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Series: Poirot

“It is the little grey cells, mon ami, on which one must rely.”
Hercule Poirot

The ITV series of television adaptations of Agatha Christie's novels and short stories starring Hercule Poirot. By which we mean it adapts all of the Poirot novels and short stories. All of them.

The series ran as hour-long episodes on ITV (UK) and PBS (US) from 1989 to 1993, with sets of feature-length specials running in 1994, 1995, 2000-1, 2003-4, 2005-6, 2008-9, and 2010. The final set of stories was released in 2013, just missing David Suchet's original intention to do all of them before his 65th birthday in May 2011.

David Suchet portrays the titular Belgian detective, and his performance is generally regarded as the definitive version.

The adaptations have a long Start to Corpse time, sometimes up to half an hour. This is consistent with the original works: Agatha Christie herself rarely began her books or stories with the discovery of a body, and we frequently meet the victims while they are still alive.

So far, the complete series is out on DVD and Blu-Ray in Europe on 18 November 2013, five days after its finale, and now it's been released in the United States as well: Seasons 1-6 (in the Early Cases Collection) were released on 23 October 2012, followed by the rest of the series (Seasons 7-13) in the Final Cases Collection, released along with the Complete Cases Collection on 4 November 2014.

The series provides examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence: In The Labours of Hercules, Alice Cunningham's dog is extremely calm, despite the strange man who invaded her room...
  • Accidental Murder: Revealed toward the end of The King of Clubs: Valerie Saintclair along with her brother, Ronnie, met up with film producer Henry Reedburn one night to argue about blackmail, but when things got escalated, Ronnie punched him in the face, and he fell and hit his head on a chair part so hard that he died. Poirot lets her off the hook because he considered it an accident and not a murder.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Miss Lemon was described in the books as "ugly" and "hideous." Though not a supermodel, the Miss Lemon of the adaptation was certainly fairly easy on the eyes.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the original novel and most adaptations of the Murder on the Orient Express (notably excluding Sidney Lumet's 1974 film), Poirot rather cavalierly lets the murderers go free, but in the series version this is shown as a difficult choice for him to make due to his Catholic beliefs.
    • The first ten minutes or so of this particular adaptation come across as a Trauma Conga Line; first, the case in Palestine mentioned in the novel is revealed to Poirot giving one heck of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to a British Army officer that it makes him shoot himself rather than stand trial. Then Poirot and some other characters witness the public stoning of an adultress on the streets of Istanbul.
    • The Labours of Hercules injects a lot of angst that was not in the original short stories. Poirot is wracked with guilt after a young woman he assured of his protection was murdered instead, and his meeting with Countess Rossakoff in Switzerland reminds him of his loneliness. The Breaking Speech he receives at the end doesn't help matters.
    • The Mysterious Affair at Styles suggests that Hastings is suffering from shellshock.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: One character in Five Little Pigs and at least four in Cards On The Table are made homosexual. The former change was largely considered tasteful and in keeping with the text and subtext of the story; the latter... not so much.
    • It's strongly hinted that one character in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is gay as well, although this is less essential to the plot than the other examples.
  • Adaptation Decay: In-Universe Ariadne Oliver's detective character undergoes many changes in the process of being adapted to the stage in Mrs McGinty's Dead.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the novel Curtain, Stephen Norton is portrayed as a bird-watcher with grayish silver hair and a quiet disposition. But here, in this adaptation, he is more like an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette with raven-black hair.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The short stories were often fluffed out in the series with additional context. "The Yellow Iris", for example, was connected to shady dealings with Argentine military officers aiming for a coup. It provides the the killer's motive in both the original death and the attempted one—he didn't want it to be known that he'd spent his ward's bank account in those dealings, or that they were lost forever when the coup was undone.
  • Adapted Out: The novel Three-Act Tragedy was a team-up between Poirot and Mr Satterthwaite, one of Christie's other detectives; the TV adaptation does not have Mr Satterthwaite in it.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Despite his Poirot Speak constantly reminding us that French is his first language, there are times when he interviews other native Francophones in English, e.g. in "Elephants Can Remember" in which there is a lengthy two-hander between Poirot and another native French-speaker in Paris - and Poirot still lapses into Poirot Speak, thereby destroying the excuse that it could be simple Translation Convention. Even more noticeable in ‘The Chocolate Box’. The entire story takes place in Brussels, yet everyone only speaks perfect British English, except for Poirot who continues in Poirot Speak.
    • Also noticeable at the beginning of The Underdog, in which a letter from a German scientist was written entirely in German, yet his voice is spoken in English, albeit with a German accent.
    • Subverted in Death in the Clouds, in which Poirot interviews a French woman entirely in French. However, he conducts the interview in front of an English speaker who knows almost no French, so neither Aliens Speaking English nor Translation Convention would work.
