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SPOOKS (aka MI-5 in America)
"Taking control of
the government Tom? How very Oliver Cromwell of you."
- Harry, "Spooks: I Spy Apocalypse"
"Read this. Find out
how I declare martial law."
- Tom, too busy to read the emergency manual, "Spooks: I Spy Apocalypse"
"In this world it's
often money that reveals the truth."
- Harry, "Spooks: Blood and Money"
"You've got kids, haven't
"Yeah, I've got two. Zoe and Danny. Zoe's great, she's too clever for her own good sometimes. Danny's at a difficult age. He's always getting into trouble."
- Tom, undercover, "Spooks: Seventh Division"
"Me CIA. You MI5. I
think the point of these meetings is that we liaise?"
- Christine Dale to a taciturn Tom, "Spooks: Nest of Angels"
"MI5? Secret policemen
in other countries can arrest, beat, electric shock, even kill. What can
- Mullar Rachid, to Tom, "Spooks: Nest of Angels"
"If he's guilty we
kill him... or do we have a clash of cultures here?"
- Ibhn Khaldun to Tom, "Spooks: Nest of Angels"
"It is a sad thing
to say but the best martyrs are dispensable."
- Mullar Rachid to Ibhn Khaldun, "Spooks: Nest of Angels"
"You're concerned about
my emotional state?"
"Couldn't care less about your emotional state — I care very much about whether you're able to do your job."
- Harry and Tom, "Spooks: Legitimate Targets"
"So what put you off
exactly? His looks? His charm? His money? Too single was he?"
- Danny, after Zoe fends off an attractive admirer, "Spooks: Legitimate Targets"
Tom (serious): "Wear
a tight sweater tomorrow. He obviously fancies you."
Zoe (flippantly): "Oh, any particular one in mind?"
Tom and Danny (in unison): "The blue one."
- advising Zoe on how to get close to targets, "Spooks: Spiders"
"Didn't know she was
a boozer did we?"
"Well, she kept it well hidden."
"We train our officers well."
- Harry and Tom, after they lose a 'runner' for drink driving, "Spooks: Looking After Our Own"
"I now pronounce you
man and wife."
- Danny, sending Tom and Helen undercover, "Spooks: Looking After Our Own"
"My name is Emily Arlington
and I work for Her Majesty's Secret Service."
- Zoe, giving away half the truth, "Spooks: One Last Dance"
"If this thing does
go down government can shove the blame on poor old intelligence and halve
"Would they do that?"
"They wouldn't want to. I know where they all live."
- Tom and Malcolm, "Spooks: One Last Dance"
"If you were I, what
would you ask me to ask you to do right now."
- Horst, trying to gauge Peter's loyalty, "Spooks: Traitor's Gate"
"Bug your own office
do you Harry?"
"Only for special occasions."
- Jools and Harry, "Spooks: Traitor's Gate"
"How was your day?"
"A man who believed in a cause killed himself for love. Totally pointless."
- Ellie and Tom, "Spooks: Traitor's Gate"
"Thank you, number
"You call yourself by numbers now?"
"It's the latest fad."
- Harry and Hampton Wilder, "Spooks: The Rose Bed Memoirs"
"Harry has gone way
overboard on disorientation techniques since he went to that psi-ops convention."
- Danny aka 'number nine', "Spooks: The Rose Bed Memoirs"
"The service doesn't
like mixed affairs."
"MI5 officers sleeping with, eh, real people."
- Tom and Ellie, "Spooks: The Rose Bed Memoirs"
"We won't touch you.
You're simply the window through which we see the filthy world you live
- Tom, reassuring Sergei, "Spooks: The Rose Bed Memoirs"
"I thought alcohol
would welcome me back, but she's turned against me."
- Hampton Wilder, finding no consolation, "Spooks: The Rose Bed Memoirs"
"This is no time for
"I like the niceties, the protect us from tyranny."
- Oliver Mace and Harry, "Spooks 3.1"
"What about you Harry,
if you were in Tom's shoes would you have shot you?"
- Adam, "Spooks 3.1"
"I'd no idea lying
had such a complex molecular structure."
- Fred Roberts, biochemist and sometime spy, "Spooks 3.2"
"You have to put your
real self in a box. And only when you come home, do you open up the box
and say 'Hello, real me.'"
- Tom to Fred Roberts, "Spooks 3.2"
"If there was a Noble
prize for warmongering, I'd win that as well."
- Fred Roberts, playing the part, "Spooks 3.2"
"The world is divided
into two types of people. People like you who go looking for trouble, and
sensible ones like me who run away from it. In a moment of insanity I stepped
over to the other side and look what happened?"
- Armin Harakat, in hospital, to Danny, "Spooks 3.3"
"These days most people's
idea of a secret is something you only tell one person at a time."
- Oliver Mace, "Spooks 3.3"
"The 'It' couple of
the British Security Services."
- Patricia Norton, describing Adam and Fiona, "Spooks 3.4"
"If there were more
people like her in the world we wouldn't need so many peace conferences."
- Adam, describing Patricia Norton, "Spooks 3.4"
"The security services
are meant to be the subjects of conspiracy theories, not the peddlers of
- David Swift, to Adam, "Spooks 3.4"
"We need a woman who
is ruthless, immoral, vicious and utterly lacking in human sypmathy. No,
not you Ruth, terrible weapon though you are."
- Adam, picking Fiona for a special op, "Spooks 3.4"
"The last thing we
need is for Harry to go all 'King Lear' on us."
- Adam, as Harry's daughter gets caught up in a case, "Spooks 3.4"
"If I could look myself
in the eyes, in the mirror, if I could do that I'd be okay."
- Adam, recalling his first 'hit', "Spooks 3.5"
"There's no time for
culture, no time for exercise, no time for love."
- John Fortescue to Ruth, "Spooks 3.5"
"How's Lord Young?"
"He's exactly what you'd expect for someone who's a cross between a politician and a lawyer."
- Adam and Harry, meeting the Attorney General, "Spooks 3.6"
want to drag us back a couple of hundred years but they don't mind using
the latest technology to do it."
- Adam, "Spooks 3.7"
"Do you want to be
taken out and shot?"
- Harry, not appreciating Colin's sense of humour, "Spooks 3.7"
"Friendship, family, open spaces, sunny skies. you know, all the things we never have time for. Look around you. Can you possibly conceive of a better, fuller way to live one's life?"
"So what's stopping you?"
"Probably the same thing that's stopping you. Fear of change, habit, my cat."
- Andrew and Ruth, "Spooks 3.7"
"Why'd you have to
be so good at what you do?"
- Andrew, when Ruth joins the dots that lead to him, "Spooks 3.7"
"We only care about
the ones we love."
"I think the suffering of strangers can also move us."
- Katera and Adam, "Spooks 3.10"
"You're going with
"Look at him. Does he seem dangerous to you?"
- Adam, handing Natasha over to Malcolm, "Spooks 4.1"
"How to explain a hole
in the wall to internal services?"
- Malcolm and Colin, covering up an aborted breakout, "Spooks 4.10"
"There is still a way
we can help her."
- Adam and Harry dealing with a rogue agent, "Spooks 4.10"
"I’m not made for all
this running and fighting business."
- Colin, "Spooks 5.1"
"It's one thing to
get rid of democracy. It's much harder to get rid of the monster you replace
- Home Secretary, "Spooks 5.1"
"The British people
are not often moved by abstract principles — Liberty, Fraterntity. But
we can be moved to shame, pity and generosity."
- Adam, planning a propaganda scene, "Spooks 5.1"
"You were brilliant."
"Lady MacBeth. Sixth form play."
- Zaf and Ruth, playing a part, "Spooks 5.5"
They are more interesting
to watch than their counterparts were in "The Agency" because they don’t
really care if we like them.
- John Leonard, reviewing "MI5 Spooks", "New York Metro"
As usual with Spooks,
I found it totally thrilling, and sat there on the edge of my sofa, chewing
away at my nails, without having the faintest clue what the hell was going
- Sam Woolaston, "The Guardian"
It is terrifying to
live in the same country as Spooks. In the past few weeks we've narrowly
avoided water supply poisoning...
