TV review: The ABC Murders
Anyone relishing the thought of John Malkovich as an effete supersleuth tottering around English high society, gathering suspects into well-appointed drawing rooms to declare that someone there is a murderer, all delivered in an outrageous Belgian accent while refining his moustache into a needle-like point – sorry.
This is not your grandfather's Hercule Poirot. And it is certainly not Agatha Christie's - which will inspire some and irk others.
Set in 1933, this TV series based on Christie's 1936 novel takes a darker tone.
Malkovich's Poirot is a pale shadow of any version you might be familiar with.
His fame and youth have passed and he is struggling to come to terms with it. His goatee is dyed and at one point, suffers a Rudy Giuliani-like melting incident.
Poirot is ageing, his star status with the police has fallen - and has been ground into the dirt - and now a superfan serial killer committing murders in alphabetical order wants his attention.
Malkovich's detective is haunted by a past, one that Christie never explored and certainly would not have tacked on such a troubling origin.
He also has to contend with Rupert Grint's Inspector Crome, who is resentful that Poirot's fame-chasing ruined his mentor's reputation.
If there is any indication of just how long ago the Harry Potter franchise was, just look at Ron Weasley now.
Grint's Crome has suffered early-onset middle age, world-weary and loathe to accept or allow help from a man he regards as little more than a novelty act.
Through the extraordinary visage of Eamon Farren's potential murderer, everything is set for a fascinating reimagining usually reserved only for superheroes or Sherlock Holmes.
But while Batman's Dark Knight, or the Cumberbatch and Downey Jr takes on the Baker Street detective have been lauded, are we ready for a PTSD Poirot?
To rob a previously fun character of the essence that made him entertaining. To pile on the psychosis is a gamble and can come across as mean-spirited.
Screenwriter Sarah Phelps has been "remixing" Christie for years – her other series include Ordeal By Innocence with Bill Nighy and The Pale Horse starring Rufus Sewell.
It is not just the main character who is darker. Everything is grim, grittier and more tawdry.
Some have taken issue with inserting issues such as an anti-immigration movement, designed to hold a mirror up to Brexit Britain. The issue is not with the sentiment, more the blunt application.
Told over three hour-long instalments, The ABC Murders can lose momentum and leave one wondering if a brisker two-hour mystery would be more enjoyable for one's little grey cells.
BBC First (StarHub TV Ch 502) and BBC Player