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Series / And Then There Were None (2015)

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In 2015, the BBC produced and released a miniseries based on Agatha Christie's iconic novel And Then There Were None.

The cast includes:


The miniseries provides examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Subverted; Vera and Lombard sleep together after they engage in booze and cocaine. Neither party regrets it, and in fact Lombard is convinced that Vera isn't the killer.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When being questioned by Lombard about where he was at the time of Rogers death, Blore admits he was in the lavatory, constipated. This makes the rest of the survivors break down laughing, breaking some of the tension.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the book, Hugo Hamilton vanished after Cyril's death and took to Drowning His Sorrows because he didn't know how to confront that his lover murdered his nephew to benefit him; in the series, he stays with his sister and immediately realizes that Vera was lying at the inquest because Cyril couldn't have outrun or outswim her. Hugo outright breaks up with her and tells her that if he had the proof, he would see her hang.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: Morris is turned from a shady drug dealer to the owner of an employment agency.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Lombard establishes himself as a hunter who completely understands the situation they're in, compared to how it's implied he's just a pragmatic Thrill Seeker in the book. He also points out that he and Vera are not so different in how they killed for profit, even if Vera denies it. He knows Vera isn't the killer when Blore is killed while they're both outside and he told her to stay on the rocks, giving her an alibi. Ergo, the killer isn't either of them. It's not enough to save him when he tries to reason with Vera, and aptly says the killer is still on the island and hunting them.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Dr. Armstrong is much less professional and meaner towards Vera when she accuses him of being U.N. Owen.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Lombard's nationality is not specified in the books, but is presumably English. Here, he is played by Irish actor Aidan Turner, who uses his natural accent.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Several characters are hit hard by this:
    • Rogers is seen abusing his wife and instead of simply withholding the medicine for his elderly employer, he smothers her with a pillow.
    • Blore and Macarthur, rather than simply sending their victims to a guaranteed death, are both shown to have actively murdered their respective victims with Blore beating his victim to death due to homophobia, and Macarthur shooting his wife's lover in the back of the head (likely because the use of flashbacks to the actual crimes made the indirect methods less visually interesting and harder to explain).
    • Vera is much more frigid and cruel than she appeared to be in the original novel. In the book, she is wracked with guilt and slowly begins losing her mind as she comes to terms with what she has done, but in the miniseries it is strongly implied to all be an act of a vicious sociopath. Also, little Cyril's death at sea is now shown to be a cold and calculated murder, while in the book it was implied to be a spur-of-the-moment crime of passion.
    • Lombard changes from a man who abandoned his followers to starve in the name of self-preservation to one who burned a village to steal diamonds. Interestingly, Lombard's line that he was either "embellishing a story for shocking effect, or I'm the only one telling the truth in a room full of liars," indirectly references Christie's 1943 theatre adaptation inversion of this trope, where it is revealed at the end Lombard didn't actually kill the Africans (he went ahead to find help and didn't come back in time) despite admitting it after the gramophone indictment. It turned out that he embellished the story just for the sheer joy of watching everyone's faces react to his admission.
    • Edward Seton was guilty of killing an old woman in the original novel. Here, he is a serial killer.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The killer's long and detailed confession is distilled into a five-minute long conversation. While it leaves in the explanation for their motives, as well as how they faked their own death and killed Armstrong, any details on how the crime was planned and how they killed everyone undetected is left to the viewer's imagination.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Vera tries to bargain with Wargrave to save her wretched life. Wargrave patiently indulges her... then gives her a subdued "The Reason You Suck" Speech, kicks away the chair keeping her from hanging, and then leaves her to her (well-deserved) fate.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Arthur Richmond becomes Henry Richmond, and James Landor becomes Edward Landor.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • While he is still guilty of his crimes, Blore is made sympathetic enough by his banter with Lombard and eventually breaks down and confesses his crime, showing actual remorse.
    • Miss Brent is shown to be much more affected by Beatrice Taylor's death than in the novel and, shortly before she is murdered, she loses her typical stern behavior, showing how frail and scared she actually is.
