The Night Manager reached its thrilling denouement on Sunday night as the iniquitous business empire of illegal arms trader Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie) came tumbling down.
And yet, the episode started off so well for him. Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) is carpeted in front of a committee and has her operation shut down in the fallout of the failed arms swoop – much to the glee of the odious spook Geoffrey Dromgoole and his lackey Jonathan Aris. It appears all the obstacles in the path of Trade Pass and its supply of arms to despots around the world have been dismantled.
After eluding the attentions of the joint US/UK intelligence operation to intercept smuggled munitions into Syria, Roper shows what a repulsive character he really is with some callously misogynistic and manipulative scenes, which ultimately hasten his demise. Caroline Langbourne (Natasha Little), the humiliated wife of the au pair-bedding, Lord Sandy Langbourne (Alistair Petrie), is summoned to Cairo by Roper under threat of losing her children unless she becomes agrees to spy on his spouse, Ged (Elizabeth Debicki).
Roper knows he has a wrong’un in his organisation and Pine and Ged are the ones under the spotlight. However, there is a multi-million-pound deal to be concluded and as with all things in Tricky Dicky’s world – money talks loudest. So, while the plastic smile of the consummate salesman is on show for his middle eastern client Mr Kouyami (Bijan Daneshmand), the conniving, ruthless schemer plots the end of his wife and her lover.
Last week’s instalment had the feeling of the quiet before the storm and was used as a scene setter for this thoroughly engrossing nail-biter of a conclusion. Pine (Tom Hiddleston) faces a race against time to save his own skin and that of Ged – who Roper admits he “isn’t feeling particularly sentimental towards at the moment” after gifting her to Frisky to indulge his sadistic fixation with water boarding.
Unbeknown to Roper, Pine has managed to get word to his handler (Burr) that the Trade Pass entourage is in Cairo on business and has plans of his own to ensure an uncomfortable surprise for the unscrupulous weapons trafficker. Using old contacts in the Egyptian capital, Pine plots the sabotage of the shipment and the financial ruin of Roper.
Yet, even in defeat, having been detained by Burr, Steadman (David Harewood) and Singhal (Adeel Akhtar), Roper remains convinced that his money and Whitehall contacts will save him and “he’ll see them all again in a few days”. Pity then, that his disdain and insults for Kouyami come home to roost when he finds his client has equally powerful friends in Egyptian authority and that he will never enjoy the security of the inside of a prison cell as he is driven away to his fate.
The Night Manager is available on iPlayer until 26 April 2016.