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Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989–2013): Season 13, Episode 2 - The Big Four - full transcript

A Russian grand master dies mysteriously during an international chess match. The case is related to a political intrigue involving the so-called Peace Party and its leaders Madame Olivier and Abe Ryland. Poirot investigates with his old friends Hastings, Japp and lemon, helped by a reporter and a minor actress, but the quartet must soon fight a dangerous battle with the Big Four, a secret society manipulating for their own personal chess game a great number of international celebrities.


Good Lord.

Later every morning, that lad,
isn't he, Marina?

Disgraceful.

Is that the last of them, then, sir?

I would have been quite happy to...

No. I wanted to write them myself.

Seems only right.

Old friends, you see, George?
Old friends.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
World on the brink!

Well, then...
Captain Hastings?

A few words?
Really?

Me?

Well, I don't really...

Hard to know what to say, isn't it?

Gosh.

My friends.

I know.

To my master.
The best of masters.

To our dear friend.

To Monsieur Hercule Poirot.

God rest his soul.

"I urge you to believe
that I speak the truth,

that the world is in the grip of
sinister forces bent on tipping.

Beware. Beware the Big Four."

Secret societies?

Sinister plans for world domination?

It's all a bit Bulldog Drummond,
don't you think, Mr Tysoe?

At first, yeah, I did.

But I've had more letters since.
I think there's something in it.

You remember that locomotive that came
off the rails, the Plymouth Express?

Course.

My correspondent claims
that was the work of the Big Four.

And the riots in India.

Local agitators.

Not according to these.

A crank, young man.

The idea there's some sort of
organising power controlling the world,

it's a very common fantasy amongst
paranoiacs.

Mr Ingles.

I've been doing some research.

Mr Tysoe,..

We stand on the edge of an
abyss.

Germany, Italy.
A storm is gathering.

We've enough to worry about without
some far-fetched nonsense like this.

Far-fetched? Is it?

If you could go over to the
left of the chessboard, please.

Sir.

Well, there's a sight for sore eyes.

Ah! Mille tonnerres.
Mon cher Inspector Japp.

Hello, Poirot.

Ah, mon ami. Mon ami.

It has been too long. Far too long.
My dear Inspector Japp.

Assistant Commissioner now if you
don't mind.

Pardon.

I've been following your progress
with the interest most keen.

You are here in the capacity
professional?

I'm not quite a spent force yet,
Poirot.

They still wheel me out for
the occasional important assignment.

Lot of foreign bigwigs here tonight.

Mr Ryland over there's

requested a discreet
police presence for this chess match.

It's nice to get out from behind a desk
and stretch the old pins again.

Though there won't be many more
assignments like this, I fancy.

Well, you know, time,
it catches up with us all.

Perhaps for Poirot also the moment
came to think of the life that is quiet.

You retire, Poirot?

Never. You attract mayhem,
always have done.

Who's the lady?

Ah, that is the great Madame
Olivier.

Ah, right,

one of Ryland's Peace
Party johnnies.

- One of your lot, isn't she?
- What?

- Belgian?
- Non. She's French, not Belgian.

But in her field she is a genius.

Her research into the nervous system
is truly groundbreaking.

You might say she has the greatest
brain in the Western world.

The greatest scientific brain,
indeed.

Of course.

Ah, well, excuse me, Poirot. Duty
calls.

Assistant Commissioner.

Oh, pardon me, sir.

Monsieur Poirot.

Madame Olivier.

May I introduce Stephen Paynter
of the British diplomatic corps,

an invaluable supporter
of the Peace Party.

A cause most worthy, monsieur.

And this is...

Do remind me.

Dr Quentin,
Mr Paynter's personal physician.

Quite the turnout, madame.
You must be pleased.

We have done it together, all of us.

Ladies, gentlemen,

may I welcome you
to our informal little soiree

on behalf of our guiding light
and founder Li Chang Yen.

Now, ill health prevents him from leaving
China, but he is with us in spirit.

We're all aware of the
international situation,

at the grave pass at which
the civilised world finds itself,

which is why we in the Peace Party
see it as our mission, our duty,

to avoid the lamps going out once
again.

One day, years ago, I
woke up and I realised

that I hadn't a clue
what to do with all my money.

Tell us how you got
your money, Mr Ryland.

This is an invitation-only event,
sir.

You won't answer my telephone calls,
Mr Ryland.

How else am I supposed to reach you?

This is intolerable.

What are you hiding?
Who are the Big Four?

Well, it seems that everyone wants to
be here tonight. And why wouldn't they?

To witness this demonstration of
unity between East and West

via this ancient and beautiful game.

Now, I would like to thank our
friend, the Russian ambassador,

for coaxing our guest out of
retirement.

May I introduce to you
the illustrious Dr Ivan Savaranoff.

Who?

Dr Savaranoff. He is the greatest
of the Russian grand masters.

You are not a player of chess?

No. Dominoes is more in my line,
Poirot.

Welcome, sir.

He's getting on a bit.

It is many years since he's been
seen in public, mon ami.

I warn you, sir, I may be an amateur,

but I won't be beat without a fight.

That's always been my motto.

Well, then, without further ado,
let battle commence.

Pawn to king four.

Pawn to king four.

Knight to king's bishop three.

Knight to queen's bishop three.

A doctor! Someone call a doctor!

Can I help, monsieur?
I have some expertise.

I'm afraid it's too late.
He's gone.

They had trouble getting
this out of his hand.

Rigor mortis, I expect.

Iexpectso.

If you please to show Poirot
the belongings of the old man.

I don't know what you're getting
yourself so broody about, Poirot.

You only had to look at him to
know he wasn't long for this world.

Natural causes, dicky ticker. It says
so here.

Quelle coincidence.

What's that?

The researches of Madame Olivier
concern the effects

of atropine and morphine and so on
on the heart and the nervous system.

