The world’s greatest detective gets a makeover and a brand new limited series in Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders. While Hercule Poirot and his luscious facial hair made a grand return to the big screen in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express in 2017, the character is going to be pulling double duty by appearing on television as well, this time in the form of John Malkovich. And as the first trailer for the upcoming limited series suggests, this version will be far removed from the one Branagh brought to life.
Malkovich’s participation in the project was announced in May of this year, with additional casting notices made thereafter. As with most series of this sort, The ABC Murders boasts a recognizable cast, one that includes Harry Potter alums Rupert Grint and Shirley Henderson, as well as Michael Shaeffer from this year’s smash hit Bodyguard, and Eamon Farren, who creeped audiences out as Richard Horne in Twin Peaks: The Return. That’s just a small sampling of the series’ sizable cast, one that would presumably have to be rather large to facilitate all those murders teased by the title.
The series looks like a stylish but still faithful adaptation of the novel, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given that it’s been adapted by Sarah Phelps, who wrote Amazon’s most recent entree into Christie’s works with this summer’s Ordeal By Innocence. From the look of things in the first trailer, this will be a more straightforward detective story (by virtue of there being a renowned detective in it, of course), one that isn’t squeamish when it comes to seeing its victims meet rather grisly ends.
The trailer also does a nice job of presenting a much different sort of Poirot than Branagh’s version. Perpetually going back into retirement but always ready for the next case, the character seems malleable to a variety of different interpretations. In this case, Malkovich seems to be playing the detective with no small amount of darkness in his demeanor. While that certainly fits with the actor’s style, it’s also nice to report that he’s not overdoing it in terms of Poirot’s accent or his facial hair.
What viewers are left with is a hardened Poirot who is seemingly as much a target in the titular killings as the innocent (?) victim’s he’s investigating. All in all, it looks to be a compelling adaptation of one of Christie’s acclaimed novels.
The ABC Murders will stream on Amazon Prime Video starting Friday, February 1, 2019.