"Ordeal by Innocence" Episode #1.1 (TV Episode 2018) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)


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A very good start.
Sleepin_Dragon5 April 2018
The annual Agatha Christie drama has become an important event for viewers and the BBC alike, from the BBC's point of view it spends a huge amount of money, it needs a return in terms of viewers, as for us viewers we were treated to the incredible And then there were none at Christmas 2015, and every subsequent drama will be judged by that standard.

Whilst it's perhaps not the quality of And then there were none, it is still very good, personally it's not a story I care a huge deal for, but it certainly has its merits. As expected it's a sumptuous, lavish production, incredibly well produced and sleek. Superbly acted, Bill Nighy stands out, he's somehow different, more serious, it's a very measured performance from him.

One change from the book I find a little odd is Kirsten, she's meant to be a mature woman from Norway, and yet she's an attractive woman in the form of the gorgeous Morven Christie, it will be interesting to see how she develops the part. I've just watched ITV's version with Marple, I know it's not universally liked, but I'm a fan, one thing they got very right was the part of Kirsten, beautifully portrayed by Alison Steadman. I can't wait to see how this one plays out.

A clever story, well rounded characters, stylish, what's not to enjoy?

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Episode 1
Prismark101 April 2018
It is ironic that the 1985 film adaptation of Ordeal by Innocence starred Christopher Plummer. This series was due to be shown at Christmas 2017 but because of allegations faced by one of the stars, transmission was postponed.

The director was inspired by Ridley Scott's last minute reshoots of All the money in the World where Christopher Plummer replaced the embattled Kevin Spacey. In January 2018, actor Christian Cooke was cast as the last minute replacement and portions of the series had to be re-shot.

Christian Cooke plays the adopted son of Rachel Argyll, a wealthy philanthropist who has been murdered in her mansion. Another of her adopted son Jack Argyll was imprisoned for her murder who later died in jail. Dr Arthur Calgary visits the widower Leo Argyll and tells him that he gave Jack a lift at the time of the murder. He has been a research scientist in the Arctic and knew nothing about the murder or else he would had come forward earlier.

Was Rachel a horrible woman who had other enemies? If Calgary's story is true, then someone else killed Rachel. Calgary meanwhile meets other acidic members of the family, some of them warn him to stay away or are keen to take advantage of him. Meanwhile Leo is keen to remarry.

The first episode was rather moodily shot, it is hard to spot any joints regarding the reshoots. The best performance was by Luke Treadaway as the nervous and rather weak Dr Arthur Calgary. It leaves the viewer to treat him cautiously as to what exactly his motive is.

Not a series that blasts off the blocks but maintains enough interest as to what happens in the following episodes.
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Ordeal by Innocence: Part 1
TheLittleSongbird4 December 2018
Have said numerous times about being a huge Agatha Christie fan. That has been the case ever since the age of 11 after reading 'And Then There Were None' (still one of my favourite books) and watching the Joan Hickson and David Suchet adaptations of 'A Murder is Announced' and 'Sad Cypress'. 'Ordeal By Innocence' may not be one of her very best works, but it is an expertly crafted work with an ending that one does not expect, and one can see why she herself apparently thought highly of it.

While there are worse Agatha Christie adaptations (i.e. the 'Partners in Crime' series from a few years ago, 'The Alphabet Murders', the 1989 'Ten Little Indians' and the worst ITV Marple adaptations, so 'At Bertram's Hotel', 'A Sittaford Mystery' and 'Why Didn't They Ask Evans'), 'Ordeal By Innocence' was a disappointment. Of Sarah Phelps' Christie adaptations, it is the weakest having loved 'And Then There Were None' and being mixed on 'Witness for the Prosecution'. It is a shame that 'Ordeal By Innocence' is a great book, yet none of the adaptations do them justice. Don't know which is the best or worst because they are on the same level of disappointing though with different strengths and flaws, at a guess the ITV adaptation for best and the 1984 film worst.

It is not that as an overall whole that it is a poor adaptation of the book where my disappointment with 'Ordeal By Innocence' lies, not completely at least. It for me had far more issues on its own terms. The first part, of three, is definitely the best though it's still heavily flawed, it's mainly because of the opening sequence and that it is not quite as melodramatic or sluggish as the other episodes and didn't have an ending that felt like a slap in the face.

There are good things. The best thing about 'Ordeal By Innocence' is the production values. Gorgeously shot, sometimes imaginatively edited, sumptuously costumed, atmospherically lit and evocative in period detail with well chosen locations, visually it is exceptional.

Close behind was the way the episode started. The opening scene was utterly transfixing and looking away was impossible, one of the few instances in the adaptation where chills were sent down the spine and goose-bumps were on my arm.

Didn't think highly of the acting really, but Bill Nighy does underplay with dignity and is sometimes affecting, a perfect approach towards the character that one feels most for in the source material. It may come over as dull and like he was slumming it to some but that is only when comparing it to the rest of the acting, which had a jarringly broad approach, someone had to take things seriously as ought and Nighy does that. Morven Christie, looking luminous, and Luke Treadaway, quietly understated, also do very well.

On the other hand, the rest of the cast are either too broad or bland, the latter especially applying to Matthew Goode. Instead of feeling much for the characters and their plight which one is meant to considering that in the book there is more emphasis on the family ordeal, one is irritated by that most of them do not come over as real people and more stale archetypes, Rachel comes over as cartoonish.

Unfortunately, the mystery also doesn't engage. Although worse in the other two parts, one very quickly gets overblown melodramatic tone and a lack of tension and suspense. Some of the episode is padded out by self-indulgence, overlong scenes and repetition, making the not very long running time of the episode feel further over-stretched. The other two episodes though do this worse though.

Much of the dialogue feels soapy and ham-fisted, as well as being too jarring for the period. The music is too brashly orchestrated and intrudes far too much. Anything included to spice things up to seemingly bring more grit or appeal to a wider audience instead comes over as mean-spirited and out of kilter as well as gratuitous.

Summarising, the best of the three parts but could have been better. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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Ready for More
Hitchcoc2 January 2019
This first part is incredibly dark. When a rich philanthropic woman dies, her son, who has a checkered past, is arrested and convicted. He has an alibi but can't find the person who can substantiate it. We find ourselves eighteen months later and his father is going to marry a woman many years younger than he. She is bit of a tart, as they say, and a gold digger. The rest of the children are angry about this, but have little power. The mother was a tyrant and while they talk a good game, they have their motives. But the first episode is expository. A man who has been in the military, working in the Arctic, shows up and tells the family that he was the one who could vouch for the poor young man's whereabouts the night of the murder. The father is having none of it and pretty much tosses him out of the house. Soon, the underlying forces begin to work, but we won't know what is going on until Episode 2.
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