|Actor Martin Shaw as Cartwright and Suchet as Poirot
This Sunday, David Suchet returns as Hercule Poirot in the first of a trio of new (to the US) episodes, Three Act Tragedy, in which Poirot is one of 13 guests who attend a party at the great actor Sir Charles Cartwright’s Cornish mansion. A local reverend dies while drinking a cocktail, but no poison is found in his glass. Poirot and Cartwright decide to investigate when another victim dies in the same manner.
In The Clocks, airing on June 26, multiple frozen clocks factor into a murder. Sheila Webb, a typist for-hire, arrives at her afternoon appointment to find a well-dressed corpse surrounded by six clocks, four of which are stopped at 4:13. Lieutenant Colin Race (Tom Burke) is investigating the death of two Navy personnel when a distraught Sheila Webb (Jaime Winstone) runs out of 19 Wilbraham Crescent and into his arms. Poirot (David Suchet) arrives in Dover to help Colin determine if Sheila is responsible for the murder of the middle-aged man found stabbed on the sitting room floor.
Poirot investigates a death at a festive event turned foul in Hallowe’en Party, airing on July 3. Ariadne Oliver attends a children’s Hallowe’en party and hears a young girl boasting that she has witnessed a murder. Later that evening, the child is found dead, drowned in a bucket. Ariadne sends for Poirot, who takes the young victim’s story seriously and finds there have been several other suspicious deaths in the village. When another child is found drowned, Poirot realizes that a third is in danger.
Suchet has been playing Poirot perfectly for twenty years now, beginning 1989 with The Adventure of the Clapham Cook. Suchet explained how he gets into character in an interview given to The Guardian, saying that he can’t eat much on the days he is Poirot “because that padding is not the most comfortable, especially in the summer”, so he has a bowl of fruit and heads into makeup. “And then as I’m being made up I’m thinking about the day,” he says. “And I’m watching, very closely, the face change. And it does change, very subtly. My makeup artist and I work very closely together, so every detail is done and the hair is all put back. And then the touchstone, absolutely the pivotal point – the moustache – goes on. And as soon as my lip feels that moustache, two things happen – first of all, I know he’s there, but it also gives my top lip a very, very slight restraint. So I can’t smile like that,” he grins broadly, “I can only smile like that,” he gives a tight half-smile. “And 20 years of that, I don’t know what it is, but psychologically it enables me to come back to him. And from then on, until lunch, I’m him . . . “
With these three espisodes in the can, there are only six of Christie’s Poirot stories left to film and Suchy hopes to be on board. Speaking about Poirot, Suchy told The Guardian, “I’m not bored, not bored at all. He’s irritating, but he’s wonderful as well, and he’s so interesting to be. And I’m going to eat them up.”
As will we.