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Creative Problem Solving
Creative Problem Solving
Series 2, Episode 5
Air date 6 June 2005
Written by Karen McLachlan
Directed by Martyn Friend
Episode guide
Old And Cold
Eyes Down For A Full House

Creative Problem Solving was the fifth episode of the second series of New Tricks.


Sandra, Brian and Gerry are present at a creative problem solving workshop. They are all asked to come up with a new use for an empty soft drink bottle. Both Sandra and Brian come up with unique solutions but Gerry struggles and angrily claims it's just a bottle.

Meanwhile Jack is at a cafe with his dear friend Elise when Sandra phones him asking why he's not at the workshop. He turns up just as the workshop has finished and presents to the team a rare uncut red diamond given to him by Elise that belonged to a former diamond cutter, John Newman until his death. He promptly astounds the team by telling them its value: £15 million.

The diamond was originally stolen in an unsolved bank raid in November 1982 along with 4 smaller, uncut red diamonds. Jack suspects that Newman was somehow involved in the robbery as he was an experienced diamond cutter. Him and Gerry go visit Elise where she explains that Newman had a heart attack whilst peeling potatoes in his sink; his body was found when the peelings blocked the sink which overflowed and flooded the flat below. With no next of kin or anyone present at his funeral most of his belongings were disposed of, Elise helped with the clearout and saw the diamond thinking it a crystal and took it. After retiring she took a jewellery course and realised the crystal was a diamond. Elise then finds some of Newman's stored belongings and mentions he had several handmade tailored suits.

Back at the office the team find some photos with an undeveloped roll of film, a plane ticket to Antwerp for 7th December 1982, a jewellers box and Newman's passport which had several visa stamps from Antwerp and Geneva. The passport also has an Antwerp stamp for the day of the robbery. Newman wasn't directly involved in the robbery. Brian and Jack visit Newman's old flat, now owned by the neighbour below who was flooded after his death. The neighbour remembers little about him but shortly before his death there was a big argument in his room then quiet, until the room above flooded. Brain attempts to reenact the events and realises that Newman died just after the argument finished and the person arguing with him must have seen the diamonds but obviously trusted Newman with it. But after his death, the flat was ransacked by burglars, obviously looking for the diamonds.

Back at the office Gerry finds the old case file for the vaults raid, the prime suspect was Leslie Spitz, former bank robber turned diamond merchant, Gerry distinctly remembers Spitz's white Mercedes car when he was cleared of being involved. Sandra and Gerry then go to see Sid Goldberg, Newman's tailor, however he is provides next to little information about Newman or Leslie Spitz, claiming to not know them but Sandra suspects he's lying, while Gerry suspects Jack fancies Elise.

On return to the office, Brian and Jack reveal that John Newman is an alias for Josef Nieumann, a dutch, jewish diamond merchant. He was imprisoned in a concentration camp during WW2 and afterwards became a diamond handler. He came over to the UK in the 1950s to teach war veterans to cut diamonds and changed his identity. Jack then confuses Sandra for Elise causing her and Gerry to laugh. The next day, Nieumann's film has been developed and several of the photos feature a wedding at a synagogue which Brian manages to identify and using a newspaper headline to work out a time and location. A t the synagogue the rabbi claims that diamonds have been used by Jews for centuries to easily smuggle wealth out in conflict. After the war, Jewish refugees from western Europe came to the UK and set up diamond brokers, he also explains that Nieumann anglicised his name to blend in and do business with non-jews. In the synagogue's archives, they find that Nieumann was bestman at Sid Goldberg's wedding. And the bridesmaid, Ruth Goldberg is actually Josef's daughter.

Sandra and Jack then question Sid again as to why he lied and didn't come forward earlier. Sid explains that Nieumann was his cousin and he retired to care for Ruth's terminally ill mother, whilst Sid looked after Ruth. Sid never fully knew the extent of his cousins criminal involvements so was worried if after his death he would lose Ruth so he did not attend his funeral. But he says that Nieumann was preparing to take Ruth back to Holland but he died several days before they were to go. However he maintains he doesn't know Les Spitz, but he remembers that the father of Nieumann's apprentice owned a white Mercedes. As she was just a young child at the time of her father's death, Ruth has next to no memories about her father. Brian promptly reveals that Nieumann's apprentice was Ray Spitz, son of Les Spitz. The team then decide to tempt the Spitzes out with the diamond.

Gerry and Sandra pose as a rich scrap metal dealer and his fiancee looking to have the diamond cut for a wedding ring. The first meeting with Ray Spitz proves it's a diamond and they express the possibility of selling it. When asking Ray about his teacher, he reveals that Nieumann retired after shattering a rare pink diamond after attempting to cut it in 1980. He then says to them he will contact his father to come take a look. On the way back, Sandra suspects they are being followed, after dragging the driver out of the car she realises that he is providing security for them and the diamond, much to Gerry's humour. Back at the office, an officer from serious fraud meets Jack and warns UCOS about investigating Les Spitz as he's under investigation for fraud.

The next day, Ray introduces Sandra and Gerry to Les and he hints to them about the four red diamonds. At dinner with Ray and Les, Gerry attempts to strike a deal with Spitz senior for the diamonds. But he takes offence to doing a deal with someone he doesn't know and Gerry realises that he doesn't actually have the mini diamonds. Spitz then threatens Gerry to stay away from him and his family. Later after dropping off Sandra, Gerry is brutally attacked by "Spitz's boys". At the hospital, Sandra informs Gerry that Strickland has closed the case due to the attack, but Gerry advises her to get serious fraud to investigate Nieumann's Swiss bank account thinking Les Spitz is using it. At the office, Ruth comes in a presents Sandra with a ferry tickets that her father paid for him and her to go back to Holland. Along with a bracelet with the four missing diamonds in it. He used the bracelet to hide the diamonds and leave them to Ruth if he were to die. He wasn't a ruthless criminal and he really cared about his daughter and wanted to run away fro Les Spitz. After Gerry returns to the office, Brian hears from Interpol that Nieumann's account is still active and several major transactions are linked to a firm owned by Les Spitz. Gerry then goes and sees Les being arrested and then promptly enjoys mocking him.

The insurance company then arrives with a cheque for Elise for return of the diamonds. Brian priases Gerry for realising that Nieumann's bank account was being used by Les. Brain then goes to open the safe containing the diamond to hand over to the insurance company but struggles to unlock it. Sandra asks him what's wrong to which he replies "I can't remember the number".