Marple (2004–2013)
24 user 1 critic

Ordeal by Innocence 

Old wounds are reopened for the Argyle family when a man suddenly turns up after being abroad and claims that the black sheep of the family could not have murdered its tyrannical matriarch.


Moira Armstrong


Agatha Christie (novel), Stewart Harcourt (screenplay)





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine McEwan ... Miss Marple
Juliet Stevenson ... Gwenda Vaughn
Denis Lawson ... Leo Argyle
Alison Steadman ... Kirsten Lindstrom
Richard Armitage ... Philip Durrant
Stephanie Leonidas ... Hester Argyle
Lisa Stansfield ... Mary Durrant
Burn Gorman ... Jacko Argyle
Jane Seymour ... Rachel Argyle
Tom Riley ... Bobby Argyle
Reece Shearsmith ... Inspector Huish
Julian Rhind-Tutt ... Dr Arthur Calgary (as Julian Rhind Tutt)
Bryan Dick ... Micky Argyle
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Tina Argyle (as Gugu Mbatha Raw)
Andrea Lowe ... Maureen


Miss Marple is invited to the wedding of a friend, but the gaieties are interrupted when a stranger arrives; he provides the missing evidence which proves that the black sheep of the family, Jacko, was wrongfully hanged for murder. This raises the question of who in the household did kill the cold-hearted mistress of the house two years previously. As usual, Miss Marple is needed to uncover the hatred, jealousy, lust etc. behind the family's facade and sort out the threads of the mystery. Written by Lone Andersen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

19 August 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Miss Marple - Az alibi See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Bryan Dick, Burn Gorman, and Denis Lawson all appeared in the 2005 production of Bleak House. See more »


A modern-day motorhome can be seen in the background over Gwenda's shoulder as the camera pans round when she meets Miss Marple at her arrival. See more »

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User Reviews

Shockingly, a non-appalling episode of 'Marple'
12 March 2019 | by SpiceTeaSee all my reviews

To the reviewer who berates the legions of us appalled by most scripts in this mid-2000s reboot of Agatha Christie's detective novels and stories: 'new' is not synonymous with 'refreshing ' as you put it. To be 'refreshing,' a change has to be, you know, good. In the 5-6 Marple episodes I've seen before this one, the changes are largely absurdist or tacky or both. Color me 'non-refreshed.'

Until this episode, 'Ordeal By Innocence.' Now, I'll grant you that I've not read Christie's source material for this episode, however given the telewriters' butchering of Christie's work in several other episodes, I can well believe complaints of a hatchet job here, too. But 'Ordeal' is actually cohesive and entertaining in its own right.

Much of that is down to the cast, which is anchored by two big stars--Jane Seymour and Juliet Stevenson--and bolstered by a stable of talented, well-known actors including Denis Lawson, Alison Steadman and Richard Armitage. Weirdly, the 90s pop singer Lisa Stansfield has a supporting role and is actually pretty good at it.

Let me say right now: Juliet Stevenson improves everything she's in. I don't say that because of her credentials (she was part of the illustrious "new wave" coming out of RADA in the 1970s); truth is, I only found out about that recently, after 25+ years of watching her shine in film, TV, radio, even audiobooks. She is a seriously good actress and if her performance here in 'Ordeal' doesn't move you in some way, you're not paying attention!

And it's relatively easy to pay attention to this 'Marple' episode. It's a classic closed-circle/locked room mystery, with a large family all at home the night one among them is murdered. No outlandish plot points; perhaps the usual 'Marple' scriptwriters were on holiday for this entry.

To my surprise, one of the murders packs a genuine emotional punch, which I attribute to the all-around good acting of the episode as well as to the specific emotional position this character occupies relative to the people around him/her.

Unlike the 5 or 6 other Marple episodes I've seen, 'Ordeal' didn't trigger an eye roll, not even one!

If you're going to invest feature-length viewing time in one of the 'Marple' TV series, begin here. It might well be all downhill from this one!

P.s. Miss Marple is given almost nothing to do, apparently as per usual for the 'Marple' series. But given it's Juliet Stevenson doing a lot of the other stuff, all is forgiven here.

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