J.W. (Jeff) Jackson’s television career is off to a good start.

The fictional Martha’s Vineyard detective, created by the late Edgartown author Philip R. Craig, is starring in a new series of Hallmark movies based on Mr. Craig’s novels. Aired earlier this month on all three of the cable network’s channels, A Beautiful Place to Die scored high marks with Hallmark viewers, the author’s son Jamie Craig said at last night’s Tuesdays in Newsroom event at the Gazette.

“Women (age) 24 to 54 — that’s their target audience. They hit that out of the park,” Mr. Craig said citing viewership numbers provided to him after the simulcast.

The conversation ranged from recollections of his father’s life and career to the challenges of working with Hallmark producers to bring his mysteries to the screen.

“You can’t verbatim take a book and make it into a movie,” said Mr. Craig, who worked as a film editor in Hollywood, flew Navy helicopters in combat zones and studied screenwriting before becoming an Edgartown police officer.

Currently an Edgartown police officer, Mr. Craig is also a navy veteran and spent time working in the movie business. — Mark Alan Lovewell

His experiences in the movie world helped him in his dealings with the Hallmark producers as his father’s book went through its transition to screen material, Mr. Craig said.

“Boy, from the first screenplay to the last, did it change a lot,” he said. “A lot of my input was incorporated.”

Some of the experiences he related had the audience laughing and wincing in equal measure, such as the removal of fishing — J.W. Jackson is a dedicated fisherman, as well as an accomplished cook — because a Hallmark executive didn’t like the idea of harming animals.

“I got fishing back in there. I got cooking back in there,” Mr. Craig said. “I straightened out Oaks Bluff and things like that,” he added, as his audience groaned.

Getting J.W. Jackson right is especially important, Mr. Craig said, because so much of the character reflects his father’s personality.

“He was him,” he said. “You could learn a lot about my dad just by reading Jeff Jackson.”

Although the stories are all set on the Vineyard the television series is filmed in British Columbia. For economic reasons, Hallmark movies — and many others — are made in Canada, Mr. Craig said.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of artificiality. They go around with this truck full of American flags and they throw them everywhere.”

The J.W. Jackson novels had numerous fans in Tuesday’s newsroom audience, and while some expressed disappointment that his famously dark-haired counterpart Zee Madieras has been rendered blonde for Hallmark, there was also strong objection to her uncharacteristically high-heeled shoes in the movie.

“It was done before I got to see it,” said Mr. Craig, adding that the producers told him they received “bad feedback” on the subject from viewers familiar with the books.

A second J.W. Jackson movie is scheduled to air on Hallmark Feb 23 and the producers have optioned two more of the 19 novels tracing his investigations. Should the series continue, Mr. Craig said, he is on tap to write the story for the fifth adaptation.

As to what his father would say of the changes to his original stories, Mr. Craig said it wouldn’t bother him.

“All he wanted was for people to read his books,” he said.

A Beautiful Place to Die repeats on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel Jan. 28 at 7 p.m., Feb. 7 at 9 p.m., Feb. 15 at 8 p.m., Feb. 18 at 9 p.m., Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.