- Anna Pickard, on the dangerous Britain of the Spooks universe, "The Guardian"
I know it’s a little
hysterical — Armageddon at every turn and glaring plot inconsistencies
(this week, all the characters appeared, usefully, to sleep in their shoes).
But for sheer elemental life force and passion, Spooks is like a gorgeous,
galloping, slightly mad horse leaping over the stymied goat of most other
British dramas... a plot that could clearly think of three impossible things
before breakfast. It appears to have three times the brain, guts and balls
of any other comparable show.
- Caitlin Moran, "The Times", reviewing the Season 5 opener
What really perplexes
us is not that Harry is head of MI5; fine, that we can handle; but that
green Jo fresh out of uni appears to be about fourth in command, even with
her harsh new Ros-a-like hairshear... After the MI5 convoy transporting
Adam, Zaf and Asnik to London was ambushed by mercenaries Harry stormed
into the Grid bemoaning “Both Asnik and Zaf were taken!” Hang on, at least
two brave MI5 officers were shot dead but because they were expendable
Star Trek redshirts they didn’t even warrant a mention. Such was Harry’s
disregard for them, we’d be surprised if MI5 even went to search for their
bodies and would be happy to leave their corpses to be feasted on by the
- The Custard, reviewing the Season 6 opener
One of the many sound
ideas pioneered by the Romans was a grammatical form which expected the
answer no. Even as you asked the question, you already knew the reply.
How useful this would be today. Turn to your Radio Times, children. Spooks
(BBC 1): "Is the country under siege from sinister forces at the heart
of the establishment?" No, it isn't. Don't be silly.
- Nancy Banks Smith, "The Guardian"
The show allegedly
doubled the number of applicants for jobs at the real MI5 — but 90% of
them turned out to be repressed schoolboys hoping to meet Keeley Hawes.
- The Custard.TV reviews Spooks
"We want to attract
more female but the Spooks programme may be having a bad effect because
of the way some of the female characters have been killed off."
- Unnamed MI5 'mole' on the downside of Spooks' popularity
"It's a very good way
of keeping audiences hooked when they know their heroes aren't necessarily
going to make it to the end of the episode."
- Rupert Penry Jones, on the demise of so mant of the show's leads
CSCE (Cutest Small
Child Ever) scurries into the room and plops her small, blond self on her
- from Becky Rickert's comments on the first episode for "Whoosh.Org"
Jane (to Susan): "I'm
Jane, Steve's girlfriend."
Susan (to Steve): "You have a girlfriend?"
Steve: "Well, at the moment, yes."
Susan: "At the moment?"
Steve: "You're early."
Jane: "Are you seeing this woman?"
Steve: "No! No, no... not for another hour."
- Steve & Susan's first date begins, "Coupling"
"How did you find me
"So you called my house. I wasn't home. Then you called all my friends. And then you called all the restaurants in the area until you found my reservation."
"Well, if I didn't do that, how would we ever see each other?"
- Steve tries and fails to escape from Jane, "Coupling"
"I'm always this nervous,
you're just closer now, you can see it better."
- Jeff, "Coupling"
"So when you asked
me if I had plans you didn't mean that you wanted the sofa, because that's
what they normally mean."
- Jeff, unprepared for being asked out, "Coupling"
"I like going out,
but I'm rubbish at asking people out."
"I like going out too, but I'm rubbish at being asked out."
- Jeff & Julia, "Coupling"
"Steve, you know what
the sentence of death is don't you? I don't mean the sentence of death
like in executions and stuff, I mean the scary one. Just five words Steve.
Five little words...'where is this relationship going'?"
- Jeff, "Coupling"
"Jeff, 'normally' has
never been used in that sentence before."
- Steve, "Coupling"
"Steve, you just compared
our relationship to the Cold War?"
"On the plus side, it did last a very long time."
"So what you're saying is that the bond between us is in fact the threat of mutually assured destruction?"
- Susan and Steve, "Coupling"
"I resent that. I'm
perfectly capable of being friends with women without any kind of agenda."
"For how long?"
"As long as it takes."
- Patrick and Steve, "Coupling"
"Patrick, you have
the sexual politics of a Viking attack."
- Steve, "Coupling"
"Do you know what would
be the best way to wipe out all of humankind if you were a space alien
with a special kind of mind ray? Make all women telepathic. Because if
they suddenly found out about the kind of stuff that goes on in our heads
they would kill us all on the spot."
- Jeff, "Coupling"
"I've forgotten how
to speak English again! I hate it when that happens."
- Jeff, unaware he's chatting up a foreigner, "Coupling"
"It's always the same
with men. Looks like a starting handle, works like an off switch."
- Sally, "Coupling"
"Look, it is not physically
possible for a man to know what a woman wants. Which is very unfair. Because
you always know what we want."
"Yeah, because we always have the common decency to only ever want one thing. And do you ever thank us for making it so simple? Never."
- Steve and Patrick, "Coupling"
"We are men. We are
different. We have only one word for soap. We do not own candles. We have
never seen anything of any value in a craft shop. We do not own magazines
full of photographs of celebrities with their clothes on."
- Steve, "Coupling"
"When we finally get
our hands on the gear, let me tell you, it's not a drill. We're supposed
to fly those babies the first time we get in them."
- Jeff, "Coupling"
"My advice is to get
them off right after your shoes and before your trousers...that's the sock
gap. Miss it and suddenly you're a naked man in socks. No self-respecting
woman will let a naked man in socks do the squelchy with her."
- Jeff, "Coupling"
"Close? We're porn
"Yeah. You see, in the event of Steve's death, the first thing I'll do is go straight to his place and remove all the pornography before his parents can find it. And he's promised to do the same thing for me. That's how close we are."
"You guys have seriously made arrangements to destroy each other's dirty videos?"
"Who said 'destroy?'"
- Jeff explains his friendship with Steve to Susan, "Coupling"
"Where's the death
"It's not a death book, it's a medical encyclopedia."
"It's a death book, for each disease it lists a life expectancy."
- Steve and Susan, "Coupling"
"Basic rule, the more
wonderful you are at the start of the conversation, the more dumped you
are at the end."
- Sally, "Coupling"
"I have shagged and
shagged and shagged, and I'm not pregnant! All the little bastards missed!"
- Jane, "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"
"You're pregnant? ...Who?
"Time's up Steve, now someone else gets to be the child."
- Steve and Susan, "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"
"She's incubating an
alien life form and one day it's going to climb out and destroy our world."
- Steve, resorting to euphemism to deal with pregnancy, "Nine And A Half Minutes"
"Why a dating agency?"
"Because I'm tired of wasting my time on people who aren't desperate."
- Sally and Jane, "Nine And A Half Minutes"
"Steve! Your subconscious is executing you on a nightly basis... last night it was an axe-wielding foetus!"
- Susan and Steve, discussing Steve's fatherhood fears, "Night Lines"
"I made the bed and
I have to lie to it."
- Steve, with a freudian slip as he tries to reassure Susan, "Night Lines"
"Take your eyes off
"Have they got bigger?"
"No, just more unavailable."
- Tamsin puts her ex Oliver in his place, "Night Lines"
"Will you stop wandering
in through my front door? This is not, I repeat not, an American sitcom!"
- Steve, to Jane, "Night Lines"
"You are a threat to
every relationship in the world until you are married or dead or both."
- Sally, to Jane, "Night Lines"
"For this is the game
- Sally, with her opening gambit to Patrick in their nightly battle of wits, "Bed Time"
"Oliver is the sweetest,
nicest, kindest man I've ever met. How do I get rid of someone like that?"
- Oliver obviously isn't Jane's type, "Circus of the Epidurals"
"Sometimes a man is
faced with the right thing to do and the wrong thing... and he only misses
- Patrick, digging a deeper hole with Sally, "Nine and a Half Months"
"Fatal Attraction meets
- Steve, describing his relationship with Jane, "Nine and a Half Months"
"I can answer it with
three letters: N-B-C. Very, very good writing team. Very, very good cast.
