New Tricks (2003–2015)
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Creative Problem Solving 

A friend of Jack Halford has a diamond that would appear to have been stolen.


Martyn Friend


Karen McLachlan (as Karen Mclachlan), Roy Mitchell (creator) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alun Armstrong ... Brian Lane
James Bolam ... Jack Halford
Amanda Redman ... Supt. Sandra Pullman
Dennis Waterman ... Gerry Standing
Susan Jameson Susan Jameson ... Esther Lane
Carolyn Allen Carolyn Allen ... Carole
Heather James ... Alison
Natalie Forbes Natalie Forbes ... Jayne
Kate Miles ... Georgina Day
Jodie Kelly Jodie Kelly ... Caitlin
Rita Tushingham ... Elise
Izabella Telezynska ... Flower Seller
Veronica Roberts ... Hunter
Tom Karol Tom Karol ... Insurance Rep.
Jonathan Tafler ... Rabbi


The team investigates the theft of a valuable red diamond that disappeared in 1982. It comes into Jack's possession from his friend Elise, who thought it was just a crystal and took it many years before from a dead man's apartment. The man who owned the diamond had died of a heart attack but was an expert diamond cutter, leading them to believe it unlikely that he was the thief. The team soon finds itself in the closed world of the diamond industry and focus on the Spitz family, father and son, both of whom show an interest in the rare stone. Written by garykmcd

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Miranda Pleasance who plays Ruth is the daughter of Donald Pleasance See more »


[first lines]
Trainer: So, to sum up: Creative Problem Solving. Techniques that allow us to move forward as individuals, as teams, as an organization.
Gerry Standing: [standing] Right.
Trainer: One last thing before we finish.
[Gerry sighs and sits down]
Trainer: Could you stand up, please. Right.
[holding a large soda bottle]
Trainer: You catch it; you come up with a new use for it. If you get stuck, use the check-list. Don't censor.
Supt. Sandra Pullman: [catches the bottle] Um, cut the bottom off, attach four strings, tie them to a silk canopy: hot air balloon.
Trainer: Great.
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It's Alright
Written by Mike Moran
Sung by Dennis Waterman
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User Reviews

Not much problematic here
12 January 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been a big fan of detective/mystery shows from a fairly young age, well since starting secondary school.

'Inspector Morse', 'A Touch of Frost', 'Midsomer Murders' (in its prime), 'Law and Order', 'Inspector George Gently', 'Criminal Minds', 'Murder She Wrote', you name them to name a few. 'New Tricks' has also been a favourite from the start (despite not being the same without the original cast in recent years). Although it can be corny at times (in an endearing sort of way) it has always been perfect for helping me relax in the evenings. Something that was needed during all the hard times endured in school.

Season 2 up to this early point, as well as 'New Tricks' in general, has been good to great. "Creative Problem Solving" is not quite among my favourite 'New Tricks' episodes but to me it's among the better Season 2 episodes. By this point, 'New Tricks' had fully hit its stride, now fully settled with the familiar mix of humour and serious mystery fully established.

"Creative Problem Solving" may not have the best or most inspired supporting cast of the show, but everyone is still solid, just not outstanding like the leads are.

Visually, "Creative Problem Solving" looks lovely, with a brighter look but never garish and always slick and stylish. The music is a good fit and the theme song (sung with gusto by none other by Dennis Waterman himself) is one of the catchiest for any detective/mystery show and of any show in the past fifteen years or so.

Writing is intelligent, thought-provoking and classy, while also being very funny and high up in the entertainment value.

Story is compelling, with its fair share of surprising twists and skeletons in the closet conflict, and lively, but never rushed, pacing.

A huge part of 'New Tricks' appeal is the chemistry between the four leads and their performances. The chemistry is so easy going and charming with a little tension.

One of the show's biggest delights is Alun Armstrong, achieves a perfect balance of funny comic timing and touching pathos which was maintained all the way up to his final episode. It is also lovely here to see his role in the team and skills appreciated more all the time. James Bolam's Jack is the quietest, most sensible (mostly) and most composed of the team, with a tragic personal life that Bolam portrays very touchingly without any overwrought-ness.

The only woman on the team, Amanda Redman more than holds her own in what is essentially the boss role of the four. Dennis Waterman brings some nice levity without unbalancing things, while showing some seriousness at the same time.

In summary, great and not much problematic. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

6 June 2005 (UK) See more »

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