The Night Manager: Episode 6

When you have a suspicion about something, you try and confirm it.  That is exactly what Roper did in this, the last episode in the series.  As expected it was too little, too late.

With barely any resources at her fingertips, Angela Burr finally outsmarted Richard Roper. Watching Roper’s final realisation as his house of cards toppled was delicious.  His arrogance up to the last minute made it all the more sweeter.

I was convinced that Jed’s betrayal would lead to her death, thankfully that wasn’t the case.  With some careful footwork and some fortuitous timing, she was saved just as Roper’s deal was going up in smoke.

What surprised me most was the secret source inside Angela’s team.  His few lines were enough to show what he had done and who’s side he was on.  It was a pity that the senior members of MI6 didn’t suffer the same fate but I guess you can’t have everything.

From the start the acting was excellent.  Olivia Colman’s portrayal as a woman under siege felt human.  You too would feel harrassed and betrayed as your enemies, former friends, pulled the rug from under you.  From there it only got better.

Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Pine/Birch was fascinating.  Using friends he had not seen in years, Pine turned the tables on Roper.  A clandestine meeting followed by a late night drive set in place a plan which would see Roper ruined in front of a client.  As the deal went sour, Hugh Laurie’s skill as an actor shone through.  The mixture of vexation and haughtiness was wonderful to watch.

There has been a suggestion that this series was a perfect audition for Hiddleston’s potential hiring as James Bond.  There were many similarities including playing roulette (a convenient plot device to pass a code to Pine) so I can see why people would think this.  While it is not up to me to decide who should play Bond, it would make a refreshing change to see Hiddleston in the role.

In conclusion, after watching this series, I find myself wondering what accolades it will win.  One more thing, I had better add another John Le Carre novel to my collection.

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The Young Montalbano: An Apricot (2/6)

As I look back over ‘An Apricot’ I can’t help but admire Andrea Camilleri’s skill as a writer.  He has managed to weave a story that twists and turns, leaving you wanting more.  Certainly, of all the endings I was expecting, this was not one of them.  But lets not put the wrong end first.

Salvo’s imminent departure is what starts the story.  Livia has arrived to help pack.  On the way home from the airport, they discover an old stone wall close to a cliff edge has been knocked down.  On further investigation we find an overturned car at the bottom of the cliff with a dead woman inside.

The woman worked as a model at a local agency and had been having a relationship with one of her employers.  This had ceased some months ago, however, all was not as it seemed.  Digging deeper, they find she had an apricot stone stuck in her throat.  This is odd as she was known to be allergic to the fruit.

Now convinced of her murder, the team checks out her new lover, a photographer working at the same agency.  We learn very quickly that he is a heroin addict.  Suspicion soon flits from one suspect to another as new clues arise.  Even her neighbour is suspected.  Bit by bit the story is revealed, the agency has been shipping drugs to South America.

Finally settling on the real killer, we are dismayed to see that he has been killed too.  Worse than that, he is murdered right outside Montalbano’s house and the night before he is due to leave.  Being the dedicated detective, Salvo stays behind while Livia returns to Genoa.

Little more than two days later and he has unraveled the mess and is finally ready to leave.  Just before he goes, he decides to take one last look around town.  A lack of people is bewildering until he returns to the station.  It is there that we learn of a shocking event that persuades him to stay.

While I suspected Montalbano would continue to stay in Sicily, I had hoped to see him at work in a new venue.  However, living and working in a city like Genoa would entail a complete change in pace.  Whatever happens in the mean time, I hope I will not have to wait too long for the next series.

The Young Montalbano: The Honest Thief (2/5)

The honest thief will definitely go down as one of my favourites from this season.  For one thing, it did not focus heavily on the mafia.  Instead the main plot was on the disappearance of a local barmaid.

Very quickly we learn that she had had many lovers most of which are semi-respectable and would have nothing to do with her disappearing act.  As the story progressed, we find that she received a threatening phone call regarding a blackmail effort centring on an incriminating note.  Even though claiming she cannot find the note, the man does not believe her.

Fearing for her life, she empties her bank account and safety deposit box before catching a train back to her home town, Milan.  A couple of days later, a body is found.

The first sub-plot focusses on the title criminal; the honest thief.  Reports come in of small amounts of money being stolen.  Even more interesting is the fact that more money has been left behind.  Later, we learn that and old man has recently finished a prison sentence and suspicion moves to him.  The modus operandi of the new thief fits the old, perfectly.

The second sub-plot concerns a kidnapping of a rich local businessman’s son.  All efforts to find him are proving useless until our friend, the honest thief, overhears a phone conversation during a break-in.  I won’t go into any more detail but what I can say is this, I liked the solution.

Finally, we have the ongoing story of Livia and Salvo’ relationship.  Montalbano has put in a transfer request to Genoa in order to be closer to her.  When the rest of the team find out, I almost felt sorry for them.  Their boss, who they respect and admire, is abandoning them.  To make matters worse, he had been keeping it a secret.  I can’t blame them for tempers flaring but I would be interested to see how this pans out.

Will season three see Montalbano in Genoa?  There is still one more episode this series so who knows what will happen.  I know what I would like to see, but I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.