      • Also subverted toward the end of The Adventure of the Western Star, in which Belgian actress Marie Marvelle makes a conversation en français in which she confesses her feelings toward her husband, Gregorie Rolf, who is nothing more than a blackmailer. Poirot consoles her and gives her the advice, also en français, that she should annul the marriage.
  • And Starring: Zoe Wanamaker gets this in Ariadne Oliver's later appearances.
  • And This Is for...: In The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman, when the Scotland Yard police outnumber the murderer, Edwin Graves, Hastings gets a Moment Of Awesome by confronting him and saying, "This is for Miss Lemon!" before punching him into the river. This quote indicates that Miss Lemon had been used by Graves, who became a Jerkass to her by saying that he was about to destroy his master's cat, as Miss Lemon later points out.
  • Arc Words: "I am Poirot" in The Labours of Hercules.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Toward the end of The Chocolate Box, when Poirot hears that Madame Deroulard killed her own son Paul though she is color-blind and very ill, the detective admires her for her moral courage and sacrifice.
  • Aside Glance: The final shot of Curtain is Poirot staring directly into the camera.
  • Asshole Victim: Miss Springer in Cat Among the Pigeons; Mrs. Clapperton in Problem at Sea; Henry Reedburn in The King Of Clubs; Harrington Pace in The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge; Sir Reuben Astwell in The Underdog; Simeon Lee in Hercule Poirot's Christmas; Ratchett in Murder On The Orient Express; Lord Edgware of Lord Edgware Dies; Lady Boynton in Appointment with Death; Mme. Giselle in Death in the Clouds; Paul Deroulard in The Chocolate Box; Stephen Norton in Curtain.
  • Author Avatar: Ariadne Oliver, whose detective, Sven, is a sort of Expy Poirot himself - of course, it's all very much an Affectionate Parody.
  • Babies Ever After: At the end of The Chocolate Box, it is revealed that Poirot's old friend Jean-Louis Ferraud is married to Virginie Mesnard and they have two sons named Henri and Hercule.
  • Back for the Finale: Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Inspector (now Assistant Commissioner) Japp, all of whom disappeared without a trace after 2001, appear in the final season's The Big Four (which Poirot himself notes). Hastings also appears in the final episode, Curtain.
  • The Bet: In The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, Inspector Japp makes a bet with Poirot that if the latter can solve the mystery without leaving the apartment for a week, the former can pay up five pounds.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, Major John Rich shows up to save Poirot from getting killed by Colonel Curtiss.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Curtain, to the entire series. Poirot has solved the crime and justice has been done. Unfortunately, the only way to achieve justice was for Poirot to kill the murderer, then die of a heart attack while throwing himself on God's mercy. By the episode's end, poor Hastings has lost both his wife and his best friend, and his daughter has gone to Africa, leaving him entirely alone.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Gustave does it to the police lieutenant just before plummeting to his death in "The Labours of Hercules".
  • Boarding School: Meadowbank, the elite girl's school in Cat Among the Pigeons.
  • Book Ends: Averted, unlike the original novels, as The Mysterious Affair at Styles wasn't adapted until the third series.
    • Played straight, however, in The Double Clue, as it starts in a train station on Countess Vera Rossakoff's arrival, and ends on the same station at her departure.
  • Bound and Gagged: In The Kidnapped Prime Minister, Commander Daniels claims that he woke up like this. Also, toward the end of the episode, Prime Minister MacAdams is tied up like this by the Danielses.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly:
    Miss Lemon: It's nearly complete, you see. My system.
    Poirot: Ah.
    Miss Lemon: Every one of your cases classified and cross-referenced five different ways.
    Poirot: Five?
    Miss Lemon: Oh, yes. In this cabinet, names of witnesses; in this, name of perpetrator, if known. Victim's trade or profession. Type of case: abduction, addiction, adultery - see also under marriage, bigamy - see also under marriage, bombs.
    Poirot: [confused] "See also under marriage"?
  • Breaking Speech: Alice Cunningham delivers one to Poirot at the end of The Labours of Hercules. It hits home, to a certain extent.
  • Breather Episode: The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly can be this. Sure, it involves kidnapping, and one person gets sick with food poisoning and is recovering, but at least no one is murdered. It even throws in some fun and funny things, such as Poirot learning to sing "One Man Went to Mow" along with Hastings when their car breaks down on the way back, and little Johnnie playing with a toy car and petting a Cute Kitten. Awww!
  • Brief Accent Imitation: In The Theft of the Royal Ruby, three children, having met Poirot for the first time, plan on arranging a false murder for the girl Bridget, all while using their Belgian French "Hercule Poirot" accent.
