Oh, Mr Pine, you are getting in deep now. Having convalesced at the island estate of arms tycoon Richard Roper, the British intelligence mole Thomas Quince aka Jonathan Pine (played by Tom Hiddleston) begins the job of being the cuckoo in the nest as he builds the trust of his host.
The opening episodes of The Night Manager delivered the entree and a waft of the main. Episode 3 is the main dish … with the gravy. Each of the peripheral figures within the organisation is given life and his/her flaws exposed while the ever-present Pine sees everything and says nothing.
The enigmatic rattlesnake, Roper, reveals something of his lowly background and his reason for being the man he is, and seems to revel in the knowledge that he has found a way to cheat the system.
“I’m a free man,” he says. “Children grow up thinking the adult world is ordered and fit for purpose. But that’s crap!”
“Becoming a man and realising it’s all rotten and realising how to celebrate that rottenness,” he asserts. “Now that’s freedom.”
Roper breezes around as the genial host, the flawed but faithful husband and the doting but oft absent father, all the while emitting a menace that will spell the end of anyone who crosses him.
Meanwhile, fortune favours Pine’s handler Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) when a suicide offers her the opportunity to turn one of Roper’s intermediaries and bulwark her asset’s position with a bit of mischief at the expense of Major ‘Corky’ Corcoran (Tom Hollander).
As Pine finds out more about the people within Roper’s organisation, he builds himself more room to manoeuvre and discovers that Trade Pass, a shell company within the business magnate’s empire, applies a thin veneer of legitimacy to shipments of UK and US armaments bound for Beirut – all under the guise of agricultural equipment.
With Burr and Steadman (David Harewood) piecing together the details of a forthcoming arms deal they surface on the radar of both the CIA and MI6 and it becomes clear that Roper’s influence is far reaching and extends to the highest levels of government and law enforcement agencies.
If Pine had any doubts over the perilous nature of his prospects in this den of vipers. He can have no doubts now!
The Night Manager continues on Sunday at 9pm.
Images: BBC/The Ink Factory/Des Willie.