The series is a rare TV entry in the "impossible crimes" form, and was a real delight for those who like a whacking good detection puzzle.
The title of the program refers not to a place but to the series' main character, a designer of illusions for a celebrated professional magician. In each episode an assertive young female (Caroline Quentin in the first three seasons, and then Julia Sawalha in the last two) drags Jonathan, played superbly by the comedian Alan Davies, into a mystery involving murder and some apparently magical occurrence. For example, a person will disappear from a room that is locked and observed at all exits, or an elderly woman appears to be able to predict deaths through her dreams. Jonathan investigates reluctantly and not at all intrepidly, using his knowledge of stage illusions to solve the cases and identify the killers.
If this sounds as if it might be a bit arch and old-fashioned, rest assured that it doesn't play out that way on screen, as producer-writer David Renwick makes certain to place at the forefront a strong view of the fascinating mess that is contemporary Britain. Hence the series combines the appeal of both the traditional and the new.
For more on Jonathan Creek, read my National Review Online article here.
For more information about the DVD release, click here.
From Karnick on Culture.