An artist is shot dead in his home, his lover tied up in the bedroom. Suspicion immediately falls on his wife, but she was in her office all day. Maddie Magellan is called in to investigate a possible miscarraige of justice, and ends up calling on Jonathan Creek, a magic show engineer, to find out how a woman can be in two places at once.
Well-known artist Hedley Shale is interviewed at the opening of his new exhibition. He shares a glass of wine and a laugh with an attractive young woman whilst his wife, Serena, looks on disapprovingly. Back at home, Shale is painting in his studio when Serena enters and the two row. Whilst Serena leaves the house and heads to her office (that of Eve magazine), Hedley makes a telephone call to his lover, asking her to come round and make him "bark like a sea lion".
Sheila greets her secretary, Joy, and asks for all her calls to be held that morning whilst she shuts herself in away in her office to get down to her work. Joy almost immediately answers the phone to a Davina Yates, who asks to have the modelling photos she sent in to the magazine returned to her. Joy quickly pops in to Serena's office, takes the photos from the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet and leaves the room.
Back at the Shales', Hedley hears a pane of glass smash and sets off to investigate, just as their cleaner, Katrina,arrives at the house. On her way in, she steps on a brown envelope just delivered by the postman, which she picks up. As she does, she hears gunshots upstairs and nervously heads to the scene. Opening the door, she discovers Hedley shot dead on the floor and a young woman (the same one seen in the art gallery) tied up on the floor.
The police begin assessing the crime scene, the inspector spotting a green velvet bag containing jewellery abandoned on the lawn. The young woman describes the attacker: dressed in black, but she does not remember much. She is visibly distraught as Hedley's body is carried away.
The police visit Serena in her office, and upon informing her of her husband's death, ask her whether she was aware of his affair with French model Francesca Boutron. The police inform Serena of the events, and ask her to account for her movements that morning. Serena and Joy both state that Serena had not left her office all morning, and when the inspector spots a red stain on Serena's sleeve she states that it is oil paint from Hedley's studio. The police depart, and Serena spokes another cigarette.
In a supermarket, Jonathan Creek (Alan Davies) queries the price of the shopping of the customer in front of him, leading to the manager manually calculating the amount. Jonathan being right, the checkout is closed and Jonathan (with a Barbie doll in his basket) walks off. Back in his house (a windmill) he uses the doll to make a mock-up of a magic illusion involving a woman set on fire in a box, which Adam Klaus (Anthony Head) then performs in a rehearsal. Jonathan is dragged by two bouncers to Klaus' dressing room, where Adam informs them that he is in fact his creative designer. They discuss the act (Jonathan being irritated at the sexual nature of Adam's supposedly "family" show) when a young lady emerges from Adam's shower. A disgruntled Jonathan leaves whilst Klaus and the girl discuss his genius brain and apparent lack of any sexuality.
The police interrupt a cinema showing to arrest a Stephen Grismal on suspicion of Hedley's murder, but he categorically denies any involvement. He sarcastically asks for his "right to an investigative journalist". In her house, Maddie Magellan (Caroline Quentin) is on the phone to the police sniffing for a story, without success. Maddie's agent calls to say that Grismal has asked her to take his case. He is convinced Serena organised Hedley's murder and framed him - Maddie heads off to investigate.
Maddie discusses the case with her boyfriend Trevor (Alistair MacGowan) whilst she taps into Francesca's answer machine, discovering that she is meeting friends at the theatre that evening to watch a performance by Adam Klaus. Adam performs his trick (switching places with a mummified girl inside an iron maiden) to great applause. Backstage, Adam and Jonathan spot Francesca in the audience, Jonathan recognising her as the girl in the news for having an affair with Hedley Shale and Adam being greatly attracted to her. In the interval, Jonathan meets Maddie for the first time, accidentally stabbing her hand with a cocktail stick at the bar. Maddie approaches Francesca, claiming to know her from a party, and to be a bereavement counsellor offering her support.
