Hercule Poirot of Agatha Christie’s Poirot is up there with Sherlock Holmes on the list of the most famous fictional detectives of all time, and here are the best Poirot episodes. Born from the mind of Agatha Christie, the best-selling fiction author of all time, the Belgian detective has been interpreted on the big and small screens for decades to the joy of audiences everywhere. From 1989 to 2013, Agatha Christie’s Poirot entertained fans of the ingenious detective. Though the 70 episodes have concluded it’s still considered the definitive adaptation — and which episode of Poirot is the best will likely be debated forever.

The consensus among audiences is that no other actor portrayed the character of Hercule Poirot as well as David Suchet. The British actor took on the role in the show Agatha Christie’s Poirot, playing it for a total of 24 years over the course of 13 series and 70 episodes. The number of fascinating characters and talented guest stars who graced the program is nothing to sneeze at, either. To honor those who worked so hard to make the show what it is, audiences can take a look back at all of its episodes and see what the best Poirot episodes are.

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15 Elephants Can Remember (S13, Ep1)

Poirot and two characters looking at each other in Elephants Can Remember

One of the most beloved recurring characters was Zoë Wanamaker’s Ariadne Oliver, the witty and messy writer that mirrored Agatha Christie herself to a certain degree. In one of the best Poirot episodes, Ariadne takes on her own case with the assistance of Poirot.

The mustached Poirot, in the meantime, is also busy with his own case involving a murder at a psychiatric facility. When it becomes clear the two cases are connected, Poirot must stop yet another killing and explain how two suspicious cases, that took place decades apart, could have anything to do with each other. The threads that tie together do so in a fascinating manner, giving both Oliver and Poirot great moments in the case.

14 The Labours of Hercules (S13, Ep4)

Poirot looking down in Labours of Hercules

Series 13’s “The Labours of Hercules” is actually a compilation of a series of short stories published by Agatha Christie, in an effort to bring all the author’s works to life on the show — a lofty goal it ultimately achieved. Despite this being one of the best Poirot episodes, the plot is somewhat muddied by how much the episode tries to pack in.

It is an interesting murder mystery episode that takes place in a hotel in the Swiss Alpes where Poirot finds himself surrounded by a series of mysterious crimes that do not seem to add up, at least not at first. As events weave together, audiences start to learn alongside the detective, furthering their appreciation for him and investment in the show.

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13 Dumb Witness (S6, Ep4)

Poirot and two characters looking confused in Dumb Witness

In the final episode of Series 6 and one of the best Poirot episodes, Poirot receives a letter from a woman who thinks she is in danger of being murdered. Believing it is a matter of her will, Poirot attempts to convince her to change it, only to discover that she has died mysteriously. Poirot investigates her death, suspecting foul play. While the episode is good, the episode’s pacing prevents it ranking higher.

This episode of the mystery TV show is a fitting conclusion to the sixth series, including a fascinating mystery with several people who have motives. “Dumb Witness” features many of the more common aspects of a Poirot mystery, but that does not make it any less exciting. This 1996 episode can still grip viewers 25 years later.

12 The Chocolate Box (S5, Ep6)

A man looks shocked as Hercule says something in Poirot episode The Chocolate Box

By the time audiences meet Poirot in Christie’s books and the show, he is a Belgian refugee in England that had a prolific career as a member of the police force in his home country and reached global fame due to his impressive abilities. The Chocolate Box may be one of the best Poirot episodes, but the case’s confusing nature and its conclusions was too much of a head-scratcher.

“The Chocolate Box”is a welcome change as it walks audiences through one of Poirot’s cases when he was still working for the Belgian police. In the episode of the British murder mystery series is a case that almost confused Poirot himself, and it offers fans more insight into the character’s past and how he came to be the renowned figure he is today.

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11 Dead Man’s Folly (S13, Ep3)

Poirot and Ariadne looking up in Dead Man's Folly

In one of the best Poirot episodes, “Dead Man’s Folly,” Hercule Poirot is asked to attend a fête by his friend Ariadne Oliver, who has been asked to orchestrate a fake murder hunt for the festivities and feels on edge about the people in attendance. It all seems to be a game until the fake victim actually gets murdered. Other people disappear and die as well, creating a terrifying atmosphere among the festivities that were initially presented to be lighthearted.

