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.
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.
Jesse L. Martin,
Poirot is outbid at an auction for an antique mirror by the dislikeable Gervais Chevenix, who requests Poirot's attendance at his country home as he believes he is being defrauded by a business associate, John Lake. Poirot arrives at the Chevenix house with Hastings and meets Chevenix's wife Vanda, an eccentric who believes in reincarnation and predicts a death in the household, his adopted daughter Ruth and her cousin Hugo,a struggling manufacturer of tubular steel furniture, who will inherit Chevenix's money if they marry and Miss Lingard, a secretary helping Chevenix research a book he is writing. Hugo is engaged to Susan and Ruth has already married Lake in secret. As the household are dressing for dinner, the butler sounds the gong to summon them, and then a shot rings out. Vanda's prophecy has come true and her husband has been murdered. Written by
For me, Dead Man's Mirror is one of the better short-story Poirot adaptations, and all of them range from pretty good to outstanding. I do have a soft spot for the story itself, as it was one of my first ever exposures to Agatha Christie, and overall I was impressed with the adaptation of it. My only real complaint was while the background is well-composed and fitting with the tone and drama of the episode, there are a few scenes such as in the build up to the final solution where it is rather obvious and overplayed. But other than that, Dead Man's Mirror has much to recommend, such as the elegant production values, very authentic atmosphere, intelligent writing and well-paced and clever- loaded with small details and moral complexity- story with a final solution that is just as well-done as that of the original story. Plus of the short-story adaptations, I can think of only two victims that were even more detestable than Gervase Chevenix, Harrington Pace from Mystery at Hunter's Lodge and especially Reuben Astwell from The Underdog. The acting is fine, David Suchet has never disappointed as Poirot and here is no exception, while Hugh Fraser and Phillip Jackson are amusing contrasts. Of the support cast, who are consistently eagerly played, Iain Cuthbertson and Fiona Walker stood out. Overall, a great episode. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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