|“||You have to find who did this. Please, I implore you, on behalf of the Orient Express. When the police arrive, you present them with a case closed. You are the only one who can save me.||„|
|~ Bouc pleadging Poirot to investigate about the murder of Samuel Ratchett (in 2017 film)|
Monseiur Xavier Bouc is the deuteragonist of Agatha Christie's 1934 Hercule Poirot novel, Murder on the Orient Express, and its adaptations. He is also set to return in the upcoming 2020 film adaptation of Death on the Nile, of which he didn't make an appearance in the source material.
He was portrayed by the late Martin Balsam in 1974, Fritz Wepper in 2001, Serge Hazanavicius in 2010 and Tom Bateman in 2017 onwards.
Monsieur Bouc is the Belgian director of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits and a friend & country-man to Hercule Poirot. He originally occupied Compartment No. 1 in the Istanbul-Calais coach on the Orient Express, but he later moved to the Athens-Paris coach so that Poirot could occupy the compartment in the Istanbul-Calais coach.
After the death of Samuel Ratchett, who was stabbed twelve times to death within his compartment, Bouc asked Poirot for help, fearing the case would bring flop to his train's fame had it became an unresolved problem. He helped Poirot during the investigation alongside Dr. Constantine.
During the investigation, Bouc had learned that Ratchett's true identity was Lefranco Cassetti, a notorious mobster who was responsible for the kidnap and murder of Daisy Armstrong. He also learned that everyone else on the train was associated and/or related to the Armstrong family, and had a motive to kill Casetti.
In the denouement, Poirot presented two possible conclusions to the case. The first was based on a conductor's uniform found in the crime scene, which was presumably left by a theorized assassin that killed Cassetti and escaped. However, Poirot then came to the second and final conclusion that everyone on the train (except Poirot himself, Bouc and Dr. Constantine) had took part in the murder. With the exception of Countess Andrenyi, who was put to sleep by her husband, all twelve others arrived in Cassetti's room, with each of them stabbed him one time and left twelve cuts on his body. He also revealed that Mr. Hartman was also participated the crime because he was the lover of Armstrong's maid, who became Cassetti's scapegoat and committed suicide.
Poirot also revealed Caroline Hubbard was Linda Arden, a retired legendary actress, who is the mother of Soniar Armstrong and Countess Andreni, and subsquently the grandmother of Daisy. Linda Arden confessed that she and others murdered Cassetti, but it was their last resort. Poirot then asked about Bouc's opinion. Bouc adviced Poirot to give the coat and his first conclusion to the police, due to his sympathy towards the killers and his disgust towards Cassetti, and Poirot complied.
In the Adaptations
In every adaptations, Bouc's name and nationalities are different, some even differed from his novel counterpart. In the 1974 film, he is renamed into Signor Bianchi and is an Italianman instead of a Frenchman. In the 2001 film, he is renamed as Wolfgang Bouc and is a German. In the ending of 1974 film, Poirot presented the two solutions and leaves it to Bianchi, as director of the line, to pick one to present to the police. In the 2001 adaptation's ending, Poirot had mentioned in his narration that Bouc took early retirement from the Orient Express and set up a detective agency in Istanbul.
In Agatha Christie's Poirot, Bouc's characteristics remains more faithful to the novel, but his presence after the denouement is different, and he is much younger. After revealing the killers' identity, Poirot intends to bring all of them to the police, rebuking their disregard over laws. Bouc defended the killers due to them killing a hateful criminal, and adviced to take the uniform to the police, but Poirot insisted to lock the door.
However, on the next day, Poirot decided to lie to the police and let the killers go free after struggling with himself, much to Bouc's relief. When Poirot departed from the scene in grief, Bouc was seen in the background coversing with the police.
In the 2017 adaptation, Bouc's role and characteristics remains relatively the same to the novels, but he is younger in appearance, just like his previous version. He is also depicted as the director's nephew instead of the director himself. In addition, he is set to be presumably the deuteragonist of the 2020 film adaptation of Death on the Nile, replacing Colonel Johnnie Race.