Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

Season 12, Episode 4

One of Agatha Christie's most famous works, Murder on the Orient Express was published in 1932 and became an instant classic. In 1974 the Oscar-winning film adaptation was released, so by the time this episode came to TV it was one of the most highly anticipated in the Poirot series.

While travelling on the Orient Express, Poirot is approached by a man desperate for his protection. When Poirot declines and the man is later found murdered, the detective endeavours to find out exactly who killed him and why in one of Agatha Christie’s most complex puzzles. The ITV version was adapted by Stewart Harcourt and focuses on the characters and their motivations, rather than the method of murder which was already known to many a Christie fan. Strong themes of justice and morality define this story, as Poirot finds himself having to determine whether or not murder was a justifiable action. Religion is also stressed in this episode, for both Poirot (who was consistently referred to as a Catholic in the novels) and a few of the other characters who are struggling with their faith in the wake of the murder.

The interior of the Orient Express was reproduced by production designer Jeff Tessler and his team at Pinewood Studios in London. Use of CGI helps create the snowstorms and landscapes surrounding the train, while other locations include the Freemason Hall, Nene Valley Railway, and a street in Malta (shot to represent Istanbul).

Guest stars include a selection of actors known for their key roles on British TV in particular, such as Eileen Atkins, Toby Jones, Jessica Chastain, Hugh Bonneville and David Morrissey.