The network [expletive] it up, because they intervened endlessly. If you
really want a job to work, don't get Jeff Zucker's team to come help you
with it, because they're not funny.All right? There you go. I can say that
because I don't care about working for NBC. But I think I'm entitled to
say that because I think the way in which NBC slagged off the creative
team on American 'Coupling' after its failure was disgraceful and traitorous.
So I enjoy slagging them off. That's the end of my career in L.A. I'll
be leaving shortly."
- Steven Moffat, creator of Coupling, explaining why the American version of the show failed
# THIS LIFE
"You know, they say
that when a baby is newborn, it doesn't really understand that other people
exist. It quite naturally assumes that the whole universe revolves around
it. You are that baby, Miles. You never got past that first stage. You
never found out that not everything on this Earth has got to do with you."
- Anna to Miles
"So you're going to
bugger up my chances with other women now?"
"Are you really going to need any help with that?"
- Miles and Anna
"You don't want a relationship,
Anna. You just want to cut my balls off!"
"Well, I'd have to find them first!"
- Miles and Anna
"Only the old can afford
to be young."
"No,I'm trying to give
up. You know those things kill 2000 people a week?"
"Imagine if they didn't. Imagine if there was 2000 more people staying around every week. As it is, there isn't room enough to swing a cat."
- Miles and Anna, discussing smoking
"Well if you'll excuse
me, I've got a long bath and a short dress to get into."
"Should I be having
all the sex Egg thinks I'm having?"
- Miles, "This Life+10"
This Life+10 was proof
that you should never look back. You can’t resolve the past, simply spoil
it. In retrospect, of course, the cast should never have stopped doing
it. Nothing they did afterwards was as good. The zeitgeist is a rare, ephemeral
creature, made up of snatches of music, the colour of your duvet, a type
of kettle, a way of smoking, a haircut, an expression, an attitude, and
This Life briefly caught it. It also showed how difficult it is really
to grasp the day.
- AA Gill, "The Times"
The people who watched
and loved "This Life" were of a similar age to the people sitting on the
Ikea furniture on the screen. Here were a bunch of people who were coming
of age in front of us: they had money for the first time, relationships
and affairs; they did what they hell they wanted, it was carefree and fun.
Perhaps we saw some of our own lives in there; maybe we just wanted to
be like them. It felt real, and not just because of the wobbly hand-held
cameras, but because they spoke (and swore) and behaved like real twentysomethings.
- Sam Wollaston, "The Guardian"
It's hard to believe
that only a decade ago swear words were the shibboleths of cutting-edge
- Phil Hogan, reviewing "This Life+10", "The Observer"
"What is it about me?"
"The look that says I'm desperate, permanently available and no one else will have me."
- Kurt & Brian, "Teachers"
"I'm going to dress
up like a girl."
- Susan, out to impress, "Teachers"
"When was the last
time you made a real decision?"
- Simon, "Teachers"
"Reading a book would
be an admission of failure. It's like - my life is boring, I'll read about
- Simon, "Teachers"
"I've barely even left
this town, I don't know if these places I hear about actually exist: America,
- Simon, getting restless, "Teachers"
"Where are you going?"
"Brian, word association: Paris."
- Kurt and Brian attempt to dissuade Simon, "Teachers"
"Perhaps it's fate's
way of telling me to go."
"Perhaps it's nature's way of telling you you f*cked up."
- Simon and Susan, after he realises you can't refund a non-refundable ticket, "Teachers"
"Come with me."
"I can't, because I'm practical, level-headed, sensible and I have no desire to contract dysentry."
- Simon and Susan, saying goodbye, "Teachers"
"Forget about pride,
it's time to beg."
- Susan advises Simon, "Teachers"
"I made a major breakthrough
with the sonnets today."
"The kids are finally getting them then?"
"Sod the kids. Me."
- Simon and Jenny, "Teachers"
"They listen to you."
"Only when I say something they want to hear."
- Jenny and Susan, "Teachers"
"Yes, we spent the
night together, and yes, it was very good. No, this doesn't mean we're
seeing each other. You can continue gossiping about us now."
- Jenny fills the rest of the staff in, "Teachers"
"Can we please talk
about sex or football?"
- Kurt, bored by talking about work, "Teachers"
"Blokes can't tell
if other blokes are good looking. I mean, I can't tell if birds fancy you."
- Brian, to Kurt, "Teachers"
"Don't get me wrong.
I'd still shag you. I just wouldn't want to."
- Brian, to Lyndsey, "Teachers"
"Can I be honest?"
"Can I stop you?"
- Liz and Kurt, the morning after, "Teachers"
"Do you mean small
in relation to the rest of his body, or just small?"
- Susan, "Teachers"
"Can the PE department
at least make it look like we're trying to make some of those fat little
things run around a bit."
- Mrs Hunter, announcing Obesity Awareness month, "Teachers"
"We might laugh at
the beliefs of others but we can't do it to their faces. Not any more."
- Mrs Hunter, announcing Religious Tolerance week, "Teachers"
"What would you say
separates man from other animals?"
- Lindsey and a pupil, "Teachers" (spotted on We Love Teachers)
# OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Quotes from the mini-series adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens.
"He continually berates
me for my lack of energy. But, give me something to be energetic about,
and my God I'll show him energy!"
- Eugene Wrayburn, disappointing his father
"I already have in
my employ a literary man with a wooden leg."
- Mr. Nicodemus Boffin
"She is so trivial.
So capricious. So mercenary. And yet, she is so beautiful."
- John Rokesmith about Bella
"If I can't beg, borrow
or steal it. I must marry it."
- Bella Wilfer, resigned to chasing money
"An evening's marauding
and attracting is just the thing to raise my spirits."
- Bella Wilfer
"He's not rich. Well,
for a gentleman he's not rich."
- Lizzie, about Mr Wrayburn
"Now Liz, be a rational
girl and a good sister."
- Charley, advising Lizzie about Mr. Headstone's proposal
"Your brother is not
worth a thought, except perhaps of tears."
- Mr Wrayburn to Lizzie
"You even play the
mysterious stranger in private, Mr Rokesmith."
- Bella to John
"You are wonderfully
- John to Bella
"My dear Mortimer,
you are the express picture of contented industry, reposing after the virtuous
labours of the day."
"My dear Eugene, you are the express picture of discontented idleness..."
- Eugene Wrayburn and Mortimer Lightwood
"I have turned up at
the present juncture, with the intention of consulting my highly intelligent
and respected solicitor on the position of my affairs."
"Your highly intelligent and respect solicitor is of opinion that your affairs are in a bad way, Eugene."
- Eugene and Mortimer
"Since Miss Wilfer
rejected me, I have never again urged my suit with a spoken syllable or
- John Rokesmith to Mr Boffin
"To lose the ward and
the secretary in one afternoon that is extremely imprudent of Mr. Boffin...
Oh really, Mortimer! When you know the man needs counsel."
"I hardly see how I am to blame. When two people are inclined to run off together, a lawyer is the last person to prevent it."
- Lady Tippins and Mortimer Lightwood
"You must not avenge
me at her expense."
- Eugene to Mortimer, about Lizzie
"She is suffering in
almost unbearable happiness."
- Bella, about Lizzie and Eugene
"This social experiment
is doomed to failure!"
- Lady Tippins, about Eugne and Lizzie
"You seem flush with
friends, Venus, and among them."
- Silas Wagg to Mr Venus
"She's so selfless
and contented I can't afford to be rich yet."
- John, to Mrs Boffin about Bella
# WATCHING THE DETECTIVES
"Death seems to follow
you around, Mr. Foyle."
"Quite the opposite, I follow it."
- Frank Gannon & Christopher Foyle, "Foyle's War"
"It seems half of Hastings
had decided to do away with him, you just happened to get there first."
- Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle to Dr. Wrenn, "Foyle's War"
- Susan Gascoigne, discovering her parents are murderers, "Foyle's War"
"If it was simple suicide
why is someone so lofty as yourself spending so much time on it?"
- Barbara Hicks to Christopher Foyle, "Foyle's War"
"Why are so sure it
was me he described?"