  • Call Forward: At the end of The Mystery of the Blue Train, one of the characters remarks that she's planning to travel on the Orient Express, and inquires whether Poirot has. Poirot replies that he hasn't yet, but must get around to it one day. Of course, we all know what'll happen when he does...
  • Captain Obvious: From Hercule Poirot's Christmas:
    Poirot: Tell me, what is this Brown Windsor Soup?
    Waiter: Well, sir, it's soup...from Windsor.
  • Casting Gag: Canadian actor Charles Colingwood, best known for BBC Radio 4's shows, including The Archers, plays the BBC announcer in The Affair at the Victory Ball.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Hastings has one in The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
  • Catch Phrase:
  • Celibate Hero: Explained in The Double Clue:
    Captain Hastings: [referring to marriage] You ever thought about it?
    Hercule Poirot: In my experience, I know of five cases of wives being murdered by their devoted husbands.
    Captain Hastings: Oh?
    Hercule Poirot: And twenty-two husbands being murdered by their devoted wives. So thank you, no. Marriage, it is not for me.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: After season IX (filmed 2003-2004), the series became what many fans described as "more dark"; in particular, Japp, Miss Lemon and Hastings, who often were used for comic relief in previous installments, no longer were present in the episodes. Opinions are divided on whether it was a good, bad, or mixed development.
  • Character Aged with the Actor: Happens to some of the main cast in Curtain, most notably Captain Hastings and Poirot.
  • Chase Scene: Not a rare occurrence in pre-2003 scripts.
  • Christmas Episode: Two of them, just like in the literature series: The Theft of the Royal Ruby (Season 3), and Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Season 6).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Simeon Lee in Hercule Poirot's Christmas. Almost literally, since his younger self attempted to stab his mining partner in the back.
  • Clear Their Name: A task which Poirot often has to do, notably Sad Cypress and Mrs MсGintу's Dead.
  • Closed Circle: The Labours of Hercules, in which everybody is trapped in a hotel after an avalanche.
  • Commedia dell'Arte: Becomes Chekhov's Running Gag from the very beginning in The Affair at the Victory Ball, when Poirot's voice-over narrates this.
  • Composite Character: Bella Duveen in Murder on the Links. In the book original, she corresponds to two twin sisters.
  • Connect the Deaths: Cat Among the Pigeons, The ABC Murders.
  • Continuity Nod: The reappearance of Countess Rossakoff in The Labours of Hercules.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Poirot has to buy a last-minute gift for Inspector Japp in Hercule Poirot's Christmas. As it happens, Japp appreciates his present far more than Poirot appreciates his...
  • Creepy Children Singing: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe makes use of this at the beginning and throughout the episode, as children ominously sing the nursery tune.
  • Dating Catwoman: Toyed with in The Double Clue and again Murder in Mesopotamia in a case of Adaptation Expansion on the part of the writers. Turns out she just wanted Poirot to pay her hotel bill.
  • Dead Man's Chest: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook
  • Dead Man Writing: Curtain, which ends with Poirot's letter to Hastings, delivered four months after Poirot's death.
  • Disconnected By Death
  • Disney Death/Faking the Dead: Poirot in The Big Four. This, however, is sadly subverted in Curtain.
    • Also, in The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb, Poirot does it again by pretending to drink the cyanide in the tisane and lying motionless in bed in order for Hastings to lure Dr. Robert Ames into a confrontation with the detective.
    • And in The Yellow Iris, Pauline Wetherby appears to drink the wine laced with potassium cyanide and fall down dead on the table in the same manner as Iris Russell. It turns out, however, that Pauline is only faking it while staging what happened to Iris two years ago in an attempt to draw attention to the real murderer, her own husband Barton.
  • Disney Villain Death: Poor Gustave in The Labours of Hercules.
  • Distant Finale: The final episode, "Curtain", takes place in October 1949-February 1950, over a decade after the penultimate episode "The Labours of Hercules", set at the start of World War II.
    • Deadly Distant Finale: Since "Curtain" takes place in 1949, it is also in that episode that the main character, Poirot, dies of a heart attack after many years of solving his cases.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Hastings is prone to this, especially in The Veiled Lady.
    Hastings: What a stunning girl!
    Poirot: I sometimes think, mon ami, that you are too easily stunned.
  • Distressed Dude: David MacAdam, the titular kidnapped Prime Minister of the story.
  • Downer Beginning: Curtain starts with Margaret Litchfield getting hanged during the opening credits... a victim of the Miscarriage of Justice and of a Gambit Roulette started by Manipulative Bastard Stephen Norton.
  • Driven to Suicide: Imogen Daniels toward the end of The Kidnapped Prime Minister.
  • Drives Like Crazy: In The Incredible Theft, Poirot and Hastings borrow a cop car for a while to the surprise of an officer, and Hastings drives pretty darn fast at the steering wheel in pursuit of Mrs. Vanderlyn's car.
