After 25 years of adapting and filming Hercule Poirot stories, the ITV series “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” is airing its 13th and final season. But instead of running on PBS, where it’s made its home as part of “Masterpiece Mystery,” the final episodes will air exclusively online through streamingservice Acorn TV, an appand digital network dedicated to British programming.
How Acorn TV Works
While many streaming services launch entire seasons of content at once, Acorn TV is letting the tension build by releasing one Poirot episode per week from July 28 through August 25. And after retiring his character’s famous mustache, David Suchet can also be seen on Acorn TV’s streaming-exclusive documentary, “David Suchet: In the Footsteps of St. Paul.”
Acorn TV’s streaming service is $4.99 per month. Like other niche streaming services, their offerings are limited. However, British mystery fans will be happy to find shows such as “Foyle’s War,” “Prime Suspect” with Helen Mirren, and an entire section devoted to Agatha Christie. The exclusive U.S. rights for the final season of Poirot marks a big win for Acorn TV, luring audiences who may be learning about them for the first time.
For those not looking to add another streaming service, select earlier seasons of “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” can be seen on Amazon and Netflix. Timed with the series finale, the 6-episode DVD set “Agatha Christie’s Poirot Fan Favorites Collection” is also being released this month and The Complete Series will be available on DVD and blu-ray September 2.
Poirot, the Belgian Detective
Beginning in 1989, “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” has been rated one of Time’s “Top Ten Murder-Mystery Series.” About 70 episodes later, the series will conclude on August 25 with Hercule Poirot’s final case, “Curtain.”
David Suchet is the only actor to have played Hercule Poirot in every story written about the character in this series. Though others have given notable (and even Academy Award-nominated) performances of Christie’s signature detective, Suchet’s is widely considered to be the definitive portrayal of the mustached maestro of mystery. But as “Agatha Chistie’s Poirot” has now completed an adaptation of every novel and short story featuring Poirot, even this good thing must come to an end.
Hercule Poirot Stories, 5 Episodes to Watch
Though we are sad to see the original fastidious detective go (yes, “Monk”, we know where you got the idea), we thought this was a great opportunity to reconnect with some episodes worth re-watching, or to get you started for those new to Poirot:
1. For Celebrity Cameos: “Murder on the Orient Express” (Season 12, Episode 4). Possibly Christie’s most famous novel and the subject of an Academy Award-winning film in 1974, “Murder on the Orient Express” gets a new treatment in this 2010 episode. While purists may take issue with some of the changes made from the book, no one will argue with the great cast, including Jessica Chastain, Hugh Bonneville, Barbara Hershey, and Toby Jones. (Other episodes offer top-notch casts as well, including Michael Fassbender, Emily Blunt, Alice Eve, Tim Curry, Rupert Penry-Jones, Zoë Wanamaker, Peter Capaldi, and Damian Lewis.)
2. For Closure: “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case” (Season 13, Episode 5). Now this one, we can only guess will be worth re-watching. Based on a novel Christie wrote years before her death and saved to be released posthumously, this finale marks the ending of not only an iconic television series, but of the works of one of the most prolific and respected authors of the 20th century. And as the episode has already aired in Europe, ratings and reviews from those early viewers indicate that this adaptation does not disappoint.
3. For Old Times’ Sake: “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” (Season 3, Episode 1). Set in Styles Court, which is also the location for “Curtain”, this episode helps the series come full circle. “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” was Agatha Christie’s first published novel, written in 1916, and the first opportunity the world had to meet Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee from World War I who is also a retired police officer with exceptional deductive skills.
4. For Fun: “Evil Under the Sun” (Season 8, Episode 1). Okay, yes, it’s about murder. But, as often seen in earlier seasons, elements of humor lighten the mood. This episode forces food-loving Poirot into an intense health regimen and includes all three of Poirot’s central entourage: Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran), and Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson). Also features a young Russell Tovey, more than 10 years before U.S. audiences saw him in HBO’s “Looking.”
5. For Free: “The Adventure of the Clapham Cook” (Season 1, Episode 1). As the first episode of the series, this is a great place to start your viewing marathon and see Hercule Poirot’s “little gray cells” in action. Bonus: Acorn TV is offering this episode free to stream.
Check out Acorn TV app in the U.S. for British shows, like Poirot’s classic stories. This should be the jumping off point for even more content from them.