It has been going on for a decade since The Night Manager first screened. It was a six-part television series, and British spy thriller, based on the 1993 novel by John le Carré.

I saw it live on TV when it was released and I remembered I was seriously impressed. Now, many years later, the whole show turned up in my Amazon recommendations one evening where it is all now available for streaming.

I decided to revisit, and it turned into one of the best entertainment decisions I have made recently. John le Carré is one of the undisputed masters of the espionage genre. This shows in this adaption which stick incredibly closely to his novel.


The ensemble cast is high quality, with Tom Hiddleston in the lead role, joined by Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, David Harewood, and Elizabeth Debicki.

Hiddleston stars as Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier and now the Night Manager at a luxury Cairo Hotel. As the story begins, we join him working in his hotel in the middle of the Arab Spring. Events escalate that bring him into the orbit of Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie), a businessman and philanthropist.

An incident leaves Pine with a grudge against Roper. When he is approached by British Intelligence with the news that Roper’s wealth comes from some very suspect arms deals that breach many international regulations, Pine finds himself recruited. He must immerse himself in the shadowy world of the black market in arms.

As he infiltrates Roper’s organization, gaining his trust, he sees the true nature of Roper’s business. The deeper he gets, the more personal the consequences.

Hiddleston is superb, bringing the darker side of his Loki performance to the fore and leaving behind the comic book villainy. There was talk at the time of this serving as his audition for James Bond, and the strength of his performance here made him potentially nailed on for the role at some point.

Unfortunately, the much-publicized Taylor Swift romance shortly after The Night Manager was released apparently cooled Barbara Broccoli’s attitude towards him, and with Daniel Craig remaining in the role for so long, now Hiddleston’s age counts against him.

This is a shame, as you can really see the potential here. Hiddleston sells some barely contained rage simmering just beneath the surface, even as his public persona is all smiles for Roper and his crew.

The title sequence even has a Bondian feel, as the trappings of wealth transform into deadly weapons, spitting death.


Hugh Laurie makes a fine villain. He is seemingly charming and likable, but able to turn ruthless and cold in a heartbeat. It is skillfully handled, so much so that it is hard to tell how much his close confidants actually like him. Or are they a little scared of him and just like the unimaginable wealth they get to share with him?

His crew is memorably led by Tom Hollander’s Major Lance “Corky” Corkoran. Corky distrusts Pine from the start, proving a thorn in his side. Corky’s potential indiscreet nature from both enjoying the high life a little too much and his rampant sexuality, never stops him from feeling dangerous.

It is also refreshing to see a gay character who doesn’t have his sexuality form part of an invulnerability shield in the plot. Instead, it seems like it could be his downfall with the character’s increasingly bitter inner queen on show. Hollander nails it.


We follow Pine from Cairo to rural Devon, where he has to be embedded into his unsavory criminal legend to pass muster with Roper. From there we see him inserted into Roper’s organization under the control of Olivia Colman’s Angela Burr.

Colman really is great in this. Burr is the leader of a Foreign Office task force dedicated to bringing down Roper. Colman’s Burr navigates the nest of vipers that is government, intelligence agencies, and arms dealers with a kind of busybody mumsiness. It is like Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter meets Judi Dench’s M and it works brilliantly, with the added layer of her heavy pregnancy making her especially vulnerable.


As it is revealed just how poisonous the atmosphere can be inside government, with MI6 having their toes stepped on by Burr, she finds an ally in Joel Steadman of the CIA, with Supergirl actor David Harewood in yet another fine supporting turn in a television show packed with them. Colman’s monologue about the gas attack in Iraq is particularly fine.

Really, nobody drops the ball as the six episodes play out and we see Pine target the weak links in Roper;’s organization, probe, push, and squeeze. The tension ramps up as Roper begins to suspect he has a leak, and his wonderfully named enforcer goons Frisky and Tabby go to work, the hard way, to find out who is singing.

As the government is shown to be populated not just by self-preserving assholes, but truly nasty bastards, Burr finds herself struggling to protect Pine and herself. The price for success is not even that high for her. As she is told, simply – “You get to survive.”


This really is exceptional television. It reminds you of a time not all that long ago when the BBC really could make world-beating drama.

I am not alone in my appreciation of this. The Night Manager was nominated for thirty-six awards and won eleven, including two Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards for Hiddleston, Colman, and Laurie.

There was even a Bollywood adaptation starring Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, and Sobhita Dhulipala.

The Night Manager has, excitingly, had a second and third season confirmed as a co-production between the BBC and Amazon. Hiddleston is confirmed to reprise his role as Pine.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it really is worth your time. If you last saw it on release and it has been a while, get reacquainted before the second season drops. It is streaming right now on Amazon Prime and ready for a binge-watch.


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