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The Million Dollar Bond Robbery is the third episode of series 3 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on 13 January 1991 in the UK. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie short story of the same name and was directed by Andrew Grieve with dramatisation by Anthony Horowitz.


After a bank clerc charged with overseeing a million dollars' worth of American bonds is poisoned, the bank calls in Poirot. They ask him to safeguard the shipment by travelling with it on the ship to New York and keeping an eye on Mr Ridgeway, who is next in line to carry the bonds.

The TV adaptation is fairly faithful to main premise of the original story but the barebones plot had to be substantially embellished and reinforced with new characters and scenes.

Comparison with Original Novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

In the original, Poirot is not called in until after the theft, and then only by Esmée. Here, the bank itself calls in Poirot and asks him to safeguard the shipment by actually travelling with Ridgeway on the ship, which is the Queen Mary and not the Olympia. There isn't an elderly man Ventnor in the cabin next to Ridgeway. There is an American woman named Miranda Brooks. Only the manner in which the bonds came to be stolen remains the same.

The plot of the film begins with Mr Shaw knocked down and almost killed by a red sports car. Mr Shaw is due to carry the bonds. The bank is worried and calls in Poirot to investigate. Then Shaw is poisoned by strychnine. So there is no choice. Philip Ridgeway is next in line to carry the bonds. Mr McNeil, head of security of the bank has his doubts about Philip. Esmee Dalgleish, Philip's fiancee and Vavasour's secretary is also worried as Philip is a compulsive gambler and is being pursued by loan sharks.

To Hasting's delight, Poirot agrees to go on the Queen Mary to accompany Philip to New York. In transit the bonds are stolen. Like in the original, the portmanteau is badly battered but then opened with a key. The ship docks at New York and the customs authorities conduct a thorough search but to no avail, Poirot already has an idea that the bonds are not on the ship and never were.

Arriving back in England, Poirot has Philip arrested by the police on disembarkation. This is the only way to protect him from the loan sharks waiting at the gangway. It also puts the true culprits at ease. Poirot confirms a few more facts and then goes to confront Mr Shaw, still recovering at home after his strychnine poisoning, and his nurse, Nurse Long.

Poirot exposes Nurse Long as Miranda Brooks, an American woman who occupied the cabin next to Philip. They both use the same hand movement to check the time. Shaw was the one who stole the bonds while they were in London. He replaced them with fakes. Vavasour had poor eyesight and didn't notice when loading the fake bonds into the portmanteau. Miranda Brooks dropped her Nurse Long disguise and went on board the Queen Mary with Shaw's portmanteau key. She stole the fake bonds and then dumped them overboard, creating a false trail of the theft.

Confronted by these facts, Shaw and Miranda confess. Don't be sorry, Shaw says. Prison can't be worse than 20 years at the London and Scottish bank. Philip Ridgeway is promoted, pays off his debts and Esmee assures Poirot there won't be any more.


Tropes and themes[]

  • The Art Deco 1930s
    • The Southampton Ocean terminal. A bit anachronistic as this was opened in 1950. Probably archival footage was used as it was demolished in 1983.[1]
    • Highpoint - a fine example of Modernist architecture by Berthold Lubetkin. Also used in The Affair at the Victory Ball. See also Lubetkin in The Incredible Theft.[2]
  • Hasting's hobbies
    • Cars - he has a lot of information about a Singer (Ridgeway's car)
    • Any machine that moves - he is enthusiastic about the Queen Mary

Research notes[]

Filming Locations[]

  • Bank Tube station as it emerges on Threadneedle Street
  • Golders Hill Park - Poirot is standing on an ornamental bridge watching a boy float his model Queen Mary. This scene is near the butterfly house.
  • Highpoint - flat of Esmee Dalgleish
  • 2 Hutchings Walk, London - house of Mr Shaw

Vehicles and other props[]

  • The red sports car LSU892 is mentioned specifically as a Singer but in reality it could be a Jowett 1935+ Weasel.[3]


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]