Jonathan Creek

Television series

Jonathan Creek is a British mystery series produced by the BBC and written by David Renwick. Primarily a crime drama, the show stars Alan Davies as the titular character, an eccentric magician's assistant who also solves seemingly supernatural mysteries through his talent for logical deduction and knowledge of illusionism. No matter how magical the mystery — a locked-room murder or a seemingly impossible theft — the detective would come up with a very down-to-earth explanation as to what happened. Although a crime drama, the series contained often broadly comical touches as well.

Series 1 edit

The Wrestler's Tomb edit

Jonathan is posing as a camera operator
Maddie: It's called a Steadicam. It eliminates jerks.
Jonathan: So does Clint Eastwood, I wouldn't want him strapped to my chest.

Jonathan: My big passion. The golden age of illusion: Robert Houdin, Makelyne, Devant. I was born a hundred years too late, basically.

Maddie: [Seeing Jonathan's collection] I take it this is a disease that struck in childhood?
Jonathan: I never wanted to be a magician as such; swanning about with silk hankies. It was... I dunno... The ingenuity at the back of it. Always fascinated the hell out of me.

Jonathan: People beg me to explain something; it's the last thing they want to hear, 'cause you're disproving a miracle. Houdini walked through a wall two bricklayers had built onstage: People swore he had the power to dematerialise. You find out he he used a trapdoor under a carpet, it's too mundane: you feel cheated. That's all magic is, an illusion.

Jack in the Box edit

Maddie: You know Jack Holliday died?
Jonathan: Yeah, it's the only thing he ever did that made me laugh.
Maddie: Oh, that's great! The poor man's dead!
Jonathan: I bet that won't stop him overacting, though.

Jonathan: I nearly rang you. I'd get as far as the last digit, but something would always stop me. I suppose it was the thought of getting sucked into another one of your grisly murder investigations. You know how you always fear the worst
Maddie: [laughs brightly]
Jonathan: Stop this car.
Maddie: Jonathan...
Jonathan: [scoffing] 'Flush out the carbon monoxide with some sea air'?

Jonathan: No Time to Lose.
Maddie: Right. Where are we going?
Jonathan: Anywhere! As far away from here as possible. That could have been my head skewered to the matress!
Maddie: Now just hang about. You can't tell me you've unravelled this whole thing and then bugger off! What kind of spineless cretin are you?
Jonathan: No special kind. Just your average cretin... with a train to catch.

Jonathan: We mustn't confuse what's impossible with what's implausible. Just about everything I dream up for a living relies on stuff that's highly implausible. That's what makes it so hard to work out; no-one thinks you'd go to that much trouble to fool your audience.

The Reconstituted Corpse edit

Maddie: [Talking to her Publisher] I've got this theory that Jonathan Creek is himself an illusion. Just when you think you've found him, he drifts through your fingers like smoke.

Shelford: That was unfortunate. I completely misjudged the water pressure on those taps and, of course, it went everywhere. Fortunately! It's not urine, so it won't stain.

Jonathan So let's run through this from the top. The wardrobe was empty; you closed the door, brought it upstairs, through this door... along here... around here... and into this room, against that wall. By which time, somehow or other, the cupboard has acquired a body. Brutally battered to death across the back of her head. Hmm. [Pause] It's a good one isn't it?
Maddie: 'A Good One'?! Is that all you can say? Somewhere between here and the ground someone's planted a corpse in my cupboard and I didn't even see it happen!

Jonathan: [After checking out the wardrobe] Nope. All seems pukka. No panels, no breakaways, no phantom joints... just a wardrobe really. [Pause] You want to know how it was done?
Maddie: Yes.
Jonathan: That makes two of us.

No Trace of Tracy edit

Roy Pilgrim: [On the phone with his solicitor] No, Mr Danzigger "a trifle baffling" won't do. A trifle baffling doesn't get near it. My bride-to-be's flushed me down the toilet, I'm looking at charges of abduction and possibly murder and all because I wasn't smart enough to lie my way out of this thing when it really mattered. They can put the entire cast of Goodbye, Mr Chips on the witness stand, but it doesn't change what I saw. If you're any kind of lawyer, you'd better start getting your act... [sees Jonathan and Maddie at the gate] ...ah, look I'll call you back.

[Jonathan and Maddie are waiting at Roy Pilgrim's garden gate]
Maddie: [Indicating the french windows of the house beyond the gate] That's the one, then. You could hardly miss her from here, so when she pressed this bell, someone must have let her in. [Presses intercom button]
Jonathan: What are you doing?
Maddie: We've got to check it out.
Jonathan: I can't go in there!
Maddie: Why not?
Jonathan: Roy Pilgrim!? I can't meet Roy're talking about mythology. You reduce someone like that to flesh and blood and the whole thing is destroyed, the whole icon.
Maddie: Jonathan, you're beginning to sound like a prat.
Jonathan: Sorry.
Roy Pilgrim: [Over the intercom] What does it take to make you go away?
Maddie: Look, I'm sorry about yesterday (She posed as a detective), but I'm really quite interested in helping you actually. If you'd just take a minute to let us in.
Roy Pilgrim: What are you?
Maddie: Right now Mr Pilgrim? We're the only hope you've got.

