Saturday, July 4, 2009

Poirot: Mrs. McGinty's Dead

The final Poirot episode slated to air on this season of Masterpiece Mystery was Mrs. McGinty's Dead. Here's a bit about the story from the PBS website:

There's no denying that Mrs. McGinty, a cleaning woman, is dead — killed with a blunt object in her home. And, there seems to be no doubt about who did it — James Bentley, her tenant. No doubt, that is, except to the arresting officer, Superintendent Spence, who calls on the analytic Hercule Poirot to reconsider an open-and-shut case. The village of Broadhinny is home to eclectic and seemingly charming residents. Yet, as Poirot politely and insistently digs below the surface, he finds a cadre of characters with unexpected secrets, and unearths two cases from the past with surprisingly contemporary connections to Broadhinny. David Suchet reprises his signature role as the Belgian detective Poirot and ZoĆ« Wanamaker returns as crime novelist Ariadne Oliver in this adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel, Mrs. McGinty's Dead.

I've got to be honest, not a huge fan of this episode. I found it extremely hard to follow. It'd be easy to blame the lack of coherency on too many players, but Christie could handle large ensemble casts. So I've got to think that in this case the script and direction left much to be desired in the areas of story flow and coherency. However, I will say that like all Poirot episodes, visually the show was a stunner, a feast for the eyes full of wonderful period detail.

Far & away the highlight of this episode was the presence of Zoe Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver, mystery novelist and Poirot's friend and acquaintance. It was not only fun to watch her banter with David Suchet, but the scenes where she voiced her exasperation with her characters were hilarious!!

That's about all I've got to say about this just felt rather poorly executed, all things considered. Am I completely insane or was it a total muddle?

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