'Mr Rochester for the modern age'
The former policeman turned private detective is often blunt and direct in his opinions. He is also emotionally guarded, and personally troubled. The brutal unsolved murder of his own sister when he was a young boy continues to haunt him, and drives him on a perpetual quest for anyone who is missing, to reunite them safely with their loved ones. Underneath the brooding exterior there lies a loving heart, and a passionate desire to right the wrongs he sees around him.
Not for nothing did Jason Isaacs, who played him in the BBC TV series, call him a ‘Mr Rochester for the modern age’. His appeal is irresistible, especially to women, and even Kate Atkinson herself has confessed a weakness for the character she created.
She says, ‘Women seem to like Jackson. He’s very capable and strong, he’s ex-army and has a shepherd mentality – he’s not going to close the door until everyone’s home. I think women like him because in reality he has the mind of a woman, perhaps that’s inevitable as he’s written by a woman.’
Brodie is a character full of intriguing contradictions. As Kate Atkinson describes him: ‘Your lone detective who is – God help us, I hate the phrase – a maverick, who is divorced, who has trouble with women but is still very much macho.’
He is a classic action hero, a man of few words, capable of aggressive violence; a man of failed relationships, who is also a devoted father. He loves women, but they also baffle him.
As he battles to find a solution to his cases of disappearances and crimes, his bleak and tragic personal past lends compelling moral weight to Atkinson’s storytelling.