The House of Monkeys edit

[Maddie discovers Cathy had slept with her father-in-law]
Cathy Strange: What you knew? How?
Ingrid Strange: I may be a wizened old bat in your eyes, Cathy. That doesn't mean I'm as blind as one. Some other time I'll give you a lesson in subliminal bonding gestures. For God's sake, I'd seen it coming for months. I'd almost say he needed it to flush it out of his system. Afterward when he told me and all the guilt came out, he threw himself on my mercy and...
Cathy Strange: You're lying! Elliot would never tell...
Ingrid Strange: Kathy! You have the body of a woman and the brain of a sexually stunted newt!

Series 2 edit

Danse Macabre edit

[Maddie answers the door]
Stranger: Miss Magellan? Stephen Claithorne. I believe you're a collector of mysteries?
Maddie: What?! I'm sorry, I've only just this second woken up.
Stephen: We're likely to get into all sorts of tangles if we play questions and answers. So with your permission. [He walks in] I'll just begin at the beginning.
Maddie: Well before you do, if this some tale about a missing hymn book, it's a bit early...
Stephen: It's murder, Miss Magellan. Cold, clinical and calculated. And it took place last night at my home in Oxfordshire. The midday papers will be full of it. What they won't explain, what no-one can explain is how the killer evaporated into thin air, right in front of everyone's eyes. Some miracles you don't want to believe in.

Maddy: Come on, I've admitted defeat. Let's get on with it; the bit you enjoy, treating me like a moron.
Jonathan: No. The bit where you enjoy making me feel like I'm treating you like a moron. When you're perfectly capable of reasoning it out for yourself if only you'd stop taking things at face value.

Maddy: I'm sorry, Jonathan, what level of surrealism are we operating on here?
Jonathan: Y'see, this is where you and everyone else give up. You're making the big mistake of sticking to what's likely rather than what's logical.

Time Waits For Norman edit

Woman: You're saying there's actually a real person called Jonathan Creek, he's not just a narrative conceived for story telling purposes?
Man: All that stuff, he invents all those tricks.
Madeline Magellan: And he lives in a windmill, it's all for real.
Woman: Right. Isn't that funny?
Madeline: What?
Woman: Suddenly I find him less believable.

Jonathan: She made all of the moves and now I'm boxed in. We've got nothing whatsoever in common and if I try and break it off she'll think it's because of you know what [her baldness]. Which she's obviously very sensitive about.
Madeline: I'm not surprised! Didn't you get suspicious when you were running your fingers through her hair and she wasn't even in the room?!

The Scented Room edit

[Jonathan has refused to reveal the solution]
Maddy: It's no sweat, y'know. I'll work it out for myself. I've seen everything you've seen. I'm not a complete and utter moron.
[Jonathan starts to leave]
Maddy: Yes?
Jonathan: I never said anything.
Maddy: Look, just give me a leg-up to get me started. Please? Just one tiny hint?
Jonathan: Look to Eric's Spam sandwich. It contains the key to the whole affair.

Jonthan: Did it ever occur to you that someone could have cut it without actually being in the room? Using a high-powered laser through the glass in the ceiling.
Maddy: You are Kidding!
Jonathan: Of course I am, the idea's ridiculous. In fact the way this was worked was so sublimely simple, when I tell you, you'll wonder why you didn't get it in five seconds flat.

Jonathan: You mean Pot Pourri? One of the biggest cons of the Twentieth Century. People pick it up in a shop, what's the first thing they do? [Mimes sniffing a bowl of Pot Pourri] "mmm, smell this one! That's sensational! I'll have some of that!" Of course it is if you shove your face in it. Put some in a bowl in the middle of the room, you can't smell a bloody thing. There should be a label on the packet "only effective when inserted up nostril"

Adam Klaus: [On the phone to Jonathan] If you could choose the manner of your own death, would it be (A) Peacefully in your sleep? (B) Breathlessly with Nicole Kidman? or (C) Being dismembered by a homicidal illusionist? If 'c', simply hang up now.

The Problem at Gallows Gate edit

Jonathan: How come when I stay at your place you get the bed and I get the sofa, but when you stay at my place you still get the bed and I get the sofa?
Maddy: Because you were being terribly chivalrous and gentlemanly and very solicitous of my welfare [Pause] Don't I get anything to eat?

Maddy: Where do you keep your salt?
Jonathan: See that cupboard just above you? Top Shelf. Right at the back... there's a leaflet from the hospital explaining why it's bad for your arteries.

