Jackson Brodie is a private investigator, originally from Yorkshire. A former soldier and policeman he now makes his money working from investigating infidelity and finding missing cats.
Jackson's tough-guy exterior belies a deeply empathetic heart. He's unable to resist coming to the rescue and increasingly he becomes a magnet for the bereaved, the lost and the dysfunctional. His ability to connect comes from his own tragic childhood that still haunts him.
He is the ultimate survivor himself - a bruised optimist, compelled to help others.
"Jackson had never felt at home in Cambridge, never felt at home in the south of England if it came to that. He had come here more or less by accident, following a girlfriend and staying for a wife. For years he had thought about moving back north, but he knew he never would. There was nothing there for him, just bad memories and a past he could never undo, and what was the point anyway when France was laid out on the other side of the Channel like an exotic patchwork of sunflowers and grapevines and little cafes where he could sit all afternoon drinking local wine and bitter espressos and smoking Gitanes, where everyone would say, Bonjour, Jackson, except they would pronounce it 'zhaksong', and he would be happy. Which was exactly the opposite of how he felt now."
- Taken from Case Histories
Jackson Brodie has appeared in five of Kate Atkinson's novels.
The first three novels were adapted for the first series of the BBC TV drama Case Histories , starring Jason Isaacs as Jackson Brodie, and have been re-published with tie-in cover artwork.
Started Early, Took My Dog was also adapted for the first episode of a second series of Case Histories, whilst two brand new stories were written around the character for a further two episodes.
Visit IMDB to read the episode guide for Case Histories.
Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer.
To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet – Lost on the left, Found on the right – and the two never seem to balance.
It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – a near-homicidal attack which changes the lives of everyone involved.
Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander – until he becomes a murder suspect.
In rural Devon, six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.
In Edinburgh, sixteen-year-old Reggie works as a nanny for a G.P. But Dr Hunter has gone missing and Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried.
A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a shocking impulse purchase.
That one moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.
Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido, both at the discretion of his former partner Julia.
It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.
The BBC TV Drama
Case Histories has been made into a BBC TV series , adapted from Kate Atkinson's best-selling novels and devised for television by Ashley Pharoah (creator of Life on Mars). Two series have been broadcast, with six episodes in the first series and three in the second.
At the heart of these stories is private investigator Jackson Brodie, who is played by Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot).
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.
The series, which also starred Victoria Wood, Amanda Abbington and Natasha Little, is set amidst the iconic landscapes of modern Edinburgh, bringing to screen the delightful jigsaw puzzles of Kate Atkinson's novels and the complexity of her hero Jackson Brodie.
A curated selection of videos to give you a taster of the BBC TV adaptation of Case Histories, and to provide insight into the man behind Jackson Brodie from the perspectives of both Kate Atkinson and Jason Isaacs
A few words from Jason Isaacs
"Having narrated the audio-books of all the Jackson Brodie novels and being, as a consequence, dazzled not only by Kate's sensational abilities to weave a story but, wittily and economically, to convey character flaws, strengths, sub and un-conscious desires and drives and more, to create a hypnotic world full of damaged, struggling and beautifully etched characters, it was with utter terror that I faced the prospect of putting one of them on the screen. Add to all that literary, emotional and anthropological excellence the fact that, in Jackson, she had created a Mr Rochester for the modern age, a post-modern, romantic fantasy figure of a man that countless hordes of women all over the world quasi-worship, and it's easy to imagine why I flirted with dodging the bullet and watching someone else be the focus of the inevitable disappointment.
In the end it was that: the prospect of someone else, some other lucky bastard, trudging the streets in Jackson's battered shoes that did it. It was unconscionable. I decided to have faith in the invisible tendrils of intrigue, horror and hope that Kate's writing wraps around the hearts and minds of her fans. Maybe great stories are great stories in any medium, if you just get out of the way.
It seems from the responses to the series that, at the very least, we've driven even more people to discover her effortless (sorry Kate - seemingly effortless) prose. Her satirist's eye, the minute observations that reveal everything about a person through the most innocuous gesture or phrase, the mischievous and audacious use of coincidence, the telescoping of time and experience can obviously work even in the literal, linear 2D world of television.
But let's not fool ourselves: she's a writer. Of books. Wildly and justifiably popular and engaging ones. We just rode her coat tails. Next time - if there is one - I'll hold on tighter."
Taken from a TV Choice interview in June 2011