Ordeal By Innocence season 1, episode 1 premiere recap: “Episode 1”


Amazon’s latest miniseries, Ordeal By Innocence, has an entire family of suspects in this murder mystery.

Adapted from one of Agatha Christie’s renowned novelsOrdeal By Innocence is about a family torn apart by the murder of the matriarch. However, as the first episode dives further into the Argyll’s family dynamic, it’s clear any one of them could be the killer. All of the siblings have motives and are certainly damaged enough to have snapped back against her cruel nature.

The series opens with Rachel Argyll’s (Anna Chancellor) death as well as flashbacks to the orphaned kids who she raised. Immediately, the troubled son Jack (Anthony Boyle) is arrested for her death after “running” away to town. However, the viewers are immediately clued into the fact that Jack actually hitched a ride with a mysterious man who could offer an alibi. The man is never found and the poor boy is murdered in prison before he can ever stand trial. Of course, the rest of the Argylls all believe Jack rightfully died because his fingerprints were the only other ones found in the room.

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However, things change years later as the family patriarch, Leo (Billy Nighy), is preparing to marry his former secretary Gwenda (Alice Eve). The kids are all the estate and seem to have sunk into different aspects of grief over the years. Mary (Eleanor Tomlinson), the eldest child, has married a drunk former soldier named Philip (Matthew Goode) and tries to act like the perfect heiress she was raised to be.

The youngest, Hester (Ella Purnell), has begun acting like a naive child while middle daughter Tina (Crystal Clarke) has become submissive and quiet. Mickey Argyll (Christian Cooke), returns home after disappearing for years but brings with him a lot of baggage. All of the kids are wary of their soon to be stepmother, who is quite clearly a gold digger. However, the clear age difference definitely shoots both Leo and Gwenda up on the list of likely suspects.

Especially when Dr. Arthur Calgary (Luke Treadaway) shows up to the Argyll estate claiming to be Jack’s alibi. Unfortunately, Ordeal By Innocence isn’t going to allow viewers to take his admission at face value because something is clearly off about the man. Leo doesn’t believe him either because many people have pretended to be the supposed “alibi” over the years. The family kicks him out but Mickey ends up paying the man a visit at his hotel room. Still not convinced, he threatens Calgary with a beatdown if he doesn’t leave town and never show up again.

Philip doesn’t feel the same way, and he realizes the family would get more money with the media attention from this new visitor. Under the guise of going to get some drinks, he takes Calgary out to dinner on Mary’s dime. Calgary is disgusted to learn Philip only plans to extort the family’s tragedy to earn some money.

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The first episode ends with the entire family looking back at their mother’s death. Kirsten (Morven Christie), the family maid, definitely has something going on but she seems to have a deep love for the kids. If she did end up perpetrating the murder, then it was probably to help get those poor kids from out under Rachel’s thumb. However, the rest of the kids were also in the house that night. Hester had blood on her shirt, while the rest look on in shock. But the biggest surprise is seeing Gwenda also covered in blood secretly hiding in the house.

Ordeal By Innocence is definitely setting up the possibility of everyone taking part in the murder somehow. Leo’s understated response to his wife’s murder makes him look the most suspect at the moment. In a way, everyone else looks almost too guilty at this point to truly think they’ve done it.