The ABC Murders

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The ABC Murders TV Poster Image
Gritty, overly dark mystery series has an older Poirot.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Murders aren’t easily solved, but can be with good sleuthing. Ageism and racism are themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Poirot is old, depressed, and imperfect, but perseveres. 


Some people collapse and die. Others are violently attacked and killed, and their bloody wounds are visible. Sexual violence and sadomasochism is alluded to. 


Strong sexual innuendo, including sounds of simulated sexual activity and references to prostitution. 


Words like "bastard," "slut" are occasionally used. 


The series is an installment of the Agatha Christie franchise. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine and hard liquor are consumed frequently. Cigarette smoking is visible, as is common for the time. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The ABC Murders, an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s popular book, features some bloody murder scenes and lots of grown-up themes. For a classic story, there's some strong sexual innuendo that includes references to sadomasochism. There’s plenty of drinking and cigarette smoking, and language is light but does include words like "bastard."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRedi_Spades December 23, 2019

Facing Your Consequences

Hercule Poirot has been leading a retired life when letters in the mail force him to reflect on his past. The plot has the classic tones of a whodonit that Aga... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Based on the book of the same name, THE ABC MURDERS is a British miniseries featuring none-other than French detective Hercule Poirot. It’s 1933 London, and Poirot (played by John Malkovich) is old, gray, and no longer the celebrity he once was among the nationalistic British. But when he receives threats of murder in the mail by a sender who only identifies him/herself as A.B.C., he senses danger. But all his friends, including Inspector Japp (Kevin McNally), have moved on, and Poirot is left dealing with the young and arrogant Inspector Crome (Rupert Grint) while trying to solve this mystery by himself. 

Is it any good?

This contemporary British adaptation of the popular Agatha Christie book, which has inspired other reworkings of the story, offers a dark narrative full of murderous twists. Poirot is introduced as a lonely, guilt-ridden figure forced to cope with the fact that he's older and no longer in fashion. While this doesn't stop him from solving the murders, it paints a pathetic portrait of a once energetic and entertainingly quirky hero. 

Some viewers may find it entertaining, but diehard fans of the book may also be frustrated by the various other ways this miniseries veers away from the original story, which removes some key characters. But perhaps the most troubling is its overall grittiness, which is an obvious departure from the smart plot twists and well-timed subtle humor for which Agatha Christie’s work is known for. As a result, The ABC Murders feels dark and heavy, making it more of a misguided psychological thriller instead of a fun whodunnit. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of Agatha Christie’s stories over the years. What is it about them that make them appealing throughout generations? 

  • What messages does this version of The ABC Murders offer about how we treat the elderly over the years? What does it say about racism in Britain during the 1930s?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate