A Guide To Who's Who In Murder On The Orient Express

When Detective Hercule Poirot boards the Orient Express from Istanbul to London, he's at the tail-end of his vacation. Can't a detective just get a crime-free week for a change? Alas, work never ceases for Poirot, the central mystery-solver of the Agatha Christie novel Murder on the Orient Express. One of the passengers on the train, Edward Ratchett, turns up dead — and someone on board is to blame. But who?

You'll find the answer this Friday, when a new film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express hits theaters. There are a lot of potential suspects to keep track of. Like, 13 suspects. What would compel someone on the train to murder Ratchett? And why are there so many passengers on a train that's typically empty this time of year? Poirot has a feeling there's something he's missing.

Here's a spoiler-free rundown of Poirot's fellow passengers, one of whom is definitely guilty of murder.

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Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot
The Detective

It's very convenient that famed detective Hercule Poirot is aboard to solve the brutal stabbing of Edward Ratchett. If you love this uptight mustachioed Belgian detective, you can catch his character in a grand total of 33 Christie novels and 50 short stories.
David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock
Tom Bateman as M. Bouc
The Owner

Bouc is the owner of the Orient Express and isn't used to murders occurring on his train lines. He and Poirot have a longstanding friendship, and so he helps the detective during the investigation. He's certainly not as sharp as Poirot — but then, who is?
Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham
The Governess

Poirot almost immediately pegs Mary, a British governess, as the murderer. Earlier on his travels, he had caught Mary and Dr. Abuthnot deep in conversation, which clearly can only mean one thing: Collusion. She has a cool, calm demeanor, which only occasionally breaks under Poirot's insistent questioning.
Leslie Odom Jr. as Doctor Abuthnot
The Physician

He's called Colonel Abuthnot in the novel. According to Poirot, his principal personality trait is "British." He's Mary's lover.

Pictured: first from the right
Johnny Depp as Edward Ratchett
The Gangster

The first time Poirot encounters Edward Ratchett in the novel, he remarks, "I could not rid myself of the impression that evil had passed me by very close." So when Ratchett turns up dead, Poirot suspects he was murdered for a reason.

Everyone acknowledges Ratchett is the worst. Upon discovering his death in the book, Bouc, who's played by Tom Bateman in the film, pronounces, "Ah! Quel animal! … I cannot regret that he is dead – not at all!"
Josh Gad as Hector MacQueen
The Assistant

MacQueen, a young American, has the unfortunate duty of working as Mr. Ratchett's secretary.
Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff
The Princess

The elderly Russian princess may be frail, but she's tough. As Poirot tells her, "Your strength is in your will — not in your arm." She's also described by another character as being "ugly as sin," but that's besides the point.
Olivia Coleman as Hildegarde Schmidt
The Maid

Working for Princess Dragomiroff can't be easy. Still, this German lady's maid is loyal and devoted to Princess Dragomiroff.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Caroline Hubbard
The Widow

Caroline Hubbard stands out for her sheer Americanness. She's constantly speaking about her daughter, and adopts a very dramatic attitude about everything. Oh, Americans.
Penélope Cruz as Pilar Estravedos
The Missionary

Pilar is Spanish missionary, and she's also an entirely new creation. In the book, the missionary character's name is Greta Ohlsson, and she's Swedish.
Sergei Polunin as Count Rudolph Adrenyi
The Count

The Count and his wife travel around the world in the utmost luxury, thanks to their Hungarian passports and their royal status.
Lucy Boynton as Countess Elena Andrenyi
The Countess

She's the quiet and beautiful wife of the Count.
Derek Jacobi as Edward Henry Masterman
The Butler

The even-keeled Edward Masterman acts as Ratchett's valet on the train.
Marwan Kenzari as Pierre Michel
The Conductor

Pierre Michel moves the plot forward — literally. He's the conductor on the Orient Express.
William Dafoe as Gerhard Hardman
The Professor

This is one character who seems to have changed significantly from the book. In the book, his name is Cyrus Hardman, and he's an American private invesgiator that Ratchett had hired for protection.

In the film, Gerhard Hardman is an aloof German professor who watches the others, but doesn't participate.
David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock
Manuel-Garcia Rulfo as Biniamino Marquez
The Salesman

He's a cocky car salesman. Should we be suspicious? This character is altered from the book's Antonio Foscarelli.
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