You can tell instantly from the opening theme song that Case Histories is a bit more lighthearted than some crime dramas. It's not necessarily comedic, but it definitely has a lighter tone, despite the murders, kidnappings and horrible crimes Jackson ends up investigating. His long-suffering assistant Deborah Arnold (Zawe Ashton) does her best to keep the business afloat financially, but it's a tough job with Jackson being the kindhearted soul that he is.
Most of the major themes in Jackson Brodie's life revolve around women, whether it is his older sister who was murdered when he was a child, his adorable and precocious daughter Marlee (Millie Innes), his ex-wife Josie (Kirsty Mitchell), his former police partner and on-again/off-again love interest Louise Munroe (Amanda Abbington) or the many women who come and go in his life as he takes on new cases. He's a busy man, although he loves Marlee dearly and he spends as much time with her as he can. This is a problem for his ex, since he sometimes takes Marlee with him on cases. A major hiccup in Jackson's life comes when his ex decides to take a job in New Zealand and he finds himself having to visit with Marlee via Skype only. Things only get more complicated when she comes back home only to move in with him later.
Brodie used to be a police officer, but because he turned in some bad cops, he's pretty much on the hate list of every cop in town, except for Louise, who has a very love/hate relationship with him. He always comes to her for "just one more favor" and she typically acquiesces, but hates herself for it. She even becomes involved with and marries a doctor named Patrick, but she just can't seem to keep Jackson out of her life.
I really enjoyed how Jackson would take on one case, only to have it intertwine with another case he is working on, such as in the case when he is helping a crazy old lady looking for her missing cat for the millionth time. Turns out her neighbors need Jackson's help on a 30-year-old kidnapping case. Then there's the time Brodie spies a dead body floating in the water, but no one will believe him. Digging deeper reveals a Russian crime syndicate, but meanwhile Jackson intervenes when a man is attacked by another, only to have the cases intermingle at the hospital.
My favorite mystery is when Jackson happens upon a car/train wreck only to become injured himself, and have a case of mistaken identity when he is misidentified as a felon/murderer. Turns out the case he recently accepted, helping a young nanny find her missing boss, is tied into the train wreck, along with a lot more.
The final mystery finds Jackson taking part in a job in Germany where he unwittingly kidnaps a young girl from her mother. Unable to assuage his guilt, he throws himself into work and in helping a young woman locate her birth mother. His digging ends up opening some old wounds in a serial murder case and puts him on the wrong side of a lot of people. In the meantime, there's another case of children (both young and old) being with the wrong people at the wrong time and hopefully ending up in better situations than they were in previously, due in part to Jackson's help or interference, depending on who you are asking. It was disappointing that Marlee was nowhere to be found in the last mystery, which I thought was odd, but so be it.
Overall, Case Histories: Complete Collection is a wonderful collection of mysteries and I love the characters of Jackson and Marlee Brodie, Louise Munroe, and Deborah Arnold. I was sorry to see the show end and it truly felt like it had so many more places to go. Jason Isaacs was the perfect man to play Jackson Brodie, not only because he embodies the character, but also because he voiced Kate Atkinson's audio books, so that's a extra treat for fans. There are a number of interviews and featurettes that discuss the books and bringing them to life in the show, along with the actors and their respective roles. While they aren't earth-shattering, they are interesting to watch.
If you like a good mystery, check out Case Histories: Complete Collection. I've never really seen a show that takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland and the delightful characters, sharp writing, beautiful scenery and lilting accents in Case Histories are sure to please any mystery fan.