The ABC Murders (2018) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

Mr Cust.
Rent is two and six a week, you pay up front and a week in hand.
Some parcels got delivered for you.
We took them up.
I trust you're not going to be expecting that service regularly, carrying parcels.
What do you think I am, a pack horse? You should have left them for me to carry.
And have brown paper items littering my vestibule? This is no post office.
I'm very sorry to inconvenience you, Mrs Marbury.
The front door is bolted at ten o'clock sharp.
I don't hold with none of my gentlemen out carousing half the night.
I don't hold with no topers and sots neither.
Nor no bad language, profanities and blasphemies and the like.
What I do hold with is old-fashioned manners.
You mind your Ps and Qs and we'll get along nicely.
The privy is in the yard.
I prefer my gentlemen to not be cavalier in their use of the lavatory paper.
It blocks up the pipes, and then who's got to get in there with a stick and break it up? Me, that's who.
Are you just passing through or do you expect to be a long-term resident? That all depends.
On what? The success of my enterprise.
Bedbugs? I run a clean house, Mr Cust.
A very clean house.
No foreigns.
Not like some round here - take in all sorts, don't know whose air you're breathing.
One of my long-term residents.
Got a bad back.
My daughter Lily is helping him.
Very skilled she is, with gentlemen what have aches.
A shilling for ordinary.
You book through me.
You pay me.
She knows her stuff, won't give you no argument.
I'll let you get unpacked.
I followed you the other day.
You looked old and tired.
You walk as if your feet hurt.
I was rather concerned for you.
I stood so close behind you.
Could you feel my breath on your neck, Hercule? Plenty will say that it is vanity.
"That puffed up, pompous peacock Poirot," they'll say.
And they'll laugh at you behind your back, but I'm not laughing because it's not vanity.
I think you're trying to roll back the time to when you were a famous detective.
When you were celebrated, when you were wanted when you were loved.
I have never been loved, but I will be feared.
I will be a faceless beast, leading lambs to the slaughter.
I need to speak to Inspector Japp on a matter of urgency.
- I know the way.
- He's not here.
Where is he? Hoeing his cabbages, most like.
Just a regular civilian now.
- He retired? - Mm-hm.
Who took over from him? That'll be young Inspector Crome, sir.
- Then I'll speak to him.
- He's out on a case at the moment.
Take a seat with the other members of the public, if you'd be so good.
Inspector Crome, sir.
Hercule Poirot.
I will be a faceless beast leading lambs to the slaughter.
Inspector Japp.
"I'm going to do something for both of us, Hercule.
"I'm getting my ducks in a row, as they say.
"I'll let you know when I'm ready.
"Until then, chin-chin.
" Every letter from ABC has a different postmark.
I keep the envelopes.
They're different from the others.
- What others? - THE others.
A small selection, presented solely for comparison of tone and intent.
"You're not better than us.
Piss off, Froggy.
" 19 years I've lived here, and still people think I'm French.
- Are they all like this? - Mm.
You should have said you were retiring.
I would have raised a glass to you.
Ah, didn't want to make a big song and dance.
Just did it quietly.
Japp, why wouldn't Inspector Crome see me? Well, you know what young men are like.
Want to make their name.
He's a good lad, though.
Just give him time.
Why do you keep these? You should chuck them in the bin where they belong.
They come every day, Japp.
The letters from ABC are polite, sympathetic, almost friendly.
They scare me the most.
And there is something wrong about them.
I cannot put my finger on what is wrong about them.
Something wrong with them? Everything's wrong with them! "I will be a faceless beast.
" This bloke's off his crust! You're out of sorts.
Too much on your own.
Now, if you were busy, you'd see these for what they are - nasty, cruel people, and some mad bloke playing a vicious game with you, and you'd chuck the whole sorry lot of them.
I've baked a ham.
Got some spuds.
Nice red cabbage.
Come and have supper.
Jam roly-poly with custard for pudding.
- Quelle horreur! English food.
- Come on.
We'll set the world to rights.
Even got some brandy left over from Christmas.