Ah, so that's what she meant
by "expertise".

Oui. But, alas, it was too late for her
to save him.

So, after all these years of being a
recluse,

he agrees to travel halfway round
the world for a publicity stunt.

I have no doubt that Dr Savaranoff
was paid most handsomely.

Ah, but why was Ryland
prepared to pay so much?

You again.

Yes, we were
never formally introduced.

Lawrence Boswell Tysoe,

Associated
Papers.

Come on, son.
Mon ami.

What is your interest
here, Monsieur Tysoe?

Something fishy about
the old man's death.

Dr Savaranoff died of natural causes.

Really?

Don't tell me the great Hercule Poirot
would bother with something like this

unless foul play was suspected.

If and when we have something to announce
to the press, you'll be the first to know.

Don't be so hasty.

Play your cards right, maybe I can supply
you with the truth about Abe Ryland,

fill you in on the skeleton s
he's got hiding in his closet

and what he knows about the Big
Foun

What is this Big Four?

Ring me, Mr Poirot.

You won't regret it.

Ring me.

Curtain up in five,
ladies and gentlemen.

I'll have a word with someone.

There she is.

Look, there she is.

Stop it, you terrible boys.

Got your number.

Flossie, I say. Those boys are
just outrageous, aren't they?

Did you ever play Juliet, Flossie?

Yes. Quite recently, actually.

Oh... right.

You're not reading that rubbish
again, are you?

It's not rubbish.

It gives me the horrors,
all these rumours about another war.

Oh, I almost forgot.
Reg asked me to give this to you.

Somebody must have left it at stage
doon

A letter? For me?

Must be fan mail.

Well, open it, then.

Ooh, even better, a valentine.

But it's April.

Oh, yes, so it is.

"Dear Flossie, never forgotten,
until we meet again. 4 kisses."

Well? Who is it from?

It doesn't say.

Monsieur Tysoe.

Knew you'd come.

Can't resist a
scoop, eh?

You'd have made a good journalist,
Mr Poirot.

I think Poirot has the wrong kind
of morality for the work.

You're too modest, I'm sure.

S'il vous plaît.

Monsieur Tysoe, you spoke of skeletons
in the armoire of Monsieur Ryland.

Arm what?

Oh, I see, in the cupboard.

Well, let me tell you, Abe Ryland
is not the man

everyone thinks he is.

Real name's Abram
Ryakhin, born in Kursk.

Appeared in America about 25 years
ago, the outbreak of the Great War.

Changed his name,
his voice, his whole identity.

So my question is: why?

What is it that you know?

I know how he made his money. Arms
- dealing.

He made millions. Selling weapons
to the Allies and the Kaiser.

- You have proof of this?
- Naturally.

And maybe he was planning
on doing the same thing again.

What is this Big Four
that you mentioned?

Certain... information
been coming my way.

Letters.

And what do they say, these letters?

Well, not so fast, now, not so fast.
I've shared my information on Ryland.

It's only fair you show a little
reciprocity, wouldn't you say?

What is it you want?

Full access to your investigation.

I work alongside you and your copper
pal.

Monsieur Tysoe,

you seem to be a man
who is ambitious, who is creative

and perhaps even
with some level of intelligence.

That supposed to be a compliment?

But you are not a man of discretion,
monsieur.

Were we to share information,

what would stop it from
appearing in your newspaper?

It seems I'll have to play a
lone hand in this investigation.

That would be foolish, monsieur.

You would be wise
to reveal what you know,

for your own safety if for nothing
else.

I don't respond to threats, Mr
Poirot.

If you change your mind,
you know where to find me.

You've let Li Chang Yen know
what happened last night?

I've telegraphed.

Then there is nothing more
we can do for now.

What is troubling you?

We have enemies out there, Regine. Those
who seek to destroy both us and our work.

And I've learned that in this life
you can only trust number one.

They had trouble getting this out
of his hand. Rigor mortis, I expect.

Ruy Lopez...

Assistant Commissioner Japp, s'il
vous plait.

Will this take long, gentlemen?
I'm a very busy man.

Monsieur Ryland...

Do you remember the exact succession
of moves made by Dr Savaranoff?

Of course.

He used the Ruy Lopez opening.
It's the soundest in the game.

And Savaranoff was
reputed to favour this?

Yeah. So what?

What was the third move
of the white piece in this opening?

Bishop to queen's knight five.

The exact move that sealed the fate
of Dr Savaranoff.

If you please to be patient.

This, it is the white bishop
from the chess set,

the exact piece that Dr Savaranoff
was clutching in his hand when he died.

They look identical, no?

Two white bishops from
the same chess set?

There is a rather thin metal
which passes up through this chessman.

What?

What?

The table, it is electrified,

and so when Dr Savaranoff places the white
bishop upon this particular silver square,

the electric current passes right
through his body killing him instantly.

- He was electrocuted.
- Oui, bien sur.

The table is clamped to the floor,
so the current passes through it.

It is, en effet,
the killing machine most elaborate.

From where was it obtained, may I
ask?

You'd have to ask one of my staff. I
don't concern myself with such matters.

You do not concern yourself
with the death of a man?

He was an old man. Old men
tend to die, in my experience.

From natural causes, yes,

not
usually via electrified chess tables.

Now, you just listen to me.

If you truly believe
and in this colourful way

Savaranoff was murdered

Monsieur Poirot suggests,
that's your prerogative.

But if you are even suggesting
that I had anything to do with it,

then you're gonna have to
get yourself some proof.

Hello?

Could you put me through
to Mr Tysoe, please?

He isn't?

No, no message. Thank you.

A Madame Olivier to see you, sir.

Please to show her in, George.

This way, madam.

I shall come straight to the point,
monsieur.

You have seen this?

"Does the great detective,
Monsieur Hercule Poirot,

have suspicions regarding
the death of Ivan Savaranoff?

