See How They Run is a fun parody of Agatha Christie, and the film’s final act features a secret cameo worthy of the author’s best twist endings.
Warning: Contains spoilers to see how they work.
While See How They Run has plenty of surprises in store for viewers, the murder mystery’s biggest shock comes in the form of a secret third-act cameo. The piece that See How They Run riffs on, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, is infamous for its ending. After revealing the killer and his motives, the cast of the play then implores the audience to keep the murderer’s identity a secret so as not to spoil the story for future patrons.
The gamble seems to have worked, as The Mousetrap has been running continuously (apart from a brief Covid-related hiatus) in London’s West End for around seventy years now. However, while See How They Run doesn’t reveal The Mousetrap’s ending, the wacky murder mystery has an even more surprising twist in its final scenes. In the closing moments of Agatha Christie’s pastiche, the See How They Run story breaks the fourth wall almost entirely thanks to an unexpected cameo.
Mousetrap author Agatha Christie appears on screen to play a pivotal role in See How They Run’s ending, with the bestselling author arriving in time to almost (but not quite) save the day. In the finale of See How They Run, the cast of the play are invited to an intimate evening at Christie’s famous secluded mansion following the death of the screenwriter and director of the film adaptation. Upon arrival, they find that the murderer was the one who invited them, and they are held hostage at gunpoint, only for Christie herself to then attempt to save the day. Unfortunately, in one of Christie’s many affectionate parodies of See How They Run, the author then poisons the wrong cup of tea and ends up killing his own butler, leaving room for the film’s heroes to swoop in and end the the story.
Agatha Christie’s role in See How They Run
Early in the action of See How They Run, it’s heavily implied that the film won’t actually portray Christie herself on screen. One of the thriller’s secondary characters receives a letter from Christie apologizing for his absence at The Mousetrap’s 100th show celebration and that, with Christie’s actual disdain for publicity, seems to be the way See How They Run will avoid portraying the actual character. Christie only appears in the closing scenes after the killer is revealed to be a rabid usher whose real-life tragedies inspired The Mousetrap’s murder mystery. Until now, viewers would have even suspected Christie of being the killer herself, but she is exonerated in the finale.
However, in a charming homage to the iconic mystery writer’s prowess as an inventive crime writer, Christie is portrayed as a bloodthirsty comic figure. In this far from reverent depiction, See How They Run’s Christie is last seen trying to decapitate the already dead villain with a snow shovel while her husband attempts to calm her down. It’s a fun and fitting role for an author famous for making the murder mystery a literary institution, and one of the most poignant moments in See How They Run’s entertaining history.