"Well, red jacket, blonde hair, very attractive."
- Barbara Hicks and Christopher Foyle, "Foyle's War"
"What do you think
will happen if there is an invasion?"
"Well, the likes of us will be lined up and shot."
- Hugh Reid & Christopher Foyle, both senior policemen, "Foyle's War"
"They call them 'The
Few'. Who would have thought we could produce so many of them?"
- Si Michael Waterford, to Christopher Foyle, about RAF fighter pilots, "Foyle's War"
"You do realise that's
the third time I've been blown up?"
- Sam, realising the writers like to put her in jeopardy, "Foyle's War"
"I thought the war
had put a stop to football..."
- Sam, on one of the upsides of war, "Foyle's War"
"Decent men don't kill?"
- A sceptical Foyle to Milner, "Foyle's War"
"The law being what
it is, hanging is the best way you can serve your country."
- Foyle, to a shirking murder suspect, "Foyle's War"
"Well, I wouldn't say
- Foyle, with his trademark line to Sam, "Foyle's War"
"What will happen to
the series once the war's over?"
"Foyle's Peace. And a ratings disaster."
- Michael Kitchen, of "Foyle's War" in an interview with "Radio Times"
"I seem to recall from
our discussions that you're a music lover."
"They weren't discussions, they were interrogations."
- Russell Clark (Michael Kitchen) and Inspector Morse (John Thaw), "Morse: Death of the Self"
"It must be hard living
with your level of distrust."
- Russell Clark, parting shot to Morse, "Morse: Death of the Self"
"Good evening Mrs Van
Huet, I see you have another dead woman in your hall."
- Detective Inspector Amer, to Headmistress Van Heut, "Out of Bounds"
"If you want to know
what killed him, I'd say asphyxiation."
"He was buried alive!"
"I can think of a better death."
"I can think of a better job right now."
- Dr. Andrews and DCI Jim Taggart, "Taggart"
"You're a cynic, do
you know that?"
"Somebody has to be."
- DS Livingstone and DCI Taggart, "Taggart: Killer"
"You never have a woman
going about murdering men. I think we should have one, to balance things
- The Gondola barman, in "Taggart: Killer"
"We've a dismembered
body down here. I suppose you'll want to have a look at it."
- Taggart to Livingstone, "Taggart: Dead Ringer"
"...said to be the
meanest b*****d on the Clyde."
"Well I would'nae speak so well of the living."
- Taggart and Livingstone, discussing a shipbuilder, "Dead Ringer"
"Too many people wanted
to speak about me and not to me."
- The mother of a murder victim explains why she moved, "Dead Ringer"
"Have either of you
been to Ethiopia?"
"Is that near Ibrox?"
"There's still a lot of witchcraft and sorcery there."
"Sounds like Ibrox."
- George Cunningham and Alan Tulloch, "Dead Ringer"
"You know what's the
worse part of this job? Knowing you mighta prevented something."
- Taggart to new recruit Jardine, "Killing Philosophy"
"I used to bounce Mike
on my knee when he was a child."
"It's a wonder he survived."
- Taggart with Livingstone, recalling his friendship with Jardine's father
"What are you doing
"Washing my hair."
"Self defence classes."
"I'm not that dangerous!"
- Livingstone, getting shot down by a colleague
"Who supplied this
- Taggart, after McVitie hears some local gossip about a suspect
"One Glasgow Bowman,
there's only one Glasgow Bowman! One Glasgow Bowman!"
- Taggart comes across some football fans with a dark sense of humour
"There's two things
you must never try and understand: the mind of a murderer, and the mind
of a woman."
- Taggart, to Livingston
"I think everyone should
marry three times. The first time for fun, the second for a meaningful
relationship, and the third time for money."
- Mrs Fleming to Jim Taggart, "Taggart: Double Jeopardy"
"Ah come on, you can't
be a jessie in a place like this!"
- Taggart to Jardine, after he orders a soft drink at a beer festival, "Double Jeopardy"
"There's been a murder."
- DCI Jim Taggart, that's pronounced 'mur-dah'
Taggart has been running
for 852 years. Newer shows have effortful wisecracks to whip things along,
but Taggart merely allows a mordant wit to break the surface now and again.
I like to think that its survival in the face of younger, glibber, slicker,
smugger rivals says something comforting about our usually flabby viewer
consciences — that somewhere deep within us, we still believe that melancholy
is the proper mood for murder.
- Lucy Mangan, "The Guardian"
The real mystery is
why, so long after the death of its original star (the estimable Mark McManus)
do the producers insist on retaining the series' original title. Okay,
so in the aftermath of McManus's unexpected demise it was a touching tribute;
now, however, it simply seems ghoulish, not to mention pointless.
- Pay Stacey, commenting on "Taggart" in the "Evening Herald"
"I've worked in some
dreadful places in my life, so I know I'm really lucky to have this job.
I never pass a factory without thinking about those days and how lucky
- Mark McManus, former labourer and actor
"Please don't put me
to the bother of a DNA saliva test, they don't come cheap."
- DCI Tom Barnaby to a suspect, "Midsummer Murders"
It's a wonder there
are any people left in the English countryside, the way the venerable 'Mystery!'
series has been knocking them off all these years.
- Ron Wertheimer, reviewing the long running detective series 'Mystery', " Times"
"Oh and Anna, there's
no need to call me sir all the time."
"Sorry, force of habit — habit of The Force I suppose. What should I call you?"
"Commander will be fine."
- Commander Brierly and Anna Lee, adjusting to life outside the police, "Anna Lee"
"Impersonating a police
officer, issuing threats... affray. I've fallen into bad company here Anna."
- Bernie to Anna, roped in on a case, "Anna Lee"
"Therese confided these
things to me within the seal of confession. To break that seal would be
to violate God's sacrament."
"I doubt God intended his sacraments to protect evil Father."
"His intentions are not for us to know."
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice—"
"—for they will be filled. There is a higher court than man's detective. One in which men who defile young girls are punished with eternal torment."
"Then she was defiled."
"So we'll begin your confession. Your first sin will be luring a priest to commit sacrilege."
- Murdoch questions a Catholic priest, "Detective Murdoch Mysteries"
"Sorry. At school I
was always the boy..."
- Dr Julie Ogden, dancing badly with Murdoch, "Murdoch Mysteries"
"Can you imagine the
chaos if men were to faint everytime something upset us?"
"Can you imagine wearing a corset on a hot day?"
- Inspector Brackenreid and Dr Julia Ogden, "Murdoch Mysteries: Poor Tom is Cold"
"Julia said you could
be a bit stuffy... If it's any consolation she called me a dissolute rake..."
- Dr Finch, to Murdoch, "Murdoch Mysteries: Under the Dragon's Tail"
"Murdoch, you're found
two perfectly good murderers. Pick one!"
- Inspector Ramsgate, losing patience with Murdoch, "Murdoch Mysteries"
"Sir, I have the dress
you ordered. And your pig has arrived."
- George, as Murdoch prepares a forensic experiment, "Murdoch Mysteries"
"The solution of a
murder is infinitely easier than the prevention."
- Sherlock Holmes (Ronald Howard) in "The Winthrop Legend"
"I cannot leave this
place without her. I love her... This woman is created for me. Do you understand?"
- Henry Baskerville, to Watson, about Miss Stapleton, "Hound of the Baskervilles" (1981)
"Sherlock Holmes? On
your way to the dark continent to save a damsel in distress?"
"If I were, I could only hope that she was one-tenth as beautiful as yourself."
- Lilly Langtry greets Holmes (Christopher Lee), "Incident at Victoria Falls"
"The butler was off
for the night."
"They always are."
"And the housekeeper sleeps on the top floor, She didn't hear anything."
"They never do."
- Watson and Holmes (Jeremy Brett), "The Return of Sherlock Holmes"
"On the whole it's
best I should not leave the country, it causes an unhealthy excitement
among the criminal classes."
- Sherlock Holmes (Rupert Everett), "Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Silk Stocking"
one thing Watson, there can be no interference with free trade, daughters
must be married off."