And his mysterious Peace Party?"

Calm yourself, madame.

It is merely the tittle-tattle.

We have no evidence
that Monsieur Ryland is involved.

There are those who seek to discredit
all of us in the Peace Party, monsieur.

I implore you,
do nothing to aid these people.

Excusez-moi, madame.

Hercule Poirot speaks.

Ryland was meant to meet
some German dignitary last night.

- He never turned up.
- Comment?

We haven't a clue where he's got to.
He's gone, Poirot. He's disappeared.

Good afternoon, sir.

You must be Meadows.

This is the local man on the case,
Poirot.

It's an honour, sir,

and an honour
to meet you too, Mr Poirot,

although I don't know that there's
very much to interest you here..

Fairly grubby little
murder if you ask me,

and not too much doubt
about who's to blame, neither.

The victim was Jonathan Whalley,

something of a recluse and a...

Sinophile.

Yeah, whatever that is.

It means that he was a lover
of all things Chinese, mon ami.

Ah, and this is the reason for our
interest in this case, Inspector Meadows.

The late Monsieur Jonathan Whalley
was the author of this biography.

Have you got the details
of the household, Inspector?

Well, there are two servants.
Robert Grant, man-servant. He lives in.

And Betsy Andrews, housekeeper and
cook.

You've worked for Mr Whalley
for some time?

Oh, years. He was a queer old cove.
Kept himself to himself.

Had his little obsessions
like they all do at that age.

Obsessions?

Crackers about all things Chinese.

- Did he ever marry?
- No!

Can you imagine it?

What woman would have him?

Woe betide you

if you tried to move
one of his precious books

or tidy up his bloomin' letters.

Were there any other friends or
family?

Friends? No.

He had a sister. But she died.

There was a... a young nephew

who came here to stay with him
when he was orphaned.

That was before my time, though.

By all accounts, they didn't get on.

Madame Andrews, can you tell to us exactly
what occurred this morning, precisement?

Grant went out to get the milk,
as he does every day.

I popped out to have a natter
with Mrs Stubbs at Laburnum's.

She's buried two children, poor
soul,

and her husband's none too clever
at the moment.

And which of you returned first?

Oh, that would be Grant.

He came in by the back door,
put the milk in the larder...

...and then went into his room to
read the paper and have a smoke.

So it was you who
discovered the body, madame?

Just... just there he was.

Poor soul, he'd been knocked silly
and had his throat slit.

Oh, nasty, it was.

So the story about Grant going and
fetching milk is true at least, then.

Oui.

What is it, Poirot?

Une jambe de mouton.

- Mutton, sir?
- Oui.

Still frozen. There's ice on it.

You're not suggesting
he used a frozen leg of mutton

to cosh the old gentleman, are you,
sir?

And then cut his throat
with the wishbone?

What is the day, mon ami?

The day?
Well, Monday, of course.

To commit a murder on a Monday,
it is a mistake most grave.

Monsieur Robert Grant is in custody?

We've taken him in for questioning.

Grant's story was that
he went straight to his bedroom

and that it was Betsy Andrews
who discovered the body.

But then there's the
matter of the footprints.

Whalley kept his most valuable Chinese
curios locked in this cabinet here.

And is it locked now?

Key's in the lock, sir.

Mr Whalley kept it on his person
on his watch chain at all times.

But someone has removed it.

Mr Whalley was fond of boasting
that his most prized possession

was a set of little ivory figures
that he kept in here,

18th century apparently,

andtheywe
gone.

And this bloody footprint here...

Oh, begging your pardon, sir.

It's all right, Meadows.
We know what you mean.

Well, it matches exactly with
Grant's boot.

And a footprint which
if Monsieur Grant

were telling the truth he
could not have made.

Quite so, sir.

So you now have the opportunity
and the motive.

All that you require now is that,
oh, so elusive element, the proof.

The missing figures?

I have no doubt you will find them
hidden in the room of Monsieur Grant,

probably underneath his bed.

Fancy seeing you here, Mr Poirot.

You seem to be everywhere at once.

May Poirot inquire what
it is that you do here?

The news of this crime,
it has not yet been released.

- I'm here for the same reason you are.
- Indeed?

Whalley knew something.

Something dangerous, that much is obvious.
So somebody got him out of the way.

And it was your source who once
again gave to you this tip-off?

I'm in possession
of certain information, yeah.

Well, well,
if it isn't the proverbial bad penny.

Assistant Commissioner.

You can account for your movements
at the time of Mr Whalley's death?

That's uncalled for.

Oh, we've got him now, sir.

Honest to God, I never did it.

It's a frame-up, that's what it is.

I came back and went
straight to my room.

I never knew anything till Betsy
screamed, so help me God I didn't.

If you do not tell the truth,
then that is the end of it.

- But, guv'nor...
- No, monsieur.

You did go into the drawing room.

You did know that your master was dead.
You were preparing to make a bolt for it

when Madame Andrews
made the discovery so terrible.

Come, now. Is that not so?

I say solemnly
to tell to me the truth now.

It is your only chance.

Yeah. It's just as you say.

Mr Whalley?

I came in and went
straight over to the master,

and there he was dead on the floor,
blood all around.

Then I got the wind up proper.

They'd ferret out my record
and say it was me who'd done him in.

And the figures of ivory?

They was gonna blame the murder
on me anyway.

The master had said
how they was worth a lot of loot.

I might as well go the whole hog.

And then before I
could make a run for it,

Betsy was back and
screaming the place down.

You expect us
to believe all that, Grant?

You ought to be ashamed of yourself
telling such bare-faced lies

to an important man like Mr Poirot
here.

Monsieur Grant,

when were you released from prison?

Two months ago.

And how did you obtain your position
in the household?

Through one of the
prisoners' help societies.

Bloke met me when I come out.

He said this before, Poirot.