  • Dying Alone: In Curtain, Poirot falls into this trope as he asks Hastings to let him rest in his bed. As he is dying alone of angina, he mutters out his final words in a whisper to God, "Forgive me..." and reaches for the rosary. In the next few scenes, Hastings returns to find Poirot's now lifeless body slumped over on his bed. So heartbreaking.
  • Embarrassing First Name: In The King of Clubs, Mr. Reedburn hates being called "Henry".
  • Embarrassing Nickname: In Dumb Witness, we discover that Hastings' nickname is "Battler." As in "Battle a' Hastings."
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: About half the cast generally has a motive for murder.
  • Everybody Did It: The former Trope Namer itself, Murder On the Orient Express.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Four and Twenty Blackbirds.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In The Incredible Theft, a fighter plane uses a test car as target practice by riddling it full of bullets, and after a few shots the car bursts into flames.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Lady Ravenscroft's dog in Elephants Can Remember, which knows something is wrong with its mistress.
    • In The Veiled Lady, just when the search for the two suspects is growing cold, Hastings hears a meow from a random cat, who sneaks in to their hiding place and rubs on them, all the while meowing and purring. It doesn't take long for Hastings, Japp and Poirot to figure out where the suspects are.
  • Exotic Detective: Poirot.
  • Eye Scream: How Colonel Curtiss kills Edward Clayton, albeit in a Gory Discretion Shot, in The Mystery of the Spanish Chest.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: Done briefly in Elephants Can Remember in order to fulfill a Last Request, but with tragic results.
  • Fat Suit: David Suchet had to be padded from the collar down in order to match Poirot's girth.
  • Feet-First Introduction: In the very first episode, The Adventure of the Clapham Cook, we get a close-up of Poirot's feet on the foot rest, then the camera moves slowly to his legs, all the way to his face when he is sitting on a chair. And in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, we see a close-up of his walking patented leather boots and hear his voice as the camera moves up from his legs until it gets all the way up to his face again.
  • Foot Focus: Key to solving the murders in One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Poirot does not dress up for The Victory Ball, a costume party.
    Hastings: I still don't think they'll let you in; I thought I made it clear the Victory Ball is a costume do.
    Poirot: Hercule Poirot does not wear costumes.
    Hastings: Everybody does. The whole idea is to go as someone famous.
    Poirot: Precisely.
    Hastings: Oh. I see.
  • Formally Named Pet: We learn in The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb that Miss Lemon had a recently deceased cat named "Catherine the Great".
  • Gayngst: Later adaptations (for example, Five Little Pigs, Halloween Party) occasionally add quite angsty storylines about gay characters (that weren't necessarily gay in the original). Since Britain of the 30's wasn't a gay-friendly place by all means, the "angst" part is justified.
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting: Even more rigidly enforced then in the book canon, with plots originally set post-WWII, like Taken at the Flood, being moved back in time.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The villain, Norton, in Curtain.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Toward the end of The Kidnapped Prime Minister, as Imogen Daniels is on the roof of her castle, after she shouts out her last words, "Erin go Bragh! (Ireland Forever)" as she is about to shoot herself in the head, scene cuts to the horrified crowds as a gunshot is heard, then to her blood getting splattered on the rocks, then to her body falling before cutting to the eagle-eye view of the camera falling down from the sky before finally cutting to her gun landing on the ground.
  • He Knows Too Much: In The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, after Poirot exposes Colonel Curtiss as the one who murdered Edward Clayton, Curtiss takes out the rapier and corners Poirot, removing his hat and attempting an Impromptu Tracheotomy on him in order to silence him forever. Leave it to Big Damn Hero Major John Rich to save the day.
  • Henpecked Husband: Luttrell and Franklin in Curtain.
  • Here We Go Again: In The King of Clubs, Inspector Japp gets that reaction when he sees Poirot and Hastings on the case.
  • The Hero Dies: In Curtain.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: In Dead Man's Mirror, while Poirot, Hastings and Japp investigate the Northgate Development, they notice the smell of smoke in a room nearby, and when they open the door, they discover a fire that had started. They find John Lake unconscious and get him out of the burning building as fast as they can.
  • He's Got a Weapon!: In The Double Clue, as Hastings and Miss Lemon encounter a tramp (actually Redfern, one of the private detectives, in disguise), he pulls out a gun, and Lemon shouts out, "Hastings, he's got a gun!!!" before the tramp fires the weapon at him. Hastings, of course, is not killed, but only damaged his forehead in escaping from the shots.
  • Idiot Ball: Captain Hastings manages to carry one at least once per episode.