I could use the company too, if I'm honest.
If it is a favour to you, then I accept.
But first, I'm burning these.
Every last single one of them.
Japp thank you, my friend.
Close the shed for me and we'll head straight off.
HE BREATHES RAGGEDLY Japp? Japp? Japp? BELL RINGS SHE SIGHS Good morning to you, madam.
Do I have the privilege of addressing Mrs Alice Asher? Yes, but don't waste your breath on the patter, sunshine.
I'm not buying anything and I've a sandwich waiting, so on your way.
You don't know what I'm selling yet, Mrs Asher.
RATTLE OF LETTERBOX The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Blessed be the Lord.
Man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live Inspector Crome! Do not make me chase you through a graveyard! It's beneath both our dignities! Mr Poirot.
I need you to speak to your colleagues in Andover.
About what? Murder.
This was Japp's office.
It was.
You still do those murder parties, in the big houses? Like when you were a celebrity? Odd thing to do - rich people pretending to be murdered.
There's no longer the demand.
Mr Poirot you appear to be melting.
Must have been jolly though, cavorting with the gentry.
The bright young things.
The aristos.
Playing at death.
Fun while it lasted.
Inspector Crome, have I caused you some offence? Do you mean me personally, or me collectively, as in the force? Both.
What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? You're the great detective, the solver of impenetrable clues.
- You work it out.
- KNOCK AT DOOR Yelland.
So I've spoken in depth to our colleagues at Andover, sir, and received details of all crimes committed on the 31st of March, 1933, to wit - a dog running off with some laundry, a bicycle thrown in a river, an altercation involving a set of dentures.
Dentures? Yes, sir, the miscreant being one Herbert "Humpy" Morris, who requested that a passing lady give him a smile to which she responded with some choice Anglo-Saxon, whereupon Morris threw his dentures at her, the lady stamped on them and it all turned into quite the to-do.
What else? The usual run of drunk and disorderlies and breaches of the peace, punch-ups, soliciting and a boy broke the window of Asher's tobacconists but Mrs Asher didn't answer the door so the constable concluded she was in the public house, as she was often wont to be, taped some cardboard over the window and let the young lad off with a clip round the lug-hole.
- No murders.
- No, sir.
No corpse in the library.
No silver candlestick rammed in some heiress' eye socket.
No twitching guts in the conservatory.
No, sir.
Well, there we are then.
I hope that puts your mind at rest.
You know what day it is today, don't you? The first of April.
Fools' Day.
I think you've just been taken.
Your time and effort in this matter are appreciated.
Why's his chin all grey? Don't ask.
THEY LAUGH LAUGHTER ECHOES Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.
Le Seigneur est avec vous.
Vous etes benie entre toutes les femmes ECHOING: What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.
What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? What offence? Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.
Le Seigneur est avec vous.
Breaches of the peace, punch-ups, soliciting, and a boy broke the window of Asher's tobacconists, but Mrs Asher didn't answer the door so the constable concluded she was in the public house.
Why is his chin all grey? - Don't ask.
- LAUGHTER What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? The window of Asher's tobacconists.
What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? What offence do you think you might have caused, Mr Poirot? Assassin! Assassin.
GUNSHO "I hope you're as excited as I am, Hercule.
"I hope you're ready too.
"31st March "Chin-chin.
" ABC.
ECHOING: The usual run of drunk and disorderlies and breaches of the peace, punch-ups, soliciting and a boy broke the window of Asher's tobacconists.
And Mrs Asher didn't answer the door.
New tickets.
Thank you, sir.
- Sir.
- Merci.
New tickets, please.
Thank you, madam.
NOISE OF TRAIN RECEDES CLICKING HE KNOCKS DOG BARKS Mrs Asher? Madame? I will find this person, madame.
I will find them.
I give you my solemn word.
FAINTLY: Like the tick, tick, tock of the stately clock As it stands against the wall Like the drip, drip, drip of the raindrops When the summer shower is through So a voice within me keeps repeating You, you, you Night and day, you are the one Only you beneath the moon or under the sun Whether near to me or far Shut up, Lily! I can't hear myself bloody think! BELL RINGS DOORS OPEN You murdering sack of shit bastard.