    • Lombard, who pleads with Vera while being held at gunpoint by her to believe him about the murderer being neither of them and how the murderer will win if she kills him — something he is completely right about. He had also developed what appeared to be a genuine connection of sorts with Vera beforehand.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Marston, in this as in several other adaptations. He all but deletes the beautiful Vera from his mind, but he's very eager to engage Tall, Dark, and Handsome Philip in conversation.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: Blore casually calls Lombard aside and asks him to confirm by smell that Marston died by cyanide poisoning. Given that the ability to smell cyanide is genetic and only shared by 40% of the population, it's more likely than not that Lombard wouldn't have been able to confirm this. Justified, as it's unlikely that Blore knew this.
  • Black Comedy: We get this exchange:
    Vera: Has Mrs. Rogers got worse?
    Armstrong: Somewhat - she's dead.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
    • Marston, very copiously and gorily, when he dies.
    • Wargrave shoots himself under the chin, leaving a trickle of blood running from the corner of his smiling mouth.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: In spades - not only are the deaths more bloody —(Brent goes from being jabbed with a syringe to outright stabbed in the neck with her own knitting needle)— but several characters have hallucinations and dreams that expose their crimes in gruesome detail, particularly Armstrong's nightmare.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Marston. His reaction to hearing his own charges on the record of accusations is "Never heard of them!" He literally cannot remember the name of the two children he killed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Rogers notices the platter of liver and kidneys is gone from the storeroom. The same platter is used to create the "gore"when Wargrave fakes his death.
  • Companion Cube: Marston continues to gush about how great his car is after revealing that he ran over two children.
  • Counting Bullets: At the end, the last survivor is hanging from a rope when the killer (who had faked his own death earlier on to be Beneath Suspicion) reveals himself. She tries to convince him to rescue her because there are no more bullets for him to make his planned suicide appear as a murder, spoiling his plan to create an unsolveable mystery. He plays along for a bit before pulling out the chair from under her and pointing out that she forgot the one bullet that was earlier "used" on him, which he holds up.
  • Credits Gag: The opening credits removes an actor's credit when their character has been murdered.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: Mr. and Mrs. Rogers are the only staff in the house and expected to serve three hot meals a day, along with every other household task, to eight other people.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Blore says that Landor "fell down the steps to his cell", an old cliche, while the scene cuts to him viciously beating the man.
  • Darker and Edgier: The miniseries goes for this to some extent, including scenes such as Marston taking cocaine, Rogers beating his wife, gorier deaths than those described in the book, and very brutal flashbacks to the murders committed by each victim. And to top all that, all but two of the indirect deaths caused by the guests in the novels are turned into straight up murders committed by their own hands, presumably to make said flashbacks more interesting.
  • Decomposite Character: Isaac Morris is split into two characters: A similarly named man who operates an employment agency, and an unnamed actor who thinks he's doing a voiceover for a play on the West End.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Marston claims that the kids he killed shouldn't have been out in the dark at night, and implies they were Free-Range Children. Everyone is still horrified because they were only children. He also claims that in England the driving laws are stricter than those on the Continent.
    • The casual bigotry that was more socially accepted in 1939 is now reframed to foreshadow how unpleasant certain characters really are, such as the antisemitism leveled at Isaac Morris.
  • Despair Event Horizon: While most of the guests remain determined and desperate to prevent being killed, General MacArthur accepts it immediately, indeed, he seems to welcome it. He'd already crossed the horizon long ago from the guilt of killing his friend and the pointlessness of the act when his wife died of Spanish Flu just after the war's end.
  • Didn't Want an Adventure: Wargrave notes dryly that his stay on the island was supposed to be recuperation after his cancer surgery. Of course the Irony is that he's the reason why everyone is there.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Marston runs Dr. Armstrong off the road when they're both unknowingly on the way to the same destination. When Armstrong realizes this at dinner, he is livid.
  • Due to the Dead: All of the corpses are wrapped in bedsheets when the others find them, and are placed in their rooms. At least until the number of survivors has dwindled to less than a handful, at which point they haven't got the luxury.