There's no record of any such society
placing him with Jonathan Whalley.

I swear it, sir. It
was a pastor, a priest.

Do you recall what he
looked like, this pastor?

No. I'm sorry, sir.

He just sort of looked middling
height, ordinary, you know?

I'm afraid I must go ahead
and charge this man, sir.

No. If you do, Inspector Meadows,
you will charge the wrong man.

Monsieur Grant is not the killer.

Thank you, sir. I knew you'd believe me.

Merci.

Sir, I've been thinking this over
and it doesn't add up.

If it's not Grant, well,

no one else
approached the cottage all morning.

The neighbours' curtains twitch
like billyo here in Hoppaton.

If there'd been a stranger
come into the house, well...

You're not suggesting Betsy Andrews?

Poirot will describe for you
the killer of Jonathan Whalley.

The murderer was a man
who was clever, very clever.

First he posed as a prison visitor.

Then he obtained a
post for Monsieur Grant,

with the deliberate intention
of making him the soaping goat.

Then he gave to him a pair of boots,
one of two pairs that were duplicate.

The other he kept for himself. Then
he drove up outside the house in a van.

Leaving it in full view, he entered
the house, committed the murder

wearing the boots identical.
Then he drove away.

This man, he wore a hat of straw...

and his clothing was
slightly bloodstained.

But, Poirot, the whole village
would have seen him.

Vrai dire. Everybody saw him,
and nobody saw him.

He drove up in the van of a butcher.

This leg of mutton would
not have remained frozen

if it was delivered on Saturday.

Non. Someone delivered
this leg of mutton today,

moreover someone on whom a trace of blood
here and there would attract no attention.

Blimey. I'll get round
and arrest the butcher straightaway.

No, do not trouble yourself,
Inspector.

The real butcher would have made
no such delivery today.

No, this is a business most dark,
mes amis,

and I fear we are only at the
beginning of a long, long game.

Mr Tysoe!

You cannot say
you have not been warned.

I know. That's why I'm here now

and putting everything
I've got in front of you.

It started with anonymous tip-offs.

Train crashes,

riots.

I went to Ingles at the Foreign
Office.

Dismissed it out of hand.

Then the messages
started to become more cryptic.

Merci.

"The game will begin shortly, a battle
of wits, and then a king shall fall".

That arrived along with
a dossier on Ryland.

"A king shall fall."

Yeah, obviously referring
to the chess game.

This was next.

"Death will come to Hoppaton
village.

The dragon shall feast."

Jonathan Whalley of Hoppaton,
he is found dead.

Someone on the inside
was trying to tip me off.

Someone inside the Big
Four turned traitor.

Now they've found him out and he's lying
in a morgue with a knife in his back.

Have you identified the deceased
man?

No, nothing yet.

- There's something else.
- Indeed?

His was inside his coat pocket,

addressed to me like all the others.

That's where you should have
left it. That's evidence.

Yeah, well.

Playing cards?

Of a kind, oui. But the first
one is of the origin Chinese.

Li Chang Yen. Has to be. Brains
behind the so-called Peace Party.

Deux. That's a Chance
card from a Monopoly set.

You don't have to be a genius
to work that one out.

Ryland.

Le numero trois.

Why does it say D and not Q?

Because this is from a French pack
of playing cards, mon ami.

La dame. Une dame
francaise. Et finalement,

from the major arcana of the tarot...

Quatre. C'est la mort. Death.

Mrs Japp got dealt one like
that on Southend Pier.

Gypsy Meg. Three months
later the cat died.

One, two, three, four.

Whoever the dead man was, he was trying
to give me a clue to their identities.

What is it, Poirot?

Do you not observe, mon ami?
The edge of this card, it is burnt.

"A toast to our future. All my love.
4 kisses."

You're going to miss your cue
if you're not careful, darling.

Blast.

Oh. Ah Ling. We can't wait any
longen

Please,
ring the gong for dinner.

You're asking too much
of the new regime.

Remember our dream, everything
we talked about, all we can achieve.

I don't think I can go through with it.

Stephen...

I don't have your certainty.
I'm not like you.

It's wrong, what we're
doing, it's all wrong.

Still no news of Mr Ryland,
Madame Olivier?

Nothing at all.

And it is also very
damaging to the party.

He should be protesting his
innocence.

The newspapers are full of talk
about the Big Four.

No, it is nonsense.

Quite.

It's true that there is bad blood between
America and Russia, though, isn't it,

after Savaranoffs death?

I've been speaking
with the Soviet ambassador,

My husband the conciliator.

What would the world
do without you, my dear?

Let's hope we'll never find out.

I'll drink to that.

Oh, they're here.
I hoped they'd join us eventually.

It's really not that late, my dear.

So sorry. So very, very sorry.

Can you ever forgive me, Auntie Di?

I was out with the chaps
and time just ran away from me.

You're on your own, are you, Gerald?

I thought you were bringing
Miss Struthers with you tonight.

Oh, good Lord, so I was.

Well, Amelia will have sorted herself out.
She's probably had a better offer, what?

Or did I leave her at that blessed
party?

You're here now, Gerald, that's all
that matters. Why don't you sit down?

So sorry. You must be
la grande dame, Madame O.

Madame!

Uncle Stephen
speaks terribly highly of you.

You're staying for a few days,
that's right.

I'm the black sheep of the family.

A pleasure to meet you, Gerald.

Oh, uh, yes, remind me again.

Gerald.

The name's Quentin.

Oh, of course, of course. Uncle
Stephen's sore bones. Terribly sorry.

Have you eaten, Gerald?

Ah Ling's finest curry? Rather.

Fill up the bowl. Now, where's
the wine? Anyone for a top-up?

That's him, poor bugger.

Stabbed in the lower back
with some force. Kitchen knife.

But observe, mes amis.
Despite all the efforts of the staff

in this mortuary to wash him down,
the dirt, it is deep, it is ingrained.

