Agatha Christie's Poirot

Season 10 Episode 2

Cards on the Table

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 19, 2006 on ITV
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Cards on the Table
The tycoon Shaitana, one of the richest men in England, invites Poirot to dinner and an evening of bridge, promising that his fellow-guests will include four killers who have escaped justice. Poirot accepts, and finds three others there who have an interest in detection - Superintendent Wheeler, Colonel Hughes of Military Intelligence and the crime writer Ariadne Oliver. But things take a deadly turn when Shaitana is stabbed to death. For more, see Recap.moreless

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  • "Cards On The Table" was one of my favorite episodes I suppose because Mr. Alexander Siddig was in it. Mr. Siddig is well known to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans. He portrayed Dr. Bashir, who we later discovered had been genetically engineermoreless

    I am impressed by David Suchet/Det. Hercule Poirot and his wardrobe. He's alway well dressed and never a hair out of place. I'm also quite amazed at how Detective Poirot goes about doing his duties and solving crimes with his faithful partner Mr. Hastings. Hugh Frazier is a much more "intelligent" partner than Peter Houstonoff's

    I began watching Det. Hercule Poirot when it was on PBS Mysteries. As I stated before "Cards On the Table" was one of my favorite episodes mainly because of Mr. Alexander Siddig. It was great to see him on the show. It was most unfortunate that he had to die inorder to expose a murderer.

    Gathering all the suspects in the room and relating the crime "step-by-step" has always fascinated me. Sometimes, I can guess who the criminal is before Poirot does!moreless
  • The idea is brilliant, but this is not a great instalment.

    I like the story of Cards on the Table. The premise of only four people being in the position to kill, whilst they are playing a game of Bridge is terrific.

    I listened to the audio adaptation of this and was very impressed. It's very difficult with such a small number of possible killers to keep the reader/listener/watcher on his or her toes, and originally Christie did this very well. Just when you think you've worked it out, another spanner is thrown into the works.

    Unfortunately, this episode isn't true to the story and it suffers because of it.

    And I personally didn't think Zoe Wanamaker was right for Ariadne Oliver. She's a terrific actress, but I think she missed something of the fussy, absent-mindedness of this brilliant character. Stephanie Cole has played her to great effect on audio, and even Hugh Fraser who narrates some of the unabridged stories does a fabulous Ariadne. There's something about this character that needs a little oomph and I don't believe ZW completely got it right.

    The episode has a lot of potential, but why reinvent the wheel when there's enough good stuff to make a much better episode anyway?moreless
  • This episode had the potential for greatness, but the numerous changes made to the ending really dragged it down.

    Cards on the Table is one of my favorite Agatha Christie books and I was looking forward to a great adaptation. When I started to watch this one, I felt lucky that the adaptation was so true to the book. Yes, Colonel Race is replaced with Colonel Hughes and Battle's name is changed to Wheeler, but these are minimal changes. Little did I know that the ending would nearly ruin the film.

    For the most part, Cards on the Table is an excellent film with actors that seemed to jump out of the pages of the book. I was particularly impressed with Zoe Wanamaker's vibrant, enthusiastic performance of Mrs. Olvier. No one could have done the job better, in my opinion. There were also wonderful production values. But beginning with the scene in the boat, everything goes horribly wrong. I can count no fewer than six ridiculous changes that added nothing to the plot. It truly pains me to write this, as everything that came before the ending was just perfect! Why, oh why, did they have to mess it all up in the end?

    Altogether, though, Cards on the Table is an entertaining mystery that keeps your attention, so if you are a Poirot fan it is definitely worth checking out.moreless
Robert Pugh

Robert Pugh

Colonel Hughes

Guest Star

Tristan Gemmill

Tristan Gemmill

Major Despard

Guest Star

Lyndsey Marshal

Lyndsey Marshal

Miss Meredith

Guest Star

Zoë Wanamaker

Zoë Wanamaker

Mrs Oliver

Recurring Role

Watch Online

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Ariadne Oliver: Have you redecorated?
      Poirot: No, madam, I have moved.
      Ariadne Oliver: Oh yes, how stupid of me. What was wrong with your last apartment? Walls not straight enough for you?
      Poirot: You hit the nail right on the head.

    • Poirot: The question is, can Hercule Poirot possibly be wrong?
      Mrs Lorrimer: No one can always be right.
      Poirot: But I am! Always I am right. It is so invariable it startles me. And now it looks very much as though I may be wrong, and that upsets me. But I should not be upset, because I am right. I must be right because I am never wrong.

    • Despard: I suppose even you have failed?
      Poirot: The last time was twenty-eight years ago.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode is based on Agatha Christie's book Cards on the Table (1936).

    • In the book Cards on the Table, the Colonel was called Colonel Race. This character had already appeared in Death on the Nile, and for this series was played by James Fox. However, Fox wasn't available to play the part again, so Robert Pugh replaced him and became Colonel Hughes.

      Also, Superintendent Battle in the book has turned into Superintendent Wheeler here.

    • Agatha Christie playfully created crime writer Ariadne Oliver as one of Poirot's friends. Ariadne's main fictional character is a fussy foreign detective, and one of the titles for her imaginary mysteries, The Body in the Library, was later used for one of Agatha's own books.

    • Cards on the Table was first broadcast on A & E in the U.S. on December 11th, 2005, with the first UK screening on March 19th, 2006.


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