I’m just going to come out and say it. There’s no point in beating around the bush. I actively try to stay away from the espionage genre. I couldn’t tell you why that is, I’m not entirely sure myself. Is it because it’s overdone? Doubtfully. Is it because if it’s not James Bond, what’s the point? Maybe. Or is simply because it’s a genre I don’t enjoy? Most probably, the latter. The whole concept of spies is something that’s really cool (yes, I avidly watched Totally Spies as a kid, and yes, I desperately wanted to be Sam). But every spy film I watched, it felt like I had seen it before. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, kind of thing. Now, I’m by no means saying that’s actually the case. I may have just been watching the wrong ones. But that’s what it felt like, so I just try and avoid the genre in general. I’m too attached to my money and/or my time to risk it.
But there’s an exception to every rule. Turns out my exception is two fold: BBC and Tom Hiddleston. Here in Canada, the show The Night Manager, a 6 part series based on the novel by John Le Carré (and no, I haven’t read it yet), premiered last night. And the closer the date got, the more excited I found myself. By the time I sat down to watch it, I wasn’t even nervous, there was nothing but excitement and anticipation. And it did not disappoint.
The show is about Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), a former British soldier who currently works as a Night Manager. I think this is what is most exciting, and makes the show so different. We don’t jump into this in the middle of a car chase, or a mysterious building where shots are being fired, we jump into this with a guy who’s a Night Manager at a hotel. It’s a new formula, new to me, at least, and right away that captured my attention. After anonymously passing on crucial information he comes across, he gets recruited to infiltrate Richard Roper’s (Hugh Laurie) inner circle. Roper was described by a character as “the worst man in the world”, a man who loves pain and death and destruction. Hugh Laurie vs Tom Hiddleston? Yes please.
Jonathan Pine in no way starts off in this business. It happens because Roper is a man that should be stopped, and could be stopped, but many who have the power to stop him simply turn a blind eye because it’s more convenient. It’s something that’s very plausible, which is something I haven’t seen a lot of in this kind of genre. Political corruption is all too common, and so much of it is hushed up and ignored because of convenience. Pine seems to have had enough of it.
The fantastic Olivia Colman plays a British intelligence officer, Angela Burr, who recruits Pine. Elizabeth Debicki is Jed Marshall, the girlfriend of Roper, but seems to have so much more to offer up than just being someone’s girlfriend. I can’t wait to dive into her character.
Hiddleston is brilliant in everything he does, and when I say he “stuns” in this show, I don’t just mean physically. Suave and strong, without question, but there’s also a lot of depth to him. We see him get really emotional in the first episode, and that’s something I almost actually stood up and clapped for. I’m tired of seeing these characters, not just spies, that are so stoic all the time. It’s just not realistic. If you’re human, you have emotions, and at some point in your life, in front of others or alone, they’re going to come out. We’ve only known Pine for an episode, but there’s clearly more to him than meets the eye, and Hiddleston plays this so well. We’re getting hints, a twitch here, a phrase there of who he is, but he’s still so much of a mystery and I can’t wait to learn more.
It looks like The Night Manager, a show in a genre I actively try to avoid, may end up being one of my favourites. Thanks BBC, and thanks Tom Hiddleston!
For those of you in the US or here in Canada, you can check the show out on Tuesdays on AMC, and I’m pretty sure they’ll have some reruns of part 1 in the next few days if you missed it. I definitely recommend it to all.