He'd been on the run from the Big
Foun

You're hardly going to stop
and run a tub, are you?

And yet you say his
clothes, his evening dress,

they are of some quality, yes?

Very nice, yes. Bit
old-fashioned, mind.

Poirot, he would like to see them.
Sir.

It's been so kind of Uncle Stephen
to take me on.

Don't you think, madame?

Indeed.

Prodigal returns and all that.

It was the least I could do
for my brother's boy.

It's all under the bridge now.
Family feud forgiven and forgotten.

I'm glad to have been able to make
amends in some small way.

It's curious, most curious.

What is?

The cloth, it is of
the quality most fine,

and yet the fashion,
it is of since 30 years.

No labels.

What is it?

There's a fragment, that is all.

A name?

Of a kind, oui, but...

E- R-M-A-N. Herman? German?

You think he stole the clothes,
some kind of disguise?

Now, mes amis, we must discover
the identity of this man

and find out his connection
with the Big Four.

Stephen!

Stephen!

Stephen!

Unlock the door!

Ah Ling, hurry!

Stephen, answer me!

What a terrible way for a man to
die.

Ruddy odd if you ask me.

Why the fire?

I mean, it makes the face
completely unrecognisable.

Oui. Do you think
that was the intention?

Poirot, he has thought of this,

but there seems little doubt that the
dead person is Monsieur Stephen Paynter.

So, the killer pulls him off the bed
and drags him over to the fire.

Not the easiest way to kill a man.
Constable.

There would have been
a struggle tremendous.

And screams, screams which nobody
in the house admits to hearing.

Who discovered the body?

Chinese manservant.
Chinese, Poirot.

And Diana Paynter, the wife of 30 years.

Smelt the smoke apparently
from her own bedroom.

Alors Madame Paynter does not share
the bed chamber with her husband?

Didn't you hear me, Poirot?

At this type of sleeping arrangement,
if we had the room.

See you, Inspector, the finger?

A clue most bizarre, no?

Now, apparently Mr Paynter kept a notepad,
a pen and a bottle of ink by his bedside,

and this is what he wrote last
night.

Dr Quentin,

you were the personal physician
of the late Monsieur Paynter?

That's correct.

Stephen had a heart condition, easily
managed with the right medication.

But it was thought prudent that
there should be someone on hand.

What has his state of mind been
lately?

He'd been anxious. All this stuff in
the papers is enough to alarm anyone.

And now Ryland's vanished.
It's a great blow to the party.

When did you last see him alive,
Doctor?

Around 11:30 last night.

He asked to see me
before he retired to bed.

How did you find him?

He was very agitated.

I suggested a tonic, but he said
he just wanted to get to bed.

One final question, if I may, Doctor.

Merci.

Do you recognise this man?

He does look vaguely familiar.

For what reason?

He's something to do
with the Peace Party, I think.

I met so many people that I
really couldn't say for sure.

No, I don't know him.

Try to think carefully, madame.

Perhaps you met him through your late
husband and his work?

Stephen rarely thought to include me
in his work, monsieur.

I'm sorry I can't be
any more help to you.

We do not wish to distress you,
madame.

I loved my husband, monsieur.

But I realised some time ago that my
affection was no longer reciprocated.

Last night I learned for certain
what I had suspected for some time,

that he...

that he...

That he and Madame Olivier
were conducting the love affair?

How did you...?

This Poirot had observed
at the chess tournament.

Did you hear any kind of
disturbance in the night, Mr Paynter?

No. Believe me, after the amount of
booze I put away,

it's a miracle I woke at all this
morning. Dead to the world, I was.

Are you sure I can't get you
anything?

Bit early for me, sir.
Thank you all the same.

It would be for me too usually,

but,
you know, poor old Uncle Stephen.

You hear about these kind of freak
accidents happening all the time.

Still, a shock when it happens
to one of your nearest and dearest.

You think, then,
that this was an accident?

Well, what else could it have been?

How did you and your
uncle get on together?

Well, I don't feel I had the chance
to get to know him properly.

I've only been here a few months.

Is that so?

Yes. Father and Uncle Stephen
fell out, you see.

There'd been an incident
when I was only a nipper.

And do you know the
nature of this incident?

Well, this.

A firework exploded in
my face.

Father always blamed Uncle Stephen.

I don't even remember it, of course,
but they never spoke again.

So he gets a tidy sum
as a result of Paynter's death.

And the manner of his death,
so violent and dramatic.

The fire that consumes the face of
Monsieur Paynter. And as he lies dying,

he dips his finger into the ink and
scrawls the letter G onto a notepad,

a final desperate attempt to
indicate the identity of his killer.

Gerald did it for revenge
and for the cash?

Non, non, mon ami.

A fourth murder with a connection
to the Peace Party and the Big Four?

Non. This is an attempt most crude
to frame young Monsieur Gerald.

Well, I suppose
we'd better have the big one in.

I shall do all I can to assist you.

This is a terrible loss for the
world, and for me personally.

Perhaps you can assist us, madame,
with the identity of this man?

He's not known to me, monsieur.

Then perhaps you should take
a closer look, madame.

My eyesight is excellent. I can assure
you, I do not know who this man is.

Madame, last night you
and Monsieur Paynter

conversed in private, is it right?

Yes, we talked of the
future of the Peace Party.

That's a lie.

Mrs Paynter, please.

I may not have your world-class brain,
but I have sense enough to know

when my husband is conducting
a love affair behind my back.

Diana.

He wanted to finish it with you,

and your pride couldn't bear it.

I heard him. "it's all wrong. I can't
go on with this." That's what he said.

I wouldn't be surprised if you killed
him rather than let him come back to me.

It is not true.

Monsieur, surely you cannot
believe...

We believe, madame,

that we are dealing with
an organisation so ruthless

that it will not hesitate to execute
any who stand in its way.