  • Dying Smirk:
    • In Wargrave's flashback to Seton's execution, the man smirks at him before being hanged, even refusing the customary hood so Wargrave could see his face.
    • The killer's corpse has a noticeable smirk after succeeding at killing everyone else and subsequently arranging their own death.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: This trope is averted when several of the other, more sanctimonious guests try to chew out Lombard for his crime, (because he flat out admits it's all true almost immediately) as he points out (quite accurately) that they're all hypocrites. It is played straight, however, when just about everybody in the room is horrified that Anthony Marston thinks running down two children was bad luck for him because he got his license taken away for six months.
    • Surprisingly enough, U.N. Owen lampshades this when referring to his own actions. Whilst he is a serial killer, he points out that all of his victims are killers themselves. In other words, Owen never harmed an innocent person. He is simply giving the guilty their punishment.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • General MacArthur readily accepts the inevitability of being murdered and sits quietly on the cliff waiting because it will be a release from the torment he's lived with.
    • Wargrave, whose cancer is terminal. After ensuring Claythorne's death, he very calmly arranges the scene in the dining room, has a sip of wine, and shoots himself under the chin for the final "murder".
    • Subverted with Vera. It looks like she's going to face her death with dignity by calmly hanging herself with a hallucination of Cyril looking on, until Wargrave's unexpected appearance causes her to slip from the chair she's standing on and spend the last few minutes of her life as a panicked mess desperately trying to get Wargrave to save her before the noose completely tightens around her neck.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The five remaining guests, despite being doing a complete search of the entire mansion down to stripping each other and being in the room with the stolen gun and master key don't notice it because it was hidden in the mouth of the bearskin rug.
  • Faint in Shock: Ethel Rogers wails and faints right after hearing herself accused. Later on, Vera Claythorne faints from the increasing stress and terror of the situation. Finally, after shooting Philip Lombard (whom she presumed was the murderous mastermind of the story) dead and finding herself the apparent sole survivor, the intensity of her emotions and relief cause Vera to faint once again. The show uses Vera's two faints as narrative framing devices, showing the viewers flashbacks to her past (that reveal progressively more details about her backstory) while she's out cold.
  • Fanservice: The miniseries makes liberal use of Vera in a tight red swimsuit, and has Lombard walk around in just a Modesty Towel during all the searches while the other guests wear dressing gowns. The scene with her in the swimsuit does also appear in the novel, although it's not played for titillation.
  • Fatal Flaw: Dr. Armstrong's strong classism. He considers himself above the working-class members of the party; he's particularly insulted that his suitcase is searched at the insistence of a mere secretary. He's very eager to ally with the "respectable" Justice Wargrave, who uses him to fake his death and give him free reign of the house, then murders him.
  • First-Name Basis: Vera and Lombard have a conversation in which each asks the other to use their first name. His addressing her as "Vera" is remarked on later.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Armstrong has one.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first ten minutes:
    • Judge Wargrave is the only one of the ten (except the Rogers) whose invitation letter is unseen, only the addressed envelope.
    • On the train, we see a shot of a noose-like curtain pull on the window then a shot of Vera in her seat. Moments later, after she leaves and enters the compartment with Wargrave there is another hanging in the window next to him.
  • Gambit Roulette: The killer's success relies on the last victim voluntarily returning to the house and stepping into the noose. The amount of psychological torment the victims were subjected to definitely helped, but there was no guarantee.
  • Hanging Judge: Wargrave has a reputation as one, and he always attended the executions he ordered. The others find this creepy, but he explains that he considered it his responsibility to do so given the power he held.
  • Holier Than Thou: Emily Brent, who is lured to the island by a supposed admirer of her efforts to educate wayward girls, and she makes continuous disparaging remarks about the other guests' lifestyles, morals, and personal habits.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime: Inspector Blore's greatest crime is having beaten a suspect to death in his holding cell because the suspect was a homosexual.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Despite the paranoia that one or the other is the killer, Vera and Lombard seem to connect under the influence of cocaine and alcohol. It's implied Lombard doesn't believe Vera is the killer, as when she steals his gun and tries to talk her down. He knows he isn't the killer, and believes a terrified Vera can see reason. It doesn't work; Vera shoots him multiple times.