During the second half of the show, Adam picks out Francesca to help him with a trick - whilst she seems to the audience to be undressing in a shower on stage, she actually slides down a chute to meet Jonathan, who takes her to the theatre door. Adam reveals the empty shower, and Francesca appears to applause at the back of the theatre. The next day, Klaus persuades Jonathan to deliver Francesca a gift, to which Jonathan reluctantly agrees.
At her house, Francesca is being interviewed by Maddie about her relationship with Hedley. She describes seeing a hooded man on the day of Hedley's murder, before fainting and waking to find herself bound and gagged. She breaks down in tears and is comforted by Maddie, who asks whether the assailant was wearing gloves, then questioning how Francesca could have known that it was a man who attacked her that day. Francesca starts to get suspicious of Maddie's knowledge of the facts of the case as she begins to detail Serena's alibi, when Jonathan arrives at the house bearing Adam's gift. Surprised to see Maddie there, he enters and gives Francesca the gift (a black dress). She accepts the gift and offers to go to dinner with Adam. When Francesca reveals to Maddie that Jonathan designs illusions for Adam Klaus, she chases after him, seeking his help to explain how Serena could have escaped unnoticed from her closed office to murder her husband.
Tracking him down at a market, Jonathan declares he knows Maddie to be an investigative journalist, having spotted a tape recorder in her open handbag at Francesca's house. Maddie comes clean, and asks to pick Jonathan's brains about the case (correcting his suspicion that she is really motivated by a desire to go to bed with him). Over lunch, Maddie sets out her theory: Serena committed the murder, then deliberately dropped her jewellery on the lawn to make it look like a botched robbery, but Jonathan is unconvinced by the thought that she could have got in and out of her office through a closed door without anybody noticing. Jonathan performs a trick, making Maddie's choice of city (Constantinople) appear on a tissue - she is impressed, but when Jonathan reveals how the trick was done she agrees with his analysis that it is "mind-numbingly banal". He agrees to help her investigate Serena's office to test her theory.
Masquerading as a TV producer and cameraman (the camera presumably sourced from Maddie's boyfriend Trevor, a real cameraman), Maddie and Jonathan infiltrate Serena's office. Maddie observes Serena digitally altering photos of models, pretending to be amazed, whilst Jonathan carefully films every aspect of the office under the guise of "texture shots". He accepts a coffee from Joy, and gets talking to her about the Hedley Shale case. Joy reiterates that there is no way Serena was involved as she never left the office all morning, having shut herself off and left Joy to deal with all her calls. Jonathan probes for details of when she retrieved the file from the cabinet (Davina Bates or Yates, Joy can't remember) but Joy is adamant she was in the room at that time and couldn't have left afterwards. Satisfied with his findings, Jonathan departs with Maddie.
In the car, Jonathan muses over the phone call Joy received, placing great importance on whether the girl who called for her photos back was called Bates or Yates. Maddie struggles to see the significance of this distinction, but Jonathan believes a girl calling by the name of Davina Yates would provide the explanation as to how Serena was able to leave the office undetected and murder Hedley. As Jonathan and Maddie drive away, the first part of the story comes to an end.
- Colin Baker as Hedley Shale
- Paul Allen as Radio interviewer
- Saskia Mulder as Francesca Boutron
- Sheila Gish as Serena Shale
- Rebecca Charles as Joy
- Jane Hazlegrove as Katrina Toplis
- Alan Thompson as Mr Winstanley
- Lloyd McGuire as D.S. Owen Davey
- Christine Ellerbeck as Supermarket cashier
- Alan Davies as Jonathan Creek
- Clare McCarron as woman in supermarket
- John Marquez as supermarket manager
- Anthony Head as Adam Klaus
- Scott Chisholm as Rhino
- Rae Baker as Yasmin
- Doug Fisher as Stephen Grismal
- Caroline Quentin as Maddie Magellan
- Alistair McGowan as Trevor
- Geoffrey McGivern as Barry Opper
- Shaun Chawdhary as news reporter
- Tim Chipping as Martin
- Hugh Parker as waiter
Notable Occurrences Edit
- First appearance of Alan Davies as Jonathan Creek
- First appearance of Caroline Quentin as Maddie Magellan
- First (and only) appearance of Anthony Head as Adam Klaus