If you know anything at all about the
Big Four, I implore you to tell it to us.

I implore you to tell it to us.

You accuse me, monsieur?

There is evidence to suggest,
Madame Olivier,

that one of the members of the Big
Four is a woman, a French woman.

Gentlemen, I find your accusations
contemptible and absurd.

You will try and prevent me if I leave?

No, I can't do that, madame.
You're not under arrest.

You have not heard the last of this,
not by any means.

Mille tonnerres!

We should not have antagonised her.
It is not yet the time.

"I can't go through with
this. It's all wrong."

Maybe he wasn't referring to their
affair, Poirot.

So he was killed because he wanted no more
to do with this organisation so sinister?

Where the hell is this going, Poirot?

We've got nothing to go on, nothing.

There must be a link, mon ami,
a connection however abstruse

between these cases,
something that we have missed.

The link's obvious, Poirot.

It's the ruddy Peace Party.

If what Tysoe's mysterious source
told him is true,

then they're exactly the opposite
of what they claim to be:

fifth columnists working to
start a war, not prevent one.

Poirot must think.

Think.

Assistant Commissioner Japp, sir.

Poirot, she's gone.

Gone? Who has gone, mon ami?

Madame Olivier. She's done a
bunktoo,

just like Abe Ryland.

No one's seen hide nor hair of her
since she left Paynter's place.

And there's something else.

We've had the tests back from
Paynter's body.

He was drugged.

That's why he didn't cry out
when his head was put in the fire.

The drug was very specific.
Gelsemine.

Gelsemine?

What is it?

You recall the scientific researches
of Madame Olivier?

They are concerned principally
with the nervous system.

In small quantities gelsemine
is used to treat the heart.

In large quantities it induces paralysis
and immobilisation of the nervous system.

That confirms it. She's in on it
too.

It would appear so.

Such an eventuality, it is tragic, non?

To think that it is
possible that such a woman...

Never mind that.
We're making progress at last.

Yes.

We've identified Number
Three of the Big Four.

You'll find everything
exactly as it was.

Until you catch the fellow who done
it, I'm not allowed to touch a thing.

And there remains no word
from the nephew of Monsieur Whalley?

He does not return to
claim his inheritance?

No. Not that I'm surprised.

I mean, who'd want to live here
knowing what had happened?

I wish he would show up, though.

There's boxes of junk
just sitting up there.

Madame, you said before that he and
his uncle, they did not get on?

So I gather. Before my time, as I say.

And what became of him, madame?

Lived here till he was
in his 20s, I think.

And then... Maybe he went
off and joined the circus.

Just give me a shout when you're done.

Merci, madame.

Brothers.

Duel.

Theatre.

Help myself.

Pygmalion.
Help myself.

Oh, no, not again.

They're for you.

How lovely.

"My darling Flossie. Soon our time
will come. 4 kisses."

Of course, there's no grace
about the profession these days.

These young actors and actresses,
they can't project.

They're used to speaking into a microphone
for the wireless or for the talking.

The profession can be a very cruel
place.

- Do you go to the theatre, Mr Poirot?
- Yes, indeed.

Well, then, you must have seen me.

I got wonderful reviews
for my Eliza Doolittle.

"A confident and dazzling
Miss Flossie Monro."

- No.
- No?

Well, I did The Importance Of Being
Earnest at the Vaudeville in '26.

I had a great success with that.

No. Perhaps something more recent.
More recent.

I was at the Duke of York's a few
years ago in Share My Cab, but...

Oh, yes, indeed. This Poirot
did see. What did you play?

The accordion.

For some years ago you appeared in
a repertory theatre company, madame.

Moiselle.

Pardon, mademoiselle.
The Methuselah Players.

Yes!

How on earth do you know about that?
They were happy times.

I have been speaking to some actors. This
company closed down after that season.

Yes, such a shame.

Oh, thank you.

Merci.

Does the name Albert Whalley
mean anything to you?

Whalley?

No, no, I don't think so.

Why, should
it?

He was a member of the audience very
devoted to the Methuselah company.

In fact, he collected mementoes
from the repertory season in 1924.

Oh, a fan, was he? Oh.

You can't expect me to remember
all my admirers over all these years.

Non, mademoiselle?

For instance,

only this past few weeks
I've been sent all sorts of things.

- All from an anonymous admirer.
- Vraiment?

This arrived just the other day.

A valentine in April?

Yes, I thought it was queer too.

But you know what some
of these fans can be like.

You permit Poirot to see?

Merci, mademoiselle.

"Until we meet again."

Hercule Poirot speaks.

Oui, monsieur, an interview,
it is possible.

Bon. What is your address, monsieur?

What a difference a few weeks make.

Quite, sir.

I sent away that journalist fellow
with a flea in his ear

and now it seems he was right after all.
Bulldog Drummond come to life.

And the best of men lies
dead.

Monsieur Poirot was a brilliant man.

Lord knows we could do
with more like him at this moment.

Is there any hope for peace, sir?

This Big Four business has the entire
international community on edge.

Do you have anything
concrete to go on, sir?

Nothing.

Li Chang Yen has put out a statement
denying any knowledge of the Big Four.

He would, wouldn't he?

Ryland and Madame Olivier
are still nowhere to be seen.

What about Number Four?

How does one track down Death
himself?

Poirot knew.

If only we could find out what
knowledge he took with him to his grave.

He always liked things just so,
didn't he?

Quite.

He was onto something, wasn't he?

He had to be.
I only wish I knew what.

I've been so wrapped up with all these
new leads that have been coming in.

Poirot seemed quite content to go
off

and pursue things on his own.

I suppose he must have grown
quite used to that.

Yes, I suppose so.
One thing we know for certain.

He was getting too close to the
Big Four, so they eliminated him.

Yes.

Well?