- Holmes, explaining why the ball must go on, "Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Silk Stocking"
"Just think how big
this plan must be if she's willing to murder two policemen — merely as
- Sherlock Holmes (Jonathan Pryce), "The Baker Street Irregulars"
"Will you be careful!"
"Is this anytime to be careful!"
- The Larrabees, in desperate straits, "Sherlock Holmes: The Strange Case of Alice Faulkner"
"The police? ...In
9 or 9 and a half minutes."
"Oh, you expect to leave here in 9 minutes?"
"No, I expect to leave here in one. But it will take me 8 to 8 and a half minutes to find a policeman. This is a dangerous neighbourhood."
- Sherlock Holmes (Frank Langella), about to escape a trap, "Strange Case of Alice Faulkner"
"Watson, in times like
these you should tell your butler never to take the first cab that comes,
nor the second. The third... may be safe."
- Holmes, "Strange Case of Alice Faulkner"
"We're looking for
an unusually short, one-armed man with medical training."
- Sherlock Holmes (James D'Arcy), with a leap of logic, "Sherlock: Case of Evil"
"Consider the tragic
irony: we've accepted a commission from a victim to find her murderer.
For the first time we've been retained by a corpse."
- Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), "The Scarlet Claw"
"I have a right to
share your dangers."
- Watson, gallant and foolhardy, "The Scarlet Claw"
"Like many good men,
he feels the need to mask his virtues."
- Doyle, describing Dr Bell to Lt Blaney, "Murder Rooms"
"If I see anybody enjoying
themselves, I shall of course expect them to be thrown out."
- Professor Rutherford, performing a public autopsy, "Murder Rooms"
"Someone killed *Sherlock
- Jessica Fletcher, "Murder She Wrote: The Murder of Sherlock Holmes"
"It was a great pleasure
meeting you Mrs. Fletcher. You have a rare gift for murder."
- Dexter Baxendale, PI, to Jessica Fletcher, "Murder She Wrote"
"You'd be Mrs. Fletcher
— the murder lady."
- A suspect greets Jessica, "Murder She Wrote"
"Doc gets a call and
he's here 10 minutes later. What I don't get is who calls you?"
- Sheriff Mort, arriving on the murder scene after Jessica, "Murder She Wrote"
"You were hoping to
drown the police with so many clues that they overlooked the important
one: the blood."
- Jessica Fletcher, tracking down some red herrings, "Murder She Wrote"
"We retain the good
things in our lives by investing in someone else's."
- Jessica, putting something back, "Murder She Wrote: The Final Curtain"
"That's the insidious
thing about lies: the best ones are closest to the truth."
- Cassandra Hawkins, "Murder She Wrote: The Last Free Man"
"Stop being so brave,
you just got shot!"
- Samantha to Cassie, "Mystery Woman"
"How are you?"
"Floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee."
- Samantha and Cassie, in recovery, "Mystery Woman"
"A real mystery buff
like Dorothy wouldn't make so many mistakes."
- Sam thinks the police have got the wrong suspect, "Mystery Woman"
"Real life murderers
make more mistakes than fictional ones."
"In crimes of passion, yes, but not in a murder planned this carefully."
- Philby and Sam, "Mystery Woman"
"Answers are easy,
the hard part is knowing what questions to ask."
- Philby, paraphrasing Sherlock Holmes, "Mystery Woman"
"Gossip? I prefer to
call it a healthy interest in human nature."
- Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury), "The Mirror Crack'd"
"The young people think
the old people are fools, but the old people know the young people are
– Miss Marple's motto
"There's always possibility
of X... The unknown factor... someone who hasn't appeared yet but whose
presence behind the facts can be deduced."
- Miss Marple in "Sleeping Murder" (1987)
"Let sleeping murder
- Miss Marple, "Sleeping Murder"
"You believed what
he said. It really is very dangerous to believe people. I never have for
- Miss Marple, "Sleeping Murder"
"Where were you between
the hours of eleven and midnight?"
"In my room."
"No, I had a bottle of port."
- from "Marple: The Sittaford Mystery"
"You old ladies, you
look so benign yet your brain goes tick tock, tick tock; poring over the
latest murders in the newspapers, looking for motive."
"Well, one has few pleasures left in life."
- Kirsten Lindstrom to Miss Marple, "Marple: Ordeal by Innocence"
"I like a good detective
story. But you know, they begin in the wrong place! They begin with the
murder. But the murder is the end. The story begins long before that -
years before sometimes - with all the causes and events that bring certain
people to a certain place at a certain time on a certain day... All converging
towards a given spot — zero hour... All of them converging towards zero."
- Freddy Treves, to Miss Marple, "Marple: Towards Zero"
"Even London looks
beautiful from up here."
- Jane Cooper, enjoying the rooftop view from "Marple: At Bertram's Hotel"
"It's very improper
of me to ask this... but do you have any idea what happened?"
- Inspector Larry Bird to Miss Marple, "Marple: At Bertram's Hotel"
"Now... I have a lawyer
- Lady Sedgwick, "Marple: At Bertram's Hotel"
"I was so stupid...
How can I ever be as good as you?"
- Jane Cooper, learning from Miss Marple, "At Bertram's Hotel"
"Whatever it is you're
trying to ask me — the answer is yes."
- Jane Cooper, prompting Larry Bird, "At Bertram's Hotel"
"I have never done
this period before and it is so lovely, because it really embraces women's
curves and femininity."
- Sophia Myles, on her role in "Marple: Sleeping Murder"
"These modern boys
have never worn anything as structured as formal suits and stiff collars,
but once they put them on, they start standing and moving like old-fashioned
movie-stars. Everyone gets really regretful when they have to give their
costumes back. In fact, Emilia Fox liked a dress she wore so much that
she bought it to wear at premieres. Kelly Brook bought all the clothes
she wore. The 1950s clothes suit her figure so well."
- Frances Tempest, costume designer on "Miss Marple"
"I don't know why we
keep coming back to Agatha Christie. There is nothing in her work that
relates to any kind of real England we know or that there has ever been
— it's a myth, a fable... but she managed to tap into something people
- Timothy Dalton
British detective fiction
was always a vehicle for social retribution. It allows the middle class
to dismiss the other two classes for what they are: the same, and not us.
Like the undeserving poor, the nobs don't work, spend money irresponsibly,
can't control their sexual appetites and are indifferent to the many children
they foist on the rest of us, who have to be sexually responsible and work
for a living. It's satisfying to see a few of them die of unnatural causes,
and if the detective who delivers their comeuppance comes from one class
or the other, all the better.
- Alessandra Stanley, reviewing "Malice Aforethought" in the "New York Times"
One of the delights
of the movies made from Agatha Christie novels is their almost complete
lack of passion: They substitute wit and style. Nobody really cares who
gets bumped off, and nobody really misses the departed. What's important
is that all the right clues be distributed, so that Poirot and the audience
can pick them up, mull them over, and discover the culprit.
- Roger Ebert, reviewing "Evil Under The Sun", "Chicago Sun Times"
If we had to compile
a list of England’s peculiar and unique gifts to world culture, quite close
to the top we’d have to put the detective novel. An episodic story of oblique
clues and crimson fish, emanating from a corpse pursued by a detective.
The rules of the whodunnit are as strict as North Korean formation dancing.
You can only see what the detective sees. You will be given all the information
you need to solve the crime. The perpetrator will be someone you’ve been
introduced to, but not the person you first thought of. And there will
be twists. The quality of the writing is unimportant: whodunnits are to
novels what crosswords are to poetry. So the episodic detective translated
well into television, where the writing is almost always secondary.
- AA Gill, "The Times"
"In a review of Dr
Jekyll and Mr Hyde, published just days before the first murder, the Pall
Mall Gazette wrote: 'Scratch John Bull and you will find an ancient Briton,
who revels in blood, who loves to dip deep in murder.' And of all the fine
arts, murder and its stories, were the ones at which the British really
- Christopher Frayling, "Shadow of the Ripper"
Admirers of Agatha
Christie are inclined to feel that there is only one thing wrong with her
– and that is that she didn't write enough. Hers may seem a considerable
oeuvre, but once hooked, it is not long before one begins to experience
Ending Dread. This is a condition that generally affects the reader of
a single book, which turns out to be so entrancing that before long one
is looking anxiously at the number of pages left before the end. But in
extreme cases (and readers of detective fiction are especially badly affected,
because the rereading potential of the genre is so limited), Ending Dread
can affect an author's entire body of work, setting in long before the
enthusiast has exhausted the available titles.