    • U. N. Owen gives one to the last victim: She's trapped in the noose, struggling for balance on an overturned chair, when he arrives. She tries to convince him to spare her. He compliments her, tells her she's his favourite... and then pulls the chair away.
  • Hoistby His Own Petard: Lombard is adamant about keeping hold of his revolver, seeming to believe that if he's armed, he's untouchable. When the gun is mysteriously returned to him after Armstrong disappears, he thinks nothing of it, and is just pleased to have it in his possession. Blore attempts to convince him to get rid of it, but Lombard refuses. Because he keeps it on his person for the remainder of the film, Vera is easily able to steal it from him when he's distracted by moving Armstrong's body, and Lombard ends up getting shot and killed by Vera with his own gun.
  • Hotter and Sexier: It amped up the sex, but rather than change the spinster to a hot actress, they cast current TV sex god Aidan Turner as Lombard. Notably, Lombard is given an extensive Shirtless Scene, and there are multiple scenes of Vera in a form-fitting red bathing suit. Also, unlike the novel, the two end up having sex.
  • Hypocrite:
    • After "U.N. Owen's" recording has played, everyone offers either a flat denial or an implicitly self-serving account of the crime they've been charged of... except for Lombard, who bluntly admits that the recording was entirely true in his case. As his crime is obviously appalling, everyone present self-righteously lays into him, until he points out that he at least is willing to stand up and own what he has done:
    Lombard: So either I'm embellishing a story for shocking effect, or I'm the only one telling the truth in a room full of liars.
    • Dr. Armstrong tells Vera to not become hysterical early on. After finding Mr. Roger's body he is the one to become loudly panic-stricken; Vera doesn't and slaps him.
  • Impairment Shot: Blore's vision is very blurry and he hallucinates the bearskin rug snarling at him when the murderer attacks him under its cover.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Lombard says that he had no choice but to stare at Vera's legs on the train because they're so perfect. She doesn't accept this.
  • Irony:
    • When Vera gets worked up in the first episode and a half over the unsettling atmosphere and seemingly innocent deaths, Dr. Armstrong coolly accuses her of being hysterical. In the last episode and a half, when it's really set in that someone intends to kill them all, Vera enters a very creepy state of Zen, while Armstrong grows hysterical.
  • Kick the Dog: Miss Brent tells Mrs. Rogers essentially that she stinks of sweat and needs to clean up next time she's in a room with her betters.
  • Master Actor:
    • The murderer. When he is "murdered," Wargrave is able to not make any movements or noises even while his body is moved and covered (although Armstrong is in on it, none of the others are). He also has the patience to remain still enough in his room that nobody else is alerted. Wargrave is also able to completely conceal the fact that he is suffering from terminal cancer. He only lets the pain he's in show very briefly when he admits it to Vera.
    • Vera. She perfectly plays the part of a heartbroken governess who is forever stricken with guilt over letting her charge drown when he escaped from her sight. She even breaks down in tears at the inquest. Although she is heartbroken, it's because her lover saw through her act and rejected her for coldly murdering his nephew.
  • Lady in Red: Vera's bathing suit is bright red. She had been wearing it when she tricked Cyril into swimming out to the rocks and later puts it on at the house when a search of all clothing and possessions is being made. It naturally triggers her memories of that day and catches Lombard's attention.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The whole point of the murderer's plot is to execute ten people who have committed murder (or in one case, drove someone to suicide) but haven't been brought to trial for it.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Blore flashes back to the day of his crime, when he has a quiet chat with Landor, tells him that he needs to be more discreet next time, because prison is brutal for men "like you", and says he can go. Then he turns to the camera and says "That's what I should have done, but I didn't," grabs Landor, and slams the cell door.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The copious amounts of blood and gore spraying the walls after Wargrave's faked murder were actually liver and kidneys stolen from the pantry.
