MURDER IS EASY Review: A Riveting Retelling of an Agatha Christie Classic

Collection of the cast standing in a forest from Murder is Easy

Murder mysteries are the hot new trend for TV and Streaming, so of course it’s time to dust off some of the works from the “Queen of Crime ” herself, Agatha Christie. Murder Is Easy, is an exciting new adaptation by Siân Ejiwunmi-Le Berre that invites new and long-time fans to celebrate one of Christie’s many wonderful novels.

While it premiered in the UK at the end of 2023, Murder Is Easy is getting ready to premiere in North America and South Africa on March 1, 2024 on BritBox. If you have been a fan of the writer, then you might know that adaptations of her work are not new by any means. In fact, between movies and TV, it seems as if almost every year or two there is a new one in the works.

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Honestly, that is just a testament to how amazing her stories are. Adding her ability to spin a great mystery, with the talent of the writer of this adaptation, Siân Ejiwunmi-Le Berre, and the Director, Meenu Gaur, Murder Is Easy provides a fresh new look on a classic.

The Plot of Murder Is Easy

Murder Is Easy is broken down into a two-episode special, ranging an hour each. Based during the mid to late 1950’s, we follow a Nigerian attaché, Luke Fitzwilliam (David Jonsson), as he works to unravel a murder mystery that he stumbled upon. While on a train, he meets up with Miss Lavinia Pinkerton (Penelope Wilton), who is set on a mission to let Scotland Yard know about the mysterious deaths that have been happening in her small village. The issue is that she doesn’t think they are random nor innocent.

Luke Fitzwilliam and Miss Pinkerton meeting and chatting on the train from Murder is Easy
Penelope Wilton (Miss Pinkerton) and David Jonsson (Luke Fitzwilliam) from Murder Is Easy

In the hope of finding answers, Fitzwilliam decides to head to the village. This is where we meet the dazzling Bridget Conway (Morfydd Clark), who has a keen eye for details. She doesn’t just want to get to the bottom of what’s happening, but it seems as if Luke has caught her attention. The two will work together as they widdle down their suspect pool and fight the romantic feelings that might be bubbling within.

As every romance tends to have hurdles, they seem to be blocked by Conway’s fiance and new community leader, Lord Whitfield (Tom Riley). Throughout the main focus of these three characters, viewers are introduced to other key players in the small town. Including Reverend Arthur Humbleby (Mark Bonnar), his wife Mirs Humbleby (Nimra Bucha) and their daughter, Rose Humbleby (Phoebe Licorish), Dr. Thomas (Mathew Baynton), Major Horton (Douglas Henshall), and Honoria Wayneflete (Sinead Matthews).

Shaking Up a Classic

For the most part, Murder Is Easy follows the path of the novel that inspired it. There are two main focal points regarding the imbalance of power, men vs women and rich vs poor. Originally written in 1939, it makes sense why these two are woven in.

The back of Luke as he is facing Bridget outside by a convertible from Murder is Easy
David Jonsson (Luke Fitzwilliam) speaking with Morfydd Clark (Bridget Conway) from Murder is Easy

However, in the new adaptation of Murder Is Easy, we shift the time period a little to the 1950’s. Which honestly, is a smart move just from an appearance standpoint, because outfits from that time tend to pop more visually. As to prove this point, every outfit that Bridget Conway was in, was gorgeous and eye-catching.

At the same time, shifting the time period opens the door to another strong focus point when discussing power imbalances. Not only that but in a world today that feels like we might be backsliding, the topic of racism holds a lot of importance. By adding this element through their casting and small choices, the creative team elevated this telling of Murder Is Easy.

Major Horton standing outside with his two English bull dogs from Murder is Easy
Douglas Henshall (Major Horton) walking his two dogs from Murder is Easy

You can always tell a great storyteller through the choices they make. That is why it cannot be stressed enough how welcoming the nuance of it all was. Viewers are constantly kept on their toes as they try to pick up every little detail possible, even if it leads us down completely wrong roads, like our introduction to Major Horton.

These small details and changes to Agatha Christie’s work shine a light on the creative team that brought this adaptation to life. This is another reason why we need more people of color, especially women of color to lead projects like this. Personally, Agatha Christie is amazing, but adding this deeper level to her work, just made Murder Is Easy even better.

Two Parter vs A Whole Series

There were a lot of things about Murder Is Easy that stand out besides the overall retelling. For one thing, the whole cast hooks us from the start. It didn’t matter if they were a maid we only saw glimpses of, a quick introduction before they were murdered, or the leads. Every single person leaves us wanting to know more about them and this town.

Reverend Humbleby stands next to Major Horton on the grass during Murder is Easy
Mark Bonnar (Reverend Humbleby) and Douglas Henshall (Major Horton) from Murder is Easy

This mix of the amazing actors and the way the characters are created leaves this feeling that Murder is Easy would have done better as a real series. Since they already went into this with the idea to shake it up and give it a fresh look, a more broken-up telling and deep dive could have worked here. Give us more of that backstory of the town or the characters, especially regarding the Reverend. Because he was a shining light in this story with how open he was regarding his thoughts and opinions.

The pacing feels slightly off, with the first episode being the heavy hitter. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, to the point it doesn’t feel like an hour has passed. While the second episode seems to just fall apart a little with no real guidance. Rushing through the ending, we are just provided a quick wrap-up that leaves an unsatisfied feeling. If they had just made this into more episodes, the pacing never would have been an issue. Plus, it’s the only critique for Murder Is Easy.

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All in all, Murder Is Easy is definitely worth the watch when it releases March 1 on BritBox. It doesn’t matter if you are a huge Agatha Christie fan, new to her, or the genre, this two-part series is going to reel you in. Between a great cast, a classic story of who dun it, and the talented creative minds behind the new adaptation, Murder Is Easy should be added to your must-watch list.

About Murder Is Easy

Release Date: Mar. 1, 2024
Adapted by: Siân Ejiwunmi-Le Berre
Directed By: Meenu Gaur
Distribution: BritBox
Cast: David Jonsson, Morfydd Clark, Penelope Wilton, Mathew Baynton, Tom Riley, Nimra Bucha, Phoebe Licorish, Douglas Henshall, Kathryn Howden, Mark Bonnar, Kevin Mains, Sinead Matthews, Tamzin Outhwaite, Jon Pointing, Holly Howden Gilchrist, Joe Fagan, Demmy Ladipo, Gloria Obianyo

Synopsis: The young and ambitious Luke Fitzwilliam arrives from Nigeria with the promise of a job in Whitehall. On the train to London, he meets the elderly Miss Pinkerton, who confides in him that there is a killer on the loose in her village.

What do you think? Have you watched Murder Is Easy yet? Are you a fan of Agatha Christie? What are some of your favorite Agatha Christie adaptations? Let us know your thoughts about the film on The Illuminerdi’s social media.

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