- Jane Shilling, from her Telegraph review of "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd"
Why do we take pleasure
in gruesome death, neatly packaged as a puzzle to which we may find a satisfactory
solution through clues - or if we are not clever enough, have it revealed
by the all-powerful tale-teller at the end of the book? It is something
to do with being reduced to, and comforted by, playing by the rules...
Allingham can do both good and evil convincingly. Three of the Queens of
Crime - Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh - also seem to
have felt that the form demanded that the detective should be an aristocratic
younger son, disdaining a life of leisure in order to use his good mind
and fine moral sense... Of these three, I love Allingham most, because
she wrote best and is most surprising and satisfactory as a tale-teller.
She has invented her own world, and we recognise with pleasure that we
are in it... Her nature is generous - her readers must understand as well
as shudder at these truly nasty persons... She turned puzzles into true
drama, but with a conscious artificer's grace.
- AS Byatt, picking Margery Allingham as her crime queen in "The Telegraph"
Fallen Angel really
fancied itself, and, on paper, with good reason. Billed as a why instead
of a whodunnit, it had the novel approach of telling the story backwards,
so by the end of episode one we already knew that spooky Rosie (Emilia
Fox) was a murderer, and we just needed to find out how she'd become one.
For less than a nanosecond I thought we might be in for a bumpy old Memento-style
ride around the space-time continuum, with lots of clever-clogs episodic
flashbacks and forwards and sideways, but not a bit of it — for all its
pretensions to a modish story structure this was a very conventional sort
of mystery, even old-fashioned. When somebody actually said 'I could murder
a gin a tonic', I waited for Poirot in vain.
- Kathryn Flett, "The Observer"
"Quite a field day
for you isn't it? Everyone dropping likes flies?"
- James Ferguson to Hercule Poirot (David Suchet), "Death on the Nile"
"We must be even more
intelligent. We must be so intelligent that he does not suspect us of being
intelligent at all."
"And there you will be invaluable mon ami. Come."
- Poirot and Lt. Hastings, "Mysterious Affair at Styles"
"Marry me Cynthia!
<she laughs>...there's nothing funny about a proposal of marriage?"
"No there isn't, and you ought to be careful, somebody might accept you next time."
- Lt. Hastings, chivalrous officer and Cynthia Murdoch, damsel in distress, "Styles"
"Have you ever been
to New York, Hastings? It is a beautiful city. There each street is at
right angles to each avenue and each avenue is numbered nicely — first,
second, third, fourth. Man is in command there, but here how does one live
with the fact that nature is untidy, uncontrolled, anarchic, inefficent!"
- Poirot, strolling through the English countryside, "Styles"
"Promise me one thing,
Hastings? Chief Inspector Japp must never — never — know that I investigated
such a case as this."
- Hercule Poirot, dealing with trivia in "The Adventure of the Clapham Cook"
"Merely because a man
does not offer you a drink Hastings, it does not necessarily mean he is
guilty of other crimes."
- Poirot, "The Adventure of the Clapham Cook"
"Prevention of crime
is not what policemen are best at. They would need to have one constable
for each citizen and go everywhere with him. But fortunately for the human
race, most of us have our own little policeman — up here. This kidnapper
has, perhaps, no little policeman."
- Poirot, "The Adventure of Johnnie Waverley"
"I was half hoping
there'd be a murder, so you'd stay."
- Miss Lyle to Poirot, about to get her wish, "Triangle at Rhodes"
"I am a detective not
- Poirot, being interrogated at immigration
"If you crazy English
don't stop trying to kill each other I will arrest you all!"
- The Italian police are not impressed
"Kindly do not band
together against Poirot... Do I not do my best to keep us all happy?"
- Poirot, to Hastings and Miss Lemon, "The Dream"
"Where Hercule Poirot
is concerned there arises immediately a suspicion of murder?"
- Poirot and Inspector Japp, investigating corpse
"It is no good, Chief
Inspector, to just give you the answers?"
- Poirot, trying to get Japp to use his own 'little grey cells'
"Life first Miss Lemon,
- Poirot, to his over-eager secretary, "The Incredible Theft"
"Do not be sad Hastings,
it is not a tragedy for me that I was born on the wrong side of the channel!"
- Poirot, responding to some over-patriotic behaviour, "Peril at End House"
"You have little appreciation
of the feminine temperament mon ami."
- Poirot to Hastings
"I'm just going to
"We are in the middle of a murder investigation!"
- Hastings should know better than to holiday with Poirot
"Poirot says that 93%
of all police work is a waste of time."
- Chief Inspector Japp
"Can't I have just
one little murder case to myself?"
- Japp, bumping into Poirot and Hastings, "The Cornish Mystery"
"What a stunning woman."
"You are too easily stunned I think mon ami."
- Hastings and Poirot, "The Veiled Lady"
"It is a point of principle
that I always keep my balance at four hundred and forty-four pounds, four
shillings and four pence."
Poirot, having trouble with his bank, "The Lost Mine"
"It baffled even Poirot
for 10 seconds."
- Poirot, figuring out a magic trick, "The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim"
"I do not see mon ami.
I shut my eyes and I think. One must always seek the truth from within."
- Poirot's method
"I have here a parrot
for Mr. Poy-rot."
"It is pronounced 'pwa-roe'!"
"I'm dreadfully sorry, sir. I have a pwa-roe for Mr. Poy-rot."
- Poirot tackles a delivery man
"Miss Lemon, small
animals have no part to play in the homelife of a private detective from
Belgium... except of course as nourishment."
- Poirot, not enjoying the company of the parrot
"I know it's a rather
odd question but a rather odd person would like to know."
- Hastings, questioning a maid on Poirot's behalf
"You know Poirot, I
sometimes wonder if you don't set me these tasks just to see how much embarrassment
I can take in any one day."
"Please, do not associate
with that creature. I am still training it."
"It's only a parrot."
"I was talking to the parrot."
- Poirot and Hastings
"The weather, isn't
"No, it is cold and wet."
- Hastings and Poirot, "Double Sin"
"Poirot does not travel
"I say, what a rude
"He rather interests me..."
- Hastings and Poirot, bumping into a mysterious stranger
"Hastings why do you
not grow the moustache? I did not achieve true facial symmetry until I
grew the moustache."
"Prison can't be much
worse than 25 years at the London & Scottish Bank."
- Mr Shaw, showing no regrets in "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery"
"Poirot is not in the
business of vetting potential husbands!"
- Poirot, "The Plymouth Express"
"The accomodation was
not alright! The duck feather pillows: they felt as if the ducks were still
- Poirot, not impressed by some small-town hospitality, "Tragedy at Marsdon Manor"
"Doctor there's a gentleman
outside suffering from 'Hercule Poirot'. It seems quite serious."
- A doctor's receptionist with some deadpan delivery
"I have known of 5
wives murdered by their devoted husbands... and 22 husbands murdered by
- Poirot, explaining why marriage is not for him, "The Double Clue"
"That is a strange toast for a detective."
"Crime is my raison d'etre, it is my life."
- Poirot and the Countess Rossakoff
"You must continue
your work and I must continue mine, but not in the same country."
- Poirot, to the Countess
"Non, non, non Poirot.
Always you put the interpretation sinisters on matters most innocent."
- Poirot, correcting himself, "Wasp's Nest"
"He's talking about
investigating a murder that hasn't even happened yet."
- Hastings, about a bored Poirot
"I have my books, my
radio and an excellent demi-kilo of handmade chocolates."
- Poirot, on how he likes to spend Christmas, "Theft of the Royal Ruby"
"What evil lurks, under
- Poirot, preparing for a masquerade, "The Affair at the Victory Ball"
"There are many types
of people in this world, we must each be true to ourselves."
