|Marple is the latest television
adaptation of Agatha Christie's famous amateur detective. It stars Geraldine McEwan as
Miss Jane Marple, the elderly spinster and amateur detective
who assists the police to solve muders
in the crime-ridden village of St. Mary Mead (which, along with Inspector Morse's Oxford, is clearly one of the most
dangerous places in England to live). 'Marple' was first broadcast on ITV on 12 December 2004; 12 telemovies spanning
three seasons have been made to date. While the series has high production values and features many well-known
guest stars, it has often been criticised for significantly deviating from Christie's original plots, much more so than
the earlier series starring Joan Hickson.
'Towards Zero' is the first episode in the third season of 'Marple', and is based on Christie's novel of the same name (although Miss Marple herself does not appear in the original novel). While it has yet to be broadcast in the UK 'Towards Zero' was first shown on PBS in the US on 15 July 2007, as part of the 'Mystery' series. It also aired in Canada on 28 January 2007.
The plot takes Marple away from St. Mary Mead, to the stately Devon home of Lady Tressilian Marple's old school friend who has assembled a number of guests for a house party. The other guests include tennis player Neville Strange and both his first and second wife, and a retired lawyer named Frederick Treves (Tom Baker).
Treves tells the other guests about one of his cases from many years ago, that of a young boy who killed his friend in what seemed to be an accident. The boy was acquitted, but Treves believed that he had been guilty of murder, and said that he would always recognise the boy in question, no matter how much older he now was, due to a distinguishing characteristic (which Treves refused to reveal).
Treves, who has heart problems, is subsequently found dead after being forced to climb several flights of stairs to his room in the nearby hotel, after an 'Out of Order' sign had been placed on the elevator (which was not broken at all).
Lady Tressilian is then murdered, and as usual Miss Marple finds that the two deaths are connected and reveals the killer.
As usual, Tom Baker is wonderful as Treves, although sadly his character dies quite early in the telemovie. But how excellent he looks in formal dress.
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