  • Ill Girl: Barbara Franklin in Curtain, although the extent of her illness is debatable.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, when Simeon Lee sees that Poirot is not strong or young enough to protect him:
    Poirot: Hercule Poirot is a detective, not a bodyguard, monsieur.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The official title has always been Agatha Christie's Poirot, though it is sometimes shortened for export.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Poirot in Curtain. Pauvre, pauvre Poirot...
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: In Curtain, Poirot's removal of his (false) moustache prior to committing the murder verges on this.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Inspector Japp.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: In The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, a deliveryman says that the parrot is "for Mr. Poy-rott". Poirot tries correcting him with his own pronunciation of his name, but the deliveryman now calls the parrot "Poirot" while STILL calling Poirot "Poy-rott".
    • Same thing happens in The Affair at the Victory Ball when a receptionist calls Poirot "Hercules Poy-rott".
    • In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Inspector Japp gets Pilar Estravados' last name wrong: it is es-TRA-va-dos, not es-tra-VAH-dos.
  • It's for a Book: Used as a cover by the killer in Elephants Can Remember - mildly lampshaded in that even the killer is surprised that the victim fell for it.
  • It Will Never Catch On: A character who lives in Wimbledon comments in The Veiled Lady, "It hasn't been the same round here since they started the tennis up the road. You get all these riff-raff come to watch!"
  • The Lady's Favour: In The Chocolate Box, Poirot gets a flower bouquet label pin from his Love Interest Virginie, which he still wears as a memento every day while he is on the job.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Although Poirot doesn't leave behind the pistol himself, he does allow Mrs. Folliat the opportunity to give her son and herself this option in Dead Man's Folly.
  • Like You Were Dying: In Wasps' Nest, John Harrison, a son of one of Poirot's friends, has only a few weeks to live with a terminal illness and makes his bucket list. When he discovers that his wife is secretly having an affair with Claude Langton, he almost turns this into The Last Dance in which he attempts to kill himself by placing cyanide in a coffee cup and drinking it in order to make it look like murder and pin the blame on Langton. Fortunately, thanks to the tea leaves and the danger that Poirot has read earlier, Poirot is able to Screw Destiny by replacing the cyanide with sodium carbonate, then talking him down and telling him that he has so much more to live for. Harrison feels relieved that his plan didn't work after all, and in the end tells Poirot to come and see him once more in a few weeks. So heartwarming and yet a Tear Jerker at the same time.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Happens near the end of The King of Clubs and Dead Man's Mirror.
  • Magician Detective: Temporarily in The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim: he uses the magic tricks of a Stage Magician, which he learned from reading a book called The Boy's Book of Conjuring (which is out of character, but it works) and from watching a magic show. (According to David Suchet, he apparently did all the magic tricks himself.) Subverted at the end, however, when he tries making a parrot disappear... only to find that the bird is still here.
    Poirot: At least it was worth a try.
    Parrot: Worth a try, worth a try!
  • Malaproper: As in the novels, Poirot is prone to this due to the fact that he is a Belgian man who tends to be unfamiliar with some English idioms (e.g., "running up the wrong tree" or "barking up the wrong bush"note , "has taken leave of his rocker"note , "making hills out of mole mounds"note , etc.).
  • Manly Tears: In Curtain, Hastings, who has maintained a Stiff Upper Lip on the topic of his wife's recent death, is suddenly reminded of her and begins weeping.
  • Mistaken for Dying: In both The Third Floor Flat and The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge, whenever Poirot comes down with a cold, he often calls it a "deadly fever" and feels like he's "a corpse that's waiting to die". However, when he is given food, like blackberry tea offered to him by Mr. Anstruther, for instance, he and his "little grey cells" feel rejuvenated, and he gets back on the case.
  • The Mole: The Clocks revolves around Poirot trying to determine which of the weirdo denizens of Wilbraham Crescent is, in actuality, a Nazi spy.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Type 1: Peril at End House, split into two parts.
  • Mundane Solution: In The Veiled Lady, Captain Hastings heroically runs after a blackmailer to try to find out where he lives. Poirot doesn't bother joining Hastings. He looks the blackmailer's address up in the phone book.
  • Murder-Suicide: The solution to Elephants Can Remember. Things get complicated, however, when it comes to the identity of one of the victims.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Chocolate Box for Poirot. Until the ending reveals that he solved the case correctly, but allowed the murderer to die from a terminal illness instead of being jailed.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: In The Yellow Iris, Poirot failed to solve the case of who killed Iris due to his being detained as a spy and deported from Argentina. With the Jardin des Cygnes restaurant open in London and a yellow iris delivered to him, Poirot is determined for a second try, hoping that he will not fail again.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Poirot introduces himself in this manner in The Adventure of the Clapham Cook. In fact, some episodes have some characters introduce themselves in this way.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: In The Veiled Lady, the two suspects hide in a museum exhibit and pretend to be mannequins under the sheets among other mannequins while Poirot and his team are on the search for them until their search is growing cold. The mannequin statue plan almost works... until a Cute Kitten comes along and discovers the suspects, all the while meowing and purring.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In The ABC Murders, Captain Hastings has a terribly hard time getting anyone to listen to his story about shooting a cayman in Venezuela.
  • Not So Different: In the adaptation of The Big Four, Poirot tells off the villain regarding his taste for theatrics. He points out that Poirot is the same, given his need for a Summation Gathering instead of just sending in the police to arrest him.
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: In Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a model of Henry Gascoigne's is seated in a chair wearing her skin-colored clothes and making a pose while other artists paint her portraits.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Double Sin short episode.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Poirot frequently plays the dotty old man to disarm suspects, making them more vulnerable to his questioning. He also uses his accent to this purpose, as he explains in Three-Act Tragedy:
    "It is true that I can speak the exact, the idiomatic English. But, my friend, to speak the broken English is an enormous asset. It leads people to despise you. They say - a foreigner - he can't even speak English properly. It is not my policy to terrify people - instead, I invite their gentle ridicule. Also I boast! An Englishman he says often, 'A fellow who thinks as much of himself as that cannot be worth much.' That is the English point of view. It is not at all true. And so, you see, I put people off their guard."
  • Obi-Wan Moment: In Curtain, as Poirot is bedridden and about to die of a heart condition, he uses this moment to reassure Captain Hastings that there are "loose ends to be tied up"; that the death of Stephen Norton was not suicide, but rather murder; and that Hastings should go downstairs for breakfast and let him rest. This culminates in a Say Your Prayers moment.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Chocolate Box.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ/Belgian Chanting/One-Woman Wail: This combination is heard in The Chocolate Box in Marianne Deroulard's death scene at the beginning. When it is played again as Madame Deroulard explains the story to Poirot, it is revealed that her son Paul killed Marianne for power.
    • Also, the One-Woman Wail is heard in the spooky music that plays in some parts of Dead Man's Mirror.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Done in-universe in Elephants Can Remember. Marie passes herself off as from Boston, but Poirot catches some pronunciation slips that indicate that she's actually Canadian.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Murder on the Orient Express.
  • Overprotective Dad: Hastings in Curtain.
  • Parental Substitute: In Curtain, Hastings mentions that Poirot has been a father figure to him.
  • Poirot Speak: Poirot, obviously. (Though this is actually something of a subversion — see Obfuscating Stupidity)
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: In The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, Poirot gets a parrot that gets chatty with squawks and Wolf Whistles... and sometimes mimicks other people's words.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Labours of Hercules, which was a collection of twelve short stories. Among other things:
    • The main plot combines "The Arcadian Deer" (Williamson and Nita), "The Erymanthian Boar" (Marrascaud), "The Stymphalean Birds" (the Clayton marriage), "The Girdle of Hypollita" (the stolen paintings), and "The Capture of Cerebus" (Countess Rossakoff and Alice Cunningham). Other stories receive only passing references—for example, the set-up for Waring's stay in Switzerland comes from "The Augean Stables."
    • As a result, there are multiple Composite Characters, most notably Alice Cunningham/Marrascaud.
    • Dr. Lutz is now a psychoanalyst and a fence instead of a cosmetic surgeon.
    • Drouet is Spared by the Adaptation, as is Marrascaud.
  • Precrime Arrest/Screw Destiny: Poirot has a motive of this in Wasps' Nest, albeit without time travel, in which he must stop a murder crime or a tragedy from happening in the future.
  • Previously On: Parodied at the beginning of Part II of Peril at End House, in which Hastings grabs the golf clubs, expectant to play a game of golf, but Poirot stops him and by word of mouth recaps what happened in the previous part before concluding that there is more work to be done. Of course, there are no clips from the previous part, but Poirot himself has made a great explanation on what happened.
  • Product Placement: Poirot and Hastings play Monopoly from the beginning of The Lost Mine, and it becomes a Running Gag throughout the entire episode.
    • In The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, there are signs all over the race course that say "BP", "Mobiloil" and "Shell", all references to gas station names.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Hercule Poirot's Christmas starts with a prologue in South Africa in 1896, and it takes nearly ten minutes before we get to the opening title in London, 40 years later.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp only appear in a few of the original Poirot stories, but feature in the majority of the pre-season IX episodes anyway.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The 1812 Overture is played in The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim... and later becomes Chekhov's Running Gag in the plot.
    • In The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, we get Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (which Poirot and Hastings attend in the theatre) and Träumerei (Dreaming) from Robert Schumann's Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood).
  • Red Herring: Agatha Christie made liberal use of this trope.
