Film Festival TV Mini-Series Review

TV Review: THE NIGHT MANAGER: Season 1, Episode 1 [AMC, Tribeca 2016]

Tom Hiddleston Episode 1 The Night Manager

AMC’s The Night Manager Episode 1 TV Show Review. The Night Manager: Episode 1 begins the plot of this miniseries with movie star Tom Hiddleston playing Jonathan Pine, a night manager running a luxury hotel who gets recruited by MI-6 to infriltrate the inner circle of notorious arms dealer Richard Roper, played by the captivating Hugh Laurie. The Night Manager continues the trend of successful limited run series that boasts some high-profile stars in elaborated stories that one can’t find in films these days. This miniseries further proves that the best talent can be found on the small-screen and deliver some truly powerful performances.

With some great exotic locales and beautiful cinematography, The Night Manager doesn’t really feel like a TV show but more like a film that’s expanded into a six-part act. Danish director Susanne Bier makes her American TV debut after gaining worldwide recognition for her films in her home country. Bier has directed all six episodes of the miniseries, and after watching the first episode; she has proven that female directors can develop a great spy thriller. The series has the similar tone and environment as the James Bond franchise, despite it being a cable show. Based on John le Carre’s spy novel, his book translates well on the small screen rather than a feature film.

The series is led by our protagonist Jonathan Pine, who is an interesting piece of work when we first meet him. We find him running a luxurious hotel in Egypt. Despite being the only Englishman in a foreign land, Pine’s life is normal until he meets the beautiful Sophie Alekan (Aure Atika), a mistress of a wealthy Egyptian businessman. It gets complicated when she entrusts him with some documents that Pine discovers is a massive order for an arsenal of weapons, which he informs a former army buddy at the British Embassy where he works.

Pine also starts to develop an attraction to Sophie and starts a romantic affair with her. However, their love fest is short-lived when Pine fails to save her from death after the British Embassy decides not to help her. This guilt prompts him to leave the country and work at a job up in the Swiss Alps. Fate gives him an opportunity at revenge when he meets the man responsible for Sophie’s death, arms dealer Richard Roper who comes to visit the hotel.

Hiddleston plays a kind of spy that is much different from the ones we see on 007 with Daniel Craig as the recent incarnation. Hiddleston’s approach to the character is more stylish and classy like the earlier Bond films of the 80s and 90s. It probably won’t happen, but it’s no surprise that Hiddleston can become a possible Bond candidate if producers get to see his performance in The Night Manager. He is the prime example of how British spy genres should be done.

This role is definitely a departure from Hiddleton’s other work on film from playing Loki, further showcasing what the actor can do with the right role. It’s only the first episode, but Hiddleston leads every scene and brings a truly compassionate, optimistic vibe that is separate from le Carre’s other work. The biggest change is the gender-swapping role of Pine’s MI-6 contact Angela Burr, played very well by Olivia Colman. The path that this show is going will really make Pine become one of the year’s best characters on TV.

We only get a few moments with Hugh Laurie’s Roper, but the impact he leaves on screen after his dialogues already shows the villain that he truly is. Being the kind of antagonist who is very charming and laid-back proves just how unexpectedly dangerous he can be. We also get a glimpse at his stunningly beautiful girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), who seems to have some great chemistry with Pine when we see their first meeting.

As we are in episode one of this six-episode run, The Night Manager has already set the bar high in quality. This miniseries has the potential to leave a mark on television, proving that the small screen can be just as cinematic as the movies. This will be the one show that will have people talking as we slowly unravel the rich world of espionage through the eyes of Pine as we go through six weeks of twists and turns.

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About the author

Mufsin Mahbub

Mufsin is a freelance writer from New York who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Long Island University. He has written for publications like HollywoodLife, Clubplanet, and Heavy. He is an avid lover for everything related to TV and film. He has gone to dozens of film screenings, press events, and loves to attend New York Comic Con every year. He gives an honest opinion on every TV show or film that people are going to be talking about.

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