- Poirot, "The Affair at the Victory Ball"
"You are leaving? ...One
- Poirot to a fellow guest at a grouse shoot, "Mystery of Hunter's Lodge"
"The English do not
have a cuisine! They have food!"
- Poirot, "The Yellow Iris"
"It's a free country,
at least it was when we came in."
- Barton Russell, in an Argentina in turmoul, "The Yellow Iris"
"Don't worry Monsieur
Poirot, I'll call the French embassy."
"No, no, no, no! The Belgian embassy!"
- Poirot, being detained by the police
"It could be dangerous."
"Ah but when Poirot himself is involved Miss Lemon he too can be dangerous."
- Miss Lemon and Poirot
"Heart failure, it
explains nothing! I have yet to meet a corpse whose heart it still beats."
- Poirot, unimpressed with a medical report, "Case of the Missing Will"
"The young lady asked
for you especially."
- Poirot, standing out from the crowd, "The Chocolate Box"
"A spark in the otherwise
dull embers of the police force."
- One Belgian journalist's opinion of a young Poirot
"A man as arrogant
as he is may be vulnerable in ways he cannot imagine."
- Poirot, on why he helps Gervase Chevenix, "Dead Man's Mirror"
"Let us now consider
the language of the bullet..."
"It is no use! Not
to take this case is for Poirot more work than to take it."
- Poirot, trying and failing to take a break, "Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan"
"How could you possibly
"As ever it was the little details, the matters of no consequence that caught the attention of Poirot."
- Poirot and a suspect
"You don't look very
"Hercule Poirot is a detective not a bodyguard."
- Simeon Lee and Poirot, "Hercule Poirot's Christmas"
"I have yet to meet
one person in this house who has even a rudimentary sense of humour."
- Poirot, on the Lee household
"Simeon Lee earned
his death as he earned nothing else in his life."
- Stella to Poirot
"Well, well — seems
you can't even fly on an aeroplane now without someone getting murdered."
- Inspector Japp, "Death in the Clouds"
"You know what actresses
"Non. What are actresses like?"
"All things to all men."
- Lord Horbury and Poirot
"But I don't know shorthand."
"Neither I am sure does Mr Clancy. Just make the little squiggles with confidence and it will unnerve him."
- Poirot and Jane Grey
"He is an American
— at least he chews gum, wears the American spectacles and has a terrible
French accent. But it is easy to be an American in Paris."
"There are signs of
brains in this case."
- Poirot, "One Two, Buckle My Shoe"
"Poirot does not like
things he cannot explain."
"She never lets me
talk murder at the dinner table."
- Inspector Japp, unable to bring his work home to his wife, "Lord Edgware Dies"
"Here we are, the four
of us, together again. Of course, there's one thing missing: the body."
- Inspector Japp, as Poirot hosts a dinner for Hastings, Miss Lemon and Japp
"The walking of the
dog before breakfast — non, non, non! The routine of Bob is not the routine
- Poirot, not taking to life as a dog owner, "Dumb Witness"
"Had I the family hoping
to gain from my death? I would make a new will without delay leaving all
to a good friend that I could trust."
"And would you tell this friend?"
"Non, pas de tout. But I would tell to all those named in the old will that they were in it no longer... they would make certain that no accident befell me hoping that one day I would change my will again and favour them."
- Poirot and Emily Arundel
"As a man of method
surely you cannot believe in a seance?"
"Non, non, non I myself do not believe but I believe others believe and therefore I shall use it."
- Dr. Jacob Tanios and Poirot
"You and I, we know
— Bob — one does not need to speak in order to tell."
"There is only one
world, the here and now — an accident of physics, with biochemical trimmings."
"There is nothing beyond?"
"Nothing but wishful thinking."
- Dr. Grainger and Poirot
"This case has many
pairs Hastings — Charles and Theresa, Bella and Jacob."
"Hastings do me a favour
— whatever I say, nod in agreement."
"Did I ever do otherwise?"
- Poirot and Hastings
"You mean we're suspects?
- Isabel Tripp
"You forget mon ami
there is evil everywhere under the sun."
- Poirot, "Evil Under the Sun"
"You have a sea view
sir. Most of the rooms have a sea view, it comes with being on an island."
- Poirot is shown to his room by the bellboy
"Mr Poirot it wasn't
meant to be a busman's holiday,"
- Miss Lemon, after Poirot predictably encounters a murder
"The little grey cells
of Poirot — they are like the army of Napoleon."
"They march on their stomach you mean?"
- Poirot and Hastings, enjoying a full dinner
"The people most important
that you deal with are dead."
- Poirot, on the work of detectives and archaeologists, "Murder in Mesopotamia"
"Bonjour distinguished Belgian 'tec."
"You see Hastings! People begin to remember that I am not French."
- Poirot makes an impression on Miss Sheila Maitland
"An addict is always
adept in the extreme at concealing the addiction."
"I am taking you all
on a journey to the truth."
- Poirot, giving his 'lecture'
"You'd have made a
good archaeologist Mr Poirot, you have the gift for creating the past."
- Dr Leidner
"It is so strange when
the accident of a return, the accident of a person's beauty... destroys
- A jilted Elinor Carlisle to Poirot, "Sad Cypress"
"The eyes, they see
what they are meant to see."
- Hercule Poirot, "The Hollow"
"If you should see
me with a pistol in my hand the proper thing to do is to approach me and
ask for an explanation."
- Gudgeon (the Butler), training in the staff, "The Hollow"
"My success is founded
upon psychology: the why of human behaviour."
- Poirot, "Five Little Pigs"
"French was never my
strong point... Let's keep the entente cordiale."
- Philip Blake to Poirot
"It is surprising in
life, is it not, how soon the die is cast?"
- Poirot, on the childhood of the circle of friends in "Five Little Pigs"
"Don't you think you
a milking it a bit old boy?"
- Philip Blake, to Poirot, in the middle of his 'reveal'
"I've never thought
of you as a cow, perhaps as a horse, in the betting sense."
- Derek Kettering, to Ruth Kettering, "Blue Train"
"Is it off-season for
the criminals, or is our litte gallery about to be robbed?"
- Mr. Shaitana, greeting Poirot, "Cards on the Table"
"I don't collect the
artefacts of crime, I collect only the finest objects of their kind."
"And what do you consider to be the finest objects, artistically speaking, in crime?"
"Why, the human beings who commit them."
- Mr. Shaitana and Poirot, "Cards on the Table"
"I daresay even you
have had a few failures."
"Well the last one was 20 years ago."
- Major Despard and Poirot, "Cards on the Table"
"How can you plan a
crime of impulse?"
- Poirot, "Cards on the Table"
"Whether they try to
help or hinder me, they necessarily reveal their type of mind."
- Poirot, analysing suspects, "Cards on the Table"
"I am willing to believe
that you killed Shaitana but not in the manner that you have described
- Poirot, "Cards on the Table"
"Isn't it obvious?
A detective in the house looking for clues, Uncle Richard poisoned, Aunt
Cora hacked to death..."
- Rosamund Shane, bringing her relatives to their senses, "After The Funeral"
"You killed what?"
- Mrs. Leadbetter is introduced to Hercule Poirot, "Taken at the Flood"
"Monsieur Poirot always
knows what people need, even if they themselves do not."
- Lynn Marchmant
"You are not obliged
to tell Poirot anything, but it may save you the less delicate intrusions
of the police."
"You are itching to
tell us how you know, so you may aswell go ahead."
- Frances Cloade, unsettled by Poirot's insight
"One attempted suicide,
one successful suicide, one ordinary decent murder — I don't understand
any of it."
- D.S. Spence
"It is time for Poirot
- Poirot, as the final chapter looms, "Taken at the Flood"
"You seem fairly comfortable
with the sound of your own voice."
- David Hunter to Poirot
"How depraved does
a man have to be to cause such slaughter to conceal a single murder?"
"If you know the answers
to everything, I don't see why bother asking the questions..."
- Eve Carpenter, being questioned by Poirot, "Mrs McGinty's Dead"
"The passion for respectability
is strong. These are not artists or bohemians..."
