And so we move on to Season Four of Jonathan Creek. Maddy has now disappeared to the USA with a new love and Jonathan, while still working for Adam Klaus, is roped into helping Carla, ex-theatrical agent, now presenter of a True Crimes TV show, with an impossible crime slot in the show. It seems that things almost happened between Jonathan and Carla after the events of Satan’s Chimney but a typical Renwick misunderstanding split them up. Unfortunately for Jonathan, once things are resolved, it transpires that Carla has gained a husband – a TV producer played by the wonderful Adrian Edmondson.
There were six episodes in the series – no Christmas special this time, but it would return for a few specials, having lost Julia Sawalha but gained Sheridan Smith. I’ll not do a separate post on those, but include them at the end of this one. For this post, I’ve rewatched Angel Hair, the second episode of the series.
I’ll be honest – there’s a lot of things that I like about this series. The set-up is entertaining – Renwick is clearly venting his spleen on the state of the television industry via the television show – and there is some nice chemistry between Carla and Jonathan. However the shoe-horning of the existing character from the special into the TV presenting job seems odd.
Angel Hair is one of the better episodes from the fourth series – not the best, by any means, but the mystery is simple and solid. There’s a good guest cast – Tamsin Greig, Sophie Thompson, Jack Dee – and the central story is strong. Unfortunately, it seems almost as if Jonathan has been shoe-horned into a different show, as Renwick seems more interested in the story of Jack Dee’s marriage. And at the end of the day, perhaps the mystery is a little too simple. The device is reminiscent of a trick from Series One – although the opposite way round – and at the end of the day, pretty inconsequential.
As for the rest of the series:
The Coonskin Cap – a clever impossible murder but the stuff about the serial killer is pretty lame. And if you fail to spot the murderer, you are a complete chump.
The Tailor’s Dummy – a man changes into someone else in front of a reliable witness’s eyes. The best episode of the series by some distance.
The Seer Of The Sands – a man commits suicide after receiving good news from his lover, and the body then disappears. Add in some psychic gypsies and you’ve got an episode with one clever idea that really isn’t enough to build the rest of it on.
The Chequered Box – a respected police officer is witnessed staring at the hanging body of a lawyer. Again, not enough of a mystery to hang the episode on. Rather dull, unfortunately.
Gorgon’s Wood – a vanishing artefact passes the time until someone finally gets murdered, although not in an impossible way. Not great…
And then we get three more specials with Sheridan Smith as investigator Joey Ross – and finally Jonathan gets to work with someone who has some deductive abilities herself. I think when I get a little more time, I’ll do separate reviews for those, but for now:
The Grinning Man – genuinely creepy and while overlong and probably a bit unbelievable, the central trick is clever and work-outable. Working from memory here – the bit about magician’s assistant was less successful. But given the quality of the previous stories, this was a vast improvement.
The Judas Tree – a nice attempt to tie every event together for once, but some information comes too late in the day to be fair. It’s still streets ahead of the end of series four, but it is all a bit convoluted.
The Clue Of The Savant’s Thumb – already reviewed it here.
So, that concludes my run through of Jonathan Creek to date – although I’ll come back to the Sheridan Smith episodes later on in the year. Fingers crossed for the new series – I just might talk about it here at the weekend.