  • Motive Rant: U.N. Owen delivers one to the final survivor right after she tries to hang herself, explaining his reasons for wanting to kill the other residents and then himself to craft the ultimate mystery, all while his listener is literally hanging by a thread trying to balance her weight on an overturned chair. In the book, he put all of this information in a manifesto Message in a Bottle.
  • Never My Fault: All but three of the characters play this trope following the accusations made against them and come up with various excuses as to why they are innocent.
    • Thomas Rogers, speaking on behalf of himself and his wife, who is lying in bed following a massive panic attack, says that there is no truth in the accusation against them. He insists that his former employer, Miss Jennifer Brady, was in very poor health and that people spread the rumors upon finding out she left some of her money to him and Ethel. What he fails to mention is that Jennifer died because he couldn't wait for her to die naturally and smothered her with a pillow.
    • Emily Brent, barely comments on her own accusation and simply calls the whole thing "Malicious nonsense." We later learn that she evicted her maid, Beatrice Taylor, because she got pregnant out of wedlock. Beatrice had nowhere else to go and committed suicide later that same day.
    • Dr. Armstrong reveals that Louise Clees was a patient who died on the operating table during a complicated surgery. He conveniently leaves out that he was drunk during the said procedure, which resulted in her death.
    • General MacArthur says that his supposed victim, Henry Richmond, was a casualty of the war and is furious that anybody would rebuke his name and legacy like that. All is not as it seems however, as we soon learn that the General personally killed Henry after discovering that the latter was having an affair with his wife.
    • Lawrence Wargrave states that having seen evidence that was too graphic to put before the court, he knows that Edward Seton was a guilty man. Although he is later revealed to be the murderer, here Wargrave plays this trope straight. We later learn that he was telling the truth about Seton.
    • William Blore insists that Landore died in prison because of circumstances completely beyond his control. He even goes so far as to blame Landore for causing his own death. Not true either. He beat Landore to death in a homophobic rage.
    • Vera Claythorne tells everybody that Cyril ran away and tried to swim out to some rocks off the coast. He didn't make it and drowned, despite her best efforts. We eventually learn that she engineered the whole thing to benefit both herself and her lover.
    • Averted with Philip Lombard. He freely admits that he did he what was accused, whilst showing no remorse for it. When the others express their disgust, he calls them all out and says that they are all lying!
    • Anthony Marston however, takes the biscuit, as he does not accept any responsibility for his reckless driving habits. First, he claims Armstrong was going to slow and that it was his fault he got ran off the road. Then, when he finally realises who his victims are, he blames the two children and their parents for letting them play out in the dark, rather than admitting he was driving too fast. When the others express their horror, he simply brushes it aside.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Lombard at one point accurately points out that both he and Vera killed someone for personal benefit. Vera tries to deny it, but we find out he's right.
    • U.N. reveals that Edward Seton laughed at Wargrave before the former's hanging because he knew that Wargrave had the same sadistic desire to kill.
  • Not So Similar: U.N. Owen after making his Motive Rant points out the difference between them and Edward Seton; Seton's victims were all innocent. Wargrave's were definitely guilty of the crimes they were charged.
  • Not Worth Killing: Or rather Not Worth Tormenting: As in the book, it is shown that Anthony Marston is a sociopath, literally unable to feel any remorse or guilt — so U.N. Owen gives him an undignified and painful but unexpected death to serve as a wake-up call to the rest to start freaking out over.
  • Off the Wagon: Armstrong is a recovering alcoholic and refuses wine at dinner. When they realize that the first couple of deaths are murders, though, he finds a flask and downs it in an unsuccessful effort to stop his panic attack. (To say nothing of the cocaine-and-booze binge in the third episode.)
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Lombard when Vera manages to steal his gun and prepares to shoot him.