- Poirot, on the covering-up of dark deeds in the English countryside
"The cooking is beyond
description. The currents of the cold air. The long hairs of the dogs...
And the coffee? Words cannot describe to you the fluid they serve to you
- Poirot, forced to take lodgings in an awful country guesthouse
have some good news... It is that someone has attempted to kill me."
- Poirot, on the right track
"Poirot is immortal
and he knows everything."
- Poirot, joining the dots
"Your knowledge of
human natures is unsurpassed... You're such an excellent judge of character."
- Ms Bulstrode to Poirot, looking for some assessments, "Cat Among The Pigeons"
"One can never mistake
the kness of a 24-year-old woman for those of a 14- or 15-year-old girl."
- Poirot, spotting an imposter
"Nothing is more dangerous
than to levy the blackmail on someone who has already killed at least once."
"I suppose school's
going to be dreadfully dreary now that nobody's getting bumped off..."
- Miss Upjohn, as Poirot finds the "Cat Among The Pigeons"
"How may I help you
mademoiselle? My manservant mentioned that you *might* have committed a
- Poirot to a confused Norma Restarick, "Third Girl"
"The fact that Poirot
discovered nothing means that a great deal is being concealed."
- Poirot, meeting a wall of silence
"Hello, it is Poirot
- Poirot takes a call
"The Third Girl is
in danger from the Peacock."
- Ariadne Oliver's message for Poirot
"I assure you she is always like this."
- Ariadne, watched over by a constable and Poirot
"Let the game be played
"The only way I could
save her was to kill her before you could."
- Poirot, at the end-game
- Poirot gets his reward
"Utter bonanza of crippled
- Dr Gerard, psychiatrist, on the Boynton clan, "Appointment with Death"
"You the girl who's
a doctor? You've seen death, so have I. Come with me... Shut her eyes.
- Dame Celia to Dr Sarah King, coming across the corpse
"Your appointment with
death, madam, it was always to be here."
"What I'm about to
deal you is a card you must keep very close to your chest."
- Colonel Carbury, with a secret for Poirot
"The voices of the
little grey cells... They have begun to sing to Poirot."
"You're always staring
"Am I? Do you mind? I certainly shan't do if it you mind."
- Ginny and Dr Gerard
"Heavens! Five consecutive
words, culminating in my Christian name... I shall have to ask you to be
- Sarah King, to the laconic Raymond Boynton
"...But only because
I lack the moral courage."
- Raymond Boynton, on why he's not the killer
"...I wanted her dead
too, in case you were wondering."
- Sarah King to Poirot
"Oh for god's sake
sit down Poirot, you're giving me indigestion hovering like that."
- Lord Boynton
"If I hadn't spoken,
would you have just kept watching me? ...Raymond."
"Now is the time to kiss me."
- Sarah, taking the lead with Raymond
"You can stare at me
significantly as long as you like Monsieur."
- Leonard Boynton to Poirot
"Poirot has one more
red herring left to fry..."
Never accept an invitation
to a country house weekend if Hercule Poirot is staying in the neighbourhood,
on account of the man being a lighting rod for murder.
- Joe Joseph, "The Times"
Whatever the criticisms
of the genteel world of Agatha Christie's whodunits, her murderers are
at least decent enough to obey the conventions of motive and opportunity.
In tonight's episode, only the lonely understand what those might be, and
poor old Poirot is clearly among them. Still, he does love an audience,
and the extended, squabbling, upper-class family featured here get the
Poirot lecture when two of their number die suddenly.
- Preview for "After the Funeral" in "The Sunday Times"
"There are too many
clues in this room!"
- Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney), "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974)
"Why must the English
conceal even their most impeccable emotions?"
- Hercule Poirot, "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974)
"Think! What else is
there to do on a train stuck in a snow drift?"
- Hercule Poirot, "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974)
"Yes, sir, the Italian
"Eh, does he speak English?"
"A kind of English, sir. I think he learnt it in a place called Chicago."
- Mr. Beddes and Poirot, "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974)
"You French upstart!"
"Belgian upstart, please Madam."
- Van Skyler and Poirot (Peter Ustinov), "Death on the Nile" (1978)
"In fact, I'm determined
to enjoy myself. It's so blissful here, so tranquil, so far from all violence
"Yes, you are right, Madame; the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and yet you forget that everywhere there is evil under the sun."
- Christine Redfearn and Poirot (Peter Ustinov), "Evil Under the Sun" (1982)
"M. Poirot I'm not
as lucky as my wife. I have absolutely no alibi. I was sitting over there
on that stone bench reading my book and between the hours of 11 and 1215.
I didn't move. Now I'm well aware M. Poirot that in your world when a murder
takes place everyone automatically comes up with a watertight alibi. However
I belong to that great world of millions of innocent men and women who,
curiously enough, don't have the foresight to provide themselves with an
alibi when a murder is taking place of which they know absolutely nothing.
Consequently as I was guilelessly reading my book there was no gardener
to come trotting by, respectfully touching his forelock and registering
the time on his grandfather's turnip watch. In short M. Poirot I don't
have the ghost of an alibi. Of course I could have er scampered over the
top of that peak like a mountain goat and er swarmed down the famous steps
we've all heard about and then crept up on Arlena and strangled her with
these powerful hands of mine. But unfortunately for you I did no such thing.
So see I have a big fat motive but no alibi. Next question."
- Odell Gardner (James Mason) to Poirot
"His story does seem
to confirm yours. Without knowing it, you have corroborated your own alibi.
- Poirot to Daphne Castle
"Give us a few clues?"
"I wish you to consider very carefully a bathing cap, a bath, a bottle, a wristwatch, the diamond, the noon day gun, the breath of the sea, and the height of the cliff. From that you should be able to solve it yourselves."
- Daphne Castle and Poirot
"This is a most unusual
crime, in that it appears no one had the opportunity of committing it."
"I've got bigger fish
"Often it is the little fish that are tastier..."
- Japp (David Suchet) and Poirot (Peter Ustinov), "Thirteen At Dinner" (1986)
"Dear oh dear oh dear,
there are enough alibis and motives for a dozen murders."
- A baffled Hastings
"A fine social mixture
is a work of art."
- Sir Montague, proud host
"The murderer is certainly
clever which practically eliminates the young man currently in jail."
"Poirot you're up to
something. I've never known you to be clumsy."
"Now is the time for
the gathering of those responsible..."
- Poirot, preparing to reveal all
"Things have reached
such a complexity that my duty is to stay here — and think."
- Poirot (Peter Ustinov), "Murder in Three Acts"
"To reconstruct a crime,
to make sense of it, for the judiciary, the layman, even, under certain
circumstances, believe it or not, the criminal himself, is a solemn duty
of the detective. Therefore, he must construct his case like a house of
cards, making absolutely sure that it will resist every attempt to knock
- Poirot, "Murder in Three Acts"
Most authors seem to
be drawn at some point to create a character who is an author, either as
a jokey wave to their readers or a therapeutic exploration of another kind
of writer they might have been. And, while such potentially self-indulgent
conceits might be considered the kind of trick favoured by the type of
writer who wins prizes rather than sells copies, some of the most populist
writers in English-language fiction have been among the keenest players
of these postmodernist games. Agatha Christie's fictional stand-in is Ariadne
Oliver, a best-selling lady detective writer who Christie's own sleuth
Hercule Poirot reads for distraction while working on a case (in 1963's
The Clocks, for example) and who frequently joins him as a deputy in detection.
With a playfulness that some might find surprising in such a generally
plain stylist, Christie sets up fictional mirrors. Oliver's recurring character
is Sven Hjerson, a Finnish detective whose adventures frequently test Miss
Oliver's very limited knowledge of Finland, in what can be presumed to
be a reference to Christie's irritations in satisying an audience desperate
for more instalments about a fastidious Belgian. Christie also used Oliver
as a sort of authorial version of a newspaper's ombudsman, admitting to
her own errors in previous plots through Oliver's anecdotes about her regrettable
- Mark Lawson, "The Guardian"
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