- What?
- What are we going to do next?

We can't let Poirot die in vain.
We've got to stop them.

Now, hang on, Captain Hastings.

We can't be faint-hearted now, man.
Are you with me or not?

For Poirot's sake, together
we have to stop the Big Four.

Listen, these people mean business.

They'll stop at nothing.
If even Poirot couldn't stop them.

Good Lord, man. I never thought
I'd hear such conchie talk from you.

Well, if you won't do anything to stop
these brutes, then I certainly will.

And I'll leave no stone unturned.

Good day.

So... what do I do now, old chap?

Good old Hastings.

Old soldiers never die, Mr Japp.

Sir.

Yes, George?

What is it?

A telegram has arrived for you,
sir.

For me?

Hello? Anybody here?

It's... It's Miss Monro.

I've come
for the audition.

Ifsfunny,

I was just talking about
this place to someone the other day.

Strange to be back here
after all this time.

I'm not late, am I?

Your letter did
say four.

Hello?

Help... Help me. Please.

What's going on?
What do you want with me?

Welcome

to the lair of the Big Four.

Oh, my God.

You've heard of us. How gratifying.

Talk to me, Miss Monro.

Tell me
all you know about the Big Four.

I don't understand.

Why...?

Waiting, Miss Monro. You wouldn't
want to disappoint me, would you?

I only know what I've
seen in the papers.

What have you read in the papers?

Well... it's all run
from China, isn't it?

Number One.

Go on.

Um... then there's that American
with all the money.

Number Two.

Continue.

Please, I...

Continue!

The French woman. Um...

Madame Olivier.

Number Three.

And Number Four. Tell me
what you know of Number Four.

Nobody knows, do they?

Are you Number Four?

Think back, my darling.
It has been some time.

Do I... know you?

All my gifts, the cards, the roses,

they didn't bring back any memories?

You're my admirer?
You're... you're my fan?

Think, Flossie.

Think back to that season at
this old theatre. 15 years ago.

We performed together
on this very stage.

Claud.

Claud Darrell?

It's...

Is it really you?

It is, my love.

Well, what's this all about, Claud?
It's just a joke.

No, my dear. It's
serious. Deadly serious.

I adore you, Flossie.
Don't you realise that?

I'd do anything for you.

I've done so much already.

All for you. Do you remember
what you said to me on that day?

What day? It was years ago, years.

I can never forget it, you know.

I asked you if I could take you
out to dinner

and you said...

Oh, Claudie. Don't be so ridiculous.
As if I could fancy someone like you.

You're such a funny little shrimp,
aren't you? No, I deserve the best.

Someone who's gonna make
something of himself.

Someone the whole world will remember.

Someone the whole world would remember.

But I was young, wasn't I? I was
young and foolish and full of myself.

The whole world will
remember me now, won't they?

The whole world will
remember the Big Four.

Li Chang Yen, Abe Ryland,
Regine Olivier and me.

Claud Darrell. Number Four.

The Destroyer. Death himself.

You mean you've done all of this,
all of this just for me?

Tell me you love me, Flossie.

Tell me you love me.

I think you're the most
remarkable man... I've ever met.

Let me take you away from here.

Just... Just one thing
to take care of first.

I think not, monsieur.

Oui, monsieur.

Despite the best efforts of the
Big Four, Hercule Poirot, he lives.

You're dead. Dead and buried.

Non. It was all smoke and mirrors.
Is that not the expression?

But now it is time to bring
down the curtain on the Big Four.

I rather think that'll be my decision.

All right, son, the game's up.

You've pulled off some
stunts in your time, Poirot,

but this beats them all.

I should say.

I have much
to explain to you, mes amis,

but first,

if you please, mademoiselle.

Flossie.

Flossie.

Come on.

I think you'd better sit down, sir.

What about these two? Shouldn't
we do something in case they...

One moment, mon ami.

What a pass in which we find ourselves.

The world stands on the brink
of a conflict most terrible.

And what do we discover is behind it
all,

fomenting suspicion on
a scale that is global?

Puppet masters who threaten
to plunge the world into war.

And yet, and yet...

What was the first reaction of
anyone who was told of the Big Four?

That it was like something
from a storybook, n'est pas?

Bulldog Drummond.

Precisement, Monsieur Tysoe,
precisement.

Because that is all it is. Mere
theatre. The Big Four are not real.

They exist only in the crazed
imagination of one man.

That's not possible.

A man
who would plunge the world into chaos

because of a passion that is unrequited.

Albert Whalley,

who was later to take on the
stage name of Claud Darrell

and who for the past few months

has been masquerading as Dr Quentin.

But what about Li Chang
Yen? And these two?

Li Chang Yen is as
innocent as he claims.

And these poor unfortunate souls

are merely pawns in the game,
kidnapped and kept here,

their disappearances orchestrated
to throw suspicion onto them.

But why don't they say anything?

Because they are drugged, mon ami.
Drugged with gelsemine.

Good grief.

The same drug that was used
to anaesthetise Stephen Paynter

before he was killed.

They are fully conscious, but their
physical paralysis, it is complete.

But mercifully, it would appear in
this case, the effect is only temporary.

Everyone believed it, though,
didn't they, the Big Four?

Fleet Street, the police,
the great British public.

Oui, monsieur, for some time

even Hercule Poirot was taken
in by your charade so deadly.

With your help, of course, Mr Tysoe.

What?

I just had to wind you up like
a clockwork toy and off you went.

You and your little newspaper.

Spreading fear, confusion, hate.

An emotional soup, pulsing.

You really have been a most useful
ally.

But my informer? The letters?
The playing cards?

All sent from Monsieur Darrell.

So the fella who turned up
with a knife in his back?

In reality a tramp
dressed in a theatrical costume,

the clues of the playing cards
planted upon him.

Reality, Monsieur Poirot?

Who is to say where fantasy
ends and reality begins?

