This page refers to the Audio Drama. For the novel, click here.
Black Jack Justice' is a series done in the style of pulp detective stories, that follows the adventures of Jack Justice, a hardboiled 1940s detective, and his partner Trixie Dixon, girl detective, who share the narrative duty and often openly conflict. The series is introduced with the byline "Martin Bracknell", though it was noted in the "Season One Spectacular" that Bracknell was a completely fictional character from the original "play-within-a-play" stage version of Black Jack Justice. Both the play and the series are written by Gregg Taylor.
Dramatis Personae Edit
- Jack "Black Jack" Justice
Full name: Jonathon J. Justice
Owner and co-founder of "Justice and Dixon: Private Investigations ". "Black Jack" Justice is a grizzled, hard-boiled private detective and one of the two protagonists of the series, along with his partner, Trixie Dixon (see below). Little is known about his childhood; he's one of seven children (four brothers and two sisters). Not much information is given about his parents. His father obviously shared some of his viewpoints ("I remembered what Jack's father had told him; If you're going to bet angry, make sure you cheat.")
Before World War II, he worked with another private detective, Tom Fellows. Evidence suggests that he was deployed in both Italy and Germany. During the war, his partner, Tom Fellows, was captured. When he returned home, he began to work with Trixie Dixon. His experiences overseas are a major factor in determining his character and have a profound impact on his outlook. On more than one occasion, his experience in the service aided him in his private detection, though just as often, it seems to be a curse. On the third Wednesday of October, Justice apparently spends long hours drinking with the remnants of his platoon, in what Dixon describes as an attempt "to finish off with whisky those whom the Germans had spared". However, even under the effects of the next morning's eye-popping hangover, he still insists on showing up to work.
The nickname "Black Jack" originates before the war, during with early career, possibly with Tom Fellows. According to Frederick Hawthorne, Justice had a tendency to be knocked unconscious, or sapped, on a routine basis, apparently more often than anyone else in town. Someone was "mashing the back of ol' Jack's head" every few days. The nickname began as "Jack Justice, The Concussion King", until eventually, someone devised the rhyming "Black Jack", which Justice kept as it was good for business. After he returned from service, he was subsequently more aware and harder to sneak up on, vastly reducing the amount of times he was sapped.
One of Justice's other great advantages is his intimate knowledge of the city and it's major players. Justice is apparently an expert on the Sullivan Mob, having tangled with them on numerous occasions. The context of these encounters aren't exactly given, but he is largely responsible for putting Arthur Sullivan and his crime family behind bars. He also has a sordid history with Monte Callahan; an art thief and a gentlemen burglar. Justice ran Callahan, an expert on eluding capture, in on "the only charge that ever stuck": Receiving Stolen Goods.
The point or even the major reason why Justice and Dixon cemented their partnership is unclear; though it is revealed that the current office was originally Justice's old office, very possibly the one he shared with Fellows. The exact relationship between Justice and Dixon is a complicated one and one of the show's most popular point. Though they both banter relentlessly, the two private detectives do seem to care for one another, if only grudingly and without much regard. They have been known to get into scraps on several occasions, but even when presented with the choice of Dixon or Fellows, Justice chose Trixie. The only reference to how Jack and Trixie met is in Episode 38 - Auld Lang Syne, where Trixie states that Jack had somebody downtown pull her "Jacket" two hours after they met. To which Jack replies "She did try to shoot me at the time."
Romantically, Justice has a strange side. Unlike his partner, Jack is much more reserved and the instances of romantic interest are considerably fewer and farther between than Trixie's. He appears to have long-standing, most likely unrequited, feelings for an unidentified Nora Nelson. In the very same episode, he apparently has a brief emotional attachment with a one Mary Hayden, revealed in a popular ending to the episode. According to actor Christopher Mott, Justice's ending monologue is his "favorite piece of writing that has ever come from the illustrious Mr. Taylor's pen." Later in the season, Justice and Helen Cale, after a confusing Tuesday, enjoy a few days together. In Episode 36 - Journeys End Jack meets Dorothy "Dot" Maxwell and they start an on going romance.
Justice is reputed to be a quick and nearly unstoppable talker, apparently very difficult to derail. Hawthorne claims he also isn't much of listener. He's known to own only one decent suit, eats black coffee, rye toast and boiled egg everyday for breakfast and carries a .45 in his shoulder holster. For the record, his eyes are steel gray, not "baby blue" as referenced in Episode 2 - Justice for Some. Played by Christopher Mott.
- Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective"
Full name: Patricia "Trixie" Cynthia Dixon
Owner and co-founder of "Justice and Dixon: Private Investigations". Almost nothing is confirmed about her childhood. She attended reform school as a child, where she reputedly learnt how to fight, along with several other tricks including a move known as the "Four Dollar Special", which apparently involves a roll of nickels (worth $2), clenched in each fist. From what little information we are provided about her mother, we know that she may or may not "be sweet on" Trixie's partner, Jack Justice. Before working with Justice, Dixon worked on her own, though little information has been revealed about this particular time period.
For all her shady past, Trixie is the more responsible and organized of the two detectives. She enjoys research and during dry periods between cases reorganizes the filing cabinets. She is more likely to arrive at the office on time then Jack. In the Decoder Ring Theatre Season One Spectacular, she is described by voice actress Andrea Lyons as being "tough as nails, hard as asphalt, and just [wanting]to be loved- by someone other than Jack." Played by Andrea Lyons.
- Freddy The Finger
Frederick Josiah Hawthorne. Small-time crook and informant. He has a nervous habit of saying "see" anytime he knows something but won't spill the beans. Played by Peter Nicol.
- King Jr.
The "vicious" dog detective acquired by Jack and Trixie in Episode 15 - How Much Is That Gumshoe In The Window?. He is named after his father the "old" mutt next door from the same episode. In Episode 41 - Man's Best Friend, we get to see the detective game from King's point of view. Played by Gregg Taylor
- Lieutenant Victor Sabian
A Lieutenant who doesn't like Jack, but is willing to work with him to take down bigger threats. Gets along just fine with Trixie, who has to step-in from time to time to stop the two from beating each other senseless. Played by Gregg Taylor.
- Sgt. Nelson
A good shot, but a terrible investigator. Played by M. John Kennedy.
- Lawrence Braithwaite
Owner of the Braithwaite Detective Agency, "the biggest spit and polish agency in town." Played by Gregg Taylor.
- Mordecai Brasseau
A rich man, now deceased. He had hired Jack Justice Investigations on many occasions and each time Jack and Trixie said it would be the last.
- Dorothy "Dot" Maxwell
Introduced in Eplisode 36 Journeys End, Dorothy Maxwell Jack's type "beautiful,brave, a complete pain in the neck and trying hard to get him killed." She is a nurse, divorced, and not from the city. Played by Julie Florio
Gangs and Their Leaders Edit
- The Sullivan Mob
Mentioned in episode 5 - Justice Incorporated .
- The Mason Mob
Their leader is Chic Mason. Most of the gang was arrested in Episode 9 - No Justice Mason's main goons are Monk and Hawk.
- Rocco D'Angelo's Gang
Their leader is Rocco D'Angelo, a.k.a. "Rocky Angel" a.k.a. The Angel of Death. DECEASED.
Stage Play Edit
The original stage play version of Black Jack Justice played in Toronto in the summer of 2001. It was less a detective story than it was a one-act farce surrounding one very bad broadcast day in the life of a low-rated detective serial. As the play opens and the actors enter, bickering among themselves about their various personal conflicts, they are surprised to find the series writer and creator Martin Bracknell in their midst, seemingly quite busy at his typewriter. The cast is greeted with good news and bad news. The good news being that the show has a new sponsor, and the bad news being that they do not have a completed script. It turns out that, faced with the declining ratings after being put on against Jack Benny, Bracknell crawled into a whisky bottle and didn't come out for three weeks, during which time, his backlog of scripts were used. And so they are forced to go to air, only to learn that the still-inebriated Bracknell has incorporated their personal conflicts into the story and still left them twisting in the wind for a last-minute improvised summation by actor Max Davis who plays Jack. The play-within-a-play is actually very much a pilot script for the Black Jack Justice radio series, complete with the signature competing narrative voices of Jack Justice and his partner Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective.
- ↑ Taylor, Gregg. Black Jack Justice episode 13: The Purloined Format Caper. Podcast. dir. and prod. Decoder Ring Theatre. Toronto, ON. 2006.
- ↑ Taylor, Gregg. Black Jack Justice episode 5: Justice Incorporated. Podcast. dir. and prod. Decoder Ring Theatre. Toronto, ON. 2006.
- ↑ Taylor, Gregg. Black Jack Justice episode 12: Justice and the Happy Ending. Podcast. dir. and prod. Decoder Ring Theatre. Toronto, ON. 2006.
- ↑ Taylor, Gregg. Black Jack Justice episode 8: Justice and the Deluge. Podcast. dir. and prod. Decoder Ring Theatre. Toronto, ON. 2006.