The Night Manager reaches its climactic end with style, suspense and a whole lot of star power.
Mild spoilers ahead.
For the past six weeks, the BBC has enthralled the nation with its glitzy, suspenseful adaptation of John Le Carré’s espionage thriller, The Night Manager. And though the series didn’t quite start with a bang, in this grippingly nerve-wracking season finale, it most certainly ends with one.
The final episode of the series sees the effective culmination of all the risky gambles taken by Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) and Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) in their mission to take down “the worst man in the world,” Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Having killed off Corky to maintain his cover, Pine shows no signs of slowing down as his journey comes full circle. Back in the Nefertiti Hotel – the place where it all began – Pine plots to resolve his mission, enlisting his lover Jed (Elizabeth Debicki) to aid him in bringing Roper’s operation to an end. But of course, with the arrival of Freddy Hamid and Roper’s own suspicions growing ever higher, it’s only a matter of time before covers are blown and things get decidedly ugly.
The second half of this episode is truly enthralling. As each of their secret motivations are revealed, the characters show their true natures and watching the sparks fly – particularly between Pine, Burr and Roper – is a positively gleeful experience. The principle cast has been consistently wonderful throughout the series, but as the season reaches its peak, so do they. Tom Hiddleston has been a stupendously charming presence for all six episodes, but with the finale, the inner anguish of his character slowly bubbles to the surface, and his vengeful swansong is as convincing as it is captivating. Truly, the petitions for Hiddleston to become the next Bond are not without merit. Meanwhile, Hugh Laurie’s Roper finally reveals the true extent of his venomous, vindictive nature, as the game he set in motion crumbles around him.
The ladies of The Night Manager were similarly wonderful. Despite being something of a wild-card in the principle cast, Olivia Colman’s brilliant portrayal of Burr is quite possibly one of the series’ shining highlights. Combining her unique vulnerability with the committed, unrelenting drive of a woman at the end of her tether, Colman owns the role completely, providing a powerful female presence in this ultra-masculine world. Elizabeth Debicki’s swan-like performance as Jed also proved to be similarly multi-layered and enticing to watch. And of course, Susanne Bier’s wonderfully crisp direction of the series must also be applauded. As well as telling an enthralling story and extracting some stellar performances from her cast, Bier also framed a gorgeously indulgent world, defined by its concise cinematography and sumptuous colour palette.
The Night Manager has been one hell of a ride, and through its consistently captivating story-telling, it has most certainly proved to be worthy of recognition in the upcoming awards season. If the BBC has any sense, they won’t discredit this show with another unnecessary series, but will instead champion it as an enthralling footnote in their continuing quest to produce ‘pure drama.’
The Night Manager is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray now. The last four episodes are also available for catch-up on BBC iPlayer for a limited time.