(The Night Manager, episode three)
We’ve had painfully slow plot development in episodes one and two, and virtually no character development (the roles are set in concrete) so why start now?
Another Roper party – always a presage of doom. This time around, the fashionable daughter of one of his business associates goes and hangs herself, causing general inconvenience. Whilst domestic scenes rage at Casa Roper, sonny tells Night Man about the citadel – the secret office where Roper hides his inventories of illegal armaments. There’s an 11 am alarm test each day, which handily gives Night Man entrée to the study, where he can photograph compromising papers with sonny-boy’s phone. Look! a golden strand of hair on the desk! It doesn’t occur to Night Man that Roper may have carefully laid that across his desk drawer – rather, he concludes (correctly) that the missus has been snooping, too.
Roper, conveniently away in Monaco, meeting moles from British intelligence, has been sussing out Night Man and thinking he is just the ticket to replace the increasingly unreliable Corky. Being wrapped-up in business so much, apparently he fails to notice the smouldering looks Mrs Roper and Night Man exchange on an almost perpetual basis. Except when he is gazing at the marital disharmony enveloping the crew, giving his version of sorrow and soul (“You see everything and say nothing” – that’s meant as a compliment).
Night Man sends his purloined evidence to Connie, who seems to be doing little in the field other than getting a tan and flirting with the CIA guy. There’s a big arms deal in the offing – in Lebanon (quelle surprise). Something had better happen soon or we’re outta here!
Christopher Hitchins got it right when he observed that Le Carré struggles once he strays out of cold-war country (specifically, northern and eastern Europe). This melange of faux-left paranoia and pop pomposity has tons of gloss and zero credibility.
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