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The Night Manager - Series Preview + Full Episode Synopsis

© BBC Pictures

John le Carré’s The Night Manager hits our screens on 21st February. Exploring love, loss and revenge as the story is given a contemporary twist, shifting the action from South America to the start of the Arab spring uprising. The six-part series follows former solider Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) as he infiltrates the inner circle of Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie), who on the surface is an international businessman, yet those unfortunate enough to have witnessed his darker side call him “the worst man in the world.”

As well as bringing the events from the book up to date, one other difference is that the role of Leonard Burr, the intelligence officer that recruits Pine, has been switched to Angela Burr (Olivia Colman). La Carré is extremely pleased with the casting, hailing Colman’s performance as “shrewd, gutsy, in turn dour and sparkling...I dearly wish I had written her into the novel instead of her ponderous husband.”

She’s a tenacious character, resolutely honest and unwilling to compromise or back down when she’s knows that she’s right. This fierce spirit is what has caused her to become a bit of an outsider when it comes to some of the dodgier elements that are working in the service, “She has been ousted a bit, and when we meet her she’s working in this pretty dingy, damp office, desperately trying to get funds to do what she thinks is right” says Colman. “Burr knows that Roper is an arms dealer of the filthiest kind and that he’s making a fortune out of people’s death, misery and poverty. She is determined to take this monster down.”

As is Jonathan Pine, the titular character whom Hiddleston describes as “a lost soul...a mystery to all men and to himself – the uniform and the face he prepares to meet others is a mask that protects him from having to know who he is.” He is drawn into the seedy underworld of the arms dealing after the mistress of a gangster that Roper is doing business with in Cairo hands him some documents to hold on to as insurance in case anything happens to her. To begin with he just wants to help Burr with a piece of vital intelligence, but before long he finds himself embroiled further into a plot to take Roper out.

In order to be accepted as a crook with a jet set lifestyle worthy enough to stand a background check, Pine must of course become a notorious criminal, and once he is in Roper’s inner circle he cannot let the mask slip for a second. This isn’t easy when usurped chief of staff, Major ‘Corky’ Corkoran (Tom Hollander), is highly suspicious and determined to win his place back as his boss’s right-hand man. Then there is Roper’s partner, Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), who has secrets of her own and develops feelings for Pine after he heroically saves Roper’s son from a vicious kidnapping – which was all a set-up in reality, ‘the way in’ so to speak.

Which brings up to Richard Roper, the one role we are meant to hate, yet I imagine many viewers will be questioning the “worst man in the world” monika after the first couple of episodes. Laurie brings warmth, humour and a touch of class to his character, but don’t be fooled into thinking that there isn’t a callous, despicable monster lurking underneath all the charm. We will see his darker side as the series progresses, although even as a villain Laurie ensures that Roper’s world has a certain allure, as Elizabeth Debicki puts it “I think what Hugh does is really humanise someone who could be very black and white. I feel like when you watch Roper you love and hate him equally at the same time”

The glamour of the dark side will be something Pine finds hard to resist while undercover. As Susanne Biere, the Emmy award winning director says “It’s a very sexy, attractive and glamorous world that audiences can’t help being attracted to, even if in the back of our minds we know we shouldn’t. I think that’s how Pine feels too.” Laurie also teases “Because Roper gives his monstrosity and the evil things he does a kind of logic...There are moments when Pine teeters on the brink of the dark side, when you wonder which way he will go.”

Episode 1 - Series Premiere. In Cairo at the height of the Arab Spring, hotel night manager Jonathan Pine receives a plea for help from an elegant, well-connected guest. His actions draw him into the terrifying world of Richard Roper, business-man and arms dealer, labelled worst man in the world.

Episode 2 – On the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, Roper’s life of luxury and calm is shat¬tered. Six months earlier, Burr continues her recruitment of Pine, sending him to Devon to build his cover story.

Episode 3 – While he continues to recuperate in Roper’s villa, Pine starts to dig up secrets about the other members of the household. Meanwhile, Burr and Steadman seize on an opportunity to recruit a new asset.

Episode 4 – Roper welcomes Pine into his inner circle, leaving Corky out in the cold. Mean¬while, Burr has concerns for the safety of her source, when she suspects key infor¬mation has been leaked to the River House.

Episode 5 – A suspicious Roper gathers his entourage around him in an attempt to root out the traitor, forcing Pine to play a dangerous game. In London, Burr and Steadman face mounting opposition from Whitehall.

Episode 6
– Series Finale. Roper and his team return to Cairo for the deal, reuniting Pine with an old enemy. Pine risks it all to put his plan in motion. A discredited Burr makes one last stand.

About the Author - Sandi
Sandi is part of the Senior Staff at SpoilerTV having been a contributor from back in the Lost days of DarkUFO, and who now writes previews for Banshee, The Musketeers, Poldark, and other UK shows. She also enjoys watching and commenting on other shows such as Vikings, Orphan Black, Game of Thrones and The Flash.
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