Let us speak of beginnings.
Act One of a drama so very strange.

Albert Whalley.

A boy, an orphan,

poor and unloved...

who was sent away to live with
his uncle who was cold and aloof.

Albert Whalley is a name
I haven't used in years.

Non, but an uncle who
disapproved of your fantasies

and your desire to tread the boards.

All those years
of listening to that old fool.

Going on about his precious
Chinaman, Li Chang Yen.

I began to see possibilities.

Then you wormed your
way into the confidences

of the members of the Peace Party.

Child's play.

I forged my references and quietly
took up my position as Dr Quentin.

Paynter's condition, it's not
really very difficult to research.

I'm an actor, Monsieur Poirot,

and a bloody good one.

Oh, yes, indeed, monsieur,
your ability to blend in,

to pass yourself off in all manner of
disguises, which has proven so useful.

You have the genius
of the character actor.

No! No!

Mr Tysoe!

Savaranoff was killed to implicate
Abe Ryland.

Your uncle died to throw
suspicion onto Li Chang Yen.

And Stephen Paynter, who was innocent,
murdered to incriminate Madame Olivier.

He was a weak fool.

His weakness was his conscience.

I merely persuaded him
that it wasn't decent

for them to continue
their silly love affair.

Diana Paynter
overheard him ending the affair?

It had nothing to do with the Big
Four?

Indeed so, mon ami.

But why?
What the hell was it all for?

For me.

Wasn't it, Mr Poirot?

Oui, mademoiselle.

For the woman who spurned him
all those years ago.

For therein lies your tragedy,
Monsieur Darrell.

The very gift that could have
turned you into the actor supreme...

makes you forgettable.

The man who blends in.

The man whose name
nobody ever can quite remember.

The man who... disappears.

Albert Whalley, Claud Darrell,
Dr Quentin, Number Four.

Whatever you choose to call yourself,
you adore the flourish that is theatrical.

You've got a nerve.

Comment?

All this. You'd already worked out
where I was.

You could have sent the police
to arrest me at any time.

But instead you wanted
your grand finale,

show everyone just
how clever you've been.

Oh, we're more alike
than you think, Poirot.

Sit down! Nobody moves!

Don't be a fool, Darrell.

You'll never get away.
My men are surrounding the building.

If Flossie won't have me,

then we're all going to go out
in a blaze of glory.

Oh, my God.

Poirot, we've got to get
everybody out of here.

One minute...

before I bring down the
final curtain on the Big Four.

Poirot.

You will not do it, monsieur.

To do all this
for the love of one woman.

You will not send her to her grave,
Albert Whalley. You cannot.

It's all right. It's all right, son.

You've spoilt it all,
you insufferable little man!

But I am Number Four, do you hear
me?

The Destroyer.

Death itself.

He's dead.

Good afternoon, gentlemen.

It is a source of great relief
that after our terrible ordeal

we are able to clear not only our own
reputations but that of the party as well.

Li Chang Yen promises that we will
continue to strive for world peace.

The Big Four has proved to be a fiction,
but still we stand on a precipice.

The situation remains grim,

but if war does come, the powers
of light will be united as one.

I do have the exclusive story of Number
Four to write, so that's some consolation.

Thanks for the opportunity
to be in at the end, Mr Poirot.

I hope you've learned your lesson,
mate.

Check your facts before you print.

Incidentally, how did
you work it all out?

It occurred to Poirot for some time that
this case had the flavour of the theatre.

And the label of the costumier was
the first mistake of Claud Darrell.

His scrapbook led me
towards Mademoiselle Monro.

Of course, naturellement, he kept
his eye most closely upon her,

but when she met with me,
Hercule Poirot, he panicked.

Hercule Poirot speaks.

I understand you've been
trying to contact me.

My name is Claud Darrell.

Yes, indeed, an interview about your time
at the Methuselah Theatre, it is possible?

Certainly. I can spare you a moment or two
later on this afternoon.

What is your address, monsieur?

Flat A, 41 Wilberforce Road,
Islington.

- At what hour?
- Shall we say four?

Parfait. Au revoir.

I hoped if for one moment Claud Darrell
could believe that his plan had succeeded,

then the subsequent realisation of his
failure would be all the more devastating.

I still can't quite believe
I managed to do it,

convince him I was in love with him.

I warned Mademoiselle Monro
that she would need courage

and that it might prove
to be most dangerous.

But when the moment came that Darrell

was to make contact with
her again we were ready.

It was the performance of a lifetime,
mademoiselle.

I had a wonderful director, Mr
Poirot.

Merci.

Well, delightful as this all is.

I don't suppose you'd be interested
in giving me an exclusive interview?

"The woman who stole the heart
of Number Four"?

Perhaps.

Maybe we could discuss it further,

over lunch.

Don't mind if I do.

The performance of a lifetime
certainly gives a girl an appetite.

So where do you fancy?

Simpson's is lovely.
I've not been there for a while.

Mes amis?

We're pleased, you know, that...
you're not, you know, dead.

But...

Why did you go through with this horrid
charade, making us believe you were dead?

But it was vital, Miss Lemon,
vital that you should believe it.

It was necessary for
Poirot to disappear,

because in this way, the guard
of Number Four, it would be dropped.

George?

I'm sure you had the best
intentions, sir.

No man is a hero to his valet.

Can you ever forgive me, mes amis?

It was all for the best...

...I suppose.

But you know this affair of the Big
Four, it has done some other good..

Has it not reunited me
with all my oldest friends?

Almost all.

Because where is Hastings?
Where is Captain Hastings?

Well, there's been no sign of him
since he charged off,

I'm afraid.

Surely he must have
heard the news by now.

Good Lord. Poirot.
I thought you were dead.

Mon ami, Hastings.

Mon ami, mon ami,

It is the most extraordinary thing.

I was only saying...