  • Say Your Prayers: More than halfway towards the end of Curtain, as Poirot is bedridden and minutes towards death via heart condition, he makes a prayer to God, asking him for forgiveness for his deeds, and clasps the rosary in his hands while doing so, resulting in Death Equals Redemption.
  • Serial Killer: Alice Cunningham, a.k.a. Marrascaud in The Labours of Hercules.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: The ABC Murders, Three Act Tragedy
  • Series Continuity Error: Thanks to the Setting Update. In the TV series, Hastings meets his eventual wife in 1936 instead of the early 1920s. Nevertheless, his daughter is a woman in her early twenties as of Curtain, set in 1949.
  • Setting Update: Inverted with some stories to avoid the books' use of Comic-Book Time—all Poirot's cases are set in the period from World War I to World War II (except Curtain, which is explicitly dated to 1949). This can result in some strangeness, however, such as Third Girl, which was written in The Sixties and uses so many contemporary themes that the book comes off as an Unintentional Period Piece, being re-set in The Great Depression.
  • Shout-Out: At the very beginning of The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, Poirot, Hastings, and Japp attend the screening of G Men (1935), and yet Poirot is not pleased with all the violence that disturbs him.
    • In The Affair at the Victory Ball, Poirot becomes the radio actor for the BBC in order to deduce the killer's true identity, and the callers complain about his accent, his Poirot Speak and his fractured English. Ironic, since it's a Shout-Out to when actor John Moffatt was cast as him in most dramas aired at BBC4 Radio.
      • Another Shout-Out: at the end of the same episode, Poirot tells Hastings that the former shall lend to Chief Inspector Japp his own personal copy of "The English as She Should be Spoken". The book's title is actually English as She Is Spoke by Pedro Carolino, which Poirot means to refer to.
    • In The ABC Murders, Cust is at the cinema twice, once attending the screening of Black Limelight, a.k.a. Footsteps in the Sand (1939, which is kinda odd, given that it was an adaptation of the play that wasn't shown on film in three years, since Poirot's timeline is set in August-September 1936), and then attending the screening of Alfred Hitchcock's Number Seventeen (1932), which is the latter that is shown when the fourth murder committed by Franklin Clarke takes place.
  • Sick Episode: The Third Floor Flat, The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: David Baker in Third Girl, mostly by being melded with the character who is Norma's love interest in the original book. Many other plot points were changed as well.
    • Also Spared by the Adaptation: Colonel Clapperton in Problem at Sea; the Haverings in The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge; Dr. Robert Ames in The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb; Régine Olivier, Abe Ryland and Flossie Monro in The Big Four.
  • Spinning Paper: Becomes a Running Gag throughout The ABC Murders.
  • Staircase Tumble: Marianne Deroulard's death in The Chocolate Box.
    • Emily Arundel in Dumb Witness.
  • Starts with Their Funeral/In Medias Res: The Big Four starts with what appears to be Poirot's funeral before flashing back to how his friends got there in the first place. Of course, none of them have any idea that Poirot is Faking the Dead until after the final showdown with Claud Darrell, the only villain of the so-called Big Four.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Waring is addicted to doing this in The Labours of Hercules. Poirot calls him out on it.
  • The Summation: Just about every episode concludes with one of these.
  • Super Window Jump: In The Veiled Lady, when both Poirot and Hastings are cornered by the police for burglary, Poirot distracts them, allowing Hastings more time to run toward the windowed back door exit with the special Chinese fortune box in his hands. But by then the door is locked, so Hastings gets a Moment of Crazy Awesome by jumping out through the window, smashing the glass from inside.
  • Sword Fight: The Mystery of the Spanish Chest starts with one between a young John Rich and a young Colonel Curtiss in a Deliberately Monochrome past, in which the young Curtiss gets a scar on his face. And toward the end of the episode, in a Big Damn Heroes moment, Rich goes for one more sword fight with Curtiss; after a few bouts, Rich wins once again.
  • They Have the Scent: In The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge, Jack Stoddard uses one of the dogs to sniff what appears to be Mrs. Middleton's dress; the dog runs off, sniffing any trace it can find, until it tracks down to the real murderer: Zoe Havering herself.
  • Third-Person Person: Poirot usually speaks of himself this way. Dr. Lutz lampshades it in The Labours of Hercules.
  • Title Drop: Murder on the Links, in a conversation between Hastings and Bella.
  • To Be Continued: Occurs at the very end of Part I of Peril at End House, followed by the end credits.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Poirot at the conclusion of Murder On the Orient Express. At first, he refuses to compromise his principles by allowing the killers to go unpunished. To which their only response is, "We tried it your way. The law failed us." With the weight of the entire Armstrong family on his shoulders, Poirot ultimately walks right past the police, letting the perpetrators off the hook.
    • Downplayed, though, in that Poirot seems unsure if what he did was "good".
