With his rumpled raincoat, ever-present cigar, bumbling demeanour and Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, disarmingly polite homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo took on some of the most cunning murderers in Los Angeles, most of whom made one fatal, irrevocable mistake: underestimating his investigative genius.
An infamous 'psychic' abandons his public persona, outing himself as a fake, to focus on his work as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation in order to find "Red John," the madman who killed his wife and daughter.
The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.
S. Epatha Merkerson,
Jesse L. Martin
Fourteen years after her mother, Caroline Crale, was hanged for the murder of her artist father Amyas Crale, Lucy Crale asks Hercule Poirot to investigate her father's death. She is convinced that her mother was innocent but is prepared to accept the truth, whatever that may be. Poirot visits in turn all five persons present when the murder took place including Amyas' best friend, Philip Blake, who was visiting the Crales when Amyas was killed; Philip's brother Meredith from whom Caroline supposedly stole the poison used to kill her husband; Elsa Greer, who was sitting for a portrait and with whom Amyas was supposedly in love; Caroline's half sister Angela who despised Amyas but believed her sister to be innocent; and Miss Williams, the governess. Having heard the tale from five different perspectives, Poirot reunites them all to identify the murderer. Written by
Regular readers of my comments know I have dozens and dozens here that complain about Christie films. Oh, I'll ramble on and on about the nature of detective narrative and how the filmmakers (different each time) always seem to apply formulas in ways that trample on the most fun parts.
What a sourpuss! What a killjoy!
But it all sets the stage for my enthusiasm over this project.
Here's the basic problem set. You must set the track of the story so that facts can be interpreted in different ways, "playing fair" with different outcomes. At the same time, there are important mechanics of narrative which move the viewer into the thing, detecting, writing, conspiring. And then we have the cinematic and theatrical needs. All that stuff about faces and places, character and rhythms, types of rhythms.
We have it all here, thanks to some smart people and the happy structure of the novel, which is a rashoman-like retelling of the same event. Each layer, each visit shows more and we know some versions will be lies.
Yes, I must admit the trick of the overly juggled hand-held camera and washed colors for the "movie within" was a bit amateurish and annoying. But forgivable, especially since this Poirot is so unlike all the other Suchet portrayals. This one is not a prissy joke, but a mind on legs, one that can be patient with a foolish world. Swapping directors around is so interesting because even with the same actor, you get a completely different character.
This one also has a higher level of acting talent than in the series stories.
I've remarked on Julie Cox before. Striking woman, something like an anorexic Polly Walker.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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