The final episode of screenwriter Sarah Phelps’ Ordeal by Innocence takes a dramatic turn away from Christie’s 1958 novel and gives us a different killer entirely. It’s not housekeeper Kirsten Lindstrom who walloped Rachel over the head and then murdered the meddling Philip, as in the book; instead it’s “daddy” Leo Argyll who did the deed.
The decision provoked a strong reaction from Agatha Christie traditionalists and fans of the new series, who were either blissfully unaware of the difference until it was pointed out to them on social media, or just as happy to see a 60-year-old story get a “brave and bold” update and provide a last minute surprise.
So some arrogant BBC writer thought they could do better than Agatha Christie? Why adapt something if you’re going to change everything, even the killer?! Just write something new instead 🙄 #OrdealByInnocence
Meanwhile, some viewers who enjoyed the ending weren’t aware of its divergence from Christie’s novel, while others saw the change as a fitting re-interpretation.
“I loved Ordeal By Innocence,” Emily Randall wrote on Twitter, “don’t mind in the least they’ve changed the ending. That’s storytelling: updating & re-interpreting. I’ve often though I’d love to see a Shakespeare season where all the endings are changed and the audience don’t know what they’re in for.”
Viewer Lynn Shirley commented on the RadioTimes.com Facebook page: “I’ve not read the book so not bothered in the slightest if it has a different ending, which I loved. It was rivetting viewing and clever stuff. I loved the music too which added to the atmosphere! I’m sure there will be plenty of us looking forward to what Sarah Phelps comes up with next. Congratulations to all concerned.”
I loved #OrdealByInnocence – don’t mind in the least that they’ve changed the ending. That’s storytelling: updating & re-interpreting. I’ve often thought I’d love to see a Shakespeare season where all the endings are changed and the audience don’t know what they’re in for.
I think it was absolutely a good choice to change the ending from the book (never read it but I have just googled it). If it's a murder mystery, you want it to be a mystery for everyone. What's the fun in it if everybody all ready knows? #OrdealByInnocence