Jonathan: I'm trying to achieve a level of abstract thought here. Trying to prise this whatever-it-is out of my memory.
Maddy: Well what is it? Let me have a go.
Jonathan: I told you, I can't put it into words. It's purely intuitive. It's just a feeling. It won't come into focus until it's ready.

Jonathan:But what you see isn't always what's happening. And what you all saw that night, I've got a horrible feeling, was a very brilliantly conceived hoax.
Maddy: Here we go, he's gonna tell us how it was done.

Mother Redcap edit

Investigator: Ever since the man who owned and ran this place died, it was 1969 - a man named William Amberghast, the old Mother Redcap pub in Edmonton has been property market poison. Whether it's superstition or what, I don't know. Would you buy a hundred year-old building where seven men have been quite literally terrified to death?
Investigator: The way it's told: the first one, Mr Clifford Jennings, managing director of a big clothing firm, was staying overnight with a lady friend in a special guest room that was kept for visitors. Round about midnight he was preparing for bed. The death certificate said it was his heart. The truth was, no-one knew what had killed him. The girl was convinced he'd seen something... outside. "Something so utterly horrible it set off a fatal seizure". Between 1947 and '51 there were five other cases, deaths that which have never been explained from that day to this. All in the same room. All after they'd looked out of the window in the middle of the night.Not a mark or scratch on any of the bodies. No evidence they'd been poisoned or suffocated. Four of them were found on the floor the next morning. Three were actually seen at the moment of death, collapsing in what appeared to be a fit of mortal terror.

[Jonathan has been abducted and brought to a police station]
DCI Ken Speed: I'm sorry about the neanderthal tactics of my two constables. They were under the impression they were bringing a suspect in.
Jonathan: So I gather. I confessed to two armed robberies before we reached the first set of traffic lights.

Jonathan: So the deal, as I see it, is this: If I come up with a solution that leads to the killer's arrest, by next week I'm highest new entry on the Tong's UK death list. Not much of an incentive really.

Maddy: What's that theory? That absolutely everything that happens in the world is connected to everything else. I read an article once. If a man breaks wind in Hounslow, it can effect a hurricane in Java. I think I know the man they're talking about, he travels on the Circle Line.

Jonathan:What was it Sherlock Holmes said to Watson?
Maddy: Get your kit off and give us a kiss?

Christmas Special (1998) edit

Black Canary edit

Adam Klaus: [To Jonathan] I always thought your love life would make a great play by Samuel Beckett, a great nihilistic quality it has.

Maddy: So what's the story on this mother of hers, Marella Carney, the 'Black Canary'? She was big business back in her day, wasn't she?
Jonathan: The problem with Marella Carney was that most of her tricks relied upon the fact that she had a twin sister.
Maddy: Don't be ridiculous.
Jonathan: Who, from what I hear, did all the difficult bits. Marella was claustrophobic, so it was her sister who had to climb into all the cabinets and coffins. You can do amazing stuff when you work with a double, but it's not exactly a test of ingenuity.
Maddy: You're telling me there were two of them? They kept that quiet, didn't they?
Jonathan: Well they're hardly going to put in the program notes, are they? 'NB: whilst miraculously escaping from a locked trunk, Miss Carney will be assisted by her twin sister Beryl!' Anyway that was all before the accident of course.
Maddy: What accident?
Jonathan: It's a bit on the grisly side. Best not discussed.
Maddy:[Forcefully] What accident?
Jonathan: Not sure you've got the stomach for it.
Maddy: I've got the stomach for it? Don't give me that macho protective number!
Jonathan: Rehearsals one day for one of their big routines. Sister Beryl's strapped down to a bench with an electric buzz saw coming at her. [Maddie looks queasy] Mechanism jammed, the thing just kept coming. She was literally sawn in half.
Maddy: Oh my god!
Jonathan: Lengthways.

[Jonathan and Maddy are driving through a snowstorm]
Jonathan: How anyone can drive a car at this time of year without a windscreen washer.
Maddy:It's got a windscreen washer!
Jonathan:Yeah, but it's not much use on the back seat is it?
Maddy: The guy who was gonna fit it did a runner, it's not my fault. A bit of fresh air won't harm you.

DI Gideon Pryke: I can smell guilt on a man like dung on a donkey.

[Maddy's interrupted Jonathan's evening]
Maddy: I thought I might be useful.
Jonathan: What as? A contraceptive!

Christmas Special (2001) edit

Satan's Chimney edit

Carla Borrego: Have you ever slept in a castle with a moat before?
Jonathan: I once passed out in front of a block urinal.

Series 4 edit

The Chequered Box edit

Jonathan: (To Adam, who is buried underground) You all right down there still? Your brain's not getting starved of oxygen or anything?
Adam: (Drowzily) Who is this?
Jonathan: It's me, Adam.
Adam: Right. I knew that, of course. And tell me Adam, how long have I been down here?
Jonathan: Just coming up to four days now and, to be honest, I think the disorientation is starting to kick in.

External links edit