible please, because you want to know these characters more.
The appeal of Isaacs' Brody is not, as an article in the Guardian suggests, as a "Rochester, a wounded beast whom wannabe Jane Eyres imagine nursing."
The character's appeal is in the nuance, sweetness, and tenderness that Isaacs is able to bring to the character of Brody. We see this when Brody interacts (for no recompense) with an elderly cat lady; when he talks with his daughter (Brody and his wife are separated) and takes her along on his fact-finding missions; and every time he gives in to a lost cause. Brody has undergone great trauma in his life (the loss of his sister and near loss of his brother) but he carries it all with a "get on with it" grace that is exactly the attitude you want in the people around you. You can count on people like Brody even while he is a constant reminder that you can't count on life to be kind. He is just as much a reminder that you can survive and do some good.
Go watch the first episode now.