    • Vera has the signature one where she starts to hang herself, Wargrave reveals he is alive, and the chair she's standing on falls over before she can stop it. And it sinks in that Lombard was right in that the killer was still on the island.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Most of Vera's flashbacks to the day Cyril died show her running in haste and screaming after him to stop. What actually happened was she suggested he swim to the rock like he always wanted, and in fact took her time running and swimming after him. Something that Hugo calls her out on because he knows she could outrun Cyril at any point.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Lombard is shown to keep his gun hidden in the back of his pants.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Emily Brent in relation to Isaac Morris.
      Miss Brent: Jews. Wherever there's a problem, Jews are at the bottom of it.
    • It's blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but Blore is shown going over the list of guests he's been given in his letter. He writes 'Fenian' next to Phillip Lombard's name, and at one point claims that Lombard's the obvious suspect because he's Irish, and out to kill all English. Probably, a Pragmatic Adaptation / Real Life Writes the Plot due to Aiden Turner being Irish.
    • Blore also refers to the homosexual Landor as a 'degenerate,' amongst other things, and it's implied Blore viciously beat him to death entirely for this reason.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The ending of the novel has Vera hang herself in her guilt fueled daze and the killer's motivations and some of the details of his plans are explained through an epilogue in the form of a letter in a bottle Wargrave threw into the sea as a form of confession. To give the audience a more engaging ending, Wargrave instead confronts Vera as she's in the process of hanging herself so that he can both give his Motive Rant in person and actually kill her directly by pulling away the chair she was balancing on. In addition, his method for faking his 'murder' in the book involves a somewhat contrived apparatus to fling the gun out of his hands after he shoots himself. As this would look bizarre to witness first hand, the drama of the moment is preserved by having him simply position the gun such that his dying reflex flings it to the other end of the table he's sitting at.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted with Wargrave's fake murder; Armstrong instructs them to wrap the head in cloth before moving him. When Wargrave actually shoots himself under the chin, however, it looks very clean, with a trickle blood down the chin and a puddle spreading below him, although the angle admittedly obscures whatever may have happened at the exit wound.
  • Psycho Lesbian: It's implied that Emily had feelings for Beatrice (who in this version is shown to have been underage), and dismissed her out of jealousy when Beatrice became pregnant.
  • Racist Grandma: The elderly Emily Brent is shown to be blatantly antisemitic.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Vera is the first to realise that the ten figurines on the dining table - which also feature in the opening credits - represent the ten little soldiers from the poem on the wall. She's also the first to notice they're disappearing at the same rate as guests are dying.
  • Sanity Slippage: Several of the guests on the island see things, brought on by memories or guilt, though Dr.Armstrong begins to become far more unhinged by fear and paranoia than the others as more bodies pile up. It makes it much easier for the killer to gain his trust and kill him.
  • Saying Too Much: While begging for her life, Vera lets it slip that she lied at the inquest and did kill Cyril. To Wargrave, who just told her that all of his victims have been guilty. Unsurprisingly, Wargrave leaves her to die by hanging.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: Vera being given a tot of brandy to settle her nerves leads to the bottle being passed around the four remaining guests. Then when they find Wargrave's body, they dig out Marston's cocaine and put on the phonograph so that they can at least have some laughs in what they're sure are their last hours alive.
    • It's suggested that they're trying to keep awake so they're not killed in their sleep, which is (apparently) exactly what happens to Wargrave, who does not join in.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: Wargrave is a literal one in the backstory, as Edward Seton undergoes Adaptational Villainy to become a genuine serial killer.
  • Shipper on Deck: Cyril all but tells Vera that he supports her marrying his uncle because then she'd be his aunt. It only adds to the horror when Vera allows him to drown.
  • Sleeping Single: The group bursts into Marston's room to find Rogers all but under the bed. When questioned (at gunpoint, mind) Rogers brings out a folded-up camp-bed. They'd stored it under Marston's bed originally, because 'young gentlemen never look under the beds'; he intended to use it in a spare room. Given how he treated his wife during the brief time we see her alive, it's possible that Ethel insisted on separate beds. Or even that it was simply the only below-stairs bedroom with enough bed/s for two people. (U.N. Owen didn't want two of his killers/victims to have easy access for hanky-panky??)
