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Partners in Crime episode 6 review

It’s the final part of the N or M? adventure and we’re heavy in anticipation for an action-packed denouement fitting as a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. But does it deliver?

Desperately searching for missing Tommy, Tuppence enlists the help of teacher and part-time agent Albert. It must be school holidays. Together they track down possible suspect Carl Denim, who is finally exposed as a smuggler, not a Russian agent.

Tommy, on the other hand, duped by one of N’s associates, is held against his will with the missing scientist Gilbert Worthing. At least he’s found him. But where’s the bomb?

N, who we find out is a woman – shock, horror – is in possession of the bomb but Gilbert has hidden the key. It’s only when Tuppence storms the house that Tommy and Gilbert get their chance for escape, albeit with a reasonably comedic rescue mission involving Tuppence scaling the side of the house brandishing a gun.

Reunited, the crime-fighting gang of Tommy, Tuppence, Albert and Carter are primed for action, as Gilbert finally shares the hiding place of the precious key. Of course it’s in the San Souci Guesthouse. Tommy and Tuppence are armed with knowledge, purpose, and briefly the key to the bomb, until N holds Tuppence at gunpoint and Tommy gives up the key to save her life.

“One person you love is worth more than a million civilians you’ve never met,” asserts N. Never a truer word said by a crime villain, particularly to re-focus the plot and lead the crime-fighting heroes to the villain’s undoing.

The plot gallops at pace with a satisfactory effervescence in the storytelling and heightened drama and romance at the heart of every turning point. Smuggler Carl Denim and proprietress Sheila Perenna are an item protecting his secrets, Tommy declares he is unable to do anything without Tuppence, and even N’s motivation is revealed to be love.

All N is doing this for is her husband – a Soviet prisoner code name M – whose life is worth more to her than a million civilians she’s never met. It’s just a shame he died two weeks ago.

Cue Tommy going undercover for one last time, dressed as N’s estranged husband M.

Tommy makes his way onto the pier under the veil of darkness, which neatly parallels the opening of the story three episodes ago. Darkness. The bomb. A blonde assassin. Gunpoint. Simple but effective motifs.

Of course N doesn’t fall for the (fondly laughable) moustache and hat trick, and Tommy’s disguise is quickly blown. As N marches to activate the bomb we’re not fussed – we know Tuppence will be hot on her killer heels, in a pair of her very own.

The ultimate showdown does not disappoint. In an atmospherically lit disused theatre on the pier, Tuppence’s fur coat is right behind N’s and it’s a red-lipstick tussle over the theatre balcony. N finally reaches her demise at the hands of Tuppence. She’s come a long way from the crime novel reading wife at the start of her adventures.

There’s only the small matter of the atomic bomb left, complete with contrived tension of a countdown timer, which is neatly taken care of by technical quick-fixer Albert. The only disappointment being he’s not stretched past this one-dimension. All the same, crisis averted and order restored.

With Tommy and Tuppence reunited in safety, and Major Carter happy – even proud – where else is there to go? But Agatha Christie’s got plenty more Tommy and Tuppence in her cannon, and everyone knows it.

The series leaves it wide open for the pair to return, and why not? It’s a gentle, humorous escape to a crime-mystery within anyone’s reach.

“People want adventures Tommy”: Claire Wilson’s script might be edging on the self-aware, but on a Sunday evening with Tommy and Tuppence involved, she’s not far wrong.


 
What did you think of the Partners in Crime series finale? Let us know in the comments below!

Isla Gray

Isla is a screenwriter and playwright who writes for television and theatre, as well as online for BBC, ITV and The Huffington Post. She’s a drama obsessive who watches far too much television and loves a good plot twist.

Follow Isla on Twitter.

1 Comment

    Shame that the BBC aren’t making a second series. Jessica Raine is brilliant.

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