Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989–2013)
16 user

The ABC Murders 

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | Episode aired 5 January 1992
Poirot receives taunting letters from a serial killer who appears to choose his victims and crime scenes alphabetically.


Andrew Grieve


Clive Exton (dramatized by)

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
David Suchet ... Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser ... Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson ... Chief Inspector Japp
Donald Sumpter ... Cust
Donald Douglas ... Franklin Clarke
Nicholas Farrell ... Donald Fraser
Pippa Guard ... Megan Barnard
Cathryn Bradshaw ... Mary Drower
Nina Marc ... Thora Grey
David McAlister ... Inspector Glen
Vivienne Burgess Vivienne Burgess ... Lady Clarke
Ann Windsor Ann Windsor ... Miss Merrion
Michael Mellinger ... Franz Ascher
Miranda Forbes Miranda Forbes ... Mrs. Turton
Peter Penry-Jones Peter Penry-Jones ... Superintendent Carter


Hastings returns to Britain after a long absence to find Poirot anxious for a new case which will challenge his gray cells. Poirot quickly gets his wish in the form of taunting letters from a serial killer who has dubbed himself ABC and who leaves an ABC railroad schedule at the scene of each crime. The victims as well as the crime scenes appear to be chosen randomly, but maintain an obsessive adherence to alphabetical order. However, Poirot grows to believe that the killer is not the madman the authorities believe, but a methodical murderer with a very tangible motive. Written by G. Taverney (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

5 January 1992 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (14 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Peter Penry-Jones's (Superintendent Carter) son Rupert Penry-Jones played Roddy Winter in another episode, Agatha Christie's Poirot: Sad Cypress (2003). See more »


The St Leger scenes are a clever combination of newly-shot footage and archive material. However in the archive footage, the jockey of horse number 8 wears chocolate and blue hoops, whilst in the newer footage he wears red and green. See more »


[first lines]
Announcer: Train now boarding.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Title in most Spanish speaking countries is "El misterio de la guía de ferrocarriles" See more »


Version of Meitantei Akafuji Takashi: ABC satsujin jiken (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

The Quintessential Poirot
7 October 2015 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

Serial killer ABC plots their murders using an apparent infatuation of the alphabet to choose their victims. ABC opts to taunt Poirot by writing to him, goading him, bragging of their successes and the failings of the Police and authorities. With the assistance of The Police and the nearest and dearest of the victims Poirot sets about catching the clever and dangerous ABC.

I think in all honesty it's this one that got me hooked in Poirot. It has all the elements necessary for an outstanding murder mystery. It looks wonderful, the 1930's are wonderfully recreated, lots of Art deco to admire. Some of the settings are lovely too, the scenes in Bexhill and by the promenade look beautiful. The story is really intriguing and intelligent.

I love the music throughout, it works so well at building up the tension.

Suchet made the role of Poirot his own, nobody else even comes close, he is fabulous in this one, particularly in the conclusion. The trio of Poirot, Japp and Hastings (and Miss Lemon when she's there) work brilliantly well together, but the plaudits in this one have to go to Donald Sumpter, he portrays Cust brilliantly, he's hugely troubled, guilt ridden, scared and his world is falling apart around him. A quick mention for Vivienne Burgess too, only a small role as Lady Clark, but she was excellent.

It's wonderful from start to finish. It shows just how clever Poirot is, Christie's genius shines through, one of the best adaptations. 10/10

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