While its one of the best Poirot episodes and features an iconic Hercule Poirot murder mystery, it doesn’t contain the elaborate art deco aesthetic that was praised in earlier seasons. However, this juxtaposition makes the episode all the more interesting, and it includes Zoë Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver, who has appeared in several other episodes and is a welcome addition. Though one of the final episodes of the show, “Dead Man’s Folly” demonstrates that the program did not slow down and featured some fascinating storylines.

10 After The Funeral (S10, Ep3)

Two characters arguing in Poirot's After the Funeral

“After The Funeral” marked the third episode of Series 10, is one of the best Poirot episodes, and featured a young Michael Fassbender in one of the main roles. This was one of those episodes that leaves audiences wondering how they managed to completely miss the twist and leaves them in awe of the incredible acting and phenomenal writing, mirroring movies like Knives Out.

However, despite being one of the best Poirot episodes, one character’s shoddy disguise nearly ruins it. In the installment, when people begin to drop dead within a problematic family, it seems like everyone is a suspect. Why would anyone want to murder their beloved family member? This is the question that drives the narrative and leads to a conclusion that not even the smartest among audience members could possibly have guessed.

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9 Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (S6, Ep1)

Cast looking suspicious in Hercule Poirot's Christmas

In the first episode of Series 6, and one of the best Poirot episodes, Hercule Poirot receives a strange invitation to spend Christmas in the mansion of an old, rich man who suspects he is in danger and that someone in the family has it out for him. While it’s high on the list, the main complaint about this Poirot episode is that it doesn’t stay particularly true to the Agatha Christie novel.

Manipulation, diamonds, long-lost children, and fake personas: There is a little bit of everything in this exciting episode that sees Poirot investigating the murder of the old man and the disappearance of some very valuable diamonds. As many scenarios do, it all comes down to the detective’s brilliant mind, which is portrayed wonderfully by David Suchet, giving further evidence why he is one of the best major actors who played Agatha’s Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

8 Five Little Pigs (S9, Ep1)

Split image of people eating and Elsa Greer in Poirot episode "Five Little Pigs"

The great thing about Agatha Christie’s Poirot was that it wasn’t afraid to try and adapt Christie’s unique way of storytelling into television, succeeding in spectacular fashion. “Five Little Pigs” was a perfect example of that. Despite being one of the best Poirot episodes, “Five Little Pigs” has gotten complaints over its cinematography in particular, compared to the mastery of earlier seasons.

Much like Knives Out, the story is told in a series of flashbacks as witnesses recount the days leading up to a tragic event that culminated in the death of two people, and Poirot uses his powers of deduction alone to solve a decades-old crime. The environment of both eras is exceptionally well done, conveying a sense that it actually takes place at an earlier time and increasing immersion.

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7 Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (S13, Ep5)

Poirot looking at the camera in the final episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot

The hardest episode to watch also happens to be the very last. “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case” quite literally sees Poirot solving his last case and, ultimately, dying after many decades of crime-solving. Agatha Christie had originally written the story of “Curtain” in the 1940s during World War II. The author feared for her safety and wished for her detective to have a fitting end lest something happen to her, so she had the story sealed away in a bank vault for more than 30 years.

As the planned end for Poirot, there is no surprise that it’s the most heart-wrenching and engaging of all his stories. David Suchet was so emotional by the time he finished filming Poirot’s death that he cried. To be fair, he probably was not the only one. One thing is for sure: Poirot got the goodbye he deserved. That being said, this episode is high on the best Poirot episodes roster, but the ending to such a long-running series wasn’t satisfying enough for everyone.

6 The ABC Murders (S4, Ep1)

Split image of Poirot and Hastings looking forward and Cust giving flowers in Poirot

Much like “Five Little Pigs,” Series 4’s “The ABC Murders” (which also has a movie adaptation) is one of the best Poirot episodes, and takes on a different perspective by having a serial killer interact directly with Poirot and taunt him throughout the whole episode. It is the first time audiences witness Poirot dealing with a serial murderer, and it is interesting to see how he deals with the pressure of knowing there is always going to be a new victim unless he finds the killer.

This scenario grips audiences, and the story was also made into the 2018 miniseries The ABC Murders, one of the best whodunnit series of the 2010s. There is something special about the first episode of the fourth series of Poirot, though, and it continues to be a classic. Deviations from the Agatha Christie novel in the adaptation were the main complaints surrounding the episode, but it still was a smoother installment than “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.”