Come on, then! Get in here! That's it.
Get in! Going to the rope for this, you know that? Going to crack your neck.
It wasn't me.
- Balls.
- It isn't him.
Use your eyes, Detective Bunce.
Alice Asher's neighbour said he was always threatening his wife, that he said he was going to cut her throat, then he was going to cut her head clean off and he practically did cut her head clean off.
Her head? Her head was cut off? Like you don't know.
To inflict such a mortal wound with a weapon inadequate to the task requires great strength.
Monsieur Asher is a dipsomaniac.
He has delirium tremens.
He could not strike a match, let alone wield a knife.
And where is the blood? He's not washed his hands.
There would be blood ingrained in the beds of his fingernails, the skin of his knuckles, his wrists, the cuffs of his shirt.
There would be blood everywhere.
It isn't him.
He bought some gloves and then he chucked them after.
Mon dieu, Detective Bunce, you are no student of human frailty.
Any money he has, he spends on his demon.
On alcohol.
He would not buy gloves.
And the cash register was undisturbed.
If money were the motive, he would have taken it.
You reckon you know it all, don't you? Hm? Well, you don't.
Case closed.
If Mum knew what you were really like, Betty.
If Donald knew.
He'll find out.
But not before I get bored of him.
Because he is boring, Megan.
The only thing interesting about him is his pay packet.
He is so boring.
It's like talking to a plate.
How did you put up with him? I loved him.
All I had to do was click my fingers and he came running.
Threw you over like you were nothing.
I did you a favour there, Megan.
One day you'll see that and maybe then you'll stop being such a sour, joyless, vinegar tits.
Anyway sweet dreams.
What did you think of Mrs Asher? "She made a terrible mess.
"You know what's next, don't you? "B.
"But which B? And when? "Chin-chin.
"A ".
B ".
" SEAGULLS CRY I should see the other chap, eh? Were you fighting over a girl? No.
Oh, that's a shame.
Girls love being fought over.
Makes us feel all wanted and desirable.
What you got in there? Family silver? I'm in sales.
I travel with what I sell.
It's polite to use a girl's name, you know.
Now we're friends.
What do you sell, then? - Miss Barnard, table nine is waiting.
- Just coming, Mrs Welk.
Oh, I'm definitely keeping these.
They're lovely.
And very reasonably priced.
I mean, if you're too busy now to get your purse, I can come back when you've finished your shift? Oh, no, I don't pay for things.
Men give them to me.
I can't.
This is my livelihood.
You're a virgin, aren't you? What? You should be grateful that anything you've touched is now touching me.
This is the closest you're ever going to get to my legs.
Now slither off and play with yourself thinking about that.
MUSIC: At The Woodchopper's Ball by Woody Herman GENERAL CHATTER AND MUSIC And that's how you play backgammon.
Not your night.
You're breaking my heart.
Thank you.
Get your sweaty hands off me.
You owe me for the stockings.
Debt paid.
You're coming home with me.
Let go, you dozy bastard.
You stay here, we're through - I won't marry you.
Oh, my broken heart.
I have a chap in here who's got more about him than you'll ever have.
So off you trot and stop getting on my nerves.
Don't run after him, Megan.
Have some bloody dignity.
MUSIC: Suite In D Minor, Sarabande by Handel "You know what's next, don't you? "B.
Known as Betty.
She works down at the Ginger Cat Cafe.
My special darling baby! Who? Who would do something like this? Who? DOOR CLOSES I've just been told.
It can't be true.
Someone took our girl from us, Donald.
Our perfect angel! What are we going to do without her? I'll make some tea.
SOBBING I thought you might require some assistance.
"Our special darling.
"Our perfect angel.
" Betty wasn't either of those things.
My sister was a slut.
Mademoiselle, your sister is dead.
She was still a slut.
I can make the tea by myself.
CLACKING OF TYPEWRITER Do you want your walk? Mm? DOG YAPS Do you? Oh, very well.
