Whether you watch the Amazon Prime Video version of Ordeal of Innocence or read Agatha Christie’s 1958 novel of the same name (I did both), you’re going to meet a most dysfunctional and repellent family. Rachel Argyle (Anna Chancellor), the matriarch of a wealthy family, adopts five children. All of them are troubled. Jacko Argyle (Anthony Boyle) is accused and convicted of murdering Rachel Argyle. Jacko dies in prison. A year later, a man shows up on the doorstep of the Argyle mansion, claiming he has evidence that Jacko was innocent of the murder. The man, Dr. Calgary (Luke Treadaway), says he was part of an Arctic expedition and just recently returned to learn about this sensational case.
Once Jacko is cleared of the crime, the family members all become suspects. Hester (Ella Purnell), flighty and fragile, hated Rachel for being right about her lack of acting talent–and her taste in men. Tina (Crystal Clarke) and Mickey’s (Christian Cooke) secret relationship gives them motive for killing Rachel. Mary’s polio-stricken husband, Philip (Matthew Goode), seems to know more than he’s telling. Leo, Rachel’s husband (Bill Nighy), is cozy with his secretary, Gwenda Vaughn (Alice Eve). Kirsten (Morven Christie), the housekeeper, knows too much.
In typical Agatha Christie fashion, everyone looks guilty. Everyone has something to hide. My only quibble with Ordeal of Innocence is with the downbeat mood of both the book and the mini-series. The only comic relief is Alice Eve as Gwenda. Do you have a favorite Agatha Christie mystery? GRADE: B (for both)