    • Subverted in The King Of Clubs, in which Poirot seemingly has little problem letting the killer go free, due to a combination of Asshole Victim and the fact that the killing was accidental and not premeditated.
    • Subverted again in The Chocolate Box. Poirot has no difficulty with allowing the murderer to die of illness instead of being convicted, on the grounds that the murder had been regrettable but justified.
    • Curtain, in which Poirot faces a murderer who cannot be convicted. Poirot executes him, then allows himself to die of a heart attack.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Leads to the first victim's murder by what appears to be a Depraved Dentist in One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Happens at the end of The Double Clue: After Poirot tells Countess Rossakoff that they must go their separate ways, he and his private detectives escort her to the train bound for the United States. Before they leave, he offers her a cigarette case with the initials "B.P." (thought to be for Beatrice Palmeston Runcorn, but actually, as the initials are Cyrillic for "V.R.", for Vera Rossakoff) as something to remember him by. She thanks him and kisses him on the forehead before the train departs, and both wave each other goodbye.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Ariadne Oliver's and Poirot's respective investigations in Elephants Can Remember, leading up to a Halfway Plot Switch when it becomes clear that the murders are linked.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: In The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim, Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp discuss Mrs. Davenheim and her maid. What's interesting is that Hastings speaks with Mrs. Davenheim upstairs, while Japp speaks with her maid downstairs, but both ladies speak about Matthew Davenheim's disappearance but are not sure why. At the end of the dialogue:
    Hastings: [to Mrs. Davenheim] Perhaps I'll go have a chat with your maid.
    [cut to downstairs at the same time]
    Japp: [to the maid] Perhaps I'll go have a chat with your mistress.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Alexander Bonaparte Cust in The ABC Murders. He suffers from blackouts and memory loss. The killer, who Cust thinks is his friend, ensures he is at the scene of each murder so he'll be framed for them, and even plants the idea in Cust's mind that he committed the murders during his lapses in memory.
  • Villainous BSOD: Played with in Curtain. Poirot apparently turns the murderer into a sobbing mess by pointing to the psychological origins of his problems. Except that the murderer is just acting.
  • Villain Stole My Bike: In The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge, a bearded man (who is actually a disguised Zoe Havering) steals Mr. Anstruther's bike and rides away from the train station. Havering then goes to a field and buries the bike along with the beard disguise so that she can enter Hunter's Lodge as Mrs. Middleton and kill her uncle Harrington Pace for the money.
  • The Watson: Captain Hastings.
  • We Will Meet Again: In The King of Clubs, as Mr. Reedburn is escoting one of his assistants out for a catfight, the latter says, "You haven't heard the last of me, Mr. Reedburn."
  • We Would Have Told You, But...: In The Big Four, Poirot explains that he had to keep up the pretense of being dead to get the villain to reveal himself. It does earn him a What the Hell, Hero? from his old friends.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: One of the suspects in The Clocks, a blind geriatric named Miss Pebmarsh, lived through World War I and was rightly traumatized by the young lives lost in the war. She conspires with the Nazis under a misguided belief that committing treason is preferable to a second war with Germany. Note that in the book, the story happened after WWII, during the Cold War instead.
  • We Named the Monkey Jack: A rare human example: at the end of The Chocolate Box, it is revealed that Virginie Mesnard-Ferraud and her husband named one of their sons "Hercule" after her former love interest.
  • Whatever Mancy: In Wasps' Nest, Poirot is into tasseography, i.e., reading tea leaves, and sees a murder crime that may happen in the future, which Poirot must prevent at all costs.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The Chocolate Box can be this, with some parts of the episode taking place in the present.
  • Working Through The Cold: The Third Floor Flat has Poirot investigating a crime with Hastings while the former is recovering from a bad cold.
  • Yes-Man: Hastings to Poirot, as Hastings ruefully acknowledges in Dumb Witness.
  • You Just Told Me: Played with in The Labours of Hercules, where it's Poirot who mistakenly reveals an important piece of information to someone he thinks is the right person, but most certainly is not.
  • You Look Familiar: David Yelland, who played Laverton West in Murder in the Mews, returns as Poirot's valet George for the remainder of the series from Season 10 onward.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me/It Works Better with Bullets: Toward the end of The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, when a Mafia assassin attempts to kill Carla Romero and her husband for the murder of Luigi Valdarno, Poirot steps in their way and tells his colleagues that the assassin would not dare shoot him. The assassin pulls out Hastings' gun and warns him that if he takes one more step, then he is finished. Poirot acts all like "Try me!" and takes one step. The assassin prepares to shoot him and... the gun clicks a few times before he realizes that the gun has no bullets. Poirot then shows him the bullets that he had taken out of the gun earlier while he and Hastings were tracking down the assassin in the Robinsons' apartment.

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