UNDERCOVER. OUT FOR REVENGE.
A contemporary interpretation of John le Carré’s espionage drama – and the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in more than 20 years – “The Night Manager” brings together love, loss and revenge in a complex story of modern criminality. The series follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) who is recruited by intelligence operative Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) to infiltrate the inner circle of international businessman Richard Onslow Roper (Hugh Laurie) and detonate the unholy alliance he has ministered between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To get to the heart of Roper’s vast empire, Pine must withstand the suspicious interrogations of his venal chief of staff Major Corkoran (Tom Hollander) and the allure of his beautiful girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki). In his quest to do the right thing, he must first become a criminal himself.
Letter by John le Carré
It’s been one of the unexpected miracles of my writing life: a novel I had written more than twenty years ago, buried deep in the archive of a major movie company that had bought the rights but never got around to making the movie, suddenly spirited back to life and re-told for our times. And how!
For the novel, I had set much of the drama on the luxury yacht of my arch villain and illegal arms dealer extraordinaire, Richard Roper. On the northern reaches of the Spanish island of Majorca, we found just such a rich man’s paradise, and moved Richard Roper into it, together with his much younger, peerlessly beautiful, disconcertingly intelligent trophy mistress, Jed.
All I asked was that the central interplay between our protagonists remain intact, and the narrative arc of the original story – never mind where it’s set – be broadly the narrative arc of the novel, exploring the same human tensions and appetites, and resolving the dramatic conflict in the same broad terms.
Of Hugh Laurie’s performance – Tom Hiddleston’s – Olivia Colman’s – Tom Hollander’s – Elizabeth Debicki’s – it goes on and on – above all of Susanne Bier’s superb and uncompromising direction – in short of the whole symphony that the six hours of “The Night Manager” have become – I can only say that they bring back those glory days in the seventies when I was watching the BBC’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” being magicked to life by Alec Guinness and the inspired cast that surrounded him.
And finally, a collegial salute to our tireless and wonderfully inventive screenwriter, David Farr. In the beginning, as ever, was the word.