3 Seasons Available


Sacré bleu! Season 2 of Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games now available on MHz Choice!

Now Available

I must confess: when I sat down to watch Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games, it was with a smirk and an accompanying eyeroll. I’m a Christie purist. The very idea of this seemed misguided. You don’t put a French take on Agatha Christie – with newly invented detectives, no less. The Dame needs no new takes! She invented the take! Created the mold, put a patent on it, broke it, reformed it and set it in stone! This is what I thought, because I’m a nerd. I’ve read every book. Every story. Seen all the adaptations. Have intense opinions on who brought Christie to the screen the right way, and who did not. Yes, she belongs to the world, but in a very specific way, with very specific characters. Messing with the perfection is not allowed! Y’all, one day, over drinks, we must discuss all these ideas of mine, and oh, how we will laugh… because I was so wrong.

Five minutes in, the smirk began to fade. Mon Dieu, the charm of these things, from the title credits to the final note of the theme song. If you watched Season 1, as I now have, you already know that the Frenchy details do nothing less than elevate the Christie canon to new heights. No, she didn’t write DS Swan Laurence and plucky girl reporter, Alice Avril, but… she could and would have. No doubt, from the great beyond, she is kicking herself for not having thought of them, first. Sure, Marple is a classic, and Tommy and Tuppence were the best, but here is a pair that infuses the game with a forward-moving, post-war modernity while still celebrating the homespun kitsch of the 1950s. They are more than worthy of the genre.

Season 2 returns with stories beloved among Christie junkies. Hickory Dickory Dock and Murder is Easy kick off the parade of old favorites you don’t see adapted quite as often as some others. Did it sting a little to go without Poirot’s mustaches as Murder is Easy spirals to its tense conclusion? If it did, I got over it. Seeing those two tales in this context, in this language, put a new shine on them, like running into a great friend with a new, flattering haircut.

Swooning for Swan
Oh, your boy’s still got it. And the ladies are into it, none more so than Laurence’s sweet, dingy secretary Marlène. In the two episodes I’ve seen, no less than four women fall hard for the perfectly dressed, perfectly cool detective. Ah, but this smooth operator is not made of stone. Though these are ultimately lighthearted mysteries, we see Laurence’s exterior crack open when faced with a terrible loss as a crime becomes personal. For once, he is the one to lean on Alice for support, and what starts out as a heartwrenching and dramatic sequence gives way to French farce and hilarity.

New favorite French redhead
I never imagined Audrey Fleurot could be eclipsed in this category, but Blandine Bellavoir has somehow managed it. She plays young Alice with a great deal of spirit. I found myself trying to imagine her in one of Christie’s original stories — she would have made a perfect Marple goddaughter.

Twists, turns, etc.
Even with the detectives replaced, and many of the details refitted, these are Christie stories through and through. If you aren’t already familiar with the first episode’s Hickory, Dickory, Dock, prepare to be lead down some blind paths – it’s a good one. Ultimately, you’re meant to take a night off from the dark side and curl up and enjoy watching Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games. I appreciated the chance to appreciate these stories again in a fresh, yet familiar, way, and look forward to indulging in each installment like a delicious French pastry.

You Might Also Like:

 MHz Choice is available in the U.S. & Canada. Free 7-day trial then $7.99/mo.
Subscribe at mhzchoice.com.

About the author:
Allison Lowe Huff is a freelance writer and editor with an overly concentrated interest in mystery stories from anywhere and everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @lowehuff.