Newly remastered and restored in its original U.K. broadcast order, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 1, starring the inimitable David Suchet as the little Belgian detective, has finally come to Blu-ray, and it was worth the wait. Always a visually elegant series, the Art Deco architecture, set decorations, and costumes look more gorgeous than ever, especially when viewed on a high-definition television screen.
Suchet certainly found the role of his career in Hercule Poirot, Christie’s most famous detective. Series 1 includes 10 full-length mysteries, scene selection, and SDH subtitles. Unfortunately there are no other extras available. It would have been nice to have some cast interviews or character backgrounders. But the Blu-ray is still worthwhile, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the ’30s-era high society world where Poirot investigates murder most English.
Having been a fan of Suchet and this series on PBS for years, watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 1 was like seeing them all for the first time on Blu-ray. It was fun to be reminded that in the series Poirot’s sidekick Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) is not the bumbler that he is in the books, but frequently provides needed muscle and back-up for the cerebral detective. Philip Jackson’s Chief Inspector Japp and Pauline Moran’s Miss Lemon round out Poirot’s little home team.
The 10 episodes include:
The Adventure of the Clapham Cook – Is Poirot too great a personage to search for a missing domestic?
Murder in the Mews – Guy Fawkes Day is used as a backdrop for murder. Guest stars include David Yelland and James Faulkner.
The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly – Poirot and Hastings try to prevent a kidnapping.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds – Can a man’s last meal provide a clue to his murder? Hilary Mason & Richard Howard guest star.
The Third Floor Flat – Murder hits close to home – Poirot’s own apartment building. With Josie Lawrence.
Triangle at Rhodes – Poirot goes on holiday, but murder of course follows him, as he must determine how a love triangle led to the death of a wealthy woman. The local scenery is wonderful, and Poirot goes to the beach — in a three piece suit and patent leather shoes.
Problem at Sea – Poirot takes a leisurely cruise — leisurely until murder strikes. With the aid of some of his fellow passengers and a little magic he cracks the case.
The Incredible Theft – Back at home, Poirot is now called in to prevent espionage that might threaten national security. An interesting glimpse of English politics between the two world wars.
The King of Clubs – Poirot and Hastings go backstage at the early talkies where the lovely star of a Valentino The Sheik-esque film (Niamh Cusack) may be involved in a murder.
The Dream – Joely Richardson plays the daughter of a man who told Poirot just 24 hours before he died that he kept having a recurring dream of killing himself. Did he truly commit suicide or was it murder?
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 1 includes 10 episodes on two discs, for a total running time of approximately 519 min. The resolution is 1080p/4:3 full screen and the sound is 2.0 Dolby Digital. The sound is as great as the visuals, as every nuance of Poirot’s accent comes through crisp and clear. The dapper little detective never looked better, and it’s great to travel with him and watch him puzzle out these decidedly stylish, but unmistakably deadly cases.