I've finished my work.
Would you mind if I joined you, Sir Carmichael? Not at all, but it is quite wild out there.
Well, I could use the fresh air.
And wild weather is exhilarating.
Ha! Well, in that case, we'd love your company.
Come on, Wilbur.
Come on.
DOG BARKS Come on.
Franklin? Go with them.
You're the best brother-in-law a girl could have.
Darling, I'm the only brother-in-law you have.
DOOR CLOSES QUIET SINGING I think of you, night and day Day and night You're Mr Cust.
Is there something you want? - Is your mother in? - She's out.
One of her meetings.
She'll be ages and be rat-arsed when she gets in.
I see.
Did you want to book? Cos if you did, you could book direct with me.
Then I could keep the money.
It could be just our arrangement.
She tell you what it was? Shilling for ordinary.
This isn't ordinary.
It never is, Mr Cust.
It never is.
I see what you're doing! Whore! - For God's sake! Capstick! - I see what you are! She's the secretary, she's staff.
She's trying to take you away from me, Car.
Come on, my darling.
Come on, let's get you to bed.
She can't wait for me to be dead.
SHE SOBS Sorry, Thora.
She doesn't mean any of it.
It's not really her speaking.
Thank you, Lily.
Mr Cust.
Yes, Mr Treadgold.
Warrant to search and seize evidence pertaining to crime, evidence which you have withheld from the proper authorities.
When I tried to tell you about it, you told me it was April Fools' Day.
Please listen to me, Inspector Crome.
A copy of the ABC railway guide was left beside the bodies of both dead women.
Do you know why? It is the killer telling us "les regles du jeu" - the rules of the game.
Every railway line, any station, in the country, all letters of the alphabet.
- That is private! - Warrant.
"Dear Monsieur Poirot, my wife and I think "you're really rather marvellous.
" Old fan letters.
- Pack the lot.
- You don't need them.
He knows you, the killer so we'll be going through everything.
Nothing's private any more.
This was on the mat.
I'll read it to you.
What is the postmark? Cricklewood.
"Hello, Hercule.
"Betty was a pretty girl, wasn't she? "There was a moment "when she realised that death was waiting with open arms.
"She surrendered to me "and I leaned over her and inhaled her last breath ".
drew it into my mouth and it tasted so sweet.
"I felt my blood sing with its sweetness.
"But I'm tired, Hercule, "so we'll have a little rest and we'll pick up where we left off.
" - Telephone the doctor now.
- I'm not here for domestic duties.
You telephone the doctor or get one of the maids to do it.
I am carrying a bowl of her ladyship's blood that she's just coughed up and the maids are changing her blood-soaked sheets so get off your skinny arse and telephone the doctor.
Thora, tell him to hurry.
She's in a lot of pain.
Of course.
SHE WHEEZES I'll send a constable morning and evening to collect your post.
And don't make any more day trips to crime scenes.
You will not catch ABC without me.
Yes, I will.
My friend Inspector Japp had the grace and wit to know the limitations of his intellect.
I wish you had one ounce of his humility.
Your friend, Japp, who you deceived, who you lied to for years.
I never lied.
You told him you were a policeman in Belgium before the war, a detective, but you weren't.
Questions were asked about you, high up in the food chain.
Questions about me? Why? I have served this country.
People don't like it when the force are made to look like half-wits by a foreigner.
It's out of step with the public mood so questions were asked.
Japp swore that you were genuine.
That was him, loyal as a dog.
But you were looked into and there's no record of you.
You are lucky you never lived through an invasion.
Things are burnt.
Records turned to ash.
No-one had ever heard your name.
No Hercule Poirot registered anywhere in the Belgian police before 1914.
Japp staked his reputation, his whole career on you and that was him over.
His funeral should have been packed, a guard of honour, but all he got was a handful of old timers and you and me.
He didn't die of a heart attack.
I reckon he just broke.
And that's down to you and your lying.
He told me none of this.
Inspector Crome, I gave my word to the dead.
I cannot abandon them.
I must not.
Your word is worthless.
You're not who you say you are.