I confess, I love books by John Le Carre so I was more than a little intrigued when I saw the trailer for this six part mini series. I admit now though, that this is not one of the books I own. As such I could watch this with fresh eyes much like I did some years ago when Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was repeated.
Ignoring the prologue, which tells us briefly about the antagonist, we start in Egypt in 2011. Starting as it does, I began to wonder where the story would progress. We begin by following the unflappable Johnathan Pine, night manager at a top-class hotel in Cairo. Used to dealing with problems discreetly, I wonder how well prepared he was for what happened next.
One of his guests, a woman by the name of Sophie, wants to copy a document. This is no ordinary document as it is in fact, a request to purchase and ship arms to Egypt from an arms dealer called Richard Roper. The woman in question is none other than the mistress of Freddie Hamid, young playboy of the Hamid family. This isn’t just any family either, the Hamids own most of Cairo.
Johnathan’s orders don’t just cover copying the documents either. If anything were to happen to Sophie, he is to take the copy straight to his friend, Simon Ogilvy, working in the British Embassy. Matters start to unravel when Johnathan hands the copy over the following day. Word gets back to Freddie and Sophie is soon found dead. With an investigation into Richard Roper strangled at birth, there is nothing more anybody can do.
Four years later sees Johnathan as the night manager in a hotel in Switzerland where chance has brought him into contact with Richard Roper himself. Taking the opportunity to re-establish contact with Simon’s friends, Johnathan does his utmost to keep tabs on Roper and his entourage.
Tom Hiddleston proved to be an excellent choice to play Johnathan Pine. He is instantly watchable but never to the point where he hogs the screen. Johnathan must be the object of discretion so cannot take centre stage. His characteristics must include; impeccable manners, cordiality, trust and the ability to get things done. Tom brought those to the fore with ease.
From watching ‘House’, I can say that Hugh Laurie does ‘evil’ admirably. His opening scene gives but a glimpse of what his character is like. Roper’s public image is little more than a paper thin façade designed to distract the public.
Tom and Hugh were joined by Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander, both bringing their talents to their characters too. All four actors, and the supporting cast had me hooked from the word go.
Episode one was a gentle start into what I reckon will be an interesting and exciting adventure. And if episode one is a good indicator for the other five episodes, then I want in.