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5 Death On The Nile (S9, Ep3)

The cast looking shocked in Poirot's Death on the Nile

“Death on the Nile” is the third episode of Series 9, one of the best Poirot episodes, and focuses on newly-wedded couple Simon Doyle and Linnet Ridgeway on their honeymoon. Linnet asks Poirot to dissuade Simon’s ex, who feels abandoned, from following them around everywhere, but Poirot fails to persuade her. When Linnet is murdered while on their honeymoon cruise down the Nile River, Poirot must investigate every suspicious passenger on the cruise who has something to hide.

This episode shines through its excellent costuming and set design, showcasing the beauty of Egypt and the Pyramids while telling a dramatic story of heartbreak and murder. The Death on the Nile story has been adapted on more than one occasion, with the 1978 film being one of the best adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work. The Poirot episode also does the tale justice, though, including some excellent performances.

4 Evil Under The Sun (S8, Ep1)

Dame Maggie Smith holding an umbrella in Evil Under the Sun

Certainly one of the best Poirot episodes, “Evil Under the Sun” opens up series 8 with a beachside murder mystery. The episode itself has also been made into a 1982 feature film starring none other than the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith. In the series 8 premiere, Poirot suffers a heart attack and is forced to stay at the Sandy Cove Hotel for some rest and relaxation, which is of course, short-lived.

A mysterious love triangle sits at the heart of “Evil Under the Sun,” as the beautiful Arlena Stuart vies for the attention of one married man Patrick Redfern, much to the chagrin of her own neglected husband. When she ends up being found strangled on the beach, Poirot is on the case in this Agatha Christie adaptation. While the revelation of the murderer seems easy to guess at first glance, nothing is ever as it seems and the clever twist is why “Evil Under the Sun” is one of the best Poirot episodes.

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3 Hallowe’en Party (S12, Ep2)

Georgia King raising her hand in Poirot episode Hallowe'en Party

It’s rare that an episode of later seasons can make it so high on the list, but the Halloween-themed “Hallowe’en Party” is assuredly one of the best Poirot episodes. Fan favorite Ariadne Oliver makes another appearance as she attends a child’s Halloween party in a secluded manor. When Joyce Reynolds boasts that she once witnessed a murder, she is later found drowned in a bobbing-for-apples tub.

This leads Ariadne to contact Hercule Poirot, who is quickly on the case. Connecting Joyce Reynolds’ murder to that of other mysterious crimes in the town, Poirot uncovers something that is truly chilling, and worthy of a Halloween special. This is one of the best Poirot episodes due to its rewatchability. Upon watching it again, clues that were hidden in plain sight can be spotted, and there’s something new discovered with each screening.

2 Murder On The Orient Express (S12, Ep3)

Poirot looking to the side in Murder on the Orient Express

One of Agatha Christie’s most popular works, Murder on the Orient Express has been adapted on several occasions. In 2010, Poirot had its turn at the tale, which sees a businessman murdered and all passengers seemingly having no motive. Easily one of the best Poirot episodes, the series did an outstanding job of honoring Agatha Christie’s original work and it features a much darker tone than other retellings.

Having played the character for 11 full series at this point, David Suchet brilliantly embraces the role of the detective, taking the audience through his mental processes and filling the scenes with suspense and incredible revelations throughout “Murder on the Orient Express.” It is a familiar tale, but Poirot executes it wonderfully, putting the hour-and-a-half episode on par with many of the best mystery movies.

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1 Peril At End House (S2, Ep1)

Split image of Freddie Rice and Hercule Poirot talking with Chief Inspector Japp in Poirot episode "Peril at End House"

As a famous and relatively wealthy detective, Poirot often travels around England and the world, touching upon several interesting backdrops against which horrible crimes take place. “Peril At End House” is easily one of the best Poirot episodes and one of the more faithful adaptations of Agatha Christie’s extensive body of work. This early Poirot episode has one of the strongest endings, with a poignant breakdown during its final moments.

This second series episode features Poirot and fan-favorites Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon (played by Pauline Moran, one of the many actors people forgot were in Poirot), and Inspector Japp in an interesting situation. The Belgian detective is staying at a Cornish resort where he meets a young heiress who seems to be in danger. From there on, everything unravels in amazing Agatha Christie’sPoirotfashion, filled with mystery, tension, and revelations that make the show as well-regarded as it is.

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