The Night Manager – episode 2

Hugh Laurie in The Night Manager

The second episode of The Night Manager, adapted from the novel by John Le Carre, opened with a glimpse into the world of the super rich – a realm of private islands, speedboat, private helicopters and the money to incentivise restaurants to close their doors to everyone but you and your entourage.

Richard Roper, the malevolent business magnate-cum Bond villain – that seems to be how director Susanna Bier wants to portray him here, is enjoying an evening soiree of private dining on a secluded cove when armed robbers interrupt his party. In the melee, the gunmen take Roper’s son hostage and a very well executed standoff ensues that brims with tension and menace.

As the thieves make their getaway, it becomes clear that this is an elaborate ruse dreamt up in London (by Olivia Coleman’s modest spook, Angela Burr ) to provide Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddlestone) with a route into the Roper organisation. Pine rescues the child, takes a beating of biblical proportions and, in the process, earns the limited gratitude of Roper.

The robbery exposes a chink in Roper’s armour against which all the private security and money in the world fails to insulate him and it offers Pine a route to redemption.

Bier continues to utilise episodes within the episode to fill in the story in retrospect. Revealing the lengths to which Burr has gone to provide her ‘asset’ on the inside (Pine) with a watertight alibi. However, as the saying goes “the best laid plans of mice and men…” will count for nothing if he cannot convince the devious head of Roper’s security, Major Corcoran (played by the excellent Tom Hollander) that his newly created background is genuine.

Tom Hollander-TheNightManager

Corcoran is fast becoming my favourite character in this twisting game of subterfuge and as he sits down for a bedside chat with the convalescing Pine, he leaves him in no doubt that waterboarding trumps watertight any day of the week. It is a chilling scene and one that illustrates the dangerous game into which Pine has dealt himself.

This six-parter is starting to bubble nicely and has introduced enough threat to suggest the cat and mouse pursuit between Pine and the venal ‘Corky’ is unlikely to end well for one or the other. The question is will Pine be able to expose Roper and get out before then. Roll on next Sunday.

The Night Manager is on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm.

Images: BBC Pictures.