Elinor Carlisle seems to be the obvious murderer of her ailing aunt and the beautiful romantic rival who broke up her engagement, but Poirot uncovers darker motives.



(novel), (screenplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Elinor Carlisle
Mary Gerrard
Dr. Peter Lord
Nurse Hopkins
Nurse O'Brien
Mrs. Welman
Stuart Laing ...
Ted Horlick
Geoffrey Beevers ...
Alistair Findlay ...
Prosecuting Counsel
Linda Spurrier ...
Mrs. Bishop
Ian Taylor ...


Elinor Carlisle and Roddy Winter are happily engaged. Elinor's aunt is receives is Laura Welman, wealthy but ailing and bed-ridden. Elinor receives an anonymous letter, warning her that someone will try to gain favour with Mrs Welman, to her expense. Her aunt's doctor, Doctor Peter Lord, contacts Hercule Poirot to investigate. Mrs Welman dies with no will, and, as her next-of-kin, Elinor receives everything. Elinor. Shortly before her death, Mary Gerrard, an old friend of the family, reappears after a long absence. Roddy falls for her and this ends his engagement to Elinor. Elinor is openly resentful of Mary ending her relationship with Roddy and says she wished Mary was dead. One afternoon, Mary stops by for tea and sandwiches with Elinor and a short while later is found dead, poisoned. After a thorough investigation, which Poirot assisted in, Elinor is charged with and ultimately found guilty of the murders of Mary and Mrs Welman. She is sentenced to hang. Doctor Lord insists that ... Written by grantss

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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 December 2003 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(DVD) | (11 episodes)

Sound Mix:


(Kodak Vision Color Negative Film)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to lines from William Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night": "Come away, come away, death, And in sad cypress let me be laid." See more »


When Poirot gets into a taxi he asks to be taken to 'The British Library.' This was not created until 1973. He should have asked for 'The British Museum' or 'The British Museum Library.' See more »


Nurse Hopkins: As I said before, Mr. Poirot, let the dead rest in peace.
Hercule Poirot: Not when one has to consider the living.
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User Reviews

Stunning adaptation and even heart-rending in places
24 October 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sad Cypress is one of my favourite Poirot episodes, along with Five Little Pigs and Peril At End House everything about this adaptation was stunning. I do admit I did cry two or three times. It is faithful to the book, apart from a slight misjudgement about the rose. The plot is quite a complex one, but it is very well constructed here. The look of Sad Cypress was absolutely exquisite- you can never go wrong with dazzling photography, splendid scenery and lovely costumes- this adaptation had all three of those things. The music was gorgeous, haunting yet tragic, and I think it was this that reduced me to tears. The script is very good, beautifully written, and does have a hint of faithfulness about it. The acting was exceptional, although he looked tired, David Suchet turned in an impeccable performance as Poirot. I do consider Suchet the definitive of the Poirots, like Jeremy Brett was the definitive Sherlock Holmes. Elizabeth Dermott Walsh was beautiful beyond words as Elinor Carlisle, just perfect for the role, and Rupert Penry Jones perfectly conveys his flawed character. Diana Quick and Phyllis Logan are fine actresses, and they were superb in their roles. The final solution was very well done, not quite as good in construction as the one in the book, but still effective. I have to say when I first saw this adaptation, I was extremely disturbed by Poirot's dream of Mary Gerrard and her decompsing face. All in all, highly recommended. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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