  • Slow Clap: Lombard applauds Claythorne after she gets fed up with Armstrong's frenzied accusations and calls him an "idiotic cretinous bastard."
  • The Sociopath: Anthony Marston. The book explains that U.N. Owen selects him as their first victim because his complete lack of empathy meant that he was literally incapable of realizing that what he did was wrong, and wouldn't experience the psychological torment and guilt the killer wanted their later victims to suffer through.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Isaac Morris, due to his Adaptational Heroism, doesn't become one of Owen's victims.
  • Stealth Insult: Judge Wargrave, knowing the truth about Vera's crime,gives her an EXTREMELY stealthy one during the first dinner together when he mentions Vera's students.
    I'm sure you set them all a very fine example...
  • Stiff Upper Lip:
    • Armstrong offers to tell the other guests not to expect much in the way of breakfast after Mrs. Rogers dies, but Mr. Rogers insists that he will serve the proper full meal, because that's what a dutiful servant does.
    • Wargrave tells Vera that his terminal cancer is "extraordinarily painful" but gives no indication of it other than telling her so.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: After Brent is killed, they eventually round on Blore for taking so long to join them. After refusing to answer, he finally admits that he was in the lavatory with constipation. Vera bursts out giggling, Armstrong and Lombard chuckle, and even Judge Wargrave cracks a smile.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: And how. Not only does U.N. Owen successfully manage to execute their carefully thought out scheme, they manage to get away with it in the end, due to being ... well, dead.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The booze-and-cocaine party when we're down to four surviving characters. Sure, folks, you're stuck on an island and for all you know, one of your three companions is homicidally around the bend and responsible for the six murdered bodies around the house. What better time to screw up your perception, judgment, and ability to react to a threat?
  • Tragic Keepsake: Vera's red bathing suit. When she gets it out of the drawer to wear during the search, she flashes back to her last conversation with Cryil.
  • Truer to the Text: Along with the 1987 Soviet film, the BBC miniseries is the only adaptation that restores the Kill 'Em All ending and deep cynicism of the original novel.
  • Undead Child: Vera hallucinates Cyril haunting her, even accompanying her to the noose that's been prepared in her room.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The actor hired to record the script for the vinyl, who is told that it's for a play in the West End. He throws himself into the role, unaware of how the Owens will use him.
  • Villain Has a Point: Played with, during the final conversation between U.N. Owen and his last victim, when she declares him to be a good and moral man.
    U.N. Owen: Maybe there's something in that. There are differences between Seton and myself. All his victims were innocent. You are all guilty.
  • Villain Respect: In the climax, U.N. Owen expresses admiration for his final victim's resourcefulness before yanking the chair she's balancing herself on out from under her, leaving her to suffocate in a noose.
    U.N. Owen: What a beguiling woman you are, Ms. Claythorne. Vera. Quite my favorite, really.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lombard and Blore (or “Tubbs” as Lombard likes to call him) end up developing this kind of dynamic toward the end.
  • Wham Line: Two occur in very quick succession at the end.
    • 'They believed me last time' - Vera says this as she's begging for her life, revealing that Cyril's death was entirely calculated down to her lies at the inquest, rather than being a spur of the moment decision as it's painted in the book.
    • 'You forgot the one that shot me' - Wargrave gives this response after toying with Vera about the possibility of letting her live once she points out there's no more bullets left for him to fake his own murder. Instead, he pulls the chair out from under her, leaving her to asphyxiate in the noose, and smugly reminds her of the bullet from his previously faked death.
  • Wham Shot: When the last survivor goes to hang herself, someone else opens the door. The person is shown with a waist-level shot that pans up to reveal that Justice Wargrave was the killer.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Though he claimed that his surgery was successful earlier, Wargrave's cancer is terminal. Knowing this, he decided to spend his remaining days indulging in his desire for karmic execution of some very guilty people, and then takes his own life while he is still relatively well and able to do so with dignity.