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Murder in Mesopotamia is the second episode of series eight of Agatha Christie's Poirot. It was broadcast on 2 June 2002. The episode was directed by Tom Clegg, and it was dramatised by Clive Exton. The feature-length episode was an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name.


When Poirot and Hastings are visiting a promising archeological dig on their holiday in Iraq, the Detective is sought out by Mrs Leidner, a woman troubled by nasty letters with death-threats that she keeps receiving from her first husband, otherwise believed to be dead. In due course, she becomes the the murderer's first victim. Poirot solves a classic "locked-room" murder.

Comparison with Original Novel

The adaptation is fairly faithful to the original novel with a few minor changes.

The location of the dig is still Tell Yarimjah, but this appears to be much nearer to Baghdad. The characters are able to commute to and from Baghdad on day trips and Superintendent Maitland operates out of Baghdad instead of Hassanieh.

By far the biggest change is the addition of Captain Hastings. Here he is made the uncle of one of the characters, William Coleman, thus reducing Amy Leatheran's contribution drastically. Leatheran is demoted from the protagonist and Poirot's assistant to a fairly minor supporting character and another suspect. Here the experiment in which nurse Leatheran gives a cry in Mrs Leidner's room is done by Hastings and not by Poirot.

The character of Dr Giles Reilly is dropped. His daughter Sheila becomes the daughter Superintendent Maitland, the local head of police. Mr Reiter and David Emmott, archaeologists at the dig are also dropped.

The character of the drug addict Joseph Mercado is embellised. Here he is involved in a sideplot about the murder of a drug peddler at the beginning of the episode. He is then attacked by the brother of the murdered man. Finally, he commits suicide in a hotel in Baghdad.

The sideplot of Poirot coming to Baghdad in order to meet Countess Rossakoff who has summoned him is unique to the adaptation.


Tropes and themes

  • Poirot's Belgian pride. When Sheila Maitland greets him as "Distinguished Belgian 'Tec", Poirot is delighted. "You see, Hastings, people begin to remember that I am not French."
  • Hastings' relationship with his wife. His wife had asked him to be away from her for a while because she needed a break from him. She asked him to not just be away from home but be away from "the continent in it is situated."
  • Art Deco 1930s - the Casino de Hammam Lif

Filming Locations

  • Roman ruins at Oudna, Tunisia - Leidner's archaeological dig
  • Casino de Hammam Lif, Tunisia - Poirot's hotel in Baghdad


Promotional Videos

See Also